Monthly Archives: April 2009

Music news: Creed reforming…

Got an interesting email today about one of my former favorite bands; Creed is reforming with all its original members, including bassist Brian Marshall. That means it will be Scott Stapp as lead singer, Mark Tremonti on lead guitar, Brian on bass, and Scotty P (Scott “Flip” ;) Phillips) on drums.   After Stapp got a bit “squirrelly,” and the band broke up, I quit listening to him, but followed Alter Bridge for a bit…but I always wished Mark would just sing, as I couldn’t ever really take a liking to their lead singer.

So, anywho, they are coming out with a new album and will be touring this Summer here in the US…let’s all hope that Scott got some vocal coaching, and will not a repeat of losing and almost damaging his voice every other concert.  I also hope he got whatever that was out of his system, and is firmly grounded in reality once more (hopefully without an ego).

I really do hope it all works out, as Tremonti is one of the reasons I’m taking guitar lessons (he always seemed to have so much fun and/or energy when he played…he really enjoyed it), and Creed was one of the first bands that I really listened to every part of the song; each instrument, and the lyrics as well.   They also mixed the sacred and the secular in powerful ways…Scott’s lyrics tended toward religious images and themes, yet the band was not a “Christian Band” (I wonder if that old debate will crop up again?).

Creed.com is back online with the tour dates.

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Nightline’s “Satan” Panel; pt. 3; Driscoll & Lobert…

Now for the “there is a Satan” side of the debate.  There were also two individuals; Mark Driscoll and Annie Lobert.   Driscoll is pastor at Mars Hill Church, and Lobert is the founder of “Hookers for Jesus.”  Yes, I just typed “Hookers for Jesus.”  My old pastor, Doc Scott, would be proud…that just sent any judgmental legalistic types running for cover! ;)  But, really, “Hookers” does mean hookers, but it is also a play on words; former hookers, as Lobert is herself, putting the gospel message out there, and hence becoming hookers (as in fish hooks) for Jesus.

Just to make sure we are clear: Mark 1: 16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. 18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

Oftentimes when I talk about evidence for God, I talk about personal evidence, and objective evidence, in this case, the same holds true for Satan.  Driscoll is the more scripture oriented Christian; he provided the scriptural, objective evidences for Satan.  Lobert was much more personal; she discussed her personal experiences of things like demons, and direct experiences of evil, as she was on the receiving end of some very horrible things.

Driscoll talks a lot about free will and evil, and mankind’s act of disobedience in the garden as bringing about death and suffering for all of us.  This is pretty much in line with the Free will defense to the “Problem of Evil” I’ve already gone over in my blog.    In my opinion, Driscoll definitely held his own, and countered several mistaken conceptions that Chopra and Pearson espoused…of course, it didn’t sink in.

Lobert did well too, especially considering the stories she had to relate and the emotional trauma she suffered going through them.  IMO, it made it a lot harder for her to relate her stories when Chopra and Pearson pretty much laid all the blame at her own feet…you know, for getting raped repeatedly, beaten, kidnapped, things like that.  She actually kept pretty calm in the face of such idiocy, and did a much better job controlling her temper than I would.

So, Lobert recounted several instances of what she considered direct experiences of evil, including getting a glimpse into the eyes of a demon after one particularly harrowing experience.  I found it interesting that she was asked to clarify over and over again if she was claiming to have seen a demon, and if she really believed demons were in the room when these bad things were happening to her…for goodness sake, people don’t understand English any more; YES! She is claiming demons were in the room, literally.  (“Now, you really mean….” this is only the second time the host was annoying, the first was when he asked another inane question about free will, anywho…)

Lobert makes the point that this type of evil is what drove her to God, so she knows that she was saved because she went through those experiences…hence backing up the idea that God can indeed work in all things to make good come of it.  She did good talking about the reality of things like Satan, demons, and Hell.  There is only one area where I felt she needed just a bit more balance, and that was her repeating that God is Love, which He is, but His character also includes other things too.  He is also absolutely Righteous, Holy, Just, Merciful, etc… and it is always important to discuss these other aspects of God alongside the idea that God is Love.

So, in short, I think these two did pretty good.  I particularly liked some of  Driscoll’s responses to Chopra and Chopra’s odd, non-historical view of Jesus, and his misinterpretations of scripture.  Driscoll was definitely prepared to discuss this issue with the people present; he had done his homework for sure.

Everyone has to listen to Lobert’s recounting of events and see if they think it actually happened or not.  There are many Christians who don’t believe we can see into the spiritual realm at all…though I believe that contradicts scripture; Angels can become visible, and logically that would mean it is possible to see fallen ones too.  God can also open our eyes to the spiritual realm if He wishes.

The two held their own, and represented Christian views pretty well.  I’d have liked to seen everything unedited to really get a feel for more of the context, but overall it was a good debate as an intro. to this issues of Satan.

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Nightline’s “Satan” Panel, pt. 2; Carlton Pearson…

The other individual on the “there is no Satan” side of the panel is Carlton Pearson (“Bishop” Pearson).  His supposed credentials to sit on this panel includes the fact that he calls himself a former “demon-caster-outer.”  No, I’m not kidding, and that is not my “word” but his.

Pearson apparently, at one time, believed in the Devil, and in demons as well.  He claims to have attempted to cast demons out of folks.  Well, what can I say about Pearson?  The man had faulty theology, and the man still has faulty theology.

One of the necessary factors a person has to have in order to approach certain subjects is proper knowledge.  Pearson’s knowledge is sorely lacking.  What do I mean?  Just as one example, he used to think of Satan as the “cartoon character” version; hoofed, fanged…you get the idea.  Now, when I here someone talking about Satan in this way, I know that they have faulty theology, and are not conversant with scripture.

I’ve mentioned this before, I believe, but Satan isn’t some grotesque looking monster…quite the opposite.  He is an Angel, after all, and was above all the others before his fall.  One of Satan’s best setups right now is the fact that people have painted him as looking like our worst nightmare, when in fact he appears often as an angel of light, and I mean that figuratively in the way he manipulates, and quite possible literally if he decides to make an appearance.  Pearson also believed that the Devil was somehow omniscient and omnipresent…where that idea comes from, I don’t know, but it isn’t found in scripture, quite the opposite.

Anywho, so Pearson’s theology was and is flawed, that severly restricts his ability to form an opinion that is supported by Christian teaching (as he still claims to believe in Christ).  One of his early answers to evil, “stop believing in it, and it will go away.” Hunh.  I hear a recurring pattern between Chopra and Pearson; evil’s in our heads.  Tell that to a person who’s kid has just been kidnapped and murdered, see how far that goes as an actual logical answer.

Pearson mainly seems to have a beef with mainstream Christianity and goes off on a tangent of griping about legalists, and his belief in the “mystical Jesus.”  Yes, legalists can get annoying, but I thought this panel was about the existence of Satan.  If Pearson ever actually managed to connect these two things to the main theme, I never caught it.  Again, later in the discussion, Pearson misrepresents Christian teaching on the Devil, instead he relies on fictional stories.  For example, he says he doesn’t believe God sends you to Hell and turn you over to the Devil.  Yeah, one thing we actually agree on.  Hell isn’t the Devil’s domain, right now, earth is, and Hell isn’t under Satan’s power.  Hell isn’t Satan’s home, it’ll be his prison some glorious day.

Another tangent; Pearson runs off at the mouth about something else he knows nothing at all about; text. crit. of the Bible.  I don’t know where he’s getting his information from as I’ve even heard atheists with more love for the Bible, and more knowledge.  Basically Pearson is under the mistaken belief that the Bible doesn’t have a lot of manuscript support, and that we can’t be sure of the content…this is odd, since even secular scholars agree that the Bible has more manuscript support than pretty much any other collection of documents.

If it seemed like I was wondering around a bit in my post, it is because this is the ground Pearson covered as well.  One of the more tense moments of the debate was when Pearson kept intimating that Annie Lobert was the cause of all the evil that happened to her in her testimony, which I will cover soon.

Long story short; Pearson believes that evil is all of our own making, including Satan and demons.  It does bother me to have someone who claims Christian knowledge blabbing about things that they were/are apparently ignorant about.  BTW, Pearson and Chopra had a love fest going on between them…well, Pearson was all about Chopra and Chopra looked a bit nervous about this…

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“Crown of Thorns” Galaxy…

Hat-tip to me mum, and foxnews…

“Crown of Thorns” Galaxy Photographed in space

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Genesis 22:13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

John 19: 2 And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, 3 And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. 4 Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. 5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! 6 When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.

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Nightline’s “Satan” Panel; pt. 1 Deepak Chopra…

My last blog post included the video link to Nightline’s “Does Satan Exist?”  I wanted to describe and discuss the people on their panel, and their views.  Apparently the producers wanted to try to make the “sides” equal, so there was a panel of four individuals; two who believed in Satan, two who do not…or at least they don’t in any conventional sense.

The two who don’t believe in Satan: Deepak Chopra, and Carlton Pearson.  The two who do think that Satan (and demons) exist: Mark Driscoll and Annie Lobert.

The name most people will recognize out of the four is Deepak Chopra.  Chopra didn’t leave any of his new age flare behind for this panel, let me tell you.  As always Chopra tries to correlate all things spiritual with our own “consciousness.”  Some of the more hilarious moments of this show came in when Chopra basically insists the he is more evolved than the rest of us, and is on a higher plane of consciousness.  I have to say that if I could wrap up Chopra’s stance in one word, it would be “prideful.”

How does this color his view on Satan and evil?  Well, first he  presents a straw man version of what it means to be Christian.  For example, he talks of our supposed obsession over sin, guilt, and shame.  In fact one of the tenants of Christianity is to be set free from sin, guilt and shame, not to obsess over it.  If we are to obsess over anything, it is to be Christ.  Chopra degrades any belief in any sort of spiritual being, as an actual being, as “primitive.”  So short answer; no, Chopra doesn’t believe in Satan.  If we left it there it would have gone a lot quicker.

What really gets me is that Chopra tends to make us his own belief system as he goes, and never offers actual evidence to back up his opinion.  He doesn’t really believe in evil, but rather a stifling of creativity.  We apparently need this stifling, however, because in Chopra’s made up religion, for any creation to occur, you need “contrast.”  Hunh.   Then, he went on to say that belief, and beliefs, are a cover up for insecurity.  Okay, let’s run with it as one audience member did.  So, beliefs are cover ups for insecurity, and Chopra is adamant about his own beliefs…so they too are a cover up for insecurity, with no real bearing on reality.  What’s funny is that when an audience member pointed out this blatant logical flaw, Chopra didn’t get it all.  It doesn’t inspire much confidence in anything he posits.

So, what then does Chopra do with the idea of evil?  Well, you see, it is all generated by our negativity.  If we get raped, murdered, mugged, if we step in gum, it’s all because of our own negativity.  Our states of consciousness are so un-evolved that we actually cause harm to ourselves.  Wonderful.  If we could just be more positive and creative in our consciousnesses we could imagine a world without AIDS, Cancer, bad people, hurricanes, etc… and cause that world to come about.  Yeah, we should all get right on that.

No surprises here, but the whole time I’m thinking how Satan had to be rather proud of this one.  Chopra put forth his own new age views on evil, and as I said, doesn’t believe in Satan.  Next installment I’ll take a look at Carlton Pearson’s “words of wisdom” as he makes his case against the reality of Satan.

Edit to add; I was looking over my notes, and another interview with Chopra and I forgot to point out something.  When Chopra feels certain verses of scripture (taken out of context and language, I might add) fits his needs when trying to make a point, he’ll quote it all day.  However, when other verses are pointed out to him in their proper context, he shoves the scriptures aside as mere made up myth, funny how that works innit?  Don’t get me wrong, he’s not the only one who likes to do this, but is indeed one amongst many.

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Yes Virginia…

There is a Satan…but does he have claws? (Pun intended, if you didn’t get it, read it again…heh.)

Recently, on several national news channels, there has been a discussion on whether or not Satan exists, and if he does, is he an actual entity or more like some kind of odd, general malevolent force…or is he simply a personification of some aspect of human nature?  Nightline, on ABC, ran an episode entitled “Does Satan Exist?”  You can currently watch the video of this here: Does Satan Exist?

If that video gets yanked, there is always youtube.

So, yes, in a (hopefully soon) future post I’ll be reviewing the guests on that show, and commenting on their arguments.  I’ll also discuss Satan from a biblical perspective and add my own thoughts.  I just wanted to link to the show and give everyone that hasn’t seen it yet, and wants to, a chance to do so.

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