We have just come in contact with a wonderful new book written by Joan Haselwood titled Behold the Birds and subtitled Spiritual Insights from God’s Design. We have known Mrs. Haselwood for many years and are thrilled that she has taken our “Dandy Designs” material, added to it, expanded it and even written her own poems to support it. Teachers will find this book very useful for Bible classes, devotionals, and for their own edification and study. It is a great book to have on a bed stand or in the magazine rack in your bathroom.
The book explains the scientific information known about different birds. Mrs. Haselwood then gives a series of questions for discussion or thought and a poem either from herself or some other author. There are 12 birds covered in the book, all of which are common birds we all know–sparrows, warblers, hummingbirds, pigeons, eagles, chickens, etc.
From the back cover of the book:
“Behold the Birds by Joan M. Haselwood is a fresh and unique women’s study guide investigating birds of the Bible. Ladies’ Bible classes will love this book. Behold the Birds has everything needed for personal and group or class study—even providing applicable song suggestions for every lesson. The structure is easy to navigate for individuals and groups. God’s creatures will be viewed in a new light following this study.”
Behold the Birds is a 134-page, spiral-bound paperback. We will probably publish a review of this wonderful new book in a future issue of our printed journal, but it is so good we wanted to share it with you here. It was published by and is available from the Gospel Advocate.
–John N. Clayton © 2018
One of the world’s most important prizes in academics is the Templeton Prize. Nominees for this prize of over a million dollars must have qualities “of creativity and innovation, rigor and impact… and above all a substantial record of achievement that highlights or exemplifies one of the various ways in which human beings express their yearning for spiritual progress.”
The 2017 winner is Dr. Alvin Carl Plantinga. Time magazine (April 5, 1980) described Plantinga as “America’s leading orthodox Protestant philosopher of God.” In 1982 he was appointed as the John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame where he taught until 2010. As a graduate student at Notre Dame during those years, I was personally affected by Dr. Plantinga’s work. I have followed his teachings as he returned to Calvin College in Grand Rapids where he and his family started their careers. Dr. Plantinga has degrees and honors from major universities all around the world including Harvard, Yale, University of Michigan, Oxford, and Glasgow, just to mention a few.
What qualifies Alvin Plantinga is not his degrees or honors, but his work. The question of how to comprehend the existence of evil in a world where God is omnipotent and omniscient has been the focus of Plantinga’s work. The relationship and compatibility of scientific and religious belief and evolutionary arguments against naturalism are two of the main themes that Plantinga presents and defends in his books. He also challenges the militant atheism and materialism that exists in the minds of many people today. He argues that the real conflict is not in the disciplines–not between science and religion–but rather between theism and naturalism. Plantinga’s reviews of atheists Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins concludes that their work is “poor philosophy masquerading as science.”
This ministry is not involved in philosophical debate, but when the academic community honors an outstanding and well-recognized Christian philosopher, we want to join in the applause. We have learned a great deal from Dr. Alvin Plantinga. Every time I read anything he wrote, I realize how much more I need to learn. That is the greatest compliment anyone can give a lifetime of work. The Templeton Prize got it right.
–John N. Clayton © 2018
With the start of 2018, we are now beginning the second year of Does God Exist? Today. We started these daily posts last January, and we now have a worldwide outreach. This website features the kind of information found in the “News and Notes” column in our printed quarterly publication. However, because Does God Exist? Today is published daily, the information is more up-to-date. In our first year, the site has been growing, and we are now getting about 2,500 views per month.
During 2017, in addition to the daily posts on the new Does God Exist? Today website, we have continued daily posts on our Facebook page. That page continues to get the attention of people around the world. We now have more than 20,000 followers. Most of the posts on the Facebook page deal with subjects related to evidence of design in the universe and in living things. We have dealt with that topic for years in our printed publications and also on our Dandy Designs website. We are working on getting the Facebook posts into a collection that we will use to update our Dandy Designs website. Watch for that in 2018.
Also in 2017 we redesigned our DoesGodExist.tv website (Does God Exist? Media) where you can view our entire video series. During 2017 we added four new videos for a total of 36. Also on that site you will find access to our audio series and as well as other materials. There is also our original website DoesGodExist.org where you can read the current issue of our printed journal plus many other articles.
Thank you for following our posts. We appreciate your feedback and support. You make it possible for us to share the message that God exists and the good news of His love with people around the world. May the New Year of 2018 bring blessings to you and your family.
–Roland Earnst © 2018
DOES GOD EXIST? MINISTRY CELEBRATES 50 YEARS WITH CANYONLANDS TRIP
Our first lectureship was in the fall of 1968, and our first Grand Canyon trip was in the winter of 1970.
WE WILL CELEBRATE THOSE EVENTS WITH A CANYONLANDS TRIP September 9-14, 2018
– We will visit Sunset Crater, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Lake Powell boat trip, Meteor Crater, Painted Desert, and Petrified Forest by Air Conditioned Bus.
– As we travel, Alan Doty and John Clayton will give lectures on the things we are seeing and how they support the biblical record.
– This will be a trip for believers. Prayers and singing will be a part of every day’s activities.
Trip arrangements are managed by Story Land and Sea, 12835 E. Arapahoe Road, Tower 1-500, Centennial CO 80112. Phone 877-865-6711. Email Mark@StoryLandSea.com or visit their website www.StoryLandSea.com. No money is paid to or managed by John Clayton, Alan Doty or the Does God Exist? ministry. The total cost is $1100.00 which includes bus travel from Flagstaff, all entry fees including the boat trip, breakfast Tuesday through Friday, motels Monday through Thursday night. Not included are lunch and dinner meals, gratuities, travel to and from Flagstaff, or Sunday night and Friday night housing.
–John N. Clayton © 2017
On the morning of September 15, 2017, Cassini ended its life in fiery destruction. Cassini was a space probe orbiting and studying Saturn, and by all measures, Cassini exceeded expectations.
NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency worked together on the Cassini-Huygens space exploration project. The mission was to study Saturn along with its moons and rings. NASA launched the spacecraft in 1997, and it arrived near Saturn and went into orbit around that planet in 2004.
The Huygens (pronounced hoy-guns) lander module, provided by the ESA, separated from the Cassini probe and landed on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, in 2005. The parachute landing was successful, and the probe sent out data for about 90 minutes. In that brief time, scientists learned much about the surface of that distant moon. Viewed from Titan’s surface, the Sun appeared about the size and brightness of a car headlight 150 meters away. The Huygens probe took pictures and told us that Titan’s surface is dotted with rivers, lakes, and oceans made of methane and ethane. It also has dunes up to 300 feet (91 meters) tall.
Meanwhile, the Cassini probe continued to orbit Saturn and send back amazing and beautiful pictures of its rings and moons for 13 years. Cassini helped us to learn more about the moons of Saturn. The planet has at least 53 moons and possibly eight more. We learned that the moon Enceladus is covered with a liquid water ocean with a surface layer of ice 19 to 25 miles (30 to 40 km) thick. Geysers of water erupt from cracks in the ice. The rings of Saturn are a constantly changing collection of ice particles and small rocks. Saturn has hurricane-like storms at both poles and a hexagon-shaped jet stream at the north pole. How long is a day on Saturn? That’s hard to determine because it is a gas planet and not all parts of it move at the same speed. Scientists estimate a little more than 10 hours.
Cassini exceeded expectations by surviving seven years of travel to Saturn plus 13 years orbiting the planet. As it ran out of fuel, scientists sent it hurtling into Saturn’s atmosphere to burn up so it could not contaminate any of Saturn’s moons by crashing into them.
We are fascinated by the Cassini photos and scientists will continue to study them for years. The picture we posted shows a Cassini view of Saturn and its rings with a bright spot visible below the rings. That spot is the planet where we live. As we look at the hostile environment of space and the other planets, we realize how incredible Earth is. God has given us a place with everything we need for life. You might say that compared to any other place in the universe, Earth exceeds expectations.
–Roland Earnst © 2017
We now have a redesigned website for the videos, audios, and printed materials that we publish. Our materials are designed to help people know that God exists and that the Bible is His word. We invite you to visit www.doesgodexist.tv.
On that redesigned website you can watch the entire DOES GOD EXIST? video series. We recently added four more programs for a total of 36! You can also listen to the 26 sessions in the DOES GOD EXIST? audio series. For no cost, you can watch and listen to John Clayton presenting evidence for God. You can also watch the videos with Spanish subtitles or see another video series with Mandarin Chinese translation.
If you want to purchase DVDs or CDs of the programs, you will find a link to our store on that site also. There is also a link to a page where you can donate to our work (tax-deductible in the USA). The link is secure, and we don’t give or sell your information to anyone.
DoesGodExist.tv also has links to our other websites. We have one website devoted to the subject of why an almighty, loving God would allow pain and suffering. We have another which allows children to watch any of our children’s videos or read any of our children’s books free of charge. There is another one which features many “Dandy Designs” in the world around us which testify to a Designer. (By the way, that site is scheduled for an upgrade next.)
On the redesigned website you will also find a link to our Facebook page. We post daily evidences of God’s design on Facebook, and the page has more than 20,000 followers around the world. As you probably know, we publish a quarterly printed DOES GOD EXIST? Journal. Current and back issues of that magazine are also available to read online using a link on DoesGodExist.tv.
We hope you will visit our redesigned website.
–Roland Earnst © 2017
Those of you who work with children know that we have 16 Children’s books dealing with the wonderful natural world around us. Six of those books were authored by Charlsy Ford of Temple, Texas. These include our books for elementary students explaining Eagles, Kangaroos, Fungi, Animals of the Cold, Frogs, and God Creating Humans with a Spiritual Nature. Charlsy died on Friday August 11 from burns suffered in an accident on her farm two days before. Charlsy was talking with us two days before the accident about some new books we are working on. She was a creative and hard worker, and we will miss her.
Here is a link to her obituary.
The September 2017 issue of Reader’s Digest has an interesting article titled “Have Bestsellers Become Dumber?”(Page 118). The article contains data on the grade level of New York Times bestsellers over the years. That refers to the reading grade level needed to comprehend the text. In 1960 that level was eighth grade, and in the 2010s the level is grade 6. This calls us to think about the reason for this dumbing down of the best sellers.
In our materials we have talked about fog indexes, which indicate how clearly the literature expresses its ideas. The Gunning fog index shows the reading level a person must have to understand what the written material is saying. We strive to be clear in what we present.
The problem with this dumbing down is that the public cannot read and understand material that is academic and documented concerning facts about the cosmos. Since many scientific journals and reports are written at a college graduate level, getting factual information is impossible for much of the American public. As a result, the public relies on someone else to tell them what to believe.
More and more people rely on television, movies, and other media to determine what is factual and what is not. This also puts a responsibility on programs like DoesGod Exist? to be honest and factual with what we present. We can never be perfect, but we can strive to be open to instruction and factual in all of our presentations.
–John N. Clayton © 2017
Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins is an outspoken atheist. He has made harsh statements against all religions. In his book The God Delusion, he uses the vilest terms to describe “the God of the Old Testament.” Then he goes on to say that God is not only a delusion but a “pernicious delusion.” However, in a backhanded way, Dawkins admits anti-Christian discrimination. He has admitted that Christianity is treated differently from Islam, and coincidentally that Christians are more gracious and forgiving than Muslims.
Dawkins was scheduled to speak in August at an event in Berkeley, California, sponsored by a public radio station. Dawkins was supposed to be speaking concerning his newest book coming out this month–Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist. Residents in the San Francisco Bay area reported to the radio station some comments concerning Islam in The God Delusion. They also pointed out a tweet from Dawkins in which he said, “”Islam is the greatest force for evil in the world today.” When the powers at KPFA radio heard that, they promptly canceled Dawkins’ speech. They sent a letter to those who had purchased tickets telling them, “We had booked this event based entirely on his excellent new book on science, when we didn’t know he had offended and hurt–in his tweets and other comments on Islam, so many people.”
A response letter from the Dawkins Foundation referred to him as “one of the greatest intellects of our time” and called the accusation that he had used “abusive speech” toward Muslims “baseless.” Dawkins himself stated, “The idea that I have engaged in abusive speech against Islam is preposterous…I have indeed strongly condemned the misogyny, homophobia, and violence of Islamism.”
In a letter written to the radio station by Dawkins, he stated, “I am known as a frequent critic of Christianity and have never been de-platformed for that. Why do you give Islam a free pass?” In other words, Dawkins can feel free to criticize and mock Christianity, but not Islam. Could that be because Christians are more gracious and forgiving? Could it be that he can insult Jesus and his followers and not fear for his life? Would he be able to do the same against Mohammad and his followers? I don’t think so. His words are a backhanded compliment to the faith he has frequently criticized.
There is another aspect of the decision by the radio station. The public radio station canceled the speech stating “KPFA does not endorse hurtful speech” and “we do not support abusive speech.” Would they have canceled because of Dawkins’ “hurtful speech” or “abusive speech” toward Christians? His vile words about the God of the Bible in his book The God Delusion would certainly qualify as “hurtful” and “abusive” toward the faith of Christians and Jews. I am confident that the radio station would not have canceled because of those words. Even Richard Dawkins admits anti-Christian discrimination exists in the media and academia.
Thanks to Thayer Salisbury for bringing this news item to our attention. You can find the full text of KPFA’s and Richard Dawkins’ letters here. Click here for the BBC report.
–Roland Earnst © 2017
To see what religion is true, look at what the system produces. Matthew 7 records the words of Christ, “Every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit … therefore by their fruits you shall know them” (verses 17-20). One of the areas of evidence is in the field of medicine including nursing and Christian faith.
Someone sent us a section copied from a textbook for nursing students titled Fundamentals of Nursing, Human Health, and Function. The text was published by Lippincott, and the editors are Ruth Craven and Constance Hirnle. The book was from the Washington Hospital School of Nursing. We mention that to emphasize that this is not a religious publication, but a textbook used to teach nursing in one of the finest nursing programs in the country.
In Unit 2 of the book, there is a section titled “Highlights of the historical evolution of professional nursing.” This section traces how modern nursing came into existence. The history of nursing begins with the period up to A.D. 500. In those early centuries, the book says, “Christians working in close association with an organized church primarily provide care.” The book records a deaconess named Phoebe in A.D. 55 AD who identified the need for nurses and for hospitals to care for the sick. The first general hospital began in Rome in 380 AD founded by a Christian woman named Fabiola. The book then jumps to 1836 when a training school opened in Germany where Florence Nightingale was trained. Nightingale said she felt a “calling from God” and began a training school herself in London in conjunction with the Crimean war. She is known as the founder of modern nursing.
The book concludes “Men and women committed to the church spread the philosophy of Christianity while providing nursing care to the ill. Religion’s influence raised the social position of nursing by placing more value on human life. Compassion, charity, and willingness to serve were qualities associated with nurses. Deacons and deaconesses (individuals working for the church ministry) were designated to perform services for the sick. Deaconesses functioned as visiting nurses, dedicating their lives to charity work.”
Atheists like to portray Christianity as a cause of war and violence when in reality those things contradict what Jesus taught. Those who look at history without prejudice see Christianity bringing solutions to the world with peace, caring, and love. We see that in a special way through the connection between nursing and Christian faith.
–John N. Clayton © 2017