Tag Archives: Bible

What has changed? Why rising slaughter of strangers?

It is evident that something has changed in North America. Why this rising tide of mass murder and hateful speech?

This past week the headline stories in the media were packed with the details about the recent mass slaughter of random strangers by blood-thirsty perpetrators, who were all young men in their teens or early 20s. The El Paso, Texas killer was 21. The Dayton, Ohio killer was 24. The Northern B.C. killers were 18 and 19. All were young men, yet they shared no common ideology. One was apparently a white supremacist, while another was a radical leftist who support ANTIFA. The political leanings of the Northern B.C. killer-teens are unknown.  So what do they have in common? NONE of them were church-going Christians or synagogue-going Jews.

Evidently the parents of these killers made little to no effort to teach them the basics of the morality taught by the Judeo-Christian Scriptures with its admonitions: “Thou shalt not murder” and  “Love your neighbour as yourself.” The Bible passionately focuses on such family friendly values. Yet, it is now several generations since it was commonplace among Americans and Canadians to consistently raise our children with this foundational morality. I am such a dinosaur that I remember my 4th grade public school teacher regularly reading the Psalms to us during class.

But today it is commonplace for the social and political discourse to be full of venom and words of disrespect and even violence.We commonly bite and devour each other on the Twitterosphere. This is the new norm, and no one seems to know what to do about it except to censor it one way or another. And so the precious freedom of speech is gradually being eroded.  The idea that one should speak moderately, and practice kindness to one’s neighbours and strangers in word and deed seem alien to many today.

This rising tide of violence in word and deed is the natural consequence of our society  turning away from the Bible’s God and his teachings. And yet so many are still surprised by the increase in random murders. But perhaps they have never known the Judeo Christian ethic. As the Apostle Paul clearly pointed out a long time ago there is a natural cause and effect relationship of what happens when a society turns its back on biblical values.

Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarrelling, deception, malicious behaviour, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand [biblical truth], break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. Romans 1:28-32 New Living Translation.

Gun control legislation will at best be only a poor and relatively ineffective remedy for what is in essence a spiritual sickness. Instead, if we want real social peace in our communities and the reversal of this rising tide of violence in both word and deed, then we need to blow the dust off our Bibles and begin to read them. We must practice what the Scriptures teach about loving our neighbours, and the strangers in our land. And of course, we should begin to teach the Bible’s message to our children and grandchildren at home and in the schools. That would heal our nations’ spiritual sickness, that is manifest in this rising tide of verbal violence and the outright cold-blooded mass murder of strangers.

 

 

 

 

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Canada’s leaders risk nation’s health in an “uncontrolled national experiment”

When I get up tomorrow, Wednesday morning, October 17th, recreational cannabis use will be legal throughout Canada. Curiously two days earlier on Monday, October 15th, the Canadian Medical Association Journal decided to play Cassandra warning in an editorial that marijuana’s legalization is nothing less than “a national, uncontrolled experiment in which the profits of cannabis producers and tax revenues are squarely pitched against the health of Canadians.”

Health Canada estimates we can expect that recreational cannabis use will cause problems for “nearly 1 in 3 adult users and an addiction in close to 1 in 10, with higher risks in youth.” Researchers all know that there are “many unanswered questions about the consequences that will arise from the short-term and long-term use of cannabis” (see CMAJ, editorial, accessed May 15, 2018, http://www.cmaj.ca/content/190/41/E1218

In a classic case of hypocritical “double-speak” P.M. Justin Trudeau’s Liberals justified their legalization of recreational cannabis because they believed it would “protect public health and safety, by keeping cannabis out of the hands of youth and enhancing public awareness of health risks associated with cannabis use.” (Language from Bill C-45). I’m not sure how removing any sort of stigma from using this drug would make youth less inclined to use it. The plain truth of the matter is that the Federal Liberal Party of Canada felt during the last election that a promise to legalize cannabis use would help propel them into power since about 1 in 7 Canadians (almost 5 million) were already using the drug.

So is this “uncontrolled national experiment” really in the best interests of the Canadian people? Just because the government makes something “legal” doesn’t mean it’s good for you—or righteous, moral, or even just plain healthful! Tobacco smoking, gambling, abortion, and assisted suicide are cases in point. Governments do what they think is in their best interests—not yours! Perhaps we all should reflect on this Proverb from the Bible before allowing ourselves to take advantage of some governmentally legalized, but perhaps personally harmful scheme:

“Wisdom rests [silently] in the heart of one who has understanding, But what is in the heart of [shortsighted] fools is made known. Righteousness [moral and spiritual integrity and virtuous character] exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:33-34 Amplified Bible)

 

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Is ignorance bliss?

Do you believe that “ignorance is bliss”—especially when it comes to the world’s most important belief system? On September 28th the Pew Research Center published the results of a survey they conducted in the United States about religious knowledge. Surprisingly, the Pew survey discovered that Atheists, Agnostics, and even Jews could answer correctly more questions about the Bible and Christianity than your average Joe or Jane Christian!

What? Unbelievers and Rejectionists know more about the religion Jesus Christ is credited with establishing than those who claim Him to be their Saviour!!! If I hadn’t looked at the stats with my own eyes I would not have believed it. Out of 12 questions about the Bible and Christianity your average Christian could correctly answer only 6.0 questions. Atheists/Agnostics came in statistically with 6.7 right answers with Jews slightly trailing at 6.3.

Mormons as an identified group came in with the highest scores at 7.9 correctly answered out of 12.  Among the various identifiable Christian groups, White Evangelicals scored highest at 7.3, Mainline Protestants came in at 5.8 while Black Protestants did slightly better at 5.9. White Catholics matched the Black Protestants with 5.9, however Hispanic Catholics lagged the entire Christian group with a score of only 4.2.

Out of curiosity, I took a similar test consisting of 15 questions that Pew has online at http://features.pewforum.org/quiz/us-religious-knowledge/index.php in order to see how hard were these questions. I thought it was easy, scoring correctly 14 out of 15 questions. I missed the question about teachers being allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court to lead a class in prayer in U.S. public schools. When I was in public school during the 1960s in New Hampshire my public school teacher read from the Bible and led us in prayer. Okay, things change.  But even with my blooper I still came in ahead of 99% of everyone else who took the test, including university students with post-graduate training who got only 68% right.

Yeah, I know. I’m a preacher and I better know my stuff. But really, these questions were just so…. Well, so basic. I wonder what kind of results a Pew Reseach Center survey would get if they asked really important questions about what the Bible teaches on issues of spiritual life or death?

I just finished celebrating the annual round of Scripturally sanctioned Holy Days that Jesus and his original disciples personally kept as recorded in the Gospels and the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. Yet most Christians as well as fun-loving Atheists, Agnostics, and not a few assimilated Jews will be celebrating this Fall and Winter the Halloween and Christmas holidays—being ignorant of what the Judeo-Christian scriptures actually teach. Does it matter?  Any excuse for a party, right?

Well, you might check out what Jesus thought about those who play fast and loose with true knowledge, or who think that going along with the crowd is bliss even if it is in ignorance.

Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah [the 8th century B.C.E. prophet] was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ For you ignore God’s law [the knowledge actually found in the Bible] and substitute your own tradition” (Mark 7:6-8 New Living Translation).

I guarantee that whoever prefers to live in ignorance rather than in truth will not find bliss in the World Tomorrow that Jesus talked about throughout the Gospels.

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