RARE EARTH RESEARCH

Does life exist beyond Earth? Not surprisingly, searches of the solar system yield no evidence because the only planet (or moon) located in the right place is Earth. However, the discovery of exoplanets (planets outside our solar system) boosted researchers’ enthusiasm for finding life beyond Earth. Thus far, our technology lacks the sensitivity to detect any signatures of life outside of our solar system, but scientists continue to make progress. While these advances reveal additional indicators that Earth may be rare (or unique) in its capacity to support life, they also provide a way to genuinely test the rare-earth hypothesis.

Using current telescope technology, scientists can measure only orbits, masses, and sizes of exoplanets. Over the next decade, advances will permit the detection of life signatures from stars in the neighbourhood of the solar system, which will allow powerful tests of the rare-earth hypothesis. An article published in the journal Astrobiology highlights one of those tests.

Read the article at http://www.reasons.org/articles/search-for-earth-analogues-reveals-design

God’s Morality

Is God Subject to Justice?

Posted: 24 Jun 2015 06:00 AM PDT

From Tough Questions Answered

Skeptics of Christianity sometimes claim that either God is subject to an external standard of justice and morality, or else whatever God arbitrarily says or does is the standard of justice and morality. Both of these choices are a problem, however, for the Christian.

If there is an external standard of justice, then God is not the ultimate being. There is a moral law that is greater than him. The Bible, however, rules that out.

If God can arbitrarily decide what is right and what is wrong, then justice and morality become meaningless because even though it is wrong to kill an innocent person today, tomorrow it could become OK, if God willed it to be. This idea, however, seems ludicrous as well.

The Christian answer to this dilemma is that God’s very nature is the Good and the Just. In other words, the moral law is built into God, and because God will always act according to his nature, the moral law will never change, and is thus not arbitrary. God is not subject to an external standard, because the standard is God himself.

Related Posts

1. Is God the Source of Morality?

2. Are All Sins Equal? Part 1

3. Are All Sins Equal? Part 2

4. Why Does God Have Authority Over Us?

YARPP

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1500 MEDICAL STUDIES SHOW THAT PRAYER WORKS

1500 MEDICAL STUDIES SHOW THAT PRAYER WORKS

“Atheists can sneer at faith all they like, but they can’t assume science is on their side.” Researcher Tom Knox, who abandoned his atheist beliefs after discovering first-hand the power of prayer. Ask most Christians and they’ll tell you “absolutely” God honours prayers for healing. Not every time, of course, but enough to combat the notion that He doesn’t. And, these same Christians will tell you that not only does God heal, but He brings joy, grace and favour into the lives of those who trust in Him, often extending their lifespan as well. More than 1,500 “reputable” medical studies now back up these claims.

Dr. Harold G. Koenig of Duke University says results from the huge number of studies on the subject “indicates people who are more religious and pray more have better mental and physical health.” “There’s a lot of evidence out there,” he adds. Researcher Tom Knox, a former atheist who became a Christian after studying the medical benefits of prayer, agrees. “Over the past 30 years,” he says, “a growing and largely unnoticed body of scientific work shows religious belief is medically, socially, and psychologically beneficial. Religious attendance is associated with adult mortality in a graded fashion. There is a seven-year difference in life expectancy between those who never attend church and those who attend weekly.”

Source: Newsmax

FULL ARTICLE BELOW

Science Proves the Healing Power of Prayer

Tuesday, 31 Mar 2015 05:19 PM

http://www.newsmax.com/Health/Headline/prayer-health-faith-medicine/2015/03/31/id/635623/

For the devout, there never has been any question that prayer has the power to heal.

Now, more and more medical research from leading hospitals and universities across the U.S. has shown conclusively a belief in God really IS good for you, making you healthier and happier, and helping you live longer.

“Studies have shown prayer can prevent people from getting sick — and when they do get sick, prayer can help them get better faster,” Duke University’s Harold G. Koenig, M.D., tells Newsmax Health.

An exhaustive analysis of more than 1,500 reputable medical studies “indicates people who are more religious and pray more have better mental and physical health,” Dr. Koenig says.

 

“And out of 125 studies that looked at the link between health and regular worship, 85 showed regular churchgoers live longer.

“There’s a lot of evidence out there.”

Dr. Koenig — director of Duke’s Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health and the author of several authoritative books on faith and healing — says a striking study published in the Southern Medical Journal demonstrated that prayer has a remarkable effect on patients with hearing and visual deficiencies.

After prayer sessions, “They showed significant improvements based on audio and visual tests,” Dr. Koenig said.

He added: “The benefits of devout religious practice, particularly involvement in a faith community and religious commitment, are that people cope better. In general, they cope with stress better, they experience greater well-being because they have more hope, they’re more optimistic, they experience less depression, less anxiety, and they commit suicide less often.

“They have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, and probably better cardiovascular functioning.”

The proof of the power of prayer is overwhelming, says researcher and writer Tom Knox, a one-time atheist who became a regular worshipper after doing in-depth study of the medical benefits of faith.

 

“What I discovered astonished me,” admits Knox. “Over the past 30 years a growing and largely unnoticed body of scientific work shows religious belief is medically, socially, and psychologically beneficial.”

Study after study backs up the benefits of having faith, especially in prolonging life.

In 2006, population researchers at the University of Texas discovered that the more often you go to church, the longer you live.

“Religious attendance is associated with adult mortality in a graded fashion,” says Knox.

“There is a seven-year difference in life expectancy between those who never attend church and those who attend weekly.”

The American Journal of Public Health studied nearly 2,000 older Californians for five years and found that those who attended religious services were 36 percent less likely to die during that period than those who didn’t.

A study of nearly 4,000 older adults for the U.S. Journal of Gerontology revealed that atheists had a significantly increased chance of dying over a six-year period than the faithful.

Crucially, religious people lived longer than atheists even if they didn’t go regularly to a place of worship.

The American Society of Hypertension established in 2006 that church-goers have lower blood pressure than non-believers.

Scientists have also revealed believers recover from breast cancer quicker than non-believers, have better outcomes from coronary disease and rheumatoid arthritis, and are less likely to have children with meningitis.

Research at San Francisco General Hospital looked at the effect of prayer on 393 cardiac patients. Half were prayed for by strangers who had only the patients’ names. Those patients had fewer complications, fewer cases of pneumonia, and needed less drug treatment.

They also got better quicker and left the hospital earlier.

Concluded Knox: “Atheists can sneer at faith all they like, but they can’t assume science is on their side.”

© 2015 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

Debunking Christianity Historically

Debunking Christianity

For the Fourth Time Jesus Fails to Qualify as a Historical Entry In The Oxford Classical Dictionary

By Harry H. McCall at 6/03/2015

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/for-fourth-time-jesus-fails-to-qualify.html#disqus_thread

"For more than half a century, the Oxford Classical Dictionary has been the unrivalled one-volume reference work on the Greco-Roman world. Whether one is interested in literature or art, philosophy or law, mythology or science, intimate details of daily life or broad cultural and historical trends, the OCD is the first place to turn for clear, authoritative information on all aspects of ancient culture.

Now comes the Fourth Edition of this redoubtable resource, thoroughly revised and updated, with numerous new entries and two new focus areas (on reception and anthropology). Here, in over six thousand entries ranging from long articles to brief identifications, readers can find information on virtually any topic of interest–athletics, bee-keeping, botany, magic, religious rites, postal service, slavery, navigation, and the reckoning of time. The Oxford Classical Dictionary profiles every major figure of Greece and Rome, from Homer and Virgil to Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great. Readers will find entries on mythological and legendary figures, on major cities, famous buildings, and important geographical landmarks, and on legal, rhetorical, literary, and political terms and concepts." See: Oxford University Press

Under Josephus, Flavius, both the 1st (1948) and 2nd (1969) edition failed to mention any reference to Jesus ( note in 2nd, ed. , p.565), while a three page article on Jews (pp. 563- 565) also fails to reference either Jesus or the New Testament.

The 3rd. ed. continues the title: The Oxford Classical Dictionary: The Ultimate Reference Work on the Classical World includes more than 6,200 entries, but again fails to provide any entry on Jesus nor has it any use for the New Testament as a historical record. Although the entry on Josephus is expanded in the newer editions, the Dictionary dismisses the Testimonium Flavianum account on Jesus as reliable history in just one sentence: “The famous testimonium to Jesus is partly or even wholly an interpolation.” (p. 798)

Likewise, there are no entries on Gospels, New Testament, nor does the Dictionary list a single reference to any Biblical book under its section: Abbreviations Used in the Present Work A. General B. Authors and Books in its 75 pages.

The Dictionary does have an entry on Christianity, but concludes its four page history summation on the development of the Christian religion this way:

“Can we be sure about the scale of that development? It is impossible to judge the size of the Christian population at any one time. Surviving reports are marred by hyperbole, ignorance, and convention. Archaeology and inscriptions are statistically haphazard and impervious to individual sentiment, particularly in the east Christians formed sizable minority and occasionally even a majority in the late 3rd cent.. The difficult question is why. Breeding and friendship must have played a large part in the expansion of Christianity – perhaps always larger than that of convincing oratory. What remains textually of Christian address was not necessarily disseminated broadly. We know little more about the reception of the Christian message than we do about that of any ancient document. With the advent of toleration, it is likely that expediency, laziness, and fear played as much a part then as they do now. Talk of ‘superstition’ is misleading. Features of religious life supposedly attractive to a superstitious mind had always been available in traditional cults. The change of allegiance demands more subtle explanations.” ( p. 328)

In conclusion, while Christian apologists may find proof of Jesus as a historical figure in a few Classical authors, the professional Editors and Contributors of this long standing "Ultimate Reference Work on the Classical World" would strongly disagree!

Though other alleged divinities are referred to, Christianity isn’t? What reputable historical scholar agrees with this view? Is the “classical” world counted as everything BC, that might settle the matter ?So let’s find out who these editors are and why it is so.