Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Declaration of Independence - Whose God?

In the US Declaration of Independence there is a reference that our rights come from our Creator:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

The problem is who do they actually mean by "Creator". The three major religions of the world (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) all assert to the Old Testament God as Creator narrative in Genesis. The term is too ambiguous to determine which.

This is the problem when you try to defend the Declaration of Independence as receiving our rights from our Creator, because the term itself is not defined in the midst of a pluralistic religious environment, which at the time was the 13 colonies.

So if the nation was essentially "Christian" why did, "Jesus Christ" not appear in the declaration to remove the ambiguity? Well, you have to look at Thomas Jefferson's view on Christianity.

Jefferson was a deist who: "Though he had a lifelong esteem for Jesus' moral teachings, Jefferson did not believe in miracles, nor in the divinity of Jesus."  The last part is the key; since he did not believe in the divinity of Christ, it would not make any sense for him to assert the term "Creator" with the person of Christ.

So when we attempt to use the Declaration of Independence as a proof text for our rights coming from God, although true within the biblical Christian worldview, just remember it's Jefferson's concept of "Creator" that is referenced that is anything but biblical.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Emacs 24.X on Kali Linux

If your an avid Emacs user as I am along with being a security geek then you may be disappointed to know that Emacs 24.X is not available in the Kali repos.

This is what you need to do if you want to use Emacs 24.X in your Kali instance:

This process assumes you are using a non-root account with sudo access.

1. Obtain the latest Emacs source package from GNU Emacs Repository.

2. Open a Terminal and extract the Emacs source package locally.

3. Type: sudo apt-get build-dep emacs23

4. Change to the directory where you extracted your Emacs source code.

5. Type: ./configure; make; sudo make install

Let it run and you will then have Emacs 24 installed on your system. It will show up in your Main Menu under Programming > Emacs.

Ping me on the #Kali IRC Freenode channel if you into any issues.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Willie Robertson's Doctrine of Scripture

Recently I and my wife watched a move on Netflix titled, "God's Not Dead".  The main premise of the movie centers around a philosophy course at a secular college where the professor asks each student to write the words, "God is dead" on a blank piece of paper. One student who is a Christian refuses to sign the paper to his atheist professors dismay.

The plot then builds up to where the professor gives the student an opportunity to make his arguments for why he thinks God is not dead and in fact does exist. There are a few other subplots going on that involve other Christians and the struggles they face when the ones close to them to not share their new worldview.

One of the characters is a liberal reporter who ends up stalking Willie & Korie Robertson to try and trip them up. Then Willie Robertson says something after he quotes a verse from the Bible that includes the words of Christ, Willie says, "Now those words are in red so they are really important."

What Willie Robertson is saying is that Jesus' words that are typically found in a red font in most bibles have a much higher degree of importance than the words of scripture that do not. It's important to understand the significance of this distinction as it essentially undermines the inspiration of scripture.

The apostle Paul writing to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16 says:

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."

Now it has to be given that at the time that this was written the Old Testament is what was being referenced as the New Testament canon had not yet been finalized and sanctioned by the church. Notice he makes no distinctions in which he very easily could have. It would be like Paul giving preference to the versus where "Thus sayeth the Lord...", but he doesn't. Why?

Because he knows especially as a recovering pharisee that the entire library of scripture is the word of God and not just specific sections.

There are some logical implications if one adopts Willie Robertson's fragmented view of scripture; Jesus never said that his mother was a virgin when she conceived him. Does this mean since he didn't say it that we should take the gospel account with a low confidence level? Of course not, but if we take Willie Robertson's view of scripture you have no option but to question the portion of scripture that are in black font.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Warfield's Apologetic Error

One of the most important aspects of any aspect of Christianity is that it is itself a complete system. Try to isolate any one component from the system and the same is no longer consistent.

We see good example of this expounded by Greg Bahnsen in his book on Van Til's apologetic in regards to B.B.Warfields method of apologetics: "We thus see two things about the philosophical (epistomological) perspective which Warfield encouraged the apologist to take: it should be (1) outside of a commitment to Scripture and (2) in agreement with the right reason of the unbeliever-in a word, autonomous."

 Here we see two grave mistakes; one in that God's authoritative word is not relevant at the outset of our dialogue with the unbeliever and two that Scriptures themselves must bow down to the rationality of the unbeliever before they can be accepted. So right out of the gate the Christian apologist who takes this approach is already defeated since the whold foundation for which he/she stands (The Holy Scriptures) is removed as a foundational basis for the apologetic and therefore it's just a matter of whose rationality is more convincing. I hope you can see another danger in this approach and that this approach is reduced to mere opinion and probability among may ideas. Of course this will fail from a pure reasoning standpoint with the unbeliever, because the unbeliever has become vain in his reasoning (Romans 1:21), and he cannot receive the things of the Spirit, because they are foolishness. (I Cor 2:14) Let us remember that apologetics just like theology, evanlgelism, and philosophy are all part of a single system derived from the single authoratitive source of God's Word.

Source of Quote: Van Til's Apologetic - Greg Bahnsen

Python Script for Searching ExploitDB

So I was looking to cleanup my Twitter favorites list and starting with the oldest one that was dated from 2011, it was from an article for using a Python script for searching the local ExploitDB instance on Backtrack. So of course it peaked my interest and click on the source link directed me to a parked domain. Common problem with Open Source tools. After performing some Google-Fu, I found a copy and downloaded it to my Kali instance and of course it didn't work as the path for the ExploitDB path has changed. So after a trivial change of pointing it to the correct path, bingo, it works. I have created a 'Kali' repo on my Github if you want to grab it and I'm probably going to be making some updates to it over time.

Christian Apologetics - Interpretation of Facts

From Van Tils Apologetic by Greg Bahnsen:
As Van Til goes on to say, if one does not begin with some such general truths (universals) with which to understand the particular observations in one's experience, those factual particulars would be unrelated and uninterpretable -i.e., "brute". In a chance universe, all particular facts would be random, have no classifiable identity, bear no predetermined order or relation and thus be unintelligible to man's mind.

I recently ran across what I consider a good use case for applying this principle of Christian apologetic's; On the Reformed Theology G+ forum someone posted the following question: Do you accept the idea of objective morality? If so, what is your criteria for morality that isn't subjective (open to interpretation)?

Christianity asserts that it is the law of God as revealed in the Bible. This is not a subjective response as it's an assertion of worldview and is not bound in a single subject or a few peoples opinion. We can also not treat the question of morality as say the shooting average of Lebron James. The rules of interpretation of shooting averages facts do not conflict with opposing worldviews, but of a basic understanding of mathematics.

When we interpret the facts of morality we are dealing with transcendence in that the object is not bound by space or time. For the non-theist that believes everything is essentially 'matter in motion' this is antithetical to his presuppositions for which he interprets reality.

So it's not simply a matter of providing an argument that isn't open to interpretation, but comes down to how one interprets the facts for which they are observing. And the method of interpretation is driven by their presuppositions.

Automating VirtualBox Snapshots

I depend a lot upon VirtualBox for my security-related research and testing. That being the case I make a lot of changes to my VirtualBox VM's and losting a given state and not being able to rollback to last known good state would be very bad. Yes, you can take snapshots manually via the GUI or even by the means of the CLI. When you have over 20 VM's that you manage this can be pain in the butt. This is where scripting comes in, so I built some simple Bash scripts to automate this process and have it run hourly via Cron. The first script simply outputs to STDOUT a list of all the VirtualBox VM's in the system: [bash] vboxmanage list vms [/bash] This will simply produce the name and registration number of each VM you have defined on the system. Now to automate the snapshot process we simply craft something like:

for i in `vmlist | awk '{print $1}' | perl -pi.orig -e 's/\"//g'`  
    echo "Creating snapshot for $i"  
    vboxmanage snapshot $i take $i-`date +%Y%m%d%H%M%S`  

This will create a snapshot for each VM with the snapshot name of each VM followed by a date/time stamp. Put this script in your crontab and your good to go.