SCIENCE AND FAITH: Are People Just Moist Robots?

By Drew Covert

If evolution is true, then it is singularly responsible for life on earth.  We are just material beings, nothing else.  In fact, we don’t have free will, or the ability to make choices.  We are just moist robots.

But I think this evolution produces false beliefs.  I’d never thought about this idea much until I heard MaryJo Sharp addressing the topic at the recent “Unbelievable” conference here is southern California.

And, while the subject was only briefly touched on in her talk on why she became a Christian, it may have been one of the most profound statements I took away from the conference that weekend. Continue reading “SCIENCE AND FAITH: Are People Just Moist Robots?”

Keeping Calm In The Post-Election Storm

By Bret Bernhardt

Every two years, Washington and Capitol Hill usher in a season of change and transition following elections and the coming of a new Congress.

Bret Bernhardt, former chief of staff for senators Don Nickles and Jim DeMint.

By design, no one is exempt from this change.  It may be that the member or candidate you work for or will work for has lost, retired, been reelected, or just won for the first time.

And everyone is facing the transition from an old Congress to a new one, which brings a myriad of changes, including numerous changes in committee leadership and membership.

Even if you are in the same office when the 117th Congress convenes in January 2021, there will be numerous changes as well. Members increase in seniority, bringing changes within an office and a shuffling of staff. Continue reading “Keeping Calm In The Post-Election Storm”

Justice Alito Declares ‘Religious Liberty Is In Danger Of Becoming A Second-Class Right’

Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito told Thursday’s meeting of the Federalist Society’s National Lawyer Convention that America’s First Amendment guarantees of religious liberty and freedom of speech are in grave danger, thanks in large part to state and local policies justified as responses to the Covid Pandemic.

Supreme Court Associated Justice Samuel Alito

“The pandemic has resulted in previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty,” Alito told the convention at the outset of his address, which he delivered virtually.

After cautioning that he was speaking as a judge and not as a policymaker, Alito continued, noting “all that I am saying, and I think it is an indisputable statement of fact, we have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive and prolonged as those experienced for most of 2020.” Continue reading “Justice Alito Declares ‘Religious Liberty Is In Danger Of Becoming A Second-Class Right’”

THINK ABOUT THIS: Friday’s Poached Egg

Then Jesus said:

“Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure — pressed down, shaken together, and running over — will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38

Photo by Melanie Sosa on Unsplash.

And C.S. Lewis said:

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.

You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.


 

Archeologists Discover King David-Era Fort Of The Old Testament’s Geshurites

There is a reference in I Samuel 27 to David raiding towns and villages of the Geshurites, among others, during the year and four months in which he lived among the Philistines to escape the wrath of King Saul.

The Old Testament was for centuries the only ancient reference to the Geshurites, but that appears to have changed recently with the discovery of a fort that dates from the Davidic era and that may have been a Geshurite facility, according to The Times of Israel.

“Dating to around the time of King David 3,000 years ago, what may be the earliest fortified settlement in the Golan Heights was recently discovered during salvage excavations ahead of the construction of a new neighborhood,” according to the Times.

“Incredible rock etchings of two figures holding their arms aloft — possibly at prayer with what could be a moon — were uncovered inside the unique fort, which was dated to circa 11th-9th century BCE.

“The striking find is being tentatively linked to the Geshurite people, whose capital is recorded in the Bible as having been located nearby, to the north of the Sea of Galilee.


 

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY: How Could God Be Good If He Ordered Old Testament Genocide?

They are among the most troubling of Old Testament passages for contemporary minds. I am referring to verses like Deuteronomy 2:34 and I Samuel 15:2-3 in which God ordered every Amalekite and Canaanite man, woman, child, cow, goat, etc. etc. utterly destroyed.

Doesn’t sound like justice, does it? Well, maybe there’s more to these verses than is commonly assumed, especially when there is a lack of  understanding of the ancient contexts in which they were composed.

The Colson Center’s Brook McIntyre digs deep into the facts about how ancient literature portrayed things like military victories, as well as the horrific truths about the pagan culture that was dominant in what the Old Testament referred to as the “Promised Land” for Israel:


 

China Converting Christian Churches To Factories, Indoctrination Centers

Christian churches in China that decline to convert into propaganda tools for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are being destroyed, or converted into factories or “cultural centers” controlled by the government.

“According to Bitter Winter, an outlet that monitors religious liberty violations in China, the restrictive government shuttered an old church in the southeastern province of Jiangxi in April because the congregation was ‘organizing illegal gathering[s]’ and refusing to join the Three-Self Church, a government-backed and endorsed version of the church,” reports Faithwire.

“It was then converted into a ‘Civilization Practice Station for a New Era,’ a project launched by the Chinese Communist Party in July 2018 to encourage citizens to abandon their religious beliefs and follow the ways of the CCP,” Faithwire said.

Go here for the rest of the story from Faithwire.


 

THINK ABOUT THIS: Does This Computer Algorithm Explain The Origins Of Life?

Dr. Fazale Rana (Screenshot from youtube.com)

If you know anything about biochemistry, you know about “Beilstein’s Handbook of Organic Chemistry.” It is a database with 10 million or so data-points that provide pretty much whatever you need to know about any organic compound, according to biochemist Fazale Rana of Reasons to Believe (RTB).

“The utility of Beilstein’s Handbook is endless and its applications far-reaching. In fact, Beilstein’s has even served as the inspiration for origin-of-life chemists seeking to make sense of prebiotic chemistry and chemical evolution,” Rana writes in a lengthy November 4 post on TRB’s web site.

“These investigators think that if they can master an approach to prebiotic chemistry called a Beilstein synthesis, then they may well gain key insight into how chemical evolution generated the first life on Earth.”

Yes, you read that right and you will very likely want to read the rest of Rana’s post. It is, as I said above, lengthy, and rather technical at multiple points. Also, I want to make it clear that I’m a journalist, not a biochemist, and so I make no claim to scientific competence.

Even so, this topic is fascinating to me and I suspect that it will be for more than a few people working on the Hill, as well as for anybody interested in knowing more about how we all came to be here. Go here to read the balance of Rana’s post.


 

 

MYTH-BUSTERS: Is Being ‘Good’ All That Matters To God?

It may be the most commonly heard response to the question of what do you have to do to get to Heaven: “Well, I’m basically a good person, so I’m pretty confident God will let me in Heaven when I die.”

But think about it for a second. If being ‘good’ is the key standard, who defines what it means to be good? That of all your acts in life, including all your words and thoughts, 5o percent of them, plus one, were “good?”

Cold-Case Christianity’s J. Warner Wallace offers a bracing analysis of this issue in the following video:


 

EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Supreme Court Asked To Block Nevada Covid Reg That Favors Casinos Over Churches

Attorneys from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and representing Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley in rural Lyon County, Nevada, petitioned the Supreme Court Thursday to declare unconstitutional a state regulation that discriminates against churches.

Pastor Garry Leist of Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley church in Nevada. (Photo courtesy of ADF)

“Attempting to combat the spread of COVID-19, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a series of executive orders that restrict personal liberties,” the petition told the Court. Sisolak is a Democrat.

“The subject of this petition are the Governor’s orders limiting church gatherings. For example, Directive 021 allowed large groups to assemble in close quarters for unlimited time-periods at casinos, restaurants, indoor amusements parks, bowling alleys, water parks, pools, arcades, and more, subject only to a 50%- fire-code-capacity limit. Continue reading “EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Supreme Court Asked To Block Nevada Covid Reg That Favors Casinos Over Churches”

EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Another California Church Sues To Protect First Amendment Rights

A small mostly Hispanic Christian congregation in La Habra Heights, a suburban municipality a little south of Los Angeles, has filed suit in federal court seeking relief from illegal official harassment and excessive, unjustified fines.

A World Aflame church outdoor service, with congregants observing social distancing (Photo courtesy of Tyler & Bursch LLP).

The harassment, according to Pastor Joe Garcia of World Aflame Ministries, is the work of La Habra Heights City Manager Fabiola Huerta and Juan Garcia, a private citizen who lives near the congregation’s rented meeting place.

One of the law firms representing World Aflame is actively involved in similar cases around the country and may also be the victim of Big Tech censorship. Repeated searches by HillFaith today on Google Search for the web site of Tyler & Bursch LLP were derailed to a search on Microsoft Bing for the single word, Tyler. (See accompanying screenshot). Continue reading “EMERGING ISSUES ON THE HILL: Another California Church Sues To Protect First Amendment Rights”

Is Every Man And Woman Born With A Moral Compass?

Everybody “just knows” murder is objectively wrong, as is genocide, and nobody doubts that torturing babies is everywhere and always absolutely, fundamentally immoral.

Dr. Frank Turek, cross-examined.org

Right? Right?? Believe it or not, there are those who would not agree with the preceding statement. They deny that anything like objective truth exists, that what we accept as “truth” is actually relative to time, place, tradition, conventional wisdom, and so forth.

A young skeptic with great questions.

Cross-examined.org’s Dr. Frank Turek was engaged recently in a discussion about this issue with a sharp young man who appears to be a philosophy major. Their exchange was a good one from both sides and instructive for anybody involved in public policy issues:


 

THINK ABOUT THIS: Answers To Three Objections To The Bible

It was written by a bunch of men. It’s full of mistakes. And it’s like, really, really old. So what is “it”? It’s the Bible, the most widely read and influential book in the entire history of mankind.

The Bible gives a lot of folks heartburn with its teachings about the nature of God, man, salvation and sin, so much so that it seems to encourages more than a few of its critics to search high and low, everywhere and anywhere, for objections to discredit the book’s history, teachings and provenance.

So what are the fact-based responses to these objections? Todd Friel’s “Wretched” produced the following”Road Trip to Truth” video, which provides, it should be noted, a tiny slice of the evidence that could be introduced in response to each of the three objections.


 

FAMILY: New Study Finds Gender Wage Gap Fading, Fading, Fading …

It’s been a staple of political, economic and sociological analyses for decades that when a working woman marries and has kids, she suffers a loss of income, compared to unmarried peers. It’s the Gender Wage Gap and, while its calculation varies from year to year, there’s little doubt that it’s real, for whatever reasons.

Now along comes a new study that ought to grab the attention of multiple congressional staffers involved in all kinds of policy-making areas, including taxes, wage and benefits discrimination, and numerous others.

Why? Because the Gender Wage Gap is in some key respects becoming a thing of the past, according to “The Declining Earnings Gap Between Young Women and Men in the United States 1979-2018” by John Iceland of Penn State and Ilana Redstone of the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana. Their study was just published in the journal, Social Science Research.

As Kay Hymowitz, writing for the Institute for Family Studies, puts it: Continue reading “FAMILY: New Study Finds Gender Wage Gap Fading, Fading, Fading …”

Philly Rioters Burn Vietnamese Baptist Church, Pastor Claims A Hard-Drive Miracle

When Vietnam Baptist Church Pastor Philip Pham first learned his congregation’s building was under assault by Philadelphia rioters and that the structure was in flames, his immediate reaction was to ask God to save a hard-drive.

“I prayed right away: ‘God, please protect the hard drives,'” Pham told The Baptist Press (BP). “Other stuff can be recovered. But those files will never be recovered.”

That hard-drive was irreplaceable because it contained years of documents and information from the church’s role as a community resource for immigration issues, taxes and marriage counseling.

“I saw the routers and modems and things surrounding the hard drives all burned, melted,” Pham told The BP. “But that piece of hard drive, no harm. No harm at all. Just two feet above that, all melted. … That is amazing how God knows our needs and answers our prayers. He is an almighty God. He granted our prayer.” Continue reading “Philly Rioters Burn Vietnamese Baptist Church, Pastor Claims A Hard-Drive Miracle”