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Last minute conversions

When Jesus was being crucified his enemies added insults to the injuries he was suffering by challenging him to prove the claims he had made about himself by coming down from the cross.  Even the two criminals who were being crucified with him joined in.

And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,save yourself, and come down from the cross!”

So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.”

Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.

Mark 15:29-32

A short time later one of the criminals experienced a change of heart.

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”

And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Luke 23:39-43

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The Bible contains many genealogies.  They can be  very boring and when I read through the Bible I often skim over them without studying them in detail but they do shed light on one very controversial issue regarding the interpretation of the Bible.

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The word “doublethink” was first used by George Orwell in his novel 1984.  It means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

Orwell invented the word but the practice existed long before he was born.  First Kings 18 describes the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal to determine who is the true God.  Here is what Elijah said to the people.

And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”
1 Kings 18:21

Some of the people practiced doublethink by worshipping both Baal and the LORD.  God condemned this practice and demanded that they choose one side or the other.

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Abiogenesis, creation, and natural selection

How did life originate?  Most people believe that it began with a process called abiogenesis,  the development of living organisms from nonliving mater.  According to this belief a very simple life form came into existence and over millions of year its descendants changed through the process of evolution to produce the large variety of life that exists today.

Not everyone believes in abiogenesis and evolution.  Some people believe the Bible’s account of how life originated; it was created by God only a few thousand years ago.

Believers in abiogenesis and creation both agree that new varieties of life are constantly being produced by a process called natural selection.  An examination of how this process works might show whether abiogenesis or creation is the most likely starting point for it.

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