Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Navy vice admiral assesses the nuclear arms treaty signed by Obama

Story here from the U.S. Naval Institute web site.

Excerpt:

President Barack Obama was outmaneuvered by the Russians and should have abandoned the New START negotiations instead of seeking a political victory, says former nuclear plans monitor Vice Admiral Jerry Miller, USN (Ret).

“The Obama administration is continuing a dated policy in which we cannot even unilaterally reduce our own inventory of weapons and delivery systems without being on parity with the Russians,” Miller told the U.S. Naval Institute in Annapolis, Md. “We could give up plenty of deployed delivery systems and not adversely affect our national security one bit, but New START prohibits such action – so we are now stuck with some outmoded and useless elements in our nuke force.”

After meeting resistance from several Republicans, the U.S. Senate ratified the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Russia by a vote of 71-26 on Wednesday.

“The Soviets/Russians were done in by Reagan and our missile defense program because they cannot afford to build such a system,” said Miller. “They instead try to counter our program with rhetoric at the bargaining table. And they won by outmaneuvering Obama.  START plays right into their hands.”

Former President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) is often credited with bankrupting the U.S.S.R. because the Soviets were unable to keep pace with the technology being developed by the United States.

“We have always been superior in quality of our nuclear force, so we did not have to negotiate with a party we do not trust,” said Miller. “If Obama wanted to save some money and improve national defense, he should have gotten out of the nuke negations and acted unilaterally. START is simply a political victory for Obama.”

Miller, who helped prepare the National Strategic Target List and Single Integrated Operational Plan for waging nuclear war and later participated in arms control meetings with the Soviet government, expressed concern that START could leave the United States vulnerable to other emerging threats.

“The treaty prohibits the conversion of an existing ballistic missile system into a missile defense system,” said Miller. “We might want to do that with a Trident or an ICBM sometime in the future, particularly if the Chinese alleged threat materializes.”

Obama put short-term political gain over long-term national security. He gave away the store. He was outmaneuvered because Democrats are not serious or competent on national security issues.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If a person wanted to become a Christian, what should they do?

I just got an e-mail from one of our non-Christian readers who has decided to investigate how to become a Christian. He asked me for some advice on how to proceed, and I thought I would throw it out there for my Christian readers (Neil and Drew, please help!) to see if anyone has any good ideas.

In his e-mail, he wanted to know how I became a Christian, how to read the Bible, and how to become a Christian. The reason I am excited is because he seems to be coming at this the right way, starting with the intelligent design DVDs that I always recommend, then William Lane Craig debates, and so on. He’s been investigating for a year and a half! Now, this is the perfect way to become a Christian, in my opinion. Slow, and with an eye for the other side. I am actually very excited about his approach!

OK, so I was going to work on a reply, but the first things I thought of were the following:

Start with some Bible: (NIV translation is easier)

  • John
  • Luke
  • Acts

Then some C.S. Lewis:

Any ideas for a good basic theology book? Here’s a basic one from Wayne Grudem. I like him because even though he’s a Calvinist, he’s politically conservative, complementarian and old-earth. If you just read his books while thinking “grace is resistible, grace is resistible”, then you’ll be fine.

I know a lot of people like Dallas Willard’s “The Divine Conspiracy” and “Renovation of the Heart“, but isn’t he a bit mystical? I haven’t read it. I have it though, and I’ll probably read it then recommend it to him if it isn’t too goofy. I’m suspicious of Dallas Willard, because even though he’s a philosopher at USC and speaks on university campuses, I’ve met lots of goofy Christians who liked Dallas Willard, but who did not like apologetics.

I was thinking that this would give him the idea that the Christian life basically consists of investigating whether God exists, whether Jesus is God stepping into history to talk to us, and then reading about Jesus life and words to find out what Jesus says. And he can read the Bible, and pray about various things (praying is like debating, you reason with God about things he’s done that you like, or why you think he should act in a particular way). He could also listen to sermons in church, and talk to other Christians who like apologetics and theology.

As a new Christian learns more, they think of things that they’d like to try, like changing behaviors and priorities, and making clever plans to give God things he might like. It’s a relationship, but instead of hearing God’s voice out loud, new Christians should be collecting information about God like a detective, then acting accordingly. It’s demanding, and there is sometimes kickback. But I think that the point of Christianity is that you are building a lasting relationship with God by choosing how you spend your time.

Filed under: Mentoring, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What can you learn by reading apologetics books?

For beginning apologists, I wanted to recommend a series of 3 books designed to give you coverage of most of the issues. Each book is a collection of short chapters designed to introduce you to the various areas that are likely to come up in disputes.

Here they are:

  1. “The Case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel
  2. “Passionate Conviction” edited by William Lane Craig and Paul Copan
  3. “Contending with Christianity’s Critics” edited by William Lane Craig and Paul Copan

I just wanted to show you the table of contents so that you could get an idea about what you might learn by reading through these books.

The Case for a Creator

Here is the table of contents. (Watch the book’s DVD on YouTube)

  1. White-Coated Scientists Versus Black-Robed Preachers
  2. The Images of Evolution
  3. Doubts About Darwinism: An Interview with Jonathan Wells
  4. Where Science Meets Faith: An interview with Stephen C. Meyer
  5. The Evidence of Cosmology: Beginning with a Bang; An interview with William Lane Craig
  6. The Evidence of Physics: the Cosmos on a Razor’s Edge; An interview with Robin Collins
  7. The Evidence of Astronomy: The Privileged Planet; An interview with Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Wesley Richards
  8. The Evidence of Biochemistry: The Complexity of Molecular Machines; An Interview with Michael J. Behe
  9. The Evidence of Biological Information: The Challenge of DNA and the Origin of Life; An Interview with Stephen C. Meyer
  10. The Evidence of Consciousness: The Enigma of the Mind; An Interview with J.P. Moreland
  11. The Cumulative Case for a Creator

Passionate Conviction

Here is the table of contents. (Sample chapter in a PDF)

PART 1 WHY APOLOGETICS?

  • In Intellectual Neutral by William Lane Craig
  • Living Smart by J. P. Moreland

PART 2 GOD

  • Why Doesn’t God Make His Existence More Obvious to Us? by Michael J. Murray
  • Two Versions of the Cosmological Argument by R. Douglas Geivett
  • The Contemporary Argument for Design: An Overview by Jay W. Richards
  • A Moral Argument by Paul Copan

PART 3 JESUS

  • Revisionist Views about Jesus by Charles L. Quarks
  • What Do We Know for Sure about Jesus’ Death? by Craig A. Evans
  • Jesus’ Resurrection and Christian Origins by N. T. Wright

PART 4 COMPARATIVE RELIGIONS

  • Christianity in a World of Religions by Craig J. Hazen
  • The East Comes West (or Why Jesus instead of the Buddha?) by Harold Netland
  • Christ in the New Age by L. Russ Bush
  • Islam and Christianity by Emir Fethi Caner

PART 5 POSTMODERNISM AND RELATIVISM

  • The Challenges of Postmodernism by J. P. Moreland
  • Is Morality Relative? by Francis J. Beckwith
  • Reflections on McLaren and the Emerging Church by R. Scott Smith

PART 6 PRACTICAL APPLICATION

  • Dealing with Emotional Doubt by Gary R. Habermas
  • Apologetics for an Emerging Generation by Sean McDowell

Contending with Christainity’s Critics

Here is the table of contents. (Sample chapter in a PDF)

PART 1 THE EXISTENCE OF GOD

  • Dawkins’s Delusion by William Lane Craig
  • At Home in the Multiverse? by James Daniel Sinclair
  • Confronting Naturalism: The Argument from Reason by Victor Reppert
  • Belief in God: A Trick of Our Brain? by Michael J. Murray
  • The Moral Poverty of Evolutionary Naturalism by Mark D. Linville
  • Dawkins’s Best Argument Against God’s Existence by Gregory E. Ganssle

PART 2 THE JESUS OF HISTORY

  • Criteria for the Gospels’ Authenticity by Robert H. Stein
  • Jesus the Seer by Ben Witherington III
  • The Resurrection of Jesus Time Line by Gary R. Habermas
  • How Scholars Fabricate Jesus by Craig A. Evans
  • How Badly Did the Early Scribes Corrupt the New Testament? An Examination of Bart Ehrman’s Claims by Daniel B. Wallace
  • Who Did Jesus Think He Was? by Michael J. Wilkins

PART 3 THE COHERENCE OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE

  • The Coherence of Theism by Charles Taliaferro and Elsa J. Marty
  • Is the Trinity a Logical Blunder? God as Three and One by Paul Copan
  • Did God Become a Jew? A Defense of the Incarnation by Paul Copan
  • Dostoyevsky, Woody Allen, and the Doctrine of Penal Substitution by Steve L. Porter
  • Hell: Getting What’s Good My Own Way by Stewart Goetz
  • What Does God Know? The Problems of Open Theism by David P. Hunt

Before you can mount a detailed defense on any of these questions, it helps to be able to recognize them all!

By the way, you can get a head start on the first one if you just connect to YouTube and watch the movies “Unlocking the Mystery of Life” and “The Privileged Planet”.

Filed under: Mentoring, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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