Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Open Border Conspiracy

I heard an interesting piece on talk radio the other day about immigration that directly contradicts what the MSM is putting out there. As I mentioned, it was on the radio, so I have no sources to link you to. I have started some independent research but surprisingly, am unable to find any websites dealing with the issue in this way.

The host of The McGuire Fire, Paul McGuire, asserts that the debate about closing our borders, in particular the U.S./Mexico border, is futile. Why? Because for years the U.S. Government has planned to open the borders for socio-economic reasons. Paul explains that a cheap and disposable work force benefits our economy in such a way that our leadership does not intend to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S.

While I was surprised at hearing this, both because it never occurred to me, and it goes against what we keep hearing from the Left and the Right: that our open border is a major threat to our safety in light of the terrorists that can take advantage of how soft it is.

His perspective is consistent with the lack of real action from our government on this issue. We are told that the budget for the Border Patrol has increased and they have been provided with new officers, as well as new state of the art equipment and housing for detainees. But really, hasn't the number of illegals passing over our border continued to increased in spite of this?

Many are saying that the upcoming election will hinge on which party is tougher on immigration, but using this theory as a premise, I expect to hear alot of promises and no real action when it comes to really closing our borders.

I definitely want to look into this more closely, especially in light of the fact that so many on both sides of this issue are so passionate (including me). I have even emailed Mr. McGuire and asked for sources and plan to do a follow up post real soon.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Enough Said...

GreyGhost, in dealing with a Troll over at his Blog, managed to sum up my thoughts nicely on the current political climate. Check the comments on the article, "Liberals Still Pushing For Change To Electoral College".

Nice going Grey!

Monday, March 20, 2006

We Need to Get Back to Conservative Values

I read an interesting article about helping America return to more Conservative values. This guy is trying to sell a book, but he suggests a "blueprint" of values can be created by asking 6 questions about any government action or policy under consideration. I believe these questions can just as easily serve as a litmus test for how "involved" government is in our lives socially. Here they are:

1. Is it the government’s business?
2. Does it promote self-reliance?
3. Is it responsible?
4. Does it make America more prosperous?
5. Does it make us safer?
6. Does it unify us?

I believe Liberals and Conservatives alike can agree that these questions are good ones to ask before we give the Fed the right to make policy.

I will comment this blog and list existing policies which I believe should get a resounding "NO!" to these questions.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Historicity of the New Testament

Everything I believe about Jesus I have read in the Bible. This for many begs the question, “Why is the Bible a reliable source of information about this person?” My answer is that the Bible is not only a good source of information about Christ and world history at that time, but it is the best documentation we possess regarding the events of Jesus and his contemporaries.

This is quite a claim. Please continue reading and find out why I am convinced of this.

As the New Testament contains the genealogy, birth, life, subsequent death and resurrection of Christ I will focus on the NT and not the Old Testament when dealing with historicity. It should also be said that I intend to use sources of information that use historiography to establish a documents historicity. A scientific method would be inappropriate as none of the events depicted in any historical document can be proven empirically, as those events can not be recreated in a controlled environment. In my readings, I have seen those who claim that the existence of Christ is "un-scientific" which is why I made this stipulation. If you are looking for scientific proof of history, you will find none.

There are 3 basic tests for historicity:

  • Bibliographical: seeks to determine how many manuscript copies we have of the document and how far removed they are in time from the originals (see table here). This I believe to be the most compelling evidence proving the Bible to be accurate and reliable. A comparison to Homer's Iliad shows that the manuscript reliability of the Bible is unmatched:

    Homer's Iliad

  • Date Written: 900 B.C.
  • Earliest Copy: 400 B.C.
  • Approximate Time Between Original and Copy: 500 years
  • Number of Copies: 643
  • Accuracy of Copies: 95% (very good)

  • The Bible (Specifically the New Testament)

  • Date Written: 50-100 A.D. Initially the time between the oral and written records was thought to be 3 times this long, but later findings proved the actual amount of time to be within the 1st century A.D.
  • Earliest Copy: c. 130 A.D.
  • Approximate Time Between Original and Copy: Less than 100 years
  • Number of Copies: 5,600 (19,000 copies in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages, for a total of > 24,000 copies.)
  • Accuracy: 99.5% (unheard of)

  • Let me take a moment to explain the statistics I have covered above:

    The reason we compare the date written with the earliest copy of the manuscript is that oral record, although fairly reliable during this time as there were no printing presses so it was the only method available, has been deemed by critics to be susceptible to exaggeration and rumor over the course of a few hundred years. The fact that the time span between oral and written record of the NT is less than 100 years (some believe ~80 years) is significant in that most historians believe this to be more than adequate to dismiss claims of exaggeration by the writer. This is also significant because had the writer taken liberties with the facts, he would have more than likely been met with opposition and corrected by his contemporaries.

    As stated above, the manuscript evidence (MSS) of the Bible far outweighs any other document we consider to be reliable. For comparison, your average history book used in public schools has about 2 dozen manuscripts.

  • Internal: asks whether the document itself claims to be actual history written by eyewitnesses. The Bible makes this claim in many places; just to name a few: Luke 1:2, Acts 4:20, Acts 10:39, 2 Peter 1:16, Heb 2:3, 1John 1:1

  • External: asks whether material external to the document confirms the reliability of the document. The Bible makes dozens of references that can be used as "checkpoints" to validate it's historicity. References to significant events of the day and externally documented events such as the Roman census are examples of checkpoints. More examples of these found in the Bible can be found here

    What has been your overall impression of the Bible as a historical document?

    How did you come to this conclusion? I ask this because a majority of people I have come across make claims of Bible inerrancy and contradiction but have never actually picked up a Bible and read it, but are simply repeating what they have heard.

    If the Bible must be accepted as historically accurate, what implications are there for world religions that differ in their treatment of the person of Jesus Christ?

    What implications would this hold for you personally?
  • Monday, March 06, 2006

    Who is Jesus?

    This is the first post of many that will deal specifically with the person of Jesus Christ. He came into the world about 2000 years ago, a minority born into a poor family in one of the smallest cities in the world (Nazareth). He only lived 33 years, 3 of which he actually spent in active ministry, and yet made a huge impact on the world that still creates controversy. Every religion deals with the person of Jesus in it's own way, some say he was a very moral and wise teacher, others say he was a prophet or a reincarnation. Some believe Jesus never existed at all. With all these differing opinions, someone HAS to be correct, so who is it?

    Let's start the discussion with a few basic questions:

    Who do you believe Jesus to be?

    How did you come to this conclusion?

    Based on the impact Jesus had not only on his contemporaries, but still has today, would you agree that his life and ministry are worthy of reflection?

    Why is every person and religion so divided about who this person is?