Friday, October 29, 2010

Response to Critic of Intelligent Design

Here is an old blog debate I had with a critic of intelligent design (or, creationism). It is always good to see that biblical creationists are not ignorant, stupid, uneducated Bible thumpers...some, creationists are knowledgeable, intelligent, educated Bible thumpers...

Critic: “The only substantive part of ID is as a negative argument that diametrically opposed to evolution, otherwise it has nothing of substance to offer science.”
Response: False on three points. i) ID is a positive argument that intelligence preceded and caused the origin of life. ID is an independent theory that would not necessarily be true if evolution were proven false. ii) ID is not diametrically opposed to evolution, if “evolution” is defined as “change over time.” ID is diametrically opposed to the theory that living things originated from random events. iii) The goal of ID is not to “offer” something to “science,” the goal is the same as that of science. . .to seek the truth concerning our origins. ID is a testable theory that can be falsified in exactly the same way as the theory of evolution.

Critic: “Imagine teaching ecology in school without a fundamental understanding of Darwinism and evolution. What would ID tell these students, other than the showing and teaching these alleged students the incredible complexity of nature? What’s the explanation for these systems and their numerous interactions? God did it of course. Cool huh? Sorry, that’s not science”
Response: Straw-man argument. Both ID and Darwinism seeks to learn how these systems and their numerous interactions work. The only difference is ID says an intelligent being is responsible, Darwinism says random chance is responsible. If you push any Darwinist far enough, they will say “random chance did it.” Cool huh. . .But that’s not science either!

Critic: “I challenge any ID proponent to demonstrate a single predictive model that ID can make regarding living organisms and their present day ecosystems. “There are no models, the ID proponents got nothing but faith.”
Response: Predictive model: Animals were designed by an intelligent designer and have genetic limits outside which they are no longer viable. These limits will constrain the fossil record to be composed of clearly delineated familial forms rather than transitional forms.
Experimental evidence: the fossil record.
Now it’s your turn. Please explain the cambrian explosion in purely Darwinian terms.

Critic: “I have my faith too but the difference is I don’t subject you to it.”
Response: False. We are constantly subjected to atheistic and naturalistic explanations of our origins even though these explanations require a great deal of faith. Moreover, you impose your faith on others in a condescending and arrogant manner suggesting you are unaware of the assumptions on which your faith is based.

Critic: “Science is not faith but a way of reasoning”
Response: True if by “science” you mean the scientific method. False if by “science” you mean currently accepted theories. Darwin’s theory of the origin of life requires a great deal of faith that falls far beyond simply “a way of reasoning.”

Critic: Simple question: sum up for me how ID describes the functionality and modeling of an ecosystem?
Response: Simple answer. Almost exactly the same way evolutionists would describe the functionality and modeling of an ecosystem.

Critic: “[ID] can’t use competition and evolution to describe the changing ecosystem or fluctuating species populations.”
Response: Straw man argument. All ID theorists believe that competition and survival of the fittest occurs in a changing ecosystem. Long before ID or the theory of evolution, mankind was aware that populations could be manipulated through breeding and artificial selection-this is even part of Darwin’s premise in origins.

Critic: “What would ID have to say? Wow, this is so complex, forget about understanding this, this had to be an intelligent designer at work. And that’s fine but it’s not science and you can’t do anything with it.
Response: Straw-man argument. The history of modern science rests on the backs of scientists who believed in ID. Complexity in nature did not lead them to say “forget about understanding this,” instead it drove them to understand it further because they believed the more the learned about nature, the more they were learning about the designer. Mendel, the father of modern genetics, was a monk!

Critic: Reconciling your faith should never be an easy exercise and we don’t need to give people another excuse not to think.”
Response: True. What greater excuse is there to not think deeply about something than to believe it came about by an infinitesimally small, accidental, random event. In my experience human beings don’t spend a lot of time trying to understand random, rare events (might I get struck by lightning on a sunny day?), but take very seriously purposefully designed events (could I get electrocuted if I touch this live wire?). Evolutionists are the ones that don’t want to have to think. They prefer to make straw-man arguments, make false assumptions, and throw around condescending statements rather than wrestling with the faith they have placed in a dying theory.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bad Choices Today Eliminate Good Options for Future Choices

In Genesis 19 Lot is left in a very difficult situation. Lot wants to be the good host for the strangers that have come to his city of Sodom but he is unable to provide them with a good meal (the unleaven bread he gave them was the frozen pizza of his day) or a safe home. Even Lot's invitation to stay at his home was quickly turned down by his guest. When it came time to be the good host and protect his guest, Lot felt he had to choose between forfeiting his daughters and so be the bad father or surrendering his guest and be the bad host. Why was Lot left to chose between two bad options? Why did he not have any better choices?

Many times in life the decisions we make today eliminate the options we will get to choose from in the future. Bad choices today cancel out the good options from our list of future choices. Even in human history and in world events there are no "right" answers to our dilemmas because previous sins or selfish choices have destroyed the win/win options. Thus, we find ourselves with no clear direction and no real commitment to move ahead since any decision will produce lousy results.

As the angels tried to get Lot to leave the city, Lot hesitated and refused to flee. Why? He was fleeing into the dark wilderness were he would end up living in a cave in the mountains. Why did things end so badly for Lot? He had made a series of bad choices which included leaving Abraham who was still a powerful and wealthy relative living only twenty miles to the west.

Watch this 9:55 minute YouTube message by Galyn Wiemers:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Quadrants of Life

Through out the scriptures we are told that God is good. When we hear this we tend to describe the word good in terms of immediately recognizable “good.” Our definition of the term “good” could alternately use synonyms like “pleasant, pleasing, desirable, pain-free, or sought-after.” When we study the verses that deal with the phrase “God is good,” we see that part of God’s “good” activity towards us is not within that shallow, immediate definition. In scripture we find things like “testing,” “trying,” “examining,” and “sacrificing” in the context of describing God's goodness towards us.  In Psalm 107, which begins and ends with statements attesting to the “goodness” of God, forty-three verses are laced with real life situations where the goodness of God is manifested to people. Some of these people were lost and wandering, some had been subjected to bitter labor by God, others where caught in a storm sent by God, some of them were suffering in divine discipline for their rebellion. Although each group was in a different situation and for a different reason (some had rebelled, some had obeyed, some were guilty, some were innocent), they all were in the goodness of God. 
The truth that God is doing something in our lives to change us is so obvious it goes without saying, but yet it is one of the things we must be taught so we do not go to extremes. 

In Philippians 4:12-13 Paul says he has “learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.” In the original Greek the phrase “learned the secret” is a technical term that refers to the process of initiation. The initiation would include more than knowledge but a sequences of life experiences. Four situations in life are then listed by Paul and written with specific Greek verb tenses. I have taken these four situations and formed a quadrant which can be used to help identify and clarify changing situations in our life. Paul says he has learned to be content when “well fed,” “hungry,” “in plenty,” or “in want.” These four may seem redundant in the English Bible as if saying “prosperity or poverty, or prosperity or poverty.” 

The tenses of the verbs that Paul uses in the Greek text develops the quadrants that can categorize every situation in life. 

The first prosperity phrase (“well fed”) is passive. Meaning Paul was the recipient and not the doer of the verb. In other words he did not cause it to happen. This is true of the last phrase (“in want”) indicating there were times that Paul was in need that were out of his control. Paul did not deserve or cause the lack in this situation, it was given to him. The other two phrases (“hungry” or “plenty”) are in the active tense meaning Paul did or created both of these in his life at some time. 

All of these serve a purpose and is the manifestation of the goodness of God in our lives. You may be suffering undeserving like Joseph or deserving like Samson. You may be prosperous undeservingly like Solomon or deserving like Abraham. But, one thing is true, God’s goodness will eventually take you to all four quadrants and through his initiation you can be content in any of them.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Blame Pastors and Parents, Not Schools and Sitcoms

Pastors and parents often try to blame the government and public schools for the cultural decline of our American society. They also throw sitcoms and Hollywood into the boiling cauldron of responsibility. But, the truth of the matter is our children have been lost long before sitcoms, schools and socialism got a hold of them.

Only 19% of a group who call themselves born again have a Christian worldview? (See Barna Research) If pastors were actually teaching the Bible maybe people would believe in absolute truth, a creator, biblical principles of society, sin, the sin nature of man and the existence of evil. Read this except from Barna's report and maybe you can see how far gone we are as a society. If you do not understand this ask your pastor to explain it. He will not be able to and, most likely, will disagree with it, which is why you can kiss your way of life as you know it good-bye!

"The research data showed that one pattern emerged loud and clear: young adults rarely possess a biblical worldview. The current study found that less than one-half of one percent of adults in the Mosaic generation – i.e., those aged 18 to 23 – have a biblical worldview, compared to about one out of every nine older adults."

0.5% of people ages 18-23 believe in absolute truth, a creator, sin nature, the existence of evil, marriage, family, etc. Now, the argument would be that they once did before they graduated from our public schools, went to our morally corrupt universities and started seeing Hollywood movies. But, you do not have the numbers to support this. These kids are lost before their parents are done with them.

Research shows that 89% of Christian children do not have a Christian worldview when they leave their Christian home for college. But, don't blame the public schools because 40% of children from Christian homes do not have a Christian worldview when the leave elementary school. This means that the secular universities only have to tear down a Christian worldview in 11% of their students because "christian" parents in their "christian" homes have already trashed 89% of the "christian" children.

The failure of our society is the result of incompetent pastors and irresponsible parents. Pastors and parents provide the loudest voices of complaint as they daily lay the blame at the door of the school, the ticket box of Hollywood and legislative hall of a representative government. Experience and research indicates that these numbers are instead the result of the failure of pastors and parents.

Fix the pulpit and the parent and you will fix society.

A corrupt pulpit and a compromised parent will end a Christian culture.

The pulpits and the parents will blame the public school, television and government, but what else would you expect from irresponsible people with no Christian perspective.

More Barna Research

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Theology of the Shattered Windshield

Paul writes to the Ephesians:
“I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them.” (4:17)
The life of a believer is to be lived focusing on the truth and the reality of God. A believer needs to hold to the knowledge that God is the creator and sustainer of our lives. God is supreme and his wisdom surpasses our understanding. His standard of righteousness is absolute and unchanging through all generations. 

A believer must live in this world but not allow the things or the ways of the world to distract them from the big picture. When a person drives a car they are focused on the road and the activity outside the car. The driver looks through the windshield, not at the windshield. The safe driver can not look inside the car for very long without having some major problems outside the car. So it is in comparison with the life of the believer. A believer is inside the world but must be viewing life through the windshield of God’s revelation that has been given to man as found in the scriptures. 

Paul says we must “no longer live as the Gentiles do” who have no view outside the windshield. They spend their entire lives trying to find direction and avoid accidents but they never look outside the car. Their whole focus is on the interior of the car as they speed through life. They have no perspective of God, eternity, truth, or reality. They are living in “the futility of their thinking.” It is easy to understand why, though. They have never seen or believed anything else. It is as if they are driving at night with the dome light on and the headlights off.

This is important to the believer for two reasons. Although we have accepted the reality of God and have, at least for a moment, looked up through the windshield long enough to realize we are speeding through life on very busy spiritual highway, we often continue to “live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.” We, too, spend the majority of our lives focused on the inside of the car and not on the highway. We are not looking through the windshield at the more serious issues. 

Paul says, that he “insist on it in the Lord” that we live by looking through the windshield as we make decisions and evaluations. 

One of the biggest challenges for the sincere believer who has lived their life looking at God through their windshield is when something strikes our windshield causing it to shatter. A disaster, a situation, something unexpected and undeserved comes from outside the car. It hits our windshield, disappears and leaves a fragmented, shattered windshield filled with distracting lines and breaks. This presents a new challenge for the believer who has been looking through this clear windshield at God.

Up until now the challenge was to either look through the windshield or look inside the car. This new challenge forces the believer to either focus on the shattered windshield or to continue to look through the fragmented pieces of the windshield at God. 

We must realize, and know by faith, that your shattered windshield has not changed anything outside the car. The only thing that has changed is your ability to see it clearly and focus on it through the advantage of a crystal clear windshield. A crack in your windshield does not represent a crack in the kingdom of God. A shattered windshield is not a true representation of everything outside the car. A broken windshield is simply a distraction from the reality that is still outside your car and bigger than your life. Do not allow a shattered windshield to pull your attention back inside the car where you are forced once again to live in the futility of your thinking.

Dogs, Bumper Stickers and Charles Spurgeon

While we were shopping I noticed three things I would like to mention:

First, have you ever seen the little stores set up in the mall that sell treats and snacks for your dog? I have walked by it many, many times. Today when we walked by and I saw the cute little treats, some having been dipped in chocolate (or, so it appeared), I thought, “Do dogs even care? Do dogs even know?” I do not think a dog thinks about how cute or interesting a doggy treat is or even if it is shaped like a bone (which it really isn’t since a dog biscuit doesn’t actually look like anything a dog would recognize as a bone but is merely shaped into what we have come to except as a characterization of a bone.) I know from past experience that when I have given a dog a tasty piece of left over steak or even a piece of dried bread, they chomp it and swallow it fast. They don’t savor the flavor. They barely chew it. A dog eats. That is what a dog does. But we insert our perspective on the dog. It is easier for us to understand our dog if we allow ourselves to believe that the dog thinks like we think. It is easier to have a relationship with a dog if we imagine he thinks like we think. We assume that during the Christmas season our dog would like the Santa shaped dog biscuit just like they would prefer the green biscuit around St. Patrick’s Day. (As you may know, dogs don’t see color they way we do. For example, dogs see blue-green as white. Green, yellow and orange all look alike to dogs.)

The point: If we find it more comfortable to interact with dogs by assuming they think like we think, taste food the way we taste it and see color the way we see it then it is very likely that we also find it more comfortable to interact with God the same way. We find it easier to imagine that God agrees with what we think, likes the things that we like and sees sin in the same light that we see it. This is wrong. A man and a dog perceive things differently just like man and God perceive things differently.

The second thing I want to mention is the $1,000,000,000 bill Toni saw laying by the cash register at a clothing store in the mall. Toni saw it first and asked the clerk what it was? (Everyone knows that a $1,000,000,000 bill shouldn’t be left lying outside the cash drawer.) When Toni picked up the $1,000,000,000 bill I could see it had a picture of Charles Spurgeon on it. Everyone was surprised that I knew who was on the $1,000,000,000 bill. When we looked closer at the portrait it had in tiny little letters “Spurgeon” and the text on the bill explained the way of salvation. The clerk said that every Sunday someone leaves a $1,000,000,000 bill in their store. Apparently some church or some Christian was bringing the truth of Jesus Christ to the mall with false $1,000,000,000 bills.

The third and final thing I saw was a bumper sticker in the parking lot that said “My Boston terrier is smarter than your honor roll student.” I instantly found myself evaluating the bumper sticker with three personal thoughts:
  • I wouldn’t put a big square bumper sticker on my car.
  • I wouldn’t put a big square bumper sticker on my car about my dog.
  • I wouldn’t put a big square bumper sticker on my car about my dog so I could insult you concerning your child.
As I walked into the store I continued to think how pointless that bumper sticker was..

So this is what I thought about while I carried shopping bags around the mall:
  • I thought about how we elevate dogs up and de-elevate God down to our level
  • How we use false money to spread truth 
  • Why we feel the need to insult others with pointless bumper stickers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Where Is God?

People often ask, "Where is God?" or, "Why would God allow this to happen?" There are a variety of answers for these questions, but we often do not understand the depth of a question like this. We do not perceive the colossal transformation a simple, uninformed request like "I wish God would do something," would unleash on earth and on human history were it met with a divine reply. It would be epic. A new epoch. Malachi wrote:
You have wearied the Lord with your words.

"How have we wearied him?" you ask.

By saying, . . . "Where is the God of justice?"

". . . Suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant whom you desire, will come," says the Lord Almighty.

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears?

For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." (Malachi 2:17-3:2)
The world we live in is filled with evil. God knows this and God wants to change it. God longs to change it. But, understand, God is not just going to come and resolve the evil you are currently campaigning against. God is going to change human history when he comes. Do not consider God to be unconcerned, distant or none existent. Instead, consider God to be patient! Peter wrote:
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
God's wrath is currently burning against the great evils done by the vile, corrupt perverts scattered among humanity. We want action now!! But, God is also concerned about the deep rooted evil within my heart and yours. I would not consider either of us to be "vile, corrupt perverts." In fact, if I were God, I would go after the desperate sinners with the "refiners fire" mentioned by Malachi and grade the rest of us on the curve giving extra credit for effort and church attendance. But, this is not divine reality. God is holy, pure and sinless. We are closer to the vile and corrupt then we are to the holy and pure. Remember Jesus' words:
-Mass Murder: "I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment." (Matt. 5:22)
-Sexual Deviant: "I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matt. 5:28)
Clearly God is watching and wanting to set the world right. But, he knows that when he does make his move to fix things he will first have to deal with the sin that is in every man's heart.

So, we continue to long for God's intervention. We pray for needs, hurts and injustice in our communities and around the world knowing that God hears and that God answers prayer. But, we also must realize, as Malachi warned us, that the Lord will appear to set things right, but each of us must personally be ready for that day before it comes, because:

Suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant whom you desire, will come," says the Lord Almighty.

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears?
Right now God is waiting patiently for you to repent. He is not unconcerned. He is patient. He does not want to destroy you when he does come to judge those sinners you are so concerned about and to fix the evil in nature you are so quick to cry out against by saying, "Where is the God of justice?"

Now you know . . . the God of justice is waiting patiently so you can be spared when he does appear . . . when he suddenly appears!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bible Teaching from Generation Word: First, We Need More People to Leave the Church

Bible Teaching from Generation Word: First, We Need More People to Leave the Church

Listen to the Sound of Babyonian Poetry-1900 BC

Listen to the sounds of ancient Babylonian poetry being read in the original Chaldean language. This site has the reading of Hammurabi's Code and the Epic of Gilgamesh.

I doubt you will be able to understand the words, but it is pretty cool.

Why I Don't Want My Sons in Ministry

(This post was originally published as a blog by Galyn Wiemers on August 24, 2008)
Two weeks ago on a Wednesday I sent 20 emails to ministries involved in mission work asking for advice (not money) to help me get 3,600 sets of our Bible School Series CDs to Ghana and Nigeria. I was hoping to find a network, an organization or some good advice. It took about a week for the first response to drag in. Now after two weeks I have had four responses from the twenty ministries. One from Tanzania provided some very helpful insight. One Nigerian told me to keep sending CDs and Bibles. Another from the USA told me not to trust the United Nations. And after waiting two weeks, the man in charge of our denomination’s mission outreach emailed me and suggested I might consider putting my messages online!? What??!! It took him two weeks NOT to look at our website and realize that we already have about 700 messages online including RealPlayer files, QuickTime files, video, iTunes, and now, You Tube. The sixteen others have yet to respond.

Well, you say, “The clergy are very busy people. Men of the cloth have a lot of things on their minds and tremendous responsibilities.” Well, I don’t buy that. I have been involved with church ministry now for 22 years. I have been a believer for 32 years. I have raised my family in the church and with all of my boys spending some time (probably, too much time) in Christian schools. You ask, why such negative outrage.

Well, here is one of many reasons. About three days after I had emailed the ministries, I sat down one Saturday morning about 8:00 to email seven businesses that specialize in mass production of CDs. I also asked these seven businesses for advice on getting 3,600 sets of CDs (total 180,000 CD’s) to Ghana and Nigeria. (We have already shipped about 75,000 free CDs in the last four years.) After I had cut and pasted the email (even forgetting to change the name of the first company when I pasted the text on the other emails) I took my son to his Saturday morning basketball game. His game started at 9:00 that morning and by 10:15 my cell phone started ringing. This went on all day with companies calling me and emailing me on a Saturday in response to an email I cut and pasted that Saturday morning. Each of the companies had some idea on how to cut cost or make production and distribution more effective. Most of them were involved in their churches or understood the importance of fulfilling this obligation. Obviously, all of them provided a bid and a price breakdown. The difference was they responded a few hours on a Saturday and by 11:00 that Saturday night I had learned more about CD production and had received several very good ideas. Now, I want you to hear this, these men apologized because they wouldn’t be able to get me a complete bid until sometime on Monday because they wanted to talk with their suppliers and get the best price for this job. By Tuesday I had all the bids on my desk and samples began arriving in the mail.

Meanwhile, back in the world of ministry, by that same Tuesday I had waited seven days now and had received just two emails out of twenty, both telling me to check somewhere else for advice. Sixteen of the twenty ministries have yet to reply. It took seven businesses a matter of hours to respond aggressively. It has been two weeks and I am not planning on ever hearing from the other sixteen ministries.

What does this mean to me as a father of six boys? I never want my sons to be employed in ministry or to run their lives like men of the cloth. Instead, I want my sons to be believers in Jesus Christ, live according to the word of God and run their lives like a business man. I hope they never learn the worthless, inefficient, irresponsible ways of ministry.

So far, of my six sons (ages 12-24), one is training for the Marines, one is a snowboard coach, one is in the engineering program with the Air Force and my fourth son is consumed with the stock market, real estate and reading the Wall Street Journal. When it comes time for them to serve God I want them to be able to respond quickly, confidently and produce decisive results.

I wonder what kind of response I would have received from those same twenty ministries if I had asked them for their mailing address in order to send them a check instead of asking for their advice.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Generation Word Message Archives Updated

The following teaching series have been updated with audio and video from the last four months:

Slipping Fast

The media reports that Protestant Christianity is declining and shows no sign of stopping. I tend to believe the report but I also realize that these are the same media outlets that are against Christianity and conservative values in the first place. They may be doing nothing more than trying to create the news story they want. But, I think in this case the numbers speak for themselves as does our culture. Christianity is losing its influence in America.

Some of the quotes from the Associated Press article:
  • “Mainline Protestant churches are in decline”
  • “The United States is 78 percent Christian and about to lose its status as a majority Protestant nation, at 51 percent and slipping”
  • “More than one-quarter of American adults have left the faith of their childhood for another religion or no religion at all.”
If you figure in people moving from one Christian denomination to another along with those switching religions or leaving religion “the number rises to 44 percent” of Americans have left the faith of their childhood.
  • “One in four adults ages 18 to 29 claim no affiliation with a religious institution.”
  • “Atheists or agnostics account for 4 percent of the total population.”
Less than 1 percent of the total population is Muslim.
0.7 percent of those surveyed are Buddhist.
“Jews accounted for 1.7 percent of the overall population.”

Now we crunch the numbers. Despite the trend and the media’s headlines, 51% of our population is Christian Protestants. Compare this 51% with 4% atheists AND agnostics, less than 1% Muslim and 0.7% Buddhists. Score: Protestants 51 Others 5.7!

In a tournament game that is a blowout!! I know enough about coaching to realize that 51-6 is not as good as 81-3 but I’d still rather take the Protestant team back to the locker room at half time or to the gym for tomorrow’s practice than the atheists and Muslims. The media could have ran a headline on the front page that read:
  • “Protestants Still Dominate US Religion”
  • “Protestant Major US Religion”
  • “Only 3% of US is Atheist or Muslim”
Another thing the numbers show is Americans are thinking. They are thinking about religion. Many of them are thinking something like the following:
  • I do not like the church I grew up with and am going to look for a better church (19%)
  • I do not think the religion I grew up with is worth continuing so I am switching religions or I am giving up on religion all together (25%)
I have been in one of those above groups for the last 32 years. I am glad I had enough thought and desire to make my religion personal and not just stay with the status quo. To the 44% (19% plus 25%), I pray for success in their adventure. I hope they find fulfillment and meaning in their search and I hope they find Truth.

Surely, if people are leaving a religion, that must mean they are not satisfied. If they are not satisfied that means a good portion of them are still looking for something. And if they are still looking that must mean some of them believe there is something to find. And if that something can be found it must be something that is real with some absolute value. I believe they are looking for reality. Christianity calls it Truth.

The basic game has not changed. The rules, the players and the contest are the same.
People always have free will. People are always faced with many emotions, desires and distractions as they move through life. The goal of life has always been to use wisdom and experience to sort through emotions, desires and distractions. Then each person must establish in their soul the correct values, priorities and morals. This becomes their base of operation. Ultimately, victory is living in agreement with the Truth. Truth is the eternal Reality. Since there is an absolute Truth and there is eternal Reality, it is very, very possible to choose poorly and to lose this game of life. Final Score: the loss of your soul.