Tag Archives: Christianity

Who is Undermining Our Western Civilization?

Recently Conrad Black wrote a “must read” opinion piece—which is fascinating for both its language and its conclusions.

Black argues that increasingly aggressive atheist banshees, who seized control over most of the Western world’s government, academic, and media institutions, are close to dangerously undermining the roots of the West’s Judeo-Christian civilization. The implications of this worldview shift that has taken place among our leaders will have profound implications for everyone.

Up until now, the Judeo-Christian tradition has had a remarkable influence on the course of our history —promoting the role of conscience, free will, freedom of religion, the practice of justice, mercy, and forgiveness, along with intellectual curiosity and personal initiative.  The conceptual roots from which our 21st Century understanding of rights, freedoms, and political constitutions emerged from the teachings of the Judeo-Christians Scriptures about love, covenant, justice, and equality in law.

Surprising, Black noted, even the most militant of atheists feel obliged to swaddle themselves in commendable precepts that are generally rip-offs of the Golden Rule about loving your neighbour as yourself—which is found in both Old and New Covenant scriptures!

It is ironic that while the unbelieving, hyperactive philistines vociferously denounce the Judeo-Christian values, they nonetheless seem perfectly content to enjoy the benefits of Judeo-Christian civilization even while hypocritically denying its basic tenets.

Black warns that the Judeo-Christian influence on Western society is fast weakening. He wonders if the moral relativism substituted for biblical morality—which has resulted in a massive erosion of social cohesion and backbone among those buying the so-called “progressive,” politically correct ideology— could rally sufficient moral confidence to confront what Conrad Black calls “sociopathic Islam.”

If Black sounds harsh, well, would you, a liberal Westerner who despises our Judeo-Christian heritage, like to migrate on a raft (or even just get on a plane) to  a Muslim majority country like Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia (which is 100% church and synagogue free), Iran, Iraq, Syria, or Libya because they’re such great places to live? Or even better yet, how about decamping to North Korea, which is an atheist’s paradise and totally free from any religious values, whether Judeo-Christian or even Muslim? I understand the North Koreans love to imprison “superstitious and subversive” Korean-Christian ministers who obviously threaten the state by providing a little material assistance to their starving neighbours. How despicable those with Judeo-Christian values! I jest!

Conrad Black, “I put this as simply as possible: Many atheists are excellent, but atheism itself is hurting the West,” Apr. 7, 2017; http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/conrad-black-i-put-this-as-simply-as-possible-many-atheists-are-excellent-but-atheism-itself-is-hurting-the-west

Was St. Patrick a “good” Catholic?

green beer

Was St. Patrick a good Catholic? Most would say that you might as well say is the Pope Catholic! But often truth is indeed stranger than fiction, or even green beer.

Many of the tales and lore associated with St. Patrick come from Tirechán’s LIfe of Patrick, which was written about 700 A.D., or roughly 250 years after Patrick’s death. Unfortunately Tirechán’s book is not only completely revisionistic but also primarily fictitious. Tirechán’s work mostly reflects the priorities of an 8th century Catholic hierarchy who were at that point desperately trying to claim Patrick’s missionary legacy as their own in their campaign to pressure the remainder of the stubbornly independent Celtic Christian congregations in Ireland who were refusing to “enter into unity with Rome,”

Far from being a part of the Roman hierarchy, Patrick of Ireland ran a self-funded independent ministry. He never answered to Rome’s direction. Patrick was a part of the 5th to 7th century Celtic Christian movement in the British Isles, which followed a decentralized form of church organization. Deliberately maintaining isolation for over 150 years from the Catholic form of Christianity on the continent, the Celtic Christians of Britain and Ireland steadfastly refused to obey the Roman church’s hierarchy either administratively or doctrinally, according to York University professors Michael W. Herren and Shirley Ann Brown in their book Christ in Celtic Christianity.

It’s noteworthy that Patrick’s own grandfather, a married Christian priest, and his father, a married Christian deacon, did not buy into the Catholic Church’s Augustinian theology about original sin and infant baptism. Patrick’s family did not baptise him as a baby, according to Patrick’s own testimony. Rather Patrick’s family followed the theology of Pelagius, Augustine of Hippo’s theological nemesis. Pelagius taught that Adam’s sin at the Garden of Eden did not result in human nature becoming utterly depraved and, consequently, sexual intercouse did not transmit Augustine’s fictitious “original sin.” (This was the origin of the “sex is evil” idea in Catholicism.) Consequently,  baptism, according to Pelagian theology, was only for those with mature minds who could fully appreciate the level of commitment required from one who repents of a sinful lifestyle.

Leslie Hardinge in his book The Celtic Church in Britain notes that unlike the strongly anti-Semitic leprechanattitudes held by the Roman church, the Celtic Christian churches strongly valued their faith’s Hebrew roots. Accordingly, the Celtic Christians held their Pascale (Passover) ceremony of taking the Lord’s Last Supper with the bread and the wine on “the 14th moon” (Nisan 14 on the Hebrew calendar) rather than following the Roman churches calculations based on the pagan Roman Julian calendar. The Celtic Christians continued to “remember the Sabbath to keep it holy” on the 7th day of the week, which the Roman Christians did not.

Hardinge also writes, “Wherever Patrick established a church he was believed to have left a copy of the books of the Law and the Books of the Gospel. The Leber ex Lege Moisi is the only work surviving from Celtic sources which answers to the description “books of the Law.” Each of the four extant manuscripts of this work has an Irish provenance. The earliest has been dated about 800, and had apparently been copied from an earlier manuscript. It commences with the Decalogue and contains selections from the Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, which are filled with citations from the Old Latin.” (Hardinge, pp 49-50).

Such a practice clearly reveals that Patrick had a strong “Scripturalist” approach to his religious understanding. The Scriptures were his authority. According to Profs. Herren & Brown to be a Scripturalist was typical of the Celtic Christian movement but radically atypical of those who supported the bishops of Rome and their hierarchy.

patrick peopleIt would appear from the evidence that Patrick of Ireland would not have been considered by his early Medieval contemporaries to be a “good” Catholic. Even the foremost Catholic church historian of the British Isles of the early Medieval era, Bede, knew nothing about a “St. Patrick.” In this case, the truth is indeed stranger than fiction or even green beer. Cheers!

The Fun Slippery Slide Down the Slope of Moral Relativism

death cartoonWow, it’s amazing what happens in just one weekly news cycle! Should we cry or laugh?

A full two-thirds of Canada’s doctors are opposed to participating the Supreme Court’s newly discovered “right to die” by doctor-assisted suicide. In fact only 29 percent of doctors surveyed said they  would even consider providing such a “new procedure.”

Nevertheless, the leaders of the Canadian Medical Association are all gung-ho about turning their physicians into “Dr. Deaths.” Never mind that most doctors have trouble squaring this with their Hippocratic oath to “either help or do no harm.” But for CMA leaders it’s to infinity and beyond in embracing this new right to death conferred by the Supremes. Whoopie, we’re all gonna die! However, the CMA worries that there may not be enough time to properly train the docs in new, approved liquidation procedures before the law comes into effect on February 6th. Ah yes, I can see the CMA’s continuing education promo right now: Learn to Kill the CMA-way. Lunch provided.

One wag suggests the CMA could lower their learning curve by contacting the Canadian Veterinary Medicine Association. After all, they already know how to shoot horses and euthanized dogs and cats by the dozen. Perhaps, all that the CMA leaders really need to show the docs is how to securely tie a plastic bag over a checking-out patient’s head and in just a couple of minutes the deed is done except, of course, for billing the taxpayers for the “procedure.” No mess, no fuss. On to the next patient. What an easy way to pay for your Mercedes.
But perhaps there are some doctors still willing to consider what the Creator advises? This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live(Deuteronomy 30:19)

Ah yes, and then there are the news stories about the adultery-promotingashley hacked website AshleyMadison.com–“Life is short. Have an affair”– and its Canadian parent company, Avid Life Media. Who was it that said all publicity is good publicity? Anywise, after more than 30 million email addresses and some credit card data were released–manna for digital peeping toms–Avid Life Media, has offered $500,000 to anyone with information revealing the hackers’ identity.

To police investigators, the nature of Ashley Madison’s infidelity-facilitating website is “of no interest”–due to the moral relativism prevailing in government officialdom these days. They’re only interested in catching those nasty, immoral hackers as well as advising the clients of Ashley Madison–caught with their privacy pants down as it were–to ignore the come-ons from a number of opportunistic internet businesses. It seems these clever entrepreneurs are offering to scrub the out-eds’ names from off the infamous cheaters list–just a little fee-to-play sin-tax, of course! But, according to the police, nobody is going to be able to cleanse their name  from any internet-posted dirt from that Dark Net database. In fact the police warn the embarrassed adultery-site customers that they risk exposing their computers to possible moral hazard from the digital version of genital warts should they hook up with such dubious digital entrepreneurs.

hiding the privatesSo, although Ashley Madison, Inc. promised “airtight privacy” to the credulous, a more reliable reference source about the privacy prospects of conducting an adulterous affair would warn “…for nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, or kept secret that will not become known” (cf. Matthew 10:26). Why should Ashley Madison’s customers really be surprised that their sins would find them out? (cf. Numbers 32:23)

Finally, Trinity Western University (TWU) is asking British Columbia’s Supreme law societyCourt to overturn the Law Society of British Columbia’s decision to refuse to certify TWU students who would graduate from the university’s proposed new law school. This professional society for B.C. lawyers takes issue with TWU’s community standards covenant–an honour code which specifies that all faculty and students agree to only engage in sexual relations with a traditionally defined marital spouse. Honour codes are, of course, so passé for a post-modern society that is outraged at the very thought that anyone or any institution would have the brazen nerve to want to uphold and promote the biblical morality that sustained Western civilization for the last 3,500 years.

Consequently, the very self-righteous Law Society of B.C. sputters it’s indignation in their rebuttal to the TWU lawsuit that this privately funded institution in daring to set such outrageously high biblical standards of morality are being discriminatory, and run contrary to the equality rights of LGXYZ people, and are seriously undermining “the integrity and the foundation of the administration of justice.”

no christians allowedOh really? I wonder if the the Law Society of B.C. could have changed the LORD’s mind–”Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Deuteronomy 16:20)–about Sodom and Gomorrah with such a politically correct, post-modern argument? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Religious freedom or post-modern nonsense? More to follow, I’m sure.

Is all “Love” Equal?

stop judicial tyrannyToday, in a 5 to 4 split decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the so-called “equal protection” amendment should be interpreted to mean that marriage cannot be restricted to only heterosexual couples since homosexual couples must also have equal rights to access marriage licenses. This  same amendment, which was enacted during the U.S. Civil War period some 150 years ago,  also was used by the court in 1973 to create via judicial reasoning a right to abortion. An explicit reading of the 14th amendment says absolutely nothing about either abortion or homosexual marriage. In fact the original drafters of the 14th Amendment could never have imagined in their wildest dreams that their work would later be interpreted in such a curious fashion.

Writing a dissenting opinion, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia argued that the court’s equalityruling majority of the justices are themselves “unrepresentative” of the American people. Further, Scalia asserts that what they are doing is a “threat to democracy”:

“Four of the nine are natives of New York City. Eight of them grew up in east- and west-coast States. Only one hails from the vast expanse in-between. Not a single evangelical Christian (a group that comprises about one quarter of Americans), or even a Protestant of any denomination… Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine  [unrepresentative] lawyers on the Supreme Court.

“This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected committee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most important liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.” 

Cited from: http://www.mediaite.com/online/scalia-dissent-scotus-gay-marriage-ruling-represents-threat-to-democracy/

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, including Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, harshly criticized the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling as a “tragic error” and noted how the court’s majority used the same flawed legal reasoning 42 years previously to create an abortion right–but that “neither decision is rooted in the truth”:

bishops“Jesus Christ with great love, taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman. As Catholic bishops, we follow our Lord and will continue to teach and to act according to this truth…. Today the Court is wrong again. It is profoundly immoral and unjust for the government to declare that two people of the same sex can constitute a marriage.”

Cited from: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/26/bishops-blast-supreme-courts-same-sex-marriage-rul/

But President Obama insists that “love is love.” And as such whatever someone wants to call “love” is good and equal to whatever someone else also wants to call love.

The Apostle John insisted that it was the duty of a Christian to love. He wrote the Church:

Beloved, we should love one another because love is from God; and everyone who loves has been begotten by God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God because God is love (1 John 4:7-8, all Coulter trans.)

So would the Apostle approve of President Obama’s statement that “love is love,” that all love is equal? Again, it is written:

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For if he does not love his brother whom he has seen, how is he able to love God Whom he has not seen? (1 John 4:20)

So, how can a Christian–who professes that he loves God–not agree with the secular policy that extends equal rights to homosexuals and thus, also allows homosexuals to marry in the Church? Does standing against homosexual marriage within the Church constitute  hating one’s brother?

Well, since a Christian should not rely on secular, human reasoning, as the U.S. Supreme Court does, to determine right from wrong, but rather the Word of God, which is the actual truth throughout the Universe for all time (cf. John 17:17), how would the Scriptures answer the above question?

Well, the Apostle John does not leave the clarification of the Christian duty to “love” both God and neighbour to human whim, reason, or passion. The Scriptures are far more explicit than the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

And by this standard we know that we know Him [Jesus Christ]: if we keep His commandments. The one who say, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar and the truth is not in him. On the other hand, if anyone is keeping His Word, truly in this one the love of God is being perfected. By this means we know that we are in Him. Anyone who claims to dwell in Him is obligating himself also to walk even as He Himself walked [discipleship]….

By this standard we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God: that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome (1 John 2:3-6 & 5:2-3 Coulter trans.).

As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops correctly observed: “Jesus Christ with great love,God made them taught unambiguously that from the beginning marriage is the lifelong union of one man and one woman.”

It is obligatory for any Christian who would see the glory of God to stand with Jesus Christ on this issue about whether there can be homosexual marriage within the Church of God. But it is not our obligation to judge those who are outside the Church. They can rely on the short-sighted wisdom of the Supremes if they so choose. But there will be consequences in the World Tomorrow and a price that we all may have to pay due to today’s decision. Today, indeed, may well be a turning point in the history of the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

Flashing Signs of Danger!

warning signs generalAnyone traveling on the roads needs to be constantly alert to signs of danger. For the last few months the morning commute to work in Victoria, B.C. has been an increasing hassle due to the on-going construction on one of the main traffic arteries leading into the downtown core. A bicyclist who usually took this route to commute to work downtown observed on one particular morning a few weeks ago that all traffic was being squeezed into just one lane by a small group of flaggers who had placed numerous warning signs, barriers, and orange plastic cones to block off the inside fast lane. But, while most people feel obliged to take notice of the warning signs and make the appropriate inconvenient travel correction, a commuting cyclist, a 30s-something woman, decided to ignore the warning signs.

She deftly zig-zagged through the cones and barriers on her bike and proceeded down the warning allegatorvacated inside traffic lane that had been closed off. Not seeing any overt evidence of construction machines at work, the biker picked up speed, zooming past the bumper-to-bumper line of cars slowly inching along. The safety flaggers’ franticly waved their arms and shouted to the cyclist to get back in line. “Stupid control freaks,” she may have smugly thought. As the cyclist pedalled along, perhaps she was planning to crow a bit in the office today about how her commuting style was not only “greener-than-thou” but also faster—until, suddenly, like a speeding pool ball dropping into a pocket, both woman and bike disappeared in the blink of an eye into the yawning maw of a steep, deep, rectangular hole whose opening, however, was only about the size of a house’s front door. In this case ignoring all the warning signs meant instantaneous death.

warning challengesRight now there are serious warning signs flashing on the world scene.

  1. America’s President and his Secretary of State have agreed to a “framework” protocol that will allow Shi’ite Muslim Iran, the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, to retain its nuclear infrastructure allowing it to develop nuclear weapons—at a more convenient point down the road. Right now, Iran wants economic sanctions relief so it can more effectively support its allies in Syria and Iraq in their civil wars. In an unmistakable sign of his displeasure with the American President over this decision, Saudi Arabia’s new leader, King Salman, refused to personally attend the recent six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) hosted by Obama at Camp David. This was a very public snub.
  2. In another big snub to America’s superpower status, Washington’s closest European allies, despite American pressure and unprecedented public complaints by Washington, have rushed to sign up as founding members in China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Development Bank (AIIB). The implications of China’s rising power and America’s declining power are clear. According to former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summer,

     “I can think of no event since Bretton Woods comparable to the combination of China’s effort to establish a major new institution and the failure of the US to persuade dozens of its traditional allies, starting with Britain, to stay out of it.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11519001/How-China-grew-desperate-to-conceal-its-power-from-the-world.html

  3. The IMF’s just released World Economic Outlook describes a prostrate planet drowning in debt. There has been a persistent reduction in the global growth rate since the Great Recession of 2008-09 with no relief in sight. This is unprecedented and very much a wild card in the game of high stakes poker, that is the global financial system.

    “Total public and private debt levels have reached a record 275 per cent of GDP in rich countries, and 175 per cent in emerging markets. Both are up 30 points since the Lehman crisis.” http://business.financialpost.com/news/economy/welcome-to-the-new-mediocre-of-global-growth#__federated=1

  4. The developed world’s poster child for a country drowning in debt is Greece. For months warning bad thinkingnow, Greece has continued to stagger along like a zombie, even after some fresh flesh of debt relief from the IMF or the European Central Bank. Even Mario Draghi, the ECB’s president, is warning of unexpected, unanticipated consequences if Greece finally defaults on its debt.
  5. Meanwhile, barbaric Islamic State terrorists continue to behead Christians. Yet the Western world still doesn’t take all that seriously the IS spokesmen’s repeated declarations of a worldwide religious war against Christians, Jews, non-conforming Muslim sects and anyone else who isn’t their clone. http://www.jpost.com/Christian-News/After-second-incident-of-ISIS-murdering-Christians-in-Libya-foreign-minister-appalled-398665.

    According to General Alexander, the former chief of the National Security Agency (NSA–Edward Snowden’s nemesis), the West is losing the worldwide fight against jihadist terrorism. He said that the U.S. and its allies had failed to check the advance of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or its expanding network of franchises across the Middle East. The West is increasingly at risk of a strategic defeat in the region. “It is getting worse. Twenty-five countries are now unstable, just look at Yemen,” he said. http://business.financialpost.com/news/energy/hackers-could-cripple-the-west-with-a-hi-tech-blitz-on-energy-sector-infrastructure-u-s-general-says?__lsa=2d0c-cb5e#__federated=1 accessed 4/27/15

  1. As a direct consequence of the current widespread instability, there is a virtual flood of
    desperate people from Syria and throughout North and Sub-Sahara Africa, all desperately trying to get into Europe in search of a better life. In 2014 a total of 170,000 entered Italy alone. Recently, the number of unwanted immigrants has swelled to 11,000 in just one week.

    “We’re swamped,” Sandro Gozi, the Italian minister for European affairs, told French daily Le Monde. “There’s not even enough space in Sicily’s cemeteries to bury the dead.” Where are the Italians going to put them? Who wants them? There’s just not enough work. http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/20/africa/italy-migrant-boat-capsizes/index.html

  2. On the other end of Africa, in South Africa, one of the more prosperous African nations, there is an ongoing wave of what is called “xenophobic attacks” against the 10 percent of the population who are migrants from neighbouring African states, like Zimbabwe, and  Asia who seeking a better life for themselves. But poor South Africans see them as unwanted competition for the scarce jobs available in a country where the unemployment rate is 24 percent. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32377743
  3. And finally, the Pew Research Center confirmed that over the past seven years, from 2007 to 2014, the number of Americans who identify themselves as Christian has dramatically fallen nearly 8 percentage points from 78% to just 71% of the population. Fifty-six million Americans don’t observe or practice any religion. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32710444 accessed May 14, 2015.

What do all these signs mean? As a society, collectively we are like the eco-warrior bicyclist in Victoria, ignoring all the warning signs as we make good time pedalling rapidly toward our doom. There’s no doubt that these are serious, even dangerous times. So what should you and I do? Jesus said this to his disciples:

“Keep alert at all times. And pray that you might be strong enough to escape these coming warning run like hellhorrors and stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:36 (New Living Translation)

Pray to God? That’s the last thing this secular society wants to do. The Canadian Supreme Court recently decided to prohibit municipal officials from praying to the Bible’s God for help before starting on the public’s business.

Many people in the Western world have indeed turned their backs on the wisdom and knowledge that is offered to humanity by God. They have reinterpreted freedom of religion in the 21st Century to now mean freedom FROM religion. After all, they think that in a prosperous, secure society with good health care and abundant food and lots of entertainment, who needs to really seek the Bible’s God?

But, the warning signs are flashing out that there’s danger up ahead. Our future personal safety and security depends upon paying attention to those spiritual flaggers trying to get our attention and get back in line according to the Creator’s established House Rules for Humanity that are spelled out in the Scriptures. As a civilization we are ignoring the warnings to our peril.

The Foolish Mistake of the West

charlie hebdoIn the aftermath of the recent Islamic jihadis attacks in France, many Western liberals still don’t get it. They don’t get the implication or meaning of what’s behind the on-going, widespread conflicts between Islamic jihadis and anyone who doesn’t buy into their fundamentalist version of Sunni Islam–which, by the way, is widely taught and vigorously sponsored  throughout the world, especially by Saudi Arabia.

Yet, I hear practically endless pontificating by liberal media about how Islam is a peaceful religion that is all about brotherly love, just like the other major religions. If that is true, how is it that broad swaths of the globe–Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, northern Nigeria, northern Mali, and now northern Cameroon–have become for all practical purposes no-go areas for non-Muslims, especially Westerners. All these areas just mentioned are descending or have already descended into an early medieval barbarism that Mohammad himself would recognize. Islam indisputably plays a major role in the rising level of violence throughout the world. Beheadings? Kidnapping women and girls for sex slave auctions? Massacring children at school? Murder?  Rape? Pillage? Dispossession and exile?

In the Western nations, WHO is responsible for the overwhelming majority of terrorist attacks? charlie hebdo3WHO are the Western world’s security forces watching out for? Is it the the orthodox Jews, the Amish, the Catholic Sisters of Mercy or socially conservative Christians? WHO’s shooting cartoonists these days?

Yesterday, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke of the international Islamic jihadist movement,

“They have declared war and are already executing it on a massive scale on a whole range of countries with which they are in contact, and they have declared war on any country, like ourselves, that values freedom, openness, and tolerance. We may not like this and wish it would go away, but it is not going to go away.”

Nevertheless,  many in the West’s media continue to whistle in their own mental darkness as they try to re-assure us all that Islam as it exists is not somehow incompatible with modernity. But it cannot be denied that Islam is indeed the essential malevolent womb that has birthed the international jihadist movement. Without Islam there would be no jihadis shooting up Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris.

Let’s do a reality check. If we could have a magic wand and could make Mohammad and his teachings instantly vanish from the minds and hearts of all who practice that religion, would the world also instantly become a better, more peaceful place? Yes or no? Well, the answer charlie hebdo2would be maybe or maybe not. It would depend on what would fill the void.  However, if the actual teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the Scriptures were substituted for those of the medieval Arabian warlord, Mohammad, the answer would certainly be yes–the world would be a more peaceful place! The comparison between how Jesus actually lived and how Mohammad lived is truly dramatic.

The secular Western ruling elite is still willfully blind to the fact that they have created a “conflict of civilizations” problem, which they are completely ill-equipped to resolve. To beat a religious counterfeit that produces bad results one must deploy spiritual truth that produces good results. But when it comes to spiritual things, these secularists can’t distinguish black from white. They don’t understand why reading the Koran produces such different results in comparison to reading and following the Judeo-Christian Bible. They thought all religions were the same.  Consequently, they will never be able to live in peace even within their own borders. Why? Well they imported into the Western nations millions of people  whose belief system is proving to be completely incompatible with their own. They acted foolishly! The prophet Isaiah wrote of these willfully blind leaders:

“‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand;
keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’

Make the heart of this people dull,
    and their ears heavy,
    and blind their eyes;

 lest they see with their eyes,
    and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts,
    and turn and be healed.”

Then I said, “How long, O Lord?”
And he said:
“Until cities lie waste
    without inhabitant….” (Isaiah 6:9-1, English Standard Version)

Are prayers for personal help still answered in the 21st Century?

Does God still answer prayers in the 21st Century? Well, there’s one family in Victoria, British Columbia in Canada that thinks so. But obviously, a lot of people these days don’t think so.

In fact the majority of people in the Western world these days suspect that if God isn’t dead like so many lefty intellectuals stridently proclaim, then He must not be too interested in the average person’s day-to-day problems. We know that most of our human leaders don’t really care to listen to us or to help us out in our problems. But is it right to impugn God with having the same crappy, disinterested attitude of the human “gods” who run our nations?

Anywise, consider some quotes from this front page news story that was run in the April 18, 2014 Times-Colonist:

“After a Victoria mother’s wedding ring was stolen from her home Sunday night as she, her husband and two young children slept, she prayed for the hopeless soul responsible—and that police would find the ring.”

“I’m a Christian,” said Sarah Primus, 29. “We have prayed from the beginning for the man—he’s obviously in a very desperate state—and for [Jesus] to lead police to where my ring was.”

“Primus said her joy comes from within—and not from material things—so when she discovered that her house had been robbed she never got angry but instead prayed.”

In a few days police informed Primus of the good news that her wedding band had been sold at a pawn shop but that they had recovered it. She was elated. But then the police gave her the bad news that the ring’s diamond had been removed. Sarah Primus admitted that she was momentarily discouraged and sad.

“Then I said, ‘Jesus, you helped them find my ring and you can help them find my diamond diamondtoo,’” Primus later recounted laughing. “That’s [the potential reality of] divine intervention.”

Well, it turned out that a little bit of good, old-fashioned police work turned up a prime suspect who just happened to be living across the street. After obtaining a search warrant, the police visited the suspect, Peter McKay, and discovered the missing diamond on his person.

McKay was placed in custody and charged with breaking and entering, possession of stolen property, and possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking. As it turned out for the drug dealer stealing a neighbour’s ring was a bad, bad mistake.

Does an omnipotent, eternal God, the Creator of the Universe, still make house calls on planet Earth to those who have faith? And will He help them with even small requests that seem insignificant in the cosmic scheme of things? The oligarchic, liberal elites who run the United States and much of the Western world would laugh at such an “old-fashioned, simplistic” idea.

But, it’s obvious Sarah Primus and her husband had their their faith reconfirmed in Jesus—the Bible’s God who plays a key role in serving humanity’s best interests in both New and Old Covenants. How about you? Do you believe that the Bible’s God would hear your prayers?

John 9:31 (ESV) We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.

Psalm 145:19 (ESV) The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
he also hears their cry and saves them. 20 The Lord preserves all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.

Will the “right” man be elected as the new Pope?

So Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger, is resigning at the end of this month due to old age. Papal spokesmen assure us, repeatedly, that the still living and kicking but soon-to-be former Pope will not participate in the cardinals conclave in March to select his successor at this second-oldest, on-going “Christian franchise,” the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). Ah yes, we hear from the authorized sources the strict observance of the explicit “letter of the law”—the RCC’s canon law—in public.

But how should we weigh the “spirit of the law” aspects of such a statement? After all, such pre-emptive assurance of Pope Benedict’s non-interest in handpicking his successor is being conveniently offered to us by the employees of the same man who long-ran that secretive multi-national church corporation’s Holy Office of the Inquisition (better known more recently as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) before becoming Pope!

Should we trust a church hierarchy that still officially denies that it systemically covered up and “managed” for hundreds and hundreds of years the fall-out arising from its numerous priestly pedophiles? Granted, however, that we must acknowledge that the RCC will now apologize publicly for their priests’ licentious behaviour and pay compensation to victims. But still, should we trust them?

Actually, I admire Pope Benedict for this pro-active initiative to assure an orderly succession to the top job at the RCC. By resigning now while his mind is still sharp he can make a strong effort to influence the outcome of the cardinals’ vote.  And it goes almost without saying that the “right” man to become the new Pope will be the one who will continue Pope Benedict’s conservative policies. Actually those policies are really just a continuation of those of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

Conservative Catholics are probably relieved by Pope Benedict’s succession gambit. They, like their last two popes, are wary of the moral relativism that is dominating the Western world at this point in time. They don’t believe that all is just a matter of personal preference and opinion. They believe that Truth with a capital “T” really does exist.

Since they also believe that the Pope has the authority to define doctrine in their church, and to make definitive statements concerning truth and falsehood; it is essential, from their point of view, that the “right” man be elected as the next Pope.

I don’t fault them for their logic. After all, if a new Pope was elected who had a secret agenda to institute “reforms” allowing gay marriage, ordination of women, abortion, euthanasia, and easy divorce—well, all would be lost for those supporting conservative values in the RCC. And that’s the flaw in the Catholic tradition of Christianity.

Catholics believe that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ—that he rules as a substitute for Christ and has final authority. In essence, the RCC makes a man and that man’s opinions the arbiter of what is Truth or falsehood.

The gospel of Jesus Christ, however, teaches something else:

Sanctify them [that is to say: purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth. John 17:17 Amplified Bible

When Satan tried to tempt Jesus Christ to enact something, to follow a policy that would, in essence, make an accommodation to a personal preference or desire, Jesus rebutted the Adversary, making this statement on the real source of authority:

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, “People do not live by bread alone [by any material or human means alone], but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4 New Living Translation

The part of the Judeo-Christian scriptures that Jesus was quoting to Satan on this issue of the real authority to decide questions of Truth or falsehood is found in Deuteronomy 8:3. Godly authority to decide questions of church policy and all other questions of what is right or wrong is by Sola Scripture, which in Latin means by Scripture Alone. It is the Judeo-Christian Scriptures alone that reveal the Truth. It is never a question of merely any man’s or woman’s personal opinion or preference, whether that person is elected a Pope or not!

All Catholics, all Protestants all secular people, and all believers in other religions are eventually going to learn the answer to this question about where ultimate, legitimate authority rests. Most will learn the hard way at some time in the future. You can learn this right now and act on it to become consecrated to God as His own son or daughter—a higher spiritual office than any earthly Pope— if you will allow the Word of God to direct you into living in and by His Truth.

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).

Eco-terrorist or hero? Did Wiebo Ludwig make the right choice?


How should you save the Earth?

On Earth Day this past Sunday, I decided to do something good for the environment—-and for my family and myself. I took up a large big box retailer’s offer to trade in my rusting, ancient of days, gasoline-powered, emissions-spewing lawn mower for a discount off the price of an environmentally friendly classic 20” push reel mower. So it was “no” to creating weekly a small amount of greenhouse gases and “yes” to another anti-obesity habit, i.e. physical exercise.

Of course, in my neighbour’s eyes, this will just be another confirming proof of my eccentricity. They are certain I’m strange—but harmless. After all, I NEVER spray the lawn with toxic herbicides to get rid of those cheerful, well-established dandelions. And I actually go out and regularly commune with my dandelions in order to pick the leaves to steam up for dinner. I’m sure my neighbours have concluded that I’m fraternizing with the weed enemy. But besides doing a little to save the Earth by this small gesture, it also saves me from paying for a bunch of spinach at the supermarket.

My neighbours just don’t understand what they are missing out on. Being Earth friendly can even help you improve your teenagers work habits. Why my almost 15-year-old was so enthused by the novelty of my new push mower that he even volunteered to cut the grass all by himself. And after the job was finished, he began openly musing about starting up his own entreprenurial business selling a “green” lawn cutting service using my new mower. Ah, what unexpected dividends could arise as a green technology transforms a video game-playing, couch potato into a go-get-her Canadian eco-warrior with biceps.

Yet is such a non-violent, stand-up-for-the-Earth choice (apologies to the occasional slugs and bugs that get cut up) in how one exercises appropriate environmental stewardship a better one than that made by the confrontational, Canadian eco-warrior Wiebo Ludwig, who died this year on April 9? Some people call Ludwig an “eco-terrorist.”

Which is the better, more effective path in the long run: A peaceful approach? Or, a more confrontation, violent approach?

Ludwig honestly earned his “eco-terrorist” reputation by blowing up sour gas wells in northwest Alberta in the late 1990s. He was making a statement to the oil and gas industry and the regulatory governmental agencies that they couldn’t ignore. Of course, they didn’t. So Wiebo eventually ended up in jail. He paid a high personal price to open up the conversation about the steep price that is being paid by aquifers, rural families, and their livestock in order to make possible the wealth and power of Western Canada’s oil and gas companies. Oil and gas development is not a completely win-win proposition for all.

But was Wiebo Ludwig right in the way he confronted the dark side to the oil and gas development of northern B.C. and Alberta?

Wiebo sincerely believed that the sour gas wells were causing his daughter’s miscarriages, as well as, the ill-health and even death of some of the livestock on his farm located near Hythe, Alberta. But because industry and government seemingly turned a deaf ear to Wiebo Ludwigs’s environmental complaints and even denied that there really was a problem to be resolved or mitigated, the man chose to act violently in response to his frustration. The legacy of Wiebo Ludwig is full of controversy and, in some quarters, opprobrium. Did he make the right choice?

Wiebo Ludwig was a complicated man. He had good qualities and bad ones, such as his capacity for anger. The Scriptures warn us about the danger of being an angry person:

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil (Ephesians 4:26-27 New Living Translation).

Wiebo also had a degree in Christian theology and was ordained as a minister for the Dutch Reformed Church. Consequently, he knew the Apostle Paul’s list of obligatory character requirements for the ministry:

An elder is a manager of God’s household, so he must live a blameless life. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or dishonest with money. Rather, he must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must love what is good. He must live wisely [sound-minded] and be just. He must live a devout and disciplined life [self-controlled]. He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong (Titus 1:7-9 New Living Translation).

The “sound-mindedness” that the Apostle Paul was requiring meant having an spiritual inner outlook that correctly balanced outward behaviour. While “self-controlled” meant that a minister must master himself from within. But the concluding point in this passage by Paul is that the servant of the Creator must use his talents and the situations that arise in life in the most productive means possible so as to change or persuade those who oppose “wholesome teaching.” One can’t accomplish this change with threats or force.

Wilber Wilberforce struggled within the British parliament for over 30 years in order to extinguish human chattel slavery. By peaceful means he changed a great deal of the social policy of the 19th Century’s superpower, the British Empire. And Wilberforce did it with amazing grace, though for decades he faced seemingly insurmountable roadblocks and reversals.

The Apostle Paul in writing to Timothy, amplified the qualifications of a servant of God, including the importance of a good reputation with non-Church members:

Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap (1 Timothy 3:7 NLT).

Wiebo Ludwig failed in this regard—however accurate his environmental complaint.

In the 21st Century there will be an increasing amount of environmental pollution that will negatively impact areas as small as a single neighbourhood, or as large as an entire geographical region—remember the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico due to BP’s massive oil spill. Environmental disasters will continue to occur because far too many corporate CEOs in their pursuit of profits and bonuses do not practice the golden rule — loving one’s neighbour as oneself So there will always be plenty of work for environmental organizations who protest such abuse of the Earth.

However, for those who would make a profession of Christianity, we must live and act according to the Scriptures when dealing with those who are polluting the environment. Our methodology as individuals should set the right example. With peaceful, persistent persuasion, we must make the changes needed to preserve God’s Creation, this rare blue and green planet that sustains our existence in the midst of the blackness of inhospitable space.
The Christian profession precludes the possibility of any form of political or environmental confrontation that employs some form of violence that might injure others — that is not the Christian way. A good end can never justify a violent means. No matter how egregious the environmental sin, it remains the Creator’s sole personal prerogative—NOT ours—to punish or to exact retribution upon those who are unwittingly or knowingly destroying the Earth (see Revelation 11:18).