DOES ISRAEL HAVE NO ROOTS THERE IN HISTORY?
Huffington Post, 10/13/12, “Does Israel Have No Roots There in History?,” [Excerpts]: On Sept. 24, the president of Iran informed reporters that Israel has “no roots there in history” in the Middle East. [H]e recognizes that Israel’s historical presence in that world since antiquity matters—matters enough to deny it. Now, the Bible pictures an Israelite-Jewish population and government there starting in the 12th century B.C.E. and continuing until the end of the [Old Testament’s] history about 800 years later. But how do we know if this is true?
[T]he land is filled with Hebrew inscriptions….These are not just an occasional inscription on a piece of pottery or carved in a wall. Nor should we even start with one or two of the most famous archaeological finds. Rather, there are thousands of inscriptions. They come from hundreds of excavated towns and cities. They are in the Hebrew language. They include people’s names that bear forms of the name of their God.
The inscriptions also refer to their kings. They include stamps and seals from official documents. They come from tombs where that land’s people were buried. They name people who are mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. They include wording that also appears in the Hebrew Bible. Right below the Church of Scotland in Jerusalem, in a Jewish tomb from the seventh century B.C.E., was a silver cylinder with the words inscribed in it: “May YHWH bless you and keep you. May YHWH make his face shine to you and give you peace.” It is the words of the Priestly Blessing in the Hebrew Bible (Numbers:6:24-26).
That’s just one inscription….As for those foreign inscriptions, texts from the neighboring lands refer to the people, to their kings, to their government, to their armies and to their cities. The basic fact: everybody knew that Israel was there: the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Arameans, the Moabites, the Persians. Pharaoh Merneptah (1213-1203 B.C.E.) refers to the people of Israel in a stone stele. Pharaoh Shoshenk I (c. 945-924 B.C.E.) describes his campaign in which he refers to cities in Israel (including Ayalon, Beth-Shan, Megiddo, Rehob and Taanach). Assyrian king, King Shalmaneser III names King “Ahab the Israelite” among his opponents in his Kurkh monument and names and pictures King Jehu on his Black Obelisk. Seven other Assyrian emperors also refer to Israel and Judah and name kings who are also mentioned in the Bible. The Babylonian sources, too, refer to the Jews and their monarchy in the years after the Babylonians replaced the Assyrian empire. And the record continues when the Persians replace the Babylonians, as documented in the Cylinder of Cyrus, the Persian emperor. Cyrus’ decree in 538 B.C.E., let the exiled Jews return to their land; it was followed by an influx of Jewish population. There was population growth from the reign of Darius I to Artaxerxes I.
The country that the Babylonians had conquered was reestablished as a state of Judah (yehud medintha) within the Persian umbrella. You want irony? Persia, now called Iran, the country that re-established the Jews’ country in biblical times, now has a president who says that Israel has no roots there.
MORMONS PREPARE TO MARCH IN LGBT PARADES
Religion Dispatches Magazine, 6/21/12, “Mormons Prepare to March in Seven LGBT Parades,” [Excerpts]: [On June 22] Mormons [were] preparing to march in seven LGBT Pride parades: New York City, San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, Cleveland, Twin Cities, and Santiago, Chile. More than 140 Mormons are expected to march in Santiago alone.
It is striking to think that it was four years ago that the LDS Church issued a letter to be read to California congregations urging members to full engagement in support of Proposition 8, setting into motion a headline-grabbing Mormon campaign to end civil same-sex marriage in California.
Since then, Mormons for Marriage founder Laura Compton writes, there have been a number of subtle but observable changes in Mormon positioning on same-sex marriage, including:
• The Church Handbook of Instructions no longer includes a request that church members should lobby governments to deny same-sex marriage rights (and rites) via legislative actions.
• LDS rhetoric about same-sex marriage rights is shifting to focus on the need to protect religious freedom, rather than the need to protect families.
• The LDS Public Affairs office actually used the term ‘gay’ to describe individuals, rather than [same-sex] attracted or same-gender attracted in its response to HRC’s criticisms of Pres. Packer’s October 2010 conference talk.
EVIDENCE & PRESERVATION IN DINOSAUR FOSSILS
Answersingenesis.org, 10/27/12, “Evidence demon-strates preservation of cellular proteins in dinosaur fossils,” [Excerpts]: Ever since Mary Schweitzer identified red blood cells and blood vessels inside fossilized dinosaur bone in 2005, debate has raged. Could protein and cellular structures survive for millions of years?
Some evolutionists have insisted the purported protein-containing structures in Schweitzer’s specimens must be bacterial biofilm—a microbial slime. Biofilm proponents believe bacterial slime in old blood vessels just looks like vessels and blood cells. Even a springy texture could, they say, be produced by such “biofilm morphs.” Regarding these allegations, Schweitzer, showing a blank slide, said, “Here’s the data in support of a biofilm origin. We haven’t found any yet.”
Schweitzer and colleagues have continued to press the case for the authenticity of preserved dinosaur soft tissue. Newly published data presented at the conference demonstrates that four kinds of protein molecules like those found in modern bone cells remain in fossils of two dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex and Brachylophosaurus canadensis.
Schweitzer believes additional support for the genuineness of these dinosaur proteins comes from the hypothesis that dinosaurs are “closely related to birds.” However, homologous proteins are only an example of common design by a common Designer, not proof of ancestry. The same can be said of many proteins that appear in homologous forms throughout the biological world.
The survival of protein molecules and even cellular structure in dinosaur fossils is now authenticated. The question remains, how long can such biomolecules last? It is impossible to experimentally test for millions of years of survival. Dates claiming millions of year ages for these fossils are based on unverifiable assumptions, not experimentally demonstrable proof.