Sapphire Sky

February 5, 2014

Re: The Debate

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., culture, entertainment — Anthony Biller @ 12:11 am

I generally agree with Rev Travis’s comments about the debate, below.  Some thoughts after having just returned from the debate in person …  I found striking the complete difference between the men – not just content, but also in character and style.  In person, I found Nye routinely condescending and arrogant to Mr. Ham, while Ken seemed continually meek and humble in response.  I wonder if this viewed the same on the live streaming.

Nye refused to concede that there was any difference between historical and observational science.  He seemed to argue that we presently observe the age of the earth, apparently through radioisotope dating, but he had no response to the wildly inconsistent age readings from such methods.  He offered no explanation regarding the problems with the assumptions upon which these methods rely.  He looked surprised when Ken showed the nearly hundred different type isotope dating methods and the fact each on produces quite different results.

From the audience, it seemed that Nye repeatedly and directly assaulted on  reliability of scripture in the second half of the debate.  In criticizing Ken’s positions, Nye criticized Ken’s reliance upon the Bible by implying the Bible is unreliable based on the “Chinese whispers” logic of passing along information over long period of time and made numerous critical remarks about relying upon “an ancient document that’s been translated into English.”  Nye scoffed at the idea that sin affected all of creation and was all but contemptuous of the global flood.

Favorite part of the debate was when Nye could not answer where the matter that led to the Big Bang came from.  In response, Ken responded “Bill, there is this book that has the answer …”  Ken then quoted Genesis 1:1 and explained the Biblical account on the origins of matter.  The next question to Nye was what was the materialist explanation for consciousness.  Again, Nye could not answer.  Again, Ken responded, “Bill, there is this book that has the answer …” and he quoted and explained Genesis 2.

Nye’s explanation of consciousness was bizarre, something about our conscious   being “the universe looking at itself.”  Weird.  In the last quarter of the debate it became increasing apparent that Nye all but worships materialism.

I wish Ken had more time to explicate the “scientific” evidence of a young Earth.  See Ten Best Evidences from Science of a Young Earth. Unfortunately, there was not enough time to respond to many of Nye’s points.  I believe Answers in Genesis is doing a follow-up streaming broadcast to go over many of these points.

As expected, I don’t think either side “won.”  Each side presented their position with clarity. For those already familiar with the arguments and issues, there was not anything new.  For those new to the debate or previously apathetic, it should have provided plenty of food for thought from both sides.  It was a general civil and engaging evening.  As stated, Ken explained the creationist perspective with humility and grace.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  I’m particularly interested to see whether or to what extent notice is given to Nye’s assault on the Bible and on basic biblical doctrines beyond creation.

UPDATE: see Debunking Bill Nye’s Arguments

December 18, 2012

Hobbit or Ranger?

Filed under: culture, encouragement, entertainment, marriage and family — Anthony Biller @ 11:44 pm

Is Your Family a Group of Hobbits or a Group of Rangers?

Wednesday, Aug 11th 2010

By David French

Lord of the Rings begins in the bucolic, family-focused good earth of the Shire, where generations of hobbits live the fantasy world version of the “balanced life.” They till the earth. They lift a pint with good friends. They live in family homes (holes, really) passed from generation to generation. But the Shire can’t actually exist without another group of people — a group that Shire-folk look at with suspicion and mistrust: The rangers.

Rangers (like Aragorn) hang out at the borders of the Shire, visiting only occasionally, and spending their time keeping all the nasty things at bay. They battle the orcs and trolls continually, fighting to keep the Shire oh so very Shire-ish. And they do it without any real thanks because it’s the right thing to do and because they want the world to be the kind of place that is safe enough, prosperous enough, to contain a Shire.

I think I offended a group of very fine, upstanding law students.

One week ago, I was speaking to a group of students about life in the “big law firm,” and I told them that one of their responsibilities was to “work like a rabid dog.”  (I don’t know if rabid dogs are particularly hard working, but I like the image of a snarling, foaming-at-the-mouth young lawyer restrained from attacking the next pile of documents only by the chain on his ankle).  Then I told them that they should not be “that guy” or “that girl” who leaves their colleagues at a critical moment because their kid’s soccer game is just So. Darn. Important.  “That guy” makes people like me miss OUR kids’ games to make up for their lost work.  “You’re in a community,” I said, “A community made up of your fellow lawyers, paralegals, and the secretaries, and you have responsibilities to that community just as you do to your next-door neighbor, to your fellow church members, or to any other part of the world.”

I didn’t stop there.  “Lawyers work hard.  They just do.  There’s no magic bullet for the balanced lifestyle — whatever a balanced lifestyle means — instead, make sure your spouse and children are on the same page with you, that you’re united in your family’s collective and individual callings, and that you support each other as you confront the financial world, or any other part of the world you engage.”

From the looks on their faces and from the reaction of some students afterward, you would have thought I had placed a pile of kittens in a blender and hit “puree” . . . right in front of them.  The comments came flying in.

“Are you really saying that more time with your kids isn’t good?”

“Shouldn’t we all be ‘that guy,’ and isn’t it your fault that you’re willing to stay late?”

“Look, I’ll stay 10 or 15 minutes late to wrap things up, but I’m just not going to sacrifice my family by working late.”   (I wished him good luck with that philosophy and told him I’d never hire him).

“My family is more important than anything, and I’m not going to work any more than eight or nine until five.”  (I told this fellow that “Wal-Mart is hiring.”)

In fact, the comments haven’t stopped.  I’m still getting blowback from the talk, a full week later.  Someone said that I was “mean.”

And they’re right.  I am mean.  But that’s beside the point.  I may be mean, but I’m right . . . I’m factually right, and — more importantly — I’m morally right.  In at least one limited but vitally important sense.

Nothing world-changing has happened within the limited confines of the nine-to-five work week.  Nobody can wake up in the morning and say, “I’m dedicating myself and my family to my fellow man, but only so long as I keep exactly the kind of balance that would make my therapist proud.”  Eight hours per day can help make one happy (maybe), but is happiness the point?  Do we even know in any given day, week, or month what will make us happy over the medium to long term?  We think we do, but I know many, many people who get exactly what they want . . . and then find out it wasn’t as great as they thought it would be.

I don’t think so much of happiness as I think of purpose.  My purpose.  My wife’s purpose.  My kids’ purpose.  Our purpose.  If I may geek out a bit, let me draw analogy from Lord of the Rings.  If you recall (and you should), the story begins in the bucolic, family-focused good earth of the Shire, where generations of hobbits live the fantasy world version of the “balanced life.”  They till the earth.  They lift a pint with good friends.  They live in family homes (holes, really) passed from generation to generation.  But the Shire can’t actually exist without another group of people — a group that Shire-folk look at with suspicion and mistrust: The rangers.  Rangers (like Aragorn) hang out at the borders of the Shire, visiting only occasionally, and spending their time keeping all the nasty things at bay.  They battle the orcs and trolls continually, fighting to keep the Shire oh so very Shire-ish. And they do it without any real thanks because it’s the right thing to do and because they want the world to be the kind of place that is safe enough, prosperous enough, to contain a Shire.

To put things more clearly, I think every family has to ultimately ask itself: Are we rangers or hobbits?  It really is a family decision, by the way.  If a wife wants to live in Hobbiton and the husband heads out to the wild lands, resentment builds in both directions, children feel abandoned without higher purpose, and marriages dissolve in acrimony and bitterness.  Stay in the shire until the parents are unified in heart and mind and willing to take on the wild.

Of course, the obvious analogy is the “Shire” of America defended by the rangers (like the literal Rangers in the United States Army) abroad by the terrorists and radicals who seek to kill us all.  But our culture lives or dies, prospers or withers, on the basis of much more than force of arms.  Liberty at home depends on the courage and perseverance of a small army of police officers, lawyers, and civil rights activists. Economic hope and prosperity depends on entrepreneurs willing to invest their life’s savings, their dreams, and all their energies into new businesses.  Even the much-maligned financiers provide capital that makes virtually any economic project of any consequence possible.  For every employee drawing sharp lines at 5:00 p.m. there’s a boss or owner who has sacrificed much to create such an idyllic job.

In the past three years, I have spent more than 500 days away from home.  More than 300 of those occurred on my deployment to Iraq, but the first full year that I was home, I traveled more than 100 additional days on business.  In my civilian life, I’m a free speech and religious liberties lawyer, and liberty is often under attack here at home.  I travel too much, and I’m trying to cut back, but there’s also work to be done.

At the same time, however, I’m blessed to have a wife who loves and supports me through all (well, ninety-five percent) of my travel.  I’m blessed to have children who understand that “Daddy’s gone” because there are some things that are more important than ourselves, some things are worth fighting for.  And I think they might even be a little proud of me.  In short, Nancy and I made a decision many years ago that we’d be a family of rangers . . . dedicated to defending the Shire.

As a ranger, I’m not much count.  I was a very small cog in a very big machine in Iraq.  I labor hard on my cases and try to achieve justice, but it’s a big world out there, and so far my efforts haven’t reached nearly as many people as the efforts of fellow SixSeeds contributors like Tom “Saving Hundreds of Thousands of Lives in Africa” Walsh or Nathan “Inspiring Millions With My Books” Whitaker.  And our family’s sacrifice is simply insignificant compared to the ultimate sacrifice made by men I knew and loved in Iraq.  We do what we can do, however, and we do it with a common purpose.

When I speak to students, I know that most of them are hobbits, either by choice or destiny.  Their lives and purpose will be defined within the four walls of their house, and their thoughts will be dominated by hearth and home.  There is nothing inherently wrong with that, and there is a lot to love and admire about such a lifestyle.  I want to live in a world that has room for a Shire, and I wish the Shire were larger, so more people could enjoy its bounty.  But folks in the Shire need to understand that the life they live wasn’t created by their own virtue and that they are ultimately consumers of the liberty, prosperity, and security provided them at immense cost by the blood, sweat, and tears of others.  So enjoy your kid’s soccer game and your five o’clock departure from work, but know that your liberty was bought with blood, your security is maintained with blood, and the degree of prosperity you have is largely created by the generations of risk-takers and hard workers that came before you as well as the boss or owner who works beside you.

As for my wife and me, we thank you for making the Shire such a nice and hospitable place to visit.  But we can’t stay for long . . . there’s orcs on the borders.

Ranger

March 28, 2012

The Best Birthday Video Ever … [World Premier]

Filed under: entertainment, marriage and family, video — Anthony Biller @ 11:05 pm

Dove Award?  Grammy?  Maybe not.  Each child sings the song I sang to them as “their” lullaby song.  Not sure where “It’s a Dad’s Life” came from …

February 21, 2012

The Power of the Cross – One of the Best Songs of the Past Ten Years

Filed under: entertainment, music, praise, video — Anthony Biller @ 9:36 pm

The Getty’s are simply divine songwriters and performers.  I could listen to them all day …

February 18, 2012

Answers in Genesis Announces Properties Purchased for Ark Encounter Park

Filed under: entertainment, Ministry — Anthony Biller @ 2:32 pm

Answers in Genesis made the following announcement this past week about completing the necessary real estate purchases for the Ark Encounter Park and that the ministry has received over $ 5 million in donations for the park, to date.  In addition, the ArkEncounter.com website re-design was also rolled out this week.  Keep praying that we’re able to complete and open this park soon!

Final Piece of Land for Full-size Ark Purchased

Petersburg, Ky., Feb. 15, 2012—Passing another significant milestone, the Ark Encounter, LLC, closed today on the last and largest piece of land for its planned development on an 800-acre site in Williamstown, Ky., off Interstate 75 (south of Cincinnati). Under the direction of Answers in Genesis (AiG), a full-scale Noah’s Ark will be constructed as the featured attraction at the Ark Encounter. Research indicates the Ark Encounter will draw well over a million people in its first year.

In addition, the completion of complex engineering and architectural work on the Ark structure has allowed for significantly greater guest capacity inside the Ark than originally anticipated. This finding has eliminated the need to build additional biblical attractions simultaneously to accommodate the projected crowds.

Accordingly, the Ark Encounter will be built in multiple phases over many years, with the Ark and other supporting elements opening during phase one. This approach will reduce the initial construction period and funding requirements. It will also allow the utility infrastructure to be able to grow with the Ark Encounter’s expansions at a reasonable pace. Phased-in construction is also a safe way to proceed in a difficult economy. Even then, over $5 million in donations have already been received for the building of the Ark itself. In addition to that milestone, many more millions of dollars in memberships and private funding have been raised or committed for the construction of the other attractions surrounding the Ark, the centerpiece of the project.

Michael Zovath, Senior Vice President of Answers in Genesis and the Ark Encounter, declared he was “elated to cross two milestones this week in the Ark’s progress.” Zovath, who was in charge of building AiG’s successful, high-tech Creation Museum, noted that “due to the rolling hills and ravines of this scenic property, about 800 acres are needed in order to get at least 160 useable acres—plus create a necessary buffer around the Ark Encounter attraction. It has taken considerable, but necessary, time to close on all the different parcels, and there have been environmental studies that took time to perform on parts of the land, but all the needed acreage has been purchased.”

Additional updates on the Ark Encounter include the following:

  • The worldwide media coverage of the full-size Noah’s Ark has exceeded expectations, including a news item on ABC-TV’s “World News with Diane Sawyer.” With some exceptions, the mainstream media have generally been fair and accurate.
  • With the Creation Museum successfully drawing over 300,000 visitors a year, AiG is already master-planning the museum complex in Petersburg, Ky. (40 miles from the Ark site) to handle even larger crowds when the Ark opens. A 1,000-seat auditorium has been finished, as has a new observatory with high-power telescopes.
  • AiG continues to be encouraged to see that even in a difficult economy, thousands of supportive people have already made donations to the full-size Ark (including through the “Pegs, Planks, and Beams” sponsorship program) or have purchased boarding passes (lifetime Ark memberships). Now that the land has been secured, AiG—as more revenue is received—has the next milestone in its sights for the ambitious project: groundbreaking.

Donations to AiG for the Ark structure itself are just one aspect of the entire Ark Encounter funding. The major part of the funding is coming through private funding from the Ark Encounter, LLC, a Missouri limited liability company, which will own the attraction. Through a wholly owned subsidiary, AiG is the managing member of the LLC and is raising a portion of the funding (i.e., to build the Ark component).

“The Ark Encounter, LLC, and AiG continue to trust the Creator of the Universe to supply the needed funds for this project, just as He did with our successful Creation Museum, even with some bumps along the way in its construction,” said co-founder and CCO Mark Looy. “The museum’s attendance has exceeded projections since it opened in May 2007, and it has been a major economic asset to the region. Moreover, with an Ark coming to the region, it is anticipated the Creation Museum’s best days for attendance are ahead of it.”

Answers in Genesis is a biblical apologetics ministry which conducts about 300 teaching meetings each year, publishes the growing family magazine “Answers” (winner of the 2011 best Christian magazine award from the Evangelical Press Association), and produces the “Answers” radio program heard on more than 500 stations in the U.S. The AnswersInGenesis.org website is this year’s “Best Ministry Website” as picked by the 1,200-member National Religious Broadcasters (about 1 million web visits a month). AiG’s Creation Museum, which opened in 2007 to much international press coverage, has welcomed over 1.5 million visitors in four and one-half years.

December 29, 2011

Glass Harp Fairy

Filed under: entertainment, video — Anthony Biller @ 6:35 pm

December 16, 2011

Christmas Town

Filed under: culture, entertainment, video — Anthony Biller @ 12:04 pm

Last Saturday, we visited Christmas Town at the Creation Museum.  This all volunteer production by Answers in Genesis was fantastic – fun, interesting, and well planned.  Our kids particularly enjoyed it.  True to the AiG brand, the fun is blended with God honoring content.  It’s the first time I’ve watched a live manger scene coupled with an archeologist explaining the circumstances surrounding Christ’s birth and the evidences for believing the Bible.  The lights display is beautiful. The presentations and shows are entertaining and true to Scripture, with one exception that was glaring to our southern sensibilities – the 27 degree Northern Kentucky weather once the sun went down.  Many shows are, however, inside, and even in the arctic-Bethlehem outside, there are fires, heaters and lots of hot chocolate with which to keep warm.  Christmas Town is well worth the trip.

Catch a glimpse of the amazing events that surrounded the wonder of our Savior’s birth when you visit the Creation Museum during the annual Christmas event, “Christmas Town.”

Featuring a live nativity, dazzling lights, and live dramas, Christmas Town is becoming an annual tradition for families all across the region (17,000 visitors came in 2009 and 22,000 in 2010).  All of the wonderfully made presentations are free and there were substantial discounts on AiG products being offered for sale.  See schedule here.

Merry Christmas!

August 18, 2011

POISONING OUR YOUTH—OR PROTECTING OUR FREEDOM?

Filed under: Atheism, agnostic, evolution, etc., culture, entertainment, homeschooling — deborahlawyer @ 2:40 pm

Recently the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that violent video games enjoy First Amendment protection—even when sold to our youth.  Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, 113 S.Ct. 2729 (2011).  The Court struck down a California law that prohibited the sale or rental of these games to children under 18.  At first glance this might sound like a victory for those who want to poison our young people.

Not so fast!  Decisions like this cut both ways.  The First Amendment protects a lot of speech that we as Christians find highly offensive.  But it also protects our right to
preach the gospel—to people of all ages
.  I used to live in California, where I participated in volunteer ministry to children.  I volunteered for Child Evangelism Fellowship, an organization that directs its efforts to children at state fairs and other public places.  On Sunday mornings, I accompanied other volunteers from Pacific Youth Correctional Ministries to a county facility for children removed from their homes for neglect and abuse.  We held chapel and Sunday School for those children.  I was also part of a large chaplaincy program at Olive Crest, a private nonprofit that operates group homes for abused children.  If atheists in America had their way, there would be laws prohibiting this type of religious evangelism to minors.  Look at what the Supreme Court just said in the Brown decision:

And what is good for First Amendment rights of speech must be good for First Amendment rights of religion as well: It could be made criminal to admit a person under 18 to church, or to give a person under 18 a religious tract, without his parents’ prior consent.

Modern atheism has taken on an “evangelistic” fervor.  Atheists do not merely reject religion for themselves—they insist that religion is dangerous.  Authors like
Christopher Hitchins, Richard Dawkins, and Samuel Harris are on a rampage to stamp out religion.  In the legal arena, atheists have removed prayer and Bible reading from our public schools and filed a multitude of lawsuits to eject religious expression from the public square.  Meanwhile, anti-Christian materials corrupt school curriculum—evolution, sex education, homosexuality.  Parental complaints fall on deaf ears in the courts of “Christian America.”

Parents have the constitutional right to direct the upbringing of their children in their homes and schools.  They should be able to opt out of objectionable programs and actively participate in decisions about what the schools are teaching their children.  Government ought to support them—not cram corrupted teachings down the throats of our families.   The recent Brown decision affirms this, observing that

…the state has the power to enforce parental prohibitions — to require, for example, that the promoters of a rock concert exclude those minors whose parents have advised the promoters that their children are forbidden to attend. But it does not follow that the state has the power to prevent children from hearing or saying anything without their parents’ prior consent.

If the government starts making it illegal to present certain material to minors on the basis of content or viewpoint – the results won’t necessarily be what Christians would want, especially in today’s secular climate.  Christian parents must be vigilant.  If they don’t want their children playing violent video games, they need to supervise them—bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  It isn’t the government’s job to do that for them.

July 14, 2011

Greenbeans In The Garden Bluegrass

Filed under: entertainment, marriage and family, video — Anthony Biller @ 10:31 pm

Our very nature demands home. It is the first essential element of our social being. This cannot be complete without home relations. ” John Potts

One of the best fringe benefits of practicing intellectual property law is meeting creative and innovative people.  Several years ago I was blessed to receive a call from Vicky West, who with her daughters went by the name The West Girls.  They needed help copyrighting their new album, Further Along, which they independently produced and wrote most the songs from their remote holler somewhere in the back hills of Tennessee.  I quickly realized that not only was the album independently produced, the family itself is simply independent — self-sustaining (in the temporal sense) and off the grid — four miles from the nearest power line!  Their album is simply great blue grass and is available in CD directly from them and via download through Amazon.  Greenbeans in the Garden is one of my family’s all-time favorite songs. (It appears that when they’re singing about greenbean gardens, they know what they’re talking about – see here.)  There’s not a bad song on the album; the entire album is a favorite of mine.  I understand that they may be soon releasing their second album …  Can’t wait to hear it.

The West Girls, now more commonly known as The West Ladies, have also been involved with several other productions under their label Homestead Blessings, such as a multi-part DVD series on valuable homemaking skills, including instruction in bread making, candle making, soap making, canning, gardening, herbs, cooking, dairy, and sewing.

 

July 5, 2011

“I Was Born This Way”

Filed under: culture, entertainment — Anthony Biller @ 10:23 pm

And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways.  Hear instruction and be wise and do not neglect it.  Blessed is the one who listens to me … Whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death. Prov 8:32-36

Lady Gaga’s most recent hit, which reached no. 1 on the sales charts, captures current popular moral sentiment.  Gaga’s assessment of our condition is spot on, however, her moral conclusion (and encouragement) is quite unbiblical and wrong. Gaga’s lyrics:

My mama told me when I was young
We are all born superstars
She rolled my hair and put my lipstick on
In the glass of her boudoir
“There’s nothin wrong with lovin who you are”
She said, “’cause he made you perfect, babe”
“So hold your head up girl and you’ll go far,
Listen to me when I say”

I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track baby
I was born this way
Don’t hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you’re set
I’m on the right track baby
I was born this way

Ooo there ain’t no other way
Baby I was born this way
Baby I was born this way

Don’t be a drag – just be a queen
Don’t be a drag – just be a queen
Don’t be a drag – just be a queen
Don’t be!

Whether you’re broke or evergreen
You’re black, white, beige, chola descent
You’re lebanese, you’re orient
Whether life’s disabilities
Left you outcast, bullied, or teased
Rejoice and love yourself today
‘Cause baby you were born this way
No matter gay, straight, or bi,
Lesbian, transgendered life
I’m on the right track baby
I was born to survive

I was born this way hey!…

Lady Gaga captures popular American moral sentiment.  While sounding cutting edge rock-n-roll, Gaga’s moral message is mundane popular moral sentiment: look to yourself and be true to what you find.  Walt Disney movies often pound the theme of believing in yourself and never losing sight of your dreams.  There is good in believing in yourself and your aspirations, to a point.  Follows our pop culture cue and runs full speed past that point and never looks back.

Lady Gaga celebrates the way we’re born, whether it’s our race, sexual orientation or gender identity.  According to her, if you follow the way you were born, you’re on the right track.  If you were born a bisexual drag queen, you’re on the right track because you were born that way and God doesn’t make mistakes … according to Ms. Gaga.  I wonder whether she feels the same about pedophiles, sadists, bigamists, and misanthropes.  Regardless, her message is quite familiar: trust yourself and how you feel, particularly in matters of sexuality.

Lady Gaga’s moral conclusion is even more errant than her wardrobe. The wisest man reported to have lived instructed that “He who trusts in himself is a fool …”  (Prov. 28:26).  Gag is correct that we are born a particular way.  The Bible is quite clear that we’re born into a fallen state of rebellion.  From cover to cover, the Bible makes very clear that our internal moral compass does not naturally steer in a “good” direction.  To the contrary, our natural paths is straight to Hell.  Jesus Christ clearly explained to Nicodemus that we are not to rely upon they way we are born:

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.  Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

John 3:3-6.  Contrary to Gaga, we were not born “on the right track.”  The track Gaga celebrates, the track of our natural desires in the flesh, is the track to God’s condemnation. Gaga praises the way of death.  We are born in the flesh, but if we are to enjoy eternal life with God, we must be born again in the Spirit.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  

Galatians 5:16-23.

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 

Ephesians 2:3-5.  We should pray that God will fully open Lady Gaga’s eyes and convict her heart that the way she was born is not the way, the truth or the life, and that The Way is Jesus Christ.

Trust in the Lord and walk in His ways.  Eat from His table and drink from His cup. Praise Him and follow Him.

May 19, 2011

Ark Encounter Officially Anticipated to Be a Tourist Attraction

Filed under: entertainment, Ministry — Anthony Biller @ 5:21 pm

Ark Encounter Receives State Approval
for Tax Rebates:
Economic impact study gives themed attraction high marks

 PETERSBURG, Ky., May 19, 2011 – This afternoon, the Tourism Development Finance Authority of Kentucky unanimously approved the application of the Ark Encounter LLC to receive a rebate of sales tax that is to be collected when the attraction opens in Grant County. Based on evaluating a 3-month study, the Authority determined that the project exceeds the criteria established by the state’s Tourism Development Act and thus qualifies to receive a sales tax rebate that Kentucky offers as an incentive for prospective tourist attractions to build in the state.

The Authority today approved the analysis conducted by the independent research group Hunden Strategic Partners. HSP was commissioned by the state to determine how much money tourists would spend at the future Ark Encounter and whether the attraction would have a net positive economic impact for Kentucky even after the rebates are factored in.

The report’s executive summary presented the bottom line of the likelihood of success: “Overall, the Project scores high on nearly all the critical success factors,” adding that “the Project meets all criteria identified by the Kentucky Tourism Development Act.”

The Tourism Authority determined that the Ark Encounter is eligible to receive a sales tax rebate from the sale of tickets, food, and resources at the Ark Encounter for 10 years. The performance-based incentive allows the Ark Encounter to recover up to 25% of its construction costs if it meets attendance and sales projections.  The remaining sales tax that is kept by the state plus other taxes collected (e.g., income taxes of citizens employed at the attraction and at businesses created by the Ark, plus sales tax collected by those businesses) will have a net positive impact for the state. If the Ark Encounter was not built-in Kentucky, those millions of dollars in potential revenue would go to another state. The Tourism Development Act offers impressive financial incentives through rebates without taking existing money out of the state’s coffers.

Hunden Strategic Partners specializes in conducting what is called a “fiscal impact analysis” as it studies a potential tourism project. An economic impact study rather than a feasibility study, the HSP analysis presented two Ark Encounter scenarios and the possible results of each: Scenario A, in which the Ark Encounter will present biblical events from the Old Testament that would exclude the creation account of origins; and Scenario B, in which the project would be similar in content to Answers in Genesis’s Creation Museum and its teachings from the first chapters of the book of Genesis. The Ark Encounter satisfies Scenario A, for it will be an attraction that starts with Noah’s Flood and then continues through the rest of the Old Testament.

 The HSP analysis noted that if the Ark Encounter follows Scenario A, then it:

  • benefits from a theme (the Bible) which has “perhaps one of the largest built-in audiences in theU.S.”; very conservatively, HSP predicts 1.2 million visitors should visit the first year.
  • could have an expected impact to the state of $119 million (e.g., from sales tax, income tax, etc.) over ten years; after the rebate is factored in, the Ark Encounter will generate an estimated $64.6 million in taxes for the state over 10 years.
  • will see (among many benefits): guests filling about 600,000 room nights per year at area hotels, see the hiring of over 3,000 people at the attraction and also at tourism-related business that will be created by the Ark Encounter, etc.

Mike Zovath, Senior Vice-President of Answers in Genesis and head of the team that built the successful Creation Museum in Boone County, further noted: “ThisArkproject will be great for Williamstown, Grant County, and Kentucky. It will bring much-needed revenue and jobs to the Commonwealth. I am satisfied with the HSP analysis because it confirms what we have believed for some time: the Ark Encounter is a viable and worthwhile project.”

The Ark Encounter is a one-of-a-kind historical themed attraction. In an entertaining and educational way, it will present a number of themes from the Old Testament, centered on a full-size, all-woodArk.The attraction also includes a walled city, a first-century Middle Eastern village, a tower of Babel, a large petting zoo, and other attractions. A nationwide feasibility study commissioned by Answers in Genesis in 2009 estimated that the Ark Encounter could draw over 1.6 million visitors the first year.

The Ark Encounter is scheduled to open in spring 2014 on about 800 acres off I-75 in Grant County, Kentucky, south of Cincinnati, Ohio.  Groundbreaking is tentatively planned for late August 2011. The for-profit Ark Encounter will be privately funded, with an estimated cost of almost $150 million. Answers in Genesis is a member of the Ark Encounter LLC and will oversee the project.

May 17, 2011

Turn it on again

Filed under: culture, entertainment — Anthony Biller @ 6:30 pm

Sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate something in which you’re completely immersed .  It may be trite but nonetheless true, a fish might not realize it’s wet.  I would suspect that to someone born and raised in North Korea, totalitarianism “feels” normal.  When an entire society is immersed and accepts something as a given, often that something avoids rigorous scrutiny. 

Television is ubiquitous, or to define it more broadly, electronic visual stimulation is everywhere and largely accepted.  From movies, to television, to video games, to the Internet and our PDAs, we’re increasingly becoming e-stimulation junkies.  Television and its progeny replace our needs and desires for meaningful thought, social engagements, civil duties and the critical thinking that should be attendant to each.  Our electronic cocoons become a cultural religion. Our entertainment binds us more than our religion, politics, or even our business needs.  The stimulation of visual entertainment has increasingly become an end unto itself, a consuming end.  As a result, each year we consume an ever-increasing amount of “screen time.”  See here.

In the April 18 edition of National Review, Ben Berger presents a cogent case that television and its kin may be the primary agent eating away at our social and political fabric.  Could it be that screen time eats Republics as well as grey matter?  Is electronic stimulation on such a scale of consumption a giant, mental parasite?   Could television be a primary agent in what so many of us recognize as fundamental societal decline? 

Television makes us fat, lazy, inattentive, unsociable, mistrustful, materialistic — and unhappy about all of that. It cheapens political discourse, weakens family ties, prevents face-to-face socializing, and exposes kids to sex and inures them to violence. Yet Americans can’t get enough. In 1950, just 9 percent of U.S. households owned a television; by 1960 it was 90 percent, and by the year 2000 TVs were just about everywhere. Now the average U.S. household has more TVs than people. 

Please read the rest at Ben Berger’s Tocqueville And the Tube

March 31, 2011

Are you smarter than your right foot?

Filed under: entertainment — Anthony Biller @ 4:52 pm

While sitting there, lift your right foot and swing it in CLOCKWISE circles.

While still swinging your right foot in CLOCKWISE circles, draw the number 6 in the air with your right hand.

If your right foot continues to swing clockwise throughout the drawing, see your doctor because then you’re likely not human.  If instead your foot changes direction, return to whatever you were doing.  You’re normal.  I wonder whether our resurrection bodies will have this hard-wiring “issue” …

March 18, 2011

Save the planet!

Filed under: culture, entertainment, theology — Tags: , — Steve Knaus @ 12:09 am

Save the planet!

Be kind to the earth!

This common theme runs throughout contemporary American culture.  You see it all the time in popular music,  movies, and television shows.

This issue gets hotly debated, especially across political lines.

But how often do we look to see what God has to say about the issue?

I came across this passage in Leviticus:

“Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations … lest when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you.

So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God.”

-Leviticus 18:24-30

WARNING: This chapter in Leviticus contains a list of some of the most disgusting, vile, and deviant practices to ever be recorded in Scripture. But what is the warning? Don’t do these things “lest the land vomit you out“!

Few of us would even think to stoop to the level of depravity in Leviticus 18. But let’s celebrate the earth that God has given us by keeping our lives pure!

February 28, 2011

Smarter than a second grade Chinese frog?

Filed under: entertainment, World etc. — Anthony Biller @ 10:07 pm

If you think so, try this here.

January 18, 2011

Dead Babies and Prime Time Babylon

Filed under: culture, entertainment — Anthony Biller @ 6:28 pm

A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loud lamentation;
Rachel weeping for her children,
and she would not be consoled,
since they were no more.
Matthew 2:18

And you took your sons and your daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols. Was your prostitution not enough? You slaughtered my children and made them pass through the fire to the idols. Ezekiel 16:20,21

 K-Lo writes about MTV’s “reality show” about a teenage girl getting an abortion: Not That Innocent.  Excerpt:

Once she got to the abortion clinic, only clinic staff could be in the room with her. Afterwards Markai recounted their advice: “Don’t think of it as ten fingers and ten toes with a forehead and all that stuff. Because if you think of it like that, you’re going to make yourself depressed. …Think of it as what it is: a little ball of cells.” 

Related (courtesy ADF):

 

 Study: 24% of California babies are aborted 

NY Health Department: 41% of city pregnancies result in abortion 

U.S. passed 53 million abortion mark in 2010 

The rising abortion rate: 3 theories  

UK: Christian health worker faces sack over pro-life booklet

Expert: Abortion has led to 300,000 extra breast cancer deaths in U.S.

Planned Parenthood to implement abortion mandate by 2013 

Unborn twins interact with each other as early as 14 weeks 

Death of the pro-life Democrat 

 

December 1, 2010

Rebuilding Noah’s Ark to Biblical Scale

Filed under: entertainment, Ministry — Anthony Biller @ 5:10 pm

Kentucky Governor Beshear, Ark Encounter Announce Plans to Build a Full-Scale Noah’s Ark : “Ark Encounter” to employ 900, expected to draw 1.6 million visitors in first year

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 1, 2010)—Governor Steve Beshear today joined the Ark Encounter LLC to announce the planned construction of a full-scale Noah’s Ark tourist attraction in northern Kentucky. Partnering with the Ark Encounter is Answers in Genesis, which is most widely known for its high-tech and popular Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky.

“We are excited to join with the Ark Encounter group as it seeks to provide this unique, family friendly tourist attraction to the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Beshear. “Bringing new jobs to Kentucky is my top priority, and with the estimated 900 jobs this project will create, I am happy about the economic impact this project will have on the Northern Kentucky region.”

 The Ark Encounter is scheduled to open in spring 2014 in northern Kentucky. Multiple sites are being considered, although property in Grant County off I-75 is at the top of the list. A feasibility study conducted by the renowned America’s Research Group has indicated that the Ark Encounter may attract 1.6 million visitors in the first year and is expected to employ up to 900 full- and part-time staff.

 The for-profit Ark Encounter project will be privately funded at an estimated cost of $150 million. The final site selection for the Ark Encounter is subject to the ability to acquire all of the land needed for the project, and the approval of certain state and local incentives and other assistance for the project.

 “We are very pleased to be a part of this new project,” said Ken Ham, president and founder of AiG and the Creation Museum. “AiG has been blessed to see the Creation Museum host over one million guests in three years. Based on our experience and success operating the large, state-of-the-art Creation Museum, our board believes the time is right to partner with the Ark Encounter in building a full-scale Noah’s Ark. We hope that this fun and educational complex called the Ark Encounter will become another popular tourist destination for the state.”

 In addition to the full-size Ark, the complex will include a Walled City much like was found in ancient times, live animal shows, a children’s interactive play area, a replica of the Tower of Babel with exhibits, a 500-seat 5-D special effects theater, an aviary, and a first-century Middle Eastern village.

 To showcase the “green” construction methods and materials that will be used, the complex will also include a Special Events Area for large gatherings, highlighting some of the Leader in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building techniques used to construct the Ark Encounter.

 One of the factors in getting the Ark Encounter to launch the Ark project at this time was a November 2009 CBS News survey, which revealed that the remains of Noah’s Ark would be the greatest archaeological discovery of our day. CBS News stated: “CBS’ 60 Minutes news program, in conjunction with Vanity Fair magazine, recently conducted a web survey asking which archaeological discovery people would most want to see made next. The response: Noah’s Ark (43 percent); Atlantis (18 percent); Amelia Earhart’s plane (16 percent); Nixon’s lost tapes (13 percent); and Cleopatra’s barge (5 percent).”

 The report continued: “Noah’s Ark continues to capture the imagination of the general public, and this interest spans all social, religious and economic segments. The Ark and the flood is one of the few historical events which are well known in the worldwide global circle.”

 Following the release of the article, the Ark Encounter group became even more convinced about the viability of the project. It will be assembling virtually the same team that designed and built the Creation Museum, and have these same talented staff design a full-scale Noah’s Ark.

 For information on the Ark Encounter, see www.ArkEncounter.com

November 30, 2010

Porn Pandemic Panel Presentation

Filed under: culture, entertainment — Anthony Biller @ 7:50 pm

From the folks at PornHarms:

The War on Illegal Pornography has a “first” to announce – a live online conference on pornography in which YOU can participate.  On December 9th  at 11:00 AM Eastern, you will be able to watch this important event right on Facebook and can ask questions of our panelists.  RSVP to the event here so we can keep you updated.

The event, Pornography Harms: An Untreated Pandemic Features:

  • Dr. Donna M. Hughes, professor of Women’s Studies at the University of Rhode Island. Professor Hughes is a leading international researcher on trafficking of women and children.  She will discuss how pornography leads to sex trafficking.
  • Dr. Patrick Fagan, Senior Fellow and Director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.  Dr. Fagan will discuss The Effects of Pornography on Individuals, Marriage, Family and Community.
  • J. Robert Flores, former Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. and former deputy chief prosecutor in the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Criminal Division at the U.S. Department of Justice.  Mr. Flores will discuss the need to prosecute obscene hardcore adult pornography. 

You will be able to submit questions online to the panelists during this one-hour presentation.  The event will be broadcast live on one of our Facebook pages, http://www.facebook.com/PornHarms.  RSVP to the event here and invite your friends. 

October 22, 2010

Tempest in the taxpayer funded NPR teapot

Filed under: culture, entertainment — Anthony Biller @ 11:23 pm

On a subsequent O’Reilly show, liberal NPR analyst Juan Williams was explaining the importance of not stereotyping everyone within a religion because of the violent acts of some members of the religion.  In the course of his argument, he said that when he’s on a public flight, he worries when he sees people on the flight whose dress makes it clear that they are devote Muslims.

I’ve been on many flights since 9/11, and on numerous occasions since then have experienced the same concerns.  If I watched Mr. O’Reilly’s show and heard the statement, it would’ve registered as a yawner … a statement of the obvious.  As Mr. Krauthammer points out, this admission by Mr. Williams wasn’t too terribly different from Mr. Jackson’s admission years ago that when he hears footsteps approaching him from behind at night, he’s relieved when he sees it’s not a young black man.  In the case of Mr. Williams, there was one big difference with this admission — the consequence.  NPR promptly fired him.

Never a shrinking violet, Mr. Williams explains here why he’s none to happy with NPR’s punishment.  That liberals are intolerant of dissent is nothing new.  That federally funded NPR is a bastion of liberals and Washington DC group-think should only be a surprise to someone who doesn’t listen to NPR.  What is, however, somewhat surprising, is how, accordingly to Mr. Williams, the leadership at NPR militantly opposes anything that even gives the appearance of cooperating with conservatives.  I could care less about any of this if NPR was a private entity, supported by the fruits of its own labors.  However the fact that my tax dollars support these left-wing wind bags makes it chaffing.  In 1994, I hoped that one of the “Republican Revolution” results would be the defunding of NPR.  Mr. William’s timing is perfect.  Hopefully a 2011 Republican Congress will take note and act accordingly.  O’Reilly is making the same point here.

June 24, 2010

Hear All Creation

Filed under: entertainment, video — Anthony Biller @ 1:15 pm
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