Tag Archives: Canada

“As close to Satan as can be”

So, for your entertainment pleasure the American TV network NBC is offering you a new series called Hannibal. The new program is about the duplicitous Dr. Hannibal Lecter—psychologist, connoisseur, and gourmet cannibal. I suppose one of the “charms” of this new series will be the constant stream of new guest stars who make short on-camera appearances before being transformed into gourmet entrées for the “good” doctor’s dinner parties.

hannibal posterDanish actor Mads Mikkelsen has been cast as the TV version of Hannibal Lecter. Mikkelsen confessed to some initial reluctance to take on the role when first offered it because he thought Anthony Hopkins had turned in such a consummate portrayal of the Hannibal character in the movie The Silence of the Lambs. But it would seem that the Danish actor found some thespian, if not spiritualist, inspiration to bring the TV Hannibal Lecter “as close to Satan as can be,” according to journalist Frazier Moore of the Associated Press. For Mads Mikkelsen, Hannibal the cannibal isn’t your classic psychopath or serial murderer. No, no, no! This is your charming, sophisticated fallen angel who sees beauty in murder and dining pleasure through cannibalism.

But what the heck, in Canada we don’t have to watch NBC to satisfy our inner cannibal. All we have to do is pick up the newspaper and read about the trial of Luka Magnotta, the Montreal gay pornographic actor, who murdered and chopped up a the Chinese student Lin Jun in May 2012, and then mailed the victim’s body parts to the several Canadian political parties and schools.

When police figured out through surveillance footage that the “perp” was Magnotta, they searched his apartment and found plenty of gruesome evidence. Written in red ink in his closet was the chilling statement: “If you don’t like the reflection. Don’t look in the mirror. I don’t care.”

jun and magnottaDiscovered, Magnotta had fled the country to Europe, but eventually German police apprehended him at an Internet café in Berlin while he was killing some time reading online news stories about himself. Like Mads Mikkelsen, Magnotta, was also trying to get “as close to Satan as can be.”

It beats the life out of me trying to figure out why the NBC executives gave a green light to the TV series Hannibal. But obviously they are convinced that a mass audience will find it entertaining to watch someone act “as close to Satan as can be.”  Why are these TV big shots doing this? Don’t they understand the simple concept “monkey see, monkey do”? Can’t they understand what will result from promoting this spiritual darkness to their audience of millions of viewers? But that’s the point. Perhaps, they do understand.

Think about the moral darkness possessing the gatekeepers of America’s major entertainment corporations. Think about how these gatekeepers have used and are continuing to use the media as a tool for the changes they want to see. What do you think? Will you watch Hannibal on NBC? Or will you take your cues from another source. Jesus of Nazareth said this:

Your eye is the lamp of the body. When your eye is good, your whole body is also full of light. But when it is bad, your body is also full of darkness. Take care then, that the light in you is not darkness.  Luke 11:34-35 Holman Christian Standard Bible

Amanda, Jesus, and the bullies

One week ago an almost 16-year-old Amanda Todd committed suicide in a Vancouver, B.C. suburb and Canada has been talking about it ever since. Amanda killed herself about one month after she had posted a YouTube video detailing the torment she had received online and in person for several years from her adolescent peers.

The B.C. premier, Christie Clark, has spoken out about this. The members of the federal parliament in Ottawa have debated what should be done about bullying on the house floor. The media is full of opinion pieces, reporting, and letters to the editor about the Amanda Todd trajedy.

Perhaps the most shocking thing about this whole incident is the behaviour of far too many people who in the immediate aftermath of her suicide posted vile comments and inappropriate images on the Amanda Todd memorial Facebook page and elsewhere on social media.

How can some contemporary human beings sink so low in pursuit of the perceived gains that come from bullying others? And why didn’t Amanda’s peers step in to help her rather than pile on to hurt her over that last few years?

Social psychologist and assistant professor of criminology at Simon Fraser University Brenda Morrison asserts that the Amanda Todd suicide is just another piece of evidence making the case that Canada has “raised a generation of passive bystanders,” (Misty Harris, “Bullying backlash,” Times Colonist, Oct. 14, 2012).

Professor Mossison’s point is that if Todd’s peers in school—who now mostly say on social media that they “cared about Amanda”—if they really did care, then why didn’t they actually stand up and do something in solidarity to help the poor girl deal with the bullying? The fact is that there is a real culture of fear to be found in far too many of Canada’s schools. It is a fear of peer-to-peer bullying that inflicts its pain in cyberspace and in the real world by both words and deeds.

Far too many students in our schools treat their classmates with nastiness and cruelty. They lack heart. They lack basic spiritual understanding on how to ethically treat other humans. They lack love. If one cares about another person that means standing shoulder to shoulder with the bullied and being willing to be unpopular, too. It means being willing to pay the price to do what’s right in spite of the consequences of being pushed out of a status-craving, extreme peer-oriented, “cool” crowd.

Most of today’s school population rarely attends any sort of Christian church. They won’t even darken the doors of one of those theologically liberal churches that are obsessed with political correctness in their own peculiar striving for worldly popularity. Consequently many of today’s school-aged generation have never heard of, much less internalized, the most important biblical teachings about how you should treat other people. Prior generations knew about what is called the “golden rule.” But there are serious gaps in the spiritual, Christian knowledge of the majority of the adolescents in school these days. So why should we be surprised at the amount of bullying going on? We can hardly expect young people to act like Christians when they aren’t even superficially committed to its values like previous generations of Canadians.

In the wake of the Amanda Todd suicide I read in the newspaper one evolutionary biologist’s opinion piece stating that bullying is in actuality a “normal” human behaviour. It’s “normal” because it increases the bully’s status/dominance within a group. According to this view, people bully because it gets desired results such as more opportunity to access desirable sexual partners in a group by eliminating competition.  Bullying is seen by evolutionary biologists as a means to the “survival of the fittest.”  In its gross form this secular worldview would conclude that Amanda Todd wasn’t adequately fit to bully back in order to secure her ranking within the group. So she was cast out and couldn’t survive on her own. It just makes good evolutionary sense.

The divine narrative revealed through the Judeo-Christian Bible would agree with the biological evolutionists that bullying is indeed “normal” behaviour—but only for carnal, fleshly, sinful human beings. Such people, however “normal” they might be in the opinion of evolutionary biologists, are cut off from the life of God.

Why? Because they are naturally hostile to keeping the Holy Scriptures’ two golden rules. And just what exactly are these golden rules? The most popularly remembered and cited golden rule is the one that Jesus of Nazareth gave during his famed Sermon on the Mount:

 Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12 New Living Translation).

 

When Jesus gave that golden rule teaching it was at the beginning of his ministry. He wanted to give the public an easy to remember sound bite that neatly summarized the essential message about how to get along with other people as taught in much greater detail and length by the 39 books of the Hebrew, Old Covenant Scriptures, which are the foundational teachings of the divine narrative revealed to humanity.

Later, close to the end of his ministry, just before he was murdered by his enemies, Jesus presented a fuller version of the Bible’s executive summary in response to critics who were trying to find something to pick on in what he was teaching. It’s like today’s students turning on a teacher. They simply wanted to put Jesus down and bully him in public in order to build themselves up. They thought they could increase their own status and power within the community by bullying Jesus. But Jesus’ response shut them down because of its elegant simplicity, completeness, and accuracy in what is really important in living life in this world. Here’s the account:

 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments,” (Matthew 22:34-42 New Living Translation).

 Obviously our society does not keep the first so why should our children bother to keep the second? This idea of loving God and loving others is amplified by teachings throughout the Scriptures. But the social elite and gatekeepers of our society don’t want to hear about it. And anyone in the media who wants to present its messages is generally ostracized and pushed out of the inner circles of power. I suppose you could call it bullying.

The writer Allan Bloom in his 1987 book The Closing of the American Mind made this relevant point that applies equally to Canada’s power elite and this present generation of school children and adolescents:

I do not believe that my generation, my cousins…all of whom are M.D.s or PH.D.s have any comparable learning [to that of his grand parents spiritually rich understand of the Bible]. When they [Allan Bloom’s peers] talk about heaven and earth, the relations between men and women, parents and children, the human condition, I hear nothing but clichés, superficialities, the material of satire. I am not saying anything so trite as that life is fuller when people have myths to live by. I mean rather that a life based on the Book is closer to the truth, that it provides the materials for deeper research in and access to the real nature of things. Without the great revelations, epics, and philosophies as part of our natural vision, there is nothing to see out there, and eventually little left inside. The Bible is not the only means to furnish a mind, but without a book of similar gravity, read with the gravity of the potential believer, it will remain unfurnished.

Bullying will stop when we all truly come to believe that God is love and that we are all made in the image and likeness of God.

[Comment for those who are interested: the New Testament Greek word for “Law” is Nomos while the Old Testament Hebrew word for “Law” is Torah. Neither Nomos nor Torah refer only to explicit, codified laws, but to ALL of the normal rules and forms people take for granted in day to day activities. The Torah or Nomos is that complete way of life that one lives in covenant with God. The “Law” Jesus was talking about in Matthew 22 is merely the complete divine lifestyle that produces love, peace of mind, and liberty from the consequences of sinful human behaviour. And this “Law” is taught throughout the Bible by explicit statements, case examples, prophetic allegories, and even by poetry.]

Searching for love by the numbers

Statistics Canada released  a wave of statistics this week derived from its 2011 census, revealing the trends in the evolution of the Canadian family.

Essentially the stats show that the sanctity of traditional marriage between a man and a woman remains the gravitation pull for most Canadian families though it is gradually weakening. Nevertheless, for the time being it remains, according to Stats Canada, the predominant form of “social organization.”

Of the total 9,389,700 family “social units” counted in Canada by the 2011 census, about two-thirds were still headed by married, opposite sex couples—some 67 percent or about 6.3 million couples.

When the stats for heterosexual common-law (1.6 million) couples are added to those of heterosexual married couples—the traditional coupling between the opposite sexes (7.9 million couples) is revealed to be vastly more attractive to the average Canadian than homosexual coupling options—of which there were only 64,575 same-sex couples representing just 0.3 percent of all Canadian couples in this last census!

This leads one to wonder why the gatekeepers of our Canadian media organizations give so much coverage and attention to such an unpopular, tiny minority viewpoint on social organization, that represents only about one-third of one percent of all Canadians!

Wouldn’t it be a more profitable use of the media’s time and effort to focus on the needs of average Canadians—to talk about how to improve the relationships of heterosexual couples and their families? Sometimes it seems the media is more interested in dishing out a special interest group’s propaganda rather than rendering service on the more pressing needs of the nation.

And heterosexual couple’s relationships do need attention if we are going provide the nourishing emotional and material environments needed to rear a new generation prepared to move forward or even just to sustain our nation.

Fifty years ago in 1961, 91.6 percent of our family households were based on married couples. These people engendered a generation that was able to carry Canada to the prosperity we enjoy today. Will the present generation of couples who are having fewer children [1.9 in 2011 instead of 2.7 in 1961] be able to do as well or even better than their predecessors?

The significant decline in the number of couples willing to publically commit to each in marriage has significant implications that touch both the public and private domains of life.

By their very nature common-law relationships are formed by people who are unwilling to make a public and legal profession of commitment to each other. This means that the families founded by such people are more inherently  unstable than those from the ranks of the committed. Common-law couples in Canada now account for 16.7 per cent of all families or 1.6 million couples—an increase of 13.9 percent since the last census.

This statistical growth of uncommitted common-law couples is mirrored by the statistical growth of single-adult households,  80 percent of which are headed up by women.  These one-parent families now represent 16.3 percent of all Canadians families. That’s 1.5 million households.

While some common-law couples and single parent households do a good job rearing children, many do less than a stellar job. This is why teachers working at schools with catchment areas full of common-law and single parent households have classes in which a high percentage of their students come to school lacking the emotional maturity, self-discipline, and even material resources needed to make the most of their educational opportunities.

The Maclean’s magazine issue of Sept. 10, 2012 features the cover story: “Crisis on Campus—The Broken Generation—A shocking number of Canadian students feel depressed, even suicidal. Why our best and brightest are so troubled.”

Educators use all sorts of euphemisms to describe this dysfunctional situation that is a growing problem in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary educational institutions. But it all comes down to the declining numbers of Canadian families willing to tie the knot and make it hold tight in order to do the hard work needed to prepare their children for the difficult business of living in this challenging world.

Perhaps this growing Canadian reluctance to commitment in our personal sexual relationships also mirrors our decline in spiritual commitment to the God of the Bible? People wonder why they don’t sense the presence of God in their lives. Perhaps this is one reason.

 You cry out, “Why doesn’t the Lord accept my worship?” I’ll tell you why! Because the Lord witnessed the vows you and your wife made when you were young. But you have been unfaithful to her, though she remained your faithful partner, the wife of your marriage vows.

Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.” Malachi 2:14-16 NLT

America’s Midwest cursed with drought; B.C. overly blessed with water

I recently returned from a visit to my dad who lives in the irrigated farming area of southern Idaho’s Snake River Valley.  After leaving a very green and lush British Columbia, once I drove south into Washington State and then over the pass through the coastal Cascade mountain range immediately east of Seattle, the dominant impression is one of a heat-blasted, parched-brown countryside. As we drove through northeastern Oregon the temperatures soared to 43 degrees Celsius, which translates into 110 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s hot! I got a good tan without even trying due to the blazing sun.

My son, Jeremiah, who accompanied me to Idaho, then caught a flight to St. Louis, Missouri, where he was volunteering as a youth camp counselor and photographer. While visiting  America’s Midwestern heartland of grain production (more than 75 per cent of the corn and soybeans grow there), my son experienced more roasting temperatures along with high humidity—up to 107 degrees Fahrenheit! Only a snake could like such hellish weather. It was so hot that the teenage campers participating in my son’s “adventure” races were only allowed to walk from hydration station to hydration station lest they suffer heatstroke.

Much of the American heartland is literally baking. The implications of devastating drought in the world’s breadbasket are serious.

“We’re moving from a crisis to a horror story,” said Purdue University agronomist Tony Vyn. “I see an increasing number of fields that will produce zero grain.”

The drought scorching the U.S. Midwest is the worst since 1956, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a report posted on its website on Monday. Drought is affecting 55% of the land mass in the lower 48 states (http://business.financialpost.com/2012/07/17/americas-worst-drought-since-56-threatens-world-food-supply/)

Already, prices for corn and soybeans are up more than 50 percent over the last four weeks. The coming food price sticker shock is going to affect all of us. For nations that import large amounts of grain to feed their populations, these higher prices is going to mean a good deal of personal hardship and national political instability.

Is all this heat and blasting mere coincidence? Just part of the normal weather cycle?

Meanwhile, here in British Columbia, our water reservoirs are critically full due to big melting snowpacks in the mountains and torrential rains in June and July. For the first time in 50 years, all of B.C.’s major dams are having to spill water in increasing amounts just to keep the dams from breaking. Dam managers have never seen anything like what’s happening this year at B.C.’s water reservoirs.

How strange. Here in B.C. we have a super-abundance of water, while just south of us the American heartland is bone dry. It sounds like some sort of ironic biblical curse. We have way too much but the Yanks have way too little. All the water that should have gone to America’s grain-growing Midwest has been dumped on us Pacific Canadians. What gives?

Actually, the Bible’s God, whom the Old Covenant scriptures referred to as YHVH (see Exodus 3:14-15, that is to say I am the One who was, is, and will be) and the New Covenant scriptures identified as Jesus Christ (see John 8:58), did promise to mess up the normal weather if those who claim to be His people fail to live according to His revealed way of life and belief. Americans, after all, make their boast even on their money “In God We Trust.” But do they really? Is the Bible’s God sufficiently fed up with North American hypocrisy to take action to punish us? Consider this prophecy:

“But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God or be careful to do all his commandments and his statutes that I command you today, then all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the field. Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Cursed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out.

“The Lord will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me.

 And the heavens over your head shall be bronze, and the earth under you shall be iron. The Lord will make the rain of your land powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you until you are destroyed (Deuteronomy 28:15-20, 23-24).

Americans have long proudly exclaimed, “God bless America.” And for the longest time it seemed so. But what happens when a nation’s leaders and its people no longer believe in living so as to receive a blessing but rather stubbornly and rebelliously live in such a way that earns a curse instead? If God can bless can’t He also curse? Is a drought and soaring food prices a blessing or a curse? What do you think?

Punishing the message and the messenger

The news media in Canada over the last few days has been covering the story of the five-day suspension from a Nova Scotia high school of a 19-year-old senior, William Swinimer. His offense was wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan “Life is wasted without Jesus.”

According to the superintendent of the South Shore Regional School Board, Nancy Pynch-Worthylake, Swinimer was kicked out of school because the message on his T-shirt offended the beliefs and/or feelings of some other students. The superintendent, however, refused to give any specifics about the complaints that the school authorities had received.

So what was so offensive about William Swinimer’s mild, profanity-free positive affirmation of the Christian faith?

What has happened to our Canadian right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion? Well, this effort by the school authorities to deprive William Swinimer of his freedom to quietly express his faith in a public arena is just one more indication that Canada is well on the way to transforming itself into an aggressive, secular state that insists on uniform compliance with political correctness. Militant secularists progressively attempt to sideline, minimize, label, ridicule, and then suppress the expression of Christian ideas, morality, and ethics in the media and all other arenas of public life.

Why do the secularists do this? Well, it’s obvious. The spiritual worldview taught by the Bible and faith and the secular worldview of materialism and unbelief are diametrically opposed to each other.

When Tory MP Stephen Woodworth introduced his Motion 312 in Ottawa—asking for a parliamentary committee to be formed to review scientific evidence about when human life actually begins so that our 400-year-old definition in the criminal code might be updated—all hell broke loose. The secularists called Woodworth’s motion “an insulting and offensive attack on women’s rights.” They’ve labeled him a “misogynist” and an “ultra-conservative.”

The secularists and pro-abortion people, of course, don’t want a public investigation, or—horrors—a debate on what the scientific evidence on the subject might reveal about when a human being actually becomes a human being. They want to suppress any such parliamentary investigation at all costs. They shudder at the idea that a review of the evidence and a discussion about the morals and ethics of when it’s okay to kill a human fetus might make them look hard-hearted and selfish. Of course, Christianity’s long-held position is that a “good” society promotes loving one’s neighbour—even the most powerless, weak, and vulnerable neighbour of them all.

So, when an audacious teen-ager wears to public school a T-shirt saying, “Life is wasted without Jesus,” uneasy consciences convict the secularists who are indeed upset at the profound implications of that slogan. So, they must suppress the message and punish the one standing in for the Messenger.

The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hellbent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense. This is the way God works, and most powerfully as it turns out. It’s written, I’ll turn conventional wisdom on its head, I’ll expose so-called experts as crackpots.
So where can you find someone truly wise, truly educated, truly intelligent in this day and age? Hasn’t God exposed it all as pretentious nonsense? Since the world in all its fancy wisdom never had a clue when it came to knowing God, God in his wisdom took delight in using what the world considered dumb—preaching, of all things!—to bring those who trust him into the way of salvation (1 Corinthians 1:18-21 The Message paraphrase).

Censoring God out of our culture

Today many in the Western world are uncomfortable or even hostile when it comes to any mention of God’s name in any way but as an angry curse or as a mindless exclamatory expression (OMG). The latest example of this comes from Canada.

As part of the preparations for an end of year student concert at an elementary school near Sorel-Tracy, Que., a town near Montreal, the music teacher was planning on having his students sing the classic “Hymne à l’amour,” (Ode to Love), which was first performed by the late iconic French singer Edith Piaf in 1949. But the Saint-Gabriel-Lalemant School teacher decided to censor the last line of the song, “God reunites those who love” because he didn’t want to answer any questions the students might have about God. The local school board say the censorship was the personal decision of the teacher and was not ordered by the school or district policy.

What an offensive, politically incorrect idea that God will reunite those who love! How far has our culture degenerated that we can no longer bear to have the children sing about the author of love? As the apostle John taught:

He who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1 John 4:8 New King James Version).

Our society seems extraordinarily eager to promote media themes talking about sexual lust, selfishness, violence, and such like. But to recall God’s loving kindness has become controversial among elementary school teachers? We are heading for big, big trouble. What a people sows, they will also reap.

Halloween, Zombies, and Divided Loyalties


Some commentators compare the celebration of Halloween to a gateway drug. You know, people who become heroin addicts usually start out with milder drugs like marijuana, and then move up the chain of pharmacologically active substances in their pursuit of an increasingly powerful but a delusional sense of euphoria. Hard drug addicts end up becoming the living dead—real-life zombies enslaved to a dark lord that forces them to do his bidding.

Essentially, Halloween, just like the drugs that get you high, may start out by just having a little fun, but as a gateway to the spiritual world it, too, can lead to unanticipated, but entirely natural consequences that flow from a series of bad choices.

Americans are estimated to spend about $2.5 Billion on celebrating Halloween this year while Canadians will certainly spend, maybe a tenth of that, say $250 Million. But are we spending all this money on “good, clean fun”?

Halloween imagery mostly is comprised of themes connected with death, witches, evil spirits, and the power of darkness. Where does all this black and orange stuff come from? What is the origin of the holiday? And does it matter?

The Apostle Paul warned the people of God then living in a place that was at that time the heart of darkness:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18 English Standard Version).

Yes, our present society is working hard to suppress the truth in our time as well. Halloween does indeed lie at the heart of a centuries-old conspiracy to substitute deception for truth, darkness for light. If you would like to really understand this issue then check out my video called Divided Loyalties. I guarantee to you that this eye-opening message is no smoke and mirrors trick but a real sweet treat for your mind, having no possible threat of cavities for your soul. Continue reading

Remembering Evil’s Threat—a lesson for 9/11’s 10th anniversary

In the days leading up to the anniversary of the terrorist attack on New York’s Twin Towers the news media are full of stories about how our lives have changed as result of that deadly event. Make no mistake about it. Much has changed, and not for the good!

Even in Canada, which was not directly in 9/11’s crosshairs, the costs have been high. Economist David MacDonald estimates in a report published by the Ottawa-based Rideau Institute that we’ve spent an additional $92 billion on the various Canadian national security organizations. For instance, the Canadian military’s budget has practically doubled since the Al-Qaeda attack in 2001.

Now, however, Osama Bin Laden is dead. And we’ve stopped our combat role in Afghanistan. So, the Rideau Institutes wonders aloud why Canada should continue to spend this estimated extra $10 billion a year on our national security?

I guess the simple answer is… because Al-Qaeda and its ilk have never said they’re sorry for targeting and killing some of our own people who were in the Twin Towers that day as well as thousands of our neighbours who also happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Al-Qaeda and its various franchise Islamic terrorist organizations have expressed no remorse, admitted no guilt, and sought out no forgiveness from those families whose loved ones were blown to bits or burnt alive. So how can we as a people afford to just “forgive and forget” what continues to be a clear and present danger?

I suspect David MacDonald, the Rideau Institute, and other liberal “progressive” types are morally confused about when it is appropriate to forgive and forget past sins.

Alexander Pope wrote that “to err is human; to forgive, divine.” So if forgiveness is a divine character trait—and indeed it is—then we would do well to consider how and when God applies it.

There was once an ancient Middle Eastern people who deliberately sowed terror amongst their neighbours. They were sort of like Al-Qaeda today, but militarily that ancient people were far more dangerous in comparison to the modern terrorists. They were the Assyrians—renowned in antiquity for their cruel, blood-soaked terror tactics. You can still see some of what the Assyrians did in nauseating graphic detail preserved such as skinning their captives alive in a series of startling wall-carvings that formerly decorated the Assyrian king’s palace walls in Nineveh and are presently at the British Museum in London .

According to the Scriptures, the God of the Bible eventually had enough of the violent Assyrians, and sent His prophet Jonah to give them 40 days to clean up their act or face a divine “shock and awe” campaign (cf. Jonah chapter 3). Surprisingly, the Assyrian leadership listened to this denunciation of their violence and felt guilt for their actions, and took the warning by the prophet seriously. As the Scriptures noted, the Assyrians “turned from their evil way” (Jonah 3:10).

The Assyrians repented. This means they actually changed their behaviour and made an attempt to do what was right rather than what was wrong. In response to that change in attitude and behaviour, God decided to abort His plan to destroy them during that generation.

As this example demonstrates, there is a price for divine forgiveness. That price is a change in attitude and action by the guilty party. With repentance and a real effort to change one’s actions, there can be divine forgiveness for any sin including that of terrorism or any other form of murder-inducing hate.

On the other hand, the whole story of Noah, the Ark, and the Flood illustrates that God’s mercy doesn’t extend to the morally corrupt and violent who refuse to acknowledge their transgressions and who refuse to change their bad behaviour (cf. Genesis chapters 6 & 7).

Yet we have the spectacle occasionally played out in our media by some who would forgive a murderer who has expressed no remorse and made no effort to atone for his or her sin. There are far too many who fail to understand that the moral act of forgiveness is not the automatic entitlement or right of those who committed an immoral act—unless such forgiveness is earnestly asked for and sought by the offending party who committed the wrong.

Forgiving people who don’t personally atone for their sins makes the statement that, “Repentance isn’t really necessary.” Can anything be more immoral than encouraging evil by refraining from any condemnation of those who commit it?

The day after the Columbine High School massacre, a group of students announced that they forgave the killers. A short while after the Oklahoma bombing, some people put out a call to forgive Timothy McVeigh. And on September 12th, on several American campuses, college groups pleaded for forgiveness for the terrorists responsible for the horrific events of the previous day.

These weren’t just misguided gestures of compassion. They were serious sins with potentially tragic consequences. Evil unchallenged is evil condoned. To forgive and forget, as Arthur Schopenhauer so well put it, “means to throw valuable experience out the window.” And without the benefit of experience’s lessons, we are almost certain to be doomed to repeat them. http://www.aish.com/ci/s/911_Forgive_and_Forget.html

Clearly it must be understood that forgiveness is not indifference to wrongdoing or evil of all sorts whether major or minor. Forgiveness is not wishful thinking. Rather, under the correct conditions, forgiveness can be a catalyst to effect real, positive, spiritual change for the good. Forgiveness can be a means of reconciliation between the one who did wrong and the one who was wronged.

Read carefully this instruction by Jesus of Nazareth concerning when it is appropriate to extend forgiveness:

Jesus said to his followers, ‘Things that cause people to sin will happen, but how terrible for the person who causes them to happen! It would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a large stone around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to sin. So be careful!
‘If another follower sins, warn him, and if he is sorry and stops sinning, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in one day and says that he is sorry each time, forgive him” (Luke 17:1-4 New Century Version).

It is sad to note that a significant percentage of the Islamic terrorist prisoners (approximately 20%) who initially supported the September 11, 2001 attack, and were later released from U.S.’s Guantanamo detention facility returned to Al-Qaeda’s ranks to fight once more. Some of these have subsequently been killed in firefights with Western soldiers in Afghanistan. They saw no need to repent and ask for forgiveness for starting the cycle of pain and suffering that began at the Twin Towers ten years ago. So the fight against evil must go on.

We must remember that the sort of forgiveness that Jesus envisioned required a desire to change and grow, a desire to live in the light rather than darkness, to embrace good and not evil. Forgiveness should only be granted upon genuine repentance. Otherwise you’re only aiding and abetting an evil-doer.

Canuck Fans Run Riot for their Obsession!


Whenever Islamic fanatics’ religious sensitivities are sufficiently stirred up–say by an unflattering event like the publication of an editorial cartoon that mocks their star player from Mecca and so hurts their self-esteem –then those fans riot in the streets. They love to make the world hear their violent expressions of support for their hometown teams of radical ayatollahs and mullahs. So, in consideration of last night’s riot in downtown Vancouver following the Bruins-Canucks game, is there really much of a difference between those humourless jihadis and our wickedly narcissistic Canucks’ hockey “fan-atics”?

After all, both like to occasionally go out for an exciting evening of burning cars, looting, and mixing it up with the regime’s police in the name of their obsesssions!

You know, evidently, some Canuck fans can be very deceptive. On the surface they seem like such a calm, agreeable people. Probably they think of themselves as progressive, peaceful, good people. But when it comes to hockey, they’re incendiary fan-atics. They are sports pagans with more than a few loose screws. And last night they showed the world what their belief system was all about: it’s all about me being as despicable and violent as I want and I don’t mind if the whole world knows.

Why, those sports pagans were so proud of their riotous worship last evening that they took all sorts of photos and videos of themselves with their mobile phones in order to proselyte their friends on YouTube and Facebook about their new doctrine (“Thou shalt not be hesitant to act like a flaming jerk to thy neighbour or thy neighbour’s property”).

Indeed, for many of these 20s-something young people in downtown Vancouver last night, this was their first real opportunity to prove to us their level of zeal as new converts to sports paganism by hopping up and down on burning cars. After watching a number of videos posted on the Internet, I do wonder just how many bystanders were also caught up in this pagan worship by cheering on the fan-atics as they performed their violent rituals celebrating the power of spiritual darkness.

Seriously, Canada’s generalized hockey obsession does occasionally bring out the worst in some people. Consider the hockey riots of 2010, 2008, 2006, 1994, 1993, 1986, and even 1955. This is a recurring problem that has a lot to do with the fact that many of these fan-atics lack a solid ethical and moral foundation based on the Judeo-Christian scriptures. If they did, they would have known that it is written:

“You must not follow a crowd in wrongdoing” (Exodus 23:2 Holmen Christian Standard Version).

There will be much hand-wringing by various public officials about this Vancouver riot for some time. But I promise you that nothing will be done to really get at the heart of the problem—which is spiritual. You cannot turn your back on the God of the Bible and push His teachings out of the public square and expect anything but bad results. We are now beginning to reap the bad that we as a society have sown. Take warning because times are going to get worse. For your own safety, do not hang around with these sports fan-atics.

In the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that (2 Timothy 3:1-3) New Living Translation)!

What’s your life worth?

This morning on the one-year anniversary of the world’s worst oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, I was listing to a CBC Radio 1 interview with Kenneth Fineberg, who is also known as the “pay czar” for British Petroleum’s US$20 billion compensation fund for those hurt by that environmental disaster. Fineberg, a legal specialist in mediation and alternative dispute resolution, was previously the Special Master of the U.S. government’s September 11th Victim Compensation Fund a decade ago and wrote a book about his experience called “What is Life Worth?: The Unprecedented Effort to Compensate the Victims of 9/11.”

So, how does Mr. Fineberg place a value on a human life? Well, it’s all fairly cut and dried being mostly numbers and statistics: A) Determine how much the person was making at the time of his or her death B) Estimate how many more years could that person reasonably have been expected to continue earning such money. C) Multiply A x B + something for “pain and suffering,” and voilà, you get a sum printed off on a compensation cheque.

Of course, the party or parties who suffered the loss of their loved one can always sue and try to make the case for a higher figure. But you’re going to have to convince the judge and the jury, dollar-wise. For most people, the high legal costs for such a run through the “justice” system makes accepting the pay czar’s formula fixing the life-value of their loved one the only rational choice—even if the final figure seems low and cold.

So, have you ever stopped to figure out what YOUR life is worth? Or, maybe even, what is all human life on this entire planet worth? To most people the logical answer would have to be: “utterly priceless” or “more than the total sum of all the money and things of value in the world.” I mean, how else could you figure such enormous present and potential value?

Actually, someone once working in a capacity like a “pay czar” did put a value on all humanity’s redemptive value in monetary terms. The amount was equal to what it would cost to hire the average, full-time workingman for 120 days. In 2007 U.S. dollars this would be $22,560 in Canada or about $31,680 in the United States or $26,688 in Germany or only $16,992 in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus. That was the value of 30 pieces of silver in A.D. 30.

When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death. 2 And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor. 3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!”
5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.
6 But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood.” 7 And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. 8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.
9 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, 10 and gave them for the potter’s field, as the LORD directed me” (Matthew 27:1-10 New King James Version).

The value of Jesus’ life to his Father was priceless. But for the lawyers and compensation specialists of 2,000 years ago, 30 pieces of silver was enough. So, what is YOUR life worth?

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

So don’t place a low value on your life. You are worth more than any lawyer or accountant could imagine. As the Apostle Peter said,

You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:19-19 NKJV).

If you would like to hear more about your worth to God and the value of human life check out my messages “Preparing for the Passover” and “Spirit of Service” posted on http://cogwebcast.com/