Thursday, January 06, 2011

Compare Bios - Caner Bros.

Compare the Biographies of the Caner Brothers

Emir Caner bio:
Born on August 25, 1970, Emir Fethi Caner grew up in the Columbus, Ohio, area in a Sunni Muslim family, the son of an Islamic leader. As a young teenager, he came to faith in Jesus Christ at a revival service at the Stelzer Road Baptist Church.
Ergun Caner bio:
Ergun Mehmet Caner (B.A., M.A., M.Div., Th.M., Th.D.) is president of the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and Graduate School at the Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Raised as the son of a Muslim leader in Turkey, Caner became a Christian shortly before entering college. Serving under his Chancellor and President, Jerry Falwell Jr., Caner led the Seminary to triple in growth since his installation in 2005. A public speaker and apologist, Caner has debated Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and other religious leaders in thirteen countries and thirty-five states. The author of seventeen books, Caner lives in Lynchburg with his wife Jill and two sons, Braxton and Drake.
(source for both bios)

By the way, Emir Caner's book says he was born again November 4, 1982 (he would be 12 at that time, according to my calculations). See Unveiling Islam, p. 19.

Also, the evidence seems to suggest that Emir was mostly raised by his grandmother in a household that was separate from his Islamic father, but that is perhaps not so important.

More significantly, Ergun Caner was not "raised ... in Turkey" (according to what we know of his life from other sources) he was raised with Emir, and there is no evidence that Caner's father was a "leader in Turkey."

There is also no evidence that we can find that Ergun Caner has "debated" in any meaningful sense anyone, much less "Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and other religious leaders in thirteen countries and thirty-five states."

I suspect what has happened here is that the conference organizers found a bio of Ergun Caner somewhere on the net and used it. I don't have any reason to think that Ergun Caner is still making these claims for himself, and the conference organizers are probably unaware of the scandal that came to light last year.

Still, very sad to see that more active steps have not been taken to remove the old information.

- TurretinFan

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Cosmological Argument

One common formulation of the cosmological argument begins, "everything that exists requires a cause." (example) Smart people sometimes formulate the argument this way, but it is actually not correct.

A better (let's call it "the correct") formulation is, "Everything that comes into existence has a cause."

Under the incorrect formulation you either have contradiction or infinite regress.

Under the correct formulation you have a singularity. A first cause who is uncaused. As a result, that uncaused cause must never have come into being: he must always have been. This is because if that cause had come into existence, there would have to be a still earlier cause. On the other hand, if that cause did not exist at all, and consequently never came into existence in that sense, nothing could exist.

This causeless first Cause, without whom nothing would exist, is God.


God is not Santa Claus

Hear the word of LORD:

1 Samuel 2:22-25
Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And he said unto them, "Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD'S people to transgress. If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him?" Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them.

Why didn't they listen to their father? Well, of course, they are to blame. Yet God takes credit for it too. God says that their heedlessness had a purpose - and the purpose to kill them.

People like to say that when it is said that Joseph was sold into slavery in order that many lives would be saved, it simply means that God made the best of a bad situation. That's not the case here. God didn't make the best of a bad situation - God let a bad situation become (humanly speaking) worse.

1 Samuel 3:10-15
And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, "Samuel, Samuel."
Then Samuel answered, "Speak; for thy servant heareth."
And the LORD said to Samuel, "Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever."
And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the LORD. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.

Well might Samuel fear to share this dreadful vision! God is coming in vengeance on the house of Eli, and God has said that this iniquity will not be purged with sacrifice nor offering forever! For every sin that a man might sin there was an offering appointed - but for the sin of Eli and his sons, there was no sin offering available. God extended no explicit offer of mercy to Eli.

And listen in sad silence to Eli's reaction:

1 Samuel 3:16-18
Then Eli called Samuel, and said, "Samuel, my son."
And he answered, "Here am I."
And he said, "What is the thing that the LORD hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee."
And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him.
And he said, "It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good."

What a disappointing answer! Let the LORD do what seems good to him? Of course the Lord will - but hie to the altar with sacrifice and offering! Rip your clothes in sorrow! Put dust and ashes on your head! Fast and pray to God for mercy! Though God has pronounced judgment, yet if a man will turn to Him in true repentance, he will find mercy.

As David would later be inspired to write:

Psalm 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

Dear reader, do not be like the sons of Eli and refuse to hear good counsel. Do not be like Eli and simply nod your head at the pronounced judgment of God against you and your sins. Flee to God for mercy.

As it written:

Psalm 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.