The Absence of Mecca In Islam’s Infancy

Traditional Islamic history places the life and events of Muhammad and proto-Islam in and around Mecca, a wealthy centre of trade and pilgrimage deep in the heart of Arabia that supported the mercantilist activities of Muhammad’s clan (Surah 106). However, these assertions are once again entirely dependent on late Islamic commentaries from the time of the Abbasids some 200 years after the facts. When we look at independent sources of information, Mecca is missing from this time period. This is not to say it did not exist, but it was totally irrelevant to trade and influence to the point where it is missing from all documents. This is why Mecca is not mentioned in the Qur’an (there is a single mention of a mysterious Bakkah, but not Mecca) and why we have no objective historical evidence of Mecca’s existence in any Greek, Roman, Syriac, Aramaic, Coptic or other literature until 741AD. The heyday of Arabian spice trade was during the Greek and early Roman eras around the time of Christ, not 600 years later.

Mecca had no timber, no ships, no port, no water, and no agriculture. It was on no trade crossroads and appeared on no maps of trade routes or in any classical references to trade routes. It is 83km inland from a major global sea trade route at a time when sea transport up and down the Red Sea was ten times cheaper than land transport, and far faster. By the 1st  Century shipping and navigation had developed to the point where it dominated all trade between Rome and India, via the Red Sea.

So what luxury goods did Meccans trade that could compensate for their cost and geographic disadvantage? As it turns out, nothing. The most exotic spices and aromatics, frankincense and myrrh had long dropped off in trade due to the Christianising of Europe and stiff completion from North Africa, especially Ethiopia, which militarily took control of South Arabia in 525AD. The only products coming out of South Arabia in the 7th Century were leather, silver and pepper. Silver was the only land transported commodity as it had to go to Persia, not to the Mediterranean. Mecca was definitely no trading “mecca”, and therefore the thesis that it could have constituted the source of the Muhammad’s family wealth and the vast funds and armies required to conquer the world so radically within such a short space of time is highly suspicious.

When the Qur’an talks about events, people, power struggles and trade, this must have been happening much further away around two known centres of trade. Either in the north-east at Al-Hira in Persia, or north-west around Nabataea, Palestine and Syria. Historical records abundantly verify such activity for the latter option, especially from the Red Sea to Petra in Nabataea and up to Syria. In fact the records richly verify the trading activities and prosperity of the Arab traders in the region of Syria who are even said to have constituted Muhammad’s tribe.

According to the thoroughly researched book, In the Shadow of the Sword, Mecca only slowly became a centre of pilgrimage from the time of Abd al-Malik’s 691AD military expedition into the Hejaz region of the Arabian Peninsula to deal with the opposition to his rule coming from Ibn al-Zubayr, a rival to his leadership. Zubayr’s final stand was in a place called the House of God, which was destroyed along with its defenders. Given that all Arab houses of worship faced Petra up until this point in time it is logical this house of God was in that vicinity. To secure his authority in the restive Hejaz region, Abd al-Malik undertook a pilgrimage in 693AD down into that same region, While there he visited Medina and Ta’if, the birthplace of his father. From there he apparently visited the tiny settlement of Mecca, anointing it as the new House of God, and moving the sacred Nabataean Ka’ba and its sacred black stone meteorite 1,300km south to its present site. From this point in history Arab houses of worship slowly started turning south, from Petra to Mecca, a city that absolutely does not fit the description of it provided by the Qur’an. Sixty years later Kharijite sermons would still be damning Abd al-Malik for destroying the House of God.

Beneficial Mutations Don’t Add Genetic Complexity

The ratio of deleterious beneficial mutations to beneficial mutations is somewhere between 100,000:1 and 1,000,000:1. There are up to a million harmful mutations for every good mutation. The problem this creates for evolutionary time-frames, when you need many beneficial mutations to accumulate quickly, is insurmountable on its own.

But there is another problem evolution faces that compounds the size of this problem and it is this: Not a single one of those beneficial mutations can add any significant genetic complexity to an organism! Let me explain.

The majority of mutations fall into two basic classes. They will either jam an existing  genetic signal in the “off” or “on” positions or duplicate it. That’s all, nothing more, nothing less. This is due to the receptor being removed and no longer responding to its signalling molecules. While this may at times be useful, it does not support the assumption that complex biochemical genetics has arisen via evolution. It is clearly a loss of information from the original genetic instruction. The vast majority of these mutations create dysfunction. In extremely rare situations they can benefit an organism. But this is not a mechanism that can create men and women out of a single cell.

For over 100 years, an army of scientists have searched diligently for any mutations that have added beneficial complexity to a genome. Yet, in all of the world’s scientific literature there is not yet a single, clear cut example of a mutation actually adding extra beneficial genetic complexity to an organism. Over and over again I have read in my background study for this essay that their rarity precludes their scientific study. Dr Jerry Bergman’s extensive literature review in 2005 found 453,732 “mutation” hits, but only 186 included the term “beneficial mutation”, about 4 in every 10,000. Of those 186 “beneficial mutations” he found not a single one that unambiguously created new, more complex genetic information. For evolution to exist, it must continually create vast amounts of new genetic information of a higher order, but there is no observable scientific evidence to that effect.

So how can a mutation be beneficial without adding genetic information?

The often quoted examples of beneficial mutations such as adaptive immunity, nucleotide re-combination, antibiotic resistance in bacteria, lactose tolerance in Europeans, resistance to HIV, and sickle-cell anaemia all fail to meet the requirements of an “increasing genetic complexity” mutation. These examples and all other examples of mutation-enhanced function quoted in the scientific literature involve loss, jamming or mere duplication of genetic information. No novel, more complex genetic information has been added to those organisms. Beneficial mutations are therefore like scratches on a car that accidently make it more aerodynamic, or the same car losing a part so it is lighter and can go faster. The complete lack of examples is strong testimony against the validity of the prime axiom of evolution; that increasing genetic complexity is entirely due to mutational build up..

And this makes perfect sense as informational copying errors such as the different types of mutations that we know of: Point mutations, duplications, omissions, deletions, insertions, trans-locations and inversions can never increase the quality of the original information. This is especially the case as the human genome can carry several different messages inside the same single block of DNA! Our DNA is a multi-dimensional, multi-linguistic school of languages, something we humans will never achieve. Copying errors can never improve an encyclopaedia, a computer code or an instruction manual. DNA is all of these combined, and much, much more.

Evolutionary theory needs a high rate of beneficial mutations and for those mutations to create new information over time. Both of these assumptions are clearly false. There are virtually no beneficial mutations, those that exist create no significant new information. There is also not enough time for them to accumulate before the multitude to harmful mutations destroy the species in the meantime. The prime axiom of evolution; that mutations lead to upward genetic progression, is therefore a lie.

The Death of Western Culture

The 20th century was one of profound philosophical and religious change in the Western world. It rapidly transitioned from an established Judaeo-Christian worldview where family-based welfare was supreme, human rights were being fought for and won, where obligation and a sense of civic duty were expected, where democracy expanded its franchise and was cherished, capitalism was in the ascendancy, human rights grew and freedom of speech was enshrined in law. That’s what set us apart from Fascism, Communism and the religions of the East and Middle East. Western culture came from deep Christian cultural roots and shared beliefs.

However, Judaeo-Christian views on origins were replaced in the early 20th century by evolutionary atheism. Thus the belief in intrinsic and unchangeable ethical values, social standards and sexual mores began to be questioned and abandoned. This process accelerated during the 1960’s, leading eventually to the unquestioned acceptance of any and all forms of sexual licence. The individual became his or her own god, freed from the fear of moral or religious consequence for their actions. We are just animals after all, and sex is central to the survival of our species.

Today this cult of the individual reigns supreme in the Western world. As a result of this selfishness, untold families have splintering, children suffer greatly increased physical and emotional trauma, and contraception has caused birth rates to plummet far below levels needed to maintain our population. Sexuality has become entertainment and sport. Sexual rights even trump all other human rights, child rights and religious rights. Freedom of speech is cleverly challenged by anti-discrimination and anti-offending laws of all stripes. The welfare state has encouraged personal, economic and social decline, and Islamic immigration threatens what’s left of the Judeo-Christian social fabric as it continues to demand privileges.

That’s the big picture. My question to you is this: How has this profound change effected your story, your family, your journey? I once asked a class I was teaching for a show of hands as to whose family had been deeply impacted by substance abuse. Three quarters of the class responded. In another class we listed on the whiteboard all the problems in society that are the result of unrestrained human sexuality. The list was huge, there were at least fifty devastating effects. We then started rubbing out all those that would not exist if everyone in society lived to the Biblical standard of sexuality. They all disappeared!

Ideas have consequences. The Western world is in a cultural and demographic death spiral. There is no law of nature that says it has to survive or culturally rule the world. We Westerners are paying the price for for turning from our creator and the truth he gave us through Jesus. There is always a price for believing lies.

Kevin Davis

Persecution Begins On Australian University Campuses

Last night I listened to the story of Joshua, one of over 40 young Australians hauled before university star chambers over the last two years for the sin of sharing their faith on campus. You can listen to his 15 minute story here, or read my rough summary below.

Joshua was in the habit of sharing his faith on campus in sensitive ways. While studying with a fellow student toward the end of semester, the other student expressed some anxiety over the end of semester pressure. Joshua offered to pray for her. She accepted and expressed thanks for his prayer. She then announced she was an atheist. End of story.

Shortly after this event Joshua was asked (baited?) in class as to what he thought of homosexuals. He said he would not judge them and accept them, but would not condone their behaviour. He then asked the girl he had prayed for what she thought. She did not answer. He thought she had not heard him, so he asked two more times, eventually realising she deliberately did not answer him.

A few weeks later he was called before a tribunal to answer allegations of harassment. He was told he was not to share his views on homosexuals, not to share his religion, and was to not engage with this woman except in official group activities.

A few weeks after this ordeal Joshua was in charge of a fundraising activity with the class in which the woman was part of. Everyone in the class was asked for ideas, including the woman. Shortly after Joshua was hauled before the tribunal again and told he was being suspended from the university for six months and could only return if he submitted to counselling on appropriate behaviour. guilty till proven innocent is apparently how these star chambers work.

That’s when he phoned the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) and was put in touch with their legal adviser. We do not know the outcome from this point on. ACL has now had to help over 40 such cases of Christians being targeted by Atheists and others on Australian campuses. Their crime is offending someone, hurting their feelings. Wow! The subjective world of insecure people is now the standard of justice. Not crime, not abuse, but hurting the feelings of insecure people.

How long will it be before Christians in the Western world start going to jail for offending some poor little soft soul who can’t handle the world where people have a different point of view than their own?

Kevin Davis

 

Meet Uncle Willy: A Man Raised From The Dead

This experience took place in the wild jungles of Papua New Guinea. The year was 1993 and I was 32 years old. I had been asked to go into one of the most remote valleys in the Milne Bay Provence to do some lecturing at three affiliated churches. I spoke 59 times in 19 days. They worked me like a dog!

Denewa Valley is about 30 km long, with a branch valley to the south leading to the province’s highest mountain, Mt Simpson. That’s where you will find it on Google Maps. The only way in is by foot and it takes two days to get to the top of the valley. That’s a story in itself. I was only the 15th European ever to venture into the valley and the first to enter via the ridge as the river was flooded.

After three grueling weeks I was exhausted and ready to leave the valley. On the last night several villages came together and we had a Moo Moo, where a pig was slaughtered and we all feasted. That night I interviewed eighty-something year old Uncle Willy while many listened in to his now famous story. Between his recollections and the stories supplied by my friend and student, Robin, this is what happened:

Many years before an Anglican priest had entered the valley and shared a watered down version of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some had converted and a small Anglican Mission was established. However, syncretic religion had crept into the valley as well and was locally called the Cargo Cult. This belief system held that everything in the Bible was within 50 km of Denewa Valley. For a people having little experience of the outside world this was understandable. They also held to an extremely liberal view of sexuality that had caused great pain and suffering to family life and children.

A few years earlier a young man (lets call him George) from the valley traveled to Port Moresby for work and heard the true gospel of salvation in Christ. He then hurried back to the valley and began sharing the good news. A small church was established and demonic influence began to be challenged for the first time. But there was much resistance from both local shamanism and the Cargo Cult. One of the converts was a young and very spiritually sensitive man by the name of Robin.

One day one of the men from the highest village was working in his field up on a high slope when he suddenly took ill and died. His name was Willy. These people know death much better than we westerners. When someone dies, they know they are dead. Willy head been a porter for the Australians during World War Two and told me several hair-raising stories of his times whit the Aussies. Again, they are for another time.

Immediately word echoed out across the valley and a crowd gathered outside the hut where he lay. Grieving and burial is completed in hours up in the tropics, and the grieving is like nothing you have ever witnessed before in your life. I was not present at the grieving of Uncle Willy, but was present in the background on the Trobriand Islands some time later when 3-400 people were grieving the sudden death of the Paramount Chiefs nephew. Its a truly deafening dusty and scary experience. Once again that is material for another story.

About an hour after the death, a crowd had arrived at the hut and the grieving began. In the middle of the riotous, crazy mayhem of the hundred or so villagers grieving for their lost friend and family member, Robin and George arrived at the hut. The noise of the wailing and screaming was deafening. They pushed their way to the hut and managed somehow to get to the body. They began to pray, asking Jesus what they should do. After a few minutes George said to Robin that he just saw a movie of Uncle Willy coming back down a set of stairs into the hut. Was it a message that they were to pray for Willy to come back. Being of simple faith they did just that. About five minutes later, and out of the blue, Willy sat straight up and called fro a glass of water as he was extremely thirsty!

The Jet-engine like roar of the grieving process stopped in its tracks. There was dead silence for a whole minute as everyone took stock of what should not be happening. Into that silence Geoge jumped up and explained to the Hundred or so people present that they had just prayed to Jesus for Willy to come back and he had. He then preached the good news of salvation through Christ. They all joined on the spot. By the end of the day some 300 people from the valley had become believers in Jesus.

Three new village churches were established that day. These were the three I visited while in the valley. A third of my students at the small thatched-roofed Bible school I was running in Alatou were from the valley, sponsored by Two Singaporeian SIL translators who were teaching the Denewa people how to read their own language.

Willy told me that he thought he was asleep. While asleep he found himself in the middle of a large grassy field. On both sides stood an army charging toward him. He knew each side wanted him but was helplessly stuck in the middle waiting to see which side would reach him first. The he woke up and asked for water.

The telling of the story once again around the fire after feasting on roast pig was probably the umpteenth time the people of the valley had heard the story, but they loved each telling just as much as the last. It was the transformative event of their lives.

This is a true story. I lived it. I was there. I met the eyewitnesses and Robin was my student. They estimated Willy had been dead about two hours. Evidence doesn’t get much stronger than that.

Kevin Davis

Quotes From Leading Geneticists Worried About Evolution

Below are a series of quotes from leading human geneticists, including the only geneticist to have ever won a Noble Prize, on the devastating implications of the ever-increasing mutational load on the future of humanity. Their admissions are candid, with one even asking why we have not died out a 100 times over with our current rate of skyrocketing mutational load. These quote are clear evidence of a human species in decline, not evolutionary advancement.

Herman Muller    (Nobel Laureate)

It becomes perfectly evident that the present number of children per couple cannot be great enough to allow selection to keep pace with a mutation rate of 0.1…if, to make matters worse, u (the mutation rate) should be anything like 0.5…our present reproductive practices would be utterly out of line with human requirements. (From the article: Our load of mutations. American Journal of Human Genetics 1950, 2:111-176) Muller assumed that our mutation rate was only 0.1 per individual per generation. We now know it is 1,000 to 10,000 higher than this.

Herman Muller

…an asexual population incorporates a kind of ratchet mechanism, such that…lines become more loaded with mutations. (From the article: The relation of recombination to mutational advance. Mutation Research 1:2-9) We now know that the massive number of mutations, the near-neutral nature of most of them, the presence of Y chromosomes in men, mitochondria in all humans, and the presence of large linkage blocks create the same ratchet for all sexually reproducing populations.

James Neel  (American national medal of science for biological research)

“…gamete rates for point mutations…on the order of 30 per generation…The implications of mutations of this magnitude for population genetics and evolutionary theory are profound.”

(From the article: The rate with which spontaneous mutation alters the electrophoretic mobility of polypeptides. PNAS 83:389-393) This statement was made on the assumption of 30 mutations per generation.  We now know it is at least 10 times that figure.

Alexy Kondrashov (Professor of evolutionary genetics, University of Michigan)

“Accumulation of VSDM’s (very slightly deleterious mutations) in a linage…acts like a time bomb…the existence of vertebrate lineages should be limited to 106-107 generations. (From the article: Contamination of the genome by very slightly deleterious mutations: Why have we not died 100 times over? Journal of Theoretical Biology 175:583-594) Confessions don’t come much better than this. He is clearly admitting we are on an exponential biological decay curve leading to the extinction of all vertebrates in 100,000 to 1,000,000 generations.

Michael Lynch (Professor Population Genetics and Genomics, University of Indiana)

Our results provide no evidence for the existence of a threshold population size beyond which a population is completely invulnerable to a mutational meltdown. (Mutation accumulation and the extinction of small populations. The American Naturalist 146:489-518) This reference is to all current endangered species, but admission is made that it is an issue for all populations.

Noel Howell

“We should increase our attention to the broader question of how (or whether) organisms can tolerate, in the sense of evolution, a genetic system with such a high mutational burden.” (From the article: Evolution of Human DNA. How rapid does the human mitochondrial genome evolve? American Journal of Human Genetics 59:501-509)  Howell was only looking at the mutation rate inside human mitochondria when he made this statement, which has a mutation rate of only one per person per generation! This statement ignores all other types of mutations.

James Crow (Professor Emeritus of Genetics, University of Wisconsin)

“It seems clear that for the past few centuries harmful mutations have been accumulating…the decrease in viability from mutation accumulation is some 1-2% per generation, “I do regard mutation accumulation as a problem. It is something like the population bomb, but it has a much longer fuse.” (From the article: The high spontaneous mutation rate: is it a health risk? PNAS 94:8380-8386) Another great confession. Without using the term, he is admitting genetic entropy.

Fred Hoyle (Professor of Astronomy, Cambridge University)

“When the environment is not fixed there is a slow genetic erosion, however, which natural selection cannot prevent.” (From the article: Mathematics of Evolution. 1999) Hoyle attacked neo-Darwinian evolution with the logic of physics. As a committed atheist, he, along with Francis Crick, believed the origin of DNA had to be alien panspermia.

Adam Eyre-Walker & Peter Keightley (Professors of Biology and Evolutionary Genetics. University of Essex and Edinburgh)

“…deleterious mutation rates appear to be so high in humans and our close relatives that it is doubtful that such species could survive…” (From the article: High genomic deleterious mutation rates in humanoids. Nature 397:344-347) This statement was made in reference to protein coding regions only, which is some 3% of our genome. What about the rest, where 80% of all mutations occur?

Kaitlyn Higgins and Michael Lynch (University of Tasmania, University of Indiana)

“We find the accumulation of new mildly deleterious mutations fundamentally alters the scaling of extinction time, lowering the genetic effective size to such a degree that even large meta-populations may be at risk of extinction.”(From the article: Meta-population extinction caused by mutation accumulation. PNAS 98: 2928-2933). This research paper is particularly interesting, and honestly admitting to genetic entropy.

Michael Lynch

“Without a reduction in the germline transmission of deleterious mutations, the mean phenotypes of the residents in the industrialized nations are likely to be rather different in just two or three centuries.” (From the article: Rate, molecular spectrum and consequences of human mutations. PNAS 107 (3): 961-968). This dramatic decline is due to modern medicine suppressing the natural selection of most human major mutations. Modern medicine is actually accelerating genetic entropy.

Kevin Davis

How Many Mutations Are Accumulating Each Generation?

Exactly how many deleterious mutations are accumulating inside humanity each generation? To put this another way, at what rate is the mutational load increasing? How quickly are the deleterious mutations accumulating in our genomes over time, and is this accumulation a danger to our future existence?

Let’s start by stating that mutation rates affect different species differently. Single-celled asexually reproducing organisms tend to have far lower genetic complexity so obviously experience fewer mutations per individual. E. coli has 4.8 million nucleotides while humans have 3 billion. E. coli is a single cell while we have between 50 and 100 trillion cells. Natural selection is also extremely severe in these “simple” species as every single cell is independently subject to natural selection after every single cell division.

Therefore mutations are a much larger problem in sexually reproducing larger species of trillions of cells and billions of reproductive cells which divide many times before reproduction. The potential for something to go wrong rises exponentially with time. In addition, larger sexually reproducing organisms have a greater accumulation of mutations in the male reproductive cells before reproduction, because of their Y chromosome. Mutations double every 16.5 years in human males as they age, resulting in 76% of all mutations coming down through the paternal line.

Many larger animal species have the additional problem of a relatively low population size with a highly complex genome. Humans have a different problem; a large population but a very low reproductive rate. Finally, the larger the species, the smaller overall effect of each individual mutation on the individual and therefore the less likely it is to be removed via natural selection. In these species, including us, the environment and homeostasis will have a far greater influence on reproduction than natural selection.

The Nobel Prize winning grandfather of modern human genetics, Herman Muller  established in 1950 that a mutational load of 0.3 mutations per individual per generation was the limit of human mutational tolerance. The logic was simple. If we have three children per family, we can only afford one of them to carry a large increase in mutational load, and if all carried mutations at this low level they could easily be selected out. However, if all our children had mutational loads above this level then they could not be eliminated from the human race. Mutations would begin to accumulate in a linear fashion over time. Instead of evolving upward, the human race would be on a one way trip to eventual extinction.

In 1971 fellow Nobel Prize winner, Manfred Eigen, also calculated that the maximum number of mutations allowable for evolution to progress as 1/n, or one per genome. Any figure above this would eventually result in genetic “error catastrophe”, a term he coined. For many years geneticists, such as James Crow have continued to worry about the effect of increasing numbers of deleterious mutations are having on the human population, particularly with the trend toward older parenting.

So, how many mutations per person per generation are we actually producing? Is it still within the confines needed for evolutionary theory to work suggested by Muller? Advanced studies on the human genome have now shown us the true figure. Sadly, we now know that the single point mutations (SNV’s) alone, without even counting the many other types of mutations, are accumulating on average at between 75 and 175 in our reproductive cells per person, per generation!

This is a profound discovery with huge ramifications for the future of humanity. Because this astounding fact is foundational to the evolutionary thesis, I have quoted the following admissions from evolutionary geneticists to these mutation rates in humans:

  1. Michael W. Nachman and Susan L. Crowell, Estimate of the Mutation Rate per Nucleotide in Humans.

The average mutation rate was estimated to be approximately 2.5 x 10(-8) mutations per nucleotide site or 175 mutations per diploid genome per generation. The authors find this figure hard to reconcile with evolutionary theory and suggest a mutual cancelling out of mutant nucleotides via epistasis.”

  1. Catarina D. Campbell, Evan E. Eichler, Properties and Rates of Germline Mutations in Humans

Recent genome-wide studies of the SNV mutation rate in humans have started to converge. Studies based on whole-genome sequencing and direct estimates of de novo mutations give an average SNV mutation rate of 1.16 × 10−8 mutations per base pair per generation.”

In plain English this estimate is about 30 new SNV’s per person per generation. Table one of their paper gives a mean mutation rate of 96.3 per person per generation. They go on to say that this is a “lower boundary” estimate and that…

Notably, when considering the total number of mutated base pairs between SNVs and CNVs, CNVs account for the vast majority. CNV’s being copy and deletion mutations covering large number of nucleotides. Put together these two sources of mutations represent hundreds of new mutations per generation.”

  1. Neel JV, Satoh C, Goriki K, Fujita M, Takahashi N, Asakawa J, Hazama R, The Rate With Which Spontaneous Mutation Alters the Electrophoretic Mobility of Polypeptides.

The implication, if these exon rates can be generalized, is of approximately equal to 20 nucleotide mutations per gamete per generation. This estimate of the frequency of point mutations does not include small duplications, rearrangements, or deletions resulting from unequal crossing-over, transcription errors, etc.”

  1. Ellie Dolgin, Nature The Real Mutation Rate Revealed, August 29, 2009

 “Every time human DNA is passed from one generation to the next it accumulates 100–200 new mutations, according to a DNA-sequencing analysis of the Y chromosome.”

Confessions do not come clearer than that, and from the pens of the worlds leading human population geneticists. We are clearly generating an abundance of deleterious mutations, and practically zero beneficial mutations. This has profound implications for anyone who has built their worldview on the assumption that evolutionary theory has slam-dunked all opposing theories of our origins.

Religion Boosts Teenagers Educational Achievement

For 17 years I was a careers counsellor in a high school here on the Sunshine Coast. I had a ringside seat on senior student achievement, watching over a thousand students graduate from high school. Three of those graduates were my own children.  We were a Christian family and they went to a Christian school. We had around 150 Christian denominations or groups represented on campus. Around a third of the students had their own active faith of some description. Another third has some form of background Christian culture, but it wasn’t their own. The final third came from families for which

Christianity meant nothing. It was a good school, with “good morals” for their kids.So with that background it came as no surprise that Stanford Graduate School of Education has come up with a study re-affirming what I already knew from observation: That religious high school students do better academically than those with no religion. Their take was that the results were achieved because “because they are rewarded for being obedient and respectful and for having self-control”.

I disagree with their conclusion. Yes Christianity does involve some disciplines, but then so do sport and club commitments, which is huge among teenagers. My personal observations were that students committed to their faith wanted to do their best to please their Lord, Jesus Christ. They were using their lives as an act of worship, just as I was as a teacher. What they did in all spheres of life was a reflection of their faith, and this flowed over into dating, choosing friends, limits on substance abuse, and attitudes toward teachers and parents.

And here’s another factor that influences their educational achievement. The strongly evangelical parents of these children divorce at a rate some 35% lower than the average. Professor Bradley Wright, a sociologist at the University of Connecticut, explains from his analysis of people who identify as Christians but rarely attend church, that 60 percent of these have been divorced. Of those who attend church regularly, 38 percent have been divorced. And we all know that growing up in an intact family has, on average, huge ramifications for educational attainment.

Kevin Davis

 

 

Rugby Australia…or…Censorship Australia?

Recently a high profile Rugby Union player, Australia’s star international test player Israel Folau no less, expressed his Christian conviction that homosexuals, among others, will end up in hell. Here is the verse he quoted:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor the drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

Israel was called in to Rugby Australia’s headquarters and given a dressing down. He explained his convictions were born from his own journey of sin and repentance. He remained resolute in his convictions, the same convictions as millions of fellow Australians Christians.

Israel then penned an articulate and deeply personal explanation of his actions and convictions which you can read here. I was very impressed. He knows personally the journey of the prodigal son.

The stakes are high. Religious conviction now clashes with the all powerful doctrine of not giving offence to homosexuals. Words are now weapons, used to silence religion. But its not about feelings. Its about truth. So who is right? Gays or Christians? Are we chance-generated or designed? Autonomous or accountable?

I want to tackle this issue from a scientific angle. If Homosexuals are right it is because evolution is right and there is no God to whom we are accountable. If evolution is a lie, then by default there is a creator and we are all accountable for the way we live our lives. We are literally private property. You see it all depends on the presuppositions you use to construct your reality.

And those presuppositions are either true or false depending on the hard scientific facts.

Here are the facts. Evolution is only true if it is backed up with genetic evidence. Forget bones and geology, timelines and textbooks. It sinks or swims on genetics alone. Either unguided random processes can create genetic-based life from chemicals and then create ever increasing genetic complexity via beneficial mutations that increase genetic complexity and random selection of those mutations, or it cant. This claim is actually easy to test in the real world. All we have to find is the beneficial mutations.

The trouble is, we cant. In fact all a beneficial mutation has ever been seen to do is jam an existing function either fully on or fully off. No new and more complex information is added.

Then there is the cruncher: the ratio of beneficial mutations to deleterious mutations has to be more than 50% in order for life to evolve, otherwise we are going backwards. So whats the actual ratio? The world’s leading human geneticists no longer even bother to compare the two. They now acknowledge the ratio is somewhere between 100,000:1 to 1,000,000:1. There are up to one million deleterious mutations for every beneficial mutation…that can only jam a function fully on or fully off!

The bottom line is that our genetics was created perfect sometime in the past and we are going extinct rapidly. Natural selection is the process that slows this extinction down.

We were created. We are private property and we are accountable. That is why Israel Folau is right. When we all die we will be held accountable. While still here we are given time to get right with our creator, as he so eloquently explains in his defense. But humans have a primal dislike for being accountable to their creator. It goes against our nature. Forget homosexuals going to hell, we all are! How sad that Israel’s “sin” was to point this out.

Kevin Davis

 

Bibles Pulled From China’s Online Bookstores

*This article is reprinted from the Australian ABC news website. It is of great significance so I have reprinted it in full, without all the social media padding typically seen in modern media articles…

Bibles have reportedly been pulled from sale through online bookstores across China, sparking confusion and outrage from frustrated Chinese-Christians on social media amid a tenuous split between the Vatican and Beijing.

On Tuesday, Chinese officials announced Beijing’s white paper which outlined how religious beliefs and freedoms are protected under the country’s socialist systems.

The white paper, titled China’s Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief, said Chinese religious communities “should adhere to the direction of localising the religion, practice the core values of socialism, develop and expand the fine Chinese tradition and actively explore the religious thought which accords with China’s national circumstances”.

But at nearly the same time the paper was released, Chinese social media users began noticing that Bibles were disappearing online. Searches for the Bibles on China’s largest e-commerce platforms including Taobao, Jingdong and Amazon as well as DangDang.com, which claims to be the world’s biggest Chinese online bookstore,  started turning up “no results” responses.

Some websites still showed listings for “Holy Bible”, but buyers did not have the option to add the item to their cart. Some Christianity-related books have also been blocked on Taobao. Late last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping, who recently abolished term limits for the Chinese presidency, made it clear there would be a crackdown on foreign religions this year.

Mr Xi had said religions could operate only if they were “Chinese in orientation” and that Beijing “must provide active guidance to religions so that they can adapt themselves to socialist society”, which experts saw as an part of an ongoing crackdown by the ruling party.

Tuesday’s white paper said China’s main religions were Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Christianity. It added that of its nearly 200 million religious citizens, Christians accounted for more than 38 million, while Catholics made up about 6 million.

But non-government estimates have suggested that China actually has closer to 100 million Christians, making it one of the biggest Christian countries in the world. However only the

In the past 24 hours, many netizens and observers have scrambled to speculate on why the Bible may have been pulled from online bookshelves, the most common interpretation being that it would be replaced with a state-revised edition.

One Weibo user pointed out, to the agreement of many others, the Bible itself has no official issuance number and is not officially approved by the Chinese Government for publication. “Theoretically speaking, the Bible is an illegal publication that cannot be sold and can only be circulated in churches,” they said.

Some Chinese web users say that’s because China doesn’t obtain property rights for selling, re-selling, and re-printing Bibles. Meanwhile, the Koran, Buddhist scriptures and Taoist sutras are still on sell in the markets.

According to an official document released by China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs, one of the biggest tasks in the coming years is to enhance “Chinese-style Christianity and theology” by reinterpreting and retranslating the Bible.

The document, titled Principle for Promoting the Chinese Christianity in China for the Next Five Years (2018-2022), was formally launched in Nanjing in eastern China on March 28. Some social media users said Bibles started coming down from the websites on March 30.

The date coincides with a massive spike in the keyword search “Bible” on Chinese social media platform Weibo the day before, followed by a sharp nose dive to zero on April 1, when the word may have been censored.

Nanjing is also home to the world’s largest Bible-printing factory and the first Bible-printing factory in China — the company has printed 155 million copies of the Bible in 90 more languages distributed to more than 70 countries around the world.

The document also states that one of the main tasks for the next five years will be to build up the Chinese Christianity and the Chinese theology, in order to “consciously develop Bible study talents to lay a solid foundation for reinterpreting and retranslating the Bible or writing the reference books”.

Warren Wang, 30, a Christian who migrated to Sydney from Shanghai in eastern China in 2012, told the ABC many Chinese Christians saw this coming. Mr Wang said he was interested in Christianity when he was still living in China, and used to go to government-backed churches in Shanghai. “I’m not that surprised that they’re taking the Bible off the shelves now,” Mr Wang said. “This is a lot like something China would do, the Communist Party teaches atheism and since Xi Jinping is becoming increasingly powerful, this is expected.

Meanwhile, William Nee, China researcher at Amnesty International, said the Chinese Government should immediately reverse its ban on the sale of Bibles, and ensure all Christians and people of other regions could exercise their faith without government interference or intimidation. “The Chinese Government under President Xi Jinping has taken a much harder approach towards Christianity while reinforcing atheism among Communist Party cadres,” he said. “Most likely this ban on the Bible is an attempt to limit the spread of what the Government fears is an alternative belief system.”

Other recent signs of a crackdown on the Christian community in China include numerous reports of house churches being banned in Henan in central China and elsewhere, with more than 1,000 crosses and crucifixes being taken down in the Zhejiang province, Mr Nee added. “Despite all the pressure put on Christians, and indeed, perhaps because of it, China is seeing a surge of religious belief,” he said. “The situation for freedom of religion varies greatly form location to location, with some people going to church and holding Bible studies and other activities with little interference, while in other areas the Government is much more hard line”.

End of article