Top 10: The Threequel

tenopenerMy long-time readers may remember that last year about this time I gave a “Top 10” list of some of my favorite AVftR posts, and that list was itself a sequel to a similar list from our 5-year anniversary post. One benefit (for me), of course, is that it is fairly easy for me to put together during the holidays. Another benefit is that relatively newer readers are exposed to a few more posts that they may have missed, unless they dug around a bit on the site, since some of them date back a few years. So, here we are again, and I present for you another list of ten “top posts” on various topics that are somewhat evergreen. Hopefully, you will find some more articles that you can benefit from, and maybe I’ll get a little more traffic, as well. 😉

“Those Dang Tetrapod Tracks” (2 parts)

“A new discovery in Poland (see here or here) places the oldest tetrapod several million years earlier than the supposed transitional forms that biologists have been touting as proof of fish evolving into land animals. Naturally, this has caused quite a few excited ripples throughout the scientific community, with evolutionists in general insisting that the discovery isn’t really a problem and Darwin-skeptics pointing out that it really is a problem — possibly even a game-changer. But, everyone agrees that this is a significant find which could lead to further, revolutionary discoveries and advancement in knowledge of the era in question. Before delving into the new find itself, let’s get a little background on the prevalent theory….”

“Can Someone Be Pro-Life and Support Capital Punishment?”

“As you may have guessed or inferred from other statements I’ve made, I am strongly pro-Life. Many Christians (especially Catholics) and non-Christians believe that a consistent “pro-life” stance requires one to be against the death penalty, as well as against abortion. “All life is precious,” after all. Sometimes they will say that Jesus was all about love & forgiveness and we should be, too. They might quote “turning the other cheek” and decry the evils of answering violence with violence, etc. (The same sorts of arguments are often used for pacifism in general, of course, though that’s outside of the scope of this article.) I would like to respond to this type of reasoning, sometimes called the “seamless garment” argument, by focusing on the basics of the pro-life argument and the pro-death penalty argument….”

“Bible Contradictions at the Empty Tomb” (2 parts)

women at the tomb“One of the common complaints about the Gospel accounts is that there are ‘contradictions’ in those events covered by more than one book. I have already posted about this in regards to the Christmas story. Now, I’d like to do something similar with the Resurrection story — specifically, re the Empty Tomb. Since this is another excerpt from the ‘My Conversation with Michael the Heathen Gnostic’ dialogue I had a few years back, I’ll start it off with Michael’s challenge, which was originally coupled with the one regarding the Nativity scene….”

“Politically Incorrect Facts about the Texas Revolution”

“If you listen to guys like Howard Zinn and others of the ‘anti-America’ crowd, you’ll hear a lot of complaining about America’s ‘imperialist’ ambitions and the way the American government and society have horribly treated various (usually) non-white groups, stolen their land, etc. The 19th-century notions of American expansionism and ‘Manifest Destiny’ — i.e., that the United States (particularly white people) were meant (perhaps divinely so) to spread across North America — comes up a lot. Understand, I’m not dismissing it or saying that it was all good, either…. There were indeed some nasty people who did some nasty things; bad policies and bad decisions were made; in some cases, lives were lost. But, I’m afraid that revisionists of recent decades have twisted things to make it sound a lot worse, attribute sinister motives where there often were none, and portray American settlers moving westward as greedy, racist land-grabbers and generally as bad eggs. That’s my sense of it, anyway….”

“Heroes Are Human, Too”

“I remember when, many years ago, I first found out that the cast of the original Star Trek series did not always get along and a huge part of the problem was William Shatner’s ego…. When I started to read beyond the high-school sketches of America’s Founding Fathers, I discovered that they, too, were, shall we say, less than perfect. They fought and argued, sometimes resorting to not only ad hominem attacks but libel and slander in the local newspapers. It was at least as nasty as what goes on now. Some of them insisted on keeping slavery legal; even a few of those who were anti-slavery still owned slaves (e.g., Washington & Jefferson). Some of them could be unfaithful, duplicitous, stubborn, irascible, petty, and even mean. Yeah, a ‘great’ group of guys. But, why should we expect them to be any more perfect than we are? …”

“Pros & Cons of Online Debates and Discussions”

“Among the various books I have in progress, lately I’ve been reading Arguing with Friends: Keeping your friends and your convictions by Paul Buller. It’s a relatively thin book, but I only read 2 or 3 pages at a time, so it’s slow going. (OK, I admit it; it’s bathroom reading.) It is packed with strategic, tactical, and practical advice on how to have debates & discussions (with friends and co-workers) that are challenging and productive, while remaining friendly and respectful…. At one point, Buller stresses that involved conversations about such important — and often complex — topics really should be done face-to-face, in person…. For some (myself included), there are many more opportunities to have these conversations — even with friends and associates — online than in person. So, in order to sort of balance out Buller’s points, I decided to counter with a few of my own regarding the benefits of having debates & discussions online….”

“Defining Patriotism and Acts Thereof”

“I came across two or three articles discussing one aspect or another of the results of a new Fox News national poll. Among other things, the poll asked respondents — 1018 randomly chosen registered voters, nationwide and across the political spectrum — if they felt that certain activities were ‘acts of patriotism’. While I appreciate the intent of many of my compatriots’ answers, I have to say that I disagree with a lot of them on several of these. (And I consider myself pretty patriotic!) Here are the acts of interest and their respective ‘Yes’ percentages…”

“A Local Flood Interpretation of Genesis 7”

noah-ark-evelyn-patrick1“In my Facebook travels, not long ago I came across the following request (not challenge) by a Young-Earth Creationist named Randy on the Genesis Debate Forum:

I’d really like to know how a localized flood interpretation is possible through Genesis 7:18-24 NASB

[He then cited the passage.]

He got a few answers, but they were incomplete and unsatisfying, and he left the group…. [P]art of the problem is that a full explanation requires addressing many elements of the passage and probably a longer response than most are willing to put together. I wasn’t able to respond then, but I’d like to answer Randy, now. So, before addressing the passage as a whole, let’s look at some of those words that tend to cause confusion or about which modern readers often make assumptions. As we do, please realize that biblical Hebrew had a rather limited vocabulary, with only a few thousand words, so most of those words had multiple, literal definitions/uses….”

“Facts Are Stubborn Things”

“We all, at some time or another, are guilty of jumping to conclusions, of believing something without adequate evidence, of accepting a particular accounting of events, because it satisfies our suspicions or even a broader worldview. If that account is later shown to be false, our willingness to admit we were wrong and accept the facts as they are now understood is a measure of our intellectual honesty….

One recent example of this was the fatal shooting by a (white) policeman of an unarmed (black) man, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, MO. With racial tensions already high in the nation, largely due to the somewhat similar shooting of Trayvon Martin two years prior, many people latched onto the story by supposed eyewitnesses that said Brown was mercilessly gunned down after raising his hands in surrender….”

“On Jesus’ Death” (4 parts)

“One of the most controversial truth claims of Christianity is that of the physical, bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ. But, before examining the truth of the Resurrection itself, at least two other facts need to be established. First, we must look at the likelihood that the biblical Jesus of Nazareth was indeed crucified…. So, we shall consider secular evidence for Jesus’ crucifixion. We shall also examine the “Imposter Theory”, “Swoon Theory” and other naturalistic explanations, as well as the effects of the injuries Jesus experienced during his trials and on the Cross. Second, there is the matter of Jesus’ burial, specifically in the fresh-cut tomb owned by Joseph of Arimathea, which was sealed and guarded, yet later found empty. We shall look at a couple of the favorite theories of skeptics and their problems, as well as evidence that Jesus was buried in the manner described by the Gospels….”

OK, that’s a pretty fair cross-section. If you have any friends that you think might enjoy this blog, think of this post and others like it as “samplers” by which you can introduce them to us.

Have a Happy New Year! See y’all in 2016!

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