Friday, June 28, 2013

SYMPATHY FOR BOMBERS


Red Deer Advocate, April 24th, 2013. This news clip provides a summary of how influence played its part in what we now call the ‘Boston Bombings.’ How are people made to sympathize with an evil cause? ‘He just took his brain,’ said the uncle about how Misha influenced Tamerlan. In turn, Tamerlan ‘took’ Dzhokhar’s brain. The result is a terrorist strike, multiple murders, mass crippling, emotional trauma, ongoing anxiety, and, hopefully, death to the surviving murderer.

The Bible, in simple language that every reader can understand, warns against your brain being ‘taken’ by extremists. “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause…My son, walk not thou in the way of them” (Proverbs 1.10, 11, 15.) A brain that is uneducated in morals is in imminent danger of being ‘taken’ and made to sympathize with evil plots and deeds.

It is coming out now that the guilty parties were immigrants to the USA who were more lazy than industrious. You really have to watch your brain when it has already given in to a ‘poor-me’ ‘have-not’ mentality. Go downtown (almost any town will do) among the tax-takers who can work but won’t, and there you will find many brains ‘taken’ by conspiracy theorists who spout nonsense, like 9/11 being an inside job, for example. Why is that? When you believe that society owes you a free living, this naturally leads to the belief that society is against you even while it pays your bills and that this society is against you even from the top down in the most violent way. You people who believe that President Bush or the CIA is responsible for 9/11, watch your brain. It is ripe for being recruited.

Some brains are ‘taken,’ not by extremists or conspiracy theorists, but by sophisticated philosophies. The brains over at the CBC are of this type; that is, almost every CBC brain that I hear over the radio is of this sort. The CBC brains that are ‘taken’ are not terrorists, nor do they openly endorse terrorism. But their rhetoric vis-à-vis terrorism is often scary in the extreme. When the second bomber (Dzhokhar) was caught in Boston, the citizens who were gathered to witness it started chanting, ‘USA! USA!’ Susan Bonner (a CBC journalist) was on the scene, and what was her comment about that? It was ‘hard to watch,’ she said. No, Susan, we don’t chant like that for Canada when evil is overcome because evil is seldom overcome up here. When evil is overcome, some of us might want to chant, if that’s okay with you. Where do Susan Bonner’s sympathies lie? She couldn’t sympathize with the chanters? She was offended by cheers for justice against a murderer? You see, she was concerned about the ‘show of force’ by the police against a ‘nineteen year old boy.’ Those were her sentiments exactly. I heard it on April 21st on CBC’s Cross Country Checkup. This is what happens when liberal philosophy takes over your brain. Rex Murphy, the program’s host, also expressed concern about the show of force, though not in so many words. Remember that your political idol, Rex, invoked the War Measures Act against the FLQ! Those who listen to the CBC are usually of the same mind as the radio hosts. One caller into Rex’s show was ‘so sorry a young life is wrecked,’ referring to that of the nineteen year old terrorist. Not one word of sympathy from that caller, though, for the victims. On The Morning Edition (another CBC program), I heard the same trendy thoughts. The concern there was the possible waving of Miranda rights, which would be to the purpose, it was pitifully said, of interrogating the suspect vigorously even while he lies seriously wounded in the hospital! This is how the discussion was framed! What misplaced sympathy! The CBC is liberal for every freedom that terrorists want to eradicate, yet its voice is always terrorist-friendly. I have often reflected on this anomaly. The best answer that I have for it may be just a conspiracy theory, especially since it comes from a man who believes in many of them. But even a person who imbibes conspiracy theories is right sometimes, usually because he has unwittingly picked up some nuggets of truth during his frenzied gathering of oddities. He informed me that when a political wing goes far enough to one side or the other, it begins to rub shoulders with the other extreme. Terrorists want dictatorial government, except for its elite members who are free to do as they please. The CBC promotes a dictatorial nanny-state, and wants to limit freedom of speech and association so long as they and their special interest groupies are exempt. Extreme leftists and right-wing extremists are similarly minded politically. They just want different kinds of dictatorship. The CBC, though, when it caresses terrorists with soft words and sympathy, is like a child reaching out to pet a mad pitbull. The Taliban and company are not into rubbing shoulders with people who are bent on making their women into harlots and bosses. To terrorists, justice; to the people under their tyranny, decency: this is the only reasonable approach. Only then can we hope to change nations for the better through our communications with them. And if you bring a well-balanced morality with you, the gospel might be listened to with attention. Too bad that the CBC, with its gutter ethics and irreligion, is what so many terrorists believe Canadian Christianity to be!

Those who yield their brains over to conspiracies to commit murder usually get snared in this life and they are certain to be judged in the next. Those who show concern for terrorists at the expense of victims, they are on the broad way leading to hell too, on the strength, not of heinous crimes, but strange philosophies added to sinfulness. If your sense of justice is as shaky as what you hear emanating from CBC radio, then the mercy of God has likely never got into your senses. How come? Because salvation from the penalty of sin comes to the affections through an understanding of God's mind as revealed in his word; and mercy received from God soon gives birth to a sense of justice toward those persons who God declares the law ought to punish. ‘Thou shalt not kill’ is a meaningless commandment if it doesn’t mean there should be severe penalties for the crime of murder. “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Genesis 9.6.) This is the biblical ideal. It is largely believed at the CBC that man is an evolved monkey. Why not pity bombers if you believe that? Monkeys are sinless, after all. Whatever philosophy we believe affects where our sympathies lie. When you have sympathy for bombers, your philosophy is to blame, and it is time for a change.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

POPISH PROTECTION


City Light News, April, 2013. Does a pope possess the moral authority to call on someone to be a protector? He calls on everyone to protect ‘the environment, the poor, and their families.’ When will he do his part? Who is he protecting? Should he not be protecting the persecuted? Who is more persecuted than those poor persons who have been abused by pedophile priests? There are many Roman priests who have been ‘outed’ as pedophiles and they have not received adequate punishment. And the bishops who covered for them need to be punished also. Pope Francis calls people to be protectors. When will he be an example by protecting children instead of the priests who have molested them? Does he even care for the poor? A pope who cared for the poor would have a heart for the persecuted also, would he not? A pope who cared for the persecuted would punish pedophile priests, would he not? Have we heard of any measures being taken by this Assisi wannabe to that end? No, and we are not likely to hear of any. The pope’s purpose is to protect the power in Vatican City. This is his chief concern. If you are a victim of pedophilia by a Roman Catholic priest, you have learned that popish protection means no protection at all for you.

The truly converted who have received the Spirit and exercised their illumined minds for a few years can discern that the pope has no power in his speech. “And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power” (Luke 4.32.) This was said of Jesus when he taught in Galilee. Why was there power in his speech? Because his doctrine was backed by a holy life. “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” (John 8.46.) There was power in his speech because his acts were in harmony with what he taught. There was power in his speech because while he preached righteousness he never forgot to condemn injustice also, unlike Pope Francis.

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do” (John 8.44.) When will Pope Francis speak to his pedophile priests in this righteous, condemnatory fashion? What moral work could be more important for Pope Francis to do than to rush upon guilty pedophile priests, with legal aid and force, and beg the book to be thrown at each guilty priest under his charge? The pope has no spiritual power, except from the devil maybe. But he has great political influence. He could make this happen. No force upon earth prevents him. If he were a just man, would he not do this good deed? If he were a just man, would he not begin by quoting Jesus’ words to these molester-priests and then sic the law on each one of them? It was Jesus’ mission to preach, heal, forgive the repentant, live holily, and die on a cross for the sins of man, not dole out civil justice. But it is the mission of a minister of God’s church to excommunicate evildoers to the ‘destruction of the flesh’ (1 Corinthians 5.5.) This kind of judgment is to the purpose, after all, that the spirits of these evildoers ‘may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.’ Why does the pope not do it then? Is he not a true minister of Christ? Does he not care for the souls of his priests? Maybe he cares for their souls as little as he cares for the children they have molested. A true minister of Christ would exercise discipline, just as the Bible commands him to. “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2.17.) 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

CHRISTIANITY TODAY



(Christianity Today, June 2013.) The article I'm critiquing: 'Want to Change the World? Sponsor a Child,' by Bruce Wydick. 

What is Christianity like today, in 2013? More specifically, what is that which passes for Christianity like today? These pictures, as I intend to show, tell us what it is like. 

These drawings from third-world kids are taken from ‘Christianity Today,’ the magazine. The drawings are central to the argument in the cover story that child-sponsorship, at least through ‘Compassion International,’ works. Lots of figures are thrown around to convince us that it works. A sponsored child is ‘27 to 40 percent more likely to complete secondary school’ and ‘14-18 percent more likely to obtain a salaried job’ when he grows up, for example. How might these figures be verified by us, though? We either trust Bruce Wydick, the writer of said article, or we do not.

He must have learned somewhere that a professor of economics is more convincing when he adds illustrations to his formulas; hence the drawings that he includes. And this is where our trust has reason to be suspended. This is where we have reason to believe that ‘philosophy and vain deceit’ (Colossians 2.8) are being used to convince us that child sponsorship works. This ‘philosophy and vain deceit’ is what popular Christianity is like today.

The first drawing is what an unsponsored child drew when asked to draw ‘a self-portrait set in the rain.’ The second one is what a sponsored child drew when asked to do the same. The first one, because a single color was used, means that the child has ‘feelings of hopelessness’; his facial expression signifies unhappiness; and he must have a ‘low view of self-efficacy’ because he did not draw an umbrella in the hand. The second one, because of all the color that is used, means the child is hopeful and optimistic; and she must have a high view of self-efficacy because she drew a smile on the face, and added an umbrella in the hand and the sun peeking out. Percentages are thrown around at this point in the article too. “Compassion children…were 13 percentage points less likely to draw themselves as a tiny figure,” for example.

The two drawings that are included in the article, though, are from children widely dissimilar in age. The first one is by an unsponsored child, but he is a five-year-old boy. The second one is by a sponsored child, but she is a thirteen-year-old girl. Should the choice of drawings that are put on view make us suspicious, maybe? This is obviously the main thing that is offered up to convince us of the success of child sponsorship. Not only is false philosophy being used to convince us of something here, but vain deceit as well. The ‘psychometric happiness index’ (p. 24) is the false philosophy; the choice of drawings (p. 25) is the deceptive support. For some sake of honesty and self-respect, Bruce Wydick feels that he must tell us the age of each child artist. But this important distinction is not discussed, and we are expected to make little note of it. (The ages do not appear plainly over by where the drawings are put in; I wrote them in myself.)

The reason behind the bleakness of drawing A, might it not have something to do with the artist’s age? Would this five-year-old boy even think of putting an umbrella in the hand? Has he ever seen one? Does he know how to make mouth and eyes to smile on paper? Would he not be less apt than the much older girl to use a variety of colors? Would he be less apt, maybe, to put a sun in the picture when not asked to do so?

The Providence of God, in its special, more noticeable features, is so often a great helper to me. A few weeks before I read this article, I put on the wall over to the right of where I do my reading, a bulletin board with a child’s drawings pinned to it. I had marked down, after the drawings were done, the age at which each drawing was done. The artist, as a four-year-old girl, drew a dinosaur on one paper and a monkey on the other, each in a single color scheme, in spite of many colors being available to her. Also, neither animal was drawn with smiling eyes, and only the dinosaur was given an upturned, happy mouth. As a five-year-old, she drew a picture of me swimming on one paper and another of her grandma swimming on the other. In each drawing, several colors were used, and on each person, the mouths and eyes were made to smile.





Observe, there is much bleakness and singularity of color in the first set, compared with unreserved happiness and multi-colors in the second set. What made the difference? Is the difference on account of her being an unsponsored child at the age of four and then a sponsored child at the age of five? No, for she was a spoiled first-world brat (whom we love) during the drawing of each set, but one year older during the drawing of the second set. That’s the great difference that a little age can make in the drawings of a child artist.

What great difference might there be, do you think, between the artistic abilities of a five-year-old boy and a thirteen-year-old girl? Is the disparity of content and aspect between one drawing and another due to child sponsorship? Or might age alone have a lot to do with the disparity? Notice this also: the five-year-old boy was given white, lined paper to draw on, very drab; but the thirteen-year-old girl was given colored drawing paper to do hers on, very pretty. Might that kind of disparity influence what one might draw? 

There is yet one more clue to this article being fishy. There is a full-page ad (page 6) in this issue for Compassion International. Beside this (page 7) there is an almost full-page appeal for the support of it. Put this all together: the ad, the appeal, the article with its opportunistic choice of drawings, the index gobbledygook, and you have a conflict of interest, unchristian philosophy, deceit, and propaganda. That’s Christianity today, folks. A person should not be protested against, not even so much as one word’s worth, if he were to call the creators of this project devious miscreants instead of devoted Christians. “Hope is a fuzzy concept for economists,” Mr. Wydick says on page 23. Maybe, and the practice of deceit should be a fuzzy concept for Christians. “I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil” (Romans 16.19.) Application here: Do not yield to the use of trick-psychology and deceptive execution.  


Every time I buy this magazine (about once every two years) I am reminded of the downgrade Western evangelicalism is on and of how rapid the decline is. Because the timing of this issue so coincided with my bulletin board being put up: just in time for me to compare what is on it to the drawings in the magazine, it seems right to suppose that I was destined to buy the June issue of this measly magazine, not to learn anything by, but to teach something by. ‘Christianity Today’ is not very Christ-like, only representative of what passes for Christianity today. One could do several righteously condemning articles on the content of just one issue of this magazine. This is why I do not hesitate to make the generalization: ‘Christianity Today’ is representative of the low-grade spirituality that calls itself Christianity today.

Monday, June 10, 2013

INSENSITIVITY THROUGH CIRCUMSTANCE, IGNORANCE, AND PRIDE


Red Deer Advocate, November 9th, 2011. Michael J. Fox has empowered himself, he says. By this self-power, supposedly, his Parkinson’s disease ‘appears to have plateaued.’ Now there is a measure of truth to this positive assertion. “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity” (Proverbs 18.14.) The spirit of a man will bear much affliction, and carry it too. A positive attitude will compel the sick man to go farther than a wounded spirit is able to get to.

Not to pit Solomon against Job, but here is a more ominous truth: “One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet” (Job 21.23.) Instead of bragging about this little, temporary strength that he has been able to dig up from his own depths, Mr. Fox ought to be giving glory to the God who has granted his spirit the strength to get this far. Christopher Reeve (Superman) got ridiculously optimistic on account of being able to move his finger that time. Now Mr. Fox has gotten silly by his own flicker of hope. ‘I don’t have time to get worse,’ he tells us. This is not the movies, Mr. Fox, like when Jesse Ventura didn’t ‘have time to bleed.’

Besides the fact that God has, in his patience, extended mercy for a time, why has Mr. Fox’s spirit sustained his infirmity? Has it not largely been because of circumstance? Many other sick folks have not been able to get their wealth up to supply luxurious comforts. Their little fame does not draw broad sympathy. They have no supportive partner to ease daily depressions. This is why ‘you have to empower yourself’ is such an insensitive message. It is an easy thing to say when your own disease has slowed down and when your support systems are all up and running.

Where do insensitive remarks like that come from? I mean, from what sins do they arise? They arise from ignorance and pride. A man humbled by the truth of God would not boast of empowering himself. Much less would he advise others to do it! Proverbs 18.14 is a fact, not a piece of advice meant to be relied upon. Is it not true that any man may die in his full strength? This happens daily. Yes, for the Bible speaks truly. Empower yourself! How insensitive to say so! Take this instead: Be wary of your strength, be it ever so little or much! There is a message, and not for all sick persons only, but for every healthy person too. Make the LORD God your strength and salvation (Psalm 18.2.) There is the best advice.

“Give glory to the LORD your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness” (Jeremiah 13.16.) If you are sick of trying to empower yourself to no good purpose, confess your sins (like wanting to sacrifice embryonic stem cell life in order to save your own skin) and cast your weakness, and especially your little strength, upon God through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Saviour sent from heaven to save sinners from terrors beyond the grave. “Repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1.15.)

Monday, June 3, 2013

FORESIGHT THROUGH KNOWLEDGE




(Red Deer Advocate, April 29th, 2010; Red Deer Express, May 16th, 2012; Red Deer Life, February 10th, 2013.) Man is by nature selfish. Because he is selfish, he dictates to others in order to satisfy his self. You can observe this behavior early on in children. A child will take the lead among his playmates, and he will begin to dictate in order to guide the game according to his pleasure. Satan dictated to Eve in order to please himself.

Some persons are naturally more passive than others. This does not mean, however, that they would not like to dictate. They lack the spirit and the pluck to do it, and so they stand back and acquiesce. Or, it may be, at least for some, that humility is in force to suppress the lust for self-satisfying power. Such persons may get elevated to some rank. But their rank is bestowed because of industry and talent, not obtained through deceit and force. “I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree” (Psalm 37.35.)

The newspapers regularly testify to the fact that most persons in positions of political leadership do not have their selfish selves in suppression. Whether leading in a small sphere or in a big way, they marshal the factors together that they think will best promote their progress toward more rank and control. They observe what policies their higher-ups want them to push, and then they promote agitation from special interest groups in order to deceive, intimidate, and overrule the passive majority. The issues agitated for in the interest of control naturally diminish freedom in the populace. Increased control upon the lives of citizens narrows their liberty.

During the initial stages of narrowing the people on some issue or other, the policy pusher will promise that measures will go so far and no farther. Then, when the current of what he has begun is rapidly moving along, he becomes bolder, and speaks more plainly for increased control in spite of his former promise to narrow freedom only marginally. Like King Rehoboam who got intoxicated with his sudden gift of power, he is anxious to overpower the people by putting a heavier yoke upon them than they are accustomed to put up with. “My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins” (1 Kings 12.10.) And, believe it or not, being controlled and vexed by politicians and self-interest groups is ‘from the LORD’ on account of national disobedience and idolatry (1 Kings 11.33; 12.15.) That is how it works.

What does this have to do with paltry smoking bylaws? These unusual bylaws, and others like them, are signposts that spell ‘yield’ to our freedoms. They are signposts that spell the regression of freedoms to a people too busy idolizing to notice what is written on the signs. Blindness is how God ensures judgment.

But the main reason for posting these news clips is to show, on the heels of these remarks I just made, that with some knowledge of our post-modern times and the ancient Bible, what lies ahead around the corner from the drift we are in is often predictable. You don’t have to be a prophet to see around some of the corners.

Compare the news clips preceding my comments here with my letters at the bottom. The comparison shows that I was right, even years ago, about smoking bylaws being dictated to citizens far beyond reasonable bounds and far surpassing the restraint that was promised. Foresight through knowledge painstakingly attained, in distinction from listening to charismatic vanity prophesying, is how one may know something of where we are headed. And we should all strive to acquire as much foresight as we can in order to oppose the narrowing of our liberties. God is judging, no doubt, through dictatorial persons and groups. But we should expose dictatorships great and small because the scattering of darkness by light is what prevents the judgment of God being necessary.

Here are my letters concerning smoking bylaws.

Printed in the Stettler Independent on November 26th, 2003:

Re: The ‘No Butts!’ Campaign.

Dear Editor:

I am severely allergic to cigarette smoke. What is the proper conduct for me to do then, about my social dealings about town? Proudly lobby to cancel the proprietor’s right to cater to a smoking clientele so I can press my nose into his business and breathe air without injury? Or humbly prevent injury to myself by going somewhere else, allowing the business owner his right? Smokers of Stettler, stand up and stare down this No Butts! nonsense, or this invasion of rights will not stop at your businesses. Let this kind of power trip continue, and your rights will be canceled in your home one day, and you will be partly to blame for letting it happen. (Read between the dubious but scary lines in the AADAC pamphlet, “22% of Canadian children under the age of 12 are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke in their home”—One day soon, you better quit or else.) Do not listen to promises of limitations. Power trips are unlimited—their intentions insidious. You know that the loss of rights runs downhill, all over your freedoms, pleasures, and favorite cigarettes—and it will be a hard climb back up to get what was taken away, especially with a smoker’s cough. It seems like everybody and his dog smokes in this town. What of it? Do not be content to have a non-smoking minority defend you. Defend yourselves too, and with more fervor, please, than your wheezing lungs take in air.

Printed in the Red Deer Express on May 2nd, 2012:

Re: ‘Banning smoking in City.’

Dear Editor:

A headline like ‘Banning smoking in City’ [the article here criticized] should send chills down your Canadian spine. Let’s not go totalitarian on smoking like Edmonton just did. Back in 2003 (in the Stettler Independent) I predicted that anti-smoking campaigners would not stop at banning smoking in business establishments. These activists denied that they would push any further. But now look at what is being done! Imagine not being allowed to smoke on a dusty trail! That’s how far this ban will go. And it will go further still. It will go as far as the activists can take it and as far the citizens will permit.

I don’t smoke. And I don’t like smoke. But I support smoking. Here is why you should too. There is something even more insidious and threatening than the occasional gulp of secondhand smoke: the gradual loss of personal freedom. If legislators will ban smoking outside, you might think that is a wonderful victory for cleaner air. But think about the precedent this sets. If a ban like this goes forward, what comes next? Suppose that religion continues to be maligned as evil. And suppose that anti-religion activists get their way, just as the anti-smoking campaigners are getting theirs. Then certain religious books will be banned from your libraries, and then from your churches, your homes, your internet services, and your bedside tables. That’s how the regression of liberties can happen in free countries, item by and item and step by step.

It is ridiculous to be so worried about the effects of cigarette smoke outdoors when pollution by a passing car exceeds these effects by a thousand to one or more! From the nearsighted perspective, the ban is about noxious fumes and cancer. But what lurks behind the ban is a hatred of liberty and a lust for control. If you value your freedom to read and worship, you should support the liberty to smoke. For the sake of preserving liberty, let’s risk the sight and smell of smoke once in awhile. The occasional whiff of smoke will not hurt so much as a fly. When you see a smoker light up, be glad for what this act signifies: liberty.