Why Akathleptos?

Why Akathleptos? Because it means Uncontainable. God is infinite. Hence, the whole universe cannot contain Him. The term also refers to the incomprehensibility of God. No man can know everything about God. We can know Him personally but not exhaustively, not even in Heaven.

Why Patmos? Because the church is increasingly marginalized and exiled from the culture.

Why Pen-Names? So the focus is on the words and not who wrote them. We prefer to let what we say stand on its own merit. There is precedent in church history for this - i.e., the elusive identity of Ambrosiaster who wrote in the 4th century A.D.

“Truth is so obscured nowadays, and lies so well established, that unless we love the truth we shall never recognize it." Blaise Pascal



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The terrible cost of an alliance with a worldview that is inalienable with the Biblical one


"friendship with the world is enmity with God" (James 4:4)

After the election of Donald Trump as president, a professor at Orange Coast College in California, Olga Perez Stable Cox, vented with a hate diatribe in front of the class against the president-elect. Among other things, she described the Trump election as an “act of terrorism,” labeled him a “white supremacist” and called Vice-President-Elect Mike Pence “one of the most anti-gay humans in this country.” This wasn’t even a political science class in which one might expect political talk, no matter how irresponsible; Ms. Cox is a professor of human sexuality. When a student who recorded the diatribe posted the recording on social media, the professor’s union, the Coast Federation of Educators, AFT local chapter 1911, posted this message on Facebook:

“This is an illegal recording without the permission of the instructor. The student will be identified and may be facing legal action.”

*******

Why would any professor object to a student recording their class?

Simple.

There is a world of difference between instruction (which is what institutions of higher learning are supposed to do) and indoctrination (which is precisely what an increasing number of American colleges are in fact doing.) Worldviews are largely shaped during the late teens and early twenties - the age of most collegiate students. These impressionable young adults, most of whom are away from home for the first time, are ripe for indoctrination into the secular, leftist worldview that is increasingly espoused on most college campuses.

What are the primary tenets of this ongoing indoctrination into the secular, leftist worldview?
  • Atheism (without a transcendent universal authority, our own [fallen] morality is all we get to guide us and depend upon)
  • Naturalism (which ironically is actually a religion in disguise - i.e., see here)
  • Homosexuality (presented as a superior lifestyle; as such, it must be affirmed and embraced, not merely tolerated)
  • Intolerance  (ironically, they champion themselves as "tolerant", but regard those with a different worldview as ignorant and uninformed)
  • Abortion (with no universal code of morality, secular leftists regard the unborn as "unviable tissue" to be extracted; abortion becomes a sacred cow)
  • Socialism (which is naively viewed as the Utopian state of existence)
  • Victimhood (taught to increasingly demand help from others and advertise their oppression as evidence that they deserve special accommodation, respect and assistance)
  • Denial of sin (if someone perpetrates an evil act, it must be because of their environment and no fault of their own - i.e., lack of health care, poor education, abused as a child, no job, society doesn't affirm their lifestyle choice, discrimination, etc., etc.)
  • No respect for direct authority (except for fellow leftists who gain power)
  • Rejection of tradition (refusal to acknowledge any historical good in tradition; rebellion is the norm when tradition does not affirm their specific worldview)
It's glaringly apparent that the worldview espoused by secular leftists is in direct opposition to the Biblical one in virtually every tenet. Allowing oneself to be seduced by even one tenet opens Pandora's Box.

When Barack Obama was first elected President, he received overwhelming support from black evangelical churches. When queried as to why they supported him when he such was an outspoken and ardent supporter of abortion, virtually all the black pastors said they were willing to overlook that because he presented himself as a champion of racial equality. (Ironically, by all accounts, race relations worsened under President Obama.) After Obama's election to his second term in office, when he finally revealed his true support for homosexual marriage, many of those same black pastors said they had been "betrayed". They discovered too late the terrible cost of an alliance with a worldview that is inalienable with the Biblical one.

Monday, February 27, 2017

As improbable as a snowball in hell



I've always been fascinated by mechanical watches. They measure time, the most intriguing aspect of creation for me. They also stand as mute testimony to ingenious creative skill of a watchmaker. They are neither the product of an explosion in a junkyard, nor the result of eons of sunlight operating on iron ore laying on the surface of the Earth. Anyone with common sense instinctively knows a watch simply cannot "evolve" through natural selection, random chance and time. The video above traces the development of the world's most complicated watch, the pinnacle of mechanical watch development. The cost of this watch? $2.6 million (see here). Watch it to appreciate what is required in terms of resources, skill, knowledge and power to create this incredibly complex mechanism.

But as stunning as this watch is, it pales in comparison to the simplest living cell. Watch this ...


Adherents of the theory of evolution practice a form of religion, taking on faith something which is as improbable as a snowball in hell.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Helping One Person At A Time

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching.  As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning!  May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

*******

These videos portray that truth. (Caution for language, but this is the real world.) Watch them in order.




Friday, February 24, 2017

Planned Parenthood's Worst Nightmare

Autumn, a 16-year-old girl who recently released a video commentary on abortion, is eloquent, direct, unafraid, involved, informed and smart. She is, as the activist organization Students for Life said, Planned Parenthood’s “worst nightmare.”


Into this nightmarish vision of mud and blood and gloom, Ayer drops the Gospel

I recently had the chance to rewatch "Fury" - the gripping tale of an American tank fighting at the end of WW2 through Nazi Germany. Written and directed by David Ayer (a Christian) I was even more struck the second time with how powerfully the movie portrays the gospel in the midst of hell. 




Michael W. Nicholson gave this excellent review of the movie from when it first came out here on his blog, Tides of God.

The most religious film many moviegoers will see this year will not be an inspirational story from a faith-based production company; it will be writer-director David Ayer’s WWII tank combat epic Fury. And in some ways Fury is also a more compelling narrative about redemption than many of the sermons preached from Church pulpits on any given Sunday.

Fury is a slice-of-combat-life story that follows a few days’ action of a Sherman tank crew during the final campaign against Germany in April, 1945. The battle has turned into a seemingly interminable contest in which a defeated opponent refuses to quit, exacting casualties in pointless resistance. War weariness has exhausted not only men and equipment, but innocence and ideals. But Ayer, reportedly a Christian himself, isn’t just telling another war story. He is embedding and embodying the intersection of the grace of God with human history, history at its most violent and hellish.

“Ideals are peaceful. History is violent,” tank commander Sergeant Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier (Brad Pitt) instructs green replacement Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman). It is the bullet point in the brutal lesson in the reality of warfare that Norman has been thrown into, a lesson that Collier and the rest of the tank crew—gunner Boyd ‘Bible’ Swann (Shia LaBeouf), loader Grady ‘Coon-Ass’ Travis (Jon Bernthal), and driver Trini ‘Gordo’ Garcia (Michael Peña)—have experienced together since the North African campaign in 1942. Norman’s first assignment is to clean from the tank the blood and gore and blown-off face of the assistant driver he is replacing. Swann tells him, “You’ll see …” “See what?”, Norman asks. “See what a man can do to another man.”

Ayer shows us in unrelentingly brutal detail just what that means. Limbs and heads are shot off. Artillery bursts literally blow bodies to pieces. Hit tanks “brew up”, turning into human incinerators. A man burning in agony puts a bullet in his head. Children are hanged by an SS officer. Tank treads flattens further into muddy ruts a dead soldier who is now nothing more than human roadkill. All compressed between a gloomy, lowering overcast sky and a blasted, muddy landscape. One might argue from a cinematic perspective whether Ayer is excessive, but no one who has read first-hand accounts of WWII combat (see Stephen Ambrose’s D-Day or Eugene Sledge’s With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa) can doubt that this is no visual overstatement. This is the true nature of modern mechanized warfare.

Into this nightmarish vision of mud and blood and gloom, Ayer drops the Gospel. And it rises organically from the dialogue, the imagery, and the allusions Ayer integrates into his story. “Are you saved?”, Swann asks Norman, who Swann has pegged as a “mainliner”. “I’ve been baptized,” Norman replies. “That ain’t what he asked you,” Travis rebukes him. And we expect at this point that Ayer will use Swann’s character as a cynical and shallow stereotype to mock a certain type of earnest, but ultimately hypocritical religionist. But Ayer subverts that expectation, and draws Swann, as he draws every member of the tank crew, with depth and sympathy. Swann is as damaged in his own way as his comrades, but doesn’t succumb to despair. We believe him when he deflects Colliers praise for Swann’s shot that takes out a Tiger tank: “I’m just the instrument of the Lord”. We see him later kneeling beside a dying American soldier, asking gently, “Do you know Jesus?” The soldier nods. “Then everything’s going to be alright.” Ayer makes the episode almost an aside, as much a natural part of the battle as the destruction and carnage that preceded it.

The film opens with a visual reimagining of the first horseman of the Apocalypse, the rider on a “white horse” (Revelation 6:2) that symbolizes the spirit of conquest. It is a lone German officer on horseback moving slowly through a battle-devastated landscape filled with the mangled, burning remnants of machines and men. Fury and its crew seem to be the only survivors of this apocalyptic battle. Ayer disrupts this allusion when Sergeant Collier leaps on the officer from behind the turret of Fury, knocking him off his horse and killing him with a knife. We will see that horse again at the end of the movie, only this time it will be the white horse of Revelation 19:11, the symbol of Christ’s return.

In between, the story of redemption is woven into a story of battle primarily through the dialogue and interaction between Collier and Swann, facilitated by more biblical references, imagery and allusions. Building up to the climactic final combat, in which, alone, the crew must sacrifice itself to save their division from destruction, Swann begins to recite 1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world …”, and is surprised, as we are, when Collier continues it for him, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him … the world and its desires pass away …”. Swann finishes, “ … but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” This exchange becomes the benediction for the crew and a way of proclaiming that what they must do is not in vain. A bit later, cramped into the claustrophobic confines of the tank just before the Germans attack, Swann exhorts the crew, “This is a righteous act”, and quotes Isaiah 6:8, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I, send me.” “Isaiah chapter six,” Collier adds, and this time we are not surprised.

The final action takes place at a small crossroads, which Fury must defend against an SS battalion to prevent it from getting into the rear of the division. In a vicious night battle, Collier and his crew kill scores of Germans and prevail, but it costs the lives of all the crew but one. Only the green replacement, Norman, survives to tell the tale. As the movie ends, we see in an ascending camera shot the wrecked Fury at the center of a cross made of the intersecting dirt roads, as American soldiers and vehicles move past, back into battle.

Fury is a tense and gut-wrenching movie; chaotic, profane, and violent. It continues the paradigm of cinematic war realism begun by Steven Spielberg in Saving Private Ryan. It is a glimpse through a keyhole and a microscopic view of humanity at its worst. But we should not doubt the dictum Ayer writes into the mouth of Sergeant Collier, “Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.” History is chaotic, brutal, and violent. Christ himself entered a world and culture characterized by the brutality and oppression of the Roman Empire. The Gospel speaks in and through the wreck and ruin of humanity’s stumbling through time and space. We are saved right in the midst of the muck and gore wrought by our rebellious will. God redeems us—who we really are—and our real history, not a sanitized and safe illusion. Fury preaches this well.


*******

Amen.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Islam permits this atrocity


As reported here by Reuters, Islamic State militant Amar Hussein says he raped more than 200 women from Iraqi minorities, and shows few regrets.

Hussein said his emirs, or local Islamic State commanders, gave him and others a green light to rape as many Yazidi and other women as they wanted.

“Young men need this,” Hussein told Reuters in an interview after a Kurdish counter-terrorism agent removed a black hood from his head. “This is normal.”

*******

Islam permits this atrocity. Westernized Muslims may be appalled at the thought of their religion allowing rape, so they insist that Islam prohibits this practice. But Islam isn't defined by Westernized Muslims; it's defined by Allah and Muhammad in the Qur'an and the Hadith. So instead of inventing a religion based on the feelings of Westernized Muslims and calling it "Islam," let's turn to the Qur'an and the Hadith to see what Allah and Muhammad have to say about this issue.

As Muhammad's armies raided town after town, they captured many women, who would often be sold or traded. Yet, since the Muslim men were a long way from their wives, they needed wisdom from Allah to guide them in their treatment of their female captives. Allah revealed:

Qur’an 23:1-6—The Believers must (eventually) win through—those who humble themselves in their prayers; who avoid vain talk; who are active in deeds of charity; who abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess—for (in their case) they are free from blame.

Qur’an 70:22-30—Not so those devoted to Prayer—those who remain steadfast to their prayer; and those in whose wealth is a recognized right for the (needy) who asks and him who is prevented (for some reason from asking); and those who hold to the truth of the Day Of Judgement; and those who fear the displeasure of their Lord—for their Lord’s displeasure is the opposite of Peace and Tranquility—and those who guard their chastity, except with their wives and the (captives) whom their right hands possess—for (then) they are not to be blamed.

Notice that Allah commands Muslims to abstain from sex, except with their wives and with "those whom their right hands possess." Allah gave the same sexual rights to Muhammad:

Qur’an 33:50—O Prophet! surely We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses out of those whom Allah has given to you as prisoners of war ...

The Muslim practice of having sex with captured women is reported often in the Hadith, where we learn that Muhammad's only objection to sex with captives was his condemnation of birth control.

Sahih Muslim 3371—We went out with Allah’s Messenger on the expedition to the Bi’l-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing azl (withdrawing the male sexual organ before emission of semen to avoid conception). But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah’s Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah’s Messenger, and he said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born.

Sahih al-Bukhari 4138—We went out with Allah’s Apostle for the invasion of Bun Al-Mustaliq and we received captives from among the Arab captives and we desired women and celibacy became hard on us and we loved to do coitus interruptus [same as "azl" above]. So when we intended to do coitus interruptus, we said: "How can we do coitus interruptus before asking Allah’s Apostle who is present among us? We asked (him) about it and he said: "It is better for you not to do so, for if any soul till the Day of Resurrection is predestined to exist, it will exist."

Sahih Muslim 3384—Jabir bin Abdullah reported that a person asked Allah’s Apostle saying: I have a slave-girl and I practice azl with her, whereupon Allah’s Messenger said: This cannot prevent that which Allah has decreed. The person then came (after some time) and said: Messenger of Allah, the slave-girl about whom I talked to you has conceived, whereupon Allah’s Messenger said: I am the servant of Allah and His Messenger.

Clearly, Muslims were taking full advantage of Muhammad's teachings about female captives and slave girls. Nevertheless, Muslims eventually captured women along with their husbands, so they wondered if Allah would allow them to have sex with these married captives (since adultery is otherwise forbidden in Islam).

Allah gives his answer in the Qur'an:

Qur’an 4:24—Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess ...

Here's the historical background for this verse:

Sunan Abu Dawud 2150—The Apostle of Allah sent a military expedition to Awtas on the occasion of the battle of Hunain. They met their enemy and fought with them. They defeated them and took them captives. Some of the Companions of the Apostle of Allah were reluctant to have intercourse with the female captives in the presence of their husbands who were unbelievers. So Allah, the Exalted, sent down the Qur’anic verse: “And all married women (are forbidden) unto you save those (captives) whom your right hands possess.” That is to say, they are lawful for them when they complete their waiting period.

Thus, the Qur’an allows men to have sex with their female captives and slave girls, and the Hadith provides numerous examples of how this was practiced. Yet we must follow this fact through to its logical conclusion. Muslims decided to have sex with their captives, whom they were later going to sell. Some of these captives were women whose husbands and families had been slaughtered by Muslims. Others had husbands who had been captured by Muslims. Would these women gladly consent to sexual intercourse with men who had killed their families or taken their families captive, and who were simply going to sell them into slavery when they arrived at the next town? Certainly not. But since the Qur’an and Muhammad authorized sex with these women (and said nothing about seeking their permission), we can only conclude that Muhammad allowed his followers to rape their captives.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sometimes The Poorest Are The Richest

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. (Mark 10:25)

Monday, February 20, 2017

“Am I killing? Yes, I am. I know that.”


Eric Metaxes ponders here The Atlantic's bizarre attack on ultrasound.

What were they thinking? An embarrassing article in The Atlantic reveals so much about the state of the pro-choice movement.

Imagine being told that microscopes falsely "advance the idea" that bacteria and viruses cause disease. Or what if someone told you that telescopes falsely "advance the idea" that galaxies exist? You'd think that person was a few fries short of a happy meal, right?

Well that's exactly the sort of argument Moira Weigel made at The Atlantic last month in an article originally entitled — I'm not kidding: "How Ultrasound Advanced the Idea that a Fetus is a Person." I say "originally," because the title has since been changed to the much less provocative, "How Ultrasound Became Political."

Either way, Weigel's point in this bizarre rant against medical technology is to convince readers that ultrasound imaging does not, in fact, reveal babies in the womb. Rather, it's a tool pro-lifers have used to dupe women into seeing fetuses as human beings ...


*******

As more American's become cognizant of what really happens during abortion, expect the enemy to become insane with rage and inflame pro-abortionists to the point of lunacy. To wit .... At age 76, Curtis Boyd, infamous late-term abortionist, has performed thousands of abortions on viable babies. Ironically, Boyd was raised in a Christian home in Texas, and later in life became an ordained Baptist minister. Then, with complete disregard to God’s commandments, Boyd left the church and opened up a back alley abortion clinic in Athens, Texas.

Before Roe V. Wade in 1973, the Supreme Court Decision that decriminalized abortion in the United States, Boyd was aborting children by the hundreds. Though illegal, Boyd felt that performing abortions was more important than abiding by the law of the land. When word got out about his chop shop, he was forced out of Athens and reopened in Dallas, where he continued to rally support for “abortion rights”.

Boyd says, “In those days, the big fear was someone would either file charges against me or I would have some major complication or patient death. I knew that every patient I saw had the potential to not only take my medical license, but to put me in prison.”

After Roe v. Wade passed, Boyd scurried to open the very first abortion clinic, Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center in Texas, and then immediately found a way to open its sister abortion clinic, Southwestern Women’s Options, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Boyd was a founding member of the National Abortion Federation, an association of abortion clinics that has become infamous for having filthy conditions, botched abortions and abortion deaths, among many other violations. He is known for his invention of new second-trimester abortion techniques. In the past, Boyd experimented on his patients trying to develop pain management protocols and discover new ways to reduce the risks of abortion surgeries. Imagine the pain and horror.

Boyd works closely with organizations like “Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice”, an organization composed of so-called Catholic priests and so-called Protestant pastors who meet with abortion-minded women, to give them “counseling” to “bless their decision to abort”.

As Boyd himself admitted,

“Am I killing? Yes, I am. I know that.”

Saturday, February 18, 2017

"We are increasingly living inside a media-induced trance without knowing it"

"It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth"

This is must-watching. While this video addresses the subject from the purely secular perspective, it echoes a crucial Biblical truth. Unless one continually filters the world's mass media through the spectacle of absolute truth, it is all-too-easy to be deceived. The world continually pressures us to conform to its' fallen thinking. While I may not agree with everything he says, he is absolutely correct in his assertion that American mass media, instead of unbiased reporting, are purveyors of propaganda and purposely manipulate and twist the view that Americans have of their world. This is precisely why I watch/read/listen to increasingly less mass media ... and when I do, my truth detector is scanning at full strength.

Here is the introduction to the video ...

This is a video on the psychology of propaganda. Prof. Kroth reviews five major techniques for how American mass media manipulates and twists the view Americans have of their world. The seriousness of the distortion, and our progressive loss of contact with reality is dramatic. We are increasingly living inside a media-induced trance without knowing it. Children believe Ronald MacDonald is more real than Abraham Lincoln. From Coke to Carl's Jr., Hip-hop to the Iraq war, the role of subliminal propaganda in our lives is unveiled and exposed. This talk is based on Dr. Kroth's recent book, Duped! Delusion, Denial, and the end of the American dream. However, Duped! has been updated, and has a new title. Look for Implosion: delusion, denial, and the prospect of collapse, coming out shortly.] More information at collectivepsych.com


Goodbye California: A Lament

(Note:  First Things is an excellent theological publication. The online article here might be of interest to current CA residents … or those thinking of relocating there.)

I was born at the French Hospital, City of Los Angeles, State of California, in 1949. As of this writing, I have never been outside my native state for more than three weeks. That’s about to change. Last week, I moved from California to the Washington, D.C. area after my wife accepted a journalism job there. The situation should last for some years. But even if it ends sooner than we anticipate, I don’t expect to return. Alas, I don’t want to return ……

Friday, February 17, 2017

Doctrinally this movie is not "Pilgrim's Progress"; it's more "Pilgrim’s Regress"


Based on the enormously popular book by the same name, the movie "The Shack" is being released this month and marketed as a Christian faith-based film. However, the story — while, perhaps, a good read — is infused with such bad theology that Christians would do better to pass on this movie. The enormous popularity of the book (to the extent that it's now a movie) is an indictment of the Biblical illiteracy and lack of theological discernment in the 21st century church.

Albert Mohler, ninth president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said of the book,

“When it comes to The Shack, the really troubling fact is that so many readers are drawn to the theological message of the book, and fail to see how it conflicts with the Bible at so many crucial points. All this reveals a disastrous failure of evangelical discernment.”

Even as Wayne Jacobson and others complain of those who identify heresy within The Shack, the fact is that the Christian church has explicitly identified these teachings as just that — heresy. The obvious question is this: How is it that so many evangelical Christians seem to be drawn not only to this story, but to the theology presented in the narrative — a theology at so many points in conflict with evangelical convictions?

Evangelical observers have not been alone in asking this question. Writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Professor Timothy Beal of Case Western University argues that the popularity of The Shack suggests that evangelicals might be shifting their theology. He cites the “nonbiblical metaphorical models of God” in the book, as well as its “nonhierarchical” model of the Trinity and, most importantly, “its theology of universal salvation.”

As Al Mohler concludes,

In evaluating the book, it must be kept in mind that The Shack is a work of fiction. But it is also a sustained theological argument, and this simply cannot be denied. Any number of notable novels and works of literature have contained aberrant theology, and even heresy. The crucial question is whether the aberrant doctrines are features of the story or the message of the work. When it comes to The Shack, the really troubling fact is that so many readers are drawn to the theological message of the book, and fail to see how it conflicts with the Bible at so many crucial points.

All this reveals a disastrous failure of evangelical discernment. It is hard not to conclude that theological discernment is now a lost art among American evangelicals — and this loss can only lead to theological catastrophe.

... The tragedy that evangelicals have lost the art of biblical discernment must be traced to a disastrous loss of biblical knowledge. Discernment cannot survive without doctrine.


*******

James B. DeYoung, Th.D., Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Western Seminary said,

I have known William “Paul” Young for several years, and participated with him in a Christian “think-tank” until 2004. I have recently read his novel, The Shack. While this book is very creative and has its helpful points, I believe that Paul is using this literary form to promote a doctrine known as universal reconciliation. I encourage readers of Paul’s novel to read my review of this book, and my critique of the tenets of universal reconciliation. Both my review of his book and my critique are here on line. Behind The Shack is a stream of questionable theology, questionable both for what the book says and for what it doesn’t say in our understanding of God, Jesus Christ, the Spirit, sin, judgment, reconciliation, the destiny of the unrighteous, how God’s love and justice relate, and the institutions that God has established. The book’s most telling claim is that “mercy triumphs over justice because of love” (ch. 12 ).

*******

Contra] Annette Gysen, editor at Discovery House Publishers in Grand Rapids, Michigan said,

The great tragedy of this novel is that undiscerning readers, moved by the plotline, think that they are coming to a greater understanding of God and the Scriptures, when in fact they are coming to a greater understanding of Young and the god he has created.

*******

Christian apologist Norman L. Geisler and Bill Roach point out fourteen problem areas in Young’s theology as presented in The Shack. They summarize,

"The Shack may do well for many in engaging the current culture, but not without compromising Christian truth. The book may be psychologically helpful to many who read it, but it is doctrinally harmful to all who are exposed to it. It has a false understanding of God, the Trinity, the person and work of Christ, the nature of man, the institution of the family and marriage, and the nature of the Gospel. For those not trained in orthodox Christian doctrine, this book is very dangerous. It promises good news for the suffering but undermines the only Good News (the Gospel) about Christ suffering for us. In the final analysis it is only truth that is truly liberating. Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:32). A lie may make one feel better, but only until he discovers the truth. This book falls short on many important Christian doctrines. It promises to transform people’s lives, but it lacks the transforming power of the Word of God (Heb. 4:12) and the community of believers (Heb. 10:25). In the final analysis, this book is not a Pilgrim’s Progress, but doctrinally speaking The Shack is more of a Pilgrim’s Regress."


– Source: The Shack: Helpful or Heretical?offsite A Critical Review by Norman L. Geisler and Bill Roach

*******

Tim Challies said of the book,

Because of the sheer volume of error and because of the importance of the doctrines reinvented by the author, I would encourage Christians, and especially young Christians, to decline this invitation to meet with God in The Shack. It is not worth reading for the story and certainly not worth reading for the theology.

His "radical new Christian inclusion" = heresy


As reported here by the BBC, the Church of England’s main legislative body has rejected a church report saying marriage can only be between a man and a woman. England’s state Anglican church is deeply divided over the issue, with liberals calling on it to change Christian doctrine on the issue while conservatives insist such a change is impossible. The Archbishop of Canterbury concluded the debate by calling for a "radical new Christian inclusion".

But his "radical new inclusion" would have appalled the early church. While homosexual marriage is a "line in the sand" that many 21st century churches simply will not cross, others are abdicating two thousand years of orthodoxy in favor of heresy.

As militant homosexuals demand not just "tolerance" but an affirming embrace of their lifestyle - and an increasing number of political leaders spinelessly follow suit - expect those churches that remain faithful to the Biblical picture of marriage to pay an increasingly stiff price.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Heavenly Bodies

I've started reading a new book that intrigues me - "Heavenly Bodies; Incarnation, the Gaze, and Embodiment in Christian Theology" by Ola Sigurdson. (The book is here.) Ola Sigurdson (his background is here) is professor of religious studies and systematic theology at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Ola Sigurdson has been one of Sweden’s most prolific theologians over the last 20 years, with 20 published monographs and anthologies since 1996. The English book was translated from the original Swedish and published in 2016. 

At almost 700 pages, it's somewhat daunting. But I believe it might be the necessary correction for the heterodox semi-gnostic view that many western evangelicals seemingly hold and profess towards embodiment.

The author provided the following online background to his book here,

"The body becomes an object to us when it is dysfunctional (or when we reflect upon it as such), but the body as object presupposes a living body, a body which we don’t have but are.

But what does this mean for theology? Lately Christianity has gotten bad reviews on account of its supposed contempt of the body. It denies the bodily pleasures, cultivating an ascetic attitude to the world with roots in a mind-body dualism that privileges the soul on behalf of the body. Friedrich Nietzsche thought that Christianity had given eros poison to drink. Such accusations are strange, however. One of the most distinctive doctrines of Christian theology is the doctrine of the incarnation, namely that the Word of God became present among human beings in bodily form through Jesus Christ. The synoptic Gospels are very clear that Jesus in that sense led a very ordinary, embodied and therefore even painful life; the prologue of the Gospel of John claims explicitly that “the Word became flesh.” Although one should not overdo the dualism of the surrounding Hellenistic philosophy, there is still something quite distinctive in ancient Christian theology’s attempt to stay true to this embodied character of divine revelation experienced through Christ. If, then, Christianity started out in this way, how could it go so wrong (if it indeed did) that it ended up so flagrantly denying the body, as its current detractors suppose?

Moreover, isn’t it funny to hear this accusation of contempt of the body in an age that is itself obsessed with controlling the body? There might indeed be something to say about how traditional ascetic practices relate to embodiment. But our age is an age where everybody seems to be on a diet, literally or metaphorically, and where we lately have given the opportunity to monitor our every heartbeat and download them on the Internet through a watch. The ideals of how we should look invade our daily (or nightly) spheres in an unprecedented way. Who is really the ascetic if we take a closer look? In a way, the current exposure of the body even seems to confirm an ancient theological suspicion that the body isn’t just “there” but has an eschatological telos. The body is not just “given,” but molded by the cultural and social practices to which it belongs. This, as it happens, aligns premodern theological thinking with a lot of contemporary feminist and intersectional theory.

The idea of Heavenly Bodies is to present a comprehensive historical and theoretical account of what embodiment in the Christian tradition could mean. A key to the book is the attempt to show how material Christianity really is, and to stay true to the insight that the body is not, primarily, a thing or an object. The body is not a hindrance for our relationship to God, then. On the contrary, it is a dimension of ourselves whose mystery continually turns toward the invisible. (emphasis is mine)

*******

As one reviewer noted, "This book has all the signs of being a new theological classic. Sigurdson explores a theological anthropology that leads to a profound vision of humans as embodied persons living in God ...... This is not just ivory tower theology, it is highly engaged theology that has profound implications for living the Christian life at a deep level."

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What they call "tolerance" is really persecution of anyone who disagrees with them


Militant gays seek to intimidate, suppress, vandalize, and assault anybody that opposes their homosexuality. They forcefully seek to indoctrinate younger generations to further their agenda and oppose traditional family values. Christians are almost always their target.

They have powerful allies including politicians, Hollywood, the mainstream media and last but not least lawyers. When they are denied their agenda by either legal means or through the democratic process, the results are mob assaults, death threats and vandalism. The very real problem of militant homosexuality is laughed off by the mainstream media.

They have adopted the following tactics with the goal of forcing their beliefs on society:

  • eliminating free speech by harassing and attempting to silence anyone who disagrees with them;
  • preying on children by indoctrinating and recruiting them into their lifestyle;
  • imposing their beliefs on others through activist judges and lawmakers requiring that everyone actively promote homosexuality in every institution (schools, workplace, churches, etc.);
  • destroying marriage and undermining the traditional family in order to annihilate any moral standard of behavior;
  • intolerance toward anyone who does not willingly submit to their agenda;
  • fighting for a discriminatory and unconstitutional double standard of justice by demanding that crimes against homosexuals be punished more severely than the same crimes against heterosexuals through 'hate crimes' legislation; and
  • deceptively portraying homosexuality as a harmless and victimless behavior.
The homosexual agenda is based on intolerance of anyone who disagrees with them and is a well-coordinated, well-financed, wide-ranging, intensive effort to infiltrate and influence organizations and society at large in order to spread misinformation with the goal of recruiting children.

Children are the prize to the winners of the cultural war. Those who control what young people are taught and what they experience will determine the future course for our nation. The predominant value system of an entire culture can be overhauled by those with unlimited access to children. Homosexual activists understand very clearly how important children are to their cause.

"Tolerance" is the buzzword and central theme for the homosexual movement. However, few people understand what they really mean by "tolerance" and how they have twisted its meaning to support their agenda. As a result, most do not recognize the threat it poses to us, our children and our freedoms.

"Tolerance" means simply to recognize and respect other's beliefs and practices without necessarily agreeing or sympathizing with them. However, when many homosexuals use "tolerance," they mean going far beyond respecting their rights; they also demand approval, affirmation, praise and endorsement of their beliefs, values and lifestyle. What other group in this country could demand that? Their attitude and demands are not fair, ethical, right or constitutional.

Children are bombarded in public school with the homosexual version of "tolerance." In other words, all beliefs are equal, all values are equal, all lifestyles are equal and all truth is equal. This is the basis upon which our children are being indoctrinated by the propaganda that their beliefs and values which they learned in their home are no different from those of a homosexual, or a pornographer, or someone involved in adultery or fornication, etc. Children are being taught that all truth is relative to the individual. Knowing right from wrong doesn't matter. To say something is right or wrong is not being tolerant. This is today's "tolerance" pushed by homosexual activists.

It is clear that the distorted definition of "tolerance" has many dangerous implications, and unless society stands up for what is right, we will increasingly find ourselves with fewer and fewer freedoms. First, if our young people are confused about truth and believe the definition of "tolerance" they are being subjected to, they will not be able to determine right from wrong. In fact, in a national study among youth, it was discovered that children who do not accept an objective standard of truth become: 36% more likely to lie to you as a parent, 48% more likely to cheat on an exam, 2 times more likely to physically hurt someone, 2 times for likely to watch a pornographic film, 3 times more likely to use illegal drugs and 6 times more likely to attempt suicide. It is clear that how our youth think about truth has a definite effect on their behavior and the choices they make.

Second, our freedom of speech is being taken away little by little every day. We see that happening throughout society. If anyone exercises their Constitutional right of free speech and disagrees with the homosexual agenda, they are met with intolerant hatred, shouted down, called names, and violence. Homosexuals attempt to justify their actions by claiming any view different than theirs is 'intolerant' (using their definition) and should therefore be repressed.

Third, with the twisted version of "tolerance" comes a double standard. A few years ago, an "art" show displayed a crucifix, a Christian symbol, suspended in a jar of urine. While it enraged people of faith, it was supported by the homosexual community and others as "art." However, why is it that displaying a homosexual symbol in a jar of urine would be considered a hate crime? Using the same criteria they use on others, then a crucifix in a jar of urine would also be intolerant and a hate crime.

The danger and hypocrisy of this distorted version of "tolerance" are clear. What they call "tolerance" is really persecution of anyone who disagrees with them. Our society is based on the free exchange of ideas and if any group is successful at taking that away and silencing the opposition, then we are all less free. What they are doing to others is exactly what they claim others are doing to them.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Living in a Necrophilic Culture


David Mosley posted a thought-provoking blog here entitled "“Living” in a Necrophilic Culture: Reflections on Catherine Pickstock and C. S. Lewis". He effectively argues that western culture actually worships death - not life. In seeking to banish death (we don't even use the term anymore, saying instead that someone "passed") and "preserve life immune from death in pure sterility", our culture is "secretly doomed to necrophilia, love of what has to die, can only die".

As he summarizes,

We live in a necrophilic culture. That one claims to prize life, but really, ultimately, worships death. So maybe, the right way to live in a culture that sacrifices life to death is to live a life that recognizes death ...

In "Medieval Wisdom for Modern Christians", Chris Armstrong astutely observes,

“This sort of reflection brings us into the important realm of medical ethics, in which Christians should have a distinctive witness. But it also impacts the sort of medical care we provide to individuals, particularly when the story of the medieval Christian origin and operation of the hospital pulls us back toward a balance. It took the British Christian Cecily Saunders (1918–2005) and her hospice movement to back us away from the medical obsession with taking every heroic, technology-assisted measure to keep a person alive, even to the detriment of his or her quality of life. Death happens, as does suffering, and there are kinds of pain to which medical science will never have an answer. What is needed in those cases is a different kind of care—something less like the gleaming machinery, tubes, and beeping screens of the modern palliative care unit and more like the brothers of the monastery lining up on both sides of the dying man’s bed, praying and singing as he suffers and sinks toward death.”

Amen.

The wonders of western medical technology can artificially prolong life and morph death from an event into an increasingly lengthy process of years often accompanied by incontinence, impotence, dementia, loss of mobility and significant pain and suffering. (I have been in nursing homes and heard patients pitifully begging to die.) While I can understand the unbeliever grasping at straws in a futile attempt to hold death at bay, many elderly Christians have foolishly brought into the same mindset. Instead of properly embracing their impending death as final victory (1 Cor 15) and release from this fallen world accompanied by entrance into eternal glory, they let the world dictate a prolonged and agonizing end of their lives.

As I wrote earlier here,

It is important to make the distinction between killing someone and letting them die - i.e., letting a process that is underway proceed without interference. In cases where a patient has clearly articulated their desire to die, and where there is no reasonable hope of recovery and death appears imminent - it does not seem morally wrong to allows one to die rather than initiating an artificial life support system or prolong the dying process by artificial means.

It's mystifying to me when mature Christians who are elderly and in failing health approach death with a firm resolve to cling to life for as long as absolutely possible with every possible resource available. Figuratively speaking they hang onto this world by their fingernails and have to be dragged into Paradise kicking and screaming. Suicide and euthanasia are morally wrong. But death itself is a release for the believer - as Paul says, it is far better to depart this fallen world and be with Christ (Phil 1:23). I believe part of the problem is the reluctance of the church to theologically deal with the topic of death head-on, instead of leaving it as a White Elephant that everyone knows about, but nobody talks about. I can understand unbelievers fearing death and availing themselves of every last possible medical option and grasping at the last straw, no matter how painful or expensive, to "buy" a few more moments. 

The ESV Study Bible provides pertinent theological analysis for difficult end-of-life issues:

The End of Life

As a result of the fall, physical death is inevitable for all people (Rom. 5:12–14; 1 Cor. 15:21–22). The process of dying is frequently accompanied by illness, suffering, and pain. Euthanasia is one way people have sought to eliminate end-of-life suffering. Euthanasia occurs when a terminally ill person dies as a result of a deliberate act of commission (active euthanasia) or omission (passive euthanasia) by another person seeking to hasten the ill person’s death in order to end his or her suffering. The person who is ill may have given informed consent (voluntary), may have withheld consent (involuntary), or may have been incompetent to give consent (non-voluntary).

Active euthanasia is clearly prohibited by the sixth commandment, regardless of the ill person’s request. This moral principle is seen in the case of King Saul. Fatally injured, Saul commanded his armor-bearer to kill him so that he would not suffer humiliation from his enemies. His armor-bearer refused, however (1 Sam. 31:3–5). In contrast, when the Amalekite brought news of Saul’s death to David, claiming that he had killed Saul at the king’s own request in order to end his misery, David executed the Amalekite for taking Saul’s life (2 Sam. 1:1–16). 


Passive euthanasia involves withholding either natural life-sustaining means (e.g., food, water, air) or unnatural life-sustaining means (e.g., life-supporting machines) in order to cause death and thus end suffering. Many Christian ethicists believe that withholding natural means of life-sustenance from helpless patients is comparable to withholding the same means from an infant, as it will directly cause death. This act of negligence leading to death is thus also viewed as being prohibited by the sixth commandment. A somewhat different question is whether doctors are ethically able to withhold futile treatments that do not improve the prospect of recovery and only prolong the process of dying when death is imminent and inevitable. In such cases, according to some Christian ethicists, it is morally acceptable to allow such a person to die, though whenever there is a reasonable chance of recovery or improvement of the quality of life this should be pursued. 

There is a moral difference between euthanasia (clearly forbidden) and letting a terminal process occur for a Christian that is already underway.

Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives (Heb 2:14-15)


Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Dissolving Age


Theologian R.R. Reno penned a masterful essay entitled "A Dissolving Age" in the March 2017 edition of "First Things". While properly warning against the dangers of fascism, he also cautions against the surging popularity of globalism in some quarters of the church, warning that such a future "will revolve around a certain class of Americans, a technocratic elite, rather than America as a people."

As he reminds the church,

Yet when the Holy Spirit came upon those gathered at Pentecost, it was not to teach them Esperanto. They heard the Gospel in their native tongues. Christ’s revelation comes to and within the nations rather than above or beyond them. This fulfills the Old Testament pattern. Isaiah prophesies that the nations will come to Jerusalem, beating their swords into ploughshares and ushering in an eschatological peace—not as a new, universal people, but as nations living together, directly under God’s justice. The organization of humanity into nations functions as divine ordinance, given to us after the Fall. The people of the earth, still undifferentiated in their universal humanity, attempt to reach the heavens with the Tower of Babel. But God scatters them, establishing distinct nations (confusing their tongues) as the means to sustain humanity in a condition of real but limited solidarity until the time appointed by God for our restoration to Eden’s happy harmony.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Physicists increasingly believe the universe is flat


There's a fascinating article here in the Christian Science Monitor entitled "Could the universe actually be a flat hologram?"

... But it's the universe, not the Earth, that might be flat – a 2-dimensional hologram, according to an international team of researchers. 

Holograms might be most familiar as the colorful 3-D images used as security measures on some credit cards and currencies. But of course, they're not really 3-dimensional, are they? They contain all the information necessary for our eyes to perceive them that way, but the pictures are actually printed on a 2-D surface. A new calculation, published last Monday in Physical Review Letters, says that models describing our early universe similarly have now been shown to agree with recent observations just as well as standard 3-D models do.

... The sticking point is gravity. Ever since Einstein's General Theory of Relativity described the force that keeps our feet on the ground as a consequence of the shape of space, it's been giving physicists headaches.

Other forces, including electromagnetism, can be explained in terms of particles. Magnets may seem to be magically tugging on each other from a distance, but at some level they're swapping photons. Gravity has vigorously resisted this kind of particle-level description, giving rise to exotic theories of quantum gravity such as string theory. 

One proposed bridge between these odd theories of gravity and more established quantum theories of particles accomplishes "lots of wonderful things," writes particle physicist Raphael Bousso of the University of California at Berkeley in an email to The Christian Science Monitor. 


*******

Two months ago in Dec 2016, astrophysicist Paul Sutter authored this article entitled "The Universe Is Flat — Now What?"

... The universe is flat. But there's a lot of subtlety packed into that innocent-looking statement. What does it mean for a 3D object to be "flat"? How do we measure the shape of the universe anyway? Since the universe is flat, is that…it? Is there anything else interesting to say?

Oh yes, there is.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Study: 92% of left-wing activists live with their parents and one in three is unemployed


A study by the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution reveals the vast majority of left-wing protestors arrested in Berlin are young men who still live with their parents. A third of them were unemployed, and 92 per cent still live with their parents. Story is here,

I suspect similar statistics exist for the progressive leftists who commit violent protests in the United States. Their parasitic worldview selfishly depends upon others for essential needs and demands they be spoon-fed everything.

Salvation is indeed a free, unearned gift, but rewards are for merit achievement, not for just showing up. You want something, work for it. Success is not guaranteed to anyone, ever. Graduating college with a ridiculously overpriced degree in a totally worthless discipline does not entitle one to a corner office, a six-figure income, and keys to the Executive Bathroom.

Lenin and Saul Alinsky called people like these protesters “useful idiots”. The protesters naively follow rich, sequestered out-of-touch politicians, activists, billionaires, actors and entertainers who have no intention of getting their hands dirty. They gleefully participate in riots funded and orchestrated by people with their own agenda who don't give a hoot about the protester's hopes and dreams and who will cheerfully walk over their corpses to achieve their goals.

Life is hard in this fallen world. You don’t always get to do what you want, when you want. And no one owes you anything. But there is God-given satisfaction in hard work and delayed gratification. One learns this if and when they grow up.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might (Ess 9:10, ESV)

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men (Col 3:23, ESV)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Worldview's Fruit Can Be Quite Revealing


The fruit of any respective worldview can be quite revealing with respect to its' true nature. To illustrate, here are five different worldviews and the long-term fruit each tends to generate ...

*******

Progressive Liberalism: Earlier I reflected here that progressive liberalism is ultimately intolerant and ironically encourages violence to achieve its ends. A worldview that vociferously proclaims itself to be tolerant and peaceful, in fact tends to breed the opposite.

*******

Islam: No other worldview encourages suicide bombers and mass execution to the extent that Islam does. 81% of suicide attacks since 1968 have occurred after 2001, with 31 out of the 35 organizations responsible being jihadist. Even the London and Bali bombers who acted independently of terror organizations were Muslim. It would be difficult to deny that Islamic inspiration is at work in the motivation and mobilization of rising terror. In fact, terrorists justify their violence with the language of Islam.

A Swedish police officer and senior investigator in the serious-crimes division is under internal investigation after taking to Facebook to describe his work week and the nationalities of those he has to deal with. Officer Peter Springare serves with the Örebro Police Department and has 47 years of law-enforcement experience.

“Here we go; this is what I’ve handled from Monday-Friday this week: rape, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, rape-assault and rape, extortion, blackmail, assault, violence against police, threats to police, drug crime, drugs, crime, felony, attempted murder, rape again, extortion again and ill-treatment,” Officer Peter Springare posted.

“Suspected perpetrators: Ali Mohamad, Mahmod, Mohammed, Mohammed, Ali, again, again, again, Christoffer … what, is it true? Yes, a Swedish name sneaked its way in on the fringes of a drug-related crime, Mohammed, Mahmod Ali, again and again."

“Countries which represent all of the week’s crimes: Iraq, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Somalia, Syria again, Somalia, unknown country, unknown country, Sweden. Half of the suspects, we can’t be sure because they don’t have any valid papers. Which in itself usually means that they’re lying about [their] nationality and identity,” he added.

“What I will write here below is not politically correct. But I don’t care,” he said.

*******

Socialism: Venezuela is blessed with abundant natural resources. The proven oil reserves in Venezuela are recognized as the largest in the world, totaling 297 billion barrels as of 1 January 2014. With the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998, the country moved dramatically and swiftly into socialism. In June 2016, Erik Bremin wrote in USA Today,

I was a teenager when Hugo Chavez came to power in Venezuela’s 1998 presidential election. Then, my countrymen were disenchanted with our trajectory and demanded a radical change, not unlike millions of Americans today. As a young and idealistic student myself, I was captivated by socialism’s promise of a more equal, fair and just society. Reality has opened my eyes to just how wrong I was. Venezuela’s 17-year experience with socialism has taught me a number of lessons about its inherent problems and inevitable failure 

... Socialism espouses further redistribution of wealth, which may appear to bear fruit in the short-term. However, the effects of undermining private property rights and placing restrictions on economic liberty erode the creation and spread of wealth in the long-term. As this happens, the confiscatory policies initially targeted at the rich and the business community become increasingly destructive and ineffective, leading to their expansion to an ever-larger share of the population.

This necessarily provokes a public backlash as people begin to realize their condition is deteriorating. Naturally, what follows is that those in power seek to hold onto it by curtailing civil liberties. Freedom of speech, press, assembly and others begin to wither away.

Look here at the food lines in Venezuela, the country with the greatest oil reserves on the planet. Socialism is the equal sharing of misery.

*******

Atheism: Atheism ultimately breeds hopelessness and despair. Kyle Butt with a M.Div. observed here in his essay entitled "The Bitter Fruits of Atheism" that,

On February 12, 1998, William Provine, a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the distinguished Cornell University, took to the podium on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He was invited to deliver the keynote address at the second annual Darwin Day, a day dedicated to commemorating the life and teachings of Charles Darwin. In an abstract of that speech, on the Darwin Day Web site, Dr. Provine’s introductory comments are recorded in the following words: “Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent” (Provine, 1998). Provine’s ensuing message centered on his fifth statement regarding human free will. Prior to delving into the “meat” of his message, however, he noted: “The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them” (1998).

It is clear then, from Provine’s comments, that he believes naturalistic evolution has no way to produce an “ultimate foundation for ethics.” And it is equally clear that this sentiment was so apparent to “modern naturalistic evolutionists” that Dr. Provine did not feel it even needed to be defended. Oxford professor Richard Dawkins concurred with Provine by saying: “Absolutist moral discrimination is devastatingly undermined by the fact of evolution” (2006, p. 301).

Comments from such high-profile evolutionists provide an excellent springboard from which to examine the logical consequences of belief in naturalistic evolution. If it is true that humans evolved from non-living, primordial slime, then any sense of moral obligation must simply be a subjective outworking of the physical neurons firing in the brain. Theoretically, atheistic scientists and philosophers admit this truth. Charles Darwin understood it perfectly. He wrote: “A man who has no assured and ever present belief in the existence of a personal God or of a future existence with retribution and reward, can have for his rule of life, as far as I can see, only to follow those impulses and instincts which are the strongest or which seem to him the best ones” (1958, p. 94, emp. added). On a pragmatic level, however, when a person or group of people actually allow the theoretical idea to influence their actions, the brutality of evolution’s immorality is brought to light, and its absurdity is manifested.

He goes on to make the case that atheism (which ironically worships the creation instead of the Creator) ultimately devalues human life.

On March 8, 2013, Damon Linker wrote in The Week: “If atheism is true, it is far from being good news. Learning that we're alone in the universe, that no one hears or answers our prayers, that humanity is entirely the product of random events, that we have no more intrinsic dignity than non-human and even non-animate clumps of matter, that we face certain annihilation in death, that our sufferings are ultimately pointless, that our lives and loves do not at all matter in a larger sense, that those who commit horrific evils and elude human punishment get away with their crimes scot free — all of this (and much more) is utterly tragic.

Abortion and euthanasia are only necessarily logical, but viewed as noble acts of service, under this worldview.


*******

Christianity: Consider how Christianity changed the Roman perspective on gladiators. This is how an atheist, one of the most influential moral philosophers of our time, Peter Singer, who is no friend of Christianity, treats the subject in his book Animal Liberation (Amazon UK) (Amazon USA) (pages 190-192, The New York Review of Books, second edition):.

First he quotes from W. E. H. Lecky's History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne:

The simple combat became at last insipid, and every variety of atrocity was devised to stimulate the flagging interest... Nor was any form of human suffering wanting.... Ten thousand men fought during the games of Trajan. Nero illumined his gardens during the night by Christians burning in their pitchy shirts. Under Domitian, an army of feeble dwarfs was compelled to fight.

Then Singer remarks:

It is against this background that the impact of Christianity must be assessed...

In its application to human beings, the new doctrine was in many ways progressive, and led to an enormous expansion of the limited moral sphere of the Romans...

On this basis the outcome of the interaction of Christian and Roman attitudes is not difficult to guess. It can be seen most clearly by looking at what happened to the Roman games after the conversion of the empire to Christianity. 

Christian teaching was implacably opposed to gladiatorial combats. The gladiator who survived by killing his opponent was regarded as a murderer. Mere attendance at these combats made the Christian liable to excommunication, and by the end of the fourth century combats between human beings had been suppressed altogether.

The Romans were the most advanced civilization at the time, with a sophisticated system of law and highly developed morals.

In his book "Medieval Wisdom For Christians", Chris Armstrong traces the historical evidence that Christianity produced the hospital. More hospitals worldwide are produced by Christians than any other organization or entity. The Church has always been a major source of schooling and medical care, and nobody in his sane mind can deny its prominent role in either. The evidence for that is too overwhelming even for the most lunatic atheist.

The website of London's Science Museum has no doubt that Christian beliefs were the cause of the development of hospitals and not a coincidental occurrence:

Christian hospices first developed in the East in the late 300s. Some, like those founded by the Order of St John, appeared along routes of pilgrimage and offered shelter to religious travellers throughout Europe and the Middle East. The idea of religious charity lay at the heart of the medieval and early modern hospital. Medicine and morality were closely tied. This was evident in the location of beds, which was often determined by the location of an altar. Medical care was usually delivered by monks and nuns.

...The Christian practice of charity in Europe was based on the relationship between Christ and the pauper. The emphasis in hospital was therefore on care rather than cure, and the common denominator of patients was poverty, not illness. The original religious nature of early hospitals is still alive, most often in their names. Notable examples include the Hôtel Dieu in Paris, originally established in the 800s, and St Bartholomew's Hospital in London, which was founded in the 1100s and still exists today.

As recorded here, medicine itself was developed by Christianity in the Middle Ages: Guided by the principles of Christian charity and compassion, as well as by the biblical examples of helping the troubled and healing the sick, the clergy, besides the studying of medical sciences, soon turned to practical work and proceeded to treat the sick, establishing first hospitals within monasteries, initially accepting and treating monks and monastery servants, but subsequently admitting many ill laymen.

The earliest schools were produced by Christians. All the Ivy-League colleges in the U.S. were originally Christian seminaries. During the chaos that followed the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, the Church remained the only institution capable of supporting intellectual culture. Virtually nobody in Western Europe could read or write outside of monasteries, which became the center for developing literacy. Even left-leaning Wikipedia recognizes this:

The cultural influence of the Church has been vast. Church scholars preserved literacy in Western Europe following the Fall of Rome. During the Middle Ages, the Church rose to replace the Roman Empire as the unifying force in Europe. The cathedrals of that age remain among the most iconic feats of architecture produced by Western civilization. Many of Europe's universities were also founded by the church at that time.

The Church continued to be a driving force in education during the Middle Ages, in schools associated with its monasteries, churches and cathedrals. Cathedral schools were centers of advanced education, and often developed into the Medieval universities which were the source of many European later achievements.  Recognizing its unique role in learning, practically all men of intellect joined the Church in the Middle Ages, which is why Latin, the church's language, was for many centuries, as late as into the 18th and 19th centuries, the language of scholarship and erudition, science included. Significant works of all subjects were written in Latin: Vesalius, Galileo, Descartes, Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Torricelli, Kepler, Havers - and these are only a tiny number - wrote in Latin.  Newton wrote his scientific masterpiece Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica in Latin. For Newton, the Christian God was part of his mechanics.

Repeated studies over time have shown, for example, that the US more Christian states give a greater percentage of their income to charities than the more secular ones.

Christians are also better neighbours , and a Forbes study found that Christian charities are more reliable than others, ranking highest in terms of using donor money towards charitable projects and services, rather than putting it in their pockets. Four out of the five charities that received a perfect rating in both fundraising efficiency and charitable commitment are Christian organizations.

Tim Mettey, of Matthew 25: Ministries, one of the top-rated charitable organizations, said: "We have to be less than 2 percent on overhead. We thrive on being so efficient.” The association’s mission statement is based on Matthew 25:34-40, which calls for the hungry to be fed, the homeless to be sheltered and medicine for the ill. Mettey explained that the group’s success depends on support from the Christian community, adding: "[W]e have 22,000 volunteers because of our message. Without volunteers none of this would be possible," Mettey said.

The report on the Forbes study in Christianity Today concluded: Faith-based organizations have the added benefit of turning to the Bible to remind themselves of motivation and direction.

The Christian worldview tends to produce charity, generosity and selfless behavior in the aid of other people.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Despicable Irony of Lefty Fake Feminists


Susan Brown (thank God that's not her picture above) calls it like it is here with her enlightening editorial entitled "The Despicable Irony of Lefty Fake Feminists".

... Call me naïve, but I believe liberals are about as pro-female as they are pro-choice. They claim to be pro-choice, but attempt to legislate everything under the sun, such as: soda sizes, guns, coal, car sizes, God, free speech, bathrooms, school choice, cake baking, salt, and cigarettes.

For them, pro-choice boils down to just two options: Whatever they demand and abortions.

If you don't fit into their big-city-values club filled with metrosexual males, overaged hippies, smarter-than-thou professors, gang-bangers, brainwashed snowflakes and foul feminists, you're out of luck. And if you say anything to the contrary, forget the First Amendment, you're out of line.

... Leftists should lay off the pettiness and focus on real women's issues like the ones women's right activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali talked about on Fox News with Martha MacCallum February 1. Ali said the march should have been focused on things like the "mass rapes" happening across Europe or genital mutilation or all the women kidnapped by ISIS.

MacCallum asked Ali, a victim of genital mutilation herself, about a now-deleted tweet preserved via screen-catch by the Women's March co-organizer Linda Sarsour: "Brigitte Gabriel= Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She's asking 4 an a$$ whippin'. I wish I could take their vaginas away – they don't deserve to be women."
\
*******

Thank you, Susan. It's refreshing to encounter a real woman who is secure in her femininity instead of angry and violent abortionists.

Monday, February 6, 2017

TSA: The Myth of America's Airport Security

"This (TSA) is not an airline security system. This is a system for bothering people."
Rafi Sela
former Chief of Security
Israel Airport Authority

Mindless bureaucracy that is primarily interested in growing an empire combines with political correctness to produce this state of affairs. Instead of relying on trained profilers, examiners and dogs (as proven by Israeli security), the TSA treats everyone like a criminal and puts all its' eggs into horrendously expensive technology that usually does not work, but instead produces obscene profits for all those involved in the acquistion process. As the Israelis observe, the TSA is "security theater" (a facade) more focused on dress code and designed primarily to make the flying public falsely believe they are safe, not to stop terrorists. In fact, the TSA is the "blob that ate Cleveland", growing in size, budget and oppresive authority with no end in sight. As this film concludes, "On TSA's watch, airport security has become a jobs program for bureaucrats, a goldmine for technology vendors, and for the air traveler and airlines, an expensive, humiliating and  counterproductive fraud."

My advice? Don't depend upon the TSA; be prepared to defend yourself and your loved ones if necessary.


The real extremists in the secret world of America's abortion clinics.


Phelim Mcaller and Ann Mcelhinney pull back the curtain here on the real extremists in the secret world of America's abortion clinics.

... Fact is, most people know very little about what goes on behind the doors of the nation's abortion clinics. We didn't either, until we started researching the reality of the procedure for our book and film on the trial and conviction of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell.

Gosnell was a highly respected doctor in a very highly regulated state. He also happened to be a serial killer who kept killing and getting away with it despite being so heavily regulated. Pennsylvania law stated abortion clinics must be inspected annually by the local Department of Health. These inspections of Gosnell's clinic uncovered serious violations and health hazards, but officials took no action and certainly didn't investigate further.

... Despite rigorous paper regulations over the next 17 years Gosnell routinely flouted the Pennsylvania law banning abortions after 24 weeks. He employed unqualified staff to administer drugs. (His chief anesthetist was a teenager). And this "pillar of the community" operated on women in filthy conditions, often using single-use instruments for multiple procedures. The Department of Health received numerous complaints from whistleblowers, doctors and emergency room physicians who saw first hand the results of his crime spree, but they refused to investigate and never inspected Gosnell's clinic.

Gosnell was eventually charged with murdering one woman and seven babies born alive by snipping their necks with scissors, though police believe he most likely killed hundreds or perhaps thousands more. 

... The Senate committee report, published last month, detailed the practices of a Texas abortionist that bear a striking resemblance to Gosnell's grisly work.

According to one employee's testimony, the doctor would perform around 40 late second, or third trimester abortions every week. Of these abortions "three to four infants would show signs of life." And just like Gosnell, the doctor would immediately kill them. The employee said he employed Gosnell's technique of "snipping the infant's spinal cord with scissors."

However, he also cut the neck with Sopher forceps: "twisting the infants head: using forceps ... or his finger to crush the 'soft spot' of the infant's head."

Bear in mind — this abortionist operated in Texas which the Supreme Court said did not need any tighter abortion oversight or regulation.

... It is thought that Neil Gorsuch will want more regulations around abortion if he is nominated to the Supreme Court. Those who support this are often portrayed as extremists who want to take America and American women backwards to a time of blood and butchery. But as the truth emerges about the reality of the procedure and its supporters it is increasingly clear just who are the real extremists in the secret world of America's abortion clinics.