Posts Tagged conspiracy

The American conviction of Truth

I have always enjoyed American history… really, history in general. One of my favorite classes in High School was South Dakota history, and I loved every history course in college. My passion for history has thrust me into the category of fascination with historic facts often ignored or intentionally overlooked. My TV remote is seldom used to navigate from channels like History or the Military channel. However, I am bothered by the once subtle rewriting of history which has recently transcended into an aggressive and intentionally biased presentation of history against Christian faith.

Statue of Liberty under colorful sky

It has always been interesting to observe the tactics of such critics, which have become so predictable. Challenge the event or present doubt in its authenticity. Then, if this does not provide the desired results, turn against the figure of history or the authors involved in preserving the account. Recently, charges have been made against Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and even Abraham Lincoln. Everything from sexual immorality, drunkenness and slave ownership have been thrown out against them… even purporting that Lincoln was homosexual. And there’s no shortage of “history experts” who share this taint of bias to exploit their claims and sell books in the shadow of their fleeting 15 seconds in the limelight.

As mentioned, one of the tactics of the “higher critics” of history is to attack the character of historic figures. It must be noted with no doubt such character bears impact upon the event, however, even if a historic person’s moral fiber is not of highest quality it does not remove their place in history. To attack the moral character of prominent figures in American history is almost always a smoke screen tactic employed to distract the common public from the moral standards these same figures embraced as a whole. I suggest it is entirely possible to have moral failings and, yet, not embrace those moral downfalls or try to justify them. Certainly, every leader in human history (with the only exception being Jesus) have had personal flaws. The current trend of culture is to exploit those failures or flaws into something they are not, to wield them as leverage against such individuals in an attempt to excuse modern moral failings or suggest such leaders would support these same behaviors.

Perhaps no greater charge has been made against American history than that against the influence of Christian faith on the founding and structure of this Republic.

Many have falsely claimed America as a “melting pot” of religious expression, and yet, our founders never intended such. In fact, our founders were quite unabashed about their contempt against other religions.

1796 Farewell Address of President George Washington:

The unity of government which constitutes you one people is also now dear to you. It is justly so, for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But as it is easy to foresee that, from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth; as this is the point in your political fortress against which the batteries of internal and external enemies will be most constantly and actively (though often covertly and insidiously) directed, it is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching for its preservation with jealous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.

For this you have every inducement of sympathy and interest. Citizens, by birth or choice, of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles. You have in a common cause fought and triumphed together; the independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint counsels, and joint efforts of common dangers, sufferings, and successes.

But these considerations, however powerfully they address themselves to your sensibility, are greatly outweighed by those which apply more immediately to your interest. Here every portion of our country finds the most commanding motives for carefully guarding and preserving the union of the whole.

Washington’s Farewell Address

Notice Mr. Washington’s statement toward the end of the above quote:

With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles.

He is, of course, speaking of the Christian faith. How is it possible our founding fathers could have “intended a culture embracing a melting pot of religious expression” while Mr. Washington celebrates the common faith? You see, American history nor the writings of our founders do not support the melting pot concept. In fact, they condemn other religions by pointing out the highest moral value of Christianity. Those who would suggest the melting pot concept have also twisted the “Church and State” concept presented by Mr. Jefferson in his letter to the Danbury Baptist Association to mean absolutely no Christian influence in American politics. The hypocrisy of such a position is easily shown in the climate of “political correctness” toward our “friendly Islamic” neighbors.

Modern social commentators love to call America a “melting pot” or “mosaic” of cultural and religious expression. However, such a description is not fitting America’s founding principles, nor is it supported in her history.

Simple put, America has the unique founding principles of a nation defined by Christian faith. Our model for justice comes directly from the pages of Christian Scripture, as is so prominently evidenced in the engravings upon nearly every federal building and monument in our nation’s capitol. Our founding fathers provide a wealth of material in support of their entire support of Christian faith, and the establishment of a wall of separation which prevented the government from imposing a particular form of religious expression upon the people. Even founders who have been redefined by history as “unbelieving” or “deist” have printed works which impress their support of Christian faith.

One need not look very far to realize the undercurrent of such a trend. To “dumb down” or remove faith from the pages of history simply opens the door wider for immoral living.

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CSI Jerusalem: “Resurrection Evidences”

CSI Jerusalem Logo of a Shoulder X-rayThe Crucifixion of Jesus is one of the best historically documents events in human history.

Try as they might, skeptics are unable to find evidence to discredit the historicity of Jesus’ death. Common line of thought in the criticism of the crucifixion is that if the cross could be removed, or placed into doubt, the resurrection would be a moot point. However, evidence from both Biblical & extra-Biblical sources, including many non-believers, is simply far too overwhelming to allow a removal of the cross. So, critics have shifted their attention from the cross, which many will now concede as a true historic event, and onto those who provide the accounts of Scripture. By discrediting the authorship of Biblical writings (so goes their thinking) they can cast a shadow of doubt upon the events they record.

As with the crucifixion of Jesus, this ploy has proven to be a failure, due, in part, to the science of archaeology. Archaeological discoveries have consistently corroborated the people, places, events and timeline of Scripture. Archaeology cannot lie… and cannot be denied. Such is the plight of those who would deny truth. The ever constant of truth is it’s unchanging nature itself becoming the bane of the shifting sands of those who would argue against it. So, since truth cannot be denied, and archaeology corroborates truth, as do the numerous historians who have witnessed & recorded the events of Scripture, focus must yet again be shifted.

A call of new attention has been given to the account of Jesus’ resurrection. There have been numerous charges made against the resurrection over the years… some of which include:

  • Conspiracy by the Romans to humiliate the Jewish leadership.
  • Conspiracy by the Christian Disciples of Jesus to remove & hide His body.
  • Jesus never really died, was rescued and able to live out a full, natural life in another country.
  • The “Feign Theory”, which suggests that Jesus’ revived when placed in the cool tomb, having passed out upon the cross & mistaken as having died.

Charges go on & on, yet, it must be noted that with each “new” charge, the account of Jesus’ life, ministry, miracles, public death, burial & resurrection cannot be discredited. Consider the following:

  • Cornelius Tacitus in his annals, AD 115:
    “…Nero fabricated scapegoats-and punished…Christians (as they were popularly called). Their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius’ reign by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilatus.”
  • Lucian of Samosata: Greek Satirist of the 2nd Century, AD “Christ was the man who was crucified in Palestine.”
  • Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 18, Chap 3:
    ”Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”
  • Eusebius, Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History (AD 260-340):
    Compiled & chronicled the early accounts of history for the early Church. Known for his documentation of Josephus & validated his above mentioned testimony of Christ.
  • Talmud, b. Sanhedrin 43a: (Also Sanh. 7:4 & Sanh. 6:4 refer to His crucifixion)
    ”On the eve of the Passover Yeshu [Jesus] was hanged [or crucified]. … Since nothing was brought forward in his favor he was hanged on the eve of the Passover.”

Please note that men who contributed to the Jewish history writings known as the Talmud were non-Christian Jewish men who took their job very seriously, and even these writers document the crucifixion of Jesus as a historic event.

  • Amoa “Ulla” (A disciple of Youchanan of Palestine at the end of the 3rd century) writes:
    “Do you suppose that for Yeshu of Nazareth (Jesus) there was any right of appeal? He was a beguiler, and the Merciful One hath said: ‘Thou shalt not spare neither shalt thou conceal him.’ It is otherwise with Yeshu, for He was near to the civil authority.”
  • Thallus, a Samaritan-born historian, c. AD 52, quoted by Julius Africanus, c. AD 221:
    “Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away this darkness [at the time of the crucifixion] as an eclipse of the sun- unreasonable, of course, because a solar eclipse could not take place at the time of the full moon, and it was the time of the pascal full moon when Christ died.”
  • Mara Bar-Serapion, after AD 73 (this letter resides in the British Museum):
    “What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King? It was just after that that their kingdom was abolished….But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the teaching of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise King die for good; he lived on in the teaching which he had given.”
  • Justin Martyr, Early Christian apologist, made clear reference to a document called the Acts of Pontius Pilate in a letter addressed to the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius in AD 150. He describes in detail the passion of Jesus:
    “And the expression “They pierced my hands and feet,” was used in reference to the nails of the cross which were fixed in His hands and feet. And after He was crucified, they cast lots upon His vesture, and they that crucified Him parted it among them. And that these things did happen, you can ascertain from the ‘Acts of Pontius Pilate’ “
  • Tertullian (160-220AD), wrote to Roman officials about the unusual events surrounding the trial, death and resurrection of Jesus. Discussing a time when the Roman Senate
    considered classifying Jesus as a Roman deity due to the miraculous nature of his life:
    “To go back to the origin of such laws there was an old decree that no one should be consecrated a god by an emperor till he had been approved by the senate. Marcus Aemilus followed this procedure in the case of a false god, Alburnus. This reinforces my argument that among you, godhead is conferred by human approval, if a god does not satisfy man he does not become a god, so according to this it is for man to show favor to God. Tiberius then in whose time the name of Christian came into the world, when a report of this doctrine reached him from Palestine where it originated, communicated to the senate making it clear to them that he favored the doctrine. The senate however, because they had not examined the doctrine for themselves, rejected it. But Tiberius stuck to his own view threatening to execute any who accused the Christians.”

So, if Jesus really died a sacrificial death… even one of the Roman Centurian stationed at His cross freely & openly stated that Jesus was the “Son of God” & “innocent”… then His claims of authority & commission to all must be legitimate as well. Thus, every human is accountable to the only authority over the Church… Jesus. But, can we accept His resurrection, based upon the historical accuracy of His death & burial? Consider the following points, examine the Scripture for yourself, then you decide.

  • Roman guards were placed at the tomb, armed & charged with death upon failure to faithfully execute their duties.
  • Jewish officials conspired with the guards, paying them money, to remain silent about the resurrection.
  • Jesus’ tomb was sealed by the Romans, making it secure & putting grave robbers on notice that it was under Roman protection.
  • Romans & Jewish guards testified about the resurrection.
  • Every guard ‘became as dead men’ at the time of the resurrection.
  • No less than 5 roman soldiers, the Jewish leaders, the Disciples, Pilate & the crowd verified the death & burial.
  • Jesus was witnessed by hundreds of people at a time following His resurrection, according to the Gospel accounts.

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Lunar Landing & the Bible

Conspiracy theorists have been balking Neal Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin’s moon walk of 40 years ago today, July 20th, 1969. This type of dispute dates back to the Apostles… not the dispute over the USA arriving on the surface of the moon… but, the Bible has faced the same type of assault.

Remarkably, the claims against the Bible fail under the same methods of validation common to the American Astronauts of ’69.

Let’s take a little moon walk of our own as I prove my point.

Pundits of the Moon Landing cite a number of points as “evidence” against the Lunar landing, including (non-exclusive list):
1) No stars showing in the sky/space background of the moon photos.
2) Numerous, distinct shadow angles cast on the surface of the moon from the Astronauts, Lunar landing module, flag & equipment.
3) Footprints of Astronauts were exceptionally well preserved, as though in “wet sand”.
4) The seemingly large number of photos taken by Astronauts.
5) Incredibly high cost of such an expedition would have been prohibitive.
6) Danger of radioactive exposure would have been beyond human tolerance.

I could go on, but, suffice it to say that there are a number of claims made against the landing. Ultimately, critics claim that NASA was involved in an elaborate hoax in order to intimidate The Soviets during the Cold War, and deceive the American public.

Now, I was just a young chipling when Armstrong & Aldrin walked on the surface of the moon, however, I’m a history geek and have enjoyed lots of books, radio & TV interviews, and documentaries on the subject. Additionally, I’ve personally viewed videos, many on live newscasts, of every American space launch since ’69, and I have something to say to those who are critics: prove it.

You see, as in any charge, the burden of evidence falls upon the one making a claim. We have huge volumes of eyewitness accounts, living Astronauts, reporters, and every-day American citizens who can overwhelm the ignorance of such claims against the Lunar Landings through their own testimony.

So, you’re wondering, “How does the moon walk of ’69 have anything in common with Biblical reliability?” I’m so glad you asked!

Critics have leveled claims against the Bible for centuries, and not a single claim holds against the evidence presented by sources which validate the Bible. Surprisingly, as in the case of the moon landing, critics began to audaciously level claims while the Biblical writers were still living, just like modern claims against the Astronauts. Critics follow the same course: Level criticism against the “contradictions”, then move on to the source of authority, then lower the threat by claiming “partial hoax”.

Criticisms against the Bible have included “contradictions” in the use of language, geography, specific account details and authorship. (To name only a few claims.)

In a wonderful way, such criticisms actually provide further validation to the Scripture. How? They open the door for those who are honest enough to be open minded in their search for information. Such a scholar will find bountiful evidence to confirm the reliability of Scripture, and erase the validity of such claims.

Consider the following:
Thousands of eye-witnesses to confirm the accounts of the Gospels, and Jesus’ ministry, substitutionary death, burial & resurrection. Confirmations provided in miraculous, complete healing of physical ailments, as well as numerous other miracles… calming the sea, feeding thousands, and raising the dead. Even the Apostles were enabled to raise the dead, and you cannot get better eye witness account than that of a person brought back from the dead!

Another powerful tool in the arsenal of evidence is that of Prophecy. Biblical prophecy, by definition, is revealed by God directly to a messenger, and provides two types of messages: Forth-tellinga proclamation of truth for the immediate audience, and foretellinga detailed description of events yet to come. A Biblical prophecy was highly detailed, specific & 100% accurate. To add to this powerful tool, we have yet another: Archaeology. Archaeology bears great confirmation for Biblical accounts, having discovered written languages, cultures, cities, events & people cited by critics as having never existed.

Further, we have such a huge volume of manuscripts of hand copied Scriptural writings that a conspiracy to “invent” Christianity proves to be impossible. Sheer logic & experience tells you that people are driven by greed. If such a conspiracy existed… hunger for pay-offs would have brought to light powerful evidence to contradict Scripture by this point. And yet, by contrast, we find men & women who have literally given their lives in order to preserve the Scripture. Very few people are willing to give their life for something they know to be false… you cannot spend money in the grave.

The “contradictions” cited by critics prove to be only 0.05% of the volume of Scripture. (Direct quote from Bible scholar Bruce Metzger) They are comprised of errors in punctuation & spelling, none of which affect doctrinal teachings at all. This means that the Scripture is 99.95% accurate to it’s original (autograph) writings. Since we do not have the original writings (autographs), some critics claim that they Scripture could have been altered by those participating in a conspiracy. The volume of copies actually proves quite the opposite of the critic’s claims. Such a small amount of variation between hand-copied documents proves that the scribes were taking very serious their task of preserving the documents. If the conspiracy were true, individuals would have been tempted to interject their own “versions” resulting in greater diversity in accounts… such is human nature. By contrast, we can confidently hold to the fact that the Scripture held in our hands today is very accurate to the original.

Some would say that we cannot be sure of this, since we do not possess the “original” to act as a standard. We need only turn attention to the founding, charter documents of America as evidence against such an idea. In spite of all our best technology & efforts, the Constitution, and the Declaration of Independence are fading into illegibility. When (not if, but when) these documents fade away, will they be lost to history? Certainly not! How? By the incredible volume of copies… volumes so vast in number and readily accessible… which have already passed comparison to the still present & legible originals on public display today.

In order to pull of such a deception, one would have to destroy the original, (or at least hide them away) and confiscate the copies… which would have to be in secret so that no one would see the deception taking place… and replace the copies with alternate versions. In addition, those involved in the conspiracy would have to remain perfectly silent about all of it. Now, add the difficulty of international exposure, since the charter documents are found all over the world, you’d have to do this simultaneously & secretly with every copy. Additionally, what about the “lost” of forgotten copies which could resurface? Do you see the difficulty?

There are a number of great apologists, outside of NASA, which confirm the accounts & destroy the claims against the moon walk. Similarly, we have a number of non-biblical, secular sources to confrim the Scripture… not the least of which if archaeology.

The Bible stands the test against the critics… but, as I said earlier, the burden of proof falls on the critic. So, I say, let them deal their worst, for if the Scripture proves to be false I shall like to be the first to know it.

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