Friday, February 24, 2017

What are you doing for Lent?

What are you doing for Lent?
This year Lent begins in March. Lent is a season of forty days, not counting
Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent
comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means "spring." The forty days
represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan
and preparing to begin his ministry.
Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a
time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to
prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with
God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer to do work for the church
or other charity work.
Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents
a "mini-Easter" and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of
the Resurrection.The choice to observe Lent is a personal one—the whole point is
to focus your heart and mind on Jesus during the journey to Easter. There’s no requirement to observe it, nor should you feel guilted into participating. However,
millions of Christians around the world do observe Lent each year; if you’ve never done so, why not give it a try?
Whether you observe Lent in a small or major way, you’ll be amazed at what
happens when you devote a part of each day to reflecting on Jesus Christ and
God’s Word.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Designer God

The universe is fine tuned such that life can exist within it.  Life is defined by scientists to mean taking in food, extracting energy, growing, adapting to the environment and reproducing.
Certain quantities have to be just right for the universe to permit life.  For example, when the universe began there needed to be a certain amount of disorder (entropy).  The entropy at the beginning of the universe needed to be just right to result in a universe that would allow life.
The laws of nature can be expressed as mathematical equations.  In these equations are symbols that stand for unchanging quantities called constants.  If these constants were even slightly different, the same laws of nature would result in a very different universe.

The current estimate of the age of the universe is 100 000 000 000 000 000 seconds.
The current estimate of the number of subatomic particles in the universe is 100 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000000 000 000.
The force that holds together the various bits that make up the nucleus of an atom together is called the weak force. If its value was different by one part in 10 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000000 000 000 then the universe would not permit life. Not only that, there would be no chemistry at all.

I am loosely quoting here from the work of William Lane Craig, a philosopher and Christian apologist.  Here he summarises how the fine tuning of the universe to permit life to exist points to it being designed by someone.  The argument goes like this:

The fine tuning of the universe to permit life is due to (i) physical necessity, (ii) chance or (iii) design
It is not due to (i) physical necessity or (ii) chance
Therefore, it is due to design.

This argument forms part of a wide spectrum of evidence for the existence of the creator God consistent with the picture of God in the Bible.  In this case he is the designer God.

United Traits of America (satirical video poem)

America was ready to explode even before George Floyd was killed by the Minneapolis police. The twin tragedies of 40 million people — one-q...