Insights through Illusion for Daily Living

Archive for November, 2012

The Long Island Scam

If you have not had a chance to read any of my posts on exposing “psychics” or mediums, check them out Cold Reading,here hot readingbefore watching this video.

Theresa Caputo, the Long Island Medium, is a part of TLC’s cash cow of reality tv shows. The show chronicles the daily life of “psychic medium” Theresa Caputo as she encounters the spirits in the world around her. Makes for great ratings if you are easily swayed and don’t have the facts, but that’s what I’m here for.

Once you know what’s going on here, you can see right through everything that is being done by this swindler.

Check out this video of her

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Apologetics Tuesday: Criteria What if it’s True?

Do we have any credible sources for the New Testament?

For the last two weeks, we have looked questions concerning the historical reliablility of the New Testament. Like I said last week, the ramifications of a trustworthy New Testament change the world. We realize that we are sinners and need salvation, only given through Jesus Christ. The question comes in though concerning our main source for Jesus.

The last two weeks have dealt with the historical background of the New Testament and retention of manuscripts since its writing. We discovered that compared to other sources from antiquity, the NT is the most reliable source we have based both on gap in authorship and surviving copies, and the amount of copies that we have. Other sources pale in comparison to the amount of copies the New Testament has.

We are over 99% sure that the New Testament still says what it said in the original autographs.

Now The Big Question.

Is what is written in the New Testament true?

That is the million dollar question. There is some criteria to look at concerning ways to determine the truthfulness of the account given by the NT. Being the best source in antiquity does nothing for us if it is fact a very well preserved myth or legend.

Over the next couple of weeks we will break down the different important criteria about Jesus and the evidence in favor of a truthful NT account of His life.

Some of this criteria includes, early testimony, eye-witness testimony, embarrassing, as well as enemy testimony.

These will help us determine whether what the NT says is actually truth.
Next Week we will dive in to some of these criteria.

What happens if the New Testament is true?

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Apologetics Tuesday:Trusting The New Testament Part 2

Background

Critics try to discredit the NT based simply on the information behind its writing and the amount of manuscripts we still have. One of the most popular criticisms is that the NT was changed over the years. People willingly believe this too even though the background information clearly shows this to be not true. For instance the same people who discredit the NT will gladly put stock in Caesar’s writings or the manuscripts of Homer, Tacitus, Plato, and the great Greek historian Herodotus.

They don’t really give a reason for why they are not nearly as harsh on these other sources than on the NT. I can tell you though, what it boils down to. The fact that these are secular sources automatically gives them more credibility in the minds of critics. The funny thing is though, there is no merit for this view. The only reason for this is because it fits closer to their world view. You’ll always find that “Free Thinkers” and “Open Minded” people are always the first to try to shut down opposing voices….not too tolerant eh?

How does the New Testament stack up with these other ancient sources?

We need to look at two things to determine how much we can tell about our current version of the NT is from the original manuscripts. First is time, and then number of manuscripts.

Here is the time gap between the original writing and the surviving copies.

Homer—500 Years

Herodotus–1400 Years

Plato–1200 Years

Tacitus–1000 Years

Caesar–1000 Years

Pliny–750 Years

Pretty big gaps right? These are our most reliable historical sources right? So a gap that big is not that big of a deal right? Wrong.

The New Testament–25 Years. Yep that’s it. 25 years. Less than the amount of time that it takes for legends to form.

What about number of Manuscipts

Homer–643

Herodotus–8

Plato–7

Tacitus–20

Caesar–10

Pliny–7

Not very much right? So you see how few copies we have for our favorite ancient sources.

The New Testament?

5,686 Copies. Yup you read that right. 5,000 copies more than the next source.

That’s a huge amount! What does that do for you though? Think about it this way. With that many surviving copies, you can sit them side by side and look at where they are the same and where they differ. This helps you realize what the original manuscripts said. So not only is the New Testament a reliable historical source, but it is the most reliable historical source in antiquity.

How does that affect us?

Think about why people reject the New Testament now. Not on its historical merits, but because they realize the implications of what it means for the NT to be true, and how it changes everything.

The God of the Bible is real and loves us, and that our sin separates us from God, that we are not good in our nature, but need redemption from our savior.

That’s what the world is afraid of, but what we have to convey to everyone.

What do people tell you about the NT?

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Inspiration from the past

If you have seen our show, you know that at the beginning I like to open up with some card manipulation. Making them appear and vanish from mid air. Truthfully this is what got me in to doing magic as a kid. I saw this on tv and wanted do it. I spent years practicing every time I got my hands on some cards. These classic effects really never go out of the style.

Here is a glimpse of how people used to do manipulation in the past. This is already one of the hardest skills in all of magic, but this performer, Cardini, does the sleights with gloves on. This is nearly impossible for most magicians, but he mastered it. The story is why he wore gloves is that in World War I, he was in the trenches. His hands were cold being from outside for nearly 15 hours of the day everyday. So to keep himself entertained he practiced with cards, with his gloves on. Making him one of a kind, and one of the best performers ever.

This goes against the paradigm so popular today that anything old is stupid and outdated. Our culture looks at any old idea as antiquated and barbaric even if it is sound and healthy logic. One such pastor recently got up in MO and (in my opinion) made a fool of himself by standing up for a non biblical stance because people used to use similar arguments for slavery. The problem is, his argument, although compelling in passion and emotion fell completely flat when it came to logic and sense.

As Christians we can’t get caught up in the mindset that traditional biblical values are bad because they are old. That simply doesn’t follow.

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Apologetics Tuesday: Trusting the New Testament

The Rundown

Most of our information about the greatest figure in all of history, Jesus, comes from the New Testament of the Bible. Reading through the New Testament, it is clear that Jesus is the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. We also see that we are sinners destined for eternity separated from God in a place called Hell. We see that on our own, we will never be good enough to get to heave, but on our own we don’t have to be. Because reading through we see that Jesus took our punishment on His back, died a painful brutal, and bloody death on the cross. The story doesn’t end there though, we see the ultimate triumph over death as Jesus came back to life and ascended to heaven. Through this act of God raising Jesus from the dead, our sin debt has been paid, and we are extended the right to become children of God if we accept Him. The New Testament tells us that if we confess our sins that God will faithfully forgive us and make us clean. We see that all we have to do is call upon the name of the Lord and we will be saved. That if we just confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we will be saved. We will spend eternity in the presence of God in new heavenly bodies in a new heaven and earth.

It also gives us instructions about sharing this message with everyone we come in contact with, as well as living a pure life in all of our interactions.

The news doesn’t get a whole lot better than that to be honest with you.

The real question.

The real question though, as good as all of this sounds, can we actually trust the New Testament? I mean wasn’t it written by man? Hasn’t it been changed over the years? Didn’t Constantine just make whatever books he liked become the New Testament? Don’t we have just copies of copies of copies without any idea of what the original said? Do we even have any credible sources?

All of these questions and more will be answered over the next few Tuesdays. Stay tuned and get ready to have your minds blown by the awesome and powerful story that is our New Testament.

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The New Great Awakening

The Times they are a’changin

When you read this, the election will be over, but at the time of writing this, the 2012 election has not yet occurred. Here it is 24 hours before what could be a huge shift for our country no matter what happens. As Karla and I travel across the country, we see all sorts of different things. Mindsets, opinions, worldviews, whatever you want to call them. What I do know though, is that no matter who wins the election tomorrow night, our country is in need of serious revival.

End Times?

I have heard too many people talk about America like it’s a done deal, like it’s never going to change or get better, or turn to Jesus. This got me thinking though. Every group of Christians since the disciples have thought that their generation was living in the end times, and guess what they were all wrong. We are called to live in such a way that we are sharing Christ through our lives whether He is coming tomorrow, or in 10,000 years. I look back over our history at the events of the Great Awakenings. I’m willing to be that there were voices saying, “Ah what’s the use in trying to change this country, Jesus will be coming back soon and that’ll take care of it.” But you know what? People didn’t just sit on their hands and wait, they prayed. They sought God, and they became active in reaching the world they knew for Christ, and look at the impact it had.

What our country needs, what our world needs is another Great Awakening. “Well I wish someone would start it…”

What about you?

The seeds of an Awakening start with you. You are the catalyst this world needs to wake up. I’m sure people thought the world was too far gone until Charles Finney, and other leaders of the Awakenings started bringing the Word. When they did, unashamed and unapologetic, peoples lives were changed. We have to live the love of Christ so boldly in such a way that draws people to Him. We are the light of the world. It’s time for us to wake up and shine into the rest of this dark world.

We need an awakening, and it starts on an individual level from our knees and spreads outwards.

Wake up, and shake this world.

How can you be the seed of a New Great Awakening?

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Apologetics Tuesday:If you don’t like it…redfine it. Part 2

What is Good?

Last week I started a segment called don’t ask it redefined. I started by talking about the idea of nothing, and how popular atheists redefine the word to mean something that is in fact not nothing.

This week were talking about the word good. It seems kind of odd to try to redefine the word good to me whatever you want me, but that’s just with Sam Harris is done. In his book The Moral Landscape, Sam Harris, renowned atheist, has redefine what the word good means.

His argument comes from his acknowledgment that there are in fact absolute objective morals. Things that are right or wrong no matter what people’s opinion of them. Things like murder, rape, and other things are objectively wrong no matter what society says about them. The idea that the Holocaust would still be wrong, would still be evil even if Nazi Germany would’ve won World War II is a clear example of this. Just because society would’ve said the killing 6 million Jews would be right, it would still be wrong. Sam Harris acknowledges the fact that there are objective morals yet wants to find a basis for them other than God. As an atheist he rules out God for the grounding of morality before he even starts. He wants to try to find a basis for morality in the world we live in on strict naturalism. The problem is there is no ground for morality in that naturalism. If he were right, and naturalism is true, then we would be just molecules in motion. Murder and rape wouldn’t be any more wrong than a lion killing another animal.

Apologist’s Response

Here is what Dr. William Lane Craig says about Harris’ redefinition of the word “good”

So, he says, “Questions about values … are really questions about the well-being of conscious creatures.”13 Therefore, he concludes, “It makes no sense … to ask whether maximizing well-being is ‘good’.”14 Why not? Because he’s redefined the word “good” to mean the well-being of conscious creatures. So to ask, “Why is maximizing creatures’ well-being good?” is on his definition the same as asking, “Why does maximizing creatures’ well-being maximize creatures’ well-being?” It is simply a tautology — talking in a circle. Thus, Harris has “solved” his problem simply by redefining his terms. It is mere word play.

At the end of the day Harris is not really talking about moral values. He is just talking about what’s conducive to the flourishing of sentient life on this planet. Seen in this light, his claim that science can tell us a great deal about what contributes to human flourishing is hardly controversial. Of course, it can — just as it can tell us what is conducive to the flourishing of corn or mosquitoes or bacteria. His so-called “moral landscape” picturing the highs and lows of human flourishing is not really a moral landscape at all
Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/navigating-sam-harris-the-moral-landscape#ixzz2BO3AJdDR

So Harris in his attempt to tell you that without God there is a reason to be good, fails miserably. His “success” comes from his redefinition of the word “good”

Have you heard people redefine Good?

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