The Truth Behind Mask Mandates

The Truth Behind Mask Mandates

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

Not long ago, Anderson Cooper Tweeted “The science has changed.” concerning the mask mandates.1 This was according to Dr. Leana Wen, who is a favorite medical expert with Legacy news. 

As of 13 February 2022, the daily average of new cases was about 154,912. That is about 10,000 cases MORE than we had last September, 4 months ago. And last September, Dr. Wen told CNN’s Chris Cuomo (just a couple of months before CNN fired Cuomo) that unvaccinated people are no better than people who drive while drunk. She believes they should be placed under house arrest and not allowed in public. “We need to start looking at the choice to remain unvaccinated the same as we look at driving while intoxicated… You have the option to not get vaccinated if you want, but then you can’t go out in public.”2 As of today, 22 February 2022, the daily average is down to 81,823. And that makes sense; how? We had about 10,000 more cases this past month than four months ago when the left wanted to lock in everyone who would not cooperate by wearing a mask, and now they are easing out of the restrictions. The bottom line is the political left sees the midterms looming shortly and the public opinion shifting against mask mandates. 

Professor Edward Fuller of Pennsylvania State University tweeted, “Why is it a parent’s right to endanger the lives of other people’s kids and of teachers? Maybe [people] wearing masks should just drive drunk and speed [through] the neighborhoods of pro-COVID parents as a way to excise [sic] their freedom and rights.”3 Delightful, how the left can suggest that the unvaccinated should be placed under house arrest indefinitely and be compared to drunk drivers. Then University Professors can propose they be run over without any consequence. I am guessing he was not banned from Facebook or Twitter because he spews the same hate, disdain, and contempt that has become so popular this past year on social media. 

Last Friday, Bill Gates publicly mocked those who were anti-mask at the 2022 Munich Security Conference. Attending were Melanie Joly, Canada’s foreign affairs minister; Ann Linde, Sweden’s foreign affairs minister; Comfort Ero, C.E.O. of the International Crisis Group; and the World Health Organization’s (WHO) director-general, as well as CNBC’s Hadley Beale, who was leading the discussion.((Meads, Tim. “Bill Gates Mocks Those Against Mask Mandates: Why Do We Have To Wear Pants?” Daily Wire, dailywire.com, 21 February 2022, https://www.dailywire.com/news/bill-gates-mocks-those-against-mask-mandates-why-do-we-have-to-wear-pants)) During the discussion Gates was asked about masks and said people in America are conflicted about wearing them. Gates responded mockingly (typical leftist strategy to insult rather than reason) “Well that’s interesting you know what is the downside of wearing a mask? I mean it’s got to be tough, you know, you have to wear pants. I mean this is tough stuff, these societies are so cruel, why do they make you wear pants? I’m trying to figure it out.”4

About a year ago, the Biden administration levied the mask rule on all airline flights. Those who did not comply were fined or removed from the aircraft. In 2021 and early in 2022, the F.A.A. reported 6,300 unruly-passenger incidents, and over 2/3 of them were mask-related. 

For months now, some airlines have been questioning the effectiveness of masks on aircraft. Last December, the chief exec of Southwest Airlines said, “The case is very strong that masks don’t add much, if anything, in the air cabin environment.”5 The good news is, as of March 18th, the mandated order is set to expire, said a T.S.A. spokeswoman.((Wolfe, Jonathan. “Coronavirus Briefing: The end of mask mandates on airplanes?” New York Times, 23 February 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/23/briefing/covid-vaccine-briefing.html 23 February 2022.))

I have been teaching for over 20 years, and masks are a disservice to students. The supposed benefits of masks in preventing illness or death among children is a fraction, of a fraction, of a percent. Moreover, they are disruptive to learning and communicating in class. If what the left is telling us is accurate, a healthy, fully vaccinated teacher is close to impervious to COVID-19 and the following variants, which in themselves go a long way to bringing immunity to a population. A USC education article reported, “COVID-19 is less of a threat to children than accidents or the common flu. The survival rate among American children with confirmed cases is approximately 99.99%; remarkably, recent studies find an even higher survival rate.”6 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be removing all remaining coronavirus restrictions in England, and they are planning on living with the virus long time, much like we do with seasonal flu and cold. “We will remove all remaining domestic restrictions in law. From this Thursday, the 24th of February, we will end the legal requirement to self isolate following a positive test,” Johnson told parliament. “We will end routine contact tracing, and no longer ask fully vaccinated close contacts and those under 18 to test daily for seven days. And we will remove the legal requirement for close contacts who are not fully vaccinated to self-isolate.”7

Masks may be partially effective in shielding adults from COVID, but when is it virtuous to saddle children for the benefit of adults?

The Atlantic reports in Spain, masks were required for children six and older. The authors of a study noted if masks were a benefit for those using them, the transmission rate among 5-year-olds would be significantly higher than those who were six and older, but the results did not display that trend. In fact, the transmission rates increased age. “Instead, they show that transmission rates, which were low among the youngest kids, steadily increased with age—rather than dropping sharply for older children subject to the face-covering requirement. This suggests that masking kids in school does not provide a major benefit and might provide none at all. And yet many officials prefer to double down on masking mandates, as if the fundamental policy were sound and only the people have failed.”8

States and counties are reducing restrictions concerning masks left and right, and those looking at looming elections are pushing for a return to normal, but school-age children have had the longest to wait. Too long, and they should have been the first in line to adopt changes as the ‘Science Changes.’ 

One reason some claim is children need more protection, but we know that has not been the case. The Atlantic reported last week, “Throughout the pandemic, children have been at lower risk of serious illness than adults. In the latest C.D.C numbers hospitalization rates for children 0–4 with COVID are estimated at 3.8 per 100,000 and for the 5–11 group at 1 per 100,000. By comparison, the rates in the 18–49, 50–64, and over 65 groups are 3.7, 8.5, and 22, respectively.((Oster, Emily, “Kids-Last COVID Policy Makes No Sense” The Atlantic, 21 February 2022. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/relaxing-covid-restrictions-kids/622857/. 25 February 2022))

A more likely reason for school-age children with mask mandates has to do with the powerful teacher unions and other political entities. Don’t tell me this has not become political. Most of you have noticed that the higher unvaccinated populations fall in more conservative counties and states. And those areas and regions with higher vaccinated populations have stricter rules, laws, and regulations concerning masks and what the unvaccinated may do in public. Emily Oster noted in The Atlantic, “Three-year-old kids in the Northeast wearing KN95 masks outdoors at recess (yes, there are places where this is still required) do not protect unvaccinated adults in the South.”…Some children are more vulnerable than others, of course, and society owes special attention to high-risk kids. But it doesn’t follow that COVID restrictions for children ought to stay uniformly in place after they’ve been removed for their parents.”9 Looking at the science, school children should not be faced greater restrictions and mask mandates than staff or parents. It makes no sense that our students are still required to wear masks. 

In Southern California, for example, when you compare Los Angeles and Orange County, two counties adjacent to each other that had similar vaccination rates but very different masking requirements, the hospitalization rates were quite similar.((Smelkinson, Margery. Bienen, Leslie. Noble, Jeanne. “The Case Against Masks at School” The Atlantic, 26 January 2022. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/01/kids-masks-schools-weak-science/621133/ 25 February 2022))

On the Clay Travis show, they interviewed Dr. Smelkinson, an infectious-disease researcher who focused on influenza, and SARS-CoV-2 and they discussed the very same information. “But when you present the mask issue and say, “Look. Orange County doesn’t have mask mandates in school; Los Angeles did. There was no discernible difference,” what do people that are really invested in this say to that research? I mean, I’m sure you got a lot of heat for this article. What’s their response to you just saying, “This is what the numbers are telling us, guys”?…” I mean, that’s why we had to put so much data into this piece, right? ‘Cause like, you know, one piece of data is not gonna convince anybody. So that’s actually why we crunched the numbers in Maryland as well.((Travis, Clay. Sexton, Buck. “Dr. Margery Smelkinson to C&B: Don’t Mask Kids In Schools.” 1 February 2022. https://www.clayandbuck.com/dr-margery-smelkinson-to-cb-dont-mask-kids-in-schools/ 25 February 2022))

Greece and Italy found that masking is a hindrance to speech recognition, hearing, and communication. I have found this to be true when I am teaching not only between teacher and student but student to student. And it should be evident that hearing-impaired children or children who lip-read are significantly hindered in their communications. 

Our local school boards should lift the mask mandates and put the children first, ahead of powerful unions, politics, and the adults who are living in fear. Fear does not stop death; it stops life. 

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The Truth Behind Mask Mandates by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Cooper, Anderson [AC360]Twitter, 7 February 2022, https://twitter.com/AC360/status/1490863954700210178. []
  2. Johnson, Ben. “Fact Check: Did The Science Really Change On Mask Mandates?” Daily Wire, 16 February 2022, https://www.dailywire.com/news/fact-check-did-the-science-really-change-on-mask-mandates. 23, February 2022. []
  3. Parker, Alex. “Driven to Hysterics: Professor Suggest Anti-Maskers Should Be Hit by Drunk Drivers.” Red State, 24 January 2022, https://redstate.com/alexparker/2022/01/24/driven-to-hysterics-professor-suggests-anti-maskers-should-be-hit-by-drunk-drivers-n512079. 2 February 2022. []
  4. Meads, Tim. “Bill Gates Mocks Those Against Mask Mandates: Why Do We Have To Wear Pants?” Daily Wire, dailywire.com, 21 February 2022, https://www.dailywire.com/news/bill-gates-mocks-those-against-mask-mandates-why-do-we-have-to-wear-pants []
  5. Wolfe, Jonathan. “Coronavirus Briefing: The end of mask mandates on airplanes?” New York Times, 23 February 2022, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/23/briefing/covid-vaccine-briefing.html 23 February 2022. []
  6. Sood, Neeraj. Bhatacharya, Jay. “Mandatory Masking of School Children is a Bad Idea.” Healthpolicy.usc.edu, The Orange County Register, 13 July, 2021, https://healthpolicy.usc.edu/article/mandatory-masking-of-school-children-is-a-bad-idea/ []
  7. Saavedra, Ryan. “British Prime Minister Boris Johnson To Remove All Remaining Coronavirus Restrictions in England” The Daily Wire, dailywire.com, 21 Feburary 2022, https://www.dailywire.com/news/british-prime-minister-boris-johnson-to-remove-all-remaining-coronavirus-restrictions-in-england []
  8. Prasad, Vinay. “The Downsides of Masking Young Students Are Real.” The Atlantic, theatlantic.com, 2 September, 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/09/school-mask-mandates-downside/619952/ []
  9. Oster, Emily, “Kids-Last COVID Policy Makes No Sense” The Atlantic, 21 February 2022. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/02/relaxing-covid-restrictions-kids/622857/. 25 February 2022 []
Are Jehovah Witnesses Christian?

Are Jehovah Witnesses Christian?

Reading Time: 7 minutes

No, but they call themselves Christians.

I once asked a Jehovah’s Witnesses if she was a Christian, and she said yes. I replied I was a Christian also and then asked if I was a Jehovah’s Witness, and she said no. I agreed, then pointed out that there must be significant differences in what I believe and what they believe. I then questioned how she could be both a Christian and a Jehovah’s Witness, but I could not. That question gave her pause.

Of course, you can decide for yourself, so here is some information that solidified my opinion that Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW’s) are not Christians.

This following began in 1872 when Charles Taze Russell founded Zion’s Watch Tower Tract Society. His followers grew, but then in 1913 his wife filed for divorce for the reasons of “…his conceit, egotism, domination, and improper conduct in relation to other women.”((Metzger, Bruce. The Jehovah’s Witnesses and Jesus Christ: A Biblical and Theological Appraisal. Bible Researcher. April 1953. http://www.bible-researcher.com/metzger.jw.html)) That resulted in many followers walking away from this new edition of Christianity. Russell passed away a few years later, and Judge Rutherford took the helm. Rutherford made many discreet alterations to some of the prophecies of the Watch Tower Society. Most significantly were the statements that Christ would return before 1914. Rutherford passed away in 1942, and Nathan Knorr became the chief officer. Under Knorr, the Watch Tower Society continued to grow along with the frequent and anonymous publications they would hand out.

One of the most respected Bible scholars of the 20th century, Bruce Metzger, wrote concerning the JW’s, “It is manifestly impossible to attempt to refute in one brief article even a fraction of the distortions of Biblical interpretation perpetrated in the voluminous writings of this sect. It is proposed, rather, to give consideration to one of the fundamental errors of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, namely, that which concerns the person of Jesus Christ.”((Metzger, Bruce. The Jehovah’s Witnesses and Jesus Christ: A Biblical and Theological Appraisal. Bible Researcher. April 1953. http://www.bible-researcher.com/metzger.jw.html))

So who is Jesus, and why is it important we believe in who He says He is?

The salvation of everyone depends on their belief in Jesus as God’s son. Jesus made that clear in John 8. “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.” John 8:24. So who do the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus is? Not God.

For example, In 1959, the Watchtower magazine wrote, “Do not erroneously conclude that Christians are to worship Christ; that is not what he taught.”((Rhodes, Ron. “The New World Translation is Inaccurate and Misleading,” The 10 Most Important Things You Can Say To a Jehovah’s Witness, Harvest House Publishers, 2001, pg 26)) In 1964 the same publication wrote, “It is unscriptural for worshipers of the living and true God to render worship to the Son of God, Jesus Christ.”((Rhodes, Ron. “The New World Translation is Inaccurate and Misleading,” The 10 Most Important Things You Can Say To a Jehovah’s Witness, Harvest House Publishers, 2001, pg 26))

The Watchtower Society teaches its followers that salvation is based on works, not Christ. They emphasize total obedience to the Watchtower Society, and distributing Watchtower pamphlets and literature is an essential part of their salvation process.((Rhodes, Ron. “Salvation is by Grace Through Faith, Not by Works,” The 10 Most Important Things You Can Say To a Jehovah’s Witness, Harvest House Publishers, 2001, pg 75))

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was an angel before he came to earth; in fact, he was the archangel Michael and was the first being created in the universe.

They consider themselves Christians but not Protestants. They don’t believe in the Trinity. They believe Jesus was a created being and not part of the Trinity. 

JW’s believe that Jesus began ruling in heaven as King in 1914  (when World War I began) and that a small number of people, 144,000 will actually be saved.

JW’s believe they will be saved (if they are one of the 144,000) by works. Salvation by works is the major theme of every other major religion in the world today, and Christianity is the single exception. Ephesians 2:8-9

The JW’s believe in the inspired word of God, but they have their own translation of the Bible, which was published in 1961. They call their translation the New World Translation (NWT), and it has been widely criticized for changing the meaning of words to fit their beliefs and tenets. The most popular and widely respected translations are:

  1. New International Version (NIV)
  2. King James Version (KJV)
  3. New Living Translation (NLT)
  4. English Standard Version (ESV)
  5. New King James Version (NKJV)
  6. Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Their New World Translation is not listed above because only the JW’s use this translation, which has been translated to support their views.

One example of this is John 1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. JW’s believe that because there is no definite article (the) in the Greek reference to Christ that it should be translated that Christ is “a God” not “the God the Father.” This reasoning is incorrect for multiple reasons. There are many references to Christ as God the Father in the New Testament. Take a look at John 8:58; John 10:30; John 20:28; Colossians 1:15; Colossians 1:15-16; Colossians 2:9;  and Hebrews 1:8 are just a few examples. Ron Rhodes explained linguists have pointed out that it is not necessary to translate Greek nouns that have no definite article with an indefinite article because there is NO indefinite article in Greek.((Rhodes, Ron. “Salvation is by Grace Through Faith, Not by Works,” The 10 Most Important Things You Can Say To a Jehovah’s Witness, Harvest House Publishers, 2001, pg 29))

JW’s do not celebrate Christmas or Easter because they believe his death, not His birth, should be celebrated. They also think these holidays are rooted in ancient pagan customs, and our celebrations of these holiday’s offended God.

JW’s do not go to war and quote Matthew 26:52 to support that belief.

Finally, JW’s do not participate in politics. They don’t belong to any political party and do not vote in any local, state, or nationwide elections.

Many people use “Christian” to describe their basic cultural behaviors, religious observances, or family traditions. Christianity is something they do, not necessarily believe. For example, if they were raised in a religious home, have some generic belief in God, go to church at least on the major holidays, try to treat others as they would want to be treated, and their good deeds outweigh their bad, they are a Christian. Being kind to others, believing in God, and attending church are good things, but that does not make a Christian any more than going to a garage makes a mechanic.

A standard definition of a Christian is “…a person who has put faith and trust in the person and work of Jesus Christ, including His death on the cross as payment for sins and His resurrection on the third day.”((“What is a Christian?” GotQuestions.org. https://www.gotquestions.org/what-is-a-Christian.html)) Simply put, a Christian is someone who believes in the work of the cross and whose heart and behavior reflect Christ. Acts 11:22-26 Early followers were first called Christians in Antioch because of their Christ-like behavior, and that behavior came about because of their accurate view of who Christ was.

Does that mean Christians don’t lie, lose their temper, are cruel, self-serving, and have a laundry list of shortcomings, bad habits, or addictions? Romans 7:15-20 Of course not. Christians are forgiven, not perfect. Should Christians be forgiving and gracious toward others? Should Christians be loving and pray for those who are unkind or cruel to them? Should Christians care for those in need, the poor, abused, sick, widowed, elderly? 1John 4:9 Of course, but being a follower of Christ goes beyond the outward expressions we can see but includes the condition of the heart, which only God can see.

Ultimately God looks at our hearts. Our deeds may have an outward appearance of charity and compassion, but the motives behind such behavior are what God looks at. Isaiah 64:6. Believing in Christ, the Person, and work of Jesus is what will save us. John 8:24 Charity and putting others before ourselves is a natural outcome for Christians. But God can peek behind the scenes and see what is going on backstage and what goes on backstage is determined by someone’s worldview.

John Stonestreet wrote, “Is the world we live in a creation, an accident, or an illusion? Do we live in God’s world, or was God an invention we brought into our world? Is the world we live in the one described by Jesus, Richard Dawkins, or Oprah? Are we nothing more than biological by-products of time plus chance plus matter? Is the world nothing more than a fabrication of our minds?((Stonestreet, John, Kunkle, Brett. “Keeping the Moment and the Story Straight” A Practical Guide to Culture, David C Cook, 2017, p. 51))

John went on to explain those different religions, different views of how the world works, matters. It matters because depending on what we believe will determine how we act. For example, some may say they believe in God, believe in Jesus, but does it matter to them? Does it alter their behavior? Was Jesus just a wise man? Was He a God, was He one of many or is He the God of the universe worthy of worship?

What we think is real, what we think is accurate, matters significantly. Is it possible to say you believe in God and Jesus and get other fundamental details wrong that are essential to an accurate worldview? Yes, and the JW’s are an example of that.

Finally, knowing if someone is a *Christian* may not be something you can tell with 100% assurance, but most of us are not looking for that kind of certainty. Yet all faiths have tenents or core beliefs foundational to their faith. So here are five that would be foundational for Christians. 

    • Doctrine #1 The Bible is God’s word. Christians believe that the Bible is the infallible word of God, which is sufficient for all we need to live the Christian life. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
    • Doctrine #2 God is three in one. Christians believe that there is one God who eternally exists as three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). All three persons are equal and eternal. Matthew 28:19
    • Doctrine #3 Jesus is fully God. Christians believe that Jesus is both fully God and fully human as the second person of the Trinity. He has always existed as God, and the world was created through him. John 1:1-2
    • Doctrine #4 We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. Christians believe that every person is broken by sin and in need of salvation. We are saved by grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8-9
    • Doctrine #5 There’s life after death. Christians believe that Jesus is returning in order to set up his kingdom and judge the world. Those who have trusted Jesus for salvation will live eternally in heaven, while others will be eternally separated from the presence of God. John 11:25-26

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Are Jehovah Witnesses Christian? by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

What Can Science Tell Us?

What Can Science Tell Us?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski on Unsplash

Who would have thought that the same force which tears open the grocery bag and tumbles the groceries onto the floor would also be responsible for the high and low tides on our shores? Or the orbit of our moon around the earth and the earth’s orbit around the sun, not to mention all the other planets within our solar system, our galaxy, and the entire universe.

Allan Rex Sandage, one of the greatest observational cosmologists of our time said about science influencing his beliefs, “It is my science that drove me to the conclusion that the world is much more complicated than can be explained by science.”1

In 1977 Nobel physicist Steven Weinberg of the University of Texas wrote concerning discoveries that pointed toward a creator, “The more the universe has become comprehensible through cosmology, he wrote, the more it seems pointless. But now the very science that “killed” God is, in the eyes of believers, restoring faith.”1

Not long ago, I finished ‘The Works of His Hands’ by Sy Garte Ph.D. Good read despite being a theistic evolutionist (a belief that God uses evolution), something I disagree with. Nevertheless, he addressed the Big Bang, “That explosion could be timed to about thirteen billion years ago. The later discovery of cosmic background radiation gave further confirmation to this theory, and alternative theories of a steady-state universe with no beginning, favored by Hoyle and others, were dropped. The idea that there was a single moment of creation is currently established science.”((Garte, Sy. “Origins” The Works of His Hands, Kregel Publications, 2019, p.100))

Many in the world of physics rejected this Big Bang theory because it seemed to confirm how the Bible describes creation. They began calling it a singularity, or a point where all physical laws are no longer independent, space and time are no longer interrelated realities. “Calling it a ‘singularity’ sounds very scientific, but it really just another word for a miracle: a mystery undetermined by the law of our universe and thus inaccessible to scientific investigation.”((Garte, Sy. “Origins” The Works of His Hands, Kregel Publications, 2019, p.100-101))

Charles Townes, Nobel Prize winner in 1964 for Physics, said, “Many have a feeling that somehow intelligence must have been involved in the laws of the universe.”1

Unlike some scientists who see religion and science as opposed, Sandage believes they are complementary. In an article he wrote for Truth Journal, Sandage said science should take religion seriously and religion should respect science. “Science makes explicit the quite incredible natural order, the interconnections at many levels between the laws of physics, the chemical reactions in the biological processes of life, etc.,” he wrote. “But science can answer only a fixed type of question. It is concerned with the what, when, and how. It does not, and indeed cannot, answer within its method (powerful as that method is), why.”2

Donald Johnson wrote a book titled, How to Talk to a Skeptic, [https://www.amazon.com/Talk-Skeptic-Easy-Follow-Conversations/dp/0764211226] in it he explains that some view God’s special revelation (Scripture) as the only way He will communicate with us, but this is counter what scripture teaches us. Johnson wrote, “They envision God’s revelation as a systematic theology textbook being dropped out of the sky and think that this is supposed to be all that God has ever done or will do in the way of communicating and disclosure.” He goes on to say, “According to these passages, people receive some revelation of God simply by living in the world he created. This knowledge of God is available to everyone through creation and our ability to reason. This is usually referred to as ‘general’ or ‘universal’ revelation.”((Johnson, Donald. “What Skeptics Need to Know About God.” How to Talk to a Skeptic, Bethany House Publishers, pgs. 129-130))

The heavens declare the glory of God;

the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;

night after night they reveal knowledge.

They have no speech, they use no words;

no sound is heard from them.

Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth,

their words to the ends of the world.

In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. Psalm 19:1-4

In 2005 scientists aimed the Hubble Telescope at a patch of space that would be about 1/10’s the moon’s diameter. They kept Hubble gazing at that spot for one million seconds, or about 12 days. To date, this has been the longest exposure ever taken by a telescope. Why did they do this? Astronomers did not have an accurate measure of the number of stars and galaxies in the observable universe, but after 2005 they had some numbers which could be extrapolated and applied to our universe.

That small patch of sky revealed more than ten thousand galaxies which, when multiplied over the whole observable universe, totaled about 200 billion galaxies. On average, astronomers tell us there are about 200 billion stars in each galaxy which adds up to about 40 billion trillion stars in our observable universe. You can add in another 10 billion trillion stars in unobserved dwarf galaxies for a 50 billion trillion total.((Hugh, Ross. “Why Such a Vast Universe.” Why The Universe Is The Way It Is. Baker Books, 2008, pgs 30-31))

I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. – Isaac Newton

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What Can Science Tell Us? by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Begley, Sharon. “Science Finds God.” Washington Post, 1988. https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/newsweek/science_of_god/scienceofgod.htm. 15 February 2022. [] [] []
  2. Staff. “Allan Rex Sandage” N.D. https://biography.yourdictionary.com/allan-rex-sandage. 15 February 2022 []
Is it True Science uses Reason and Christianity only has Blind Faith?

Is it True Science uses Reason and Christianity only has Blind Faith?

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Above image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

One thing I am never short of is Facebook posts that denounce Christianity for various reasons. Some posts slam the Christian God, calling Him an unforgiving, genocidal, jealous, racist bully, echoing Richard Dawkins book, The God Delusion.((Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006, Print.))

Others target scripture suggesting it was written hundreds of years after the life of Christ and is full of errors and contradictions. Again quoting Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion, “To be fair, much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird, as you would expect of a chaotically cobbled-together anthology of disjointed documents, composed, revised, translated, distorted and ‘improved’ by hundreds of anonymous authors, editors and copyists, unknown to us and mostly unknown to each other, spanning nine centuries.”1

Some even question if Christ was a real person, and many believe He was not an authentic historical figure. Frank Zindler, former director of the American Atheists gives us a glimpse at this, “So much for the evidence purporting to prove that Jesus was a historical figure. We have not, of course, proved that Jesus did not exist. We have only showed that all evidence alleged to support such a claim is without substance…”((Zindler, Frank. “Did Jesus Exist?” American Atheists, ND, https://www.atheists.org/activism/resources/did-jesus-exist/))

Then you have those who target the hypocritical behavior of Christians. For example, some who think they are quoting Gandhi write, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” which is not an actual quote from Gandi, but it was taken from another Indian philosopher. Nevertheless, the point is well made, Christians often don’t act like Christ despite wanting to and being told to be imitators of Him in scripture. 1 Corinthians 11:1 I certainly can relate to that, and most believers, if they are honest, will say the same.

Finally, others take a much broader path and paint most, if not all religions as foolishness and the cause of countless wars and misery.

These claims can be addressed and have been, but my focus in this post is the claim that science depends on reason and evidence while Christianity doesn’t.

Is the assertion true that Christianity is void or reason and evidence? Are Christians wishing on a star, following their heart, taking leaps of faith, or is their faith simply blind?

Let’s take a look at some examples in scripture. Luke states that his sources were ‘eye-witnesses,’ and he claims to have carefully investigated everything and is sharing them with Theophilus so he would be certain of the claims of the new Christians. Luke 1:1-4

In 1 Cor. 15:6, Paul practically dares anyone to check out his story. In I Corinthians 15, Paul lists six groups or specific individuals who were eyewitnesses of the resurrected Christ. Peter, The twelve, the 500, James (younger brother of Jesus), all the apostles, and finally Paul himself.

Most of these eyewitnesses endured persecution, imprisonment, torture, and finally, death. Persecution was the norm, and it certainly was not something that would compel others to sacrifice their livelihood or life for what they profess. Yet, despite their willingness to lose everything, that does not validate their belief. I think of the 911 terrorists and their belief that 72 virgins awaited them in the afterlife. Yet what is so remarkable about the early Christian martyrs is not what they believed, but what they saw; the risen Christ. The early Christian martyrs died not for what they thought to be true but what they saw to be true. 

A story shared by Lee Strobel may help illustrate my point. In 1963 Addie Mae Collins was one of four African-American girls murdered in a church bombing by racists. She was buried in Birmingham, Alabama, and for years her family returned to visit her gravesite and leave flowers. Finally, in 1998 they made the decision to exhume Addie Mae so she could be reburied at another cemetery. However, when the workers began to dig, they discovered the grave was empty. The family was understandably shocked, and several possible explanations were considered as officials started to investigate what happened, but no one ever suggested was that Addie Mae was resurrected. Why? Because an empty grave does not constitute a resurrection. Eyewitnesses do that.

Other religions begin with someone having a private encounter or vision they share with others, not Christianity. We find another example in 2 Peter 1:16, where Peter explains they were eyewitnesses to Jesus Christ and His majesty. In addition, at the end of John, he explains the signs done by Christ in front of witnesses was so they might believe that he was the Son of God. John 20:30-31. Scripture is full of examples that rule out the impression that our faith requires giant leaps or blind loyalty. Neither does Christ Himself expect that of us.

For example, when John the Baptist was in prison and struggling with doubts, so he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask Him if He was the one they were waiting for. How did Jesus respond? He promptly healed the lame and cured the blind. He then told them to return to John and report what they witnessed. Luke 7:19-22 In fact, you will find that the Gospel of Luke holds most of the eyewitness details found in the New Testament.

Classical scholar Colin Hemer fact-checked the book of Acts (written by Luke) and found 84 facts confirmed by historical and archaeological research.((Geisler, Norman. Turek, Frank. I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist. Wheaton: Crossway, 2004, Print.)) Believing without evidence is what we call blind faith and nowhere in scripture are believers called to that kind of faith. John 14:9-11

The above examples are from scripture, but Christians are not limited to those examples to build their faith. Believers can find substantial evidence within the sciences. Just don’t expect science to answer all your questions. The fact is, science cannot answer all our questions and never will be able to.

Suppose my daughter-in-law Annie baked a cake. If we were to ship it to a lab for analysis, we would learn much about the cake. The biochemists could tell us what elements are within the cake. Mathematicians will spell out the weight, volume, and detailed dimensions of the cake. Physicists can break down the fundamental particles and explain what temperatures she baked it. But not one of them, or anyone in the scientific community could tell us why the cake was made; only Annie could answer that question. Natural sciences will answer questions about the structure and elements of the cake, but they could never answer any ‘why’ questions.

When you think about it, the laws of nature help us describe the universe, but they explain nothing. The fact that we have laws that govern our universe is one of those why questions that can’t be answered except by the one who made the laws. One of the first questions of the year I would ask my algebra students in Jr. High was, “Is mathematics invented or discovered?” I would leave them to ponder that throughout the year.

Richard Feynman, a Nobel Laureate in physics, wrote, “…the fact that there are rules at all to be checked is a kind of miracle; that it is possible to find a rule, like the inverse-square law of gravitation, is some sort of miracle.”((Lennox, John. Can Science Explain Everything? Oxford: The Good Book Company, 2019, Print.))

Those most critical of the Christian faith often don’t ever set foot in a church, let alone read or examine scripture. They don’t study the words of Jesus and try to apply the teaching to themselves, or how His words could apply to neighbors, friends, family, etc. It is so much easier to point out the faults and shortcomings of others than to take a hard look at ourselves and compare how we live our life to the commands of Jesus. The operative word is ‘try’ because we all fall short. Someone once said the church is a hospital for sinners, not a sanctuary for saints. We are all more comfortable playing the armchair general, pointing out the mistakes of those in the trenches and how they are delinquent in living a life like Jesus than applying His teachings to our own conduct.

Anthony Flew was a lifetime philosopher and atheist. Then in 2003, late in his life, he converted to a belief in God. He said he had to go where the evidence leads, and it was the complexity of DNA that was the deciding factor for Flew. John Lennox wrote concerning the idea of following evidence where it leads, “…there are situations where we shouldn’t just give up if explanations in terms of natural processes don’t work; we should be prepared to follow the evidence where it leads, even if that involves a supernatural dimension.”((Lennox, John. Can Science Explain Everything? Oxford: The Good Book Company, 2019, Print.)) But not all scientists adhere to that because of their prejudice to a concept of a being beyond the natural.

Richard Lewontin, who is a geneticist from Harvard, displays this attitude perfectly when he wrote, “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs…in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment…to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute for we cannot allow a Divine foot in the door.”((Lennox, John. Can Science Explain Everything? Oxford: The Good Book Company, 2019, Print.))

Christians should never be afraid of science and what we can learn from it. The things that we learn about our universe, from the microscopic to the telescope, are often confirmed by the Bible when researched carefully. Science cannot answer all the questions we might have, but neither should the Bible be used as a science book. As we investigate our world, both science and theology should be used to complement and confirm how best we should live.

The Bible tells us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go. – Galileo

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Is it True Science uses Reason and Christianity only has Blind Faith by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006, Print. []
Your Best Life Now – Part III

Your Best Life Now – Part III

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Part I   Part II

In his best-selling book, ‘Your Best Life Now,’ Joel Osteen addressed the necessity of faith to prosper. He shared that one fellow told him that God will bless who He wants to bless. Osteen wrote, “Unfortunately, that’s just the opposite of how God operates. God works by faith. You must believe first, then you’ll receive. Maybe you’ve been waiting on God to make a move, but God is waiting on you to stretch your faith. Make room in your own thinking, and then you’ll start to experience some of His supernatural increase.”1 In the context of needing faith to prosper, I have some scripture to consider. Remember when Jesus told Peter to go fishing to get the temple tax? Did Peter need faith for that? Matthew 17:24-27 Or the man lowered through the roof by his friends. There was no mention of his faith healing him. Luke 5:17-26 One more example is the man healed by the pool of Bethesda, and he did not even know who Jesus was. John 5:1-15

The prosperity gospel is a theodicy. What is a theodicy? It is an explanation for the problem of evil. Why are a few wildly wealthy, and the rest are poor or drone through life in a middle-income bracket? Because the rest don’t give enough, trusting in God. Why are some stuck working at McDonald’s and not C.O.’s at large cooperations making a six-figure income? Because they lack obedience. Why do some have infants die in their cribs, and others seem to lead blessed lives without a loss, struggle, or illness in their family? They don’t express a Godly joy in all circumstances or have hidden sin that hinders healing in their family.

The prosperity gospel takes a snapshot of the world and draws lines to the hardships, illnesses, deaths, tragedies, and losses we experience. Connecting on the other end of those lines is lack of faith, greed, disobedience, and lack of joy. Those lacks are on our backs; they are our fault because an all-loving God would not want any to suffer. We don’t have because we don’t do; that’s what the prosperity gospel teaches. For example, verses like Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (NIV) at face value seem to support prosperity teaching. But John makes it clear, 1John 5:14-15 if we ask according to His will, He will hear us. According to His will, not ours.

We don’t dictate to God how he is to manage His creation. In Prosperity Theology, the created become the creators. They create health, wealth, and prosperity according to their desires with no thought to God’s sovereign will. Paul recognized this, 2 Corinthians 12:7-9. Nevertheless, these preachers pluck scripture out of context and manipulate others to become rich or influential. 

Theologians and biblical scholars practice exegesis, which means drawing meaning from the text. Scholars look at the context, who it is written to, and the author’s intent. On the other hand, prosperity gospel preachers perform eisegesis; they don’t draw out meaning but draw in meaning using their own subjective sense completely unsupported by the text.

The Word of Faith, Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It, Prosperity Gospel preachers all promise God’s generosity benevolence and here and now. They say God does not want us to be broke, ill, or experience suffering. John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” is another verse they will use to support their teachings. But if you read John 10 Jesus is talking about being a gate, a good shepherd, and laying down his life so his followers will have everlasting life. It is not about gaining wealth here on earth. One blogger wrote, “Jesus did say, ‘I came so that they may have life and have it in abundance’ John 10:10. In context, though, Jesus is contrasting himself with false teachers who are like a thief who ‘comes only to steal and to kill and destroy.’ If we take this literally, Jesus is saying that instead of taking from our homes and treasuries, he will fill them with abundance. However, should we read this verse literally? Is it possible Jesus is using figurative language to communicate spiritual truth?” It should be obvious Jesus is not talking about prosperity here and now.2

James 4:2 is a common verse used by the Name It and Claim It crowd. “You do not have because you do not ask God.” (NIV) Of course, they leave out the first half of the verse, “You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.” What I have NEVER heard any word of faith believer is the next verse, James 4:3. The very next verse places a condition on what we ask for. “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Jeremiah 29:11 is probably the most misapplied verse I hear Christians toss out to those struggling. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Well-meaning Christians use it to encourage, promise that good news is around the corner and that everything will work out. Just a little exegesis and you will see that this was a letter to the exiles in Babylon, and it would be another 70 years before they would return home to Israel.

Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Whoot! What a promise! Again, read that in context. Who was the author, who was he writing or speaking to, and why? This historical situation had to do with the Israelites not giving enough to the national storehouses, which were used to feed the priests of Israel. Because the priests were lacking, they had to take up farming instead of performing their priestly duties. Nehemia 13:10-13 So God was encouraging the Israelites to test Him by giving.

In a TIME poll, nearly 20% of Christians consider themselves part of the prosperity gospel movement. Over 60% believe that God wants you to be wealthy. And sadly, almost 1/3 of Christians polled believe if you give your money to God, He will bless you with more money.3 As John Piper put it, the prosperity gospel “elevates the gifts above the Giver.” He went on to say, “God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him, in the midst of loss, not prosperity.”4

Did Paul ever name it and claim it? Show me one, just one verse that Paul tells us to use to become wealthy or change our circumstances. What Paul did was pray and ask for prayer. Paul asked every single church he planted for prayer. He suffered physically throughout his ministry and was imprisoned multiple times, 2 Corinthians 11:22-28, yet he recognized the value of what he was doing reached beyond any earthy material gain or wealth. Philippians 3:4-8 As my pastor Mike Torok said one Sunday morning, “God does not just open us up and pour in spiritual maturity. Rather He works it in, like molding clay.”

In fact, Paul did not want to be identified as someone who did not work for his own provision. He provided for his own needs and did not expect others to provide for them. 2 Thessalonians 3:8-9

The prosperity gospel is not something Christians can just disagree on; it would not fall into an ‘in-house debate.’ Instead, the prosperity gospel undermines and compromises the Gospel, which is the reason Jesus came, to let us know He has a rescue plan. He did not come to make us happy and healthy, to remove all the burdens and tragedies of the life we experience here on earth; he came to save us because we are incapable of saving ourselves.

I see the prosperity gospel as cancer or a virus, and the preachers who promote it are super spreaders. People want to believe it’s true because it is a convenient formula. Or they find themselves in desperate situations and give their money away to these impostors who pose as men of God who hear from God regularly in dreams, visions, or the Holy Spirit moves them to speak.

I think of the Hindu beliefs of reincarnation. Suppose you were born into a poor family with no hope to rise out of your desperate circumstances; Hindus believe it’s because you were a horrible person in your previous life. The prosperity gospel has a similar theme but removes the boundary of various lives in the Hindu religion. If you are poor or suffering, it is because, right now, you don’t have enough faith, obedience, trust, or joy. Your misery is on you because you are not doing what these pastors tell you to do.

In the final chapter of Hebrews, the author sums up his council, Hebrews 13:5-6 “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'” (NIV) It is crystal clear wealth is not inherently evil unless you pursue it and make it a priority. In Matthew 6:24, He explains, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (NIV)

Finally, in Mark 10:17-25, Jesus speaks with a rich young ruler who desires eternal life. Jesus lists the commandments and the man proudly announces he has kept them all since he was young. Jesus recognized what was hindering this young ruler and called him out. “Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'” The young man walked away disheartened because of his love of money. How many prosperity gospel teachers would walk away from Jesus as this young man did?

God will never owe us because we fill our heavenly bank accounts with faith. Unfortunately, the prosperity gospel leads many Christians to a spiritual entitlement mentality. Our gratitude, joy, and thankfulness should be grounded in the person of Christ and what He has done for us, not in a change of circumstances we dictate to God.

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Your Best Life Now – Part III by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Osteen, Joel. “God Has More Instore” Your Best Life Now, Warner Faith, 2004, p33 []
  2. Tamfu, Dieudonne. “The Gods of the Prosperity Gospel.” Desiring God, desiringgod.org, 4 Feb. 2020, https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-gods-of-the-prosperity-gospel []
  3. Van Biema, David. Chu, Jeff. “Does God Want You To Be Rich?” Time Magazine, content.time.com, Sept. 10, 2006, http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1533448-2,00.html []
  4. Piper, John. MatthiasLot, “John Piper and the Prosperity Gospel” Online video clip. Youtube, 5 Dec. 2007. Web. 16. Oct. 2021 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTc_FoELt8s []

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