Review of the book “Is Atheism Dead?” by Eric Metaxas

This book is very well researched and documented.  The writing style makes it enjoyable reading.  The positive advance reviews contained in the book are well-earned.  My grade for the book: “Excellent start, but incomplete.”

The book shows how science and historical/archeological work have inflicted mortal wounds upon the dogma pushed by prominent atheists.  But this monster isn’t as near-dead as it may seem- it is at the core of progressive woke activism, which works to create a socialist God-free America.  This infection seems to be very advanced and likely to grow, until it is ultimately absorbed into the Satanic religion of the Tribulation period.

The Excellent Start:  In Part I (“Does Science Point to God?”) Metaxas shows the current scientific analysis and the many scientists pointing to a Creator for everything in the universe.  He presents compelling evidence.  The evidence he cites does show that whole universe (including the life on Earth) had to come from God.

The book presents the case from current science, that indicates everything in this universe must have started with a mysterious big bang, followed by 13 billion years of natural processes.  These are big problems for the atheist pseudo-science cult.  Thirteen billion years doesn’t provide enough time to support their theories about evolution and all the other intricate details of the universe.  They are left unable to explain where life came from or how Earth, of all places in the universe, became the perfect place for life.  The evidence points to an all-powerful and all-wise Creator.

In Part II (“The Stones Will Cry Out”), Metaxas provides substantial evidence (historical and archaeologic) as to the accuracy of the Bible and Biblical events.  Part III (“What is Truth?”) connects Christianity to science and scientists, and deflates various atheistic myths.  Further, Metaxas contrasts the great evils done under atheist regimes (Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc.) and the goodness that can come only from Christ.

Metaxas concludes the book with these powerful words that connect the shaken disciples of Jesus after His crucifixion to us today:  “But as it happens, God- back then and again now- has revealed things to us that we did not know before, that we could not have known before, that we couldn’t have even imagined.  And based on these new things, then and again now, we can say something deeply and heartbreakingly beautiful and true:  God is not dead.  He is alive.  Rejoice.”

What’s Missing?  Unfortunately, this book does not take the next step, to deal with the gap between the thirteen-billion-year-old universe theory and the timeline established in the book of Genesis (from the Bible Metaxas has demonstrated to be trustworthy).  This theory and Genesis do not agree on the time line for Creation.

Many scholars have done the math connecting the Bible’s historical records of family trees, kingdoms and events, and have estimated that Adam and Eve were created around 4,000 BC.  Count back five more days and you have the start of Creation described in Genesis 1:1.

For example, read Luke 3:23-38.  You’ll see about 40 generations listed from Adam to Jesus.  At first (the patriarchs) some children were born to parents well over 200 years old.  But after Abraham, lifespans and child-bearing-years dropped to be much closer to our current patterns.  If the average generation for the entire Old Testament period is estimated to have been about 100 years, then 40 x 100 = 4,000 years from Adam to Jesus.  The record is clear that Jesus was born about 2,000 years ago.  And 4,000 + 2,000 = 6,000, not 13,000,000,000.

Perhaps God will facilitate further scientific discoveries that will bring updated scientific estimates for the start of the universe to be something closer to 6,000 years.  More likely, this is a mystery that He will not answer for us- He wants us to believe through faith, not just by the works of science.  His amazing Creation is just one reason we should have faith.

The 13-billion-year theory does not factor in the completeness of Creation.  God didn’t create Adam and Eve as zygotes or embryos.  He created a mature man and a mature woman and placed them in the exact spot that He had in mind on the day that He had planned.  He created mature animals that reproduced after their kind.  Likewise, God created everything else in the universe in the mature and complete state that He intended it to be and positioned everything where and when He wanted it to be.  He created the materials of the universe, formed them as He wanted, and brought energy, life, time and all the other “laws of science” into being.  All in a perfect sequencing and relationship.  Remember, Genesis says that God created both the Earth and light on Day 1.  Then He configured the Earth and established its environment on Days 2 and 3.  It was not until Day 4 (when light already existed) that He created the sun, moon and all of the stars.  And on Days 5 and 6, God created all animal life including man.

Conclusions.  “Is Atheism Dead?” does a great job proving there is a God and that He is all powerful and good.  That is the book’s objective (see “Introduction- The Grand Counter-Narrative”).  But just believing there is a God isn’t enough.  As the Bible says (James 2:19) “You believe that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that- and shudder.”  Beyond that belief, it is essential that you also understand that there is only one way to be reconciled with God, and that is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Hopefully, Eric Metaxas is already working on another book, where he will fill in these blanks.  “Is Atheism Dead?” is well-worth reading and continues his track record for interesting, inspiring and informational books.

Supply and Demand (Inflation and Revelation)

Introduction:  You likely have heard about “supply and demand.”  I’ve written a short essay that explores how this term applies to both economic matters (including the impact of inflation) and to something even more important- your eternal destiny.  To read the full essay, follow this link: Supply and Demand Essay

The six-page essay explains two Supply and Demand Charts.

To preview the charts, follow this link:  Supply and Demand Charts

Economic:  Economists often refer to the “law of supply and demand” to describe normal human behavior in the buying and selling of goods and services (in free societies).  This behavior is often visually presented in Supply and Demand charts.  Simply put, buyers seek to spend wisely and pay less when they can, while sellers want to price their goods or services to make a profit.  The economist charts show how these behaviors function and how a mutually beneficial balance can occur.

This balancing of supply and demand is one of the ways that our economy balances production and consumption and sets pricing for goods and services.  But it is fragile and can be disrupted by cataclysmic outside forces (e.g., wars, plagues, natural disasters, and bad government policies).

Bad government policies (particularly those pushed by the Biden administration and by “progressive” state and local politicians) are at the root of the current inflation plague.  These have acted to decrease product supplies, increase costs for suppliers, and artificially increase product demand.  The inflation rate is skyrocketing, especially on the everyday items needed by Americans.

As their costs increase and supply-chain problems occur, sellers want higher prices.  Consumers temporarily have more money, so they want to buy more.  But they find product shortages and become anxious.   Eventually a new balance of Supply and Demand occurs- at a higher price and potentially with fewer units sold than before.  That’s inflation.

A big government spending spree is growing the federal budget deficit by trillions of dollars.  It is “funded” mostly through a combination of (1) increased government debt (as the debt ceiling is raised) and (2) excessive “printing” of money by the Federal Reserve.  Massive deficit spending feeds inflation and some day the bill will need to be paid (but progressives hope to push their socialist agenda through before Americans can see the looming danger and stop them).

My 2021 novel “The Great New Deal” is named after fictional future legislation to address a national existential crisis:  decades of deficit spending and “kicking the (debt) can down the road” have pushed the U.S. economy to a tipping point, where America risks a devalued dollar and hyperinflation like 1920s Germany, Zimbabwe (since 2007) and Venezuela (since 2014).  Will this fictional tale soon become reality before our eyes?

Eternal Destiny:  “The Great New Deal” presents another Supply and Demand chart.  It has nothing to do with economics, but is a graphical presentation of God’s End Times plan to rescue people from sin and eternal punishment.  Characters in the novel use the chart as a resource to understand the times they are living in and to share this information with others.

This second chart demonstrates the interaction between the “Supply of Sin” (the level of sin evidenced in humanity) and the “Demand for Salvation” (the level of people who are becoming new believers in Jesus Christ) for the time period beginning around 1960.  These are troubling times.  This chart presents the current trends for this Supply and Demand, leading up to the next End Times events described in the Bible: the Rapture, Tribulation and Christ’s second coming.  

The chart visually answers the question, “What is God waiting for?  Why is He holding back on the promised “Day of the Lord?”  It also shows how the severity of the Tribulation judgments accelerates during the seven-year Tribulation, to catch the attention of those who will choose Jesus and punish those who reject him.

Though God will ultimately judge and punish all sin, He has provided the one merciful path to avoid such punishment and gain eternal life.  Jesus Christ has taken on the punishment that is rightfully yours and freed you from death’s sting, but only if you accept His gift.  Do not hesitate, no sins are too great for God’s mercy, when they are covered by the blood of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ.  This is the best Christmas gift you will ever receive!

Merry Christmas from Mark Tredecim                                         

Recommended reading- “Apocalypse Never” by Michael Schellenberger

Michael Schellenberger has written an excellent and important book, “Apocalypse Never” (2020).  It’s well-researched and clear (285 pages with 105 pages of reference notes).  It’s fact-based and well-intentioned.

Environmental alarmists are pushing for massive expenditures (funded by taxpayers) and a major restructure of our energy sourcing.  These would increase the volatility of our economy and bring a lower standard of living.  Students are regularly subjected to inaccurate teaching and activist propaganda about climate and economics, parroted by most of the media.  Before we permit these progressive activists to sell their fables about a coming “green energy utopia,” everyone should read “Apocalypse Never” to get real facts and sound insights.

The book doesn’t dispute the existence of carbon emissions.  But it provides facts that deflate the climate alarmists’ “global warming” and “growing extreme weather deaths” balloons.  It also body slams the methods the alarmists propose for reducing carbon emissions.

If the goal is to reduce carbon emissions, meet our energy needs, and improve the environment, renewable energy sources (wind and solar) are a terrible idea.  Shellenberger points out the terrible net energy ratios from renewable sources (page 191).  Over their lifespan, solar facilities produce just 1.6 times the energy required to create them, wind 3.9 times.  Compare this to ratios of 30 times for coal/oil/gas, 35 times for hydro power, and 75 times for nuclear power.  If you want to reduce carbon emissions, build safe modern nuclear power plants.

Renewables are much less reliable, too.  Renewable power comes with high pollution risk from the materials in their construction and when the spent facilities must be dismantled.

Shellenberger presents the massive land requirements, environmental destruction and visual/sound blight from renewable energy facilities.  Animal and plant life is exterminated or endangered.  He estimates (page 191) that it would require 25 to 50% of the land in the U.S. to meet all of our energy from renewables.  Farewell to national parks and scenic vistas, hello to PPIMBY (Power-Plant-In-My Back Yard).

Shellenberger explains the need for more modern energy and modern farming methods to improve the lives of folks living in underdeveloped nations (better health, greater food supplies, and resilience to deal with weather and natural disasters). He takes on the activists who would deny better lives to these folks while living a pampered life in Europe and America (made possible by modern energy and agriculture).  As a result, people in underdeveloped nations continue to use energy sources and farming methods that endanger sensitive ecosystems and produce higher carbon emissions.

Considering all this, why are people pushing this activist agenda?  The book identifies several reasons.  Some people and organizations are making lots of money (he names some of them).  Some are doing it as a way to gain power or prestige.  Greed, hypocrisy, lust and narcissism are powerful drivers.

For others, this cause has become a secular pseudo-religion, satisfying a personal need for relevance.  Educational activists teach the cult’s dogma to the young.  Politicians and the popular media preach to all of us.  Like the Children’s Crusade of the 13th century, these acolytes are being led down the wrong path.

I agree with Schellenberger’s recommendations for (1) making smart energy choices (hydrocarbons, hydroelectric and nuclear), (2) protecting sensitive ecosystems and (3) advancing the lives of people in disadvantaged nations through the current technologies (agriculture and energy) that benefit the U.S. and Europe.

I disagree with Shellenberger on one very critical matter.  Actually, the events of the Apocalypse are coming soon.  The Bible (particularly the prophetic book of Revelation) describes the period leading to the End Times and the cataclysmic seven-year period called the Tribulation, in which billions of people will perish.

The book of Romans says it is sinful to worship God’s creation rather than God the Creator.  Nature-worship, secular environmentalism, and secular humanism all conflict with the first two of the Ten Commandments and that is a very bad idea.

In the days prior to the Tribulation, Christians should be good stewards of the environment, good neighbors (helping needful people), and lovers of the truth (rejecting the lies told by progressives and climate activists).

My 2021 novel, The Great New Deal, uses parody to expose the foolishness and danger of climate alarmism and the green new deal.  It also connects the events of today to the End Times prophecies set forth in the Bible.

Remembering America’s Truth Detector

HONORING AMERICA’S TRUTH DETECTOR AND DOCTOR OF DEMOCRACY

Chapter 9 (“The Truth Detector”) and Chapter 10 (“Freedom of Speech”) of The Great New Deal were originally written for my novella, The Brave New Year (published in October 2020), in appreciation of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.  At that time, Rush was still hosting his daily radio show (with the help of guest hosts when necessary).

Rush passed away on February 17, 2021 and I decided to adapt these two chapters to incorporate them within my new novel (published in April 2021), which supersedes the novella.  These two chapters are meant to honor the life and memory of Rush Limbaugh.

Sometimes, Rush would speak about growing up in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, his loving family and the lessons he learned (especially from his grandfather).  He told us about his youthful dream to be on the radio and his long, sometimes bumpy path from local radio disk jockey to The Rush Limbaugh Show. 

I imagined the fictional character of 12-year-old Rusty for Chapter 9, thinking about Rush at a similar age, growing up in the heartland of America.  Smart, inquisitive and loving his country and family.

For Chapter 10,  I thought of Rush being one of the masterminds behind the unstoppable USA1-FBCN podcasts and the mysterious unfindable broadcast facility.  Rush’s well-known radio voice and personality provided inspiration to me for the unidentified voice of the first podcast, depicted in Chapter 10.  Rush loved technology and excelled at exposing the foolishness and failings of the left.  I could easily imagine him leading a team to establish an advanced podcast platform, broadcasting truth to everyday people while vexing the people hell-bent on dismantling our great nation.  In many ways, USA1-FBCN would be the logical End Times successor to The Rush Limbaugh Show.

Rush re-invented talk radio with his incredibly-successful national daily radio show.  For three decades, Rush brought truth, encouragement and joy to millions of people, sharing generously of himself and his talents.  He used his sharp mind to assess political and cultural events and trends and to bring his views to the air.  His shows were entertaining, but also insightful.

Listeners felt like they knew Rush, because he talked with them, not at them.  He said what he thought and millions of people agreed with him.  Rush treated on-air callers respectfully and was especially kind and encouraging when speaking with kids.  His love of kids and America was evident in the “Rush Revere” history book series.

Rush also spoke with great love for his wife Kathryn and the team that supported him in the radio show and the many philanthropic and business activities.  Rush and Kathryn were enormously generous in their support of worthwhile charities and successfully encouraged others to join in this support.  During the 2020 “State of the Union” address, President Donald Trump presented Rush with the highest American civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  It was a surprise to Rush that evening, but was very well-deserved.

He sometimes spoke about his battles with deafness and with cancer, but would not let these hardships define who he was.  Rush often shared his belief and confidence in Jesus Christ and now Rush is enjoying eternal life, hearing and speaking with his Lord and Savior.

Take a Look at the Lands Down Under

The Past, Present and Future of Australia and New Zealand

The Past:  In some ways, the histories of Australia and New Zealand mirror the history of America.  They were first colonized primarily by the United Kingdom (including exiled prisoners and indentured workers).  All three countries are currently democracies.  They stood up against the fascist socialism of Germany and the imperial regime of Japan, suffering great losses in WW2.  They had their dark chapters (the past mistreatment of the aboriginal and Māori/Islander populations and slavery in the United States). 

The Present:  Though Americans often lump them together, Australia and New Zealand are actually separated by more than 1,000 miles of ocean.  The climate of Australia is generally similar to California and Mexico while New Zealand resembles the Pacific Northwest and Northern California.  Their combined population is just 25 million people (sheep outnumber humans 6-to-1) and their combined land area is approximately equal to the continental U.S.

Australia and New Zealand feature beautiful scenery, geologic wonders, and exotic wildlife (scenery from the Great Ocean Road in southeast Australia provides a backdrop for this website’s home page).  Their people are heavily concentrated in the urban areas along the coasts.  Prior to the pandemic, these were great places for tourists to visit (friendly to Americans), but I wouldn’t recommend traveling there now as their governments’ response to the pandemic has been overbearing (an Australian friend recently said “the people in charge have gone bonkers”).

All three nations are in the crosshairs of Islamic terrorism and the Communist regime of Red China.

The Future:  They have something else in common- nothing in the Bible suggests any important role or special privileges for Australia, New Zealand or America during the impending End Times events (the final chapters in the war between good and evil).  Instead, the Bible prophecies focus on the Holy Land and adjoining territories in Africa, Asia and Europe.

This suggests that Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. will be removed from prominence before the Tribulation begins or during its early days.  The judgments described in Revelation will apply globally but some areas may be particularly impacted by the upcoming plagues, wars, famine, environmental disasters, geologic disasters, and strikes by astronomical bodies described in Bible prophecy.  For example, Revelation 6:14 talks about a great earthquake (early in the Tribulation) where “every mountain and island will be removed from its place.”  Ten chapters later, the Bible describes an earthquake that’s even greater.  The death and destruction during the Tribulation will be horrific.

The evil government and false religion led by the Antichrist and False Prophet will encompass the whole world- distance won’t protect the Aussies, Kiwis or Yanks from Satan’s minions.  Only God can protect you.

But wait, there is still hope!  In an instant, Jesus Christ will collect all Christians through the Rapture.  He will take them to the safety of Heaven prior to the horrors of the Tribulation. 

Further, during the Tribulation, God will send evangelists and messengers throughout the whole world delivering the Gospel message.  The people left behind into the Tribulation will have the opportunity to accept Jesus as savior, but the window of opportunity will be brief.  (Sadly, many people will reject this final invitation and seal their eternal fate- the Lake of Fire).

Folks in Australia and New Zealand who wish to learn more about these upcoming End Times events should consider reading my novel The Great New Deal.  The Kindle version is available for purchase at Amazon.com.au, but Amazon currently does not ship the paperback version “Down Under.”

Do you want fries or salad with your elephant?

How do you eat an elephant?

(One bite at a time).  That proverb is commonly thought to be of Chinese origin. 

Elephants are amazing creatures created by God and they are already endangered thanks to ivory poachers and other bad actors.  So I recommend you do not patronize any restaurant that has elephant on the menu.

Instead, I encourage you to read a great book by Vicki Croke (2014), “Elephant Company.”  It tells of historical events in Burma during the Second World War, as the British battled the evil Japanese Empire.  But the best parts of the book tell of the interaction between the elephants and their handlers (elephants served as the heavy construction equipment for the British and Burmese) and the interactions between the elephants themselves.  The intelligence and personalities of the elephants are presented and some events may bring a tear to your eye. 

This proverb is a word-picture for how to take on a seemingly-impossible task or project: one bite at a time.  Many people have “read the whole Bible” on their “to do” or “bucket” lists, but they are intimidated by the 1,100 pages of small font and never get around to doing it.  Good news:  various Bible publishers offer ways to read the whole Bible in a year.

Tyndale House Publishers does an especially great job at this.  They offer the “One Year Bible” in various translations and formats so that you can find the one best suited to you.  These take the complete Bible and sort it into 365 daily readings.  Each day you read something from the Old and New Testaments, Psalms and Proverbs.  For example, on March 17th you would read Numbers 26:1-51, Luke 2:36-52, Psalm 60:1-12 and Proverbs 11:15.  Typically it takes around 20 minutes for the daily reading.  The “One Year Bible” format makes it easy to keep your place in the book and stay on track.  I like this approach so much that I made the “One Year Bible” a story element within my novel The Great New Deal.

If you are interested in reading the Bible, you may want to do it soon.  The Bible is already banned in many countries and unfortunately there are many in this country who would like to do so.  In the future time period depicted by The Great New Deal, the Bible will be banned (or totally re-written by those in power, in furtherance of their evil intentions).

Appropriating the Wisdom of Grandma

My long-departed Grandma got married during the Great Depression and raised two kids during the Second World War and the Korean War. Decades later, she was still living a financially responsible frugal life (e.g., After you use a teabag, wrap it in aluminum foil so you can use it multiple times. Roll your old newspapers tightly, soak them in some secret formula, and use them as fireplace logs). When she’d hear about some contemporary problem, a favorite comment was “nothing wrong with this generation that another Depression wouldn’t fix.”

As I review the news of today, the poor quality of our national, state and local leadership, and the failure of our business and church communities to positively address this situation, I have an update to her comment: “There is nothing wrong with this world that the Day of the Lord won’t fix.” Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

The Groom is Coming Soon

The Groom is Coming Soon, to Carry His Bride Home

I recently attended a traditional American church wedding.  A beautiful event and loaded with symbols familiar to most American adults (rings, vows, candles and processions).  May this young couple be greatly blessed!

It was not at all like the typical Galilean Jewish wedding in the First Century AD.  The New Testament contains several references to weddings, grooms, brides, guests and bridesmaids.  Banquets, wine and lamps.  It would be easy to skim over these as just interesting cultural details, but the Bible isn’t a history/sociology textbook.  It’s a comprehensive communications system containing messages from God and its content has purpose.

When asked by His disciples about the timing of the End of the Age events, Jesus explained (Mark 13:32-33 and Matthew 24:36-44) that only God the Father knows that day and hour and that His followers need to keep watch.

I recently watched an interesting video that helps put these instructions from Jesus and the many New Testament wedding references in context.  It’s titled Before the Wrath (2020, directed by Brent Miller Jr. and featuring Kevin Sorbo).  The video is well-done and understandable.  Pastors and scholars describe the wedding traditions of Galilean Jews during the First Century and explain how the teachings of Jesus regarding weddings, watchmen and the End Times are interconnected.  The groom (Jesus) will come soon (in the event called the Rapture), to sweep His bride (the church) to His Father’s home for a joyous wedding celebration and to shield her from the coming time of great wrath (the Tribulation). Amen!  Come soon, Lord Jesus!

Life Imitates Art

In August 2020, I wrote this review of the (excellent) book “Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite” by Peter Schweitzer: “This book is very timely. It shines a light on the many bad deeds and few scruples of prominent “progressive” political figures. And it is well-researched with lots of documentary citations. If nothing else, read the two first chapters, which deal with Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris. After reading that, I wouldn’t trust either with my wallet or car keys, much less the keys to the U.S. treasury and nuclear codes.”

Unfortunately, the ethically-challenged (and underqualified) duo were elected and we are now suffering the consequences of that election. To make matters worse, many of the other scurrilous characters covered by “Profiles in Corruption” hold powerful positions in the Biden cabinet or Congress. When you plant bad seeds, the tree will produce bad fruit; that’s what we are now finding in the American diet.

Not long after reading “Profiles in Corruption,” I was inspired to write the novella “Brave New Year,” describing life in an America under the unchecked rule of a progressive elite. That novella morphed into my novel “The Great New Deal,” published in early 2021. It has been eerie to see how many of the fictional events and themes in my book are coming true through the actions of those currently in power.

Perhaps Americans will see this and address it through future elections, but the “Big Axis” powers (big government, big tech, big media and big business/finance) will vigorously resist that. All of this seems to be further evidence for another theme of “The Great New Deal,” the Day of the Lord is coming soon (the End Times events recorded in the Bible). Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

7 Lessons We Must Learn from Nazi Germany

I recently read the book “When A Nation Forgets God” by Dr. Erwin Lutzer (pastor emeritus of the Moody Church in Chicago). Its sub-title appears above. Though it was published in 2010, it seems to be even more relevant now. It describes (and documents) how the people of Germany and its institutions were corrupted during the 1930’s to pave the way for Adolf Hitler and his ilk to take over Germany and lead the nation (and the world) down a path of suffering, death and destruction. The book is not just an important history lesson- Dr. Lutzer connects these seven themes to America in the current era.

I highly recommend this book. It features a great foreword by Eric Metaxas (author of the excellent book, “Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy”) explaining the relevance of Dr. Lutzer’s book. I echo the words of Eric Metaxas, “Read Erwin Lutzer’s book!