Sunday, August 30, 2015

Analysis of Jesus' Command to His Disciples



“People often come to me and ask me to pray for them, that they would discover God’s will for their life. I already know God’s will for their life – heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out devils, cleanse lepers. They say, ‘Yes, but I need to know if I should be a schoolteacher or a missionary.’ I say, ‘Well, just pick one, and then heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out devils, cleanse lepers.’ Or they will say, ‘I just don’t know whether I should be married or should be single.’ I reply, ‘What do you want to be?’ ‘I really want to be married.’ ‘Then get married... and heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out devils, cleanse lepers.”
Bill Johnson, Manifesto for a Normal Christian Life

From Matthew 10
5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,[a] drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

Ok, now let's get to work. How would this look today?

Heal the sick

Cleanse the lepers

Drive out demons



Friday, August 28, 2015

The Unreasonableness of Secular Public Reason - Matthew Franck

The Unreasonableness of Secular Public Reason

 
 

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When voters and legislators act on religiously informed moral convictions in making the law, it may entail a blending of religion and politics that is disquieting to the secular liberal mind, but it closes no gap in the “separation of church and state.”

Although it may come as a surprise to some, the Constitution does not enact Mr. John Rawls’s Political Liberalism. That is to say, it is a category error to attribute to the Constitution (via the establishment clause of the First Amendment) the Rawlsian concept that “public reason” and political discourse should exclude “comprehensive doctrines” such as religious belief systems.

The accents of this argument could be heard in the Iowa supreme court’s marriage ruling in 2009, in which the court held that “religious opposition to same-sex marriage” was the real reason the state protected conjugal marriage in its law. Therefore, the judgment went, the law lacked a rational basis and was unconstitutional. Likewise, Judge Vaughn Walker of the federal district court that struck down California’s Proposition 8 claimed to “find” as a “fact” that “moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples” with respect to marriage. For Walker, “moral” was fungible with “religious,” and therefore Prop 8—you guessed it—lacked a rational basis.

The granddaddy of this strange argument is the view of Justice John Paul Stevens in the 1989 abortion case of Webster v. Reproductive Health Services. Stevens preposterously argued that a Missouri abortion law lacked “any secular purpose for the legislative declarations that life begins at conception and that conception occurs at fertilization” (which happen to be two uncontroversial scientific facts); that he could perceive only theological propositions at work in such legislation; and that therefore it violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

This transparent attempt to cripple legislative efforts to regulate or prohibit abortions was predicated not only on a willful blindness about the character of the arguments employed by pro-life legislators, but on a tortured reading of the Establishment Clause. For even if it were the case that prohibition of abortion rested, in the final analysis for every one of its supporters, on a theological proposition about the sanctity of human life, such a prohibition would not violate any reasonable reading of the First Amendment.

For voters and legislators to act on religiously informed moral convictions in making the law may entail a blending of religion and politics that is disquieting to the secular liberal mind, but it closes no gap in the “separation of church and state,” even assuming (as we should not) that that phrase expresses the best understanding of the Establishment Clause. No coercion to profess a religious belief or even to conform to one appears in such a law, and no advantage or special position is given to any sectarian institution in the law.

God Forbid Someone Mention God

Quite apart from the Constitution, the Rawlsian public reason norm is a philosophical mistake, a transparently result-oriented political move that, even with the best of intentions regarding the prevention of political conflict, is doomed to backfire.

The idea of “public reason” expresses a norm under which “comprehensive doctrines,” including “reasonable” ones, are to be generally excluded from public discourse on constitutional questions or matters of “basic justice.” By Rawls’s definition, comprehensive doctrines are not necessarily religious, but religious belief is the paradigmatic example. No such belief, Rawls was certain, would ever possess the free and willing allegiance of everyone in a democratic society. And so, for the sake of peace and justice, the truth claims of comprehensive doctrines must not enter the arena of political contest and debate.

Whether cast in hard constitutional-legal form or, more softly, as an ethical norm of civic life, Rawlsian public reason seems to entail a simple rule for public discourse: God forbid one should mention God—unless one immediately makes another argument wholly disconnected from religious premises.

We should beware of a philosophy in which so much work is done by the adjectives. Rawls’s repeated insistence on the public character of the reason employed in political discussion should make us stop and ask, what is the opposite of the public? It is the private. And since the counterpart to genuinely public reason, in the Rawlsian calculus, is the comprehensive doctrine, then it seems that the comprehensive and the private are equivalent terms. But it is not obviously the case that people’s comprehensive views are private things in the sense that they do or should keep them to themselves—even the “reasonable” comprehensive doctrine, which is quite possibly correct. In the case of religion, the paradigm of a comprehensive view, people frequently hold themselves out in public as believers, and even act together in churches, mosques, synagogues, ashrams, gurdwaras, temples, schools, and various other institutions of civil society.

The one undeniable fact on which Rawls pins his whole notion of public reason is that there is a diversity of such (chiefly religious) comprehensive doctrines. It is not even a fact that this diversity is necessarily a cause of conflict, although it can be and often has been. But Rawls’s evident fear of such conflict leads him to construct a liberalism that deals with religious pluralism by demanding that the comprehensive be treated as the private. In short, religion must be privatized, as a requirement of justice itself.

Critics of Rawls and His Inconsistent Exceptions

The critics of Rawlsian public reason are legion, from John Finnis and Robert P. George to David Lewis Schaefer, from Christopher Wolfe and Steven D. Smith to Jeffrey Stout. Such critics have established that Rawlsian public reason is a “ramshackle” philosophy whose true purpose is to seize the high ground for secularist prejudices.

Rawls’s bad faith is demonstrated by the exceptions he makes. Although John Finnis, for instance, has offered natural law arguments against homosexual conduct that are perfectly accessible to reason and grounded on no theological presuppositions, these arguments provide Rawls with his one and only example of a secular “comprehensive doctrine” that must be classed with religion as beyond the pale. Because arguments of this kind are expressions of “moral doctrine,” they “fall outside of the domain of the political”—the domain, that is, of public reason. This distinction between the domain of the moral and the domain of the political seems utterly arbitrary, especially since the entire project of Rawlsian public reason is, on its own terms, an attempt to construct a moral framework for political life.

The other notable exception made by Rawls is for the Christian motivations of the abolitionist and civil rights movements. Religious discourse such as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s is permissible, Rawls says, “when a society is not well ordered and there is a profound division about constitutional essentials,” such that “nonpublic reasons” are thought to be “required to give sufficient strength” politically to “the ideal of public reason.” This exception appears to have been introduced to rescue Rawls from the embarrassment of condemning Reverend King. For what did King and his adversaries represent but a deep conflict over deep principles, resolvable only by choosing between two competing comprehensive doctrines?

Rawls disapproves of arguments against homosexual conduct, and approves of arguments in favor of equal civil rights regardless of race. He cannot, it seems, resist the urge to permit one of those arguments despite its being religious, and to exclude the other despite its being non-religious. This is not philosophy, but political base-stealing.

Rawlsian public reason is more likely to cause conflict than to reduce it. It’s the Chris Christie of public discourse, telling religious citizens to “sit down and shut up.” Rawls admits that “liberty of conscience” is one of the “constitutional essentials” in any liberal political order. This is good to hear. But he also says “separation of church and state . . . protects religion from the state and the state from religion; it protects citizens from their churches and citizens from one another.” This is “separation” with a decidedly secularist bias. It fails to give liberty of conscience the freedom to be active in the world as a witness to faith in word as well as deed.

Religious Discourse in the Public Square

Rawls’s Political Liberalism, for all its popularity and influence, was decisively rebutted by a better book nine years before its publication—The Naked Public Square, by Richard John Neuhaus. Since Neuhaus too wrote of an “obligation” religious believers have to “translate” their most religiously inflected arguments into reasons that people of other dispensations are willing to accept, some readers have seen no great difference between his view and Rawls’s. This is a serious misunderstanding. For Neuhaus, the idea of “public reason” is exactly what Rawls denied it was: a way of creating a diverse society in which various religions, and non-religious views, interact in democratic decision-making.

Neuhaus did not argue that “comprehensive doctrines” are, by virtue of being comprehensive, therefore suspect—i.e., incapable of being made accessible to others and thus necessarily private. Neuhaus’s argument was exactly the reverse. Democracy needs its “comprehensive doctrines” in the forefront of citizens’ consciousness, or else the state becomes its own totalizing comprehensive doctrine. As he put it, “a perverse notion of the disestablishment of religion leads to the establishment of the state as church.”

There is no compelling reason of principle for religious citizens to refrain from employing religious discourse in the public square. They must, of course, reason together with their fellow citizens in order to persuade others of their policy views. But if their major premises, so to speak, are theological, there is no harm done, so long as their policy conclusions can be reasonably embraced by others who have different commitments.

The attribution of a “strictly religious” motivation to a policy view offers an incomplete account of how people actually reason in political life. Beliefs that may be called “strictly” religious or theological typically supply only a major premise for a policy conclusion. The minor premise will usually be supplied by other considerations—of cost, of prudence or practicality, of justice to others, of forbearance toward those same others. Even “thou shalt not kill,” for instance, is not a principle that by itself can lead straight to anything in public policy—not even a coherent homicide law—without intervening minor premises that will tell us when, how, and with regard to whom the principle will be applied.

Some liberals are fond of arguing that conservative positions on abortion and marriage, for instance, are only held for “strictly religious reasons.” To my knowledge, they have failed to establish even the descriptive accuracy of this claim. But even if it were true without exception that all persons taking the conservative positions on these issues began with religious major premises about “what God commands” about human relations, it would amount to no disrespect of others.

“God commands respect for human life” or “God commands the virtue of chastity in sexual relations” is hardly the stuff of disrespect. It’s an invitation, the beginning of an argument. You can reject the invitation, or begin the argument another way, or demand a “translation” into terms you find more accessible. Maybe you’ll get one. But the policy conclusion—to protect human life from conception to natural death, or to define marriage as a conjugal union of a man and a woman with a view to raising any resulting children together—cannot credibly be called an imposition of a “strictly religious” view by coercive law. For it is nothing like requiring adherence to any particular view of the human person’s relationship to whatever divine reality there may be. It is not even a demand that we conform our behavior in accordance with the propositions stated by such a view. It is nothing more than the application of an ethical stricture to the legal environment, and it can be debated as an ethical stricture and as a policy worth pursuing—or not—on strictly practical grounds.

As Justice Robert Jackson said over seventy years ago, “freedom to differ is not limited to things that do not matter much.” To close down debate with a “that’s strictly religious” objection is the opposite of liberalism, and there is no justification for it.

Matthew J. Franck is the director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute. These remarks were prepared for a symposium on “Religion and Public Discourse” at Case Western Reserve University Law School on March 6, 2015.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Eternal Vault - Poetry

The Eternal Vault

“My Boys” – Circa 1984 A.D.
Mark, James, and Charles
When parking was free on the beach:
Fort Lauderdale Nineteen Eighty Four AD.
The grainy photo appeared in a weathered box
As Mom was moving her treasure trove.
Her treasure was not always ours,
A treasure we did not see nor hear,
Nor contemplate as we stood to appreciate
The sun and wind on that far foreign beach
Still down the street but now lined with meters
And aging Baby Boomers like us who’ve lost
That thin physique though it was not the fault
Of the woman who gave us birth, who counted
Each one of us a treasure beyond the stars.
She keeps our memories close -
She hoards her treasure in her eternal vault -
Which is her heart, manifest in her rows
Of fading photos, films, and art – of us.
Her treasure trove is ours, an inheritance
Far greater than any we could have ever imagined;
A vault that knows no sky, no beginning nor end,
That saves Polaroids from simple days long gone,
And Birthday cards and Mother’s Day poems,
And memories of that first day of school,
Of that first recital, that first taste of defeat,
The countless stumbles, disappointments, turned to victories
Because of the prayer warrior, the Angel
Over the Church…..of Us
All treasures to her because we were – and forever will be
Her children. Glory to the keeper
Of the eternal vault.
We are yours forever and we love you.



Monday, August 24, 2015

Post Traumatic Salvation Disorder

For the second time in my life, Saturday, August 22 @ 1:22 AM, a drunk driver crossed the median and hit me head on, totalling my car. I'm fine - do not worry. While the name of the drunk who totals my car keeps changing, the name of the One who saved me forever never changes. The song I was listening to when that car came out of nowhere (a left on red without stopping) has been stuck in my head ever since; Chris Tomlin singing "How Great Is Our God". Call it Post Traumatic Salvation Disorder...

StemExpress and the Beating Heart

This is a video every American must see. Hat tip to RealChoice blog.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Why the Black Lives Matter Movement is a Fraud

I recently received a direct message on Twitter from a Black Lives Matter affiliate group telling me it was urgent that I contact my Congressman and Senator to ask them to keep funding Planned Parenthood. I found this odd as Planned Parenthood was founded on the principle that blacks were "human weeds" as Margaret Sanger put it. Her solution was similar to Hitler's solution to the putatively evil Jews in Europe, to kill them. Planned Parenthood was created to abort black babies, or, to paraphrase correctly, to end black lives. So how can a movement called Black Lives Matter be in favor of killing black lives? I smell white "Progressives", don't you? I can't point a finger definitively now but rumor has it that the establishment darling George Soros is behind this movement. In any event, Black Lives Matter is not an organic movement because it follows a well-worn narrative of leftist "social justice", the fruit of applied postmodernism or, as it can best be described, "heads I win - tails you lose". These Black Lives Matter activists want us to believe we must raise their own lives up whilst they abort their own children with other (white) people's money; your taxpayer money. Thus I conclude that Black Lives Matter is a white Progressive movement. It is not an authentic black American movement. If it were, it would not be advocating the rape, murder, and dismemberment - and sale for profit by whites - of black babies. And that is the end of the conversation.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks

One of the best skits mocking big government largess. I'm surprised President Obama hasn't appointed a Czar of Silly Walks.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

An Astrophysicist explains her journey to Christianity

FORMER ATHEIST ASTROPHYSICIST, SARAH SALVIANDER, EXPLAINS HER JOURNEY TO CHRISTIANITY.

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 4.10.37 PM
Testimony of former atheist Sarah Salviander. She is a research scientist in astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Texas.
“I was born in the U.S., but grew up in Canada. My parents were socialists and political activists who thought British Columbia would be a better place for us to live, since it had the only socialist government in North America at the time. My parents were also atheists, though they eschewed that label in favor of “agnostic.” They were kind, loving, and moral, but religion played no part in my life. Instead, my childhood revolved around education, particularly science. I remember how important it was to my parents that my brother and I did well in school.
I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, a time when science fiction was enjoying a renaissance, thanks largely to the popularity of Star Wars. I remember how fascinated I was by the original Star Wars trilogy. It had almost nothing to do with science—it’s more properly characterized as space opera—but it got me thinking about space in a big way. I also loved the original Star Trek, which was more science fiction. The stoic and logical character of Mr. Spock was particularly appealing to me. Popular science was also experiencing a renaissance at that time, which had a lot to do with Carl Sagan’s television show, Cosmos, which I adored. The combination of these influences led to such an intense wonder about outer space and the universe, that by the time I was nine years old I knew I would be a space scientist someday.
Canada was already post-Christian by the 1970s, so I grew up with no religion. In retrospect, it’s amazing that for the first 25 years of my life, I met only three people who identified as Christian. My view of Christianity was negative from an early age, and by the time I was in my twenties I was actively hostile toward Christianity. Looking back, I realized a lot of this was the unconscious absorption of the general hostility toward Christianity that is common in places like Canada and Europe; my hostility certainly wasn’t based on actually knowing anything about Christianity. I had come to believe that Christianity made people weak and foolish; I thought it was philosophically trivial. I was ignorant not only of the Bible, but also of the deep philosophy of Christianity and the scientific discoveries that shed new light on the origins of the universe and life on Earth.
I began to focus all of my energy on my studies, and became very dedicated to my physics and math courses. I joined campus clubs, started to make friends, and, for the first time in my life, I was meeting Christians. They weren’t like Objectivists—they were joyous and content. And, they were smart, too. I was astonished to find that my physics professors, whom I admired, were Christian. Their personal example began to have an influence on me, and I found myself growing less hostile to Christianity.
I had joined a group in the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences (CASS) that was researching evidence for the big bang. The cosmic background radiation—the leftover radiation from the big bang—provides the strongest evidence for the theory, but cosmologists need other, independent lines of evidence to confirm it. My group was studying deuterium abundances in the early universe. Deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen, and its abundance in the early universe is sensitive to the amount of ordinary mass contained in the entire universe. Believe it or not, this one measurement tells us whether the big bang model is correct.
If anyone is interested in how this works, I’ll describe it, but for now I’ll spare you the gruesome details. Suffice it to say that an amazing convergence of physical properties is necessary in order to study deuterium abundances in the early universe, and yet this convergence is exactly what we get. I remember being astounded by this, blown away, completely and utterly awed. It seemed incredible to me that there was a way to find the answer to this question we had about the universe. In fact, it seems that every question we have about the universe is answerable. There’s no reason it has to be this way, and it made me think of Einstein’s observation that the most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it’s comprehensible. I started to sense an underlying order to the universe. Without knowing it, I was awakening to what Psalm 19 tells us so clearly, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
That summer, I’d picked up a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas and was reading it in my off hours. Previous to this, I’d only known it as an exciting story of revenge, since that’s what the countless movie and TV adaptations always focused on. But it’s more than just a revenge story, it’s a philosophically deep examination of forgiveness and God’s role in giving justice. I was surprised by this, and was starting to realize that the concept of God and religion was not as philosophically trivial as I had thought.
All of this culminated one day, as I was walking across that beautiful La Jolla campus. I stopped in my tracks when it hit me—I believed in God! I was so happy; it was like a weight had been lifted from my heart. I realized that most of the pain I’d experienced in my life was of my own making, but that God had used it to make me wiser and more compassionate. It was a great relief to discover that there was a reason for suffering, and that it was because God was loving and just. God could not be perfectly just unless I—just like everyone else—was made to suffer for the bad things I’d done.
For a while I was content to be a theist and didn’t pursue religion any further. I spent another very enjoyable summer with CASS, and then during my last year at EOU I met a man I liked very much, a computer science student from Finland. He’d been in the special forces in the Finnish Defense Force, and was just about the most off-the-wall character I’d ever met. But he was also a man of strength, honor, and deep integrity, and I found myself overwhelmingly drawn to those qualities. Like me, he’d grown up atheist in a secular country, but he’d come to embrace God and Jesus Christ as his personal savior in his early twenties through an intensely personal experience. We fell in love and got married. Somehow, even though I wasn’t religious myself, I was comforted to be marrying a Christian man.
I graduated with a degree in physics and math that year, and in the fall, I started graduate work in astrophysics at The University of Texas at Austin. My husband was a year behind me in his studies, so I moved to Austin by myself. The astrophysics program at UT was a much more rigorous and challenging environment than my little alma mater. The academic rigor, combined with the isolation I felt with my family and friends being so far away, left me feeling pretty discouraged.
Wandering through a bookstore one day, I saw a book called The Science of God by Gerald Schroeder. I was intrigued by the title, but something else compelled me to read it. Maybe it was the loneliness, and I was longing for a deeper connection with God. All I know is that what I read changed my life forever.
Dr. Schroeder is a unique individual—he is an MIT-trained physicist and also an applied theologian. He understands modern science, has read the ancient and medieval biblical commentaries, and is capable of translating the Old Testament from the ancient Hebrew. He was thus able to give a scientific analysis of Genesis 1. His work proved to me that Genesis 1 was scientifically sound, and not just a “silly myth” as atheists believed. I realized that, remarkably, the Bible and science agree completely. (If you’re interested in the details of this, you can either go through my slideshow hereor read Dr. Schroeder’s book.)
Schroeder’s great work convinced me that Genesis is the inspired word of God. But something told me to keep going. If Genesis is literally true, then why not the Gospels, too? I read the Gospels, and found the person of Jesus Christ to be extremely compelling. I felt as Einstein did when he said he was “enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.” And yet I struggled, because I did not feel one hundred percent convinced of the Gospels in my heart. I knew of the historical evidence for their truth. And, of course, I knew the Bible was reliable because of Genesis. Intellectually, I knew the Bible to be true, and as a person of intellect, I had to accept it as truth, even if I didn’t feel it. That’s what faith is. As C. S. Lewis said, it is accepting something you know to be true in spite of your emotions. So, I converted. I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior.
Maybe that sounds coldly logical. It did to me, and for that reason, I sometimes worried whether my faith was real. And then I had a chance to find out a couple of years ago. That year started with my cancer diagnosis and an unpleasant course of treatment. Not long after, my husband fell ill with meningitis and encephalitis, and it was not clear if he would recover; we didn’t know if he would be paralyzed or worse. It took him about a month, but, thankfully, he did recover. At that time, we were expecting our first child, a baby girl. All seemed well until about six months, when our baby stopped growing. We found out she had Trisomy 18, a fatal chromosomal abnormality. Our daughter, Ellinor, was stillborn soon after.
It was the most devastating loss of our lives. For a while I despaired, and didn’t know how I could go on after the death of our daughter. But I finally had a clear vision of our little girl in the loving arms of her heavenly Father, and it was then that I had peace. I reflected that, after all these trials in one year, my husband and I were not only closer to each other, but also felt closer to God. My faith was real.
I don’t know how I would’ve coped with such trials when I was an atheist. When you’re twenty years old and healthy, and you have your family around you, you feel immortal. I never thought about my own death or the potential deaths of loved ones. But there comes a time when the feeling of immortality wanes, and you’re forced to confront the inevitability of not only your own annihilation, but that of your loved ones.
A few years ago, when I was researching an article on the nature of time, I was surprised to discover that only the Abrahamic faiths and their offshoots hold to linear time. All other religious traditions hold to cyclical time. Not only does cyclical time seem more intuitively correct—our lives are governed by many cycles in nature—but it offers a comforting connection to the Sacred through the eternal return. The modern, secular version of this is the Multiverse.
Georges LemaĆ®tre was a Belgian priest and physicist who solved Einstein’s general relativity equations and discovered that, contrary to the prevailing philosophy of the last 2,500 years, the universe wasn’t necessarily eternal and static. He discovered in his solution the mathematical evidence for an expanding universe, and pursued it vigorously. For that reason he’s considered the father of the big bang (which he called “the hypothesis of the primeval atom”). Shortly before he died, he was told that his hypothesis had been vindicated by the discovery of the cosmic background radiation, the most important prediction of the hypothesis. This discovery also vindicated the very first words of the Bible after 2,500 years of doubt—there was a beginning. And that beginning meant the universe had a transcendent cause, for nothing in nature is its own cause. Atheists have been dismayed by this and forced to retreat to the idea of the Multiverse.
The Multiverse idea posits that there is a huge number—possibly an infinite number—of parallel universes. It’s an interesting, but ultimately unscientific, idea. Science can only study what we can observe in this Universe. It cannot ever hope to study the Multiverse. Nevertheless, some atheists cling to the idea, because it’s the only serious alternative to God as the creative force behind the Universe and it’s a way to cope with mortality in the absence of God. The problem is, most proponents of the Multiverse haven’t seriously explored its logical implications. I think, when they do, their worldview leads to despair.
Hugh Everett is an example of this. He was a brilliant physicist who is known for what’s called the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics. He sought to explain the strange, almost mystical, effects of the quantum world by rejecting its dependence on probabilities. He proposed instead that every possible outcome of every experiment really happens, but they happen in alternate universes. This was the first scientific incarnation of the Multiverse.
Everett was not motivated solely by mathematics. He understood the implications of his atheist beliefs, and was looking for a way to escape the annihilation that is inevitable in the atheist worldview. For him, the Many Worlds idea was a form of immortality. He wanted to believe that there were an infinite number of Hugh Everetts, all inhabiting these alternate universes, because it was a way to avoid the terror of annihilation. But, as Jesus told us, we must judge a tree by its fruits. Everett’s worldview did not appear to offer him, or his family, any real comfort. He was a depressed alcoholic who ate, drank, and smoked himself to death at the age of 51. His daughter committed suicide years later, and indicated in her suicide note that she hoped she would end up in the same parallel universe as her father.
In the Multiverse, we are not unique; there are many “copies” of each of us. If it’s real, then we have lived, and will live, an infinite number of lives. In fact, we have already lived this exact life an infinite number of times. All those lives are lost and pointless. We will live them an infinite number of times again. Everett and others who believe in the Multiverse have not conquered death; they think they’ve found a way to cheat it, but this form of “immortality” is really just a prison from which there is no escape. Does that sound awful to you? It sounds awful to me. As with the philosophy of Ayn Rand, the Multiverse is ultimately barren of hope and purpose.
I do not believe we are locked in that sort of prison. But the only way we are free is if the universe and everything in it was created, not by some unconscious mechanism, but by a personal being—the God of the Bible. The only way our lives are unique, purposeful, and eternal is if a loving God created us.”
Source: Six Day Science

Is the US capable of NOT electing a narcissist President any more?

I am deeply bothered by the Donald Trump show currently playing out. It's not a Republican thing - I am not embarrassed for my party because it's still the party of ideas while the Democrats are the party of narratives. As Marco Rubio put it, "We have all these great candidates and the Democrats can't find one!" No, the surge of Mr Trump is troubling more as a reflection of the spirit of this nation.

We have twice elected the greatest narcissist to ever serve as President of the United States. He is well known for taking selfies and of sending a photo of himself with any communication. He admonished a protester, "Hey, you're in my house!" referring to our White House. He has earned the knickname "Narcissist-in-Chief". Now a right-of-center narcissist in Donald Trump is atop the polls of the other party. He did miserably in Thursday night's debate yet still is rising in the polls. His response to tough questions was to hurl insults worthy of that mean, off-kilter family member who threatens to ruin every family gathering if he/she doesn't get their way.

I'm worried that this might be saying a lot about us. The Democrats have all but crowned the narcissist Hillary, a politician who has not one positive thing to her credit after decades in the public eye other than that she loves herself more than anyone else. I wish I was paranoid but I'm seeing a pattern here. More and more Americans are subconsciously identifying with narcissists. Trump complains that he resented the sharp questioning at the debate because he wasn't even getting paid to be there. Any other generation would have dismissed this whiny brat immediately and moved their preference to a serious and mature candidate. Instead, he rose a point in the polls. Adulthood is going extinct and the deification of puerile behavior is taking its place before our very eyes! Are we becoming so inured of adults prancing around like spoiled teenagers that we're expecting our leaders to act the same way?

I just hope Election 2016 doesn't turn into a "Reality Show" with Hillary and Michele Obama on one ticket and Donald Trump and Caitlyn Jenner on the other...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Ben Carson Dismisses the "Oh, they don't just kill babies, they give women free exams" Planned Parenthood Defense

Let's imagine that the Nazi movement springs up as a non-profit helping the unemployed get jobs by giving them training and tools they need to have a better chance of getting hired. 97% of their activities are employment resources and only 3% goes to killing Jews. Should they get government funding? Would the Left say Yes to funding them if the funds didn't go to killing Jews?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Tribute to David Shelley

David was taken by cancer today. The first video is of him performing "Soulshine" whose lyric is "You have to let your soul shine, shine until the break of day." And a gentle soul he was, and is. May the LORD make His face shine upon him and be gracious unto him. I have an old adage that goes, "You don't get to be an angel just by going to Heaven. You become an angel by being one now, in this life." David was a class act; one I will see again.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Carly Fiorina Snacks on Chris Matthews

Carly Fiorina devours Chris Matthews like a free Happy Hour Appetizer after the "Happy Hour Debate".

On the Abortion "Exception" to Save the Mother's Life

On the Abortion "Exception" to Save the Mother's Life:
The first sacred relationship in my life was the relationship with my mother. From her I learned the principle of unconditional love. For the last 18 years I have strived to express that love by unveiling a new Mother's Day poem to Mom each second Sunday in May. I count them among my most inspired writings. Abortion is so heartbreaking because it takes that most sacred relationship and makes it an adversarial relationship. Why should the baby die so the mother can live or vice versa? It's a false dichotomy. If we have the technology to save them both, let us save, for the sake of Mother's Days to come.

Thoughts on Women Who Think Abortion is a Woman's Right - You're Wrong, Get a Grip

I'm sick of hearing that opposing abortion is being against Women's Rights. By opposing abortion, I am showing that I have compassion, that I have a heart. I am not a bigot. I am not a bad guy for wanting to save the lives of innocent children. I'm normal, the pro-abort woman is not. The pro-choice woman is the one who must explain her position. She is the one who voluntarily carries the stigma of infanticide. The prochoice woman who believes she can murder her children is not a victim; she is a predator over the lives of innocent children. She is the one who needs to change, not the prolife crowd. Last, prolifers are pro-woman not "anti-woman". Abortion is the worst thing to happen to women in the history of our nation. It has pinned women against their most prized treasure, their children. Most women are steamrolled into abortion by selfish boyfriends, husbands, and family members who don't want to be bothered with their offspring. Women who would voluntarily choose to murder their own children have all the explaining to do. The word "prolife" says it all - who would oppose something correctly defined as prolife? Rather, prochoice women must explain why they are prodeath.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

My Cadaver, My Choice?

We've all heard "My body, my choice!" as a prochoice mantra. But now we have a Planned Parenthood director on video claiming that a dead fetus is a "cadaver" (a.k.a. a dead body). Previously, we've seen directors market "body parts", saying things like, "We have a a lot of demand for livers." Anyone who says the fetus is part of the woman's body is lying. "My body, my choice" has only one route left; that a woman has the right to kill the body within her body; her baby. Do you agree with that?

Monday, August 03, 2015

Link Between Same-Sex Marriage and Abortion

From Facebook, a quote by Aaron Aukema that is the most succinct summary on our cultural decline that I have ever read:
Actually, SSM and abortion are closely related.  Marriage is a human relationship oriented towards the producing and raising of children.

Abortion is the logical conclusion of the childless sex.  It is the "last resort" for couples who want sex, but not the child.  Legalizing and normalizing contraception led to legalizing and normalizing abortion.  Normalizing abortion led to the idealizing childless sex.  This created the false understanding that marriage can be between two men or two women.  

In case the connection is lost: only when sex is "supposed" to be childless can homosexual activities be (even falsely) made equal to coitus.  Further, by removing child from sex, you likewise remove children from marriage.  In doing that you alter the perception of what marriage is, and thus allow people to think that anyone can get married.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Edwin "Eddie" Copeland on the Meaning of Treasures in Heaven - City Church Fort Lauderdale

This was an amazing teaching on what our treasures must be to us. From Sunday, August 2, 2015

ISIS is Fulfilling the Prophecy of Ishmael's Descendants in Gen 16:12


Conservative Christians - The Government Does have an obligation to the Poor

 Mike Huckabee says it is the church's responsibility to care for the poor, not government's. That is patently false and I will explain why. The conservative candidate for president is confusing the worldly organization called the church with the biblical understanding of the term. Christians who truly believe and trust in the Lord Jesus are the church according to the Bible. If Mr. Huckabee becomes president, and I would be happy with that, what he is saying is not logical because that would mean that he, a member of the Church of Christ, would not be responsible for helping the poor. The problem is that Modern conservativism has created a dualism that exonerates Christian politicians from having to follow their Lord's commands. This is one of the sad but clear breaks between the conservative movement and it's putative inspiration, Christianity.
Yet Jesus was very clear when he gave the lesson of the sheep and goats. The final line will be drawn between the doers of the word and the deniers of the word.

"But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 Before him all the nations will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will tell those on his right hand, ‘Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you took me in. 36 I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you a drink? 38 When did we see you as a stranger, and take you in; or naked, and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?’

40 “The King will answer them, ‘Most certainly I tell you, because you did it to one of the least of these my brothers , you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say also to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you didn’t give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t take me in; naked, and you didn’t clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

44 “Then they will also answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and didn’t help you?’

45 “Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Most certainly I tell you, because you didn’t do it to one of the least of these, you didn’t do it to me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25: 31-46

As Christians, when we are presented with a need, we must respond for the sake of Jesus Christ and ourselves. Christians in government must respond to the needs of the poor because they are commanded to do so. It sounds like a ridiculous embellishment of the separation of church and state to do otherwise. While government must help empower charities to care for the poor, it must meet the needs of the poor that the church cannot meet. The reason why the church can't meet the needs of the poor is because it is truly too small in number. We can't count on the numbers of people in the pews; that is not the church. Again, the church consists of those who love and follow Jesus Christ, trust in Him, and follow His commands. Looking at the dynamics of American charity in 2015, we can safely say there are many goats sitting in the pews.

While we desperately need a Christian in the White House in 2017, we need that Christian to act like a Christian, and mobilize government and the church to meet the needs of the poor without exception.

Friday, July 24, 2015

On Sandra Bland and Black Lives Matter

I watched the videos of Sandra Bland's ordeal with Texas police officers and was first left wondering what she must have been thinking. Then I was left wondering what millions of Americans are thinking now. Ms Bland was pulled over for a very minor traffic infraction; failing to use her signal to change lanes. If you've been driving for a while, you too have likely been pulled over for not coming to a complete stop at a Stop sign, or having a brake or blinker light out, and so on. It never occurred to me to pick a fight with the officer who pulled me over. All she had to do was accept the ticket which was rightfully assessed. But, no, she went into a tirade and berated the officer severely. He asks, "Are you done?" The answer; No. She berates him for several minutes after he pulls her out of the car and throws her onto the grass by the roadside.

If you or I acted the same way with a police officer, we'd be treated the same way. She reminded me of an employee I had who was a pill addict and would go on with unmitigated belligerence for hours, talking incessantly and none of it good. It then appears that Ms Bland hung herself in her prison cell. She noted on her documents that she had tried to kill herself the year before because she had lost her baby. Her method of self-euthanasia? Pills.

So, in a nutshell, a suicidal woman picks a fight with a police officer, gets arrested - just as despicable white me would if I acted the same way - and hangs herself with a trash bag a few days later in her cell. Cameras confirm she was alone when she hung herself. So who's the villain?

Had she acted like a normal human being instead of a bully, she would have left peacefully with her ticket in her console and would go straight home to tweet about the putative injustice of being pulled over by a white officer because she failed to use turn signals. That would indicate that we are the same free country that was and is.

But there is something markedly different about these recent cases where black Americans have attacked police and then claimed victim hood. Mind you, I am not dismissing police overstepping their bounds with citizens. As we become wards of the state because of our relentless march toward socialism, police are increasingly looking at all of us as peons. However, Officer Darrin Wilson did not look at Michael Brown as a peon but as a mortal threat as he rushed toward the officer in an effort to kill him. Wilson killed Brown in self-defense, pure and simple. It was either Wilson or Brown. One would die that day.

And as for Sandra Bland; she killed herself. Who's the villain? I know many of the Christian fathers and mothers of the early church were martyred but I know of not one who killed themselves and was considered a martyr. Martyrs don't kill themselves. Period.

And yet lost in all this is that many black Americans are living in an environment that stands in the way of them being able to achieve financial security. In one sense, black Americans are more upwardly mobile than ever before, participating in the economy in greater numbers, and we want to grow that trend.  Yet too many are still paying high rents for slum dwellings, whose children are going to awful public schools, and are afraid to walk through their own neighborhoods due to increasing numbers of dangerous drug addicts and gang members. And this rampant malaise is the one true way their local police are failing them. The first reason for government's existence is security, and we must make sure black communities are safe environments.

It is an irony that, had Sandra Bland's car been stolen minutes before she was pulled over, she would have seen come to her aid the same deputy she was abusive to. And what protocol should there be for an out-of-control citizen like Sandra Bland?

In conclusion Black Lives Matter in a way that other lives don't matter. And here is a very significant point I don't think the Democrats or Republicans get; neither party has cared about blacks to do anything significant to help them. They have been just another identity group where votes can be easily harvested with shallow rhetoric. The last 25 years has been an era of fickle political theater around issues that never seem to get resolved. And blacks are realizing that the Democratic party is one of the biggest culprits in perpetuating the fires of the conflict that burns them.

The Democrats have bought black Americans at the cheapest price in American history. Benefits that fail to raise any humans out of poverty are not benefits; they're distractions to keep them voting Democratic. Black Americans are waking up from 50 years of the welfare state and realizing that it was, as President Lyndon Johnson said himself, "I'll have those niggers voting Democrat for 100 years." Not so fast, Mr Johnson. Your game might be running out of gas halfway through.

Hopefully, the Black Lives Matter movement will inspire a stronger sense of community that will encourage personal responsibility. And it must be said here that, if Black Lives Matter is ever going to be a transformational movement, then it must begin with blacks believing that black lives matter themselves.  Blacks have led the world for far too long in murdering their own children in abortions. Black Lives Matter is an unequivocally pro-life statement, unless blacks are merely joking about it. 

While we need to be vigilant of our police, ensure our schools are preparing black Americans for success, expand opportunities, and help increase the standard of living on all fronts, the black community has to stand against the plague of illegitimacy, to attack the subculture that frowns upon literacy and civility, and promote a shift toward personal responsibility.

And if the root cause of "white privilege" is that white parents actually watch out for their children and leave them an inheritance, then they should copy them rather than scorn them. Most of the demands on BlackLivesMatter.Com sound like a communist manifesto but they can shed light on what is desperately needed in the black community. See Black Lives Matter - Learn Our Demands.
The current state of Black America is anything but just. For Black people in the U.S., the shadow of crisis has not passed.
  • The median wealth for single White women is $42,600. For Black women, it’s $5.001.
  • The infant mortality rate for Black mothers is more than double that of White mothers, due to factors like poverty, lack of access to health care, and the physiological effects of stress caused by living under structural oppression 2.
  • 22 states have passed new voter restrictions since 2010, disenfranchising as many as 34 million Americans, most of them Black 3.
  • In cities across the country, profit-driven policies fuel displacement and gentrification, leading to the destruction of entire Black communities 4.
  • Blacks and Latinos are about 31 percent of the US population, but 60 percent of the prison population 8.
  • In our country 1 in 3 black men will be incarcerated in his lifetime 5, and Black women are the fastest growing prison population 6.
  • The life expectancy of a Black trans woman is 35 years.  The average income of a Black trans person is less than 10K.   Trans people are denied jobs, housing and healthcare just for living in their truths.
  • It is legal in many jurisdictions to fire LBGT people from employment and deny them access to healthcare and housing.
  • Since 1976, the United States has executed thirteen times more black defendants with white victims than white defendants with black victims 6.
  • Black U.S. political prisoners have collectively served over 800 years in prison and have consistently been denied parole despite good behavior and time served.
  • Increasingly, students in white areas are nourished and taught while Black children are criminalized and judged.
  • Black neighborhoods lack access to affordable healthy food resulting in disproportionate levels of obesity and other chronic illnesses.
Our schools are designed to funnel our children into prisons. Our police departments have declared war against our community. Black people are exploited, caged, and killed to profit both the state and big business. This is a true State of Emergency. There is no place for apathy in this crisis. The US government has consistently violated the inalienable rights our humanity affords.
We say no more.

  • We demand an end to all forms of discrimination and the full recognition of our human rights.
  • We demand an immediate end to police brutality and the murder of Black  people and all oppressed people.
  • We demand full, living wage employment for our people.
  • We demand decent housing fit for the shelter of human beings and an end to gentrification.
  • We demand an end to the school to prison pipeline & quality education for all.
  • We demand freedom from mass incarceration and an end to the prison industrial complex.
  • We demand a racial justice agenda from the White House that is inclusive of our shared fate as Black men, women, trans and gender-nonconforming people. Not My Brother’s Keeper, but Our Children’s Keeper.
  • We demand access to affordable healthy food for our neighborhoods.
  • We demand an aggressive attack against all laws, policies, and entities that disenfranchise any community from expressing themselves at the ballot.
  • We demand a public education system that teaches the rich history of Black people and celebrates the contributions we have made to this country and the world.
  • We demand the release of all U.S. political prisoners.
  • We demand an end to the military industrial complex that incentivizes private corporations to profit off of the death and destruction of Black and Brown communities across the globe.
This country owes Black citizens nothing less than full recognition of our human rights. The White House’s current racial justice initiative, My Brother’s Keeper, ignores too many members of our communities. It does not address the inhumane conditions we collectively experience living in a white supremacist system. The issues facing Black women, immigrants, trans and queer people must be included and we demand a full expansion of My Brother’s Keeper to do so.
We demand the same inclusion from our movement.
None of us are free until all of us are free. Our collective efforts have exposed the ugly American traditions of  patriarchy, classism, racism, and militarism. These combined have bred a violent culture rife with transphobia, and other forms of illogical hatred.