Why I Read the King James Version of the Bible

kjv bibleI’ve long held to the belief that the best Bible in English is the KJV. I’ve read through it a few times, and will continue to do so. I don’t plan on picking up a modern version any time soon.

That’s not to say I’m antagonistic towards people who don’t believe the same way I do. I go to church with people who don’t read it. I listen to sermons preached from other versions. I get it: not everyone likes the KJV, or thinks it’s the best, or even thinks it’s accurate. That’s fine if people want to read other versions. I really don’t make an issue of it (and don’t care to, at all).

But I am convinced that it’s the best Bible you can read. (And easiest to memorize.) If you have a dictionary, a concordance, and a KJV – and you actually read it – you have all you need to be able to study God’s word. You can learn and grow spiritually from it as countless others have, and I think there are less impediments along the way when compared to, say, the NIV.

(But that’s just me. I’m just some guy – a nobody out of nowhere – and I am not an authority. I just know what works for me.)

However, I did find an interesting article about the KJV recently – Why You Should Read the Authorized (King James) Version?. The article is worth reading. I think the pastor who wrote the article makes some excellent points in favor of the KJV. He gives a few scholarly and practical reasons for reading the KJV which are worth considering.

One thing I’ve said for a long time – which I was happy to see in this article – is reference to the venerable word “ya’ll” and it’s equivalent in the KJV. (This guy gets it!) It might seem like a minor point, but it’s one I’ve never seen anyone else bring up. And understanding the difference forms of “you” can make a difference in the meaning of a verse. (No other English Bible allows for this distinction in its language, to my knowledge.)

4 Reasons Atheism is Foolish

The lifestyle choice of atheism (no-god-ism) is ones that many people choose with the mistaken idea that it’s somehow more intellectual than other more natural way to live – the ones that says there is a supreme being. I use the term “lifestyle choice” on purpose; becoming a “no-god-ist” is a determined choice, and it’s usually quite evident in the life of the individual. Some atheists may keep their beliefs (or rather, “non-beliefs”) private, but in my experience atheists’ point of view can be quite “in-your-face”.

Do you know how to tell if someone is an atheist? Don’t worry; give them five minutes and they’ll tell you. (The same thing can probably be said of vegans, CrossFit enthusiasts, and Texans. But I digress.)

People can (and will) believe whatever they wish to believe. I have no problem with that, and am an advocate of free choice in matters of conscience and belief. But I do have a problem with the view that atheists are somehow being smart or displaying superior intellect by rejecting God.

As far as I can tell, the atheists I’ve known have been of at least average intelligence. But intelligence has nothing to do with wisdom – the thing all atheists lack. Smart or dumb; they’ve all been taken with a foolish belief. Whether it has been self-indoctrination or deception via mass media, without exception every atheist became foolish in their thinking by accepting the view that there is no God.

Psalms 14:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”

There are at least four ways atheism demonstrates folly, danger, and hypocrisy. But above all, it’s just a foolish belief. Here are my four reasons atheism is foolish:

1. It is a hopeless way of life. The atheist will sometimes mock believers in God, or claim to pity the “weak-minded” believers in their “sky wizard”. The atheist, with his supposedly better way of thinking will say that it’s stupid to hope in an invisible man in the sky, etc. So I pose this question: what is wrong with having hope? When has the world ever not need to hope in something? Should we, as humans, be opposed to the transcendent concept of having hope?? If that’s what atheists think, it’s sad indeed. But the atheist might say, “No, I am not opposed to hope, in and of itself; I merely think that we should have hope in things more tangible.” By logical progression, this can only lead back to what is usually the original problem – the thing that causes us to look upward in the first place, in search of hope: man himself. This is not a lofty or promising mindset, and doesn’t lift anyone out of the doldrums or inspire anyone to greatness – because it’s rooted on earth and goes no further. It’s a loser’s philosophy, and adopting it is foolish. Whether God is real or imaginary is immaterial in a way; the results He has wrought (even if He were non-existent!) have always been far superior and more numerous than anything atheism has ever offered. He offers hope, and it produces positive results in a believer’s life. The same cannot be said of atheism.

2. It is selfish and purely materialistic. Because it claims there is nothing after this life, guess what is the “all in all” to a real atheist? This life on earth. That’s all there is, for whom there is no God: the here and now. This results in individuals who are focused on pleasure and gain on this earth. Nothing else matters except pleasure and self. If an atheist claims to believe otherwise, they are supremely foolish – or haven’t thought their beliefs through to the logical conclusion. Put another way: if there’s no life after death, “let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Wasting your time on noble deeds and a higher purpose is a waste of the precious little time on earth you have to live. Of course, this is maladaptive for a society and for an individual. But for an atheist, it should only make sense to emulate Hugh Hefner instead of the Apostle Paul.

3. It’s makes people unpleasant and bitter. For the longest time I wondered if it was just me who thought this, based on my conversations with atheists I’ve known. To me, they always seemed to extrude a sad kind of hatred for God. It was pitiful. Sometimes, it was caused by something that went wrong in their lives for which they blamed God. Other times, someone convinced them their was no God – and they latched onto that belief. But every one of them was definitely no fun to talk to (when it came to the subject of God, the Bible, or religion). Not just because I didn’t agree; I can have a civil conversation with people I disagree with. Atheists are different. It’s like, bad vibes, man. Who wants to be around that? Not me. Atheism makes it’s adherents very negative and give off a poisonous attitude – hence the “sneering atheist”.

4. It has caused more deaths than any religion. If there’s one thing atheists reliably use in order to (supposedly) justify rejection of religion (and by extension, God), it’s the old trope of “more wars have been fought over religion”. The sentiment does have basis in truth, although it’s not a very nuanced argument against religion due to its generality and glossing-over of many other possible issues. The problem I really have with that argument is that it totally ignores the vast piles of human corpses that were laid at the altar of atheism in the 20th century alone. Karl Marx, Joe Stalin, Mao and Castro (the world’s most well-known atheists) have the honor of causing the most deaths – not Jesus, Paul, Peter, Stephen, or John.

The average atheist is either shamefully ignorant of the history of Communism, or an even-more shameful apologist for Communism – because the killings at the hands of “no-god-ists” have been prodigious in number. The name of Stalin should immediately conjure images of ruthless, heartless, unjust killings – for the cause of the godless state. Mao, another bloody killer of his own people, just as enthusiastically mocked God as he embraced Communism. The atheist might not understand the relationship between atheism and these killings, but the link is quite solid. Just as there is cause and effect with any natural law, the humanistic mindset always results in mass-murder of innocents somewhere down the line. It’s not advertised like that, but it’s a feature (not a bug) of humanist thought. Whether the political expression is called “Communism”, “socialism”, or some other name doesn’t matter; the root is indeed atheism – the rejection of the notion that there is a God who rules over men.

Proverbs 14:34 tell us that “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” This is a philosophy that can only come from God. It is a high way of thinking. Atheism, a foolish and dead way of thinking, can never bring anything good to people – anywhere, ever. It’s the way of darkness, emptiness, and death.

These are some of the reasons atheism is foolish. What do you think? Comment below.

How True is Your Truth?

Like, that's just your opinion, man.
Like, that’s just your opinion, man.

You may have heard the expression “that’s your truth” or some variant of it. Perhaps you were told that phrase by a hippie from the 1960’s. You may have heard it from a Millennial college student. The idea is associated with post-modernism, but it’s been around longer than either the hippie from the summer of love or the modern hipster. The idea that something can be true for one person, while simultaneously not being true for another person is well-rooted in New Ageism and can be found in some eastern philosophies as well. This way of thinking claims that something can be, or might not be, but it never is. Well, it is…but not really. It only “is” for whom it’s true. Truth might not exist, or may exist, or change for various people. It depends on who is holding judgement of that truth at that moment, and if they accept it.

In other words, truth is relative.

Confused? I might have lost you here, but stay with me. You either understand this concept instantly, or you struggle to conceptualize it. (It might help to read up on Scott Adam’s “movie in your head” theory, which I think has credence when explaining how people perceive reality. People want to see things a certain way – regardless of how things really are.)

To “relative truthers”, the other way of thinking is extremely simplistic. And it is: it claims that something is “true” if it’s true. A fact simply “is” or “isn’t”. The bit is on or off – a one or a zero. This state of a claimed “truth” is wholly independent of anyone who happens to hear about it. Whether a person accepts it or not, truth is still truth. It stands on its own.

In other words, truth is absolute.

If you’re relatively “forward”-thinking, you probably accept the view that truth is relative. If you’re from the year 1850, you most likely relate to the view that truth is absolute. That’s your choice. And who am I to judge? What’s true for me might not be true for someone else. (Yes, I’m being a bit snarky to make a point.)

greencheckIn light of all that, in order to help people find the truth for their own selves, I’d like to propose a few tests of truth that will allow any person to clearly see if something is true for them or not. Whether the supposed truth is rudimentary (“2+2=4”) or vastly important (“Jesus is God”), these are tests an individual can apply to anything, in the privacy of their own mind. You can even close the curtains and read this privately. You don’t have to tell anyone your conclusions, in case you might offend them.

  1. Would this be true regardless of me? This is a test of a truth’s independence of people, or put another way, it’s universality. If you were the only person alive, it would be true. If the only person on earth was your polar opposite, it would still be true. If CNN did a poll, and 99% of respondents disagreed with it, it would still be true. If you were put in jail for believing it, it would still be true.Here is an example of this type of claim: “Exposure to fire will burn a person’s hand.” I don’t know about you, but my truth is that this is a fact. I will boldly venture to say that all sane people agree with me, and wouldn’t dispute this as absolute truth. If anyone would make the smug claim that this is true for me but not for them, we could test whether the claim is true by asking them to place their hand into the midst of a wood-burning stove. I’m sure it would become true to them as well. It’s a universal truth.
  2. The last example leads right into the next question: can it be measured, demonstrated, or tested independently? If a claim can be shown to product the same measurement results by standard measurements anywhere on earth, or demonstrated the same way under equal conditions by anyone, or can in some other manner be independently tested – and pass that test each time – you can take the leap of faith and say, “that is a fact” or “that is true”.Here’s an example. If I count four coins, place them into a bag, and hand them to a shopkeeper in Italy, and he pours the coins onto his counter top, there will still be four coins. I can then take those same four coins, put them back into the bag, and bring it to a first-grader in Florida, USA. If he counts them, there will be four. No matter who applies the counting test, the result will be four – because the number of coins is four. That fact is true no matter what the conditions are, who is counting, or where the coins are located.
  3. Does it show consistency? This goes along with the previous question, but also applies to things that are non-measurable or aren’t measurable by normal standards. If someone shows consistent behavior or gives a consistent account of an incident, for instance, this is evidence that their story is factual.But consistency also applies to things – not just people. A technical example of this would be data normalization. Another example applying this concept (albeit a bit abstractly) would be consistency of the pistons in an engine – the engine doesn’t work with varying pistons and cylinder widths. Consistency (in measurement, or behavior) shows something to be “true”.
  4. Does it make sense when examined from all angles? A philosopher might call this a test of coherence, and that’s a great way to put it. If a person can coherently explain something, they can make it make sense. If a claim can be subjected to examination from different angles, it still make sense, then it is probably true. But if it falls apart when viewed from certain angles, it might be false. This does not mean it’s true for some people and not for others; it means it’s false – because it violates the first test we gave it.An example of this is when a scholar examines an old historical document for veracity, and not only dates the document’s paper by something like carbon-14 dating, but by examining handwriting examples, citing quotes from the writing in other documents for which the data has been established, and perhaps even scrutinizing what the document says (whether historical or scientific).
  5. Does it stand up to criticism? When the claim is attacked outright, and it remains, then it can’t be simply false. And it can’t simply be true for some people and not others. This is because facts are stubborn, and tend to be immovable.This unfortunately doesn’t always work in a timely manner (ask Galileo, Mendel, or poor old Ignaz Semmelweis – the doctor no one listened to, but should have).The stubbornness of facts, and their tendency to remain in the face of criticism doesn’t stop the critics from lashing out.Keep this in mind next time you argue a point of political philosophy with someone, and ask yourself if it’s worth it.

The above questions are simply variations on some classic criteria of truth. They’re nothing new, and in fact my understanding of some of them might be a bit sloppy.

But we all should come to terms with truth. We should each search for it, approach it, and grab hold of it when we find it. I do not believe we should regard the concept of truth with a cynical attitude. Pontius Pilate did that when he asked “What is truth?” – while the very embodiment of Truth was before him! I believe we should each seek truth with seriousness, sincerity, and do it purposefully.

Deep Learning. Social Networking. Truthy: Information diffusion research using Twitter Data.
You’re not choosing how you socialize. The network is doing much of the choosing.

In today’s world, truth is becoming harder to discern. A big reason for this is that we more frequently insulate ourselves in small communities in which only our point of view is expressed. By doing this, place ourselves in an environment that constantly gives us positive feedback of only our belief system and negative feedback of other belief systems, which causes us to have an artificially reinforced worldview. This Facebook-Twitter-Google-Social Media bubble-environment we find ourselves in is comfortable, familiar, and seems to be so right – because we’re never challenged with any other way of thinking. Does any of this ring “true” to you?

It’s happening, and the system was intentionally designed to be this way. [Read Sean Parker’s assessment on his regrets about his involvement with Facebook, the video clip of former FB exec Chamath Palihapitiya in this article starting at 7:15, and my previous article on AI.] This is why civil discourse is an old-fashioned “thing of the past” – a lost art form. Instead of people merely “agreeing to disagree”, a difference of opinion between two people may result in one of them being assaulted. (It’s sad, but we’ve all read the stories.)

In one way, I agree with the sentiment “what’s true for me isn’t true for others”, in this way: I don’t decide what other people believe. Everyone can believe what they wish to believe; we each decide what we wish to accept. Each individual decides where they place their faith. No one can believe something on behalf of another.

What I do not agree with is the idea that truth actually changes depending on what someone likes (or doesn’t like). Not only is that idea unscientific, it’s juvenile and selfish. It doesn’t make sense by any measure of sense. And it robs people of an important impetus to seek what is true and right. It gives people an excuse to believe anything.

And often if someone is willing to believe anything, they believe in nothing.

How true is your truth – is it for everyone, or is it only to your liking? Do you know what is true? Do you care to possess actual, real truth for yourself? Do you ever even seek the truth?

Please share your thoughts with me below.