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



Monday, July 31, 2017

Intimidated Into Submission


But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29, ESV)

Warren Smith muses over here about the increasing intimidation that atheists use to hammer Christians into submission with.

NASA was skittish. A famous atheist, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, had sued NASA after the Apollo 8 astronauts read from the Book of Genesis as they orbited the moon a year earlier.  So they gave Aldrin permission to take wine and bread to the moon for the Eucharist, and they built a few minutes into the very tight schedule for a brief service of worship. However, officially, the service took place during a few “moments of silence.” NASA had been cowed by O’Hare’s lawsuit. 

... Madalyn Murray O’Hair’s lawsuit against NASA came to nothing. Legally, she had no leg to stand on, though her activism was enough to intimidate NASA into submission. Murray-O’Hare and one of her sons and a granddaughter were murdered in 1995 by one of the staff members at American Atheists. Another son, William Murray, became a Christian, an evangelist, and a prolific writer for Christian and conservative causes.

It has been more than 40 years since humans have set foot on the moon.

But one thing hasn’t changed. The religious liberty questions that Madalyn Murray O’Hair elevated to national attention in the 1960s remain with us today. Now as then, opponents of religious liberty have few legal legs to stand on. However, also now as then, her ideological descendants can and sometimes do win when the defenders of religious liberty fail to show up, or — as NASA was in 1969 — find themselves intimidated into submission.


*******

Warren is correct. Tragically, far too many Christians today cower into submission in stark contrast to Daniel in the Old Testament or the apostles in the book of Acts. Those that choose not to submit often pay a high price with exorbitant fines, loss of income, damaged reputations, imprisonment and even death. But they choose wisely.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Our "Helm's Deep" in the cultural battle for truth


Carl R. Trueman, Professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, asserts here in his essay entitled "Out Cultural Waterloo" that the cultural Battle of Waterloo will be won—or lost—on the campuses of Christian colleges.

...... How Christian colleges respond to all this will be critical. The desire expressed by some to dialogue with their opponents on this matter is not a good sign. At worst, it represents the cynical prelude to capitulation: “We listened, we heard, we changed.” At best, it represents a miscalculation based upon the naïve idea that both sides have some level of mutual respect and an interest in co-existence. There is no evidence that this is the case.......

...... The dominant philosophy in so many secular humanities departments—that there is nothing so complicated in history or literature that it cannot be reduced to a simple question of power and exploitation—has allowed academia to be hijacked by those who are marked less by their knowledge of their subject than by their ability to spout angry clichés about privilege and power and hegemony. These people represent the spirit of the age, and their language is seeping into Christian discourse. In some colleges, it may not be the administrators who lead the charge for change.......

...... Colleges are where the battle for the minds of the next generation will take place. And Christian colleges cannot win merely by shouting Bible verses, however sophisticated their idiom. Nor will they win by good old-fashioned arguments resting on logic and reason. That’s not how it works any more.

....... Waterloo will be won—or lost—on the college campuses. Campuses will be in the legal and cultural frontline. Now is the time to take that truth to heart and to act upon it.

*******

I believe Trueman is correct about the cultural front lines being college campuses. He is also correct in his view that dialogue with the enemy of truth is never a good thing. It is precisely what has led to capitulation on part of many churches regarding homosexual marriage.

In Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, the fortress of Helm's Deep was where the defenders of righteousness withdraw to as the final fortress sanctuary where the war will ultimately either be won or lost. The battle for traditional secular colleges has already been lost, and the remaining faithful Christian colleges are part of the "Helm's Deep" for our age in the cultural war on truth. They - along with the churches - represent the final fortress sanctuary and bastion of truth.




Gold or God?


Friday, July 28, 2017

The Cosmological Elephant In The Room


Secular cosmology dictates that on a large scale, the Universe must be relatively uniform (homogeneous and isotropic). There can be so "special" places in the Cosmos since the Big Bang must have homogeneously produced matter and everything uniformly evolved over eons of time by random chance. The problem is though that it turns out the Universe is not homogeneous on a large scale. Of course, secualists will go to any lengths to avoid the logical conclusion of the origin of the Universe.


William Lane Carig has an interesting article here entitled "Cosmology – A Religion for Atheists?"

In the award-winning movie A Theory of Everything Stephen Hawking introduces himself to his wife-to-be Jane by describing himself as a cosmologist. When Jane asks what that is, he replies “it’s a kind of religion for intelligent atheists.”

The remark is both provocative and revealing. Cosmology is obviously not literally a religion. It is a branch of astrophysics which studies the large-scale structure of the universe. Now if one is a naturalist, that is to say, someone who believes that all that exists is spacetime and its contents, then in a sense someone who studies the universe is studying the ultimate reality. This is the same project in which the theologian is engaged, except that for the theologian the ultimate reality is God, not the universe. The theologian has a wider, more encompassing view of reality than the naturalist, for he believes in a reality which transcends the universe. The universe is a subordinate reality which is created by God. For cosmologists who are theists—such as George Ellis, perhaps the world’s greatest living cosmologist, who is also portrayed in this movie—cosmology is therefore not a kind of religion, but the scientific study of a subordinate reality. But for the naturalist, it’s easy to see how cosmology could become quasi-religious.

Elsewhere, Craig points out that "The contingency implied by an absolute beginning ex nihilo points to a transcendent cause of the universe beyond space and time."

There is a related article here written by Jewish Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen entitled "What are the theological implications of modern cosmology?" As the article concludes, 

"There are, of course, mathematicians, physicists, astronomers, and cosmologists who choose not to believe in God today. For a variety of reasons, they choose instead to have faith that new natural laws will be discovered or that new evidence will appear and overturn the current model of an open, created universe. But for many in the scientific community, the evidence is persuasive. For many, modern cosmology offers permission to believe."

Finally, theologian John Macarthur correctly points out,

There is no such thing as the science of creation. There is no such thing. It does not exist. Why? Because there is no scientific way to explain creation. It was not a natural event or a series of natural events. It was a brief series of monumental super-natural events that cannot be explained by science. And so again I say, there is no such thing as the science of creation. All science is based on observation and no one observed creation. All science necessitates verification by repetition and creation cannot be repeated, and thus it cannot be verified.

Creation had no observers and cannot be repeated. It is not observable. It is not repeatable. It did not happen by any uniform, predictable, observable, repeatable, fixed, natural, laws. None of it happened according to any of those things. It is just the opposite of that. Creation was a series of supernatural instantaneous, inexplicable miracles...supernatural. That is why there is nowhere in the Genesis account any place where evolution is mentioned or even hinted at. There are no natural processes in creation. They are all supernatural. Evolution was not the means or a means by which God created, it was all supernatural and miraculous. There’s only one record of creation, Genesis 1 and 2. You can believe it or you can reject it, but that’s all there is. (emphasis is mine)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Dumbest Generation


You Get The Most Flak When You're Over The Target


When Christians are on the receiving end of vitriolic attacks as they witness to the truth of the gospel, it's wise to remember that one receives the most flak when they are over the target.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Gospel


All Is Not As It May Seem


Genuine truth is always grounded in reality and ultimate truth is grounded in ultimate reality - i.e., in God who is the Architect, Creator, Sustainer and Judge of all reality. Our grasp of genuine truth is directly proportional to our grasp of genuine reality. It's important to understand however that our perception of reality is not always true in this fallen world as demonstrated in the figure above. In other words, what we may believe to be true, may in fact not be true. In this fallen world, the false perception of reality is a real problem. For example:
  • On a clear day in the desert, a mountain on the horizon may appear to be a few miles distant when it fact, it's more than 30 miles away.
  • Remove all reference to time measurement (i.e., watches, the sun, etc.) and it becomes impossible to accurately discern how much time has actually passed. (This is a common problem for blind people.)
  • A color blind person will falsely perceive certain colors.
  • A hearing-impaired person will not be able to accurately discern sounds.
  • etc.
In this fallen world, we are prone to deception sometimes mistaking false reality for the genuine thing. This is why Scripture exhorts us to "test everything" (1 Thess 5:21). But misunderstanding distance, time, color or sound is one thing. Far more devastating is an incorrect grasp of morality - right vs wrong.

Naturalism is the worldview that rejects any kind of reality that it is not discernable with the 5 senses. The logical consequence of this worldivew is atheism since God is immaterial. A fatal flaw is this worldview becomes the inability to objectively justify right and wrong as effectively argued in the following video .....


Naturalism is fatally handicappped because it arbitrarily rejects the foundation of all reality.

Christians can also be deceived in this fallen world as to the nature of what is real. A false understanding of reality necessarily results in the loss of truth and the corresponding acceptance of a lie.

There are many potential scources of truth in the world (i.e., science, recorded history, education, Hollywood, parents, church, Madison Avenue, emotions, feelings, etc.) But given that we live in a fallen world, all of these sources that reside in the world are potentially flawed in their depiction of reality. They may present accurate reality part of the time (or even most of the time), but none can present accurate reality all of the time. Why? Because everything in the world is contaminated with corruption. Until the creation is released from its bondage to corruption, all potential sources of truth within creation can be flawed (Rom 8:20-21).

[Even science can get it wrong sometimes. Historical examples:

  • Miasmatic theory of disease: This theory postulated that diseases such as cholera, chlamydia or the Black Death were caused by a miasma (ancient Greek: “pollution”), a noxious form of “bad air”. This concept was not disposed of until the late 1800s, with the rise of the germ theory of disease. Miasma was considered to be a poisonous vapor or mist filled with particles from decomposed matter that caused illnesses. It was identifiable by its foul smell.
  • Luminiferous aether: Assumed to exist for much of the 19th century, the theory held that a “medium” of aether pervaded the universe through which light could propagate. The celebrated Michelson-Morley experiment in 1887 was the first to provide hard evidence that aether did not exist, and the theory lost all popularity among scientists by the 1920s.
  • Stress theory of ulcers: As peptic ulcers became more common in the 20th century, doctors increasingly linked them to the stress of modern life. Medical advice during the latter half of the 20th century was, essentially, for patients to take antacids and modify their lifestyle. In the 1980s Australian clinical researcher Barry Marshal discovered that the bacterium H. pylori caused peptic ulcer disease, leading him to win a Nobel Prize in 2005.
  • Static universe: Prior to the observations made by astronomer Edwin Hubble during 1920s, scientists believed the universe was static, neither expanding nor contracting. Hubble found that distant objects in the universe were moving more quickly away than nearby ones. Very recently, in 1999, scientists unexpectedly found that not only was the universe expanding, but its expansion was accelerating.]

Thus the mandate for all Christians in the world to exercise vigilance and test every potential source of truth within creation.

But we have been given a Silver Bullet: uncontaminated, objective, absolute and transcendent Truth from outside creation. Both the incarnate Truth (Jesus Christ) and the written truth (Scripture) give us invaluable access to genuine objective reality and truth. They become the yardstick to help ascertain what is real and what is not, what is true and what is false. Without them, we are sitting ducks for an enemy that is spectacularly deceptive. And we are expecially vunerable in the area of morality; without a transcendent anchor, anything goes with right becoming wrong and vice-versa.

In this world ....... all is not as it may seem.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Battery Derangement Syndrome


Mark Mills reinforces here in his article in Forbes, what I wrote previously here about the great con being pulled on the public about electric cars. As Mark bluntly says,

Given the physics of the universe we live in and the scale of the global challenge, there is simply no chance that the New York Times green vision will come to pass any time in the foreseeable future… period.

..... Global lithium battery factories collectively manufacture enough capacity to store 100 billion watt-hours (Wh) of electricity annually. Sounds like a big number, but here’s the rub: the world uses over 50,000 billion Wh every day, with America alone using about 10,000 billion Wh daily. To achieve the ‘pure’ green solar-battery vision, quite obviously each home needs on average at least 12 hours of storage any given day. (We’re being generous here ignoring issues like cloudy days.) Thus, do the math on what’s required to manufacture a total of 25,000 billion watt-hours of storage systems to hold that half-day’s worth of electricity: it would take 250 years of production from all of today’s global battery factories. Yes, we could build more factories, but these are very big systems with enormous capital costs that already use astronomical quantities of materials.

...... consider the scale needed for batteries to replace gasoline. At any given moment the fuel tanks in more than 1 billion vehicles on the world’s highways and in garages hold about 10,000 million gallons of gasoline (and diesel). That quantity of energy expressed in electrical terms totals 400,000 billion watt-hours. If we reduce this to take into account the efficiency advantage of electric motors, typically 4x better than an engine at converting stored energy into motion, then one needs only 100,000 billion Wh of batteries. That’s a quantity 5x greater than the already massive number needed for the solar vision. This. Won’t. Happen.

.... In the real world where consumers and policymakers have to live, we’ll need a lot of fuel-burning cars and grids for the foreseeable future.


*******

Read Mark's article in entirety. Unlike the fanatical proponents of electric cars who live in Wonderland, Mills deals with hard reality and confronts the appropriately named "Battery Derangement Syndrome".

Monday, July 24, 2017

Dark Deeds Naturally Seek The Darkness


There's an article here in Vice that reveals the widespread appeal of the Satanic Temple to LGBTQ. The author writes,

At 26 years old, newly lesbian, and navigating the tail end of a five year relationship with the man I loved, I didn't know what to call myself aside from "confused." Figuring I might as well lean into that untethered panic, I attended a public forum hosted by the Satanic Temple's LA chapter. Held at a biker bar in the suburbs, I showed up wearing mom jeans and fit in seamlessly, and I've since become a member in good standing.

Since then, I've been consumed with all things Satanic Temple.

And as noted here on the Christian Post,

The co-founder of the Satanic Temple said that he would "not be surprised" if over half of the group's members identify as LGBTQ because of its "radically-inclusive space."

.... As Ash Astaroth, who is now the director of the Temple's headquarters in Salem, Massachusetts, said in the Vice article:

"Queer is an extra layer on top of being gay just like Satan is an extra layer on top of being an atheist."

*******

It's noteworthy that the author admits,

At the first meeting I attended, nearly everyone I talked to was confidently queer, gay, pansexual, transgender, bi, polyamorous, or something in between.

Those ensnared in dark deeds inevitably gravitate towards darkness. But there is One who freely offers a way out into glorious light.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God. (John 3:19-21, ESV)

Last Words Can Be Revealing

.... through death he (Christ) might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery (Heb 2:14-15)

Viewer Discretion Advised

The only 911 call used in the criminal trials of the 9/11 attacks was that made by Kevin Cosgrove, an excutive for Aon Corp, who was on the 105th floor in tower two. The call ends with his screams as the tower collapses. The anger in his voice with the 911 dispatcher and Fire Department is both telling and heartbreaking. I have no idea if Kevin was a believer. But unlike others who clearly sought solace in God as the situation unraveled, Kevin's words were a stark contrast articulating anger, bitterness, impatience and hostility towards the very ones who were desperately seeking to save him. (Many of his would-be rescuers would in fact lose their lives in the process). While Kevin's death was a tragedy and my heart goes out to his widow and kids, the real tragedy was the apparent condition of his heart which unfolded during the drama.

In stark contrast were the calm last words of Todd Beamer on Flight 93 who recited the Lords Prayer with Lisa Jefferson [the GTE Airfone operator] before losing his life in a heroic failed attempt to retake the aircraft from the hijackers. Like Kevin, Todd also faced death that day - but in a far different fashion. Here is the interview with Lisa Jefferson who prayed with Todd that fateful day ....


Words and actions at the end of one's life can be quite revealing.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Fourteen Centuries Of Imbeciles Are Enough!


David Bolgiano (who fought in three combat tours in Southwest Asia as a paratrooper in the 82D Airborne and later with Special Operations Forces, getting "an eyeful of Islamic countries’ miseries, to include its Dhimmitude of other faiths and near enslavement of women. ") articulates here what almost nobody in the Washington DC fantasyland bubble is willing to publicly acknowledge regarding Islam.

.... there is an underlying truth of Holmes’ words when applied to a radical, violent, and incompatible religion that Islam has consistently shown itself to be. Here is just some of its spawn:
  • An honor-killing society that willfully, knowingly and with moral sanction lies to all it considers “infidels” (I.e., anyone not a Muslim);
  • A pathological jealously and hatred of the successes of the West. I know, I have heard about how wonderful the Arab was at Algebra . . . blah, blah, blah.
Violent extremism follows wherever they land. And, when they don’t quite have enough of a majority to lord over the Dhimmitude, they make Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson look like amateurs at playing the race card. The Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) did not do squat to condemn the 9/11 terror attacks. In fact, most of its members were cheering from high-rises in Falls Church, Virginia, and Jersey City, New Jersey. But, CAIR was there to immediately whine that our law enforcement and intelligence community was “targeting” Muslims. It worked. The US Army fired a seasoned warrior and scholar, Lieutenant Colonel Matt Dooley, for daring to query, “Is Islam compatible with a Jeffersonian Democracy?” and the Department of Defense made Koranic scholar and Arabic speaker Major Stephen Coughlin persona non grata because he dared to speak the truth about what the Koran actually says.

Once they hit about 15 percent of the population, “no-go zones” pop up, where police are prohibited or afraid to go. This has already occurred in Paris, Antwerp, and parts of England. And, like lambs to slaughter, go the meek go. Perhaps Western Europe lost too much of its manhood in World War I and World War II. Now, left with wimps afraid of confrontation or being accused of being Islamaphobic (a wise thing to be in light of the existential threat posed by these savages), Old Europe may be too late to save. Unless they dig deep and find the courage to throw the likes of Angela Merkel out of office, Europeans as we know and love them may be gone forever. Europe will become Eurabia.

.... here is an unfortunate false historical narrative being played out in Western academics and its halls of political power that suggest that the Mohammedans are always the victims of Christian and Jewish oppression. A brief, knowing study of history proves something quite the contrary. Remember, the Crusades were a reaction to the violent and virulent spread of Islam from Arabia. In a short century, starting hundreds of years of misery after Mohammed’s death, his cancerous tribal “religion of peace” spread at the point of the spear until it encompassed all the lands of Persia, Arabia, the Levant, the Maghreb, Portugal, and Spain. Only countless struggles, bookmarked by the Battle of Tours in 732 and the Vienna in 1683 saved the West, to include all its genius of the likes of Descartes, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Vivaldi, Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, and more, from ruin.

Now, due in large part by Saudi largesse and the willful ignorance of progressive politicians, professors, and media, many in Europe and the USA are being taught a false historical narrative.  It is not providential to watch most motion pictures made after 1960, with the exception of Lonesome Dove, Saving Private Ryan, and most of Clint Eastwood’s films, but parents should encourage their children to watch the 2014 movie The Cut. It vividly and accurately depicts what Turks (Muslims) did and continue to do to “nonbelievers” in a ruthless and determined fashion.

..... it may not be tomorrow, but it is coming. Europe has apparently signed its own death warrant as its politicians criminally prosecute prophets like Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders for telling the truth about Islam’s obvious goal of creating a worldwide caliphate. And, if the Muj don’t get us, perhaps the rabid Left will. If they continue on their current course unchecked, it could take a shooting war to reclaim what are our God-given rights.

..... These are perilous times and God calls us to be saints and wear His armor.


*******

As David correctly charges, anyone that desires to keep their job and respectability in national leadership (whether military, political, judicial, academia or journalistic) cowtows to the politically-correct hogwash narrative that Islam is a "religion of peace". In so doing, they ultimately and foolishly sign America's death warrant. The few that do choose to speak the truth are quickly and publicly castrated, leaving America with only weak and impotent leadership ..... to the delight of Islam.

Childish leaders oppress my people, and women rule over them. O my people, your leaders mislead you; they send you down the wrong road. (Isa 3:12, NLT)


You Are A New Creation


Friday, July 21, 2017

The Greatest Generation



The movie "Dunkirk" is intense and well-worth seeing to remind us of the generation that saved Western Civilization from the Nazis. 
I'm named after an uncle who died at the age of 18 in WW2 in the Pacific in a torpedo bomber. In contrast to the widespread selfishness of today's morally bankrupt generation, that was perhaps the finest American generation and they paid a tremendous sacrifice.

That generation stands in marked conrast to today's which meanders in a lost fog of relativism, led by spineless politicians for the most part. In the 1930s, Winston Churchill futilely tried to warn England of the rise of Nazism. The British Prime Minster, Neville Chamberlain, naively signed the Munich Agreement in 1938 foolishly declaring "peace in our time". A few months later, Hilter invaded Poland. Churchhill subsequently stepped up to the plate and led Britain to victory in WW2.

The Munich Agreement is reminiscent of modern-day "treaties" with such rogue nations as North Korea and Iran which are signed by ignorant and arrogant politicians and aren't worth the paper they are written on. Dark storm clouds are gathering and something far worse than WW2 is on the horizon.

If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will be wicked (Proverbs 29:12 ESV)
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18 ESV)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

5 Times Doctors Told Families Their Babies Had No Hope—And Were Wrong


Josh Shepherd reveals here 5 different times that doctors told families their babies had no hope ....... and were wrong.

Sometimes parents reject the narrow options given them and later are glad they did, as in the five stories that follow. They reveal not only insights into medical ethics and parents’ rights — but, perhaps, also a higher power at work in frail lives whom modern society tragically seeks to discard.


*******

Read the 5 stories.

Naturalism is the belief there is no such thing as the supernatural. There is no God, no heaven, hell or any form of spiritual reality. Mankind is purely a physical animal. To Naturalists, the only thing that exists is matter which is evolving and eternal. As a result, Naturalism assumes that there is no essential meaning or purpose for anything. Human life and every aspect of material reality are just enormous cosmic accidents. The essence of reality is nothing more than material substances which, over the eons, have evolved into what exists today.

Naturalism made its climactic move on the philosophical stage when Darwin connected it with physical science. With his theory of evolution, there was suddenly no need for God at all. All of material reality could be accounted for using natural means. After Darwin, more and more academics began adopting a Naturalistic worldiview and teaching it in schools and universities. Naturalism rapidly spread throughout Western civilization. As evolution became the preferred theory of origins, naturalism worldview concepts began to be applied to other areas of life such as law, psychology, sociology, medical, anthropology, religion and so on.

No worldview is an island unto itself, but simply a foundational set of presuppositions about the nature of reality. Thus, from the foundation of every worldview come various specific ideologies which try to make sense of the presuppositions in real life. Naturalism is no exception. Some of the major belief systems which have emerged from Naturalism include Nihilism, Existentialism, Secular Humanism, Positivism (also called Scientism), Atheism, Agnosticism, Skepticism, and many expressions of Postmodernism. Each of these ideologies take off in different directions and come to slightly different conclusions about the way the universe operates, but Naturalism is their starting point.

Naturalism asserts that there is no innate value or meaning to human existence. Each individual must find their own meaning for life. In its essence, this meaning will be subjective. It includes whatever an individual decides will make life meaningful and worth living. It may be different from individual to individual, but that is okay. There is nothing that can objectively be called right, truth, purpose, or meaning.

Naturalism is not simply an abstract philosophical concept. Its' ideas always have consequences in the real world including life/death issues such as: abortion, euthanasia, suicide, genocide, murder, “Right to die,” terrorism, etc. None of these issues are seen to be wrong in and of themselves according to an objective morality. They are understood to be good or bad depending on the needs of society at large at any given moment and in any given circumstance. (Naturalism has devastating consequences in virtually every other area of life.)

Letting a brainwashed culture that is steeped in naturalism dicate life/death choices is a recipe for disaster. The dark worldview of naturalism has no inherent hope, only meaningless existence with no objective morality. Embracing the worldview of naturalism always leads to the darkness of moral relativism ...... and ultimately hopelessness.

In contrast, the Christian gospel offers truth, life, hope, joy and peace - even in the most arduous of circumstances.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

There Is Nowhere To Hide


Al Mohler elaborates here on Eugene Peterson's flip-flopping on the question of gay marriage. He wisely summarizes ......

Consider these lessons from Eugene Peterson’s ordeal.

First, there is nowhere to hide. Every pastor, every Christian leader, every author  — even every believer — will have to answer the question. The question cannot simply be about same-sex marriage. The question is about whether or not the believer is willing to declare and defend God’s revealed plan for human sexuality and gender as clearly revealed in the Bible.

Second, you had better have your answer ready. Evasive, wandering, and inconclusive answers will be seen for what they are. Those who have fled for security to the house of evasion must know that the structure has crumbled. It always does.

Third, if you will stand for the Bible’s clear teachings on sexuality and gender, you had better be ready to answer the same way over and over and over again. The question will come back again and again, in hopes that you have finally decided to “get on the right side of history.” Faithfulness requires consistency — that “long obedience in the same direction.”

That is what it means to be a disciple of Christ, as Eugene Peterson has now taught us. In more ways than one.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Investigation Of The Shroud Of Turin


Over the years, my research has led me to increasingly believe the Shroud of Turin is the authentic burial shroud of Christ. Some Protestants wrongly tend to treat the Shroud as a threat to the authority of scripture. It seems odd at first that even conservative Protestants who argue for the resurrection don’t mention the Shroud. They muster detailed (and often quite good) historical arguments as to why Jesus was actually raised. You’d think they would give their eye teeth for something like the Shroud, which could turn out to be real, scientific evidence of the very thing they are arguing for. Yet it’s not on their radar screen.

Dr. Gary Hebermas [Distinguished Research Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy at the Rawlings School of Divinity] is the premier Protestant evangelical authority on the Resurrection of Christ and in fact believes there is little chance the Shroud is a forgery (see here.) As he concludes,

Scientific inquiry reveals that there is little chance that it is a fake. In particular, experiments show that there is no foreign substance that could account for the image. Historical inquiry provides much good material for a very early date that is seldom mentioned. Studies of the pollen samples have refuted historical agnosticism, while scientific studies of the material and especially the coins over the eyes point to a probable first-century date.

On the other hand, the shroud is consistent with the Biblical data concerning Jesus' burial. What appears at first to conflict turns out, on further investigation, to be interwoven. At any rate, there appear to be no contradictions and even some Biblical and extra-Biblical evidence for the type of burial seen in the shroud. Further, a study of probabilities reveals that it is highly probable that the man buried in the shroud is Jesus. Both have many intricate and unusual points in common, with no discrepancies. In addition the shroud has been preserved throughout its history as the actual burial garment of Jesus, and legend links it with the apostles themselves.

Most interesting, at least for this writer, concerns the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. The man of the shroud was not buried in the material for more than a few days, but neither was he unwrapped. Instead an image on the cloth is clearly visible, probably caused by a burst of radiation from a dead body. True, we do not have absolute proof for the identity of the man of the shroud. Neither do we need it to demonstrate the reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus (or for anything else in the Christian faith). But it appears to provide strong empirical corroboration for Jesus' resurrection, and when combined with the historical evidence for this event I would submit that we have a twofold apologetic from both science and history.

As such there is good warrant for further study of the shroud. It appears that it can provide continuing confirmation of the most treasured of our beliefs: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Dr. Habermas gives his presentation below on the Shroud from several years ago (the link above is his current and latest position) .......

To redefine or scorn it is as dangerous as staring at the sun with unprotected eyes


John Stonestreet over at Breakpoint asks a thorn-in-the-side question to a culture in the throes of moral meltdown ...

What if marriage isn’t just a label? What if it really exists, as much a part of the created order as is gravity or energy? Then we couldn’t flout it without consequences, any more than we could step off the roof and choose not to hit the ground.

*******

Indeed. He is absolutely correct. Marriage is indeed part of the divinely created order and fundamental to human existence. While especially significant to Christans because of its symbolism of the relationship between Christ and His church (Eph 5:31-32), marriage is also part of the common grace of God to all (i.e., the renewing rain falls on the just and unjust.) Marriage is a blessing mandated by the Creator for this age (Gen 2:24). We can redefine marriage no more than we can stop the rotation of Earth on its axis or its orbit around the sun. To redefine or scorn marriage is as dangerous as staring at the sun with unprotected eyes. Both incur disasterous consequences.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Cultural Relevance Is A Cruel Mistress


Carl R. Trueman, Professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, wisely hammers the Church of England (Anglican Church) here for their foolish proposal to liturgically celebrate the transgender transitions of congregants.

This motion is consistent with liberal Protestantism’s age-old calling, that of baptizing the moral norms du jour of the respectable chattering classes, presumably in hopes of enhancing the appeal of religion to its cultured despisers. Transgenderism was bound for liturgical acceptance.

By now, experience should have taught even the moderately self-aware that, where religion is concerned, cultural relevance is a cruel mistress, always promising the Church a place at her table but never quite delivering. Alas, self-awareness has never been the strong suit of those liberal Protestants who have perfected the art of always being belatedly in support of whatever nonsense the sexual revolution is now declaring a self-evident truth that only a hate-filled bigot would deny. And so we have this liturgical proposal which, as with all liturgies, tells us a lot about the General Synod’s understanding of its church’s purpose. It points toward a view of the Church as offering a religious idiom for the therapeutic concerns of modern Western society ......

.... My guess is that those who proposed this motion did so in order to be inclusive and affirming. They are motivated by a sincere pastoral concern. But their proposal is ultimately cruel and callous. They are putting their seal of approval on the demolition of the notion of human nature. The costs of that will in the long run be catastrophic, seen in mutilated bodies and hormone-addled minds. These Anglicans are making a Nietzschean move, not a Christian one.

The Gospel In 4 Minutes


Sunday, July 16, 2017

"“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying."

The quote in the title is from famed science fiction author Arthur C. Clark. While I belive the first possibility is far more likely, this movie is a good preview of the second possibility given that the cosmos is fallen. Scripture is clear that all creation was touched by the Curse and now suffers a “bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:20–22).


The Present


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Following The Mob


For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me (2 Tim 4:10)

The PLO leader (and terrorist) Yassir Arafat was notorious for saying one thing in his native Arabic to his rabid followers, and something entirely contradictory in English to the west. Politicians excel at this kind of doubletalk ....... until they get caught and then have to start backpedaling. They shine at pleasing the mob.

Eugene Peterson, translator of the popular bible adaption "The Message" and a favorite in evangelical circles, shocked many this week stating that he’s perfectly comfortable performing a same-sex wedding (see here.) One day later (probably after his literary agent told him he had just committed literary suicide), he released a statement through his agent retracting his comment. (See here.)

Squaring homosexuality with the Bible requires that one either (a) ignore its clear and historic teaching or (2) perform a clever textual sleight of hand. It’s the only two ways one can arrive there. But both ways clearly abdicate revealed truth.

Mob mentality describes how people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors. The term “mob mentality” refers to unique behavioral characteristics that emerge when people are in large groups. It is often used in a negative sense, because the term “mob” typically conjures up an image of an aggressive, chaotic group of people. Social psychologists who study group behavior also use terms such as “herd behavior,” "herd mentality" or “crowd hysteria” to describe similar behaviors. The study of mob mentality is used to analyze situations that range from problems during evacuations to public gatherings that turn violent.

Unfortunately, this kind of mentality is surfacing within more and more of the church. Instead of standing firmly against the rising immoral tide, many are being swept out to sea with the mob where they are subject to every wind and current of doctrine and belief - no matter how unbiblical. As the culture disintegrates, more leaders in the Church are tragically capitulating to the mob ... for they loved human praise more than praise from God (John 12:43)

Crimes Of The Educators


Friday, July 14, 2017

The Metric System Was Born Out Of A Hatred Of Christianity


Very few are aware of the origin of the metric system. It was born during the rise of secular humanism with a corresponding viscious hatred of Christianity amidst the horror of the French revolution.

The French Revolution began with a Reign of Terror during which Maximilien Robespierre led the “Committee of Public Safety,” France’s version of Department of Homeland Security. He said in a speech to the National Assembly, Feb. 5, 1794, entitled “The Terror Justified”: “Lead … the enemies of the people by terror. … Terror is nothing else than swift, severe, indomitable justice.”

Robespierre began accusing, arresting, and beheading:
  • first all the royalty
  • then the wealthy
  • then the farmers and businessmen
  • then those hoarding food
  • then the clergy
  • then the former revolutionaries
The metric system came into being in 1799, during the French Revolution, when the existing system of measure was replaced by a decimal system based on the kilogram and the metre. The work of reforming the old system of weights and measures was sponsored by the revolutionary government, including the approval of Louis XVI before his fall from power. The metric system was to be, in the words of philosopher and mathematician Condorcet, "for all people for all time". In the era of humanism, the basic units were taken from the natural world: the unit of length, the metre, was based on the dimensions of the Earth, and the unit of mass, the kilogram, was based on the mass of water having a volume of one litre or one thousandth of a cubic metre.

During the French Revolution, over 40,000 were beheaded in Paris. It was an intentional campaign to de-christianize French society and replace it with a civic religion of state worship. Not wanting a constitution “Done in the year of the Lord,” as the U.S. Constitution was, the new French government made 1791 the new “Year One.” They did not want a seven-day week with a Sabbath day rest, as this was derived from the Bible, so they devised a ten day “decade” week, and ten month year.

French Revolutionary time divided the day into 10 decimal hours, with each hour consisting of 100 decimal minutes, and each minute made up of 100 decimal seconds. Every measurement was to be divisible by ten, as ten was considered the number of man with ten fingers and ten toes.

The new system of measurement was called “the metric system.”

The new secular government proceeded to:
  • Forbid crosses as being offensive
  • Religious monuments were destroyed
  • Public and private worship and education outlawed
  • Priests and ministers, along with those who harbored them, were executed on sight
  • Christian graves were desecrated, including that of Ste. Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris who called the city to pray when Attila the Hun was attacking in 451 A.D.
  • Churches were closed or used for “immoral,” “lurid,” “licentious,” “scandalous” “depravities”
Robespierre put a prostitute in Notre Dame Cathedral and called her the goddess of reason to be worshiped. The Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg was turned into a Temple of Reason.

While secular history nobly ascribes the development of the metric system to an era of revolution, in which "the ways of the old world were increasingly coming into question, and the atmosphere was perfect for new ideas to develop and flourish" ....... it was in simple fact birthed from a hatred of Christianity and a bloody determination to dechristianize France.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Truth vs Deception


Whether We Love Truth Over Deception Is Up To Us

... they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, (2 Thess 2:10-11)


The 1973 movie "The Sting" (clip above) with Paul Newman and Robert Redford brilliantly depicts how easy it is to deceive a rich, powerful man. Yesterday I wrote here about the dumbest person being the one who cannot recognize nonsense for what it is. And lo and behold - today - Robert Tracinski writes here a "pretty good guide on how to bamboozle a 33-year-old billionaire who doesn’t possess much apparent experience of the world outside of Silicon Valley la-la-land."

Continuing his “Let’s get to know normal people” tour, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his wife traveled to Alaska and came back with some musings on the “basic income,” the idea of giving everybody in the country a monthly check to live on whether they do any work or not.

But in drawing on Alaska as an example, Zuckerberg gets a lot of the actual facts wrong and ends up offering us a pretty good guide on how to bamboozle a 33-year-old billionaire who doesn’t possess much apparent experience of the world outside of Silicon Valley la-la-land.

It sounds like somebody got the executive summary from a local official who wanted to make the system sound like it’s all just fine. But the problem with billionaires going on weekend tours and listening to the executive summary is that they don’t put in any of the first-hand effort at fact-finding that they would devote to their own business interests, so they’re easily convinced to parrot somebody’s agenda.


In Zuckerberg’s case, he gets a lot wrong about Alaska’s Permanent Fund, and about the basic income ....

.... The problem is that what he’s actually doing looks more like a billionaire’s flyover tour, where he parachutes in for a weekend, gets a highly selective overview, and encounters complex issues by way of an executive summary given to him by an establishment type with a vested interest in putting a nice coat of varnish on the status quo. So he ends up thinking he is informed while he misses all the crucial parts of the story.

I guess that shows us how to bamboozle a billionaire. It’s up to us to make sure we don’t get bamboozled by him in turn.

*******

Contrary to popular thought, tt's not just the uneducated poor who are easily deceived. In fact, it's often easier to deceive the highly-educated rich. Consider how many of highly educated academia and the political elite have brought into transgender nonsense lock-stock-and-barrel. Remember what Jesus said about how difficult it was for the rich to enter Heaven (Mark 10:25) and His warning about "many" on the day of judgment who would discover they had been deceived that they knew Him (Matt 7:21-13)? Intelligence, education and wealth are not sure-fire protection against deceit. Indeed, there is abundant evidence that such people are often easier to fool, because they don’t expect to be fooled. Fear, greed and the need to maintain self-esteem are often defining characteristics in those who fall for deception.

The video below is a powerful demonstration of how easy it is to deceive. While not in English, the deception is plain-as-day.



While we in this fallen world can be deceived, if we choose to ally ourselves with Wisdom personified and walk with Him in faithfulness, we are ultimately equipped to recognize deceit. We don't become automatically immune to deception in this world, but are empowered to discern and love truth. Truth does not fear deception; in contrast deception fears and suppresses the truth.

Scripture warns that at the end of the age many will willfully refuse to love truth and that consequently, God will send a strong delusion for them to be receptive to deception (2 Thess 2:10-11). Whether or not we love truth over deception is entirely up to us.

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect (Matthew 24:24)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Dumbest Person Is The One Who Cannot See Gibberish For What It Is


Carl Trueman, Professor of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, wrote a striking essay here last month asserting "obscurantist jargon" is "the most dangerous and widespread toxin in academia today."

Here, for example, are a couple of paragraphs I recently encountered in the reissue of Mary Daly’s classic Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism:

"In 1975 also my Lesbian Life-Time took on a New dimension. Complex and tumultuous from the start, my experience of ecstatic connectedness at this Time made it possible for me to Spin Gyn/Ecology so that it flourished in ways that previous books had not. No doubt, had there not been such a Be-Dazzling connection I would have written a book during that time, but it would, I am sure, have been less alive and daring than Gyn/Ecology became, as it Unfolded into its own shape of be-ing. It was in the rich, ecstatic Aura (O-Zone) of my connectedness with Denise that my writing flowed and sparkled, deep into the Hag-Time of night and early morning. In the Time before sunrise the landscape/seascape/skyscape of this book opened up to me, as I was Heard into the right words by the Sparking and Spinning of that Boon Companion who arrived in Tidal Time."

With its hackneyed images and its portentous but pointless use of random capitalization and hyphenation, this passage is (ironically) among the more well-written and comprehensible in the book. But what does it mean? The answer is simple: Nothing. Nothing at all. It is gibberish, designed not to communicate information or to transform the reader but to bedazzle and bamboozle those dim enough to fall for it.

... Such jargon seems to fulfill three purposes in academe. It allows the peddlers of the banal, the obvious, and often the downright incorrect to hide their superficiality beneath an illusion of depth and learning. In this sense, it is a kind of pseudo-intellectual confidence trick that scams time and money out of students who know no better.

But it also has more sinister implications. It fosters cults of personality, whereby the guru recruits those willing to learn the lingo into his own little army of followers. Education becomes an exercise in cloning, rather than thinking.

Finally, and most sinister of all, by constructing a wall of gnostic nonsense, jargon precludes any criticism from those outside the guild of True Believers ....

... Years ago, while I was on faculty at the University of Nottingham, a colleague and I used to play a game with the students. We would give them a quiz consisting of paragraphs drawn from great theologians and philosophers, which they had to attribute. In every quiz we included one paragraph of complete gibberish, which we had made up ourselves over a pint of beer in the faculty club. Words such as “alterity,” “the Other,” and “subjectification” abounded, along with nouns used as verbs and a plethora of hyphenated neologisms and random capitalizations. The students never failed to attempt some kind of attribution (Paul Tillich, I think, was usually the most popular) and to profess admiration for the depth of thought and insight contained in the paragraph.

There is a lesson there. Perhaps the dumbest man in the room is not the man who cannot understand gibberish, but the man who cannot see gibberish for what it is. And perhaps the most dangerous people on campus are those who understand this human weakness and take full, cynical advantage of it. (emphasis is mine)

*******

It's easy to bamboozle people with obscure meaningless jargon, seeking to impress them with your knowledge and elite status. The video at the top is a great example.

On the other hand, it's far more challenging to communicate simply and concisely on a level the recipient can easily grasp. The teaching of Jesus is masterful in both simplicity and concise content. It's somewhat astonishing that the omnipotent God - who could have easily fried our comprehension - instead elucidates His teaching to a level that the common person can comprehend. In so doing, He infuriated the learned religious scholars of the day who prided themselves on being the gatekeepers of religious knowledge.

As our culture spins out of control, the politicians, media pundits, educators, business leaders and self-proclaimed "experts" mask their incompetence, ignorance and sometimes deceit behind a bulwark of verbal and written nonsense. Like the hucksters of yesteryear, they scam the culture with the 21st century version of snake-oil. But we can take refuge in the practical wisdom freely offered to all by a mercful and gracious God. In so doing, we effectively shield ourselves from the deceitful nonsense of the age.

Truly,
  • the dumbest person is the one who cannot see gibberish for what it is,
  • the dangerous person is the one who understands this weakness and uses it to control others,
  • the wise person is the one who recognizes and ignores the nonsense.
The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
To know wisdom and instruction,
    to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
    in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
    knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
    and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
    the words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction.
(Prov 1:1-7, ESV))

Monday, July 10, 2017

Mankind Represents God In The Cosmos


then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature (Gen 2:7, ESV)

Dr. Michael Egnor, professor of neurological surgery at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, reveals here his conclusion that materialism cannot explain the whole being of a human.

Francis Crick, neuroscientist and co-discoverer of the helical structure of DNA, expressed the widespread view that the mind is a function of material stuff: “A person’s mental activities are entirely due to the behavior of nerve cells, glial cells, and the atoms, ions, and molecules that make them up and influenced them.” How, then, is it possible to converse with someone while removing the large portions of her brain that serve thought and reasoning?

I’m a neuroscientist and professor of neurosurgery. The mind-brain question haunts me. Neurosurgeons alter the brain on a daily basis, and what we find doesn’t fit the prevailing view that the brain runs the mind as computer hardware runs software.

I have scores of patients who are missing large areas of their brains, yet who have quite good minds. I have a patient born with two-thirds of her brain absent. She’s a normal junior high kid who loves to play soccer. Another patient, missing a similar amount of brain tissue, is an accomplished musician with a master’s degree in English.


How can this be? It wasn’t until I read Thomas Aquinas that I began to understand ......

.... In the past decade, British researcher Adrian Owen has found using fMRI imaging that some patients with such severe brain damage that they are considered to be in a persistent vegetative state are actually capable of sophisticated thought. The “comatose” patients’ brain scans show that, in reply to questions by an examiner, the patients are in fact thinking and imagining.

The woman on the operating table who was talking to me while I removed her frontal lobe had both material and immaterial powers of mind. Our higher brain functions defy precise mapping onto brain tissue, because they are not generated by tissue, as our lower brain functions are.

Materialism, the view that matter is all that exists, is the premise of much contemporary thinking about what a human being is. Yet evidence from the laboratory, operating room, and clinical experience points to a less fashionable conclusion: Human beings straddle the material and immaterial realms.


*******

Indeed.

There is a fusion of the material part of man and his immaterial part. These are united in one person and the totality of that person is properly said to be in the image of God. Mankind represents God in the universe. We can’t emphasize one over the other; they are both important. In John 14:9, Jesus makes the astonishing declaration that, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” The incredible point is that in the incarnation everything that God is in terms of being infinite is "scrunched" and "packed down" into the highest possible perfect expression of deity in finite form - the person of Jesus Christ in His humanity.

Death is the temporary and unnatural division of man's material and immaterial. This is one reason why death is so unnatural (death is only "natural" in a fallen world.) For those in Christ, the material (rejuvinated and perfected) and immaterial are gloriously reunited at the Resurrection.

Earlier, I wrote here about the "super spirituality" of much of modern evangelicalism which often tends to downplay the material part of man. In contrast, materialism denies the immaterial part. Both views are deficient. It is the glorious fusion of material and immaterial that constitutes mankind. The denial of this cardinal truth will always have destructive consequences.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Teen Who Dies If He Falls Asleep

I'm sure many pro-abortion advocates would have said at his birth that he is the perfect justification for abortion. Doctors gave him just 6 weeks to live after birth. And while no doubt, eugenics advocates would quickly write him off, his remarkable ability to construct the most intricate and complex legos is far above the ability of the overwhelming vast majority of "normal" people.


Below is yet another example of how there are no "useless" people. His adopted mother is a powerful example of true mothering. As the narrator asks, "Beyond explanation?" No. The sovereignty of God.



It is horrifying to think how many "special" people like these two have been killed in the name of "compassion" and "mercy". God help a culture that is so twisted in its' values that we butcher everyday special small ones like this in the womb.

The Prewrath Rapture Of The Church

I wrote before here that I believe the timing of the rapture of the church with the strongest Biblical support is "prewrath". This video is an excellent overview of the Biblical support for that understanding. Why is this important? Because if the prewrath understanding is correct, those Christians who hold to a pretribulation rapture are much more likely to be deceived by the coming antichrist (whom the pretrib view asserts will not be revealed until after the rapture.)


Friday, July 7, 2017

A Classic Case Of Deception


Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips (Jer 7:28, NIV)

I am not a fan of electric cars. Why? Because of the masterful, deceptive marketing, The culture has brought into the lie that electric cars are "green" and environment-riendly.

The facts?

Devonshire Research Group, an investment firm that specializes in valuing tech companies, dug into the data and concluded that Tesla’s environmental benefits may be more hyped than warranted. Their research shows that Teslas (and, by extension, all electric vehicles) create pollution and carbon emissions in other ways. Each stage of an EV’s life has environmental impacts, and while they aren’t as obvious as a tailpipe pumping out fumes, that doesn’t make them any less damaging.

An electric car may not need gas, but it still usually gets its energy from burning carbon; it depends on how the local grid generates electricity. “If you use coal-fired power plants to produce the electricity, then all-electrics don’t even look that much better than a traditional vehicle in terms of greenhouse gases,” says Virginia McConnell, an economist at the environmental research firm Resources for the Future.

The math gets trickier, though, when you include other forms of environmental damage. Electric cars need to be light, which means they include a lot of high-performing metals. The lithium in the batteries, for example, is super light and conductive—that’s how you get a lot of energy without adding a lot of weight. Other, rare metals are sprinkled throughout the car, mostly in the magnets that are in everything from the headlights to the on-board electronics.

But those rare metals come from somewhere—often, from environmentally destructive mines. It’s not just Tesla, of course. All electric vehicles rely on parts with similar environmental issues. Even solar panels depend on rare metals that have to be dug out of the earth and processed in less-than-green ways, says David Abraham, author of the book "The Elements of Power."

Rare metals only exist in tiny quantities and inconvenient places—so you have to move a lot of earth to get just a little bit. In the Jiangxi rare earth mine in China, Abraham writes, workers dig eight-foot holes and pour ammonium sulfate into them to dissolve the sandy clay. Then they haul out bags of muck and pass it through several acid baths; what’s left is baked in a kiln, leaving behind the rare earths required by everything from our phones to our Teslas.

At this mine, those rare earths amounted to 0.2 percent of what gets pulled out of the ground. The other 99.8 percent—now contaminated with toxic chemicals—is dumped back into the environment. That damage is difficult to quantify, just like the impact of oil drilling.

Batteries are some of the most toxic things on the planet that humans produce. Creation of the Tesla's huge, powerful battery pack releases as much CO2 into the atmosphere as an astonishing 8 years of gasoline driving (see here.) Thus, before you even drive 1 mile with your new Tesla, you've already put 8 years of CO2 into the atmosphere that driving a conventional, gasoline vehicle would have. Electric car batteries are eco-villains in the production process of creating them. Several tons of carbon dioxide are necessarily emitted even before the battery is installed in the car. Manufacturing an electric vehicle generates more carbon emissions than building a conventional car, mostly because of its battery, the Union of Concerned Scientists has found.

Of course, recharging the battery pack will release even more CO2 into the atmosphere (unless the power plant providing the electricity is either solely solar or wind powered, which very very few are in the U.S.). Since very few Tesla's owners will still be driving their Tesla after 8 years of ownership, they will never be as "green" as they would have been driving a traditional gasoline engine during the same period. In addition, batteries always decline in efficiency ... meaning if one keeps the car long enough, the highly-toxic (and enormously expensive) battery pack will have to be eventually replaced (releasing another 8 years worth of CO2 into the atmosphere.)

The same thing is true on a smaller-scale for hybrid cars (electric/gasoline). The production of the much smaller battery pack for a Toyota Prius releases 3 years of CO2 that driving a gasoline engine would produce.

In fact, the primary reasons (whether one acknowledges it or not) to buy an electric car are to (1) impress your friends with the powerful acceleration inherent in electric vehicles, and (2) make a statement to all those who have been suckered into the deception that electric vehicles are "green". They are certainly not practical for long-distance travel because of the recharging requirements.

[On a related note, people often desire to install solar panels on their roof for clean electricity. Solar panels will power little more than lightbulbs and radios unless they are the size of an acre. People buy into the deception they will "save money" - i.e., they fool themselves into thinking that solar panels will pay for themselves. (They are not even close to doing so today, though perhaps someday they might.) You can take the money you would have spent in the solar equipment, and put it in other investments and get back more than the panels save in electricity bills. Plus, while the panels sit there losing money, they also depreciate (become less efficient) as they age. Nobody would normally buy an investment that returns 4% and where the principal depreciates to nothing over time.]

Currently it is far easier and cheaper to reduce pollution by cutting output at the big polluting factories and power plants. A dollar spent there does an order of magnitude more to cut pollution than a dollar spent on a personal hybrid or electric car.

The deception concerning electric cars and hybrids is a classic example of how easily an entire culture can be duped. But that deception - as bad as it is - is peanuts compared to the ultimate deception that is being supernaturally unleashed upon the world.

... that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world ... (Rev 12:9, ESV)

Truth renders all deception powerless.

Why he left the Word of Faith movement


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Social Media Is An Illusion Perfectly Suited For A Culture That Has Jettisoned Truth


Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new (Acts 17:21, ESV)

Several centuries before Christ, ancient Athens was a powerful city-state and culural center of high learning. It was the cradle of western civilization and birthplace of democracy. But by the time Paul visited as recorded in Acts 17, it had degenerated into an ancient version of modern-day television and social media.

Margot Cleveland correctly observes here that Mark Zuckerberg is clueless about church if he thinks Facebook can replicate it. Amen to her thesis that Facebook reflects a diseased society that has failed to share its faith with the next generation, and has succumbed instead to moralistic therapeutic deism.

Although launched in 2004, “Pastor” Mark Zuckerberg only recently Christianized his online community by comparing Facebook to a church:


A church doesn’t just come together. It has a pastor who cares for the well-being of their congregation, makes sure they have food and shelter…People who go to church are more likely to volunteer and give to charity – not just because they’re religious, but because they’re part of a community.

..... It would seem only natural, then, that Zuckerberg would view Facebook as the church incarnate.  What better way to satisfy humans’ supposed central goal in life—“to be happy and to feel good about oneself”—than by sharing pictures and posts of joyful occasions? Or, as is more likely the case, by posting perfectly posed pictures of themselves, their vacations, and their food?

Or consider this excerpt from “Soul Searching”: “Many teenagers know abundant details about the lives of favorite musicians and television stars or about what it takes to get into a good college, but most are not very clear on who Moses and Jesus were.” What better church to join than the one that allows you to connect with the latest artists and celebrities, and learn more minutiae about their glamorous lives?

She links to an essay by a Roman Catholic theologian here entitled "Sorry, Mark Zuckerberg, but Facebook can never be a substitute for the Church."

Facebook cannot begin to be a substitute for the Church. Christianity is an incarnational faith: the Word becomes flesh. It is that fleshy encounter with the word, the importance of the physical in our faith, that draws us together ....... This simply can’t be done electronically: we have to be present as a body to receive the body. It is this regular coming together as a “cult” from which springs the culture. Not the other way around.


*******

Mark Bauerlein waxes wisely on First Things here in his essay entitled "Facebook As Church".

There in miniature is the liberal dream: communities held together by no other glue than the interests and needs of their members, plus strong leadership. God plays no necessary role in the process, though nothing in Zuckerberg’s description rules him out. We can find our “sense of purpose” in one another. We don’t make strong demands upon ourselves and our brothers and sisters (and we certainly need not allow God and his deputies to tell us how to live), but we do give comfort and succor and belonging to each other.

A little more than a century ago, this draw-down of God went under Humanism. It had its negative expression, most powerfully in Nietzsche, but usually it took a positive form, the elevation of Man. 

*******

As I chronicled earlier here, Facebook is a fantasy world that fosters narcissism and deception .....

While promising unlimited joy, social media actually excels at multiplying narcissism, deception, division, and confusion—at warp speed. Substituting electronic communication for face-to face relationships, it allows users to avoid the hard knocks of reality while hiding behind a screen of electrons. Back in 2007, Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias discussed the ramifications of social media on the culture and warned that social media could be the Tower of Babel for our age. Reflecting on Facebook, he said,

"Where destruction is the motive, unity is dangerous. Where goodness is the motive, unity is phenomenal.”

...... one researcher concludes, "it may be time to redefine narcissism, as it may have become the social norm for young people."

..... Social media puts users at the center of their universe and many naively begin to believe that the world revolves around them. Social media is also a stalker's dream, providing a dangerous and false sense of anonymity. Everything is public; privacy is an illusion. Worse yet, everything lives on indefinitely in the electronic ether of the web, like a zombie refusing to die.

Many young people immaturely post things that will haunt them the rest of their lives. 

Worse yet, as I wrote earlier here, Facebook is an ideal tool for a coming world dicatator ....

Facebook is enormously popular among a populace who may be outraged by the data capturing and spying revealed by Edward Snowden, but - in fact - are gullibly sharing the most personal and intimate details of their lives. What kind of data are Facebook users handing over to a public company with investors, shareholders and government ties? Daylan Pierce is the Digital Experience Manager at APD; he enlightens us as to just how much personal data Facebook collects on its users ..... Daylan downloaded all of the data Facebook collected on him and received a zipped file that was 42 megabytes in size - roughly equivalent to well over a foot of books on a shelf, or one encyclopedia volume. And that is the amount of data collected by Facebook on just one person.


*******

Those that subcribe to social media (Facebook, Instragram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.) are much better off unplugging and engaging with the real world. When all is said and done, social media is nothing more than the modern incarnation of the Athenian Areopagus and an illusion perfectly suited for a culture that has jettisoned truth and is living in a fantasy of its own making.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

This Perhaps Best Explains The Government's Dysfunction


Arash Shirazi is a pretty cosmopolitan guy. A music agent and filmmaker, he hangs out with creative types and bohemians. He’s lived in Los Angeles, and spent time in cities such as, yes, Amsterdam, so it’s fair to say that he’s not particularly prudish in his social life.

And yet . . . leaving a Washington parking lot recently, he took pause when a distinctively skunky scent passed under his nostrils.

Of course he’d smelled marijuana before. But this was a weekday afternoon — in Georgetown!

“I was surprised,” he explained. “Georgetown’s a bit more buttoned-up.”

Well, that’s what they used to say about Washington in general. But now, more than two years after the District legalized marijuana possession, it seems that everywhere you go in the nation’s capital, you catch a whiff of weed. And it’s often in the places where you least expect it.

On H Street downtown, as you wind your way between office workers rushing back from lunch.

At 10th and E streets NW, in the shadow of the FBI headquarters.

In the hallway of your apartment building. In the foyer of your gym. In Aisle 9 of the Walmart, wafting in through the beach towels. (Wait, Walmart?)

Story is here.