Wednesday, October 07, 2015

The Problem with Arguing Truth with Postmodern Liberals

Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?" Truth was standing right in front of the Governor of Judea but Jesus chose to be quiet.

The Left is vomiting up a movie defending Dan Rather's portrayal of "truth" when he showcased documents of future President George W. Bush's going AWOL in the 1970's. Bush's superior wrote the document in the early 1970's on his laptop. "Pajama media" journalists - that's us at home - picked up on the discrepancy almost immediately. By the time Dan Rather's expose was over, the story was debunked. Rather had to apologize and retire. But he didn't retire without pointing out that, "though the documents proved false, the story behind them was true". Hmmm. Now the Left is rolling out an apologetic Dan Rather film to venerate the old newsman who used to be so "revered", according to Jeff Daniel's fake newsroom guy on "News Room". It's very simple, you see. Even though there was no truth to the document that proved George W. Bush went AWOL in the Air Force, it was true to Dan Rather. And, to the postmodern, that's all that matters.

The problem of the Left is that, in their unbelief in God, their body politique replaces Him. There are many true arguments the Left could make against George W. Bush but, since they are focused on their own truth, they miss them.

Monday, October 05, 2015

My answer to this famous rubbish from "The News Room". The 3 most dishonest minutes in television history.

My answer to this famous rubbish from "The News Room". The three most dishonest minutes in television history.
"West Wing" creator Aaron Sorkin created The News Room to show what an honorable moderate Republican should be, meaning to ostensibly be a shill for liberal Democrat ideology and theology. McAvoy(played by Jeff Daniels) laments our military as being unnecessarily large while inferring that's bad without giving a reason. He uses a false dichotomy - that we are stupid for believing in angels - without explaining why believing in angels is stupid (reason, no need: the target audience were liberals and they would readily agree anyway). He bemoans that we are 27th in math in an era when everyone uses calculators. And the question of America's greatness cannot be addressed without considering the unique nature of our Declaration of Independence, that our rights are given to us directly from God and governments cannot arbitrarily infringe upon them. But he's quiet on that key point because he disagrees with it. On the contrary, this was the most dishonest three minutes on television; a liberal's version of connecting with their inner Donald Trump.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Pastor Phil Letizia on The Narrow and Wide Way

This is an excellent sermon on the seeming paradox of salvation. A key point from the sermon is this; "Salvation is not free b/c Jesus paid for it. It can't be earned by us because Jesus earned it for us. Salvation is from God."

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Why Conservatism is Bad

Jesus was condemned by the Sanhedrin; a group made up of conservatives and liberals, otherwise known as Pharisees and Sadducees, respectively. Politics raises up one of the most innately sinful tendencies in humans; to lift themselves up above others. They can even have a good premise, but once you lift yourself up and look down at others, you have gone down the wrong path; the path of the world.
In the Republican debate, we heard a lot about who was the "most conservative". The candidates were acutely aware that their party wants a truly conservative nominee. On the other side, Hillary Clinton threw a similar bone to the left by denouncing, for the first time, the Keystone Pipeline, a project that would lower energy costs but would extend the era of putatively evil fossil fuels. Hillary is pandering to her base, too, showing she is liberal enough. But politics is a root of sin. Politics is about people doing what they think is right in their own mind, and that inevitably means them raising themselves up and lording it over others. They strive to be the lesser of two evils, and win the election. Indeed, politics is a game between foes fighting to give the perception that they are the lesser of all evils.

I know conservatives are hollering that they are different; that they are Christians. But that simply isn't true. Once Conservatism is stripped of its Christian underpinnings, much still remains, which is to say that much of conservatism is hubris. It's no different from any other worldly ideology as all worldly ideologies share the flaw of being worldly, and not heavenly.

For example, conservatives this morning on Fox News discussed a measure calling for all welfare recipients to be part of a public registry so "their neighbors will report on them" if they're not really in need. I don't know what Scripture verse they could possibly recite to justify such an invasion of privacy. Nor can I find a Scripture verse to justify the anti-immigrant frenzy or the righteous defense conservatives give for capitalism. While communism is worse, capitalism isn't the answer, especially in the New Earth to come. And why is Global Warming such an offence if the Bible calls us to be responsible stewards of the earth and don't we all agree that pollution is bad? Conservatives are so confident that they are above liberals that they often don't engage the false arguments from the other side, preferring to appear cavalier toward the environment and hateful toward the poor, immigrants, and other groups like gays. How could a group who identify as followers of Christ be inhospitable towards the poor and needy, and irresponsible about the well-being of the earth their God gave them?

In short, liberals lift the individual's perceived needs over the needs of the society while conservatives elevate the perceived needs of the society over the individual. A great example of the difference is that the individual who cannot support a child is urged by the liberal to abort him or her while the conservative defends the right of the child to life for the long-term health of the society. In the case of abortion, the conservatives are right. In the case of immigrants, the liberals are right. But, unfortunately, conservatism and liberalism are similar in that they are both like broken clocks, being right twice a day, often for no merit of their own. Such are worldly ideologies. Thus "Thy Kingdom come" must be the Christian's entire focus.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

ISIS for President? Thoughts on attacking Ben Carson regarding his comments on Muslims for President

Politics has a way of trumping - sorry, no pun intended - all forms of common sense and reasonable levels of education. People who speak the truth in politics are often vilified while those who stick to talking points are "electable". Truth and politics are rarely in agreement. Politics is all about bedfellows. The other day Dr. Ben Carson stated he would not support a Muslim for President. By Muslim, we are talking about a member of a religious group whose core principles preclude the separation of church and state, the equality of women and gays, and the protection of children from sexual abuse, among others. So how did the Left and several of his GOP competitors react to Dr. Carson saying he wouldn't personally support someone who wants to subjugate women and gays and children? He was excoriated, of course! We cannot deny the presidency to someone just because they want to make women, gays, and children second-class citizens. We have to be willing to vote for them!

But, wait, that makes no sense, right? Certainly not, but this is politics; people check their brain at the door. Dr. Carson sounds like he is close-minded, and the GOP are close-minded, right? So other GOP candidates join the attack on Dr. Carson because they don't want to be seen as close-minded. Perhaps the headache they call the news cycle is all our fault; us millions of idiots who consume media every day.

Not just the Republican candidates who attacked Carson are being silly, think of those liberals who eat LGBTQ Alphabet Soup for lunch every day. Do they really think its bigoted to not vote for a Muslim for President when it is a core belief of Islam to punish gays with death? Politics is all about bedfellows, common sense should never get in the way of an easy attack on those putative bigots you oppose.

Don't worry, I hear the "But not all Muslims..." defense of Muslims. Yes, there are Muslims who reject the core principles of Islam, but to what degree? Absolutely? What will a Muslim President do when called out for being a heretic? In my opinion, we Americans like to think that Islam is so anti-modern that it quickly collapses and is collapsing under its own weight. Unfortunately, history shows a different reality. Even Muslim countries opposing ISIS only oppose them for political reasons; ISIS wants their heads, too. The leaders of Saudi Arabia and Egypt fight ISIS because they don't want to be the subject of another snuff film. But even in those Muslim countries we applaud for opposing ISIS, ask the women and gays and children how wonderful life is for them in those countries.

I find it implausible that, 14 years after 9/11, Islam Ignorance is still cool in America. The Qur'an and the Hadiths are apparently banned from the reading lists of our leaders or anyone who wants to become a leader in the United States.

In conclusion, we should never support an authentic Muslim for President. Worldviews matter. Our Declaration of Independence is a worldview; all men created equal with inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. A believer in Islam is categorically disqualified from leading such a nation as ours, lest we vote to give up our independence and our civil rights.

Monday, September 21, 2015

How Tragedy Points to the Government of Jesus Christ

I'm very busy right now but I feel compelled to stop and write that tragedy is crouching all around us waiting to strike. The House of Cards that is the world in 2015 AD may not hold for long.

We all know what happened on September 11, 2001. Three thousand innocent people were murdered in a terrorist attack on US soil. Our defense budget at the federal level alone that year was 335 billion dollars. Nearly a billion dollars per day was not enough to stop 19 true believers of the Qur'an from slipping through the cracks on 9/11 to perform a decapitation strike against our economic and military powers. Most every church opened their doors that day to hold prayer vigils and emergency worship services. My church at the time held a service at 7:30 pm that night that was overflowing with people. The only amusement park in Orlando whose sales went up after 9/11 was the Holy Land Experience.

I believe that the desire to go to a church after a tragedy isn't just a cultural phenomenon born out of the ritual of going to funerals. People who aren't even "religious" find solace and comfort in church. As every person has the image of God buried in them, every person has an innate knowledge that God exists. In the event of tragedy, we are faced with the truth that our government cannot ultimately protect us from evil and death. Our governments could take all our money and use it exclusively to keep us safe and healthy. But we will still die.

There is a government beyond our government that can resolve even the greatest tragedy. For now this government comforts us. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted," Jesus promises, using the word for "comforted" that means "to come alongside". Those who recognize the brokenness in themselves and in the world will be comforted by the Creator of it all, the One of whom it is said that the "government will be on His shoulders" (Isaiah 9).

While the governments of the world are powerless to prevent a history they dread, the government of Jesus Christ shines in the distance; the one authority that is sovereign over all men and all things.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Heart Full of Holes - a poem-lyric for Communion

Heart Full of Holes

This is how Communion goes.
The sermon is heavy with truth;
It was my sin that held Him there,
Yet His blood still flows
Covering me in white, piercing
My heart once again, as I try
To deal with my brokenness alone,
Just me and the Holy Ghost.
I lumber forward, ripping bread
And dipping in the wine,
Recalling the time and times
He saved me, rescued my soul
My heart is pierced through
As I sit, give thanks, and taste
That He is good, once again
My heart is pierced through.
Yes, this IS His body, and Yes,
This IS His blood, broken and shed.
I tremble
For I have pierced Him,
I have a heart full of holes.
For I have pierced Him,
I have a heart full of holes.
And Christ enters ever wider each Communion


Friday, September 11, 2015

Backwards (11 September) - Poetry

(I wrote this on the evening of September 11, 2001)

Backwards they played
the "Star Spangled Banner".
So it was I scarcely recognized it -
I was too horrified,
I was too glued
to the TV, any TV.

It is not me watching this horror
or else I have changed.
The unraveling of the "Star Spangled Banner"
has caught me off-guard,
numb, incapable of looking away -
no, I am not the same.

It was not I
who looked at these lyrics as stale.
I do not recall
that they played them backwards before.
I will never look at those words
ever the same again.

When I heard it backward,
I cried.
Every time I close my eyes now
I see people jumping.
I feel them
falling, one hundred stories or more.

Am I writing this in an effort
to make myself feel better? They are dead.
Who am I to still be here?
I have lived alongside
the "Star Spangled Banner"
all my life.

I have kept it at a comfortable distance.
How could I see from afar
that its broad stripes of red
were stained with blood,
that the blue was the future,
the fruit of our many noble creeds,

and the stars states of mind,
of sweat, pain, and suffering?
I have lived alongside the "Star Spangled Banner"
I have been a neighbor only.
I never heard it
played backwards. I never heard it sung

by firefighters
upon burying their friends.
It was always a neighbor,
nothing more.
I never heard it played backwards.
I never felt its pain.

All my life
it was my neighbor,
nothing more,
yet little did I know,
until now,
that it was my friend.

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


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