Monthly Archives: June 2015

Confederate Flag

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The shallowness of certain elements in this country is deep! I am talking about those who have taken on the confederate flag issue again. Let no opportunity slide for these people, any tragedy is food for politics. The young white man who killed 9 blacks in their church during Bible study was surely a racist. The fact that he used a confederate flag on his website was just too much for liberals and, unfortunately, for shallow conservatives.

I can understand liberals and their shallowness but conservatives have jumped on the bandwagon of political correctness so hard, that I fear that conservative politicians can no longer be trusted to take a real stand against other issues which may go against the PC crowd. We all understand that the confederate flag is offensive to some people, after all, the cross of Calvary is offensive to atheists, especially if on government land! But this move against the confederate flag is ridiculous and funny in a way.

It would be even funnier except the wave of emotion against the flag at this time illustrates the bullying aspect of society, especially through social media and the press, and maybe illustrates even a totalitarian characteristic! When I look t the totality of all the reactions all I can say is that somehow, magically, history has brought all these groups to the point where the “light” has turned on and now we “see”.

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The confederate flag must be a causal factor in race violence and it has to come down from the SC statehouse grounds and then the world will be right as far as racism is concerned. After all, just looking at that flag just produces all kinds of hateful thoughts and drives vulnerable people to senseless acts of violence—or you would think given the irrational response geared towards its removal.

But we should not be fooled, once this is done more will follow even though one pundit said that even though the flag may come down from the statehouse grounds, people can still fly it in their own homes. Yeah, right, that will work until these same people who hate the flag begin to complain about seeing it in yards and then towns and cities will make rules to have those removed.

This is a dangerous time for freedom! What I see troubling about this is not so much the law, yet, but it is the bullying aspect of this whole reaction. Where is our reason? Companies are lining up to proclaim they will not sell or promote confederate products any more, license plates are being changed, flags of other states are being changed, etc., etc., etc.!

These entities are hypocrites of the highest magnitude! Why didn’t they see this on their own before? Why did it take this mass murder to cause these changes? These groups caved in so easily, what else will they cave into next? Will all things that somehow are “highlighted” by the PC crowd as being offensive, will they be targets next? Senator McConnell of Kentucky said the statue of Jefferson Davis should be removed from his state. Do we remove all symbols of the confederacy now? How far does this go? I am afraid with the irrationality already shown, anything is possible!

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Unfortunately for the PC crowd and all those weak leaders who have jumped on this bandwagon, not all people who like and fly the confederate flag are racists. That is hard to believe for some liberals but they just can’t seem to understand that. The liberals’ assessment of what the flag actually means is not the only assessment!

But the flag is an easy target to pick on and it also gives a good feeling that “progress” is being made towards race relations. This is the another ridiculous attitude which is being shown—but it is just pseudo-progress, nothing but a tempest in a teapot, a victory with no real substantive change in race relations but does set a dangerous pathway towards other “offensive” things and how totalitarian certain elements of our society can act.

Juxtaposition is a neat word and is applicable here. Bring two or more things beside each other and compare. In the middle of all this flag business you had President Obama comment again on race relations because of  this mass murder and during his comments he said the word “nigger”.

You would thought the world was going to end with all the furor that took place from that. How dare the president to say that word! Never mind rap stars use it regularly in songs, but that is another matter. So Don Lemon of CNN brings a sign with “nigger” written on it to try to illustrate that we can actually pronounce the word without the world falling apart. But the PC crowd would have none of that and so tremendous resources of time and energy are being spent talking about the word “nigger”.

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Meanwhile (or juxtaposed alongside these debates)—scores of young black youths are killing each other on the streets of our major cities, thousands are being arrested for drugs, 70% or so of black children are born in fatherless situations, black children are among the poorest, with less chance of getting ahead in life. But by God–tear down that flag all across the land and condemn those who say the word “nigger”, let all the companies take their brave stand and declare, “No more confederate products for us!” Let’s remove Jefferson Davis’ statue from McConnell’s vision! Let’s call all those southerners who love the flag racists and put them in their place! Let’s browbeat all those who go against the grain of the PC/Liberal crowd—and at the end of the day we can bask in great accomplishments made in the name of progress, but what would we have really accomplished? Absolutely nothing!! None whatsoever!

No change in the ills of the black community mentioned above will result. But people will feel empowered (shallowness is deep), an “accomplishment” will have occurred. This whole saga reminds me of the complaint that Christ had towards the Pharisees in the New Testament book of Matthew 23:24, the Pharisees had followed the Jewish law in massive detail but they failed to follow the main principles of that same law, they tithed everything, even herbs of the garden, but they failed to follow justice and mercy. Christ illustrated their “backwards” ways as swallowing a camel but straining at a gnat. Today, society has ignored the real problems of the black community, the camel, and have instead concentrated on things that really mean nothing, the gnat. The flag issue is the gnat! South Carolina—keep the flag flying!

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I AM

“I AM THAT I AM” God said in Exodus 3:14. I do not think He has trouble figuring out who He is! No identity crisis for Him! But for us—that is definitely another story. So what is going on in this nation of ours, the ol’ USA?

It used to be that people were dissatisfied with certain things and those things would be jobs, finances, career choice, mate or lack thereof, etc. That kind of dissatisfaction was not unusual and it gave one a motivation to change things if possible. There is now a whole new level of dissatisfaction and even though some things in the news lately are not totally new, the level of scrutiny is such that an outside observer may consider that we must be going nuts!

Bruce Jenner and Rachel Dolazal have highlighted a problem which I believe can be traced back to a spiritual vacuum left over after the many moral changes our nation has gone through in the past few decades. Identity! Dissatisfaction with identity!

There is what is called “identity politics” where a group tries to achieve certain things in the political/social realm. There are “identity rights” movements where certain laws are said to be needed for those groups. But now the concept of identity, different from politics or rights, has gone to a whole new level—more and more people want to identify in ways counter to their actual nature! This kind of dissatisfaction is troubling.

Now of course there has always been an identification process of some kind everyone has gone through, at least at some level. We may identify with Hollywood stars, even feel their sadness or happiness, also sports figures is an obvious example. When rap music arose a surprising thing occurred in which young, white teens loved it and identified with it so much that even the mannerisms of the rap artists were emulated to a great degree. We have seen the Black community identify with Africa more through the self-identification label “African-American” when referring to themselves, even those blacks that may or may not have an actual ancestor from Africa, and if an ancestor existed, it may have been hundreds of years ago.

But the identifying process in these matters is somewhat superficial or, at least not a life or death matter. Even though that identity has an importance to the individual, if that was to change somehow, I don’t have the impression, at least with people that I know who express these identities, that it would be that detrimental to the individual, we would just move on! But some of the identification scenarios we see today have a deeper, troubling aspect to it.

There is a commitment to certain kinds of identity in which a person’s past is literally obliterated and left behind, sometimes with no hope of changing back. Gender identity issues and the medical procedures pertaining to this have this “finality” aspect about it. If individuals who have gone through with these changes are wrong, psychologically it can be devastating, with little hope of fixing it. I fear for Bruce Jenner when the attention wears off and he is stuck with his decision.

Dolazal is a little different, I am not sure how much irreversible changes she may have done, but for her, her life is coming off as a lie. She may not felt any harm in what she did, if she really identified as black, then she wanted to be black. But her identity change led her into some areas which she is now paying the price concerning.

One caveat though about the Dolazal issue. That part of society which has bought into this whole gender identity thing are somewhat hypocritical when it comes to Dolazar. Why can’t she be “black” in this way? If there was some DNA procedure to change the pigment of her skin, would that qualify her to claim “blackness”? After all, society now is allowing boys to dress and pose as girls even though they physically are still boys, and vice versa. If she had been open about it, would things have been different? Conversely, concerning young boys dressing as girls, should everyone such as schools be aware of that, if not, would that be the same kind of lie Dolazar is now dealing with?

For me, all this is academic and shouldn’t even be taking place, I do not think these scenarios should be playing out the way it is. I think as time goes on, with more and more people getting trapped into these things, the psychological and spiritual consequences will begin to emerge and society will be lost in how to deal with the repercussions.

I believe we are all created by God, males are males, females are females, whatever race you are, that is the race you are. We may feel something different, but that doesn’t mean we have to morph into that “something”. We may struggle with certain feelings but that doesn’t mean those feeling can’t be coped with.

If a young boy wants to dress as a girl, that may be innocent and funny for a time but eventually he has to be taught about masculinity and the same goes for femininity with girls. The white community may have a burden for the black community, we don’t have to become “black” though, to identify with that community.

Now, how in the world did we get here? Some answers are the breakdown of the family—who will teach true masculinity and femininity, the breakdown of the religious heritage Christianity gave us—having a person’s life rooted in something bigger than this world can be very comforting and can help make sense of life’s ambiguous moments, the rise of celebrity and the attending attention that comes with that, and other things could also be mentioned.

I sense society is starving, there is a lot of things to occupy us but the inside can still be empty. Technology allows for a whole host of new “fixes”. I believe that people are searching for things spiritually and some of these “identity” issues are just another “thing” to try to find inner satisfaction. They will ultimately fail like so many other things!

We have lost our moorings, the spiritual anchor has been lost and society is headed for a dangerous precipice of social dysfunction. Unless we root ourselves, as a nation and with all our institutions, back into the fertile ground of a Christian worldview, I am very pessimistic about our future!

Morals of America

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The Gallup organization released a new poll on Monday, June 13th. This poll gathered information about Americans and morality. The link is:

http://news.yahoo.com/americans-views-morality-fewer-taboos-values-seen-worsening-140153728.html

This article does emphasize the somewhat “contradictory” nature of the results which creates a lot of room for analysis. The results are conveniently summarized into 5 main “points of interest”. Only two of these caught my attention which happens to indicate for myself the problem this country will have as it moves forward (or backwards!).

One of the points of interest concerns marriage, over 90% consider it wrong that married men and women have affairs. That is a good thing but I wonder if that corresponds with rates of affairs by married men and women which other polls have observed. That could be a follow-up area!

This attitude about marriage may also contribute to the phenomenon of living together (cohabitation or “shacking up”), if a person is not married then the taboo of adultery doesn’t quite apply. And so another poll could assess the attitudes towards the benefits of marriage compared to couples living together.

The point that really got my attention was the result which said that 72% of those polled believe the state of moral values are getting worse even when behaviors once considered immoral are improving. And this is where it gets interesting!

What can explain this is the correct worldview in which these actions and phenomenon are interconnected. The Christian knows the correct worldview—it’s the worldview laid out in the Bible and its teaching concerning sin. That’s a word society doesn’t like to hear any more but it is still relevant for those who want to listen.

This country was historically a Christian nation. While everyone was not individually a Christian, the structure of our society and government was built around the explicit or presumed notions inherent in the Bible and hence a Christian “conscience” was prevalent throughout. People still committed sins but those sins were accepted as sins and not as today, in which many of those sins are now considered positive actions and actions which should even be supported by various laws.

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One of the things this society in the US is experiencing, and has been for the last few decades, is what the New Testament Book of Romans illustrates in chapter 1. In the beginning when mankind first fell in the Garden of Eden and was expelled, and as time went on, the knowledge of God became rejected more and more. As various “steps” in mankind’s rejection were achieved God stepped back and allowed the consequences of that thinking to manifest. A certain evolution of sin resulted and this phenomenon happens to be the kind of change this nation is undergoing. We are duplicating, in a sense, what happened back at the beginning!

When this nation honored God in all its institutions and other areas in society, even though we were not perfect, God honored our efforts and we became successful in nearly every area. Beginning in the sixties, when great changes began to take place in many areas, some of those changes, which are still going on today, were movements to remove God and any reference to God from the public sphere. There was a desire to secularize our society and keep religion private. And that is when trouble arose!

Ideas and actions have consequences and because we live in a spiritual world,  ultimately these things can only be understood spiritually, and the result is that we have reaped certain consequences. Consider Romans 1:

  1. God was rejected, v. 21, then God gave mankind over to sexual impurity.
  2. His truth was considered a lie, v. 25, then God gave them over to homosexuality.
  3. Desired to remove the idea of God even from the mind, v. 28, then God gave them over to a reprobate mind (a useless mind for spiritual things).

Sound familiar? It should because it mimics our nation’s evolution since the sixties. One of our problems going forward is the ability to recognize what is going on because those things which society considers as positive changes, such as gay and lesbian issues, are the things which has spiritually changed us for the worse. Those actions have caused God to “step back” and give us over to our wrong thinking.  The poll doesn’t make that connection, it can’t since it wasn’t concerned with the spiritual, and that is where the difficult problem of addressing future issues will be problematic.

Our problems do not stop there, though, since the evolution of this process leads to even more changes. These changes are more subtle, less political, but become just as insidious as they truly can effect everyday life for most of us. In Romans 1:29-32 a further catalog of actions also occur, some of these are: unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, and many other things. A lot of these sins are even now publicly justified and treated positively. Things once done in secret are now celebrated in public. These are the things that most of us can experience in one way or the other on a daily basis.

I believe this poll shows that society is sensing our past. We still know enough to know that if all these things are allowed to flourish society will not be able to endure and it will be an even more chaotic scene. A large enough group of people understand that even though God has been “removed”, the positive actions associated with Him are still needed. The Christian worldview has been good for society, the removal of it hasn’t.

Another problem is the strong sense of individuality and rights that has emerged with all this and which makes it even tougher to change. Freedom eventually filters down to the individual who then wants to have every thought or feeling or action validated. The problem is that many of those things are sinful things according to the Bible. Just look at the phenomenon of transgenderism and the havoc that society is enduring as it attempts to accommodate all these various “genders”. We can’t continue like this without a social disaster occurring.

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Our only hope is to pay attention to polls such as this (and other things), explore the contradictions, and maybe we can see things spiritually the right way. If God is still rejected, unfortunately our endpoint will not be pretty. Can we do it?  I doubt it!

Evolution vs. Reality

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A false-color image of a dinosaur fossil, taken with a scanning electron microscope, shows linear features that look like collagen fibers. (From the article)

“Signs of ancient cells and proteins found in dinosaur fossils” is an article from Science news magazine, with link:

http://news.sciencemag.org/paleontology/2015/06/signs-ancient-cells-and-proteins-found-dinosaur-fossils

What is important about this article is the possible effect on evolutionary thinking! Dinosaurs are millions of years old, or so it is told to us from many different fields of learning. The problem here though, is one of preservation—we may be sold a bill of goods, which is actually difficult to demonstrate, that hard structures such as bones, etc. can be rapidly covered in such a way to eventually become fossilized and remain so for millions of years—but soft tissue is another matter.

Everyday life gives continual demonstrations of the quick decay of soft tissues. It strains the imagination and the intellect to not only believe that this occurred but also to construct a plausible scenario explaining how the soft tissue could have lasted this long! What are scientists to do with this data after uncovering this soft tissue?

Of course, evolutionists love touting anything and everything that may provide support for their theories, just pay attention to the search for water on Mars. It seems like every discovery on Mars somehow presupposes the present existence of, or former existence of water, and since water is key to origin-of-life theories this “PR” response is ongoing and continual, after all, evolutionists don’t like it when folks doubt their narrative.

But to find soft tissue in dinosaurs is another matter, this strains even the most vibrant evolutionist’ imagination! You would think a scientist would think otherwise though, since DNA studies could be done, analyzed, and a whole encyclopedia of new knowledge about dinosaurs could be obtained. Alas, this discovery seems to be treated differently.

 It seems that evolutionists are running a bit scared, and there is a reason for that, because lurking in the background of this whole phenomenon is the possible demonstration that dinosaurs are really young as Creationists would assert. In light of these discoveries some Creationists have been pushing for C14 dating of these fossils which could go a long way towards establishing the ages of these creatures, and since there are an increasing number of fossils with soft tissue, it seems like the appropriate thing to do! 

As a side effect, the evolutionist could finally put to rest the Creationists ideas of young ages for the dinosaurs! 

Instead a denial of the soft tissue is pursued claiming contamination, etc. and an avoidance of certain tests are justified. Of course when something can harm the paradigm the status quo must be protected!

A part of the whole Creationist/Evolution controversy is philosophical, evolutionists are committed to naturalism and materialism, thus the world can only be explained using naturalistic arguments. On the other hand, Creationists believe in a world specially created and shows the evidence of Design which is incredibly too complex to explain.

The researches of both groups try to explain the past which can only be analyzed inferentially through our methods. And the C14 analysis could be the most useful test to finally show which group may have the best chance of being right!

So to the evolutionists out there—show some guts and push for these tests!

Hanna-Barbera may have the final say through their cartoon series the Flintstones, namely, that man and the dinosaurs coexisted and that would be poetic in a way since evolution seems like an imaginative cartoon as well.

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Pew Research Poll: Sign of Slippery Slope?

A Pew Research Center poll just released on Monday, June8, 2015, looked at whether homosexual behavior should be accepted or discouraged by society. A number of groups were asked certain questions and the results were compared with a similar poll done in 2013. Among the groups which the poll analyzed, conservative Republicans was the only group which showed a decrease regarding whether society should accept homosexuality.

Pew Research Poll
Pew Research Poll

The poll may seem to be negative towards conservative Republicans but the analysis of what all this means is not so plain. There are deeper moral issues at play here and of course religious principles as well as principles of governance. All these things go towards the kind of understanding society determines as important for constructing itself.

An important aspect of all this regards our conception of existence, namely, is there a real moral component to our existence reflected through our religious traditions and which we would be careless to ignore, or, is the idea of evolution the underpinning of everything which would then leave all our moral arguments, etc. as just simple arbitrary exercises which have no independent importance beyond the here and now.

Generally, conservative Republicans subscribe to the Bible as the primary resource for morals and that a moral government does operate in this world in which real consequences follow from wrong behavior. A purely evolutionary (atheistic) worldview would subscribe to none of this and instead a moral relativism would be paramount in which morality evolves along with everything else and that a lot of so-called “consequences” are ultimately preventable. Of course something in between these two poles is also possible but I think these two viewpoints are the ultimate worldviews which capture the essence of how our society is doing and how it is changing and also the source of the friction between the various segments.

Another way at looking at this is the slippery slope argument. Conservative Republicans would see the homosexuality changes as representing society going down a “slippery slope” eventually incorporating even more outrageous behavior. An evolution-inspired view would see this poll as most of society evolving towards a more “enlightened” state, definitely an evolutionary step forward, or, using the slope idea, society has moved up the slope towards something more positive.

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While the country has been successful in moving away from a Bible-based influence, for conservative Republicans, that transition is contradictory to our founding and much of our cultural heritage and so is to be fought against as much as possible. I am reminded of a science fiction book of 1973, “Rendezvous With Rama”, about a cylindrical alien ship which enters the solar system.

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A team of explorers are sent to check it out and when they get inside it, they find it hollow, miles long and wide, and has structures all along its interior sides. One of the problems the explorers  faced was spatial orientation, what is “up” and “down”. As they would use ladders within the structure, etc. to move around, the explorers had to consciously think of a definite preferred direction. This helped them to stay with a sense of direction. The determination of “up” and “down” was in a sense arbitrary for them, but it had to be done.

Society’s tinkering with many moral issues such as homosexuality is not mere “direction finding” or some arbitrary decision-making. If morality is in a sense “made up”, then there is nothing to really fear, but if the Biblical worldview is the main principle behind this life, which I believe is, then we will have many consequences, which will occur whether we believe the Bible or not. Tinkering with that will not bode well for society in the long term.

Time will tell on all these things but the fact that society is being totally restructured should give us pause but that doesn’t seem to be occurring. When things fall apart, and it will given our experience with the “sexual revolution” of the sixties and what we are reaping from that, will we have the ability and the understanding to find the way back? Maybe! The way I look at this poll though, is through the lens of future hope; as long as there is at least one group which is against homosexuality then maybe things can be turned around and then made to correspond to the proper worldview—a Biblical worldview!

Book of Esther–History or Not?

Esther

                                                                   The Feast of Esther

I read an article lately from the Journal of Biblical Literature, Spring 2001 volume. Adele Berlin wrote the article concerning the Book of Esther and ancient storytelling. Although the historicity of the book is rejected by a large number of modern scholars, an attempt here is made to explain how the book should then be received. After all, it is in the Canon of the Bible and though it has been controversially received into the canon by the early Church, it has been received.  For modern readers of the Bible, how this and other books of the Bible are to be read and absorbed affects quite a bit how we understand Truth.

Some quotes from the article will illustrate a few of the modern thoughts from scholars:

Pg. 5  “Ancient historiography is quite different from modern historiography in that ancient historiography may include fictions, myths, legends, and hearsay. So Genesis-Kings can still be called historiography even if it is patently untrue (from a modern perspective).”

Pg. 6 “On the face of it, the story seems to be true…Moreover, the author, who begins his work in the manner typical of biblical histories…, encourages his readers to confirm the details of his account for themselves by referring them to an accessible and well-known historical record…Only a writer acting in good faith would dare extend such an invitation to his readers.”

This seems positive towards Esther as history, but, Berlin quoted Carey A. Moore in this part and then Berlin adds this extra quote: Pg. 6 “So, while Moore himself does not think Esther is true, he is arguing here that the ancient reader did.”

Quoting Michael V. Fox: Pg. 6-7 “To read Esther as fictional, while a legitimate critical stance, runs contrary to the intentions of the author, who almost certainly meant us to read the book as a precise report of actual historical events.”

This also seems to be positive towards the historicity of the book, but the following quotes puts the previous two quotes into perspective.

Pg. 7 “But alas, the perception of historiography, like the perception of reality, is an illusion. The author of Esther was not writing history; he was imitating the writing of history, even making a burlesque of it.” (Whatever that means!)

Pg. 7 “It is a literary convention to say that your story is true and to offer proof. And I daresay that an author is just as likely to invoke this convention for a fictitious story, if not more so. The author of Esther is imitating the history writing of the book of Kings not because he wants his story to sound historical, but because he wants it to sound biblical.

So paraphrasing this logic: It reads like history, the author meant it to be taken as history, but these things are just literary devices, the book now is actually meant to be taken by the modern reader as something other than history. The reader of the article can judge for themselves rather this is a convincing line of reasoning or not and whether the author of this article has justified the reasoning.

 

The Bible is no stranger to criticism, it has been analyzed more than any other book. The Christian, though, needs to be careful unless one day he wakes up and realized that all those things which had been accepted as Truth are now just fictions. This is an incremental process which is occurring now and will continue!

Genesis with its Creation and Flood accounts has largely been rejected due to science/evolution debates. The Patriarchal information is rejected due to lack of archaeological evidence, as well as the Exodus of the Israelites. The Davidic and Solomon monarchies are also deemed to be fictional enhancements by a small tribal group of people. And on and on it goes.

In the New Testament the Jesus Seminar met a few decades ago and actually voted on the words of Christ in the gospels as to which ones he actually could have said. Obviously our red-letter edition Bibles would be radically different according to this group.

The problem for the Christian eventually comes down to the resurrection—did it occur? The accounts of the resurrection read like history, but is it the kind of history, as in the Old Testament, which only seems like history but really isn’t? If so then the resurrection is not something we can really claim has occurred! And hence our “faith” would then be vain according to I Corinthians 15:17. Some Christians think we can accept a certain amount of these scholarly pronouncements as long as we hold onto the resurrection. But arguments can be persuasive and eventually the resurrection will be persuasively argued away!

So then why has so many in the Church accepted these conclusions of the modern scholar? Why do Christians feel like these scholars have the final say? And why can’t the Church see where this is leading? That is a long story but one that has to be recognized and dealt with. If Christians do not heed what Jude 3 says “…and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”, then Truth will be lost!

So getting back to Esther. If we went back in time and observed things we would see basically one of these two options:

1. A person seated somewhere writing in a manuscript an account of history which is fictional but titled “Esther”, or

2. A time period in which an event would be unfolded before the eyes which one would experience as the actual Queen Esther  saving her people from the evil Haman.

What we ultimately accept between these two versions will determine the future fate of the Church and the future  answer to Pilate’s question: “What is truth?”

What-is-truth02                                                          Quod Est Veritas? Christ and Pilate

 

Bruce Jenner and Genesis 1:27

In Gen. 1:27 we have “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” One of the major changes in the last few decades in the US has been the separation of sex from gender. Sex defines the physical characteristics and gender is used for how one feels about oneself.

With gender now being accepted this way more and more, society is now trying to create all kinds of fundamental changes which will be forced on all of us whether we like it or not. A reason for part of this redefinition came about due to feminist influence which reacted against the so-called rigid, patriarchal influence of Western Civilization through Christianity. This reaction against Christianity is also being applied to most areas of our society by various groups for various reasons but the gender issue is probably the most popular thing at the moment.

Illustrative of these kinds of changes and which shows the kind of confusion we are  heading into, Facebook has removed all gender categories from the US users and allows the individual to fill in themselves how they want to be viewed, 58 choices were not enough to satisfy all the many ways that people viewed themselves I guess.With these gender definitions the affect on society has already been profound, with one example being the  controversial issue of public schools having to change restroom policies to accommodate the various “genders”.

What is also profound right now and will be even more profound in the future is the ability to change ones biology through medical intervention. No longer will these feelings about oneself be mainly in the mind, but now they can be actualized physically. How far are we willing to go? Will these be “rights” which have to be protected?

The idea of freedom is used a lot in these discussions, after all, isn’t it a positive thing that a person can be “free” to be who they feel they are. Only if all freedom is good freedom, which it is not. Is this then a case of bad freedom or good freedom? That answer will be based on the kind of world we believe we live in and this is where the Christian worldview can be helpful.

The Christian viewpoint, which I ascribe to, relies on the fact that the Bible is still applicable for today and is still accurate regarding the effects of sin in this world and properly illustrates the moral government which undergirds the actions of society. In other words, society just can’t get away with whatever it wants.

The Bible doesn’t leave room for those kinds of distinctions which gender advocates try to justify. As far as the Bible is concerned, there is male and female, any departure from this is the result of man’s sinful tendencies and the imperfectness of society through the effects of sin. The proper Christian viewpoint is that compassion can be shown for those who are struggling within themselves about identity and sexuality, but that compassion can not participate in the actualization of these things but instead must protest these changes and point instead to the liberating truths of Christ and the Bible.

Bruce Jenner, I will not personally refer to him as Caitlyn except as a referent in a discussion, has taken this whole gender issue to a different level. Glamour is associated with celebrity too often and unfortunately there will be those who will try to emulate what he has done because of that celebrity. He may mark a turning point in our society, unfortunately a negative one.

But at the end of the day Bruce Jenner is still a man! For Christians, we have to still view him as God does–as a male, masculine, regardless of what his feelings are. He has lived “masculine” for most his life and now he can’t continue? What kept him being a man this long? Maybe he should have continued to have drawn on that strength and continued as a man and not embarrassed himself like this, which I think he has done.

So what about freedom? Is this Bruce Jenner story illustrative of good or bad freedom? According to Gen. 1:27 we are trying to radically change how God intended an individual, that can only lead to bad outcomes. It may not be this year or next but as these kinds of actions possibly become more of a norm then effects will begin to emerge.

This kind of thing has played out before. Consider the 60s and the sexual revolution and our arrogance in thinking we could just make sex recreational, against the norms God had. Now look at all the dysfunction this has created in our society, some of which we will probably never be able to correct.

Going forward, how should Christians react? I think Jenner and others like him has to be shown compassion but in  no way should he be dignified as a woman. We just can’t go down that road. If his orbit and a Christians orbit intersect we have to respectfully treat him as a man, for his own good.

Rand Paul vs. NSA

So the NSA has most of our electronic data collected in their computers. Supposedly the data is not actual taped conversations of phone calls or transcripts than have been generated, but it is still in NSA hands in some form, and to me, that is a problem. Supporters declare that warrants still have to be issued to look and analyze any particular part of the data and with the data  in NSA hands, the legal procedures will be accomplished in a  more timely manner. Except–and this is the fear of privacy supporters– when the data is mined for other “interests” and without the safeguard of proper legal procedures. Is it done? Who knows? Can it be done? We know it can! Why should the average citizen trust the NSA, or in certain areas, even the government? Who really knows what is being done with that information?  After all, look at what the IRS did with its information, how it targeted certain groups for a political purpose.  Rand Paul has now stepped into the Patriot Act renewal debate and actually  shows strong conviction that these collections are wrong, that the Patriot Act wasn’t meant for this kind of thing, and that there is a need to start over. After all, paraphrasing,  the greatest freedom is to be left alone! He may not have the best foreign policy picture but I believe he does understand privacy issues in this nation. Of course he is denigrated by those who wanted to support the Act and those Patriot Act advocates are now isolating him and condemning him…….! Have we really reached a place in politics that one man can’t make a stand, and yes maybe slow things up in the process, because of the principles he holds dear. So what if things are held up, left to expire, or whatever else may occur legislatively. I have more worries about an open border, about Guantanamo prisoners being exchanged for traitors and hence possible being returned to terrorist camps, about a foreign policy by the greatest nation on earth allowing evil around the world and mayhem to proliferate beyond control. The Patriot Act not being renewed will not be the end-all of our nation.Taking time to debate whether we need to rethink privacy issues regarding a government program is not a dangerous thing. I applaud Rand Paul for his tenacious commitment to privacy, would I vote for him for President? Probably not, for other reasons, but I think he has a valid point here. Gridlock in Congress is looked at negatively by many, but not by me. Things shouldn’t be too easy if it has major consequences. Use procedures, tactics, whatever it takes to make sure that decisions are handled in a slow, careful manner. In Congress it usually are groups who do these things, not individuals, but individuals  in Congress have just as much right, duty, and obligation to slow down things so that the proper care is observed in these matters. History will ultimately judge Paul’s actions and the results of our nation’s actions, at least there are two sides!  And finally, I think it is laughable that we act like we can not withstand this kind of scrutiny of one government program by one man? Shame on our country for lack of patience! We need to realize that the Ted Cruz’s and Rand Paul’s of the world and all those who “go it alone” for some principle may be a modern version of  Horatius Cocles on the Pons Sublicius.