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Category Archives: controversial issues

The Archaeology of Sodom

Preface

We are still working on the research for this article but it is important that we get it written down as we go. We are not going to do any preaching or try to explain the different terms in each of the passages of scripture. Instead we are going to look at the 3 locations that different scholars have identified as Sodom and explore them archaeologically with a Christian eye and thinking. Christians have been involved in all 3 identifications so it is not like we are taking sides.

We will use biblical verses and place them in this preface as a reference point. Not all of the verses will be used as we are not going to delve into the why the 5 cities of the plain were destroyed. God has already told us why. We are interested in why people picked these 3 sites, what archaeology says about each of them and demonstrate why 2 of them do not qualify as Sodom.

The verses are important because so many scholars either use them or allude to them in presenting and supporting their arguments.  We may address other topics as we get this paper ready but we shall see. Getting the Bible right, even when doing archaeology saves believers so much trouble and builds their credibility and reputation. We need to be honest in our archaeological work if we want people to listen to us.

Jesus never exaggerated, he never altered, he never lied and we must be careful to follow that example. We also have to be honest when presenting our facts, our theories our conclusions and so on. The Bible tells us that the unbelieving world cannot do anything against the truth, thus we must make sure that we have the truth first, including our archaeological identifications, if we want unbelievers to listen to us and take the gospel seriously.

Christians, churches, Christian organizations have been embarrassed far too often by the many searches for Noah’s ark. That is because over enthusiastic people have let their excitement lead them not God. We should not let this happen with any biblical event. It is far better to say we do not know than try to force a given site to fit the biblical narrative. And keep harping on it when the supposed evidence needs to be stretched to fit the theory. One thing we got from Bob Cornuke is that if the evidence does not fit, then the identification is off. And that applies to 2 of the 3 Sodom sites.

We know many Christians, and we used to talk to them on the old BAS forum, that are embarrassing themselves by their current selection of one site over the other 2 for Sodom. We will get to that later. Sodom and its identification is a little easier to find because of a certain verse in scripture. Unlike Noah’s ark, it still exists today

Bible verses for Sodom

The territory of the Canaanite extended from Sidon as you go toward Gerar, as far as Gaza; as you go toward Sodom and Gomorrah and Admah and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.

Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere—this was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah—like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go to Zoar.

that they made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar).

And the king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah and the king of Admah and the king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) came out; and they arrayed for battle against them in the valley of Siddim,

Now the valley of Siddim was full of tar pits; and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, and they fell into them. But those who survived fled to the hill country.

Then they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food supply, and departed.

And the Lord said, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.

Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven,

and he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the valley, and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land ascended like the smoke of a furnace.

‘All its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in His anger and in His wrath.’

“For their vine is from the vine of Sodom, And from the fields of Gomorrah; Their grapes are grapes of poison, Their clusters, bitter.

Unless the Lord of hosts Had left us a few survivors, We would be like Sodom, We would be like Gomorrah.

[ God Has Had Enough ] Hear the word of the Lord, You rulers of Sodom; Give ear to the instruction of our God, You people of Gomorrah.

And Babylon, the beauty of kingdoms, the glory of the Chaldeans’ pride, Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

“Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: The committing of adultery and walking in falsehood; And they strengthen the hands of evildoers, So that no one has turned back from his wickedness. All of them have become to Me like Sodom, And her inhabitants like Gomorrah.

Like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah with its neighbors,” says the Lord, “no one will live there, nor will a son of man reside in it.

“As when God overthrew Sodom And Gomorrah with its neighbors,” declares the Lord, “No man will live there, Nor will any son of man reside in it.

“I overthrew you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, And you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze; Yet you have not returned to Me,” declares the Lord.

“Therefore, as I live,” declares the Lord of hosts, The God of Israel, “Surely Moab will be like Sodom And the sons of Ammon like Gomorrah— A place possessed by nettles and salt pits, And a perpetual desolation. The remnant of My people will plunder them And the remainder of My nation will inherit them.”

Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.

And just as Isaiah foretold, “Unless the Lord of Sabaoth had left to us a posterity, We would have become like Sodom, and would have resembled Gomorrah.”

and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter;

just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire
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We do not think he blasted anyone

Except those who do false accusations and those who ignore the rules of evidence, along with the statutory limits rules.

Ousted evangelical leader Paige Patterson returned to the pulpit last week, where he blasted women who falsely accuse men in the #MeToo movement.

We are not politically correct and do not intend to be. We find that being politically correct, honesty, truth, reality are lost, replaced by feel good attitudes that hide the facts from people. We also find that being politically correct is not a biblical teaching. While we do not consider ourselves as on the same level as Jesus, who said some pretty nasty things to the Pharisees, we do not believe in sugar-coating certain aspects of life. People can’t learn correctly if they are put in a vacuum and ‘protected’ from certain views and opinions.

We will speak the truth in love as best we can, which we are sure Jesus did when he spoke harshly to the Pharisees. But back to the quote. In today’s journalistic world, it seems that what is accepted as credible is where supposed journalists state their opinions and ignore facts, the correct definition of words and other pieces of the journalistic puzzle, in hopes of getting more clicks. More clicks means more ad revenue.

But that is a problem that can be solved if today’s supposed reporters followed the traditional rules of journalism and wrote compelling, honest, fact-filled and truthful articles. We do not fool ourselves into thinking that what passes for journalism today is the actual story of what is being reported on. The same for that quote.

Last week, he preached on the biblical story of Joseph, who was falsely accused by an Egyptian woman of sexually abusing her.

We missed using that story and wish we had. It provides compelling evidence that the secular world does not follow the rules of justice, just like the modern does not. What is sad is that the same story is like a mirror to many in the Christian world exposing their unjust treatment of pastors, church leaders, and others who have been unfairly accused and attacked.

The woman’s story is believed when the evidence does not support the accusation. We are still waiting for real evidence to be presented in any of the cases that have made the public arena. By failing to be biblical and just, we are setting a very bad example to our children, fellow believers and the secular world. What stumbling blocks that are raised we do not know but fear that many have been because the church fails to follow God yet again.

The 75-year-old preacher then talked about the current movement in society where various male leaders in church, in politics, in Hollywood, and other institutions are being accused of abusing women.

“I’m all in favor of the #MeToo movement when there is a guilty party,” Patterson said, insisting that men who abuse women are cowardly.

We agree. BUT there must actually be a guilty party, verifiable and credible evidence proving a crime took place and that the sentence passed is fair, just and leads the offender to repentance. Also, the pursuit of justice is done not out of revenge or vengeance, God did not teach us to use either when seeking true justice. The accusers must have a pure heart, not hate-filled and need to forgive those they accuse. God has taught us that if we do not forgive then he won’t. Forgiveness helps us to clean our eyes from the beams the offense and the response to the offense have placed there.

By the same token, I have nothing good to say about a woman who falsely accuses a man. She runs the risk of ruining a life. She runs the risk of causing sorrow unknown when the person is, in fact, innocent,” he added, however.

We agree here as well. The Bible teaches us to not bear false witness against others. A false accusation is lying  and a false witness. The NT tells us not to lie one to another. To receive true justice, God did not teach us to present our accusations without evidence. Being a godly man or woman is not criteria for presenting evidence God’s way.

There must be real and credible evidence and since governments are granted the right to rule over their nations, they have the right to impose statutes of limitations Any accusation must adhere to those human rules. It is not justice or fair to the accused to bring up decades-old supposed offenses that have no credible evidence supporting the claim.

Is ruining a life worth revenge? The Chinese have an old saying, when seeking revenge, before you go on your journey first dig two graves. This means that when you get youor revenge, you kill 2 people. The one you are seeking revenge against and yourself. Jesus does not want us to kill ourselves as he told us to return good for evil.

Some people like the OT’s an eye for an eye, but we do not see that teaching continued in the NT.

Merritt, son of former SBC President James Merritt, criticized Patterson for focusing on the latter, noting that studies have shown that false accusations of sexual assault make up only two percent against the 98 percent epidemic of real abuse.

Actually, we disagree. Both figures seem to be off and we know that statistics can be manipulated very easily.  They also leave out the other side of the story and many facts that are involved which lead to abuse or supposed abuse.

Merritt also took aim at what he said was Patterson “body-shaming” a woman in another anecdote, where the former Southern Baptist leader talked about meeting a parishioner’s mother.

We are very tired of hearing the many different terms that use the word ‘shaming’ as the last word in a descriptive pairing. No one is body shaming anyone when they are speaking the truth. A fat person is a fat person not curvy, or whatever they want to use there in place of the word fat. No one is doing a fat person any favors by hiding their unhealthy girth.

The body is the temple of God and unless there is a true medical reason why a person is overweight we may dare to say that letting oneself ‘go’ is not treating the temple of God correctly. Men and women should strive to keep their bodies healthy, in shape and presentable. But lets not stop telling the truth by accusing those who like facts of shaming anyone. Hiding the truth only lets the bad behavior continue.

Some people need to toughen up if they can’t handle being told that they are over-weight and out of shape. The past few decades have seen the raising of very weak-minded and weak people who do not know how to handle life very well. If you look to the biblical example, you do not see any instruction from either God or Jesus to make peope weak and incapable of dealing with what comes in life.

Deut. has many instructions from God on how to teach children and grandchildren and keeping them in a bubble to ‘protect’ them is not one of those instructions.

But it is an especially inappropriate, even befuddling, choice of material for Patterson (who was coincidentally speaking in a state with the nation’s third-highest obesity rate)

Maybe he needed to say it there because they needed to hear the truth about their physiques. Hiding the truth does not accomplish anything. Speaking the truth in love, does. Oh and we do not care what twitters think.  Fat is not beautiful, it is not healthy and it is life shortening as well as leading to or a product of gluttony. Instead of protecting these overweight people from having hurt feelings, those who protect them, by using all those cute words to describe their obesity, should look to see if the sins of gluttony and lust are present.

We should be looking to stop sin, not let it go undiagnosed to the point where it kills someone– literally.

No biblical grounds were given, let alone, seriously considered. There are numerous Christian leaders who have committed sins worthy of discipline. Patterson is not one of them; he hasn’t committed any such sins. On the contrary, he has done many things worthy of exaltation. In fact, he is one of the top conservative Christian leaders of our day,” he wrote at the time.

“Many who opposed Dr. Patterson were apparently caught up in winds of the #MeToo movement of the day. But no doctrinal or moral charges were even offered, let alone proven by two or more credible witnesses against him,” he added.

In closing, we do need to say that if you cannot be truly spirit led and bring the truth to any given situation, nor follow God’s ways, then do not get involved. You sin while trying to right a wrong and that is not of God either.

You can read the whole article at: https://www.christianpost.com/news/paige-patterson-returns-blasts-women-falsely-accuse-men-metoo-body-shaming-227429/

 

 

Chelsea Clinton and Abortion

By now everyone has heard of her comments on abortion. We will address a few of her quotes tonight

Chelsea Clinton has said that, as a “deeply religious person,” the idea of America going back to a pre-Roe v. Wade society where abortions were banned is “unChristian.”

We understand. More than 30 years ago we wrote a book on abortion and investigated the issue and what women put themselves through or were forced to endure during that era is not something we would wish on anyone. In spite of the many good abortion ‘doctors’ who took care of their ‘patients’,  there were far too many who took advantage of the woman’s situation and committed horrible crimes against those women.

We would not like to see women put themselves or be put through those situations again. They are as sinful as abortion is. But women do have a choice. They can decide not to abort and take a different route. Why Ms. Clinton and Planned Parenthood are not championing those alternatives to abortion is anyone’s guess. They have a wonderful platform to help women make it through their pregnancy periods and then give up their babies for adoption.

Yet they fight vigorously to keep abortion legal and disguise its evil nature under the term ‘women’s rights.’ It makes you think about how callous Ms. Clinton is and how Planned Parenthood really are. Here they are advocating for a sinful procedure ignoring the pleas of those women and men who cannot have children or would like more.

We think that attitude is very unchristian. While we do not have an answer for when Roe v. Wade is overturned, except that people need to stop having sex outside of marriage and fathers & mothers need to take responsibility for their actions. We do not have any miracle answers to this problem. Obeying God solves most of it.

Clinton said every day she makes the “moral choice” to be optimistic for her children when it comes to what she says is the battle for women’s rights.

What rights? Under most democratic governments, their constitutions list the rights of their people yet the number of those rights differ from country to country. Which country’s list of rights will everyone use? God does not give us any rights, he does tell us what is right and wrong and expects us to obey that instruction. Rights mean absolutely nothing in this world.

Then when we think about her statement, we must ask, does Ms. Clinton think that women deserve special rights? Does her mind think that just because women bear children , that they deserve more than the man who clothes and feeds, etc., those women? We all know that men are not going to rebel and give up on women and let them be single just to get a little equality in this weird new age.

That my efforts and my energies, particularly when I’m fortunate enough to be in partnership with fellow travelers, hopefully will make a difference,” the activist and former first daughter said

If she is so deeply religious, why doesn’t she advocate for both men and women to follow God’s way correctly? It seems her religion is used by her when it benefits her and ignored when it won’t. And sorry, we are not her fellow traveler. No Christian is as she seems to be steering the boat in the wrong direction and leading people to sin against God.

That is not a boat we want to be in. We do not like abortion and we do not like those people who continue to advocate for the murder of innocent people who cannot defend themselves. We just try to treat them all as Christ wants.

And when I think about all of the statistics that are painful of what women are confronting today in our country, and what even more women confronted pre-Roe and how many women died and how many more women were maimed because of unsafe abortion practices, we just can’t go back to that,” Clinton said, referring to the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the country.

She obviously does not look at statistics very honestly as the ones she is quoting is not matching up with the number of babies that have been aborted over the 300+ years America has been in existence. There is not 1,000,000 +/- women dying each year or being maimed through any type of abortion procedure. Her faulty statistic is not reason enough to continue legal abortions either.

The supporters of abortion continue to claim that it is the women’s body and she can do what she wants with it. That flies in the face of biblical teaching. Sadly, it is not the woman’s body that is being harmed by abortion and we know that God has not granted women or men the right to kill the body of another person. Including the unborn.

Like that’s unconscionable to me, and also, I’m sure that this will unleash another wave of hate in my direction, but as a deeply religious person, it’s also unChristian to me,” she added, referring to her Methodist faith.

Clearly we see that her conscience does not consider the trauma the unborn are put through and she does not think that slaughter is unconscionable. There is a lot wrong with her thinking. How can she be deeply religious when she ignores those innocent people who are robbed of a chance at life simply because of certain situations they know nothing about?

Clinton added that she has been receiving “a lot of hate” over the issue, and has been compared to slave-owners and Nazis.

We do not hate her. we think she is very misguided and not receiving the correct biblical teaching. We are sad that she has taken this view as it is certainly contradictory to the Christian faith. She does not seem to think that love your neighbor applies to the unborn, but it does. She does not seem to think that love thy neighbor as thyself, applies to the unborn, but it does.

God did not put restrictions on those verses and excluded those people waiting to enter life. She seems to be one of those people who thinks she gets to pick and choose when to apply scripture and when not to. In her bid for human rights, we hope she realizes some day soon that many of those unborn children who have been aborted and are being aborted, are also women. The very women she is fighting to give rights to.

We hope she doesn’t take too long to see the error of her ways

the link to the article

https://www.christianpost.com/news/chelsea-clinton-as-a-deeply-religious-person-banning-abortions-is-unchristian-to-me-227384/

 

Helping Others

We are going to start off by referencing a Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez movie because it is very appropriate.  In the beginning of the film, Mr. Statham and his fellow crooks successfully pull off a heist at a fairground. But things shortly turned bad for Mr. Statham’s character. his fellow crooks turned on him and leave him by the side of the road thinking he was dead.

Along came a couple who had two children in their vehicle. They see Mr. Statham’s character lying by the road and stop. The father gets out and checks on the body. Finding the character still alive, he calls for help and the family take care of the character. They did not stop and call police to get a criminal records check, they did not investigate the man in any way. They simply saw a man in need and helped him out.

If you seen the movie, you know how it turns out. The key to our post here is in that last line– the family saw someone in trouble and helped regardless of who he was. Using that situation, God brought our minds to the parable of the good Samaritan. Here is what Jesus said in that parable

30 Jesus replied and said, A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and [c]beat him, and went away leaving him half dead... 33 But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 On the next day he took out two [d]denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ (LK 10 NASB)

We put in bold the key words of the passage.  That is all we know about the man and all that the Samaritan knew about the man. We do not know if he was a person with a criminal past, treated women badly, or a righteous person. He was simply a man in need. After leaving the hotel, the Samaritan did not go to the local police to see if the man he helped had a criminal record, etc. He merely told the clerk that he would cover the medical expenses.

Helping someone is that simple.

What motivated us to write about this was a story we read yesterday highlighting Olivia Munn and her treatment of a man who did have a criminal record. You can read about the whole story here

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6155233/Olivia-Munn-attacks-fellow-Predator-actors-scene-sex-offender-Steven-Wilder-Striegel-cut.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490

Olivia Munn says she felt shunned by her castmates in The Predator after she blew the whistle on her convicted sex offender co-star and got his scene cut from the film.

One of the first things we got from that story is that if we are ever lucky enough to meet Ms. Munn, we need to make sure we do not tell her any secrets. It seems that she cannot keep one and feels the need to blab it to everyone within earshot. There are several items that we did not like about her actions and felt that she overstepped her boundaries. Her defense for herself is found in her following words:

‘I think that’s what’s really important for people to understand — when you see something, you have to say something, however it’s not going to be easy,’ she said.

Our first question is why? Was it any of her business to make sure the man did not work? The last we looked having a role in a movie was not against the rules governing sex offenders or the sex registry. We do not like the sex registry for a number of reasons, one being that it is not just or fair. The man served his time and paid his debt to society but now that he is on the registry, he continues to pay for that crime.

Keeping him and other listed persons on that registry from gainful employment will do nothing to bring the offenders to repentance. Nor does it help facilitate a better attitude towards society. We doubt his presence in the movie would detract from the plot (most modern Hollywood movies do not understand the term plot or good script writing) or ruin the reputations of the director and other actors. In fact, the director should be lauded for giving the man a job so he could continue to rebuild his life in a way that is constructive to society.

Giving someone another chance is a good thing not something to be despised.

Munn said it wasn’t until after she filmed a scene with Striegel that she learned the 48-year-old, a close friend of the film’s director Shane Black, pleaded guilty in 2010 to attempting to form an online sexual relationship with a 14-year-old female relative.

After successfully lobbying Fox executives to ax Striegel’s scene, Munn notified her cast-mates about the actor’s past as a courtesy.

This is the next example of her actions that bother us. Was the man violating the law with his role? Is Ms. Munn law enforcement that she has the right and authority to say who can or cannot work in a movie? Who does Ms. Munn think she is that she can determine who gets to act or work at all? She certainly is not a part of the judicial system where she can add punishment to the man’s already served sentence.

This is not acting justly or even neighborly.

It was going to be something that would get out there, so I wanted to give my co-stars the heads up so they wouldn’t be blindsided like I was,’ she said.

No one likes a stool pigeon and what right did Ms. Munn has to spread the word to everyone else? They did not have the right to know, the man’s sentence was over, he served his time and he was not doing the same crime again. This is certainly not the way to treat someone when they are down and trying to get their lives back together. Under one picture in that article, the director said he was only trying to help his friend.

Ms.Munn certainly ruined that for both.

‘I don’t care if this movie gave me all the money in the world and all the power. If it costs one person’s life, they can take it. I don’t want this career.’

She added: ‘When we do movies, we have this reach. It goes everywhere. There’s people all over the world that see what we do. That tiny drop of fame can be used to hurt an impressionable person, and that’s just not OK.’

So in her mind, outing someone’s criminal record is a good example to show the world and young impressionable minds? We would like to know how his brief appearance in a movie will hurt someone. Most movie goers probably would not know about his past if Ms. Munn had not said anything. What we do know is that giving someone a second chance is not going to hurt anyone but set a good example.

The example Ms.Munn set is not as positive or helpful to anyone.

The Predator director, who has known Striegel for 14 years, said in a statement: ‘It has sadly become clear to me that I was misled by a friend I really wanted to believe was telling me the truth when he described the circumstances of his conviction.

‘I believe strongly in giving people second chances — but sometimes you discover that chance is not as warranted as you may have hoped. .

Talk about throwing your friend under the bus. I guess praising the director is not in order as he feels certain people are not worthy of another chance. Something we disagree with. Sexual crimes are like any other crimes. They are against the law, the offender serves their time and it is done with. The man seems to have learned his lesson, hopefully and trying to work in gainful employment.

Depriving him of that opportunity is as bad as the crime itself. We also find no scripture verse saying to treat people in this manner, even those on the sex registry. We find plenty of verses telling us to forgive, even if the person continually sin against you. But none that state to treat any offender in an unjust and terrible way.

Fox issued a statement after the Striegel scene was deleted, writing: ‘Our studio was not aware of Mr Striegel’s background when he was hired. Several weeks ago, when the studio learned the details, his one scene in the film was removed within 24 hours.

‘We were not aware of his background during the casting process due to legal limitations that impede studios from running background checks on actors.’

The Los Angeles Times reported that Munn discovered Striegel’s sex offender status last month.

The 48-year-old was convicted of sending flirtatious messages and emails to the minor, but details of case from an affidavit seen by the LA Times suggest he ‘kissed’ the 14-year-old.

These are the details of the crime he committed. We do not have any more and we are sure there may be more. What we read there does not seem significant enough for Ms.Munn to take the action she did. Again, the man served his time and perfection is not a requirement for any job. When the late Andy Griffith filmed the t.v. show the Andy Griffith Show, it was reported that he wanted each episode to have a moral.

One of those lessons he wanted taught was that when a convict has served his time, he has paid his debt and his crime is not to be used against him. Sadly the world has changed where that belief is no longer credible and valid. Now  it seems that one crime can ruin a man forever and it will be held over their heads all the time. Forgiveness is one way to have a better life and a better spiritual relationship with God. Criminals are not left out from receiving forgiveness and another chance.

We understand that many people get very emotional over certain sexual crimes and when they find out a person is listed on the sex registry. But those items do not trump Gods instructions on how to treat a person. Nor are they justification to ruin a person’s chance at learning from their mistake, moving on from it and contributing constructively to society.

Can he fail again, of course he could but that is not reason enough to deprive him of honest work. Many criminals fail over and over, partially because they cannot let go of evil. Criminal behavior does have its roots in sin thus the Christian should know how to handle those issues.

One important question should be in the minds of the believer when they come across these offenders– where would I be if God held my sins over my head for the rest of my life? God promised to forget our sins when we have repented of them, are we better than God that we can treat convicts and sinners worse than he? The other question  believers should be thinking of, is where would I be if God did not give second, third, fourth, and so on chances?

We need to remember that we were once like that actor who was outed. Lost in sin till Jesus redeemed us.

 

Ubaid, Sumer & the Bible

 

Scientists seem to always be at a loss when it comes to talking about the origins of ancient people. Too often they simply state that they do not know where certain groups of people come from. In one of his books, which forget which one, WF Albright stated that out of the ancient nations, only Israel knows their origins. The Indians, the Egyptians, The Assyrians, the Germanic tribes and the list goes on,, he stated, do not have any idea how their people and nation came to be.

We find the same situation with Sumer and the Ubaid people. Here is what one ancient encyclopedia has to say about both:

The region of Sumer was long thought to have been first inhabited around 4500 BCE. This date has been contested in recent years, however, and it now thought that human activity in the area began much earlier. The first settlers were not Sumerians but a people of unknown origin whom archaeologists have termed the Ubaid people – from the excavated mound of al-Ubaid where the artifacts were uncovered which first attested to their existence

and

These people were the first agents of civilization in the region. At what point the people who came to be known as Sumerians entered the area is not known ( both quotes come from https://www.ancient.eu/sumer/)

It is accepted that Sumer and subsequent civilizations resided around the Mesopotamia region near or between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

Sumer was the southernmost region of ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq and Kuwait) which is generally considered the cradle of civilization. (Ibid).

And that occupation came about 4500 BC

The region of Sumer was long thought to have been first inhabited around 4500 BCE (Ibid)

We do not agree that the flood took place around 3000 BC as some people place the date. That is just to close for comfort and we would accept an earlier date because we do not actually know when the flood happened. The Bible dating and the human calendar do not follow the same rules and produce competing times. If we attribute the construction of the pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx to the pre-world era, then 3000 BC does not sound too far off.

But dating is subjective and not always as accurate as we would like it to be. So for now we will go with the 4500 BC date knowing it could and should be revised. Scientists may not know much about the Ubaid people, we will skip the Sumerians for now, believers can find a clue to their identity and source by reading two passages of scripture.

Ge 11:1 Now the whole world had one language  and a common speech.
Ge 11:2 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there (NIV)

This particular NIV version places Shinar in the fertile Crescent at Babylon, which seems right as the second passage of scripture mentions who founded that city:

Ge 10:8 Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth.
Ge 10:9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD.”
Ge 10:10 The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh, in  Shinar. 
Ge 10:11 From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh,  Rehoboth Ir,  Calah
Ge 10:12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city

From what we can deduce, given help from archaeology, the Ubaid people were probably the one world, one language civilization that got divided by God and scattered throughout the earth. City building would not be a new idea for them as in the pre-flood civilization cities were quite common. Cain built a city and we cannot be sure how many others followed that example.

From the numerous buried cities found around the world and mysterious buildings that remain, it seems that quite a few people followed Cain’s example. It is also possible that Cain was not the first to build a city and he was the one who followed one of his brothers’ or more example. Thus, it was not impossible or out of the capability of Nimrod and the probably Ubaid people to build the cities in that list.

The ancient encyclopedia backs that point up with the following:

Whoever these people were, they had already moved from a hunter-gatherer society to an agrarian one prior to 5000 BCE. Excavations from al-Ubaid and other sites throughout southern Iraq have uncovered stone tools from the Ubaid people such as hoes, knives, and adzes and clay artifacts which included sickles, bricks, painted pottery, and figurines.

These people were the first agents of civilization in the region. (Ibid)

That encyclopedia is supported by the History Channels section on Sumer. That channel says:

This early population—known as the Ubaid people—was notable for strides in the development of civilization such as farming and raising cattle, weaving textiles, working with carpentry and pottery, and even enjoying beer. Villages and towns were built around Ubaid farming communitie

and

Architecture on a grand scale is generally credited to have begun under the Sumerians, with religious structures dating back to 3400 B.C., although it appears that the basics of the structures began in the Ubaid period as far back as 5200 B.C. and were improved upon through the centuries. The buildings are noted for their arched doorways and flat roofs.

Elaborate construction, such as terra cotta ornamentation with bronze accents, complicated mosaics, imposing brick columns and sophisticated mural paintings all reveal the society’s technical sophistication (https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-middle-east/sumer)

Unless something changes, we are quite confident in our identification of the Ubaid people as the civilization that built the Tower of Babel and got itself divided.

According to the scholar Samuel Noah Kramer, “The first ruler of Sumer, whose deeds are recorded, if only in the briefest kind of statement, is a king by the name of Etana of Kish, who may have come to the throne quite early in the third millennium B.C. In the King List he is described as he who stabilized all the lands” (The Sumerians, 43). The Sumerian King List is a cuneiform document, written by a scribe of the city of Lagash, sometime around 2100 BCE which lists all of the kings of the region, and their accomplishments, in an attempt to show continuity of order in society dating back to the beginning of civilization (https://www.ancient.eu/sumer/)

We are not going to talk much about the Sumerian King’s list except to say that it provides evidence for the global flood. Also, how else would the author of that list know about pre-flood rulers if there was no connection to Noah and his family? There is no  reason to create a false list to justify a ruler’s reign. Once it was found to be false, the ruler’s validity would be undermined and his authority destroyed or seriously weakened.

it is the following that we will contend with

The Sumerian language is the oldest linguistic record. It first appeared in archaeological records around 3100 B.C. and dominated Mesopotamia for the next thousand years. It was mostly replaced by Akkadian around 2000 B.C. but held on as a written language in cuneiform for another 2,000 years. (https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-middle-east/sumer)

It may be the oldest linguistic record but we highly doubt that. Since we do not know what language the post flood one world civilization spoke, no one can truly claim that Sumerian is the oldest. The archaeologists’ inabililty to find inscriptions or written records from the Ubaid people doe snot mean that they did not write their language. Also, since we do not know what language they spoke, how would we recognize it if it was discovered?

With dating as flexible as it is, the language examples from the Ubaid nation could easily be attributed to another society. What we are sure of, is that the one world society or the Ubaids, spoke the same language as the pre-flood world. Noah and his family would have brought it with them when  they survived the ark. Since we cannot determine what language the pre-flood civilization spoke, we can never truly identify the true beginning language of the world.

Ge 11:7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
Ge 11:8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.

While scientists think that there is a  link holding all the languages in the world to some hierarchical structure, this passage seems to go against that idea. Yes, some languages do descend from other ones, but that cannot be said for all languages of the world.

Currently, about 7,000 languages are spoken around the world. They belong to different language families and their origins date back thousands of years ago. Researchers are still finding it difficult to determine which language is the oldest. However, the earliest written languages on record are the cuneiform script that was discovered in Mesopotamia that dates back to 8th millennium BC (https://www.daytranslations.com/blog/2018/01/what-are-the-worlds-oldest-languages-10620/)

and

Origins of language
The origins of human language will perhaps remain for ever obscure. By contrast the origin of individual languages has been the subject of very precise study over the past two centuries.

There are about 5000 languages spoken in the world today (a third of them in Africa), but scholars group them together into relatively few families – probably less than twenty. Languages are linked to each other by shared words or sounds or grammatical constructions. The theory is that the members of each linguistic group have descended from one language, a common ancestor. In many cases that original language is judged by the experts to have been spoken in surprisingly recent times – as little as a few thousand years ago. (http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ab13)

Scientists think that there is one mother language but we doubt that thinking. When we read the passage about God confusing the languages, it does not give us details of how exactly he did it. But from what evidence we have seen and God’s power, it is more likely that God made 20, more or less, new languages. We are not even sure if he kept the original pre-flood tongue. The Bible does not tell us.
We cannot be sure but it seems highly unlikely that he used a process such as the one described by scientists. The result was instantaneous and affected different numbers of different groups all with their own portion of the then population. In other words, the establishment of the many different languages was a product of God’s supernatural power, like he displayed at creation. He created the new tongues out of nothing.
He didn’t use a process at creation so why start now? We will conclude, that the people known as the Sumerians were the group that stayed behind and watched their once brethren depart to other lands. Notice that God did not take away their memories and the Sumerians were able to build, write, communicate and much more. They made fine achievements, even being credited with inventing the wheel, as were all the other nations.
We also forget which book Graham Hancock wrote it in, but in his searches, he claimed to have found a group of people that were afraid to build their homes on the flat plain. They built them in the hills and on the sides of mountains. He concluded that this particular group of people were afraid of a flood. If true, this would bring us a little more evidence for the global deluge.
It is also possible that this group thought a lot like the ancient Koreans, who saw how little farm land they had possession of and decided to build their homes on the hills and sides of mountains to preserve the farmland for crops.
As we study the Bible, these little insignificant passages provide us with a large amount of information. We should not be too quick to dismiss them or take the word of unbelieving scientists who ignore scriptures and the answers or clues it provides. As we read those early chapters of Genesis and the life of Abraham, we get the origins for a lot of nations. We know more than the scientists and ancients about the origins of these old nations.
Getting knowledge is something that Solomon encouraged in Proverbs. To be able to handle apologetics correctly, we need to know these historical details. They may save us a lot of embarrassment. Intelligence and knowledge are not wrong to have and help us preserve our faith as well as teach our children the facts that they need to know to preserve theirs.
 

A Diversity Strategy is Not Biblical

We are going to step out of our normal sources today and go to Yahoo news to talk about an issue that needs to be addressed. The full story is found at the following link:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/tucker-carlson-no-idea-diversity-050024844.html

Tucker Carlson Has No Idea How Diversity Strengthens America

We disagree with the title even though we have not seen Mr. Tucker’s program on the issue. Enough of his words were quoted and enough information was placed in the article to tell us that the author has no real idea about leadership, strength of society and much more. If you read the comment section beneath the article, you will see that many people agree with that assessment.

The opinionated host on Friday questioned how diversity strengthens the U.S. while also suggesting that diversity weakens the workplace, marriages and the military.

We do not agree with his inclusion of marriage in that list. Many international marriages work but if he was talking about the variety of ways marriage is conducted today, for example- same-sex, trios, common law and other varieties, then we can see his point. Diversity in the function of marriage erases right and wrong and allows evil to ruin society through designated family units.

Diversity does not strengthen marriage nor does it help society. You will notice that God agrees with that point. He limited marriage to be between a man and a woman only. Every other diverse option is sin, not allowed and considered evil. To have a strong society you cannot break the institutional rules that have upheld every society for millennia.

Carlson is apparently ignoring the many benefits of diversity: Studies show that diverse groups are more innovative and creative, diverse groups encourage people to think on a global level, and diversity makes America’s workforce and militaries more competitive.

First, when authors state the word ‘studies’ or use words like all scientists, all scholars, etc., generically it is a red flag. Questions should arise like- what studies in particular? Who conducted them? Are they credible, objective, fair? and many more similar questions. If you do not know, studies can be very biased and conducted to support a particular viewpoint or ideology.

Second, the author of that article is ignoring certain factors involved when diversified groups get together. As some of the commentators pointed out, those diverse groups that succeed usually have things in common. They are not using their nationalities to divide the group but act like adults and work together for a common cause.

It isn’t diversity that is bringing the success of those groups. it is the knowledge, character, integrity and behavior of those involved that bring success. You will notice that the author of that article does not mention those diverse groups that did not fail. It is a very one-sided and distorted argument.

Third, you will see in the Bible where God lists the criteria for different offices and positions. if you haven’t check them out. You will notice one word missing from the lists– diversity. That is because God has kept all positions open to all people of all nationalities.  He also leaves open a option for himself. He gets to select who obtains which position in his church.

In the selection of a replacement disciple for Judas, diversity was not on the list of requirements. A list was drawn up but God had the final say on who filled that empty slot. You will notice that God did not pick a gentile just because there were no gentiles in the group of disciples. He picked the most qualified man who fit the God-inspired requirements.

Studies are fallible and selective. They need to be taken with a grain of salt.

A 2017 analysis on diversity in the armed services noted that racial and gender diversity is “associated with better creative problem solving, innovation and improved decisionmaking.”

“Those who argue for diversity initiatives in the military argue that a more diverse force has the potential to be more efficient and flexible, able to meet a broader set of challenges,” the analysis says.

See our arguments above.One additional point, whether the supporters of diversity agree with it or not, this trend to be more diverse practices discrimination. It will leave out the top qualified candidate while trying to reach a very bad goal– diversity.  So what if there is an all white group or an all black one, if it is successful, you do not mess with what is working.

This is something computer programmers ignore every time they update a computer operating system or program. They screw with what works and make the system or program worse than it was before. The trend to erase lines or the scroll bars on the side of the screen just because they do not look good is annoying and frustrating. How can you see what you are doing and do it correctly when you can’t find what you need?

If it isn’t broken, you do not fix it. This is something a lot of people have not learned and we see evidence of that forgotton lesson in that article among others.

In the military, we sometimes add tactical necessity to the mix — the Marine Lioness program is an example,” Forsling wrote in 2015, referencing a program that used female Marines to collect intel from local Iraqi women.

This is just common sense and not a diversity triumph. Non-military people have known this for years and God has stated that the older widows and women teach the younger women. That quoted strategy is not new or groundbreaking. it is also a depends situation. Sometimes women do not trust other women and open up to certain types of men more easily.

The article goes into the usual modern journalistic bent by quoting a lot of tweets. How tweets became credible sources we will never know or accept. We stopped reading at that point as there was nothing of value gven in the rest of that article. How could there be? The article missed the point about how leadership and success work.

That author’s whole point was to get people to accept and obtain diversity for the sake of having diversity. That strategy is a failure strategy. When we turn to the Bible to see God’s example, not once did he say go for diversity. If the believer and the church live the Christian life right, diversity will come. That is because God’s offices are open to just about anyone. God does place limitations on who is to occupy authority positions which again tells us that diversity is not God’s goal or strategy.

His goal and strategy is about the quality of people who follow him. Do they obey his word in all areas of life? Do they seek to have the fruits of the spirit in their character and behavior? Do they seek wisdom, knowledge, understanding, patience, justice and mercy? Not the human definition  but God’s. Do they abide by the standards of right and wrong, good and evil and morality and immorality? Again these are God’s standards not subjectively constructed human ones.

Diversity does not bring God’s way with it. As you can see by the daily newscasts sin permeates human diversity and it needs to be redeemed by Christ. Trying to get diversity into the church by following secular ideas will not work. The people placed in charge must be selected by God, be qualified and live the life that Christ wants. The color of their skin does not matter. Their nationality does not matter. It is the spiritual quality of the person that matters.

We do not play spiritual games with this either. Selection has to be honest, biblical and with God’s direction. The church cannot afford to follow the world when it creates these seemingly safe strategies. They need to look beyond the surface to see the spiritual reality that lies underneath. If it isn’t of God, do not touch it or adopt it.

Diversity, in the secular version, brings false religions, bad attitudes, hatred, misplaced loyalty, and other sins to the group. They do not bring God’s truth or the right way to accomplish any objective. Bias has a way of influencing the decisions of diverse groups. The church must set the example of the right wy to lead and use groups or the secular world will remain lost and stumbling in the dark, blinded by sin.

 

Those Sexual Accusations

This post will be absent of links to articles about the many pastors who are or have been accused of sexual misconduct. If you do a yahoo search typing in the words similar to ‘youth pastor accused or molesting teens’, you will get a long list of articles reporting on a variety of pastors and the accusations that have ruined their ministry.

There is no real reason to link to them as you have all heard the news reports or been told by unbelievers they are in the news. Instead there will be a different perspective to this post. You can ask why we do not jump on the #metoo or #churchtoo movements or support the removal of powerful and not so powerful men from their positions of authority. The latest victim was Les Moonves at CBS.

One reason is that we see nothing of God in those movements, as we have said before, and another reason is that justice is taking a back seat to revenge, hatred, sexism against men and a lot more.  We see people out for blood not trying to bring those alleged offenders to repentance. That is saddening in and of itself. Another reason we have taken the stand that we have is because we know what it feels like to be accused of sexual crimes we did not commit.

The incident took place in our second year in Korea. We had been teaching with the same two people for two years and the one female teacher was leaving to take another job. Earlier, months earlier, the two of us and an argument in which not nice things were said. Her voluntary departure was her time to get revenge. Instead of going to the directors, she did an end run and began telling stories to her students about us. She then encouraged her students to have their parents phone in and complain.

The gist of these stories had us touching our students inappropriately and a few other nasty sexual accusations. Parents did call in. For some reason we were not told about her accusations till after she had left the institute. But word had gotten to us and we were not happy hearing about what she did. When one of the directors told us, our initial response had us telling the director to talk to our students. We believed our students would tell the truth and we had great confidence in our students as well.

Also, unknown to that female teacher, God led us to make a rule a year or so earlier, to not touch our students. We never did, even when our students placed their ands on our arms or shoulders, etc,. It was a rule we followed for about 14 years and served us well. In our minds there was no truth to the accusations because we knew we did not inappropriately touch the students.

We also had a couple of other luxuries going for us that the men of today do not have. First, the institute had cameras in every room. To see if her accusations had any validity, all the directors had to do was go to the tape. We were not approached, sent to a meeting, fired or disciplined so they must have checked the tapes and looked for real evidence. her word was not good enough.

Second, the accusations were done in almost real-time. There was about a month or so gap if that so the evidence was not lost, the students minds were not coached and so on. We didn’t have to wait decades to face these accusations based on the word of an angry woman. We can say that God protected us from having evil done to us.

We shudder to think what would happen to us if the directors took the position modern companies take and fired us based on her accusations alone. Our 14 year career and all the good, achievements and of course salary that came with it would never have happened. We do sympathize with the accused men, guilty or not because the justice we received is not granted to them.

Instead, these men are being given retribution, vengeance, lies, dishonesty and punishment without any real evidence presented. To us that is very wrong, even in the case of Mr. Bill Cosby. We have read about his case and feel that there is a more honest version that is not being told by his accusers. Yes we understand he had a drug, but that does not mean he administered it in a fashion that violated those women’s wills and allowed him to rape them.

We have looked at the accusers words, we have factored in their lack of spiritual belief, and the reputation that a majority of women have and have come to the conclusion that it is possible that those women did grant permission to be drugged and their sexual encounter was mutually agreed upon. We can’t prove it without a confession from at least one of those women and that is something we doubt is coming any time soon.

Being on the receiving end of false accusations is not fun but it has opened our eyes to be careful when other men or women are falsely accused. It has heightened our senses to be sensitive to the failure to implement God’s ways in any investigation or proceding that endangers a person’s career. It is unfair to ruin people based on the testimony of one person or a group of individuals all attesting to separate but similar events.  It is wrong to ignore the rules of evidence because someone’s ‘honor’ or reputation is at stake.

We have also come to the conclusion that believers need to gain a little courage and take a stronger stand when injustice is being committed. Even when the crimes supposedly committed are heinous and vile like pedophilia, rape, incest, murder and so on. If one of those alleged offenders do not get true justice then no one has justice.

Christians are the last defense for everyone when it comes to doing anything, including justice, correctly. we cannot afford to let the secular world get away with their brand of justice for far too many innocent people get hurt. God does not like it when innocent people get hurt. We doubt Christians are making a great impact for God or make him happy when they let innocent people get hurt.

As you can see, unborn babies are not the only innocent people in the world. Justice has to be done to all of them no matter their age. This includes going against what the victims. their families, and their supporters demand. Believe it or not, but the jails contain many inmates who are innocent, merely convicted by the lies told by their accusers. There are a few organizations out there struggling to free them.

The time is now for the church to grow a backbone and stand up properly for the innocent no matter their age. Time to put away the fear of losing members and stand with God to do justice and life right. The only way people see God is if the Church and its members act in the way God wants them to act. We are his witnesses and far too many believers have failed at that task. We need to rectify that and make the right changes so the innocent do not get ruined.

 

 
 
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