Saturday, May 28, 2011

Oprah gives glory to God!

Thank you, Oprah!

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the LORD
and put their trust in him.

Blessed is the one
who trusts in the LORD,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.[b]
Many, LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
Psalm 40:1-5 NIV

It was truly impressive to watch on TV how Oprah Winfrey, that little abused girl from Mississippi who became the richest and most influential woman in the world, gave in the final episode of her famed talk show all glory to God.

Oprah's all records breaking 25 years running show is about people. Her honest, natural, truthful and hard working way revolutionized American way and brought real people with real problems to tell about real life. Her style exemplifies the Biblical expression phos to alethinon and what it really means - the light of truth upon all people.

Oprah shared many wise teachings she has learned during those years and not less than 32.000 interviews about our lives and existence. The key expression Being validated is a wonderful and practical way of putting our deepest desire into a nutshell. In the deepest sense there is the need to be be validated by God.

However, the validation by God happens only in Jesus Christ. It would have been nice to hear the beloved name of the only Son of God in the finale. But the name Jesus was not mentioned as it apparently is not the habit in the public TV of the United States of America. The holy name of Jesus is rather exclusive and thus reserved to explicitly Christian TV programs.

It is quite extraordinary that such a TV star publicly God from all her heart and really most fitting way to give glory of her success where it really belongs!

Thank you Oprah!

Thank you Jesus Christ!


Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time.
For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
2 Thessalonians 2:5-12 NIV

they refused to love the truth and so be saved
2 Thessalonians 2:10 KJV

There is immediately something unhealthy and not fresh in the air when religious group or teacher does not love the truth.
However, loving the truth is one of the hardest things for us humans and it is much easier just to accept the truth as presented by the group and by those having authority, was that the Pope or the Patriarch or the Bible as interpreted by the group.
It is so hard that loving the truth is a gift from God. This is not so clearly visible in the NIV translation above. King James is closer to the Greek:
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

In my blogs I am dealing with some hard things, like the Truth trip that seems to minimize our Lord Jesus into an insignificant dot in the Cosmos, Geocentric Bible that crushes Chicago 1978 declaration on the inerrant Bible and other not so nice things. Never claiming that I have the truth but rather one who has been given the love to truth and who cannot stand any kind of false teachings about our God or about our world or about ourselves.

But the key to my personal understanding of the ultimate truth is p52.

Veritas forum in action
Veritas Forum
So it has been a most wonderful discovery to learn to know that I am not alone in thinking that p52 is the answer, not 42 as in The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

There are people who have been working on this much before me and are much more qualified and have created the impressive Veritas Forum with huge resources and always giving honor to Jesus Christ.

Veritas Forum info puts the message in p52 in a nutshell

Christ-Centered Vision
We seek to experience veritas not only as a journey, but also as a person. We offer our hardest questions to our presenters in exploration of the radical and ancient claim of truth in the person and story of Jesus Christ. (veritas forum)

And I say Amen!

Actually, we established our Finnish veritas forum before knowing about the big one over the seas.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dawkins probability

Personally I find it intriguing that without any scientific evidence whatsoever professor Richard Dawkins thinks himself able to deduce the mathematical probability of the existence of God. He should know better.

I do not know any branch of modern science that deals with such a question about the nature of Nature or provides critical methods, research tools and empirical data for formulating theories and hypotheses to solve such a question about existence.

The Book of the Books does not speak about probabilities but states that the wisdom of the hidden God of Israel is totally obvious in His works.

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Romans 1:18-20

We can see God in Jesus Christ.

But it is correctly written in the 2000 year oldBbook that not every man sees Jesus Christ as a God. For many men he is just another man. Not every man believes.

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.
John 14:8-11

St. Augustin wrote not about cold scientific probabilities but about warm love
Where can we find Him?…Not on earth, for He is not here. And not in heaven, for we are not there. But in our own hearts we can find Him. He ascended to heaven openly so that He could come back to us inwardly, and never leave us again.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Plato and the Truth

Plato (429/3 BC–348/7 BC)

His name, Plato Πλάτων, means broad. That may well describe his robust figure fit for a wrestler or his unusually wide forehead but it is an understatement about his thinking. A.N. Whitehead gave this famous evaluation about the depth of Plato's philosophy:

"The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato. I do not mean the systematic scheme of thought which scholars have doubtfully extracted from his writings. I allude to the wealth of general ideas scattered through them."
Alfred North Whitehead
Process and Reality: An Essay in Cosmology
ed. by David Ray Griffin and Donald W. Sherburne, Free Press. 1979, p. 39.

Anonymous writers have given an excellent summary of Plato's metaphysics found in his Dialogues and other books, I try not to best them but rather quote selected parts of the English wikipedia article on him with references for your convenience.

The truth?
Quote begins
"Platonism" is a term coined by scholars to refer to the intellectual consequences of denying, as Socrates often does, the reality of the material world. In several dialogues, most notably the Republic, Socrates inverts the common man's intuition about what is knowable and what is real. While most people take the objects of their senses to be real if anything is, Socrates is contemptuous of people who think that something has to be graspable in the hands to be real. In the Theaetetus, he says such people are "eu a-mousoi", an expression that means literally, "happily without the muses" (Theaetetus 156a). In other words, such people live without the divine inspiration that gives him, and people like him, access to higher insights about reality.

Socrates's idea that reality is unavailable to those who use their senses is what puts him at odds with the common man, and with common sense. Socrates says that he who sees with his eyes is blind, and this idea is most famously captured in his allegory of the cave, and more explicitly in his description of the divided line. The allegory of the cave (begins Republic 7.514a) is a paradoxical analogy wherein Socrates argues that the invisible world is the most intelligible ("noeton") and that the visible world ("(h)oraton") is the least knowable, and the most obscure.

According to Socrates, physical objects and physical events are "shadows" of their ideal or perfect forms, and exist only to the extent that they instantiate the perfect versions of themselves. Just as shadows are temporary, inconsequential epiphenomena produced by physical objects, physical objects are themselves fleeting phenomena caused by more substantial causes, the ideals of which they are mere instances. For example, Socrates thinks that perfect justice exists (although it is not clear where) and his own trial would be a cheap copy of it.
Quote ends

There is much to be said about this. And indeed, much has been said through the ages!

The truth?
Quote begins
The Theory of Forms (Greek: ιδέες) typically refers to the belief expressed by Socrates in some of Plato's dialogues, that the material world as it seems to us is not the real world, but only an image or copy of the real world. Socrates spoke of forms in formulating a solution to the problem of universals. The forms, according to Socrates, are roughly speaking archetypes or abstract representations of the many types of things, and properties we feel and see around us, that can only be perceived by reason (Greek: λογική); (that is, they are universals). In other words, Socrates sometimes seems to recognise two worlds: the apparent world, which constantly changes, and an unchanging and unseen world of forms, which may be a cause of what is apparent.
Quote ends

Distinguished reader of these quotes, do not be tricked by the simplicity of the description of the Theory of Forms. The subject is vast.

Knowledge and Belief
Quote begins
Many have interpreted Plato as stating that knowledge is justified true belief, an influential view that informed future developments in modern analytic epistemology. This interpretation is based on a reading of the Theaetetus wherein Plato argues that belief is to be distinguished from knowledge on account of justification. Many years later, Edmund Gettier famously demonstrated the problems of the justified true belief account of knowledge. This interpretation, however, imports modern analytic and empiricist categories onto Plato himself and is better read on its own terms than as Plato's view.
Quote ends

This subject gets also Theologians going where Philosophers have gone long ago...

The Truth?
Much has been written. But Plato purposedly left something unwritten.
Quote begins
His "unwritten doctrine" ἄγραφα δόγματα ... "stands for the most fundamental metaphysical teaching of Plato, which he disclosed only to his most trusted fellows and kept secret from the public ... The reason for not revealing it to everyone is partially discussed in Phaedrus (276 c) where Plato criticizes the written transmission of knowledge as faulty, favoring instead the spoken logos: "he who has knowledge of the just and the good and beautiful ... will not, when in earnest, write them in ink, sowing them through a pen with words, which cannot defend themselves by argument and cannot teach the truth effectually."
Quote ends

So what can we know about the innermost thinking of this great Philosopher who arguabely was also a great writer? There were no taperecorders or dictation machines at that time, as we all know. And if he wrote nothing, so we are out of luck?

Well, not quite. Plato once gave a lecture on the Good (Περὶ τἀγαθοῦ) and many of his close friends remember something about the occasion. Here is the description of the impact of this lecture given in the Academy of Athens by Aristoxenus

"Each came expecting to learn something about the things that are generally considered good for men, such as wealth, good health, physical strength, and altogether a kind of wonderful happiness. But when the mathematical demonstrations came, including numbers, geometrical figures and astronomy, and finally the statement Good is One seemed to them, I imagine, utterly unexpected and strange; hence some belittled the matter, while others rejected it."
Aristoxenus quoted in English wikipedia

What could all this be, the secret core of Plato's metaphysics?

Quote begins
In Metaphysics he writes: "Now since the Forms are the causes of everything else, he [i.e. Plato] supposed that their elements are the elements of all things. Accordingly the material principle is the Great and Small [i.e. the Dyad], and the essence is the One (τὸ ἕν), since the numbers are derived from the Great and Small by participation in the One" (987 b). "From this account it is clear that he only employed two causes: that of the essence, and the material cause; for the Forms are the cause of the essence in everything else, and the One is the cause of it in the Forms. He also tells us what the material substrate is of which the Forms are predicated in the case of sensible things, and the One in that of the Forms - that it is this the duality (the Dyad, ἡ δυάς), the Great and Small (τὸ μέγα καὶ τὸ μικρόν). Further, he assigned to these two elements respectively the causation of good and of evil" (988 a).
Quote ends

Not that I much understand about this greatest of the great deep thinking. Just an ardent student.

Plato and the truth
From theological point of view

1. The realization that neo-Platonist Plotinus is a genuine Platonist and does not falsify his philosophy. Plotinus, of course, had very deep impact on Saint Augustine and thus on the Latin Church and thus on the entire Western civilization.

2. In 526 Justinian I Emperor of Byzantine closed Plato's Academy in Athens (established 387 BC) considering it an enemy of Christianity. Today, many Academys have closed their doors to Christianity considering it an enemy of pursuing truth. Both views are wrong.

3. The Return of Plato: Aristotle ruled the academys of Medieval Europe while Plato was doing well in Byzantium and in the Muslim world. The emigration of Greeks from Constantinopole after Ottoman conquest 1453 brought Plato back to western Europe. The following combination of the two Greeks has been of fundamental importance to the entire world.

Amicus Plato, sed magis amica veritas
Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics 1096a15

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Resurrection of Christ and Leo Apostel

Leo Apostel (1925-1995)

Professor Leo Apostel (1925-1995) was a teacher of Logic and Philosophy both in the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Universiteit Gent. The main theme of his life work was tackling with the deep issues of modern exact sciences and humanities. Vrije University has a Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary Studies. (apostle is in Dutch apostel)

Is it possible to bridge the huge gap that has developed between the two? Humanity races towards the future with more and more scientific knowledge and technical abilities but seems to remain in a rather backward state in moral and ethical sense. Often the first application of scientific breakthroughs is made in military technologies and only later to make life better to the citizens of earth.

Rudolph Carnap (1891-1970)
thinking what Albert Einstein had said

Leo Apostel was strongly influenced by the German philosopher Rudolph Carnap (1891-1970) who had studied Physics in Berlin University 1917-18 where Albert Einstein was a newly appointed professor. Must have been some teacher! Carnap went to study Philosophy in Jena and wrote there his axiomatic theory of space and time.

Rudolph Carnap was a leading member of the Wienna Kreis that promoted logical positivism. In the sense of what can be known the school follows the rejection of metaphysics in line with what Auguste Comte (1798-1857) had called positivism: we have been given an EX reality that can be EXperienced and EXperimentally EXplored. The preferred way to analyze these experiences is logic. Wienna Kreis developed symbolic logic to make such an analysis mathematically accurate.

Leo Apostel adopted the idea of unified vision of science from the Wienna Kreis:

The final goal pursued by the Vienna Circle was unified science, that is the construction of a "constitutive system" in which every legitimate statement is reduced to the concepts of lower level which refer directly to the given experience. "The endeavour is to link and harmonise the achievements of individual investigators in their various fields of science" (VC p. 328). From this aim follows the search for clarity, neatness, and for a symbolic language that eliminates the problems arising from the ambiguity of natural language. The Vienna Circle published a collection, called Einheitswissenschaft (Unified science), edit by Rudolf Carnap, Philipp Frank, Hans Hahn, Otto Neurath, Joergen Joergensen (after Hahn's death) and Charles W. Morris (from 1938), whose aim was to present an unified vision of science (quote).

Carl Hempel (1905-1997)
a leading logical empiricist

Also Carl Gustav "Peter" Hempel (1905 - 1997) was influential in Apostel's personal development as a philosopher. Hempel also belongs to the school of Logical Positivism as an EM person - hEMpel EMphasized EMpiricism. What you can see, touch, play with, experiment with is what is given and this given world is best analyzed logically using mathematical and logico-linguistic constructs.

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)
was not a laughing philosopher

The genius of Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (1889-1951) can be seen in the background of the rise of logical positivism and empirism.

These gentlemen are all interested in the ultimate validity of scientific language, mathematical accuracy of iron logic and view of the world that is based on facts and facts only. They did not find many of the huge questions of religion and philosophy amusing, nothing but blappering and confusion of words and obscure metaphysics and lack of rationality - a hazy world that has no place in modern scientific and technological word.

Does this sound familiar to you?

These fellows are definitely not alone.

Jean Piaget (1896-1980)
Influential researcher of cognitive development of children

However, Leo Apostel is in an important sense different from these philosophers. Not only was he well versed in general theory of relativity and modern mathematics and logics but he only had a human side to his character - he had studied under the famous Jean Piaget (1896-1980) at the Centre International d'Epistémologie Génétique in Geneva, Switzerland. Piaget was deeply interested in the psychological and social development of children and succesfully combined his theory of cognitive development and epistemology with practical education. Truly a man of high education.

So those were some of the main ingredients (missing one - see below) in Apostel's background and his interest in interdisciplinary study. He tried to accomplish the unified vision of the world dreamed by Vienna Cycle and to gap the bridge that has developed between exact science and humanities. In short, he wanted to let Ludwig Wittgenstein and Jean Piaget communicate in the same lecture hall.

In trying this Leo Apostel did something very daring. Instead of going the standard way of logical positivism, denying the validity of metaphysical (which is a metaphysical claim in itself!), he wanted to respect the need of religion so characteristic to the human race. He accepted that this side of human personality is important and wanted to define atheistic spirituality, a religion without supernatural.

This is the crowning achievement of Apostel. He uses religion as the great unifier that brings together both science and humanism.

First in his book Atheïstische spiritualiteit (1998) and then in Oorsprong (2000) published posthumously he gives scientific metaphysics and describes the origin of the world, the beginning of life and the origin of man. Everything is argued on the basis of modern science as reasonably and truthfully as possible. Without God.

Leo Apostel wrote these books that all develop the same basic theme of unity
  • Matière et Forme
  • Communication et Action,
  • Logique et Dialectique,
  • The Problem of African Philosophy,
  • Afbraak en Opbouw,
  • De Gebroken Orde,
  • Waarde en Zin van de Cultuurwetenschappen in de 20e eeuw.
  • Freemasonry: A Philosophical Essay
  • Atheïstische spiritualiteit
  • Oorsprong

Altar dedicated to the Unknown God
Palatine Hill, Rome. circa 100 B.C.

We can presume that Leo Apostel would find Apostle Paul a great babbler together with the other philosophers that gathered to listen to him in Athens two thousand years ago:

And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed.

Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.

Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.

Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.

Acts 18:15-18 KJVA

And indeed, the message that Apostle Paul was proclaiming to the wisdom searching Greeks was absolutely ridiculous, nonsense and utterly against all that was known and accepted by rational men, friends of Sophia, i.e. philosophers.

Paul was seriously talking about a Jewish guy from distant Jerusalem who had been crucified by the Roman authorities as a rebel like a common criminal and buried in a rock-cut tomb. And he dared to tell them that not only this man lives but that all children of Adam and Eve will one day be resurrected from the dead and face judgment for what they have done and not done.

How on earth could a dead man wake up? What is this funny looking tent maker and preacher with very worn sandals trying to market here in Areiopag, where all kind of new things were of great intellectual interest and curiosity?

Yes. A babbler he was in the eyes of world famous thinkers, the Greek philosophers.

Leo Apostel, a professor from Belgium, has mapped atheistic religion that does not need any faith in God. In fact, it denies the existence of God.

This natural philosophy is not just different from the message of Apostle Paul. It is in total conflict with it because what Paul is preaching is not that the man from Galilee revived, became alive again after dying and joining the family and friends like Lazarus in the Gospel of John had done.

Paul is saying that this man of Galilee came out from the tomb into a new life that is the future God of Israel, the Creator of the Universe and the Father of Jesus Christ is preparing for the humanity.

Apostle is talking about a totally new reality of God that is beyond the grave and beyond the apocalyptic end of this world of ours, a new creation.

There are no logical, mathematical, experimental, empirical, deductive, inductive techniques to reach to the reality that Apostle Paul was preaching to the doubting thinkers in Athens.

Leo Apostel is trying to help humanity to grasp things better and to see everything from the point of human gods on the throne of our religious being.

This attempt is completely bankrupt as it ignores the most important reality, the One That Is.


And what was the missing ingredient in the list above that constitutes to Leo Apostel's important work in our modern society.

He was a Freemason.

For with all our rationality we still seem to miss even just an itsy bitsy tiny piece of mysticism to the harsh realities of this world, ritual, worship and awe of the Eternal.

And please, do not try to tell me that being a Freemason is not significant for our understanding of the central thinking of Leo Apostel or that this is not meaningful to our life in the exciting times of president Barack Obama

To seal our interest on the subject here is the Seal of the United States of America. I guess we all have seen that pyramid with an eye somewhere... now, where was it??

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The other way round!

Aircraft carrier made of Lego bricks

God and a scientist were talking and God was complaining to him saying "This is really not fair".
"How come?" asked the highly intelligent scientist.
To explain His point, God asked the scientist "Have you seen the aircraft carrier made from Lego bricks?"
"Yes, quite a feet of human patience!" answered the scientist happily.
"Is it not true that he had detailed description of a real ship when he made the model?" God asked.
"Yes, it is true. This is a model of USS Intrepid and Brit Ed Diment used 250000 bricks to build it." said the scientist.
"What you are doing" God continued "is to figure out how I have made the universe and the living world. Once you learn something new about it, your first shout is Eureka, there is no need for God!"
The scientist nodded that this is true. After so many new scientific discoveries about cosmos and nature men and women come with the happy news, we have figured it out! There is no need for any supernatural wisdom to do this.
God complained "this is really not fair!"
The scientist asked "What are you going to do about it?"
"Let us do it the other way round" God said.
"Take this string and create the Universe from it"
The scientist looked a bit puzzled "what Universe, the one you have made?"
"No", God answered, "make from this string the kind of Universe you want."
The scientist looked at the string and said "This is rather small."
God sat down on a chair, took His cup of tea, the Time and said "It took me less than a second, now it is your turn".

Friday, May 13, 2011

God of Israel and the Battle of Britons

Christian Queen Elizabeth II

We have a battle about religion and truth between three Britons, each highly learned and in respected academic positions at Oxford and thus in all England.

God save the Queen!

The Attack - God Delusion

Richard Dawkins, FRS,
Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science,
University of Oxford

Richard Dawkins (1941), the father of the intriguing theory of memes, is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist, author, and an emeritus fellow of New College, Oxford. He was the University of Oxford's Professor for Public Understanding of Science from 1995 until 2008.

He is also known as one of the Four Horsemen of Atheism along with D.C. Dennett, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris.

The Counterattack - Dawkins Delusion

Professor Alister McGrath

Dawkins's best-seller The God Delusion (2006) was analyzed from a Christian perspective by Professor Alister McGrath and his wife Joanna Collicutt McGrath in a book titled The Dawkins Delusion? Atheist fundamentalism and the denial of the divine (2007).

Rev'd Dr Joanna Collicutt McGrath is deacon at Oxford and a lecturer in the psychology of religion at Heythrop College, University of London and is a student of the Bible with great interest in neuropscyhology. Alistair McGrath was Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Oxford, and has since 2008 the chair of Theology, Religion and Culture at King's College London.

Repel the counterattack!
Professor Dawkins's answer to Professor McGarth and his wife book in a letter to the Times "My critics are wrong to call me dogmatic" (here). Here is a part of that letter:

"... I never tire of emphasising how much we don’t know. The God Delusion ends in just such a theme. Where do the laws of physics come from? How did the universe begin? Scientists are working on these deep problems, honestly and patiently. Eventually they may be solved. Or they may be insoluble. We don’t know.

But whereas I and other scientists are humble enough to say we don’t know, what of theologians like McGrath? He knows. He's signed up to the Nicene Creed. The universe was created by a very particular supernatural intelligence who is actually three in one. Not four, not two, but three. Christian doctrine is remarkably specific: not only with cut-and-dried answers to the deep problems of the universe and life, but about the divinity of Jesus, about sin and redemption, heaven and hell, prayer and absolute morality. And yet McGrath has the almighty gall to accuse me of a 'glossy', 'quick fix', naive faith that science has all the answers.

Other theologies contradict his Christian creed while matching it for brash over-confidence, based on zero evidence. McGrath presumably rejects the polytheism of the Hindus, Olympians and Vikings. He does not subscribe to voodoo, or to any of thousands of mutually contradictory tribal beliefs. Is McGrath an “ideological fanatic” because he doesn’t believe in Thor’s hammer? Of course not. Why, then, does he suggest I am exactly that because I see no reason to believe in the particular God whose existence he, lacking both evidence and humility, positively asserts?"
Excerpt from Richard Dawkins letter in the Times

Humble message from the trenches

1, Dawkins cares

Highly learned and intellectual Richard Dawkins and many other atheists like him know much more about religions in general and about Christianity in particular than average Christians know about their own religion. He cares and is much more interested in intellectual honesty and truth about God than an average baptized citizen in any country with majority Christian population.

Many Christians live quite happy with their faith in God although they disagree with Dawkins and think that there probably is God. The order and purpose of nature seems to them such that the idea of a God makes sense. But this faith in God causes neither much anxiety nor much happiness simply because these jolly good fellows do not really care about the probably existing God. He is there in Sundays and in celebrations, royal weddings and so but is not present in everyday life so that a Christian would be too worried about matters of religion in our modern days of science and theology. Let Him be and may each man and woman live happy everafter with his religion or lack of it.

2. Three-pronged attack
In his counterattack to McGraths Dawkins fires his big weapons, killer arguments so to say, at three targets

- Credibility of religion and his call for scientific or any other kind of logical proof.
- Veracity of Nicene Creed, the fundamental statement of faith accepted by all Christians in the world (and there are many).
- Validity of one belief system over another

3. God of Israel

IMHO Professor Richard Dawkins goes deep in his counterattack but not deep enough. For example, scientific cosmology reaches as far as it can in time-space continuum, so why not our respected unbeliever? He honestly confesses that he is an agnostic in most essential questions about our existence. But in matters of religion he is not an agnostic - he knows without any proof that there are no gods!

Nicene Creed is deep in Christianity. But this is not the point of origins of this belief system. Christianity is a religion that has its roots in Judaism. (I would not use here the word evolution of religion because it is not such a simpleexpression and many Jews would rather call Christinity and Islam corruptions of religion).

Even when we talk about Judeo-Christian culture and religious heritage, the belief in One God is originally and genuinely introduced to humanity through the Jewish people, their God, God of Israel.

Jews, Christians and Muslims believe that the God of Israel is the only real God - all other gods are not real gods at all but variously seen as nonexistent or evil spirits and something to be fought against as we know (often sadly).

4. What is in the name?
el is the name of the Canaanite King of gods known from Ugaritic texts dating to the second millennium before Christ. The word is used as the name of God in Hebrew elohim אֱלהִים and in Arabic Allah لله‎ .

The name of the spouse of the Canaanite god, elat, survives for example in the name Eilat and in the name of the pre-islamic female goddess allat.

"The English word God continues the Old English God (guþ, gudis in Gothic, gud in modern Scandinavian, God in Dutch, and Gott in modern German), which is thought to derive from Proto-Germanic *ǥuđán."

Depending on which possibility is preferred, the pre-Christian meaning of the Germanic term may either have been (in the "pouring" case) "libation" or "that which is libated upon, idol" — or, as Watkins[1] opines in the light of Greek χυτη γαια "poured earth" meaning "tumulus", "the Germanic form may have referred in the first instance to the spirit immanent in a burial mound" — or (in the "invoke" case) "invocation, prayer" (compare the meanings of Sanskrit brahman) or "that which is invoked".

Wōdanaz or Wōđinaz is the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name of a god of Germanic paganism, known as Odin in Norse mythology, Wōden in Old English, Wodan or Wotan in Old High German and Godan in the Lombardic language. Godan was shortened to God over time and was adopted/retained by the Germanic peoples of the British isles as the name of their deity, in lieu of the Latin word Deus used by the Latin speaking Christian church, after conversion to Christianity."


Importantly, the name of god demonstrates significant continuity and overlapping in the history of human religions. After all, we humans are children of Adam and Eve whether we like it or not! (And yes, I am well aware of the truths found out about our biological evolution and that the key person in the search of fossil evidence Luis Leakey (1903-1972) was himself a personal Christian.)

5. According to Scriptures
There are many fronts in this distinguished Battle of Britons that continues and is carried on by many.

But the crux of the matter is the God of Israel known to us only from the Jewish Scriptures (as we know, both Tanakh and New Testament are written by Jews).

Those wanting to crush faith in God of Israel must take on the Scriptures and show that they are not telling the truth.

Easy peasy?

Surprisingly many think so before actually joining the Blitz Krieg on London. The aim of those bus messages is not to crush the brave spirit of the jolly Britons but utterly destroying Ye Olde English soul with modern scientifically argued false claims of unbelief. The aim is to imprison this magnificent people into the cramped and pitifully limited scientificially proven world understood by Dawkins, the people with such a royal role in the history of this world created by God of Israel.

I say, it will not happen and the true Britons will vomit these illuminated ones from their midst.

Says not Simon but Paul
We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:

“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—

these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.

1 Corinthians 2:6-10

Academy Award winning performance by Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth I

God save the Queen!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

No Country for Old Men

Cormac McCarthy writes powerful novels about real life and people. The Coen brothers 2007 movie adaptation of his "No Country for Old Men" (2005) has a rare feeling of what life is and raises so many thoughts about humanity in the minds of viewers. Careful choice of the cast made the movie unforgettable and it certainly deserves those four Academy Awards. For example, laconic Tommy Lee Jones as sheriff Ed Tom Belltruly is at home in that desolate town near the US Mexico border. There are few movie villains as surprising and complex as Javier Bardem in the role of Anton Chigurh.

For a theologian there are powerful themes of fate and circumstance, men deciding matters of life and death for others, perhaps by the toss of a coin, the disgusting lure of material riches and the totally merciless world of drug lords playing on the background of truly desolate landscape of Western Texas.

This godless world is not perhaps the world of a thinking atheists convinced about the superiority of scientific truth over anything based on faith on supreme beings.
In some way the movie is like a documentary of National Geographic describing with those amazing camera angles life in some distant part of our planet where animals are living as they are far from humans. Tragedies, happy endings, family life, cruel attacks, sunshine and rain, life goes on and there is no particular meaning or significance to it.

The desert jungle of "No Country for Old Men" describes truthfully people who are rather godless in the sense that they do not care too much about Ten Commandments, Thou shall not steal, Thou shall not kill (murder). Instead of loving God they obviously worship Mammon as real people do. Police and law enforcement has minimal role in the movie and is not the cliche ending of blinking lights and sirens telling us that that tension is over and the bad guys are dead.

The book and movie describe life as it is and there is that National Geographic feeling of natural life rolling on, rain and sunshine, summer and winter, people being born, people being shot to pieces, people bleeding to death, people driving cars, people being murdered after returning from the funeral of their murdered dear ones because someone has decided so. In the best Hitchcock style.

No, this is not an atheist movie trying to show that there is no need for any gods. The people in the story may be good Christians in the American way but it does not matter.

This movie tells about the thing Bible calls "the secret power of lawlessness"

"For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way."
2 Thess 2:7

Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh

Perhaps because of the unusually powerful acting by Bardem, perhaps because this intrigued also the directors of the movie, there is the impression that the true hero of this story is the sociopath, the totally lawless Anton.

There is secret power in his lawlessness that attracts our attention, because like him, we also like to be gods deciding ourselves matters of life and death.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Prayer and Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens

Concerning Monday 20th of September 2010 that was "Everybody Pray for [Christopher] Hitchens Day," an arbitrarily assigned, nondenominational day of reflection for the religious, irreligious and religiously indifferent, Tony Norman wrote "No need to say a prayer for Hitchens" (here).

Too ill to join the meeting of American Atheists in person Hitchens wrote an address. He refers in it to prayer eloquently but with rather unflattering words:

"Perhaps above all, we affirm life over the cults of death and human sacrifice and are afraid, not of inevitable death, but rather of a human life that is cramped and distorted by the pathetic need to offer mindless adulation, or the dismal belief that the laws of nature respond to wailings and incantations. "
Christopher Hitchens

What can we say to this?

One of the most beautiful songs ever written for human voice asks St Mary, Mother of God, blessed be she and the fruit of her womb Jesus, to pray for us sinners now and at the moment of our death.

Avē Marīa, grātiā plēna, Dominus tēcum. Benedicta tū in mulieribus, et benedictus frūctus ventris tuī, Iēsus.
Sāncta Marīa, Māter Deī, ōrā prō nōbīs peccātōribus, nunc et in hōrā mortis nostrae. Āmēn.

Justly celebrated Austrian composer Franz Schubert (1797-1828) wrote the hauntingly beautiful and unforgettable melody originally for Walter Scott's play The Lady of the Lake as Ellens dritter Gesang (D. 839). The song has since become world famous with the words of Ave Maria and is frequently performed by the greatest singers of our times such as, for example, Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007). This performance has been viewed almost four million times in youTube.

As if this melody would not be enough, our Lord has given the world another unforgettable version, created by the French composer Charles Gounod who created the melody over Johann Sebastian Bach's amazing C major Prelude (BWV 846) and fitted Ave Maria on it in 1859. Here it is performed by soprano Cecilia Bartoli.

Some prayer, I say...

BTW, J.S. Bach has composed quite a few prayers himself, too.

So Christopher Hitchens's rather bleak opinion about these wailings and incantations sets him pretty far in the dark and cold from these masterpieces of Western music, sincere prayer at the moment of death.

He has the beautiful name of one who carries Christ, Greek Χριστοφορος. But what does approaching Death squeeze from him? Hitchens has left us as part of his legacy a bitter and truly ugly statement mocking those who pray. It will be soon forgotten by most, the sad words of an unbeliever who mistakenly thinks he has figured out what religion is all about and then forcibly rejects the caricature he himself has created as a man of science and rational thinking.

What did approaching Death squeeze from too young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?

A deep and sincere prayer.

Such a prayer that it will probably never be forgotten by the human race. It is magnificent beyond description, solemn, heart breaking and reaches towards the only God, the God of Israel, the God of Scriptures.

It ends with words of prayer to God. Those present at the funeral ask that eternal light would shine on him and that Lord would give him eternal piece, requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine.
Lux æterna luceat eis, Domine,
cum sanctis tuis in æternum,
quia pius es.
Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine;
et lux perpetua luceat eis ;
cum Sanctis tuis in æternum,
quia pius es.

Well, if you who read this are about to die and do not know how to pray use the prayer which Jesus Christ taught to His disciples. It says it all.

Our Father, Who art in heaven
Hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Harming Portal and the Four Horses of Atheism

(Before reading the allegory take a look at the original discussion here.
About the Four Horsemen of Atheism click here)

The Castle was built for those who want to overcome the evil wizard Lord Vladimir, whose aim is to conquer the wizarding world and subjugate non-magical people, and who threatens with utter and final destruction all those who stand in His way.

When I entered the castle I paid attention to the carved image above the main gate. Although cut form stone it magically changed depicting different embryos of vertebrates in pharyngeal state but so that while the image altered between different species it always made visible the notochord, dorsal hollow nerve cord, post-anal tail and a series of paired branchial grooves that almost looked like gills.

The witches and their students staying in the castle were weary of Muggle people in general. They were especially tired of visitors smelling of Lord Vladimir and these were given at the entrance a strange top hat and a green coat. In the hat there was in clear and big yellow letters written "Village Idiot" and in the coat "Moron" so that also younger wizards staying in the castle would know how to properly use the thousand times repeated and tested spells against possible agents of Lord Vladimir.

Even the supervisors did not notice the white dove that was some times sitting on my shoulder and some times flying ahead of me showing the way. It seems they had such scientifically polished goggles on their eyes that they were totally incapable of noticing the dove. This gave me a certain advantage since this bird is very special.

Democritus The Laughing Philosopher

The castle was quite large and I only visited a small section of it. There was a well-kept and pleasant garden decorated with classical statues of people who were highly respected by the wizards. I guessed that other gardens might have statues of other people who have contributed to the wizard's world.

Under the marble head of smiling Democritus was written
Beside this stood a bronze statue of Epicurus with a bunch of grapes on his shoulder and a pretty slave girl sitting and holding his sandal. The text written on the base read

The wizards had given special place of honor to the head of Platon with his high forehead and his teacher, long bearded Socrates. In the base of the sculpted head I noticed the word αθεϊστής. written in beautiful golden letters.


A fenced area was open for public. Pack of ferocious wild dogs was there to amuse onlookers waiting that something was fed to them. I chose from my bag items and threw them down and immediately and with great rejoicing the dogs broke them apart waiting for more fun. The more the things I threw in there smelled like Lord Vladimir the happier the ferocious and self-confident beasts were giving cause to much laughter and sneering by the onlookers. This seemed to be a favorite pastime in the castle.


Because many of the wizards and witches suffered from a christophobia and because I had the funny strange top hat and the coat they detected me easily and some avoided me and others tried their trusty spells on me just for fun (and maybe some extra immunity protection). One noble wizard looked at me amused from some distance, lifted his magic wand and said "Boo! So your killer argument consists of a rhetorical trick followed by a conflation of probability with set outcomes and distributions with blind anything-goes luck." Very impressive spell! Another wizard amused himself and the crowd with slightly less sophisticated spell "iftah jasimsim! BTW, moron, no-one says that we are purely the product of chance - it's just that you are too stupid to grasp how natural selection works. Oh, and BTW again, the possessive of "Dawkins" is "Dawkins'" or "Dawkins's", not "Dawkin's".

At such wizardry of words I blushed in my ignorance of facts and was also quite ashamed by my lack of spell-ing skills, especially the lèse majesté in miss-spelling the possessive of the name of one of the Four Horses of Atheism. Absolutely unforgivable!

The wizards and their student witches staying in the castle were very skilled in the popular game of quidditch. For a while I followed two teams that had been formed for this particular game, not purely by chance, after a new winged golden snitch had been brought to the castle from the City of Science. Riding the latest models of their broomsticks the players reached frightening heights of pure knowledge and informed understanding of the biological processes in time we call evolution. No simple man like me can ride those broomsticks! The audience did not tire reminding me of the fact. (About the Evotution of Quidditch click here)

At one moment the snitch flew near me and stopped for a moment, maybe it recognized the white dove on my shoulder, and I imagined I saw something on it. When I later said that I saw the word h-e-g-e-l on it one of the witches took some time to tell me that I was all wrong, no such garbage words had scratched the pure golden snitch. We had no time to finish the argument when I already had to go. Fast game it was and showed real wizardry in arguing about the significance and lack of significance of the latest of the latest in human science. In this castle quiddith of evolution is trusted only to the illuminated ones.


Sacrifice of Isaac - detail
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1601-02)

Many things I saw during my short visit to this Castle of the Four Horses of Atheism. When I tried to say that Abraham is venerated by two billion as Father of Faith, Friend of God, el-Khalil, I was taken to see the horrific painting by Caravaggio where a bloodthirsty god demanded human blood from this rude and most primitive person.

The dove whispered to my ear and indeed, when I looked on the left I noticed a wizard looking in disgust at this crude display of religion which such a bad influence on humans. Beside him was standing a sad looking beautiful young woman. I realized that this was his girl friend and he had encouraged her to sacrifice the fetus in her womb in the name of Freedom on Her Own Body.
The real reason for the horrific murder of a child in her womb was that he would not have to pay alimony for this girl with whom he had had such a drunken fun night some months ago. Bible takes extremely the sacrifice of humans – which after all never took place at the end of the narrative – while this young wizard experienced the extreme lightness of living in the company of his friend whose womb had been turned into Altar of Molok of Pleasure and Convenience. I was well aware that many in the crowd did not agree with the lighthearted attitude of this wizard who was so abhorred by the Sacrifice of Isaac (that did not take place).

But there was no time for such rumblings and I had to continue my explorations.


I had a chance to look at the rooms of one of the Four Horses of Atheism. It was there with a letter, a handsome creature indeed, but sadly it seemed to be seriously ill. The roof was supported by Stoic columns. I noticed there in the far corner also a marble statue of a man carrying a child. Did they know that this is related to Lord Vladimir?


Oh how many interesting and touching things I noticed in the castle! There were embryos of discussions, scientific theme parks and marvelous duels on theories and logic and everything although the pan-dimensional 42 was not in the program.

Just before leaving the castle the white dove took me to an old door that nobody had opened in ages. It was dusty, made of thick oak and rather low as some castle doors can be. Since it was not locked I pushed the door open and entered into the small dimly lit and apparently forgotten room. I was deeply saddened, truly, and left the room very quickly in deep thoughts.

What I had seen in the dim light was a bronze tablet attached to the wall with text that explained some of the bitterness and lack of joy I noticed in the castle.

What made me even sadder was the sentence written under it in one of the languages known by the greatly despised feared and even ridiculed Lord Vladimir.

Ecen crutzezco hitza, galtzen diradeney behinçát
erhogoa çaye: baina guri saluatzen garenoy
Iainçoaren verthute da

I dedicate this memoir to Professor PZ Myers at the University of Minnesota, Morris, who kindly allowed me to visit one section of his castle between 29 April and 4 May 2011 and when the laughter and melee grew up showed me not so kindly out - as is, of course, his right.

Christopher Hitchens

Well, that was an interesting visit to a different kind of WEB forum.

As is his right, Professor P Z Myers closed his blog page at 1000 messages writing

"Sorry, this thread is way too long, and I'm cutting you off.
MikkoL is yet another in a long line of idiots who spur excessive thread growth."

That pretty much summarizes the level of discussion there when crazy morons like me try to argue with the illuminated ones!

Christopher Hitchens address

Considering one final time Mr Hitchens' address to American Atheists. Regardless of whether we side with God Delusion or with Dawkins Delusion we may agree that there are only few fundamentally different alternatives to 1. any kind of religious belief system or 2. optimistic expectation that one day in the future science will provide humanity also with an answer to that Ultimate Question of the Meaning of Life and Everything.

1. כך בחיים - kacha bechayim - Because!
Thats life, things just are because they are. All we should do is just to accept existence as it is because that's the way it is. We should not even ask questions that our human language cannot express in meaningful ways. However, "it is because it is" may remind some about the meaningful meaning of the name of the Hebrew God "I Am Who I Am", in short "I Am".

2. במקרה‎ - bemiqreh - by chance. Biologist Daniel C. Dennett presents this view about us humans as nothing but lucky mutations of chromosomes . According to him we can scientifically study those processes that evolved in time.

Honoring Miss Fortune with such an enormous role in the shaping our existence is obviously not a new idea. Two other brilliant human beings, Leucippus and Democritus ("chosen of the people" rather than "people chosen by God") shared the view that everything is caused by chance. Without any tools of observation they figured out by thinking what seemed to them to be the true nature of everything. As first true materialists they assumed that only matter exists. It is made of very small indivisible things (atomos) that move randomly in emptiness sometimes colliding together into lumps that give matter its observable attributes, hardness, color and so on.

What a celebrated achievement of human brain! However, they were fundamentally wrong in assuming chaotic inner structure of matter. Humanity has learned to study atoms. Periodic Table of Matter gives a hint that there probably is preciously little chaotic in the atomic strucutre of matter. Electronic energy levels must be within allowed limits and can be exactly calculated.

New forms of Mathematics had to be developed to handle the divided indivisible with all the strange tops and bottoms and colorful combinations of quarks that came to our attention. There are rumors that even the God particle, Higgs boson, has been found, believe it or not.

Order, not chaos, rules in modern Biology as it does in Nuclear Physics.

D.C. Dennett, a human being like me, is convinced that he can scientifically demonstrate that DNA is nothing but a lucky product of random mutations evolving in some rather accurately defined environment. I do not believe him.

God of Israel says "I have made everything". This everything includes also the extraordinary complexities surrounding deoxyribonucleic acid. I believe what He says. I do so even I understand very little about DNA evolution in comparison to Professor Dennett.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Christopher Hitchens

Hitchen's letter addresses the problem of American Christian creationists attempts to influence school curriculum. In my opinion religious and philosophical interpretations of scientific theories should be discussed in other classes, not while studying biology. Sarah Palin is a worrying example of the ignorance of USA people using religion for political gain.

The letter seems to adopt positions close to August Comte, who defined what has been positively given to mankind and rejected metaphysics. However, other philosophers have long ago pointed out that Comte's own position is metaphysical. Ludwig Wittgenstein extended this to separate blabbering about things unspeakable from accurate verifiable language. But what made him an authority of reality and limit so drastically what humans are able to think and speak about. Logical positivism is important but also a trap, a prison of mind, that not make Wittgenstein a happy philosopher a la Democritos.

Evolution is the big thing in modern worldview, but it is human concept largely based on the brilliant and difficult to understand work of Hegel (this is a big subject). When human egg becomes pregnant, we do not call the deterministic (teleological) growth and development of the embryo "evolution". But when planet Earth becomes impregnated by life, perhaps by the interstellar sperm in Sir Fred Hoyle's theory of the origins of life, and reaches the peak of biodiversity in Mesozoic era, we do call it "evolution" and try to understand it by observing both living and paleontological evidence like Charles Darwin did in Patagonia and Galapagos Islands.

Interestingly, the name of his brilliant and revolutionary scientific publication "The Origins of Species" remains - after 150 years of intensive research - an elusive goal. We really do not yet know why chimpanzee brains kept that block which was removed from our ancestors head leading to enormous and fast evolution, growth, development, of human brains.

As for religion and science, a value pair that Mr Hitchens seems to abhor - Big Bang theory was originally developed and discussed with Albert Einstein and others by a Catholic priest, Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître, who did not improperly mix science and religion when applying general theory of relativity to cosmology.

American Atheists and creationsim

salad dressing: American Christian Creationism is an awful distortion of the world we are living in. It is based on bad hermeneutics that distort the very Bible these devote rationalists wish to defend.

Creationists and ID people do not take the Bible seriously as it is - an ancient book written by people who had genuine geocentric worldview and very little actual physical knowledge about Earth and even less about Cosmos. The means of observation were simply not yet there.

In the background of Creationism is American Christian Fundamentalism which has evolved into an awful distortion of the Bible as expressed in the unfortunate Chicago 1978 Statement on Biblical Inerrancy by some 300 evangelical leaders led by the Protestant theologian Robert Preuss.

Such "Creationism" has been and reamains a favorite and easy target of factual criticism in this forum and also has greatly amused and inspired greater prophets like Richard Dawkins.

"Creationism" makes God of Israel a minter of false currency.


Posted by: Josh, Official SpokesGay Author Profile Page | May 1, 2011 2:34 AM


You're nuts.