Gravity

Recently, I’ve seen the movie ‘Gravity’ starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. Out of five stars, this film is a two and a half. To begin with, the dialogue is random and irrelevant to the story line, not to mention the tedious task of listening to George Clooney recall a Mardi Gra celebration. The special effects were excellent, ignoring that this entire movie is impossible. The acting was just pitiful, with ten minutes dedicated to Julia Roberts barking like a dog and staring at the screen. She reflects over the earth, which is the one good section of acting there was. Then Sandra crash landed on earth, leading to an cliff hanger. This movie was just terrible.

Dating

Has anybody ever noticed how whenever you try talking to a girl, it’s never the right time? For instance, I’m trying to begin a conversation with this girl I’ve seen in between classes, but whenever I see her, she’s with her friends in a group of about 12. Now, I’m obviously not going to interrupt the conversation she has with her friends to simply say hi. And from the research I’ve been doing on the internet, the first premise of beginning a convo with a person you’ve never met, is to make eye contact. Not lingering stares but glances every once in a while to prevent creepiness. Next is to occasionally smile at them when and if they glance at you. In my opinion, this is a pretty creepy thing to do to someone unknown. However, the next premise is to walk up and introduce yourself. This seems in general to be a good system, and I might test it. But after the attempt, I will write down the results. If it doesn’t work, then I will have to find another system to recommend to people asking for advice. In the meantime, just remain friendly if you bump into them, maybe help them with the door or something. There’s a fine line between being cute and being creepy, and it depends based on your actions and the person.

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Ukraine and Russia

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What has happened in the Ukraine is this: Russian-backed President Yankovich left the nation before gunmen stormed the parliament building and raised the Russian flag. Afterwards, camouflaged military men without insignia blocked off protestors, followed by official Russian troops blocking off access to the airports which were invaded by gunmen. Lately, Russian troops have invaded the country, commanding Ukrainian military units to surrender. Russian navy battleships are off the coast of the Ukraine, and have blocked off the Ukrainian navy which were commanded to stand down. The Ukrainian military has been mobilized and is standing off against Russia. This is a Russian military invasion of the Ukraine, and has been allowed by the Russian legislation. The United States and the United Nations have condemned the Russian actions, and have threatened to sanction the Russian Government. What happens next might depend on Russian response. The Ukrainian military might attack, which would be unwise. The Russian Government might withdraw the military, unlikely. Or the United States along with the G8 countries might sanction Russia and prevent its position on the international council, most likely. Any of the outcomes would result in bitter consequences for Russia, which should be obvious. This is cold-war thinking from Russia, and it will beget the same relations.

Top Gear Review

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Top Gear is an originally English television show about cars. The show has been adapted to an American version, as well as from many other countries, however, this post is about the English original version. The hosts are Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond, car experts. The show is about these guys testing the best cars in the world and comparing them in matters such as speed, horsepower, practicality, and manufacturer. Sounds dull? It isn’t. This show is one of the funniest and satisfying shows there is on television. and it is because of the comedians on it. Jeremy Clarkson is unapologetically rash, spilling insults on countries such as the United States and Albania. Jeremy is foul-mouthed, and has bashed car companies daily. He has acted belligerently in plain english, and that is what makes him funny. Hammond is the smallest of the guys, and is called the hamster. Hammond is a fan of American cars, and several times was the butt of jokes. James is the rather gentleman of the guys, and is called Captain Slow by Jeremy and Hammond. 

Several specials were filmed in America, as well as other countries in rather long contests. The funniest special was when the guys travelled the Middle East, many times wearing traditional garb for women, attracting criticism from Arabs everywhere. However, it isn’t comedy unless Jeremy is attacked by Hammond and James, who dub him, ‘a proper orangutan.’ Some of the cons of this show is that sometimes the comedy is a bit too offensive, which can happen whenever Jeremy is around. 

In general, Top Gear is a wonderful television program.

Abortion and Pro-life

One of the most heated debates in the United States today is abortion and motherhood. The pro-abortion camp insists that abortion is a liberty every woman has the right to, while the Pro-life camp says that everyone has the right to be born. Which side am I? I declare very proudly that I am Pro-life, and I do not see that as synonymous as misogyny. Considering the fact that 60% of pro-life members are women, who are 2x more likely to be pro-life than men, it is obvious that it is not simply old sexist white men. That comment itself is sexist and racist, and ignorant as well. Next: Is being pro-life confined to religion? Well, I would like to tell that to Christopher Hitchkins, atheist intellectual who has declared that he was pro life. I would also like to tell that to the many atheistic pro life organizations, and to the 19% of atheists who are against abortion as well. Reason and compassion isn’t confined to one group of people, but is a human characteristic. 80% of all abortions are over the matter of convenience, which is absolutely ridiculous. A child is a privilege, not an inconvenience, a human, not a blob of cells, a miracle, not an oppression. Then there are the people who abort their children simply because they cannot support them, this is hogwash. Adoption is a very good option for ‘unwanted’ children, and the fostercare system is being changed everyday. Then, lastly, there is the matter of rape and incest, two very abominable things. I recognize the trauma felt by these poor women, and hope that justice is finally brought to the criminals. However, instead of abortion, I think there should be more funding of organizations who help women to progress through this together. Adding violence to the situation doesn’t solve the problem, adding compassion and understanding does. Trust me, the rapist should remain in prison forever, but I don’t think the child should be punished for his father’s crime. Then we have the problem of abortion as a necessary procedure. I recognize that in some circumstances, abortions are necessary, which is why I only think abortion should be legal in certain cases. Let’s not forget the risks of abortion as well as the benefits. In summary, I think abortion in most cases is wrong.

Religion and Same-sex marriage

It is very easy to automatically categorize things, such as sky with the color blue. However, many people today think of religious people as opponents to same-sex marriage naturally based on some of the protests seen from religious organizations. It might interest everybody to know that 55% of Catholics and 30% of Evangelicals favor same sex marriage, which rounded is roughly 1 billion people. Not just ordinary people, but religious people, the same religious people often categorized as bigots. Now, is same-sex marriage a sin according to the Bible? Let’s examine the evidence: there are seven verses in the Bible about homosexuality. But remember, at this time there wasn’t a word for homosexuality, and the word sodomy isn’t confined to homosexuality. Now, there is that verse in Leviticus that specifically says, “Thou shalt not lie with man as with a woman, for it is an abomination.” Notice, this verse condemns men having sex with men, and we can assume the same with women. This verse doesn’t mention the state of someone being homosexual, just the actions. There are other verses in the Bible describing the attraction to the same-sex, but when you think about it: Same-sex marriage doesn’t automatically mean the couple will rush home and have sex. It just means that gay couples have the liberty to marry, but even before that, no law prevents them from living together. Preventing homosexuals from marrying does absolutely to prevent them from engaging in the behavior. And honestly, I see far more verses in The Bible instructing us to love one another and to forgive one another than to condemn homosexuality. “Judge not, lest ye be judged,” “Who are you to judge thy neighbor?” I will not condemn someone for their sexuality, especially considering the fact that they cannot control it. If homosexuality isn’t a decision, then it isn’t a sin. Besides, if being homosexual is a sin, I can’t imagine it being any more damaging than the sins of adultery, divorce, gluttony, dishonesty, and the many others we commit every day. The difference is that homosexuality cannot be simply be stopped when someone wishes, it is something from birth. I have heard of gay Christians, such as Justin Lee. And, to reflect Pope Francis’ message: “If a gay person does what is right and seeks The Lord, who am I to judge my neighbor?”

Aside

Evidence for the Bible

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Let’s begin with the intriguing account of Noah’s ark. In 1959, a Turkish airline pilot took stereo photos of a boat-shaped object on the top of Mount Ararat for the Geodetic Institute of Turkey. After careful study, the length of the remains of the boat shaped object was determined to be exactly 300 cubits: the stated length of Noah’s ark in the Book of Genesis (Genesis 6:15). The width was greater than the size recorded in the Bible; however, due to the age of the boat, expansion over time is naturally expected. Careful scientific examination found an organic fossilized antler, extinct rodent hair, organic fossilized animal droppings, and human hair inside the boat. It lies approximately 6300 ft. above sea level and is located over 200 miles from the nearest sea. The age of the boat is over 4400 years. The Turkish Government has officially dedicated the site as a national park declaring it to be the remains of Noah’s ark!1
Ebla Tablets
The Ebla tablets found by archaeologists in 1975 provide solid evidence about life in the ancient world. Ebla was a kingdom that included Syria/Damascus and South-East Turkey. The people of Ebla experienced cultural and commercial prominence in their time. They established state archives, built libraries, and recorded commercial contracts in written form. The kingdom of Ebla existed around 2500 BCE. Many scholars have doubted the accounts in the Torah because it was believed that writing did not exist in Moses’ time; and therefore, he could not have written those books. On that notion, they date the Torah to a much later time and do not credit Moses as the author. The discovery of the Ebla tablets has proven all those unbelieving scholars wrong. Also, the Creation account in Genesis 1 is considered by many to be a later writing, because the word ‘tehon’ (the deep) was used in the text. However, the discovery of tablets in the Eblaite Kingdom in the 1970’s shows the word was in use 800 years before the time of Moses.2
Additionally, the discovery of 20,000 cuneiform tablets and fragments mentioned the names of David (Da-u-dum), Abraham (Ab-ra-mu) and Ishmael (Ish-ma-il). The unearthing of the Ebla tablets in northern Syria in the 1970s, uncovered names of biblical patriarchs, and the discovery of ancient regions such as ‘Canaan,’ all legitimize the patriarchal accounts, proving them to be viable and genuine.3
The Hittites
The Hittite people, considered a biblical legend, have also moved from fiction to historical fact after records from the Ebla Kingdom and Cuneiform tablets discovered in Bogazkoy, Turkey mentioned their name.
Sargon, the Assyrian King, was discounted because his name did not appear outside the biblical account in Isaiah 20:1. It reads, “In the year that Tartan came to Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him, and fought against Ashdod and took it.” However, this all changed when archaeologists found Sargon’s palace in Khorsabad, Iraq. Recorded on the Palace walls was the event mentioned in Isaiah 20—Sargon’s capture of Ashdod. Also, steel fragmented tablets memorializing the victory were found at Ashdod itself.
According to recorded history, Nabonidus was the last Babylonian king. As a result Belshazzar of Daniel 5 was in doubt because there was no extra-biblical source to validate his existence. This position changed when Cuneiform tablets were recently found showing that Belshazzar was Nabonidus’s son, who served as coregent in Babylon.
Archaeologists also uncovered ossuaries from the first century that confirm the existence of additional biblical figures, further supporting the reliability of the Bible.4
Described below is a list of biblical figures that have been made known to us by secular ancient historical records:
Roman Emperors: Caesar Agustus, Tiberius, Claudius
Roman Governors: Pontius Pilate, Serguis Paulus, Gallio, Felix, Festus
Regional Rulers: Herod the Great, Archelaus, Herod Antipas, Philip,
Herod Agrippa I, Herod Agrippa II, Lysanias, Aretas IV
High Priests: Annas, Joseph Caiphas, Ananias
Prominent Biblical Figures: John the Baptist, and James the Just
Simon of Cyrene
In 1941, Archaeologists Eliezer L. Sukenic and Nahman Avidag of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University found the ossuary of Simon of Cyrene. There is no question about its authenticity. It was found with 10 others as an intact assemblage in a tomb chamber that survived for centuries untouched by tomb robbers. The blocking stone was still in place. This find was published in 1962. Many scholars who have nothing to gain conclude: the ossuary is that of Simone of Cyrene and one of the 10 others was his son, Alexander.
Jesus Christ
Presently, many biblical scholars reduce Jesus Christ to a mythical figure because they require evidence from external secular sources that He existed. Archaeology is providing this evidence as scientists continue to uncovered evidence of the communities and people mentioned during the biblical times of Christ. Amazingly, much of the evidence uncovered supporting the Bible is from secular sources; some of which are hostile to Christianity.
Flavius Josephus provides us information about ‘James the Just,’ the half brother of Jesus. In addition, he gives us details about James’ life as the first bishop of the Christian church and his death by stoning, executed by the Sanhedrin in 62 AD.
Josephus refers to Jesus twice in his writings. His second reference refers to James as “the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ.” He has a longer passage on Jesus in his reports on Pontius Pilate’s administration. For centuries, it was dismissed until the original wording was restored, as noted here:
At this time there was a wise man called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. Many people among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified, and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive. Accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning who the prophets had reported wonders. And the tribe of the Christians, so named after him, has not disappeared to this day” (Antiquities 20:200).
Critics had doubted the existence of Nazareth in Jesus’ day, until its name showed up in a first-century synagogue inscription at Caesarea. Augustus’ census edicts (this is linked with the Nativity account) are borne out by an inscription at Ankara, Turkey. In his famous accomplishment, the Roman emperor proudly claims to have taken a census three times and mandated that husbands had to register their families for the Roman census.
Herod, the Great
Herod, the Great ruled at the time Jesus was born. This is demonstrated by the numerous excavations of his massive public works in the Holy Land, including the Great Temple in Jerusalem. His son, Herod Antipas, ruled Galilee, which has been shown in similar digs at Sepphoris and Tiberias. Many of the sites during Jesus’ ministry such as Bethsaida, Chorazin, Capernau, Caesarea Philippi, Shechem, Bethany, and Jerusalem are currently in the process of excavation.
It is noteworthy that the correlation between biblical and non-biblical evidence regarding the historicity of Jesus is supported through recent archaeological discoveries. The remains of the synagogue at Capernaum, where Jesus taught, exist today below ruins of a 4th century synagogue. Peter’s house in Capernaum has been uncovered from underneath a 4th century Christian sanctuary.
The Apostle Paul
The apostle Paul was one of the greatest followers of Jesus and the present archaeological support of him is most impressive. Ruins in Cyprus, Galatia, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Rome and surrounding areas, have many references about Paul of the New Testament.
Other Findings
Other discoveries in recent years include a goblet belonging to Kind David’s dynasty, a fishing boat dating back to the time of Jesus’ disciples, and the tomb of Joseph of Aramathea.
Archaeology continues to confirm the Old and the New Testaments and will persist to do so until Jesus Christ returns. Undoubtedly, it is through archaeology that the Old Testament prophets, the New Testament disciples/apostles, and Jesus Christ Himself, have been taken from the realm of fiction and legend (in the eyes of sceptics) to their rightful place as validated historical figures.
Has archaeology proven the Bible? The evidence is there for all to see, and the answer is a resounding yes! From Noah’s ark, the Ebla tablets, the ossuaries, and the discoveries of hidden cities and towns by present day archaeologists, the evidence that supports and validates the reliability of the Bible and its narratives is overwhelming. Such empirical evidence leaves little room for doubt

 

Quote

“For a man with…

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“For a man with faith, no evidence is required. For a man without faith, no evidence is possible.” -St. Thomas Aquinas

The above quote is quite true honestly, at least in most circumstances. I have heard the most brilliant rebuttals to common atheist objections, and even evidence for God and Jesus. Such evidence came from people such as William Craig, John Lennox, and Bart Erhman. William Craig skillfully has debated the foremost atheist apologists with factual evidence, and even reason. John Lennox successfully countered Richard Dawkins, who then cowardly refused to debate William Lane Craig. Bart Erhman called atheists “amateurish,” for challenging Jesus’s historicity. Yet, despite the success of those defending Christianity and God in general, atheists simply refuse to admit they have found a mighty opposition. This could be considered cognitive dissonance, which is always a weapon utilized by atheists to prevent any rebuttal.