Friday, October 30, 2015

The Patten-Windsor trap

According to the Scriptures, God Himself expects Christians to be truthful. According to Second Thessalonian 2 He allows false prophets and messages to lead to destruction those who do not accept the gift of loving truth. Do not get Paul wrong, Christians do not possess the truth. But they are supposed to love truth and reject falsehoods as a love affair where truth is very challenging and often difficult to discern.

What I call the Patten-Windsor trap is a typical example of how Christian believers are led astray from the path of righteousness thinking that they are being taught the truth by those whom they trust. It is truly sad to see, how many of God's children have fallen to this dreadful trap being lured by the deceptively simple claim "It is true because the Bible says so".

Patten-Windsor trap has very clear signs that should warn Christian believers that they are listening to suspicious teaching

1. Force: in the background the thick walled concrete bunker: if you do not believe like this you cannot be saved. Accept this teaching or perish as a doubter of the Holy Bible.

2. Alternative reality: as in the case of Jehova's Witness, teaching the original principle of defending the truth of the Scriptures leads the group to increasingly absurd creations of an alternative reality. To be accepted by the correctly believing community the Christian has to put on tinted sunglasses with broken prisms, virtual reality glasses, and to accept the pseudo-scientific reality of false prophets visible through them as the light of truth.

3. One or more of the facts taught by false teachers are not true. Christians should not glide past any false statements they notice but rather to take them seriously as a warning sign that everything is not okay. Like the noble Jews of Berea, they should by themselves study are things as taught. For love of truth is allergic to any false statement about this world or the coming one.

We are not alone. Gracefully Holy Spirit indicates matters that should be checked to those who have open ears and the gift called love of truth.

4. Some claims concerning the authority of the Bible are fundamentally false. In order for the trap to work it must have a healthy dose of truthful statements. They help to convince the unsuspecting listener or reader. For example, the Patten-Windsor trap includes extensive teaching about the Ice Age. However, the writers of the Bible lived in ancient Near East and classical Rome and new absolutely nothing about Ice Ages.

The creationist Patten-Windsor trap is so deadly because once an unsuspecting victim falls into it he or she adopts the falsities with all the might of faith. This twists the view on God's creation into some mockery of truth. But if the one caught by this snare doubts the new truth this uncertainty usually leads psychologically to aggressive defense. Typically the reasoning is ad hominem, and the trapped soul sees in the critic an apostle of Satan trying to falsify true faith and to break the rock solid foundation of inerrant Bible. "You know, God's Holy Spirit cannot lie, so your criticism is from the deep."

The trap discussed here is set in some pages of It is exceptionally notorious as the books (now online) and others like them can be used as "scientific references" in other articles and teaching. Where is the Christian believer who is alert enough to critically evaluate these impressive references. Similar technique of  "encyclopedias" and learned looking reference books is used systematically by Jehova's Witness movement to make their pamphlets and books look reliable and truthful.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Phos to alethinon, Truth and religious beliefs

This text is thankfully written as Phos to alethinon blog has passsed 200.000 page views border in October 2015. The blog was started April 21, 2009 so some time has passed before reaching this number. However, the interest is significant considering the very varied contents of the contributions and the rather obscure name that goes against all good marketing rules. The expression is from the New Testament
῏Ην τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν, ὃ φωτίζει πάντα ἄνθρωπον, ἐρχόμενον εἰς τὸν κόσμον.
ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἦν, καὶ ὁ κόσμος δι᾿ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ ὁ κόσμος αὐτὸν οὐκ ἔγνω.

That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
John 1:9-10 KJVA
Phos to alethinon, true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world (kosmos).


Truth and religious beliefs
If I am not mistaken, the light of Truth in Christ is taken by many people as a purely religious illumination of matters of life. The truth is out there to be searched for and some people are satisfied with the little circles of religions and issues of interest to believers. It is not so. The truth of Christ illuminates everything in human life and leaves nothing hidden. Nothing that belongs to human life is outside this penetrating bright and wonderful light.

If I am not mistaken, great number of Christians disregard truth in favor of their personal faith based information about the world.

Jehova's Witnesses movement began towards the end of 19th century from the background of Seventh Day Adventists who are so interested in calculating the return of Jesus and the end of the world. Ellen Gould White (née Harmon; November 26, 1827 – July 16, 1915) has had a strong impact on the Adventists around the world. Truth has not been in the forefront of Adventist revival as Jesus Himself forbids such calculations.

Today, Jehova's Witnesses movement is not anymore considered a Christian sect. It is its own religion with an extensive belief system that conforms to the very specific world view and concepts acceptable to Charles Taze Russell (February 16, 1852 – October 31, 1916).

The most prominent Australian and US creationist organisations today have imitated Jehova's Wittnesses by creating their own "scientific" literature, references, theories and world view based on an unerring Bible. Since old Jewish genealogies indicate that Adam lived about 4000 BC the world must have been created around that including the entire Cosmos. This Bed of Procrustes has created a monstrous pile of lies adopted by many Christians world over as the ultimate truth of revelation. For them this is the truth in Christ, unerring sacred scriptures inspired by the Spirit of God and true regardless of whatever humans have and will observe about God's Creation.

Well, the largest Christian denomination in the world, Roman Catholic church with over a billion members has had its truth police, inquires and truth committees, printing permissions and burning fires against those who are heretics and do not follow the truth in Christ, the Great Tyrant demanding that everyone obeys the Vicar of Christ in Rome. Fortunately, after Vatican II this church has changed and wonder of wonders, Pope himself has apologized to Galileo Galilee. But these are quite recent developments after thousand year of secular and spiritual rule in the world.

The list is long and concerns all Christian denominations and eventually every human whom the Light of Truth of Christ illuminates.

So what can a person do when there are distortions and lies and misunderstandings everywhere, not least among scientific materialists and atheists, who foolishly deny the very existence of God?

Love of truth
Those words look simple but refer to an extraordinarily difficult personal matter to simple school child as well as highly learned professor - me mistaken? Moi... méprenez? erroné? faux? No way, Jose!

Second Thessalonians has very disturbing words about this matter as Apostle Paul implies that God purposely lets His creatures, humans, to err and to be destroyed at the end.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
2 Thessalonians 2:11-12
These words are powerful and scary but they do make one thing clear:

love of truth is a personal gift from God and He expects us to accept that gift and to put it in good use.

If as Christians we notice that we are holding into something that is not true, let us repent ASAP!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Zulu (1964 film)

DVD Release of the movie
1964 Poster

"Zulu is a 1964 epic war film depicting the Battle of Rorke's Drift between the British Army and the Zulus in January 1879, during the Anglo-Zulu War. It depicts 150 British soldiers, many of whom were sick and wounded patients in a field hospital, who successfully held off a force of 4,000 Zulu warriors." (wikipedia)

This remarkable movie was the starting point of the illustrious movie career of Michael Caine (born 1933) and pictures of him as Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead of the 24th Regiment of Foot fill the posters. On the other hand, the main star Stainley Baker (1928-1976) did not get similar attention from the critics nor from the viewers for his acting as Lieutenant John Chard in charge of the force located in the missionary center.

Filmed in majestic nature of Natal
Image Torrents

However, neither Caine nor Baker make this film so remarkable. The cinematography does justice to the majestic scenes in Natal beneath the natural Amphitheatre in the Drakensberg Mountains. Nature is not a backdrop but rather a breathtaking fundamental element that largely makes this movie so memorable.

The honest way in which the many different characters among regiment's men are depicted seems bold and realistic with no "American" style idealization of them as war heroes. Together they are a very convincing bunch of men, some less some more prone to killing, some getting literally sick from the bloodshed. Army discipline can be broken - and is broken - but at the end it is the excellent discipline that makes the winning tactics possible.

The tactic is shown without elaboration: these rifle men acted in line formation like the British soldiers in Waterloo against Napoleon and others long ago: several lines standing in depth, men in each line shooting in concert and then bowing down to reload the rifle while the next line aims and shoots on the enemy at close quarters. Nobody run from the very threatening stand and slowly but surely the massive rifle fire wiped out the attackers relying on hand weapons in close up encounter. The short spears and paper thin shields were useless.

The tactic arranging rifle men for such a massive fire was a predecessor to the murderous use of first Maxwell machine guns not much later that devastated so many attacking men and horses in the Mahdi revolt in Sudan.

Zulu (1964)
Image Jonathan Rosenbaum
The most interesting and powerful element of the movie hardly gets a mention in the credit lines - the Zulu people themselves. South Africa was still world's strictest apartheid state in 1964, The colored people are clearly admired by the director Cy Endfield. The opening section from the native village, for example, is a true work of love and much attention is given to their powerful war songs. Historically accurate dresses and weapons, the handsome men and beautiful women, the elders leading the attack against white foreigners, the close ups of battle...

Despite of their loss the Zulu warriors gain viewers respect for their smartness and bravery. The tragedy for them was to face new weapons carrying old ones. We can assume that had the Zulu soldiers used a bit better the many rifles they had captured they would have destroyed the small fort and killed all its defenders in a matter of hours or less.

This close encounter between past and present weaponry is one of the messages this great movie underlines. Similar encounters have happened elsewhere between old and new, for example when Polish officers foolishly sent their bravest cavalry against attacking German tanks in 1938/39.

One thing about this movie made me sad, the unfair mockery of the Swedish missionary Witts and his daughter. Because these are real persons it is in my mind unforgivable blackening of the memory of these very decent Christians  (see Wikipedia for details).. Was this the producers' idea of comic relief?

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Nikon 1 J5 - the little big wonder

Detail of a photo taken by Nikon J5 and expensive 18-200 mm superzoom
Image Sept. 22 2015 by ML

Notice the tiny hairs at the edge of the green leaf in this crop from a picture of the flower. Most of them are thinner than human hair and their separation from each other is excellent. Surely the photo must have been taken with a macro lens, camera on a tripod and with remote shutter-release. Quite a bundle to carry along on a trip!

The picture above showing very fine detail on the edge of the green leaf was taken without tripod using the affordable Nikon 1 J5 and the venerable superzoom AF-S DX 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II. The older generation lens was attached to the camera using a FT-1 mount adapter.  The camera is in this combination like a small addition at the end of the lens and one has to support the lens,rather then the camera when taking photos. Of course, a tripod can be added to the lens but the point here is that no tripod was in use.

Here is the same flower photographed with the ultra-light VR 10-30 mm f/3.5-5.6 PD-ZOOM lens that comes with the camera. The detail is cropped from a 20 MB RAW file as above. Not bad, eh?

Detail of a photo taken by Nikon J5 and Nikkor 1 10-30 mm 3x rzoom
Image Sept. 22 2015 by ML

How this tiny marvel can produce such resolution without tripod support? Firstly, the camera has a glorious 20.8 MP BSI-CMOS sensor capable of taking large RAW images. Second, the high quality zoom lens has a quite effective vibration reduction system that makes macro photography easy. Thirdly, the sophisticated autofocus system includes both contrast and phase detection and it works very well in AF-S mode with older lenses.. Fourthly, automatic ISO setting and fast electronic shutter speeds up to 16.000/s help reduce problems such as the loss of sharpness caused by the movement of delicate flower parts in even slow wind.

There is, of course, much more to this tiny camera yet so versatile and packed with features. The standard 10-30 mm zoom that comes with the camera gives sharp and warmly colored pictures especially notable in human skin tones. Combined with the fast burst mode, up to 20 pictures in a second, the camera is ideal for capturing memorable moments in constantly changing scenes with playing children..

I must confess that after getting this marvel of modern photography technology this summer my respectable bulky DSLR tends to stay home in the cupboard while this little thing comes with me..If for no other reason so just because of the simplicity of transferring images from the camera to Android tablets and phones using the built-in WiFi server and Nikon's smart software.

Nikon 1 J5
Photo by Nikon Co