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Comment Re:Obvious (Score 1) 1128

You're right that 1Tim 3:1-8 spells out the qualifications for an elder (presbyter in Greek), but the original Greek word employed there in 1Tim 3:1 is "episkope", or an overseer, which is the Biblical definition of a pastor or an elder. The word elder refers to the quality of the man (he's older in the faith and mature) that the pastor is. The word overseer refers to what that pastor does: overseeing ministries. The word pastor (literally, a shepherd) refers to how you do that overseeing: spiritually feed, oversee, and protect the flock. But they all more or less refer to the same thing because you can't be a pastor without being an elder.

Comment Re:Obvious (Score 1) 1128

The reasoning for the "housing allowance" exemption for clergy has less to do with religious cause than with the business cost exemption. I don't know about other religions, but Christian pastors are expected to be hospitable and open up their homes for ministry purposes (1Timothy 3:2). I'm sure there are corrupted churches and pastors out there who don't do that. But I am a pastor and my wife and I do open up our home for ministering to people whether it's for using it as a place for small group Bible studies, counseling, fellowship, or a place to stay if needed. So it's for the same reason why you can get exemption if you use your home (or at least part of your home) as an office for your non-religious business.
BTW, I currently don't get paid a penny by my church although I spend ~40 hours/week for ministry. I have a separate full time job (researcher at a university) to provide for my family.

Comment Re:I don't think so. (Score 2) 1128

Yes! As someone who makes living doing research in medicinal chemistry, I can tell you that here's how our daily conversation at work goes:
"So whose methodology do you want to follow in accomplishing XYZ?"
"The paper from the ZYX lab?"
"Nah, I don't trust those guys. Let's go with the ABC paper"
I think you have to be in the field to understand just how much of the "trust" factor there is in the daily operation of scientific research.

Comment Re:religious implications? (Score 1) 185

Jesus' comments on hell:

"If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— where 'THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.' And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— where 'THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.' And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire— where 'THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.'"

(Mark 9:43-48 NKJV)
His emphasis: the condemned people's worm will not die (there is no more death! per Revelation 20) and their fire will not be quenched. ie they will suffer for eternity.

Jesus' teaching on hell:

"Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?' And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him."

(Matthew 18:32-34 NKJV)
This is a parable that teaches about heaven and hell. His point is that when God is offering such generous forgiveness to you and you refuse to forgive, you won't be forgiven and you will pay for all that you owe. In my case, the debt of punishment for my sins was paid for by Christ on the cross through His death, but in this person in the parable's case, he will have to pay for all of his sins on his own by being tortured until it's all paid. When will that be accomplished? It'll take eternity.
Furthermore, in Malachi 4:1, etc the context will tell you that God's point there is that there will not be any residual influence (root) or legacy (branch) from sinners in heaven.

Comment Re:religious implications? (Score 4, Interesting) 185

Throughout the OT & NT, "the realm (place/assembly) of the dead" always refers to the place where the condemned will end up and not the saints (those who are justified by faith in God). The place that the saints end up with is referred to as heaven / the land of the living / the dwelling place of the Most High / Paradise / New Jerusalem, etc, but not "the realm of the dead".
Moreover, Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon when he was "backsliding" (ie falling away from the faith). So he was being cynical about life and not hopeful about future with God. It's easy to take verses out of context and come up with non-Christian ideas from the book of Ecclesiastes for this reason.

Comment Re:Not because he believed, but because he recruit (Score 1) 743

Good question. “Salvation” is to be saved or rescued from the power and domination of sin in our life and from an eternity separated from God. Put simply, when born again Christians talk about being "saved", they're talking about being freed from the power of sin (I am not enslaved by sin any more) and being rescued from the ultimate consequence of sin (being eternally separated from God, ie hell, lake of fire).
Now as to the new born baby, the Bible does teach that all of mankind is born with sinful nature (tendency to rebel against God) because of Adam's sin. But we are only accountable for our own sins. When a person is too young to be aware of dishonoring their parents, stealing, or lying, etc, they're not accountable because "to whom much is given, much is required" and "the same measure you use to judge, you will be judged" (ie if you know enough to think of someone else as a lier, then you will be held accountable in the same way).

Comment Re:They're hardly perfect (Score 3, Interesting) 465

Since I work in a lab, I use razor blades for many different reasons. I used to keep one in my wallet for convenience. Then I forgot about it when I went through security at an airport, and I got through it no problem with my razor blade on the flight! This was right after 9/11 like early 2002, I think.

Comment Re:Switched within the last fortnight. (Score 1) 507

I switched from Firefox to Chromium last week too. The reason for me was that AdBlock Plus started allowing certain ads, which included commercials, etc on news sites. So there was no advantage in using FF any more. I'm fairly happy with Chromium so far even though for certain Flash tasks in Facebook tend to be less stable than in FF.

Comment Re:What's evolution got to do with treatment? (Score 1) 1319

Whether you like the terms micro-evo and macro-evolution or not, medical doctors would never have to make a medical decision based on whether one kind of organism "evolves" into another kind (eg a prokaryotic bacteria "evolving" into a eukaryote), which some people (myself included) would call macro-evolution. Even development of anti-biotic resistance is unrelated to evolution since there is no introduction of new genes or new functions involved. Resistance is ALWAYS developed through dysfunction of certain genes that the antibiotic of interest was to take advantage of. So you're right "micro-evolution" is bit of a misnomer. Resistance development, etc should be just called variations (or strains) within a species (or a kind) since these observable phenomena simply have to do with genetic variations and loss of genetic integrity.

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