Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cannot delete folder in Windows 7

I had a very strange problem on my PC lately where I couldn't delete a folder (running Windows 7 Pro, SP 1). No matter what I tried to do, the file would not allow me to delete it. Instead, I kept getting a "Folder not found" error (or something to that effect). I tried to move the folder; I tried to rename it; I rebooted (both hard and soft reboots). None of the proposed solutions I found worked. There was no other program using the folder (it was empty, and even after a complete reboot, before opening any programs, it still wouldn't let me delete it).

Thankfully the Internet is full of information -- some of which is actually useful -- and I found a site that answered the problem. However, it was a bit old, and the information was buried a bit down the page. Here's the original link for reference.

So how did I solve the problem? I had, by God's Providence, literally just installed 7-zip, which is the program that the member of the forum in the above link ("kami205") used to solve the problem. The solution was simple. I opened 7-Zip (a program not developed in any way for this use), browsed to the location of the folder on my PC, renamed the folder, and then deleted it (I actually had to rename it two different times before it would delete).

That's it! It was that easy. Hopefully this helps somebody else out there who is experiencing this annoying problem.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Automatically log out Members and Send to Login Page in Umbraco

One of my customers came to me the other day and requested that a password-protected area of their Web site be set up to automatically log users out of the password-protected area after 15 minutes of idleness. They were concerned that there might be a security risk to their site if users left their workstations while logged in.

We see this type of behavior frequently for several online Web sites that need to defend against such security risks. Probably the type of sites that come to mind first are online banking Web sites.

I was greatly surprised that I couldn't find anything online -- including in the Umbraco forums -- that addressed every detail needed to achieve this. Also, many of the blog and forum posts that I found were related to auto-logouts for the /umbraco/ area of Web sites (i.e., the admin area). Though I may need to implement similar measures for that area as well, this article does not pertain to that. This is strictly dealing with Umbraco Members who are logged in to a particular area of the site that requires a username and password.

OK, now that the preliminary discussion is finished, let's get to the solution, which, really, is very simple. In this example, we're going to use an auto-logout time of 15 minutes.

First, open your Web.config file and find the sessionState element. The sessionState element is in the system.web section. Within the sessionState element, look for the timeout="15" attribute. if it isn't there, you'll need to add it. For example:

<sessionstate timeout="15" />

Next, you'll need to find (or add) the following:

<authentication mode="Forms">
    <forms timeout="15" />

NOTE: your <forms> element may have several more properties in it. I'm just simplifying it for this post.

Next, you need to add a new property to the Umbraco Document Type that the page you want to be automatically logged out. In my case, that Document Type is called Textpage. To do this, log in to the admin area of your site (i.e, the /umbraco/ area). Click on the Settings section. Open the Document Types, and select the one that your Member-secured page uses. Click on the Generic properties tab for that Document Type. Click on the Add New Property option. I named mine SecureRedirect. Set the Type to Textstring. For the Tab option, mine is set to Meta Data, but you may want yours somewhere else. Save the Document Type, and you're set for this part.

Next, while you're still in the Settings Section, open your main Master Page template. Find a good place in the <head> element and insert an Umbraco field item, such as:

<umbraco:Item field="secureRedirect" runat="server"></umbraco:Item>

Save that file.

Next, click on the Content Section and browse to the page for which you need to set up the auto-logout. Click on the tab where you set up the SecureRedirect Property (i.e., mine is in the Meta Data tab). You'll see the Secure redirect textbox. Insert the following code into that textbox:

<META HTTP-EQUIV="Refresh" CONTENT="920;URL=/login.aspx">

NOTE: the time here is in seconds, not minutes. I set mine to just over 15 minutes (15 minutes is 900 seconds, for those mathematically challenged out there :), to make sure the sessionState and forms timeouts were definitely expired when the page redirects. Also, set the URL to wherever you want the user to be redirected.

Save and Publish your page. Then test to your heart's desire. For ease of testing, I originally set my sessionState and forms timeouts to "1" and my meta refresh time to 70 seconds.

Hopefully I didn't miss anything! If you find this to be useful, or if you see that I did something incorrectly, please let me know.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Matthew 24 (Olivet Discourse) 2- or 3-Question View Critique

The interpretation of the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 (vv.1-35, in particular; see parallel account in Mark 13 and Luke 21) has been intensely debated by Bible expositors for hundreds of years. The passage is referred to as the Olivet Discourse, because Jesus Christ spoke these words on the Mount of Olives, hence the "Olivet" part. A discourse, of course, is simply a teaching, conversation, or communication of some thought or idea. So this is the conversation (discourse) that Christ had with His disciples while they were on the Mount of Olives -- the Olivet Discourse.

This current article is not intended to address the interpretation of this passage in its totality. Instead, this article specifically addresses the erroneous views that verse 3 of this passage contains not one question, which includes qualifiers or descriptors, but instead contains either two or three separate questions.

First, let's see what verse 3 actually says (all quotations taken from the NASB):

As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

For example, some interpreters hold to a 2-question view that asserts that the two questions are (1) when will the temple be destroyed, and (2) what are the signs of your coming (and they say this "coming" references the Second Coming of Christ, or His Consummation Coming). Conversely, other interpreters see three distinct questions and hold to a 3-question view. In this view, these three questions are fairly obvious to determine, (1) when will these things happen (referring to the destruction of the temple that Christ prophesies in verse 2), (2) what will be the sign of Your coming, and (3) when will be the end of the age.

Now that the stage has been set, let's get into why neither multiple-question view is tenable.

Whether one believes verse 3 has two or three questions in it, the interpreter falls into grave problems with the text. The only tenable view is that it is one question with qualifiers.

First, we have verse 6, which ends with, "...but that is not yet the end." This is clearly addressing final qualification of verse 3 that speaks of "the end of the age."

Second, verse 9 begins with the word "Then," which indicates that those things just spoken of that are just the "birth pangs" that lead up to the end precede what Christ is going to say will happen next. Connecting what comes after that "Then" with "the end" spoken of in verses 3 and 6, He then says, "But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved." Then again connecting His following words to "the end" again, verse 14 states, "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come." There is no break in thought anywhere up to this point.

Third, He then makes a transition into a point of application in verse 15, where He begins by saying "Therefore." The verses following this statement, up through verse 28, are practical warnings to his listeners so they know what to do to avoid the coming destruction of Jerusalem. We must make a very careful notation of verse 25 as well, "Behold, I have told you in advance." If Christ was telling them of some distant event that would be completely irrelevant to them (because they would be long dead), then why make such a statement? If the answer is, "Well, He was warning them to warn their progeny," then deal with the very next sentence: "So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them." If the warning was to future generations, then this should have been, "So if they say to your descendants...." There is absolutely no indication in the text that this warning was not directly for them, but for some future generation. Making such an interpretation is blatantly disregarding what the text itself actually states.

Fourth, given the continuity of the text thus far, we now come to verse 27, which states, "For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be." Now they have an enormous problem. Now we have the "coming of the Son of Man," that is, the "Your coming" of verse 3, intertwined or equated to the "the end of the age" in verse 3. This is proof that those two things are not two distinct questions, but are two ways of expressing the same question -- they're qualifiers or descriptors. Note that the most important point, thus far, is that literally nowhere just Christ appear to address independently of these two statements (these two statements being "Your coming" and "the end of the age") the supposed separate question of "when will these things happen." From verse 6 through verse 27 -- this whole section -- we have Christ specifically addressing "the end" and the "coming of the Son of Man."

Fifth, we now come to the infamous verse 29, which begins by stating, "But immediately after the tribulation of those days...." Note that in verse 9 we are told, "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name." Verse 29 is clearly referring to this tribulation that Christ mentioned in verse 9. Context demands such an interpretation. The "immediately after" becomes meaningless if "immediately" takes on a sometime-2,000-years-or-more-in-the-future meaning. Therefore, we now know that verse 29 is in the same context as everything that proceeds it.

Sixth, verse 30 continues the progression of thought by beginning with, "And then...." There is no disconnection; no new thought.

Seventh, verse 33 implores His hearers, stating, "so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door." The thought process is nowhere disconnected up to this point (as is shown above). Instead, this is a continuation of Christ's answer to the single question in verse 3.

Eighth, and finally, the crux of the whole issue comes into play with verse 34, "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place." He is still speaking to His disciples that asked Him the question in verse 3, and He says that "this" generation -- the current one -- will not pass away until "all" these things take place. He didn't say "some," He said "all."

If this passage is addressing two separate questions, the first being "the destruction of the Temple" and the second being "the signs of your coming," then when exactly did Christ even address the first question? Every single statement He makes either refers to "the end" or to the "coming of the Son of Man." Period.

Both the "2-question" and "3-question" views are untenable, because they make arbitrary breaks within the text, they make certain words meaningless, and they fail to grasp the fact that Christ strings together the whole discourse in ways that completely contradict such interpretations. These views can only be reached by inserting one's views into the text (eisegesis) instead of simply extracting from the text what it clearly states (exegesis).

Soli Deo Gloria!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Part 4: The Myth of Moral Subjectivsm

Please see parts 1-3 before reading this

[This may be my final response to several posts between another commentator named "Jeff Dixon" on this article.]

You stated in a post above, “No, the creatures do not judge the creator. People judge the concept of a god that other people developed.” I replied by saying that we have FINALLY hit the nerve of the issue. I’m dealing with it here, because we ran out of room above.

I will first state my case. I assert that without the Christian God, Jesus Christ (Who is YHWH), the conditions required to build a foundation upon which to build the intelligibility of human experience are removed. Hence, the very foundation of all logic, reason, meaning, hope, morality, and truth vanishes. All are fully dependent upon the existence of YHWH, who created all of them.

Before I get to the main thrust of the issue, let’s review two important points that have been made. First, you admitted in a previous comment that in order to be consistent with the worldview you profess – namely, atheism – you cannot say, without exception, that you can be certain that it is always absolutely immoral to molest a 5-year-old child [cf. “It is an interesting question. And one I cannot give a definite answer to. On the surface it would seem that there should be no reason to ever moleste [sic] a 5 year old child. But, since I do not have all the knowledge in the universe, it is impossible for me to say that there could not be a reason that currently I am unaware of.”]. Second, in another comment you state, “If in a billion years, people cease to exist, I guess you could say it was meaningless,” in reference to my previous point that atheism reduces life to meaninglessness.

To the first point, which illustrates your worldview’s stance that objective moral values do not exist, it must be realized that this same stance of moral relativity applies to every single instance where a moral judgment may be made. Whether the dilemma at hand is that of child molestation, sexual abuse, physical abuse, war, genocide, corporal punishment, capital punishment, or any other experiential instance of mankind where a moral judgment is given, your worldview has no basis upon which to take an absolute stand. You can state your subjective feelings about such experiences, you can state society’s subjective feelings about them, but neither you nor society can condemn them outright without violating your own worldview. If you do claim that you can make an absolute condemnation, you fall into a conflict with the law of non-contradiction (assuming you do not recant your previously stated position on this topic).

To the second point, you have admitted that your worldview (atheism) cannot account for ultimate meaning. Instead, the only “meaning” that exists is a temporal, finite meaning that will ultimately be meaningless. Hence, your worldview, when taken to its logical conclusion, asserts that all human experience is ultimately meaningless (yes, I know it may – or may not – be temporally and temporarily meaningful to you, in a subjective sense, but it is ultimately meaningless).

Thus far, you have reduced morality to the subjective feelings of society, which are meted out in a manner that is dependent upon the current mores in a particular time period. They are fluid, ever changing, and can be self-contradictory from one time period to another (i.e., our morals today may contradict our morals of 200 years ago, etc.). You have also admitted that there is no ultimate meaning in life; that it is only temporally and subjectively relevant, but in the end it all comes to naught.

Given these things alone, already you have been reduced to absurdity in your thinking, and you are already proving the existence of YHWH without even realizing it. The evidence for this conclusion is that you do not live in a way that is consistent with your worldview. Your worldview, ultimately, leads to abject skepticism, wherein not only are objective morality and ultimate meaning lost, but so too is their kinsman, truth. You cannot determine whether something is or is not objectively (i.e., absolutely) moral, because you assert that morals are subjective. The underlying presupposition here is that you also cannot know whether something is absolutely true or not as well.

How can I make come to such a conclusion? Just as the reason why you cannot know whether something is absolutely moral or not is because “I do not have all the knowledge in the universe,” you also cannot know whether something is absolutely true or not, because you “do not have all the knowledge in the universe.” Something may be true as far as you currently know, but you could learn something different tomorrow to prove that your version of “truth” as you see it today is false. So now in addition to loosing objective reality and ultimate meaning, you also must give up absolute truth.

At this point, whether you like it or not, you have lost the argument – if indeed there has even TRULY been an argument at all (you could always learn that this whole experience has been a hallucination that was induced by a medical procedure, and it was all a figment of your imagination). Without absolute truth, you now have no foundation for the laws of logic upon which you rely to make the very arguments you make. Without absolute truth, you have no foundation upon which to use reason by which you apply those laws of logic. Your worldview, when taken to its logical conclusion, is abjectly absurd, is self-contradictory, and is impossible to live out in a manner that is consistent with it.

You may say, “Aha! But I DO use logic and I DO use reason!” Yes, you do! And this is the proof that far from living in accordance with the atheistic worldview that you profess, you actually live in accordance with the Christian worldview that you deny. What you are doing is akin to a child who hates broccoli and concludes, therefore, “Broccoli doesn’t exist!” Once again, just as you correctly pointed out in an earlier comment that my subjective feeling of astonishment was irrelevant to the issue at hand (which, again, I never asserted it to be relevant – it was just a statement of fact), your hatred of YHWH is irrelevant to the question of whether He exists or not. You cannot simply wish YHWH away, because you don’t like Him.

YHWH either exists or He doesn’t. If He doesn’t, and your worldview is true, then you cannot even logically know that (your worldview precludes all truth, logic, and reasoning). Admittedly, I have not built the specific positive case for my assertion that YHWH exists. If needed, I can do that in another post or series of them. However, atheism’s absurdity is laid bare on the table before us. You can continue to hold to such a foolish, self-contradictory, and illogical worldview if you subjectively like it more than the Christian worldview. I prefer to choose objective morality, logic, reason, meaning, hope, truth, and most of all, Jesus Christ – the foundation of them all – over such meaningless drivel.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Part 3: The Myth of Moral Subjectivism

Please refer to the original post and Part 2 before reading this. All of the background is in those posts.

Here is the next response by the atheist:

It matters little if you mean to be disrespectful or not. What matters is if you are posting accurate statements.

Humans, as all primates, are a social species. We do better as a group than as individuals. Therefore, behaviors that have a positive impact on the group will be considered good and behaviors that have a negative impact on the group will be considered bad. This is why you see that rape, murder, arson and theft have become "evil". These activities have a negative impact on a society.

Contrary to your statement "evil" or "good" is antithetical to the very epistemology and metaphysic to which atheism professes", atheism makes no comment on this at all. Atheism simply says that there are no gods.

My Rebuttal:

Ah, the typical "morality comes from social interaction" theory. Now we're getting somewhere…kind of. :)

You assert that what makes something moral is whether it does more or less good for the group. So what group do you refer? Gangs are groups, and they do what is good for them. Though this isn’t necessarily good for the surrounding groups, who is to say that those surrounding groups have the right to impose their standards on the gang’s group? What if the gang is stronger and can assert its view regardless of the subjective tastes of the surrounding groups? Should those surrounding groups say, “Oh well, I guess this must be for the greater good, because we cannot do anything about it?”

Again, we can refer to all of the larger “group” scenarios I gave earlier (i.e., Nazis, Pol Pot’s regime, Nero’s, etc.) as examples showing that one group’s laws do not always reflect proper morals or ethics. This group or social theory of morality really isn’t a theory of morality at all, but instead is a theory of law. What makes something legal or not is definitely subjective, and changes from group to group.

The problem with this, however, is the question of how you are to determine what makes a subjective law moral or immoral. The only way to determine this is to go outside of the group – indeed, outside of every group – to an objective source of morality and then use that as the judge. If you do not do this, all you are doing is judging a subjective law by a subjective standard.

If subjectivism is the rule, then you have no right whatsoever to judge others in any way at all. You may say that society does, but if I become more powerful than the society of which I am a part, then I can change the rules to fit my whims and no longer be subject to your rules. If I then deem it lawful for me to take every firstborn in the land that I control and kill them, then you can say nothing against me, in terms of whether what I am doing is moral or not.

Next, you stated, “Contrary to your statement "evil" or "good" is antithetical to the very epistemology and metaphysic to which atheism professes", atheism makes no comment on this at all.” I’m having a bit of trouble understanding precisely what you intended to convey, because your statement was a bit vague to me. I did not say that atheism itself states that “evil” or “good” is antithetical to the very epistemology and metaphysic to which it professes (this seems to be what you think I meant). I’ll clarify my point. It is antithetical to atheism to call anything “evil” or “good.” This is antithetical to atheism, because its professed epistemology and metaphysic to contradict the ideas of good and evil. It is contradictory, because good and evil are not subjective feelings, but statements of truth. Atheism has no foundation upon which to build the concept of truth. Just as atheistic morals are subjective, all other ideas and concepts become subjective as well.

If your point is that atheism simply doesn’t address the philosophical concepts of epistemology and metaphysics (it “makes no comment on this at all”), then…I’ll just wait to see if that’s what you’re trying to say. I certainly hope it isn’t.

Furthermore, you state that “Atheism simply says that there are no gods.” I’m actually shocked that you would put forth this view. The wiser arguments in our day and age are those of the non-theists. They don’t make such a naive claim, because they realize it cannot be proved. Instead, they simply state that they have insufficient evidence to conclude that there is no God, so therefore, they don’t believe there is a God.

Thank you for the good and courteous discussion!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Part 2 of the Myth of Moral Subjectivism

Before reading this post, I encourage you to read my previous post on False Logic and the Myth of Moral Subjectivism, which will provide the requisite background for the following.

Another rebuttal from one of the atheists (more likely a non-theist, since no one can prove there is no God) is below.

It is true that we consider the Nazi's evil as well as Pol Pot. However, many people do not consider them evil and in fact, would call us evil. It depends upon what criteria one uses to determine what is evil or good. It also helps that we beat the Nazi's in the war. If they had won, the Allies would have been painted as the bad guys in the history books that the Nazi's wrote.

If your god was actually the basis for this, we should see that all people have the same foundation for making moral determinations. But we do not see this. Killing a is a good example. Most people consider killing to be bad. However, they will accept certain types of killing to be permissible. Mercy killings, killing for family honor and personal insults, to name a few, are perfectly acceptable reasons to kill for some cultures. Others would disagree.

Standards change over time as well. Slavery has been accepted in most cultures in the past. However, today, we find that concept to be completely unacceptable. Your bible even gives rules for owning slaves.

What this shows is that morality is not static, but fluid. It is very subjective.

My Rebuttal:

I do not intend to be disrespectful with this reply, but the truth of the matter is that the only thing you have proven here is your lack of understanding of Scripture

For an atheist to decry anything whatsoever as "evil" or "good" is antithetical to the very epistemology (one's theory of knowledge) and metaphysic (one's view of reality -- where we come from, what is real, etc.) to which atheism professes. In a world of chance-driven subjectivism, all that exists is opinions and feelings -- both in the subjective sense. You may choose to call something evil. You may choose to eat carrots or chocolate or steak because you think they taste good. However, you have absolutely no objective moral basis for asserting that even a single other person should hold to your beliefs. This is one of the most audacious positions of atheists -- you (generally speaking) assert that beliefs such as Christianity are "wrong," "evil," "not good for society," “immoral,” or whatever is your choice pejorative of the day, while at the same time asserting that no objective morals exist by which to judge such things and make such statements.

Regarding differences in how mankind views and follows various moral values, Scripture does not state that all men will follow the Law written on their hearts in equal measure. It simply states that the Law is there and that we are commanded to follow it. Due to man's fallen nature -- a fallen nature that infects every aspect of a man's existence; the degree of which varies from person to person, from time to time -- we would naturally expect, and Scripture affirms, that man will not obey YHWH's Law perfectly. Far from this issue refuting Christianity, this fact, clearly stated in Scripture, is why we find various views on individual topics in our daily experiences. Man's sinfulness, when not brought into check by the Law and temporal judgment, has nearly no bounds.

Your point regarding the immorality of killing is also one of misunderstanding and/or a lack of wisdom. God gives clear Law when it comes to the taking of human life (even this distinctive of human -- not animal -- life is pertinent, due to some comments above[this was relevant to other comments not seen in this blog post]). Killing itself is not strictly forbidden in every instance. The death penalty is stated as how certain crimes are to be punished; wars where YHWH vindicates His people also involve Divinely sanctioned killing; etc. Of course, one of immature understanding may turn to the 6th Commandment in a vain attempt to show a contradiction. One who cares to take the time to study such things will quickly find that the 6th Commandment deals with murder, not killing in general. For an excellent treatment on the use of the words related to "kill" in the Old Testament, see Milton Terry's "Biblical Hermeneutics" (pp. 192-193

Yes, YHWH's Word does give specific laws that relate to the treatment of slaves. His Word also gives us specific instructions on how we are to proceed with divorces as well. However, again, wisdom requires deeper thought into this matter (though some things in Scripture are blatantly obvious, others require study and diligence...along with the illumination of the Holy Spirit). Malachi 2:16 clearly states that YHWH "hate[s] divorce." But then both Christ and Paul give instructions on how we are to go about proceeding with a divorce. Oh, the contradiction! Hardly. Though YHWH hates divorce, He is also merciful and gives us specific instances where we may be released from a marriage, because He knows that our sinfulness will inevitably lead to ungodly unions sometimes that should not be continued.

In similar manner, YHWH also attends to the protection of slaves by ensuring their masters have Law that gives clear instruction on how such slaves are to be treated. Another parallel to this is the fact that, in the beginning, YHWH made marriage to be between one man and one woman. Both Matthew 19:4-5 and 1 Corinthians 7:1-2 clearly make this point (…and so as to not be negligent, Gen. 1:26-28, as well). However, in Old Testament times, men were frequently polygamous. Did YHWY endorse polygamy? No. At that time, He simply did not choose to judge it temporally. Such was the case with slavery.

Finally, you state, "What this shows is that morality is not static, but fluid. It is very subjective." False. On the contrary, morality itself is static. It was defined by YHWH Himself in Scripture. Man simply suppresses the truth of Christ's Word to bend it to his every whim in an attempt to justify his sins (see Romans 1:18-32 for a clear Scriptural view of this topic). It is not morals that are subjective. It is man's implementation and application of those objective morals that is subjective.

For a continuation of this post, please see Part 3: The Myth of Moral Subjectivism.

Soli Deo Gloria!

False Logic and the Myth of Moral Subjectivism

While checking my email today, I came across an email from a group that I regularly follow. I clicked on an article titled Boehner denounces Iranian pastor’s death sentence. After reading the article, which truly speaks of the horrors of Christian persecution in our world today, I quickly started to scan some of the comments.

One of those comment threads started off this way, "But apparently he's happy with American citizens being executed in Texas. Typical Christian hypocrite," which referred to Boehner condemning the execution of Christian pastor, while endorsing "American citizens being executed in Texas." I won't bother getting into the difference between these two, because hopefully such differences are glaringly obvious (if not, feel free to comment).

This comment thread had a number of replies, which spidered from there into abortion, and then into morality and whether morality is objective or subjective. One of the commentators used Naziism as an example of how law in and of itself is not a sufficient means of governing a people. When it got to that point, an atheist who was posting on the topic rebutted, "Ah yes... Godwin shows it's ugly head. Not surprised considering it's despe!" where "despe" is short for another commentator's name ("Despeville"). If you are not familiar with the "Godwin" reference, you can find plenty of information by simply Googling it, or you can check out Wikipedia's page on Godwin's law.

Such an answer in a debate is not an answer at all, which is the point of writing this blog. Following is my answer to this commentator. Hopefully it will be edifying to others who a.) find themselves up against such a red herring "argument," and/or b.) find themselves needing to vindicate objective moral values and to distinguish between them and law.

(Note: I proofread this again after posting it in the comments of the Web page cited above and found a few typos and fixed them. I also clarified a couple points slightly.)

My Rebuttal:

One's use of a common argument by no means nullifies or weakens the argument itself. I could very easily write my own "law" to the effect of, "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of the topic leading to a discussion of whether God exists approaches 1." Such a law, though, speaks in no way to the validity of such an argument. Godwin's law itself even admits this. Whether you understand this or not isn't very relevant here. In this case, you are simply asserting that your statement, "Ah yes... Godwin shows it's ugly head. Not surprised considering it's despe!" necessarily defeats @Despeville's argument, which it does not. Instead of stating the humor that the "law" points out, and then dealing with the argument, you simply try to diffuse the argument by referencing the law.

The logic you put forth is faulty in that it assumes that the likelihood of an occurrence nullifies the very validity of that occurrence. The foolishness of such an argument is illustrative of the lack of a solid answer you have to the real problem at hand.

If morals are subjective than one's judgment of any law is irrelevant, as one's judgment is also subjective -- only those in power can "judge" such a law. However, this isn't judgment at all, but simply imposition of their subjective values on all of those subjected to them. Whether this is done by an individual, a small group, or a majority doesn't matter. In such a system, there is no true freedom, but only the freedom which is granted by the subjective will of the authorities. Furthermore, such authorities can change at any time, and therefore one can never even know when one's liberties that have been granted as such will endure or not -- even if those liberties are truly just.

Ultimately, your view is self-refuting. Even you cannot live by such a standard. You presuppose the very thing you deny (objective moral values). Your expectation is not just one where those around you will follow the laws of the land, but also that they will follow the morals that are written on your very heart. You can deny this all you want, but all you accomplish by doing so is suppressing the truth in your unrighteousness. In the end, you simply deceive your own heart.

It doesn't matter whether one uses the example of the Nazis, the example of Nero, the example of Pol Pot, the example of Kim Jong Il, or whatever other immoral regime throughout history. All such examples point to the fact that law alone does not dictate morality. It is morality (or the lack thereof) that dictates law. The fact that we can even judge whether laws are moral or immoral is proof that laws are subject to morality, not the other way around. Morality is the objective standard. Laws are the subjective expression of those standards. The foundation of immoral laws is man's fallen nature, which corrupts our perfect God-given moral values.

Furthermore, in the end, you will be judged by the very words that you mock and condemn, and you will be held fully to account for your denial of the One who created you -- Almighty YHWH. It is only through repentance and belief in Jesus Christ that you can hope to be saved from such an end. I pray that the Holy Spirit will remove the scales from your eyes and will replace your heart of stone with one of flesh.

Soli Deo Gloria!

For a continuation of this post, please see Part 2 of the Myth of Moral Subjectivism.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

HTC Thunderbolt Battery Consumption Issue SOLVED!

I have to acknowledge my wonderful sister-in-law for pointing this out to me (thanks Kara!), but since she doesn't have a blog, I'm going to post it here on mine.

After about 15 years with the same cell phone provider (Cincinnati Bell Wireless) and having no contract with them during that entire stint, I finally decided to take the plunge with Verizon. Though this means I'm now locked into a 2-year agreement, it also means I have the option of getting phones that aren't 2 years old (Cinci Bell has fallen short in this area ever since I can remember). What led me to switch? I needed a real smart phone. It's quite comical that my old Blackberry Pearl was actually referred to as a smart phone.

The only dilemma I had was to determine exactly which phone to get. I had narrowed it down to three phones -- the iPhone 4, Droid X, and the HTC Thunderbolt. Price, options, speed, and battery life were my three main decision making criteria. Well, I suppose there was always the, "I don't want to be one of those people," in reference to the iPhone. I'm the only PC in an office full of Macs, iPhones, and iPads. Becoming an iPhone user would have been a sign of me caving in to the pressures that surround me every could I do that!

In all seriousness, I really did consider the iPhone. It's a great phone. My wife has one, and in general I do like it. However, there are some things about it that really bug me. Apple has always bugged me, though, with its insistence to control every aspect of their products. I build my own PCs. I cannot stand not knowing precisely what parts are in them, why those specific parts were used, and not being able to change or upgrade them on my own whenever I so choose.

In the same light, to me, the iPhone is actually too polished. It reminds me of my taste in cars -- I like a well-built car that still has some edginess to it. Though Toyota and Honda produce great cars, they're all boring to me. They're too polished. Toyota's Lexus brand is the same (with an exception here or there, like the LFA). Honda's Acura brand actually steps out of the box a bit, but it too has a tendency to err on the side of boring. On the other hand, Nissan (and its luxury brand, Infiniti) seems to step out of the box regularly -- and I like that. They produce well-built cars, and they make them sporty enough to appease that side of my driving habits.

The same is true for my taste in street bikes. I've always loved Kawasaki, because they're a bit more raw. They're known to be highly reliable, but they typically are at or near the top of the pack in power, transmission quality, and speed. Yes, they've struggled in the liter bike class for a while, but that will change in time.

Anyway, the only real difficult part of my decision was that the Thunderbolt was known to have horrendous battery life. Though I don't usually find myself without a power supply, being limited by that was truly a concern. It's the times that you don't have that power supply when you need your phone the most.

In the end, I chose the HTC Thunderbolt. I was drawn to its larger screen size and it's 4G speed. It didn't take long, however, to realize that the abysmal battery life warnings were well deserved. Without exaggerating, I couldn't go more than about 4-5 hours before I needed to charge my phone. It would be down to 15% battery life left at that point. And I'm not talking about using the phone constantly either. I'm talking about sitting the phone beside me while I work. It would literally just sit there on standby, the battery melting away into oblivion.

I read several blog posts and Googled just about everything I could think of to find a solution (other than buying the longer life battery...which was becoming a very likely solution). Nothing solved the problem. Then a 1-minute conversation on Easter with my sister-in-law changed everything.

She has an HTC Evo (if I remember correctly), and had similar battery life problems when she first got it. Someone told her how to alleviate that problem, and she shared that advice with me. So after all of this back's the incredibly simple solution.

I had already disabled just about everything I could think of on the phone, except the one thing that mattered the most. All you need to do is go to Menu --> Settings --> Accounts & sync, and then disable "Background data." If you need to sync everything, either manually sync them, or turn Background data on, let it sync everything, and then turn it back off.

That one thing extended my battery life from having to plug it in about every 4 hours to being able to use it for a whole day without needing a charge. Now, mind you, I don't use my phone a great deal while I'm working. If you use your phone regularly throughout the day, the Thunderbolt may not be the right phone for you, unless you don't mind charging it often. In either case, though, turning off this service will increase your battery life significantly.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The "non-creedal" Creed

I will most likely expand upon this thought at a later date, but I wanted to post this today so I don't forget about it.

It makes me cringe when my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ rant and rave about how we should not assent to any creeds or confessions as Christians. Probably the most common phrase heard regarding this topic is "no creed but Christ!" Interesting. No creed but Christ. That statement is in the Bible nowhere. Soooo...that's called a creed. In one quick phrase, their conviction is both stated and refuted.

Today, through a link sent to me and some subsequent menu clicking, I came across an About Us section on a Christian Web site that claimed:
"The Bible is our authority. No man made confession, or creed, or doctrinal statement of any kind has any authority above the Bible" (
While I agree that nothing has any authority above the Bible (just one of the many reasons why I am no longer a Catholic), the implication here is that creeds, confessions, and doctrinal statements themselves should all be abandoned.

There were other things on the site that just made me shake my head as a Christian (they predict that the world will end on May 21, 2011 -- I'm not going to even begin to discuss that here).  However, this supposed "non-creedal" position, while at the same time specifically stating their creed, was just flabbergasting to me. Considering they link to an Online Trinity Hymnal (see the footer), it is my assumption that they also hold to Trinitarian beliefs, as do I. The problem here is that the only way to come to the conclusion of a Trinitarian God is by a systematic study of God's Word and then come to a doctrinal position that the Trinitarian view is taught within God's Word. But wait, they don't hold to any "man made...doctrinal statement[s]."

The problem seems to lie in a misunderstanding of the purpose of creeds, confessions, and doctrinal statements. It seems to me that "non-creedal" (I put it in quotes, because this position is not actually what it claims to be) Christians think that creedal Christians put their creeds, confessions, and doctrines above the Bible. Though the temptation to do this may certainly be there, the temptation to sin in regards to creeds et al. does not make the creeds themselves sinful. After all, when you walk into a bank, that bank has money in it. Stealing is a sin. So does the temptation you may have to steal the money in the bank make the bank itself sinful? Of course not. Creeds are a quick summary of Christian beliefs. They are always subject to testing by God's Word, and where they conflict, God's Word always wins.

The better creeds and confessions that have been passed down through history have been derived through a great deal of studying the Scriptures by sometimes hundreds of Godly men. For example, as a member of a Bible Presbyterian Church, I subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. There are a couple things that I would possibly word differently, but overall, they are an incredibly helpful set of summaries of the faith. Creeds such as this are filled with relevant and appropriate Scripture references. They are derived from the Scriptures. They may be "man made," but are nonetheless quick summaries of what God teaches through His Holy Word. They do not contradict Scripture, but affirm it.

I would love to hear a "non-creedal" Christian witness to someone without using beliefs that they have come to realize through their study of Scripture. After all, those paraphrased and summarized beliefs that they hold to, those are creeds, confessions, and doctrines.

In reality, there is only one way for the "non-creedal" Christian to fill up their About Us or their What We Believe page. Everything between the brackets below would need to appear on those pages:
[                       ]
...anything more than that is a creed.

Monday, February 28, 2011

"You cannot legislate morality." Really?

How many of us have fallen for the myth that "you cannot legislate morality?" It's not whether morality is is who's morality is legislated (thanks to Gary DeMar for pointing this out with such clarity in "Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths"). Certainly, legislated morality rarely convicts one's heart -- that's another matter entirely. However, Christians falling for this myth need to wake up. Atheists, agnostics, and others want their morality legislated. They scream "No!" when Christians try to do it, but that neither means we shouldn't attempt to do so nor does it mean that we don't have the right to do so (they clearly think they have the right to do so).

Will those of opposing views be offended by some Christian ethics? Of course. Yet, can the opposition be so blind as to assume that no one will be offended by their morality? Apparently they are so blind (I know I sure am offended by some of their views!).

Christian morality is considered by some (maybe even many) as bigotry today, whereas the in vogue morality of our day is seen as enlightened. Ultimately the problem comes down to one's presuppositions, and that's where the Christian worldview is literally the only one to hold its own. Atheism (which ultimately includes all non-Christian worldviews...another topic within itself) falls apart when it tries to delve into ethics, because its ethics are purely subjective and without foundation (no, "societal ethics" are not objective).

Without an objective foundation for morality/ethics, we are left with nothing more than the strong asserting their mere opinions on those who are weaker than them.

I wonder how much more bold Christians would be within the public and political sphere if we truly understood, accepted, and truly put ourselves into subjection of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Of course, non-Christians want nothing to do with that, and claim that we should live "free of subjection to others" and "be authentic," along with other such self-refuting nonsense (if we're to live in such ways, we would have to subject ourselves to those who promulgate those ideas -- i.e., Jean-Paul Sartre, et al.).

It seems to me that most Christians today view Christ more along the lines of a.) some type of uber-Santa Claus, who they ask for whatever wants they currently have, b.) a free ticket to Heaven with no life-changing requirements to go along with it (note: faith alone saves, but our works are clear evidence of our saving faith -- see James, among others -- i.e., no changed life producing no good works likely means no saving faith, but just and empty false conversion -- see Matthew 13, especially the end of verse 8 and 23, which show results of conversion), or c.) some kind of "hoping God" who hopes that people will follow Him, but who really doesn't have much say or power over the matter (i.e., open theism).

Jesus Christ is the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. He is the only Potentate (or Sovereign). See 1 Timothy 6:15. Yet somehow man (including many professing Christians) still asserts his supposed autonomy, nearly at all cost. What does the Creator and Sustainer of the universe do in response to our scheming against Him? "He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh: The Lord will have them in derision" (Psalm 2:4, ASV).

Paul tells us in Romans 1:21-22 that "[21] because that, knowing God, they glorified him not as God, neither gave thanks; but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless heart was darkened. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." Why are Christians so afraid to stand up to those who are "vain in their reasonings", who have "senseless" and "darkened" hearts, and who have become fools?

Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of God the Father with all power and authority in heaven...and ON EARTH (Matthew 28:18)! Philippians 2:9-11 states, "[9] For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, [10] so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, [11] and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Finally, 1 Peter 3:22 states, "who [Jesus Christ] is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him."

Scripture's witness to us is clear: Jesus Christ rules over us now (he has since His ascension into heaven). Why are we so timid as Christians? Should we temper our boldness with love and respect? Of course! However, that by no means relegates us to passive bystanders who sit here and wait for Christ to come and "rapture" us out of this mess (eschatological misunderstandings rampant in the Church today are another topic as well).  Do we worship a defeated Savior? Is He powerless to change the world? Far be it from the truth!

It's high time for Christians to take their dominion mandate seriously (Genesis 1:28). Saying that "politics is dirty", or "I don't like politics", or "my faith is a personal matter" are all cop outs that are incredibly unbiblical. We need to boldly speak the truth in love and stop being ashamed of standing for God's Word.

Be bold! ...but get educated. Here are some great resources that will be helpful to that end (this is a very short list...but something to get you started):

  -- The Bible (I recommend the ASV, ESV, NASB, NKJV, or KJV...the NIV is OK)
  -- Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths (Practical)
  -- Too Busy NOT to Pray (Practical)
  -- Basic Training for Understanding Bible Prophesy (Practical, Theological)
  -- Debating Calvinism (Theological)
  -- Harmony of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms (Theological)

Soli Deo Gloria!

Here we go!

I simply have had far too many thoughts over the past few years that have been stifled simply because I haven't taken the time to set up my own blog (and I'm a Web developer!). It is high time that this drought ends. ...more to come shortly.

Soli Deo Gloria!