UnApologetic

Christian Theology and Apologetics

Archive for the month “October, 2015”

Alien Superstructures Around Star KIC 8462852?

star-cometsBetween the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra lies a star that has a peculiar feature that has been observed for four years beginning in 2009. In 2011 citizen scientists who participated in “planet hunters” —a program started by Kepler scientists to identify patterns in star behavior— found a star that emitted a very strange light pattern. They noticed aperiodic dips in flux below the 20% level that lasted anywhere between five and eighty days.[1] This light pattern seemed to indicate there was a great deal of matter orbiting the star, which would be expected of a young star, but the catch is that this star isn’t young, it appears to be an older mature star.

The team notes that these observations can be caused by a number of known phenomena such as starspots and pulsations, but what they have difficulty in formulating an explanation for the event they call D1500, which refers to a period of eighty days where exotic dips that couldn’t be accounted for in instrumental or statistical variations and must be astrophysical in origin. Another possibility is the observations were from the stars emission of disk material associated with Be-stars. The difficulty with this postulation is that there is not enough observed IR excess to support an excretion disk. They postulate that remnants of a broken up comet or an optically thin asteroid belt could account for the observations, but conclude that this is unlikely due to their lack of repeated dimming events every 750 days.

Other scenarios considered were dust-enshrouded planetesimals and comet families. What is to be observed is that nowhere in the body of the published work are concocted theories of Dyson Spheres or other alien produced superstructures as Jason Wright  and others suggest. If it were something like a Dyson Sphere, how would the Kepler observe the light emitted from the star? Wright posits that the unusual light emitted from the star is consistent with a “swarm of megastructures.” It seems Wright is jumping ahead of himself here. In response, I would simply ask what other superstructures have been observed, and if there are none, how could the data be consistent. Science is based on observed repeatable experiments, without further data, Mr. Wright is just speculating wildly, and I might add, irresponsibly. Philosophical presuppositions often take data and forms a conclusion the interpreter wants, and I think it is clear that this is the case with Wright. That being said, if his proposal to aim SETI at the star is approved we might gain more evidence leading one way or the other as to the origin of the observed patterns of the star. A final thought regarding this star I find amusing; it is interesting that when perceived design is observed on Earth it is always given a naturalistic explanation, but when something out in the heavens appears—remotely—that it has a chance of being designed, the answer is an intelligent mind, albeit an alien one. Again, the point is that presuppositions formulate conclusions in science—as it does in other fields—more than most are willing to admit.

 

 

Notes

[1] Planet Hunters X. KIC 8462852 – Where’s the flux? Retrieved from: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1509.03622v1.pdf

Advertisements

Attributes of God: Incorporeality Part 2, The Incarnation

Spas_vsederzhitel_sinayIn the previous post in this two-part series, I discussed some of the challenges to the divine attribute of incorporeality. Perhaps the largest difficulty regarding the incorporeality of God is the Incarnation of the λόγος (Logos) into flesh. How could an immaterial God become an embodied human being?

 

Biblical data regarding the incarnation is scant, but relevant to this discussion:

            In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.

            All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.[1]

 

From this passages alone, it is clear that Christ was an uncreated being that existed coeternally with God, the Father.

John also mentions the Incarnation of Christ:

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.[2]

Read more…

Review: The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke

1129982About the Author

 

Dr. Roger J. Stronstad is a Canadian Pentecostal Bible scholar and a well-known theologian. He is an Associate Professor in Bible and Theology at Summit Pacific College (formerly Western Pentecostal Bible College) in Abbotsford, British Columbia. He has also published six books. He served as the president for the Society of Pentecostal Studies in 1994 and is an adjunct faculty member for the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.

 

Summary

Stronstad begins his book with a challenge to the traditional methodology and hermeneutics that have been used to interpret Luke-Acts. Traditionally the church has associated the baptism of the Holy Spirit with conversion, a belief Stronstad wishes to challenge. Stronstad highlights the independence of Luke’s theology and challenges the methodology of interpreting Luke’s data on the Holy Spirit through Pauline lenses. Roger Stronstad shows that since Luke is a historian and theologian in his own right that his perspective on the Holy Spirit differs from Paul’s. Read more…

The Mission

Faith and Reason are allies and are not in opposed to one another. In modern times faith has been characterized by skeptics, internet atheists and others to mean believing in something despite having no evidence for it, or having evidence opposed to it. Anselm suggested the phrase fides quaerens intellectum, “faith seeking understanding.” Thus, Christians need not be afraid of asking tough questions; asking tough questions will lead to a deeper, stronger,  and more meaningful faith.

The mission of Unapologetic is to equip Christians with the tools to defend their faith with reason and precision. So they can articulate their beliefs in the public square, in a cogent manner that is both gracious and uncompromising, hence the name “Unapologetic.” A natural consequence of equipping Christians is  those opposed to the faith will be disarmed and hopefully subsequently led to faith in Christ.

Theological Commitments

  1. I believe that there is one and only God who is tri-personal,  the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  2. I believe that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man, and only through his name can anyone be saved.
  3. I believe Jesus died for my sins, that his perfect sacrifice on the cross made atonement for all of my sins.
  4. I believe that Jesus rose from the grave and as such all Christians will one day be physically resurrected.
  5. I believe that the Scriptures were inspired by God and declare his design and plan for mankind.
  6. I believe it is a duty of every Christian to spread the gospel of Christ.
  7. I believe that as disciples, Christians are to continually grow in their relationship with Christ; and this entails loving God with all of ones heart, soul, and mind.

About Me

10398403_541424654002_3513116_nMy name is Shannon Eugene Byrd, but if you’re reading this you probably already know that. I grew up in Liberty, South Carolina. At the age of nineteen I entered into the Air Force; I’ve served for over fourteen years now. I graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Bachelors in Technical Management in 2012. I graduated from SAGU in 2015 with a Masters in Theology. One day I hope to earn a PhD in either theology or apologetics, or possibly both. It has always been a great desire of mine to help my brothers and sisters in Christ answer tough questions regarding their faith. I enjoy teaching various classes and subjects at my local church that most churches do not offer. In short I live for equipping the saints to defend their faith with reason and precision. One day I hope to teach theology or apologetics at the university level, but for now, I am more than content learning and teaching what I learn. God has been great to my family and I.

Attributes of God: Incorporeality Part 1

Traditional Christianity affirms that God is an immaterial, nonphysical reality. This is to say that God is formless or “without body.”[1] Christianity has historically opposed material conceptions of God and instead posited that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are lacking any material structure or composition, that is apart from the incarnation of Christ. Among the attributes of God, incorporeality is a negative attribute, unlike the others, which ascribe God to possess something. Incorporeality states there is something God does not have—a body. Read more…

Where Was God During the Roseburg, Oregon Shootings?

At this point and time the media outlets are reporting that at least nine people are dead, seven more wounded, and the gunman was killed at the scene. I think we should all pause and pray for those who have been affected by the senseless actions of this individual, who I will refuse to name. I write this with a very heavy heart, and it grieves me to see such violence carried out in our nation, or any nation for that matter. From the reports I’ve seen thus far, it seems that this murderer had an anti-religious bias; in fact, witnesses testify to the fact that he specifically targeted Christians. The gunman had Christians stand up, he then stated, “Good, because you’re a Christian, you’re going to see God in just about one second.” He then shot and killed anyone professing Christ as their Lord.

The media is reporting that they are unsure as to the motive for this crime; One thing to be sure of, this man was a disturbed individual. Just by looking at the crime itself, I think the motive is clear; he hated people and wanted to see them suffer. What also seems clear is that he harbored some serious animosity (for lack of a better word) toward those of the Christian faith specifically, and those of other faiths as well. From what has been garnished from online accounts, this gunman considered himself non-religious and did not like organized religion. It’s unclear whether this signifies some sort of Atheism, Agnosticism or some other worldview, but it does add credence to a possible motive, and that is to punish those whom he disagreed with, those who were religious.

Some will ask, “Where was God,” when this occurred; I will respond simply. God was in there in the form of a Grandmother performing CPR on one of the victims; He was there as Chris Mintz, a thirty-year-old Army Vet, who was shot at least five times trying to stop the shooter. Mint told a woman (possibly the aforementioned grandmother) that it was his son’s birthday, as she held his hand and prayed with him. God was there as the first responders came to the rescue. lastly, God was there in the victims themselves, those he killed professed Christ as their Lord and Savior, and this cost them their lives. For those who are still seeking answers as to the problem of pain and suffering, I wrote on this topic here.

I pray that the response to this shooting is one of unification, and an honest attempt to understand what happened. However, I am not optimistic about the Presidents comments about this shooting. Instead of taking this and turning into a unifying moment for the nation, he divided the people. President Obama remarked, “Our thoughts and prayers are not enough. . . and it does nothing from preventing this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America.” Now to be fair, the context was that our prayers are not enough and that we need to act, but it is difficult to view his statement and not come to the conclusion that he believes changing the gun control laws will result in fewer deaths than prayer.

It is my reasonable belief that bringing about spiritual transformation in this nation would lead to far fewer deaths than simply changing the law. For instance, the school the shooting occurred at is a gun-free zone, the law is already in-place to protect the people, but it failed to do so. Why? Evil people do not care about following the law. The law presupposes lawlessness, or evil as I like to call it. The creation of law is for the protection of the innocent, it is created so that there is a just system to punish those who wish to do harm on others. So to be clear, changing gun control laws will not stop acts of violence—evil people will still be evil, with or without the more laws and with or without guns. A spiritual transformation will bring about change (regardless of the law).

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: