Sunday, January 13, 2013

201-inch Outdoor LED TV

As if there weren't already enough over-the-top big TV screens for the rich to waste their money on, how about a 201-inch (16.75 feet!) outdoor TV that retracts into a waterproof underground vault when not in use? Never mind that its reported price is $300,000! (I think I'd rather buy a yacht  But then, maybe they already have a yacht. LOL)

The only benefit I see for the typical consumer from this is that the screen actually folds up before retracting. If smartphone makers can incorporate that into their phone design, we might start to once again move away from the behemoth phones (five inches and over) that are currently being released. But then I think the scroll solution is much better and has more potential.

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Power From Human Hair

How about solar panels of human hair? Read it here:

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Brain Controlled Helicopter

Puzzlebox Orbit, a Kickstarter funded project, is now retailing a remote control helicopter typical of the size kids play with. The controller?  Your brain! See video here:

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Comet-4th Qtr 2013

According to this article ( around the beginning of October and lasting through the end of the year, we should be able to see a comet that is so bright, it will shine even in the early daylight hours.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Understanding Heaven and Human Destiny

Before I get into it, I want to lay the groundwork for the concept so you don’t immediately dismiss it without at least seeing the reasonableness of it. So think…Have you ever known of any government where those in authority exceed (in number) the masses that were being ruled?  How about a government where everybody is ruling and nobody is ruled over. I’m sure you’ll agree both scenarios are ridiculous.

What does this have to do with heaven? Notice what the Bible states about humans going to heaven.  In the last book of the Bible, we read that Jesus: “bought persons for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.” (Revelation 5:9,10) (The KJV, DRA and NIV all say they will reign “on” the earth; the AMP says they will rule “over” the earth.)

So these “bought” ones are heaven-bound not to play golf or laying around aimlessly on clouds as pictured by so many. They have a very specific purpose—to act as rulers with Christ over the earth, restoring the earth to God’s original purpose. 

But back to the illustration…. Many are also taught that besides living in bliss in heaven, all deserved mankind will go to heaven. That cannot be because that places everyone as rulers in heaven with no one on earth to be ruled over. How can those in heaven be “kings and priests” if they rule over nobody? Yet the scripture above is quite clear that they will rule over the earth.

Indeed, the more sensible concept is that they rule over a large multitude of people on earth. This is mentioned pictorially in Revelation chapter 21, wherein “New Jerusalem,” the heavenly administration, is seen “coming down out of heaven” and the resulting benefits will be a cleansed earth, ecologically, morally and spiritually speaking. So while a small number become rulers, the vast majority of mankind will benefit from that rulership right here on earth.

But some have taken Jehovah’s Witnesses to task about their belief in the literal number of 144,000 being invited to heaven. Ok, so you can’t accept that now. But can you accept that whatever the number is, it has to be a smaller number than those being ruled over? Just as we already covered, it makes sense that the number of rulers would be less than those on earth who are being ruled over.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Fine Soil--Matthew 13

Jesus, while on earth, spoke (figuratively) about four types of soil conditions in which the seed might fall. As I understand it, back in those days, those planting seeds would carry them in a fold of their garment and “cast” (spread by flinging, sprinkling generously) the seeds. Naturally, such a method would easily cause the seed to fall in all of the four areas (the “roads” hardened by travel from people, animals and carts, the “rocky places” perhaps around the boundaries of the tilled soil, the “thorns” (also likely at the boundaries) and finally the “fine soil.”) Most likely the farmer tried to get as much of the valuable seeds on the fine soil but accepted that for the expediency of getting the work done, some seed would fall on those other three places.

The explanation Jesus gave for the above referenced illustration (“parable” for those acquainted with that term) is found at Matthew 13:18-23. There we find out that the seed is the publically proclaimed word of God. The various soils are receptiveness of people’s hearts. The thing is, people are not unchangeable soil. However, the way they respond both to the message and circumstances in their life is the point Jesus was making. People’s viewpoints and responses can change. So Jesus was not at all indicating predestination. A case in point is the apostle Paul. He started out as “Saul,” a fanatic Jewish Pharisee who was bent on persecuting early Christians. However, he changed.

I have seen this even in “our day and age.”

I was having numerous conversations with a young man in his early twenties who was raised by a family that held to the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This man was not a rebel. He was kind-hearted and soft-spoken. He was respectful and mild. But after months of talking with him I sensed his level of appreciation for the Bible and commitment to God just wasn’t there. Finally, I took him aside privately and told him the following: “In my experience, there are three types of people. First are the ones that just do not believe in God. Second are the ones that may believe in God, but aren’t convinced that a particular religion (or any religion) is necessarily right. Finally, there are those that may believe in God, and may also see the benefits of the brotherhood espoused by the Bible, but just don’t feel that religion is something they want in their life.” I asked which one fit his situation. He said it was the last. I assured him that I respect his God-given right to free will. I told him that he needed to make some life discoveries for himself, to have some life experiences that would help him discover what he himself felt was true and worthwhile. I told him I’d welcome his call or text messages any time of day. It has been months now since we’ve talked but I am hopeful that in the years to come, he will see things clearer.

On the flipside of that is another young man, same age, also raised around the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses but as a teen, rebelled and turned away. Like the prodigal son, he got involved in all the things that can entice a person in this world. But now he is a young man living on his own and has had years to observe what this world is really about. Instead of speaking fondly of his experiences, it is evident that he feels really beat up by them. All the things he thought would be truly pleasurable and rewarding have turned out to be a burden and a bother to his inner sense of right and wrong (his conscience). He decided to re-learn what the Bible teaches but this time as a young man able to determine for himself what is true and not true. He does not need to feel apprehensive about asking questions for fear of disappointing his relatives. He is encouraged to ask questions and express what he really feels. His expressions of appreciation not only for the Bible but for the patient, non-judgmental care being extended to him are heartwarming.

I think experiences such as these convince me that all the fault-finders of Jehovah’s Witnesses, our teachings and our ways, are shown to be either sadly misguided individuals or outright liars. For example, while doing some web research for my recent article on Philippians chapter 2, I came across a website that blasted Jehovah’s Witnesses as deceptive liars. Having been a former Catholic and associated with many religions before becoming convinced that only Jehovah’s Witnesses accurately teach the truth, I was able to quickly deduce some facts about that website. First, accusations poured out freely but without any concrete proof or reasoning. Second, the reasonings that were provided sounded like a madman’s rants. Finally, search as I might, there was absolutely no way to contact the writer. Now, really, which would you be more inclined believe—someone that readily provides contact information, as I do, as my religion does (, or one that spews vile hatred but hides their identity? Regarding this last point, the one thing I have noticed about the official articles written by the Watchtower about other religions always makes every attempt to do so in a respectful manner. They never resort to insults and are always willing to discuss their beliefs. However, when I see articles written by other religions against us (mostly on the internet), they never seem to find an ounce of good in anything we do. According to them, we are thoroughly corrupt, completely deceptive, without one ounce of redeeming value. My recommendation to you would be to check it for yourself. Can it really be true that people from all backgrounds, all financial levels, multiple educational levels (including scientists and surgeons) could be so easily deceived?

In response to the false claims that we are “brain washed” and forced to be brainless automatons, I can guarantee from my own 41-year-long experience that is completely untrue. Unlike other religions that require financial contributions, we do not. We feel contributions should be a personal matter motivated by heartfelt appreciation. We have no tithing. So, we encourage people to reason, we encourage questions, we promote tolerance and patience, we have no ulterior motive such to soak people for their money or try to control their lives. Anyone that says differently is not telling you the truth about us.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Understanding Paul’s Words at Philippians chapter 2, verses 6 and 7

There is a long standing difference of (very strong) viewpoint on that passage. Those adhering to the trinity teaching prefer the essence of the wording found in the King James Bible (vs.6): “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God…” Those not adhering to the trinity doctrine (predominantly Jehovah’s Witnesses), use a rendering such as this one:  (New World Translation): “who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God”

But what was the point that Paul was making? Was the context of that passage in his letter arguing the identity of the Christ? No, it wasn't.  If you read the context, especially verses 1 through 11, you will notice that Paul was using Jesus as an object lesson, a model of how a Christian should think and live. In verse 3, Paul says that we should not be egotistical or contentious. In verse 5, Paul tells us that we should have the same mental attitude of humility that Jesus had. He then says that not only did Jesus demonstrate humility in leaving heaven and coming to earth, but then he lived a humble human life (not a religious or political leader or rich man). Finally to top it off, he died an ignominious death, being falsely labeled as a fake and slanderer of God.

Wrapping it up in verses 9 through 11, Paul says that because of Jesus’ willing humility, God not only brought him back to life but then raised him to a position that was elevated above every other human to have ever lived or will ever live. Note the underlined (from the King James Version) in the text below:
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

So now, would it make sense, after considering the context, that Paul, even in passing, was teaching that Jesus was or is himself also God? No, it wouldn't.  To say that would mean that Jesus glorified and praised himself, directly opposite to what Paul was trying to teach his readers. Paul made it undeniably clear that Jesus was and is “Lord,” not to his own glory, but the Father’s (to God’s) glory.

Ok, so the point Paul was making was that we need to follow Christ’s model of humility. But what about verse 6? First lets consider verses 6 and 7 according to the King James version. Then we’ll look at other, more accurate, recently translated works used by those who believe in the trinity. Verses 6,7: Who, “being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:”

So first the KJV says that Jesus “thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” but then, instead of just allowing the supposed equality, he “made himself of no reputation, took upon him the form of a servant.” Does that make sense to you? First of all, the odd wording of “thought it not robbery to be equal” is confusing enough. But then, instead of accepting his equality, he humbles himself. Of course, even the terms “equal” and “equality” immediately imply that there is more than one person involved. If Jesus IS God, then Paul’s argument is further nullified. What do I mean? Consider: If we re-write that passage in modern English, according to the trinity beliefs, it would read: “Jesus didn't think it was any big deal being equal to himself, but decided to be less than himself.”

So what of the more modern translations? One of the favorites of current church-goers is the NIV (New International Version).  Below, along with the Amplified version, are those renderings:

NIV: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

AMP: Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained,

Note these observations:
 Both translations separate Jesus (in his pre-human existence) from God as two distinct individuals. One individual has no choice but to be equal to himself. If Jesus were God, how could he possibly make himself lesser than what he himself is? And once he made himself lesser, he would still be equal to himself, right?

 The NIV says that Jesus was “in very nature God.” And the Amplified, a very-well researched translation, says that Jesus was in the “form of God.” It is interesting that Jehovah’s Witnesses, believe that. Jesus was indeed in the “form” of God. John, quoting Jesus’ own words, at John chapter 4, verse 24 says that “God is a spirit.” Indeed, Jesus, prior coming to earth was “a spirit.” So are the angels. That shouldn't be any huge revelation to Bible readers. And that is the only point Paul was making. Jesus took on a lesser life-form by becoming human. (Hebrews 2:7) But afterwards, the benefit of his loyalty (not to himself but to God, his Father), came with the benefit of being raised even above the angels. (Hebrews 1:6)

Quite simply, then, what Paul wrote was that we should be humble and even accept humiliating circumstances and assignments for the sake of glorifying our Heavenly Father. We do this because we are followers of Jesus Christ who set the pattern and model for us to follow. (1 Peter 2:21)

Additional Notes
Another phrase the Amplified makes is that Christ is "essentially one with God." Again, Jehovah's Witnesses believe that but probably not in the sense that you do. They believe it in the same sense that Jesus used the word at John 17:21 which reads: "in order that they [Jesus' followers] may all be one, just as you, Father, are in union with me and I am in union with you, that they also may be in union with us" Yes, the "union," is a unity of mindset and purpose, otherwise we would need to understand Jesus' words from John 17 to mean that all believers would also become "God" in very being. (See 1 Corinthians 1:10)

In contrast to Jesus' humble example, who can you think of that was also "in God's form" (a spirit being) that was not at all humble but was arrogantly, rebelliously interested in becoming a worshiped deity himself? Yes, Satan the devil.

Philippians 2 Revisited