Excellent Op-Ed on the Pledge case.

Following up on the previous entry I’d like to point to an op-ed piece by Ayesha N. Khan over at SFGate.com:

How to untangle the religious from the patriotic

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether the words “under God” must be omitted from the recitation of the pledge in public schools. As a legal matter, the required outcome is plain: A principled application of constitutional law calls for the words to be stricken. As a political matter, however, the case is more complex: It pairs patriotism with religious faith, matters that inflame passions when they arise in isolation and are downright incendiary when they coalesce. But it is precisely because the pledge pairs religion and politics that the phrase must be removed.

Ayesha manages to touch upon most of the same arguments I’ve made on this issue since it first came to light.

The Pledge served us fine for 60 some odd years before Congress felt the need to improve it by adding the words “under God” to it in the 1950s. At that point it went from a unifying statement to a divisive one by implying that only those who believe in a monotheistic God were patriotic. Supporters like to claim it’s a recognition of the country’s religious heritage and that it constitutes ‘ceremonial deism’ that is devoid of religious meaning, yet both these arguments fail when one looks at history. Several attempts were made at the founding of this country to insert language acknowledging the Christian God in various documents that were removed to avoid entangling religion and government and history tells us that the events surrounding the 1954 addition to the Pledge made it very clear that the intent was wholely to promote a particular religious viewpoint and thusly the words are not devoid of any religious meaning nor were meant as an acknowledgment of our religious heritage. Ayesha goes on to mention a previous Pledge case brought before the Supreme Court in 1935:

Newdow’s experience mirrors that of Lillian Gobitis, a seventh-grader who, in 1935, sought to remain true to her Jehovah’s Witness teachings by opting out of the recitation of the pledge. It had not yet been amended to include the words “under God”—that occurred in 1954 at the height of the McCarthy era, when many Americans were keen to distinguish themselves from “godless Communists”—but Gobitis’ religious motivation for objection was perceived as unpatriotic by her fellow students, who subjected her to verbal harassment and physical attacks. School officials were equally intolerant of her perspective; they expelled her for “insubordination.” Lillian challenged her expulsion but ultimately lost before the Supreme Court, which was swayed by the politics of the impending war. The court’s 1940 ruling led to waves of persecution against Jehovah’s Witnesses at the hands of those emboldened by the decision’s affirmation of anti-minority sentiments.

But the high court got it wrong in the Gobitis case, and it did so for all the wrong reasons. If the federal courts cannot be counted on to rest their rulings on principle—rather than politics—they add nothing to our constitutional order that is not already provided by the representative branches of government. Even more important, the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Gobitis case betrayed the very purpose of the Bill of Rights, which is to protect religious and other minorities from the political predilections of the majority.

The Supreme Court, as Ayesha notes, did eventually correct this error:

In recognition of its error, the Supreme Court corrected itself three years later. In West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnette, the court upheld the right of Jehovah’s Witness students to abstain from reciting the pledge, eloquently explaining that “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion or other matters of opinion.” In overruling its previous decision, the court recognized that the “case is made difficult not because the principles of its decision are obscure but because the flag involved is our own.”

Yet again, history repeats itself. But this time, let’s get it right—the first time. In so doing, we would be recognizing a new patriotism, one that allows all Americans to fully express their love for this great country.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

28 thoughts on “Excellent Op-Ed on the Pledge case.

  1. Yes, nicely written.  Deism is deism, whether it’s “merely ceremonial” (huh? as opposed to nonceremonial?), “generic” (ain’t no such thing—otherwise we could all say “one nation under Allah” and nobody would get upset), or “optional.”

    The very fact that the entire Senate voted unanimously to support the Pledge worries me.  Was it really the case that all 99 senators agreed with each other that fervently?  Or were there a few who secretly thought, “You know, it’s just not that important, they can take it out if it offends people,” but didn’t dare say so?

    It’s every bit as coercive when you’re an adult as when you’re a child, even if you’re supposed to be confident enough to stick to your principles against all odds when you’re older. 

    For one thing, kids are being indoctrinated in this pledge at an age where they are just learning to obey authority figures other than their parents.  Most parents don’t want to undermine their children’s teachers by saying, “You don’t have to listen to him/her on this bit.”  That’s just confusing.  This is not a place to start encouraging your child to resist group activities.

    For another, this isn’t a case of encouraging your child not to wear blue clothing on Blue Day at school.  Rebelling against religion is DANGEROUS SHIT.  People get killed all the time for it, all over the world.  Seeing as how patriotism here in the US is for all intents and purposes a religious issue just as much as deism is, having your child resist saying the Pledge is probably the most dangerous thing you can ask for.  And as Khan points out, that’s EXACTLY why it shouldn’t have been instituted.  There is no safe, harmless way to refuse it.

  2. I suspect it was a case of “patriotism” winning over principle. It set the US apart from the godless communists and it did play well with the majority of voters.

    Maybe we can play definition games with our kids and tell them that G.O.D. actually stands for General Omnipotent Device (thank you, Marty Feldman). It has risks of its own, but ridicule is an effective countermeasure against indoctrination.

  3. It has risks of its own, but ridicule is an effective countermeasure against indoctrination.

    What about indifference?

    I don’t ridicule people for believing what they believe in, I just believe what I believe in for my own reasons.  Ridicule is ineffective, because disrespecting them is not going to make them listen with any more objectivity than you are to them.

    As for the Senate voting on this matter…

    This is disgusting.  Senate has no choice in this matter, nor should they be putting such a sensational display on for the Supreme Court justices, whose job is to act on, well, PRINCIPLE AND NOT POLITICS (well said, Ayesha).  Hell, that’s the only friggin’ reason we don’t vote them into office - they serve for LIFE!  People should be jailed for abusing that kind of job security (and responsibility).  Coercion and political pressure from the Senate should be frowned upon, not inspirational.

  4. Ridicule doesn’t change the mind of the believer, but it can change the mind of the undecided, and weaken the authority of the believer.  That’s why political humor is so effective.

  5. Being a Christian believer myself, and a strong one at that, I find ridicule against my faith to be offensive AND pointless.  No, we do not listen to people who wont give us the same respect…so props to JoshMan3D on that point.  I agree with you totally. 

    Unfortuantly, many do not take this into account and I find myself at the business end of a “anti-religion” rifle quite often now adays. 

    As I was becoming a Christian, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to both ends of the spectrum.  I was shown science and “physical” truth and then faith.  And im more than happy with my choice.  But dont people feel the responsibility of free thinking on their shoulders when they attempt to sway opinion?
    Im sorry “GeekMom” but this is more or less directed at your comment.

    Christians, or rather “Evangelists” now adays are no better at this, I’ll admit.  But neither are atheists (in many aspects anyways).  In a theis paper or newspaper article, the writer is expected to give both sides of the argument, despite how bias the writer may be.  I reccomend that people who are attempting to sway opinion or faith allow the other side or sides of the argument to be fully presented to allow the individual to make a educated decision. 

    After all, thats what this site is all about right?  Free thinking?  :dance:

  6. Open mouth, insert foot.

    Ridicule of rote indoctrination by “ceremonial deism” - does that work better?

    HOWEVER, in this context it is very interesting that you take offense a Christian. So you therefore acknowledge that it’s meant to be a nation under the Christian god?

  7. Jefferson, Madison, Newdow? is an Op-Ed piece in today’s New York Time, wherein the popular author Kenneth Davis provides his take on the framer’s views on sepration of church and state.

  8. Thanks for clarifying, elwedriddsche.  I totally read that literally.

    And I also have to agree with GeekMom - political cartoons kick ass, as well as political humor in general (although both can get tiring [i.e. depressing] at times).

    As far as ridicule against your faith goes, OfW0lfandMan… no one ever DID.  In fact, nowhere does it mention here in this comment strand any ridicule against Christian beliefs - we’re just ridiculing AGAINST the ridicule that goes AGAINST OUR beliefs, as atheists.  Somehow, you Christians seem to get that all mixed up, especially in this particular matter (oooh! I’ve gone and done it again!)

    So to clarify, here’s what we’re thinking on the “under God” issue:

    IT NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE, AND THEREFORE IT MUST GO TO PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF EVERYONE.

    Removing it is no disrespect to religion or Christianity.  This isn’t even specifically directed at you, OfW0lfandMan, but more for everyone who looks at this site and thinks of us as a bunch of people who culminate for the unanimous ridicule of something (namely religion) that we don’t understand (which, ironically, we do more than most people).

    I agree with your stance on arguing effectively, but I don’t see how any of us have failed to do that.  Many people don’t, but you can’t put us into the same category.

  9. I completely agree with you, Joshman, and you were well-spoken.  Unfortunately, though, the “under God” genie is out of the bottle, and once it’s out, it’s a lot harder to put back in without offending the ones to whom it meant the most.  I wish it had never been put into the Pledge, too, because it took us down a slope that is harder to go back up.

    I can see how the religious people who took the phrase to heart will see it as a rejection to take it back out again.  Rejection may or may not go hand in hand with disrespect (especially if you confuse belief with respect).  But sometimes we do have to make painful course corrections to stay on the straight and narrow that our country’s founders took great pains to lay out for us.

  10. JoshMan3D said: - In fact, nowhere does it mention here in this comment strand any ridicule against Christian beliefs -

    (raises hand meekly) uhhhh, I’ve ridiculed their beliefs in other threads. Aren’t we allowed to ridicule their beliefs, if their beliefs are stupid?

    I thought it was ok to do that. I really did! So you’re suggesting no more ridiculing someone if they say for example ” Jesus said: BEHOLD, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him; and he with me.”

    First off who says “behold” and doesn’t expect to be made fun of. I could go around saying behold, thinking it would get me some respect, but, I mean, could you just hear me saying “BEHOLD, I am coming to visit you and sup with you!” Oh, the insanity. “BEHOLD! BEEEHOLD! BE-HOLD! Let us sup together!”

    Secondly, who really thinks they’re gonna have “sup” with Jesus and do it right? I mean is the guy a vegetarian or what? And is he gonna try to wash your feet before you sup, or expect you to wash his?

    What are ya gonna feed him. He’s JESUS for Christ’s sake. WHO cooks that good? Are you gonna give him the ham with all the nitrates and nitrites, or worse yet a “shaped and formed” ham.

    Or what about that scripture “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom 10:9)

    What do zombies eat? I think they eat people, don’t they? Are you gonna feed Jesus a person?

    Jesus said: “And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same;” (Hebrews 9:16)

    Who lets their children eat flesh and blood? Who does that?
    What is Jesus teaching these poor children?

    No, I’m sorry, but when I “behold” some of the things these guys on here believe and say, you gotta believe the first thing I want to do is ridicule them. Wouldn’t you?

    “Verily, I say unto you, Behold, it is sup!!!……” (wanders off saying silly Biblical stuff)

  11. Brock.  Dude.  I suspect you got a little too much into the famous “drunken shrimp” dish I had once in Singapore …

    Oh, hell, let’s go with it.  On with the FLOOR SHOW!!

  12. Nope, haven’t had anything to drink, nor did I smoke anything! Just got a little silly…. Hey, are you ridiculing me?

    Oh well, just wait till the audience participation part of this dinner theatre…..we know just where you’re sitting!

  13. Hey Brock, if my understanding of zombie dietary custom is correct, the undead feast mainly on brains.

    Oh… Wait a minute… I think I GET it now..

  14. My point, Brock (and by the way, that was a great bit, heheh) was that you can’t convince people strictly through ridicule.  And I know… MAN do I know it’s hard NOT to ridicule such rediculous (heh) dialect.  But with those types of people, who are so deep into their own asses with their dogma that they’d USE that kind of outdated language, need to be convinced with respect.  Sure, you can sway those who are undecided with ridicule (it’s as easy as making the opposition look bad), but you’ll only offend those on the other side.  I’m not saying that it’s a goal of mine (I could care less about those wackos); I’m just saying that you can’t expect respect if you don’t give any.

    One doesn’t walk into St. Patrick’s Cathedral as a tourist, and starts hailing Satan as a joke.  I had a younger friend who did that.

    I find it less amusing, but probably a bit more frightening if people start spouting off biblical stuff like that.  They’ve got problems if they can only spout exactly what they’ve heard, without any further interpretation as to what the text entails.

    But DAMN, if that string wasn’t funny as hell…

    Humor has its place, but it’s best to keep it limited during arguement.

  15. MAN do I know it’s hard NOT to ridicule such rediculous (heh) dialect.

    JoshMan; a spelling tip from a self-confessed word geek…  the root word is the base, and since you know “ridicule,” you should now never again forget “ridiculous!”

    You obviously like to write and you’re damned good at it, so I hope you don’t take offense at a little help from an old broad with an unhealthy interest in making the world more literate.

    Some of you kids are proof that the answer lies in making MORE information and outlets available to our “children” - not LESS.

    But back to the topic: I want the pre-‘54 version of the Pledge back.  I’m tired of having to qualify my oath of allegiance to my country, and it’d be nice if my kid could say it in school again and MEAN it (they don’t say it AT ALL here anymore, to avoid the whole issue).  I love my country and I love our flag because to me it represents a country in which I have the right to say what I think and believe what I wish.  Tacking a god onto the oath renders it meaningless to me because I’m now required to swear to something I don’t believe.

    I joke about being a word geek, but if there’s anything that’s sacred to me it’s language and the power of words.  When you’re pledging allegiance, you’re giving your WORD… all the words in any oath you speak, whether to individual, god or country should be true enough in your own heart to be willing to die for saying them.  The two words at issue here, “under God (especially with the big G)” make that impossible for me because they so completely change what I consider to be a sacred oath (so I haven’t said it at all since 1974).

  16. And, uh, Brock…

    All I can say is it’s a good thing the computer’s so near the bathroom, because old ladies like me can’t laugh that hard without potentially disastrous consequences!!! :rofl:

    What are ya gonna feed him. He

  17. Yeah, I know, Josh, that you can get more flies with honey than with vinegar, but sometimes I just can’t stop myself. Humor is a great tool when you want to point out the absurdity in a situation or belief. Sometimes I think it may be the only way to inspire someone to look at a situation afresh. But I’m glad you appreciated the humorous approach, and I was hoping it would generate responses like the one Maryh gave. She totally “got” me, too.

    And you’ve got to admit the Bible has some pretty geeky language. Yet, when we try to modernize it, the meanings of the words change, sometimes they’re purposely changed. That’s the problem with the new versions.

    I don’t think I was far off with my parody of a modern visit from Jesus,and David even used the expression “Yea” in a post the other day.

    It’s funny though, to imagine what a visit from Jesus might be like:

    “Uh, babe, I hope you don’t mind such short notice, but Jesus is going to “sup” with us. Someone knocked. I answered and it was Jesus! He said ‘Behold, I have knocked at your door…’ and I said, I know - I answered it. What do you want? And he said ‘If I knock and you answer, I will sup with you’ and I said ‘Is the doorbell broken’ and he smiled expansively and motioned for me to step aside so that he could enter. He’s sitting in the living room right now.”

    Mate: “Well that’s pretty rude! Did you invite him to dinner?”

    “Not that I can remember. He knocked, I guess the doorbell’s broken, and told me since I answered, he would sup with us.”

    Mate: “Who just comes to someone’s house, someone they don’t know, without being invited? Is he selling anything?”

    “I’m not sure - he said “behold”, so maybe he wants to show me something. Don’t worry though, I’m not buying anything, even if Jesus himself endorses it. What should we feed him? Maybe we should order Chinese.”

    Mate: “I don’t think so. I mean, he probably expects figs and olives and loaves and fishes and stuff. I don’t even have any wine to offer him.”

    “That’s ok, I think he has the wine covered…..You know, he might be willing to turn all that Perrier in the basement into a nice Bordeaux.”

    Mate: “Do you think he would do that for us?”

    “He’s JESUS hon. What’s he going to do, say no?”

    Mate: “Well, YOU ask him. I don’t want him to think he has to perform or anything. Go tell him we’re pleased to have him for dinner. I’ve some nice chilled shrimp and I’ve been waiting for a chance to use that new cocktail sauce recipe.

    “You think he likes shrimp?”

    Mate: “Everybody likes shrimp. And, crab cakes might be nice too.”

    “Ok, sounds like you’ve got this covered. I’ll go see if I can pick his brain about the meaning of life and stuff. This would be a good chance to see where we stand with God, too. Maybe he’ll put in a good word for us.”

    Mate: “He might not want to talk “shop”, but I wouldn’t mind knowing how we’re doing with God. Go sit with him. I’m sure he’s feeling a little awkward.”

    “Ok” -

    “Say, Jesus, It’s great to have you for dinner and all….but is there any other reason you’re here. I mean, you haven’t heard anything have you? You’re Dad isn’t mad at us or anything….”

    Jesus: “Verily, I say unto you BEHOLD, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him; and he with me.

  18. Thanks OB. Sorry to torture an “old lady”.

    I’m not sure about the ham. Maybe Jesus would like liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti…

  19. Brock:

    That piece should be published AND performed.  It sounds like something off of the late Union Citizen’s Brigade.

    And OB?  THANK YOU for reminding me.  Man, I’ve been spelling it that way for YEARS.  I’ve been making myself look RIDICULOUS.

  20. Brock, you slay me.
    Poor Jesus, if he stopped by my hut, I’d be pestering him to turn my bottles of two-buck Chuck into something… well, classier, I guess.
    Does anyone really believe that Jesus, if he were a real flesh’n'blood guy, would be greeting potential flock members with “Behold, I stand at your door and knock!” I mean, lame translation. Might’ve worked 4 centuries ago, but sounds a wee stilted today.  Might not He have said, “Hey- doorbells haven’t been invented yet!  But don’t worry, I’m not a real estate agent.  I just wanna do some chow, magically convert your crappy tap water into kickass hooch, and let you onto the secret of eternal inner peace. Up for it?  And may I mention that you look very lovely tonite, Mrs. Cleaver.”
    MY Jesus would be at least a little craftier than the King James version.

  21. COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT EVOLUTION STILL BEING TAUGHT:                           

    There are common misconceptions concerning evolution which continue to be taught.  For example, in November of ‘04 articles had appeared in major U.S. newspapers in which journalists interpreted and claimed that according to research running may have contributed to the evolution of man.

    The simple fact is that physical traits and characteristics are determined and passed on by genes - not by running or any other form of exercise. Any exercises that are performed do not affect the genes.

    Traits or characteristics which are acquired from the environment simply cannot be passed on to offspring ( i.e. a woman who loses her finger will not cause her baby to be born with a missing finger; changing the color or texture of your hair will not affect the hair color or texture of your descendants, and etc. ). 

    Thus, even if an ape ever did learn to walk and run upright it still would not be able to pass on this trait to its offspring. Only changes which occur in the genes of reproductive cells ( i.e. sperm and egg ) can be passed on to offspring. That is a simple fact of biology.

    Another misconception is that any kind of change is possible among living things. Modern science, however, has shown that there are genetic limits to evolution or biological change in nature. All biological variations, whether they are beneficial to survival or not, are possible only within the genetic potential and limits of a biological kind such as the varieties among dogs, cats, horses, cows, etc.

    However, variations across biological kinds such as humans evolving from ape-like creatures and apes, in turn, evolving from dog-like creatures and so on, as Darwinian evolutionary theory teaches, are not possible unless Nature can perform genetic engineering so as to change the over-all genetic information and program in species. 

    It is true that natural selection occurs in nature, but natural selection itself is not a creative force. Natural selection can only work with biological variations which are possible to begin with. 

    Biological variations are determined by the DNA or genetic code of species. The DNA molecule is actually a molecular string of various nucleic acids which are arranged in a sequence just like the letters in a sentence.  It is this sequence in DNA that tells cells in the body how to construct various tissues and organs.

    The common belief among evolutionists is that random mutations in the genetic code over time will produce entirely new sequences for new traits and characteristics which natural selection can then act upon resulting in entirely new species.  Evolutionists consider mutations to be a form of natural genetic engineering.

    However, the very nature of mutations precludes such a possibility. Mutations are accidental changes in the sequential structure of the genetic code caused by various random environmental forces such as radiation and toxic chemicals. 

    Almost all true mutations are harmful, which is what one would normally expect from accidents. Even if a good mutation occurred for every good one there will be thousands of harmful ones with the net result over time being disastrous for the species.

    Most biological variations occur as a result of new combinations of previously existing genes - not because of mutations which are rare in nature.

    Furthermore, mutations simply produce new varieties of already existing traits (i.e. varieties of hair color, texture, etc.). Sometimes mutations may trigger the duplication of already existing traits (i.e. an extra finger, toe, or even an entire head!). But mutations have no ability to produce entirely new traits or characteristics (i.e. causing hair cells to turn into feathers, wings, etc.).

    It is not at all rational to believe that the gradual accumulation of random and chance mutations in the sequence of the genetic code caused by random environmental forces such as radiation will produce over time entirely new gene sequences to program for entirely new and more complex species.

    Would it be rational to believe that by randomly changing the sequence of letters in a cookbook that you will eventually get a book that teaches you how to build an atomic bomb? Of course not! And if the book were a living being it would have died in the process of such random changes.

    Such changes in a book or in the genetic code of species cannot occur by random or chance alterations. It would require intelligent planning and design to change one book into another or to change the DNA of a simpler species into the DNA of a more complex one. The random forces of the environment are simply not capable of doing the latter for the genetic code in species.

    Furthermore, a partially-evolved and useless organ waiting millions of years to be completed via random mutations would be a biological hindrance, obstruction, and liability - not exactly a suitable candidate for natural selection assuming, of course, that random mutations could ever get an organ to a partially-evolved stage.

    In fact, how could species have survived over supposedly millions of years while their vital organs were still evolving? There is no evidence in the fossil record of partially-evolved species (i.e. no half-evolved dinosaur, elephant, camel, etc.).

    Given that Nature has no true ability to perform genetic engineering, it is more logical to believe that the genetic and biological similarities between species are due to a common Designer rather than a common evolutionary ancestry.

    Science cannot prove we’re here by creation, but neither can science prove we’re here by chance or macro-evolution. No one has observed either. They are both accepted on faith. The issue is which faith, Darwinian macro-evolutionary theory or creation, has better scientific support.

    The simple fact is that Nature can only work with the already given genetic potential in species and no more. Before any tissue, organ, or biological structure can ever develop there must first exist the prerequisite genetic information and potential.

    Young people, and even adults, often wonder how all the varieties and races of people could come from the same human ancestors. Well, in principle, that’s no different than asking how children with different color hair ( i.e., blond, brunette, brown, red ) can come from the same parents who both have black hair.

    Just as some individuals today carry genes to produce descendents with different color hair and eyes, humanity’s first parents possessed genes to produce all the variety and races of men. You and I today may not carry the genes to produce every variety or race of humans, but humanity’s first parents did possess such genes.

    All varieties of humans carry the genes for the same basic traits, but not all humans carry every possible variation of those genes. For example, one person may be carrying several variations of the gene for eye color ( i.e., brown, green,  blue ) , but someone else may be carrying only one variation of the gene for eye color ( i.e., brown ). Thus, both will have different abilities to affect the eye color of their offspring.

    There is, of course, much more to be said on this subject. Scientist, creationist, debater, writer, and lecturer, Dr. Walt Brown covers various scientific issues ( i.e. fossils, mutations, the origin of life,  embryology, comparative anatomy/physiology, the issue of vestigial organs, the age of the earth, etc. ) at greater depth in his website at http://www.creationscience.com. Another excellent source of information from scientists who are creationists is the Institute for Creation Research (http://www.icr.org)  in San Diego, California. 

    In his essay, Dr. Brown even discusses the possibility of any remains of life on Mars having originated from the Earth due to great geological disturbances in the Earth’s past which easily could have spewed rocks and dirt containing microbes into space.

    It is only fair that school students be exposed to the scientific arguments and evidence on both sides of the creation/evolution issue.

    Sincerely,
    Babu G. Ranganathan
    ( B.A. Theology/Biology)
    http://www.religionscience.com

  22. Conservative Theologian Reconsiders Hell:

    Although I am a conservative Christian (Baptist), I no longer believe that the Bible teaches or supports the traditional view of hell with its teaching of eternal torment or suffering. The Bible does teach eternal punishment but that eternal punishment ultimately is not eternal suffering.

    I hope that you and others will read my essay “The Bible Vs. The Traditional View of Hell” on my website http://www.religionscience.com. I explain what is meant by “eternal punishment” in Scripture and why that eternal punishment does not and cannot mean eternal suffering or torment.

    I also explain how certain verses in Scripture have been misinterpreted and taken out of context to support the teaching of eternal suffering. I give a historical explanation and understanding as to how and why belief in eternal suffering entered very early into the Christian church.

    I am a published Christian writer (recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis Who’s Who In The East). I am hoping that you will read and pass on my essay “The Bible Vs. The Traditional View of Hell” at http://www.religionscience.com.

    Sincerely,

    Babu G. Ranganathan
    (B.A. Theology/Biology)
    http://www.religionscience.com

  23. Evolution, Entropy, and Open Systems: 

    The law of entropy in science teaches that the natural (or spontaneous) tendency of all matter is towards greater disorder and randomness - not greater order and complexity, as evolution would teach. Contrary to what evolutionists claim, entropy does occur in open systems as well as in closed systems. After all, we discovered entropy here on Earth which is an open system in relation to the Sun.

    The difference between an open system and a closed system is not entropy but the availability of useful energy. Evolutionists believe that in an open system, such as the Earth, the unlimited energy available from the Sun will provide matter with the ability to overcome entropy so that matter can evolve towards ever greater levels of complexity, order, and organization.

    However, it is not sufficient to have just enough energy to produce substantial levels of order. There also has to exist an energy converting and directing mechanism. Living things possess complex energy converting and directing mechanisms to temporarily overcome entropy so that a seed, for example, can develop into a tree. The question is how did biological order and such mechanisms come into being in the first place at a time when there was no energy converting and directing mechanism in Nature to overcome entropy.

    Only a very minimal level of order will ever be possible as a result of chance or spontaneous processes. Amino acids, for example, have been shown to come into existence by chance (spontaneously) but not proteins. Functioning protein molecules require that the various amino acids be in a precise sequence, just like the letters in a sentence.  There is no evidence that chance processes can accomplish this - especially the many millions of protein molecules found in even the simplest cell.

    There is no innate chemical tendency for amino acids to bond with one another in a sequence.  Any one amino acid can just as easily bond with any other. The only reason at all for why the various amino acids bond with one another in a precise sequence in the cells of our bodies is because they’re directed to do so by the sequence of molecules found in the genetic code. If they’re not in the proper sequence protein molecules will not function.

    The great British scientist Sir Frederick Hoyle has said that the probability of the sequence of molecules in the simplest cell coming into existence by chance is equivalent to a tornado going through a junk yard of airplane parts and assembling a 747 Jumbo Jet!

    We are so accustomed to seeing evolution of technology all about us (new cars, planes, boats, ships, inventions, etc.) that we assume that Nature must work the same way also. Of course, we forget that all those new gadgets and technology had a human designer behind them. Nature, however, doesn’t work the same way!

    Entropy is still the biggest scientific obstacle to evolution. Entropy is the opposite direction of evolution. The natural and spontaneous tendency of matter is always towards greater disorder and randomness - not greater order and complexity.

    Science cannot prove we are here by either design (creation) or by chance (evolution), but people should be free to study the evidence from both sides and decide for themselves which has better scientific support.

    Researchers and highly qualified scientists at the Institute for Creation Research (http://www.icr.org) of San Diego, California can provide much helpful material to the interested public on this and other issues concerning creation and evolution.

    Sincerely,
    Babu G. Ranganathan
    (B.A. Theology/Biology)
    http://www.religionscience.com

  24. I have just one thing to say to all of that nonsense: Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!

    Sorry, couldn’t hold it in.

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