Murderer Or Not?

Amanda Knox is once again in the news and once again has been convicted of murder in Italy.  Some have suggested that this is double jeopardy (tried for the same crime twice) and that if Italy were to request extradition of Ms. Knox that the request might be denied based upon those grounds.

However, I’ll admit I do not have much of an opinion (or an interest) in Ms. Knox one way or the other.  It is simply an interesting tidbit on the news.  What I am interested in is murder itself.  And by that I mean more of the legal aspect of murder and not so much the act of murder.

You see, as Ms. Knox discovered herself, murder carries a very specific legal definition with it that must be proven in a court of law.  Specifically that definition says that it is: the killing of another human being under conditions specifically covered in law.  It is also rendered this way: the crime of unlawfully killing a person.

And thus it is the legal aspect of murder that interests me.  But before I get to that, there is another rather interesting event coming up in a few days.  Bill Nye (The Science Guy) will be debating Ken Ham at the Creation Museum on February 4th, 2014.  I’ll recommend the debate (if you are free) now, but I am currently more intrigued by this exchange about the coming debate from Ken Ham’s FaceBook page.

If you read the posters accusations carefully (from the above link), you would have discovered this at the end: “God if He existed is a murderer, and stands idly by as his “good” creations rape and murder each other and does nothing because free will. It saddens me that an adult could believe such things as fact. You are robbing your children of their lives and wonder by filling every unknown with an imaginary friend. Indoctrination is abuse.” (Excerpt of post in response to Ken Ham on his FaceBook page).

Ken (rather aptly if I do say so myself) addresses the concerns laid out in this statement.  I would like to repeat one though.  The accuser claims here that God stands idly by as his “good” creations commit all kinds of crimes.  And yet the Bible is the one book that not only defines Good and Evil, but also explicitly states that mankind is NOT good:

10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Romans 3:10-12 KJV

The “good” creation the poster refers to is from the book of Genesis 1:31 where God calls everything he has made “very good”.  And indeed, God was pleased with his work.  But I note that this was before the fall of man and God was referring to the state of his creation, not whether or not that creation would end up doing good or evil things.  God’s creation is good, it is also seeped in sin and thus there is evil in the world.

However I digress.  The point I wanted to address is the posters opening few words.  Where he pointedly accuses God of being a murderer.  This is not a new concept put out by this particular poster either.  No, it has been used time and time again by those attempting to show inconsistencies between a loving God and the God described in the Old Testament of the Bible.  Some go as far as to even add up all the deaths in the world attributable to God.  As if some really large number will make God all the more evil than just a single, solitary, murder.

However this is a completely disingenuous accusation on the part of these people.  Firstly and foremost they completely destroy the definition of murder.  Remember murder is a legal term and it specifically refers to a human taking another human’s life unlawfully.  God is Creator, and is definitely not human (although God did take on the form of a human – but that is a thought for another time).  Think of it this way, if a bear kills a person in the woods, do we then arrest the bear and put it on trial for murder? No, of course not.  The bear is no more subject to the laws of man than the fish in the sea are.  So why then do we attempt to ascribe our laws to God?  Because he first gave the law to man?  And how is that fair?  Perhaps our children should be subject to the exact same set of laws we are subject to.  If so, I imagine there would be a lot of parents standing in the corner tonight.  We are the creation, he is the creator, it is not we that get to apply the laws to him, but rather he who applies them to us.

These folks that shake their fists in the face of God and call him a murderer are unaware of the great atrocity they have just committed by flipping the roles of God and Man around.  Would they put God on trial?  Who would be the jury of God’s peers?  Who in the world would be judge?  And how in the world do these folks expect to prove that the lives God took, he took unlawfully?

However even more disingenuous than the destruction of the terminology for murder, is these folks can’t even ascribe the correct number of deaths to God.  If they bothered to understand God for who and what he is, they would soon realize God is the only being responsible for any human death.

There are far too many references for me to look up and link to tonight.  So I leave some of these as an exercise to the reader.  But God is clearly established as the giver of life, and the deliverer of death in Genesis.  God tells Adam and Eve that if they disobey him they will surely die.  When Satan challenges God over his servant Job, God clearly tells Satan that he may not take his life.  Why?  Because only God may take a life.  The scriptures also clearly state that it is appointed unto every man once to die.  How can it be appointed unto man to die unless it is God who is the arbitrator?

No, God is clearly the holder of life and death and as Creator is that not clearly his prerogative?  It is absolutely amusing to me that so many people want to defend abortion as a woman’s right over her own body.  Sure!  She can do with that fetus anything she wants to!  And yet if God takes a life, suddenly he is a murderer?  Why?  Doesn’t God get to do anything he wants to with HIS creation?

And before you try and throw a “we’ve reached the point of viability” argument on me, go back and re-read your Scriptures.  Our very breath of life is sustained by God.  He literally holds his Creation together.  He sustains it moment by moment.  You are no more viable without God than a child in the womb is without its mother.

Abortion rights are apparently OK except when God allows the life to be taken.

So murderer or not?  I, unlike the gentleman who addressed Ken Ham over his upcoming debate with Bill Nye, cannot find it within myself to be quite so naïve as to address God as a murderer.  That is rather shallow thinking.  It also gives me pause to consider whether or not the legality of murder might apply to God’s laws and not just man’s.  We might want to consider that when granting the woman’s right to choose.

Interpreting Data

I have the opportunity to work with medium to large data sets on the job.  And the data sets are very significant to the customer.  So we need to be careful with the data.  However I am a pretty impatient person and sometimes I want to skip ahead in processing based upon assumptions about the data.  Every once in awhile I make a correct assumption, however, by far, most of the time I end up being wrong.  Fortunately the great people I work with don’t mind a little trial and error.  They are, however, quick to point out the errors in processing and the flaws in the assumptions.  We need to be careful, methodical, and detailed oriented when dealing with significant data sets.  And we need to constantly challenge our results and our analysis of the data.

Imagine my surprise then when a topic such as Global Climate Change comes up.

Before I even get to the discussion, I just cannot let this ridiculous terminology stand without giving it some challenge.  When former Vice President of the United States Al Gore wrote his book Earth In The Balance (published in June of 1992) the only thing we knew of man made weather change was Global Warming.  Now, some 22 years later, with little more data than before, and actually with data supporting changes other than Global Warming, the terminology has changed.  Now we use Global Climate Change.  This is just plain disingenuous and false science to boot.  If I ever observed data contrary to my theory (which is what has happened with our Weather Scientists) and I simply changed the name of my theory in order to make the data support my foregone conclusions, I would be laughed out of the room and banned from the community.  This is not what Scientist do.  But we have become so goofy with our terminology and our rush to validate our own fanatical fairy tales, we have actually squashed the two terms together (as if that makes any sense at all): NASA brings the two terms together to conveniently cover all possible cases.  Now, thanks to creative Scientific Theory naming, we can make all data fit either term and thus our fantasy Theory holds no matter what the data says.

But back to the data.  So when this discussion comes up at work, I am faced with the usual plethora of Global Climate Change supporters and this confuses me.  I ask about this and I am told that there is this study or that study and that the data is pretty conclusive.  And I am even more confused.  Lets put this into perspective, the same Scientist that are crying about Global Climate Change will tell us that the earth is about 4.5 billion years old.  We have actually collected and recorded about 100 years of climate data during human history.  The vast majority of that is simply temperature data.  And the first 25 to maybe even 50 years of that was taken on equipment nowhere near the precision of todays instruments and compared to todays readings might be considered to be in the ball park, but not exactly exact.  That is about 100 years of data for a 4.5 billion year old system (using their supplied Earth age mind you) of which 1/4 to 1/2 is probably suspect.  Let me put this into perspective for you: Earth Age Vs Weather DataSee the thin red line on the end?  The one with the arrow pointing to it?  That is the 100 years of weather data we have collected over the supposed life span of the Earth.  That timeline is to scale (well to scale as best as your computer screen will render at this resolution anyway).  It is almost ludicrous that so little data could support so big a theory and actually tie it into the effects of mankind over less than the given time period.

So I can just hear the but, but, but’s rolling in now.  We have all of this other data!  What about the ice core samples?  Doesn’t the data from the ice cores give us a greater history of the Earths climate changes?  Huh, No.  They do not.  Everything we believe we know from ice core samples is theory and conjecture.  Furthermore we’ve apparently run off and studied ice cores with Global Climate Change in mind.  We specifically LOOK to bend the evidence in favor of the theory.  Once again, in my world this would be called junk science.

And lastly, good scientific theory is meant to be challenged, debated and defended.  It is meant to be peer reviewed.  But by far (do a few WEB searches yourself if you need supporting evidence) the folks that support Global Climate Change shout down any dissenters time, and time, and time, and time again.  I don’t know about you, but the last time I checked, ridicule and shouting over your challenger as a tactic to defending your theories and data was NOT considered good scientific practice.  And yet that is exactly what is happening today.  Once again, junk science.

So why do the really, really smart people that I work with and others around the world just automatically buy into the whole Global Climate Change agenda?  I believe it stems from laziness.  Not that they are lazy in their ways, it is just that most individuals are far too busy with their every day lives to be worried about checking data reported to them.  And so they become lazy, and as a result somewhat trusting of what they are told (Why Al Gore has it in his book so it must be true).  Thus they don’t take the time to analyze the data on their own.

I believe if they did, there would be a BIG difference in what we see and know and believe about the story of Global Climate Change.

Data is important in our lives.  But don’t let the INTERPRETATION of the data in your life lead you down a path that one day you might regret.

Life Isn’t Fair

There is a philosophy of fairness gripping our world today.  Governments speak of inequities that exist between rich and poor, healthy and sick, happy and sad.  The have’s and the have not’s.  It is unnerving to some that so few could have so much and so many could have so little.  They want to right the wrongs, spread the wealth around, and build one great big happy utopia.  It has been tried time and time again through philosophies such as socialism, communism, or collectivist activism.  And each time it has failed.  And yet it is strived for.

The amazing thing to me is that no one ever asks the question as to why the inequities exist in the first place.  If your world view embraces a God you might ask the question as to why God allows some to be rich and some to be poor.  If your world view does not embrace a God you might ask the question as to why we cannot make things equal across the board.  We struggle with the fact that Life just isn’t fair.

Something that might be considered is that if your world view encompasses a God, then he might be the arbitrator of fairness in life.  Perhaps it is God who rewards and who takes away.  And all of our shuffling, and redistribution, and efforts cannot alter the plans of a God.

If your world view does not encompasses a God, then you are fighting the great cosmic entropy and the randomness of the Universe itself is beating down upon your very efforts.  Of course if your world view does not encompass a God, one might ask where your compassion comes from anyway or why you even care.

Either way it is an impossible task and the question then becomes why does it consume us so?

There is one world view that embraces, understands, and works within the great divides in life.  And that world view is the Christian world view.

For me, inequities in life are understandable and are readily worked with.  My world view of a God is not only liberating in this sense, it is also practicable in helping me deal with and change the inequities that touch me on a daily basis.

This is because the very definition of God is infinite in every direction and all encompassing of everything.

Recently I saw the question: why would a perfect God allow bad things to happen to good people?  And the answer was (and is) very plain to me.  Could a God build a perfect world?  Of course he could.  But if he did, where would my choice come in?  Where would my opportunity come from?  Or where would I be tested and proven to be true.

I love the quote of former Congressman J.C. Watts who said his grandmother used to tell him that true character was doing the right thing in the woods when no one else was around to see or to record the events.

The “world” is our woods.  And our “woods” is full of unfairness and challenges.  It is up to each and every one of us to do the right thing even if no one records it.  Why?  Because that is our test of character.

The Marines have a slogan: Do the Right Thing, At the Right Time, For the Right Reason.  If everything were equal across the board, there would be no measure of character, because everyone would always act the same way.

So why would a God allow such a system to exist?  Why would a God test us in such a way?  Well for me it goes back to my God’s infinite nature.  All of the myriad of differences in the world (and indeed the Universe) are all tiny reflections of an infinite God.  They are an expression of who, what, and why he is.  The inequities in life allow God to work.  The system allows God to be God.  Not for himself, God cannot suddenly stop being God, but rather for us.  It allows us to see God for who he truly is.

You see, from my world view, without sickness we would not know healing, without pain we could not know relief, without poverty we could not measure wealth, without suffering we could not measure joy, and without disobedience there could be no Grace.  It is the very antitheses of the system that allows us to see the beauty on the other side.  We make the mistake of believing that we may know beauty without ever having experienced ugliness.  But if all you had ever known in your entire life, from birth, was beauty, and you asked me to describe something other than beauty, how would I do that?  And how would you conceive it?  I contend it would be impossible.  And if the only thing you ever knew in life was beauty, where would your sense of appreciation come from?  And from what standpoint would you experience accomplishment?

No, Life isn’t fair, and I’m afraid you can do everything in your power to change that and you will find that it will always be that way during this age.

Rather than engaging in some vain fight to change something that we cannot, why not take it for what it is?  The opportunity to Do the Right Thing when no one else is around to see you do it.  Literally the opportunity to Do the Right Thing, At the Right Time, For the Right Reason.

If we all did this, we might all just be surprised at the growth of our Character,  and the changes in inequities that it just might effect within our world.

Is There A God?

One of the harder hitting and more intriguing questions asked in Life, Religion, Science, and Philosophy is: “Is there truly a God?”   I might suggest here that the question ought to be asked within Politics as well, but alas, it would seem that most of our Governments today have either convinced themselves that it makes no difference whether or not they explore this question, or that the answer to it has no bearing on their functions or actions (as if they are outside of the impacts of the question).

To some, it might seem as if this is an unanswerable question, although the vast majority of the world has already answered it for themselves.  Some have let others make the determination for them, essentially giving them the answer.  Some pursue this question relentlessly day-in and day-out.  And a few don’t have the time or effort to pursue it.

Others may ask why it even matters.  For a segment of the population there will be those that will understand why I would start with such a question, the rest may be confused or otherwise surprised that I would jump out of the box with this question.

But for me (and many others) this is a foundational question.  It is one that shapes your world view.  It directly effects how you view Life, Religion, Politics, Science, and Philosophy.  It is a life-changing question and its impacts are far reaching.  And it is a question that is current and relevant today (Reference this news story for a list of Celebrities whom you might think believe in a God since they claim to be religious).

It also is a question that bares ones biases.  And since I am desiring an honest and sincere pursuit of the interesting things in Life, Religion, Politics, Science, and Philosophy, it is a question that I must start off with.  It is a question that is seminal to any really interesting discussion of Life, Religion, Politics, Science, or Philosophy.  It is not a question to which everyone will agree upon an answer on, but it is a question that we should all agree has far reaching effects on our day-to-day lives.  And so, as for myself, I begin with: “Is there a God?

Obviously there are three distinct answers to this question.  There are those that would say “No.  Absolutely not.”  Those that would say “Yes. Absolutely there is.” and then there is everyone else.  I put ‘everyone else’ in the category of “I don’t know”, “I don’t care”, “Maybe there is or maybe there isn’t”, or “It doesn’t really matter one way or the other.”  But however you answer this one question will shape the way you approach everything else in life.

Consider Dr. Stephen Hawking or Dr. Richard Dawkins for example.  They have absolutely stated that there is no God.  Their answer to the question is “No.”  And that answer shapes their world view and their pursuits in life.  In the case of Dr. Hawking it has been an almost continual life time goal to establish the fact, once and for all, that there is no God.  They state rather emphatically that there is no God (and seemingly, have done little to persuade the list of Celebrities referenced in the news article above).

Secondly consider Dr. Billy Graham, or Dr. Rick Warren.  They would assuredly answer the question “Yes.”  And that answer in turn shapes their world view and pursuits in life.  And they have very different foundation they build upon than those which Dr. Hawking or Dr. Dawkins build upon.

The third category I will not discuss at this time other than to say that anyone who believes the question has no bearing on their life or that the answer to the question does not affect their lives one way or the other, are people who are blinded to the effect that one simple choice has already had upon their lives.  In other words, their choice of apathy has just as much a profound impact on their foundational life beliefs, and does the choice of those who say “Yes.” and those who say “No.”  I suppose I could throw Dr. Richard Carrier in here as an example skeptic, except he really is not.  He is as much of a “No.” person as any of the other “No.” persons out there.  Unfortunately I tend to believe that by the time one has risen to enough prominence level to be used as an example, they are no longer in the third category but are rather firmly ensconced in either the “Yes.” or “No.” categories.

So this is a good place to start, it is interesting to me, and it broadly sweeps all aspects of Life / Religion / Politics / Science / Philosophy.  It is a question to end all questions.  Is there really and truly a God?

My answer is YES.  Absolutely there is.  For me, it is the only model that makes sense.  For me, it is the only model the evidence supports.  For me, it is the only model that answers all the other questions that life throws at you from any category.  Of course there is a God and he is the foundation for understanding all other pursuits in Life / Religion / Politics / Science / and Philosophy.

The discussions that matter.

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