Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Should "Innocent until Proven Guilty" be a thing of the past?




Imagine you’ve been wrongly accused of sexual misconduct. A 13-year-old tells their parents about engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct and they point the finger at you – unjustly. The parents go to the minister of your congregation. You are called on the carpet. You, of course, vehemently deny any such wrongdoing. The minister questions the child regarding the details. He establishes a time and place of the supposed incident. You have no alibi for that time.

What should happen next? You tell me. Pick the response below that you feel is, not only proper, but scriptural. Remember that it is YOU who has been unjustly accused:

  1. The minister tells you that, in the absence of any evidence, the accusation will be disregarded. Perhaps he further tells you to be especially careful to never be alone with a child so as to prevent any allegations in the future.
  2. The minister calls the police.
  3. The minister tells the parents to call the police.
  4. The minister tells the parents that they may call the police, but they need to be aware that the Bible warns against false accusations the same way that it warns against sexual misconduct.
 Suppose the child gets together with friends and they conspire to make several false accusations against you. They still have no evidence since you did not do what you are being accused of.

  1. Should the minister now take disciplinary action against you because there are multiple accusations?
  2. Should the minister now call the police?
  3. Should the minister now urge the parents to call the police?
  4. Should the minister maintain that there is still no evidence and remind the parents about the gravity of making false accusations?
 Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that all, or even a majority of, accusations of sexual misconduct are false. The stories coming out about Charlie Rose, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Al Franken and others right now bear that out. According to some studies, false accusations of rape are rare - possibly fewer than 10%, though I suspect that number may be higher when deep pockets are involved. 

But if false accusations were unheard of, there wouldn't be guidelines about them in the Bible. You can see where this is going. “Innocent until proven guilty” has long been a fundamental principle under the law, because most legal systems are based on Bible principles. When we are unjustly accused we want that principle to be followed in our case.

Unfortunately, when we hear that someone else had an accusation made against them but no disciplinary action was taken, we tend to believe the case was mishandled. Especially if the accused turns out later to be guilty. Especially if there were children involved.

It’s called “20-20 hindsight;” it’s called being a “Monday-morning-quarterback,” named for water-cooler discussions on Monday about the previous day’s football games.

In a case in California involving a former Jehovah’s Witness, a man is suing to obtain Jehovah’s Witnesses confidential records – not just those pertaining to his case, but ALL confidential records of ALL accusations.

If you think that’s a good idea, you need to re-read the example at the top of this column. If you were falsely accused, and an elder in a Jehovah’s Witness congregation heard the accusation, do you want your name and that accusation to become public knowledge? If you are a Catholic and the false accusation was made to your priest, how would you feel about your priest being forced to tel the authorities about the accusation?  

Please leave a polite comment. Comments are moderated, so don’t waste your time typing something snarky. Follow me on Facebook.

This column does not use Google Adsense. All the ads were chosen by me. Please support this page by clicking on the ads. Or just buy one of my books.

My new novel has arrived! Unbroken is the story of Felipe, a 12-year-old boy in 16th century Cuba, taken against his will to be a horse wrangler for the conquistadors.

All of my novels are now available as ebooks on either Smashwords (for all ebook devices) or Amazon (for Kindle), and in print on Amazon. Click here.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Ten Scientific Reasons to Believe the Bible



According to the bible the universe had a beginning. ("In the beginning...")
According to science, the universe had a beginning. 

According to the bible, the stars existed before the earth. ("God created the heavens")

According to science, the stars existed before the earth. 

According to the bible, the earth was originally amorphous. ("The earth was formless.")
According to science, the earth was originally amorphous, formless. 

According to the bible, early in earth's history it was covered with water. ("There was darkness on the surface of the water.")
According to science, early in earth's history it was covered with water. 

According to the bible, early in earth's history sunlight did not reach the surface of the earth. ("Darkness on the surface.")
According to science, early in earth's history sunlight did not reach the earth's surface. 

According to the bible, the level of light reaching the surface of the earth changed over time. ("Let luminaries appear in the expanse.")
According to science, the level of light reaching the surface of the earth changed over time.

According to the bible, plant life came before animal life. 
("Let the earth put forth grass.")
According to science, plant life came before animal life. 

According to the bible, aquatic animals came before land-based animals. ("Let the waters swarm with living creatures.")
According to science, aquatic animals came before land-based animals.

According to the bible, humans came into existence after all the plant and animal life was already in existence. ("Let us make man.")
According to science, humans came into existence after all the plant and animal life was already in existence. 

According to the bible, all humans alive today descended from a single pair of humans. ("Become many and fill the earth.")
According to science, all humans alive today descended from a single pair of humans.

That's ten things a bible writer somehow knew, that science later proved to be correct. And that's just the first chapter. An open-minded person might be wise to ask: 



"How did the bible writer know about these major steps in the formation of earth? And how did he get them in the right order?" 

If I held out to you a black bag containing ten marbles I'd numbered one through ten and asked you to draw them out one at a time, in order, what are the odds you would draw out the "one" marble first, and the "two" marble second, and so on?  

You would have better odds of winning the lottery - four times, back to back. If you don't believe that God inspired the bible writer to get those details right, how do you explain it?

The bible also refers to the earth as "hanging on nothing" (Job 26:7) at a time when most 'educated' people believed the earth rested on the back of a celestial elephant. It also refers to the earth as round (Isaiah 40:22) at a time when most people believed it was flat. 

The Jewish law outlined in the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers displays an uncanny understanding of hygiene. Details of the law include burying human waste, quarantining potentially contagious patients and burning infected garments. this at a time when the best medical minds of the day often prescribed incantations and camel dung.

Ecclesiastes 1:7 contains a description of what sounds an awful lot like the water cycle. Psalm 104:6-8 describes a cycle of mountains falling until they are under water while other mountains rose above the water - a process called geodynamics only recently beginning to be understood by science. 

The simple fact is, there is no adequate explanation for humans having this knowledge back when the bible was written down; unless those humans were, as they admitted repeatedly, inspired by God. 

The real reason many people find that idea distasteful today is not the scientific aspect of it. People don't want the bible to be true because of the moral aspect of it. If the bible is true, then they are obligated to follow its moral guidelines. If they can prove it is false or faulty, then their conscience is clear. 

There is a simple logic to it: If God exists, He created man. If He created man, then it stands to reason that He gave mankind an instruction manual to explain why we are here and how best to live our lives. If He is the almighty, then the argument that the bible is faulty, or is the work of men, or incorrectly translated, falls flat - I mean, if you were all powerful, and someone else wrote a book of lies and half-truths and claimed it was from you, would you let that stand? 

Please leave a polite comment. (Comments are monitored, so if you have an agenda, don't waste your time.)

Contact me on Facebook

This page does NOT use Google Adsense. Please support the page by clicking on the ads or by buying one of my books. Watch for my new novel Unbroken coming soon...