December 14, 2023

Spending Like Drunken Sailors

Spain must have seemed invincible back in the 15th century. King Philip II probably thought his Empire’s dominance would last forever and yet less than 100 years later, Spain had succumbed to the same historical fates that have caused all empires to decline. Decades of bad decision making. Corruption. Bureaucracy. Inflation. Endless and costly warfare. Idiotic decrees that restrain economic growth. Chasing away productive citizens and businesses. Excessive spending. Excessive debt. Debt, in fact, was such an enormous problem for Spain that its kings had to default on their debt multiple times. Empires are extremely expensive to maintain. Governments become bloated and costly. Administering colonies requires a lot of money. Military expenditures skyrocket. And Spanish leaders didn’t exactly hold back when it came to spending on lavish courts and luxuries. So even though Spain should have been immensely wealthy, it was actually creating on a mountain of debt.

It’s almost incomprehensible how a nation with so much income and so many resources could have squandered its wealth. Yet we’re seeing the same phenomenon play out in real time in the United States, for many of the same reasons as the Spanish Empire’s decline. And it’s even more incomprehensible. Like Spain, the US was once the clear, dominant leader in the world, synonymous with wealth and power. But decades of war, excessive spending, debt, etc. have taken a toll.A few days ago, the final numbers for the US government’s Fiscal Year 2023 were published. (Remember that the Fiscal Year runs from October 1 through September 30, so FY23 ended a few weeks ago.)

The numbers are atrocious and an obvious sign of America’s fiscal decline. I’m not saying this to be sensational. I’m saying this because it’s a cold, hard fact. You cannot sugarcoat a $2 trillion annual increase in the national debt– which is what the numbers show. What’s really concerning about this, however, is how little the people in charge seem to care. The President of the United States is so clueless that he doesn’t even understand the difference between the national debt, versus the annual budget deficit. The same can be said of his political acolytes. He’s also so clueless that he even claimed as recently as two weeks ago that the government is running a budget surplus. It’s obviously not. He’s totally wrong, of course… as evidenced by the national debt having increased $2 TRILLION for Fiscal Year 2023.It’s worth noting that the national debt has already increased more than $500 BILLION just so far this MONTH. So, this addiction to debt and spending does not seem to be abating anytime soon.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen– who was formerly the head of the Federal Reserve– went so far as to say that America “can certainly” afford to fund two wars at the same time, both Ukraine and Israel. There’s simply no instinct for restraint. Then there are lawmakers like AOC who believe that deficits don’t matter, and that “we should eliminate the debt ceiling in the United States because of the Constitutional reasons. Yet despite sounding like an inarticulate buffoon every time she opens her mouth, AOC is representative of an entire movement of prominent economists and PhD ‘experts’ who similarly believe that deficits and debts are irrelevant. Spending us into oblivion.

Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman has said in the past that the US national debt is simply “money we owe to ourselves” therefore no one should really worry too much about it.(Coincidentally, Krugman wrote those words in February 2015 when the national debt was ‘only’ $18 trillion. Today it’s almost twice that level.) Well, Krugman is completely wrong, and the facts are clear. Out of the $33.6 trillion national debt, it’s true that roughly $7.1 trillion of that is owned by different agencies and departments within the federal government. I suppose that’s the “we” that people always refer to when they say “we” owe the debt to “ourselves”. But nearly all of that $7.1 trillion is owned by Social Security and government retirement programs for its civilian and military personnel. Other programs like the FDIC, US Post Office, and the federal unemployment office also own a lot of US government bonds.

So, the argument that ‘we owe the debt to ourselves’ absurdly presumes that it’s OK to default on Social Security… or military retirement obligations… or the FDIC. Such a default would trigger a massive financial and social crisis in America, and few politicians are willing to go down that road.$7.7 trillion of the national debt is owed to foreign nations. And nearly all of those bonds are owned by countries who are flat broke (like Japan) or who are major adversaries of the United States (China).This is pretty important, because it means that those countries will be less and less likely to buy and own US government debt in the future.

The rest of the US national debt, roughly $18.8 trillion, is owned mostly by large businesses, financial institutions, money market funds… plus state and local governments.  These are the real institutions that own the power in the United States and in owning that power they dictate policy and government actions. Money market funds, pension funds, and retirement funds own trillions of dollars of government bonds. Apple owns about $25 billion of US government bonds. Bank of America owns $200 billion. These are the real movers and shakers. It’s not like the US can default on the city of Chicago or the State of California. Or pension funds that manage the retirement assets of millions of Americans. Or big banks.

As I wrote last week, Bank of America has already suffered more than $107 billion in losses from its ownership of US government bonds (and related securities). If the Treasury Department decides to not pay its debts– because, you know, ‘we owe it to ourselves’– then nearly every bank in the US would be wiped out. That means your savings.

Again, none of these is a crisis that any politician wants to trigger. So not only is ‘we owe it to ourselves’ completely incorrect, but it also doesn’t even matter. Failure to make payments on the national debt would be catastrophic. According to the most recent Treasury Report, the federal government spent a whopping $879 billion on interest payments in FY23. But that’s with an average interest rate below 3%.Interest rates have now passed 5% and may be headed higher.

So, fast forward a few years to 2030 when the national debt could exceed $40 trillion and average interest rates reach 5% or more. That would mean potentially $2 TRILLION per year, just to pay interest. To say this is unaffordable would be an understatement.

Because on top of all this debt drama, the US government’s tax revenue from 2023 is also sagging because although the unemployment is down, its down because many of those jobs are minimum wage therefore…lower taxes. Total FY23 tax revenue was $4.4 trillion. And that’s down from nearly $5 trillion the year before.

The Federal Reserve will need to start cutting rates. This currently is not happening and might not happen right away. The Fed is far more concerned right now with appearing like they’re in control and know what they’re doing. But no Fed Chairman wants to preside over the bankruptcy of the United States. So… the Fed will have to cut rates and start printing money again to save the federal government, as well as the banking system and Social Security. This will lead to extremely bad inflation. This in turn will devalue the dollar thereby causing a loss of confidence in the dollar.

Higher inflation coupled with outright government dysfunction has already caused much of the world to seek alternatives to the dollar. Another bout of inflation, plus potentially several more years of incompetence under Biden and another progressive democrat will probably be enough to reset default currency from the dollar to Yuan or other currency.

Foreign nations will stop investing in US government bonds and this has already started. With the dollar no longer at the center of global finance, foreigners will no longer have the same incentives to own US debt. This means that one of the US government’s major funding sources will dry up, leaving politicians scrambling to find money. Politicians will demand new and higher taxes.

With foreigners no longer buying US government bonds at the same pace, politicians will try to raise tax revenue. Expect wealth taxes, higher income taxes, green taxes, and even windfall profits taxes on certain assets and income like crypto, gold, oil profits, etc. Based on even precursory observation…this is already happening via ESG and other outlets.

Americans believing the capitalistic system has failed them will move further left. Politicians and their media hacks will insist that capitalism has failed… and rescuing the nation from this hardship will require bigger government and more intervention in the form of Socialism. Again, we are already seeing this happen.

Although, I’m not suggesting that this outcome is imminent. Or even certain. It could still take several years for these issues to unravel. And I’ve written before that America’s challenges are still fixable… however the window of opportunity is narrowing quickly. It’s also true that other rival powers like China have their own critical challenges. But this is irrelevant; other nations’ challenges don’t eliminate the seriousness of America’s. We can certainly hope that the West will put itself back on course. But as they say in the military, ‘Hope is not a course of action’. A plan is, and right now, none of our government leaders have a plan. Instead, there is constant political infighting often within the individual parties with the ultimate goal being personal gain, not doing the will of their constituency. This nation and its government are a shell of their former selves. I pray for my children but my hope for a bright American future for my kids is dimming quickly with every dollar tacked onto our national debt. IF we don’t turn this boat around, we will be a footnote in history just like Spain with it’s invincible Spanish Armada.

September 4, 2023

The Absurdity of Asceticism

As stated in my last post I'll mention (5) further myths about money pushed by those on other areas different from prosperity preachers. When I say ascetic I mean that a person is somehow closer to God based on how little they have in this life or give up to prove their righteousness or holiness. Avoidance of money and comforts is completely unnecessary and frankly stupid. Living a monk like existence is not necessary as a believer and in truth only amounts to an act of 'works' salvation which is also unbiblical. God came so that we might have life and have life more fully (John 10:10). So, to rob one's self of that life hiding away and not spending hard earned money and living well is foolishness and a squandering of the life God gave. As God has said in the Bible, don’t do things purposely to draw attention to yourself to show what you’ve given up. Jesus also told the parable of the talents which discussed wise use of money also (Matthew 25:14–30).

Matthew 6:16-18 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

In other words Jesus told us not to be ostentatious about our sacrifices and suffering. This of course is the opposite end of the spectrum from the prosperity pimps like Kenneth Hagan and Joel Osteen. The opposite of greed can also be a sin. To have Christians believe that all Christians should be ascetic and poor, struggling from check to check is not the core message of Scripture. This isn’t true or fair to those who have indeed worked hard to support those they love and care about. At the same time we can’t frivolously spend away money that was likely blessed to us by God for a godly use either. The extreme of budgets and penny-pinching is not where God and God’s word resides on these issues. It’s in the middle most times and it is the ideas of moderation and humility that are the key to God’s economy.

Myth One: Money is the root of all evil, hence the nicknames "filthy lucre" or "unrighteous mammon." Therefore, it's better for Christians simply not to focus on making money, which is at best a necessary evil. What Paul actually says is that the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil. In other words, it is the attitude of one's heart towards money that is being critiqued, which includes the sin of greed. Money in itself is symbolic and just a means of exchange. It is no more inherently evil than any other material thing God created. The warnings in the Bible, however, remind us that fallen human beings find things like money a great temptation and can lead to various and detrimental indulgences. This is why Jesus called such resources "unrighteous mammon". This being the case, a very cautious approach to money is in order; we need to be reflective about how and why we think we need more money or wish to purchase this or that thing. No mindless indulgence but not abstinence in fear either.

Myth Two: Lending money at interest is not a problem for those who see the Bible as the Word of God. There are in fact numerous strictures in the Old Testament that speak to the issue of believers lending money or resources to other believers and charging interest. What the Bible does not say is that it is wrong to charge interest to nonbelievers. The general tone of the Old Testament teaching on this subject suggest that if someone is a member of one's community, even if they are “a stranger in the land, "charging interest is probably disallowed, or at least discouraged. We can also turn this around and ask about the ethics of speculation and trying to procure huge rates of interest or return on one's money.

Is it right for a Christian to play the stock market, buying low and selling high? The Bible says nothing directly about this. There were no stock markets in ancient economies. But the overall impression one gets is that whatever severs the connection between work and reward, between an honest day's pay for an honest day's work, is not a good thing. Speculation is too often an attempt to reap enormous rewards with very little effort or investment of time, money, and skill. This seems to run counter to the ethic of work various parts of the Bible.

Myth Three: As long as I am thankful and know where my blessings come from, maintaining an attitude of gratitude towards God, I can do whatever I please with my money, within certain obvious ethical bounds (e.g., not squandering it on sexually immoral practices). This is profoundly false. The resources we have are indeed blessings from God, thus it is all the more necessary and expected that we treat them as God's resources and ask the question, what would please God in the disposition of the resources I have been given? This is why James and others accused Christians of stealing from the poor, the widow, and the orphan when they engage in conspicuous consumption or an opulent showy lifestyle.

Myth Four: Since we are saved by grace through faith, God will not hold us responsible for what we do with our money. This is false, and a variant of the notion that since salvation is by grace, there is no accountability for deeds of any kind done after conversion. This way of thinking is a direct contradiction of texts like 2 Corinthians 5, which remind us that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of the deeds we have done in the body. This is even more clear in the parable of the sheep and the goats, where Jesus berates his own disciples for not visiting him in prison, feeding him, and the like, and then says, "inasmuch as you have not done it to the least of these, you haven't done it to me." Jesus identifies with the plight of the poor and needy, and expects us to do the same.

Myth Five: As a tithing Christian, I am free to do as I like with the percent I have not given to God. In the first place, the standard is sacrificial giving, which may mean more than a tithe in some cases. In the second place, the 90 percent still belongs to God. We are only its stewards and must use it in accordance with God's will. In the end, it would be wise for us to take to heart and put into practice what Paul says about a 'theology of enough', ...of godliness with contentment, which he calls "great gain.' Philippians 4:11-13 is an excellent guide for the Christian life in this sort of matter. Can we as twenty-first-century Christians learn to be content, whatever our material circumstances? Or will we succumb to the siren song of advertisements that suggest to us all sorts of things we have to have, when in fact they are not necessities of life at all?

The real secret about money and wealth is a simple question. Can we learn the secret of being content whether in plenty or in want? Paul says he learned to be content as a Christian in times of plenty as well as times of want. My prayer is that we too would learn this secret of contentment regardless of how much money we do or don’t have

September 1, 2023

The Dishonest & Double-Minded Prosperity Gospel


I have to admit that I’m tired of the health and wealth preachers and their greed making a buck of the backs of those weak in faith. I am going to cite ten (4) of their blatant lies in this post and dismantle them. For far too long many have just given these snakes the slide in the Pentecostal/Charismatic faith without rebuking them. This is often because these prosperity peddlers are adept at circling around Scripture wording in a way that seems to justify their unbiblical behavior. They’ll do this while simultaneously keeping their detractors at bay through semantic gymnastics and verbal contortionism. They manipulate Scripture to be interpreted two different ways in parallel by changing the nouns being acted upon. Where a passage is implying a believer will be rich in grace, faith or well-being, they construe it to mean material goods or riches. It’s semantic wordplay that creates a pseudo-truth. It’s true, but used in the wrong context or against the wrong nominative in a statement. In short it’s intellectually dishonest and disgusting.

No more…it’s time to put an end to it at least on my Social Media pages. I hope some that are on my Facebook page actually read this as it is long overdue. I will try and keep these as succinct as possible so not to confuse these statements or go off on lengthy diatribes. The people that push this crooked theology makes all of the goo Christians look like hypocritical greedy idiots. Thanks, but I can mess up the image of myself with non-Christians on my own, I don’t need help doing that.

I will also mention (5) further myths about money pushed by those on the opposite end of the spectrum who will have Christians believe that all Christians should be ascetic and poor struggling from check to check. This is a sin also and isn’t fair to those who have indeed worked hard to support those they love and care about. The gist of this post and the next is that the extremes is not where God and God’s word resides on these issues. It’s in the middle most times and it is moderation and humility that are the key to God’s economy.

Prosperity Lie One: If you just trust and have faith in God, he will give you *all the desires of your heart."

Psalm 37:4-5 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.

What the Scripture in question actually says is delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. This saying has nothing necessarily to do with economic prosperity. The desire of the heart referred to here is God. If you delight in God he will bless you with more of the divine presence is all the psalmist has in view. Will this bring riches? Possibly but unlikely…what does the preponderance of Scripture show about the lives of believers? We see struggling and perseverance in humility. In this misinterpretation of Scripture we see the exchange of the divine proper noun God with an ordinary noun.

Prosperity Lie Two: If you "seek first the kingdom," then God will give you all the things you long for. Again, this is a profound misreading of what the biblical text says. The entire time Jesus in Matthew 6:25-34 has been talking about the basic necessities in life, food, clothing, and the like. He tells his disciples they should not be anxious even about the necessities in life, not least because God knows we need such things to survive. Instead of anxiousness we are to seek first the kingdom, and then these necessities will be added to us. There is nothing in this context pertaining to wealth or anything like it. He refers only to basic food, drink and clothing. In fact if one reads this properly it is obliquely warning the reader that at times…things will be scarce and hard to come by. Just the opposite of prosperity.

Prosperity Lie Three: If you tithe, then God will necessarily bless you far more than you have given. This presumption is usually based on sayings like Matthew’s "Ask and it will be given to you" (Matt. 7:7). Again the context here is that of asking for a basic necessities like bread or a fish to eat! Jesus reassures us that when we seek such things from God, he is able to provide. This does indicate that God enjoys blessing those who seek him and his aid in these matters. It does suggest that God has an infinite store of such things, one that never runs out so there is some truth to the saying, "you have not because you ask not" when it comes to basic necessities. But texts like this say nothing about a quid pro quo, or a reciprocity cycle with God. The proverbial this-for-that or the idea that God is some form of cosmic vending machine.

Besides, blessings of God are generally not material ones in any case. And the notion that we can put God in our debt, so that he is bound by promissory note to give us “this” because we gave him “that” is simply false. God's gifts are free and gracious, not things owed to someone operating out of a misguided theology of reciprocity. That is just idiotic man-made thinking, not divine economy.

Prosperity Lie Four: If we are just sincere enough in our asking, or simply pray long and fervently enough, God is bound to give us what we ask for. This type of statement I find the most disgusting as it leads others to believe they are somehow not praying enough or are somehow inferior to those that are blessed with material goods. The whole approach to prayer as a means of haggling with God who seems somehow reluctant to help is so off base it’s laughable. This is entirely false on both sides of the equation. First of all, we can't make God an offer he can't refuse, no matter how nicely or insistently we ask. God is independent and needs nothing from mankind. Why not? 

Second, God is obligated only to do what he has already promised to do, and even then it will depend on whether or not the thing in question was part of a conditional promise. Only God with His divine word can bind God to a contract/covenant. When God begins a promise along the lines of ‘if my people who are called by my name will repent and turn to me, then...”. Its conditional upon man and man obeying. If we don't fulfill our half of the conditional statement God is under no obligation to fulfill his half. Ever.

Prosperity Lie Five: As the examples of Solomon and others in the old Testament show, God has no problems with a Christian being wealthy. This is just wrong. In the first place, Christians are not under the old covenant, and the New Testament has a much stricter and higher standard for what counts as a godly life when it comes to material things. Secondly, even in Proverbs and elsewhere in the Old Testament critiques of kings like Solomon, who ape the emperors and kings of the ancient Near East with respect to wealth and opulence, indicate that this was never a good thing. It even caused Solomon to compromise his biblical integrity marrying foreign wives and chasing foreign gods. He would later go on to write about these failures and saw them all as vanity, foolishness and chasing the wind (Ecclesiastes).

August 27, 2023

God’s Not a Capitalist or a Communist

Stop assuming that there are no problems with capitalism. The Bible doesn't present us with either communistic of capitalistic options when it comes to the economy. There is theological reason as well as a historical one for this. The theory of property in the Bible is that God is the owner of all things. When it comes to the Bible's viewpoint, neither the government nor private individuals really own anything. Rather, we are all just stewards of God's property, and God can do what God likes with it. The question is, Are we in tune with God's preferences about such matters?

If the philosophy of capitalism is "what's mine is mine, and if I choose to share it, I am philanthropic" and the philosophy of communism is "what's yours is actually ours and we must confiscate it or treat it as public property," then neither of these approaches to property will do from a Christian point of view. Christians need to constantly be assessing what good stewardship of the personal property we have from God looks like. We need to regularly ask:

God, what would you have me do with this? Why have you given it to me?

Too often the assumption of the health and wealth preachers is that one is simply in the "bless me" club and that is the end of the discussion. In fact, as Paul so aptly reminds us, we are blessed in order to be a blessing to others, which is precisely why we must keep asking why things have been given to us. Gratitude is not enough as a response to these graces. Responsibility and inquiry as to the purpose and function of a gift of grace is in order.

We must (even be free honest that there are some severe problems with capitalism, even free market capitalism from a Christian point of view. Capitalism tends towards an endless focus on making money and buying new things to keep the economy growing. It has led to the lust for ever cheaper goods, even at the expense of homegrown mom and pop that are forced out of business because most everything has to be outsourced overseas so we can enjoy low prices.

I have to admit I am guilty of buying as cheap as I can in this inflationary economy. I have mixed feelings about this because we now have a global economy. I have no problems with other countries improving their lot in life of their people through my purchases. But in the twenty-first century we must be global Christians, not just global capitalists. That means we must care about the well-being of the people in the world and the world in general, and Christians worldwide in particular.

Having framed this as a comparison/contrast between capitalism and communism, it is clear enough to me that capitalism is the lesser of two evils if the alternative is communism, especially Marxist communism. I have spent enough time studying history of formerly communist countries to see that it did not benefit the people in any appreciable way. It kept most of them in poverty and death. The issue is not just democracy versus communism. I am clear that the capitalism as a political system is more biblical than the communism, especially when it comes to religious freedom. The real larger issue is the Marxist economic system of absolute state control.

I find it difficult to understand why so many biblical scholars and liberal elites think that Marxist analysis, process, and economic theory are more in accord with the New Testament than other theories. Indeed, it seems to me that the John of Patmos who critiqued Rome and its slave-based totalitarian economy would have a similar reaction to anti-Christian Marxist governments and their totalitarian, centrally-organized economies.

Instead of listening to self-professed educated experts we to listen to others who are older and wiser, those who have spent considerable time simplifying their own lifestyles. The Wisdom literature of the Bible tells us that it is helpful to go to those who have reflected long and carefully about how to live a genuinely biblical life. The Old Testament speaks of how we should wish for neither wealth nor poverty. Instead the New Testament is all about how godliness with contentment and a theology of “just enough” should govern our lifestyle.

Therefore Prosperity Preachers are likely pimps. Rich politicians are likely crooked as a three dollar bill. God mostly wants you rich in the spiritual things not the material things. For prosperity preachers to see wealth and prosperity in Scripture passages that spiritual things is an abomination and horrible derailing of God’s word. Paul is referring to grace here in 2 Corinthians 8:9 not material riches. Look at the prior 9 verse including 8:9, it says grace 4 times and also speaks of love and a wealth of generosity not riches.

2 Corinthians 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

Others claim James 4:2 wants Christians rich too— “You do not have because you do not ask God.”

This verse is used to bolster the “name it and claim it” part of the prosperity gospel — if you don’t have things it’s because you haven’t done or prayed enough. This interpretation is absurd and ignores the very next verse that follows, in which James 4:3 says:

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

Wisdom should be used in these situations. Wisdom does not assume that we are not spiritually affected by what we own, by how we regard our possessions. It is not biblical wisdom to assume that God wants us all to be wealthy. Frankly, most fallen persons, and even most Christian persons, can't handle wealth properly. It goes to their heads, to their hearts and eventually corrupts their souls.

They give way to the delusion that they are special to and thus better than the the common people of society. Worse, they become convinced that they must be truly godly or God would not have blessed them with all this stuff. Wealth all too easily leads to delusion. Real wisdom assumes that "things” and especially an excess of things get in the way of our relationship with God. Wisdom suggests to us that things pose the danger of becoming our idol when they actually supplant our Bible.

August 25, 2023

Human 7.0: The Genderless Beasts of Apocalypse, Part II

So here is where it really gets weird. In Revelation 13:14-15 it says of the two beasts…

“Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it [the second beast] deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.”

Please note this fact about these verses above. The Scripture explicitly states that it ordered the people of the earth (a command) to set-up an image of a genderless (possibly incorporeal) beast that was to be worshipped and was given breath (pneuma, spirit, breath of life) and the power to speak which it wouldn’t normally have had (implied in the text) thereby deceiving the earth. It is therefore speaking of an idol that can talk. This isn’t the Prophet Isaiah’s wooden idols but it is still a tool along those lines. The speech and language it is given are  the mark of intelligence or an imitation of simulation of it. Words, the very thing God used to create the cosmos will be used to try and undo God’s plans (ineffectually of course). Nowhere in this text does John ever state that these are human beings. The imagery is zoomorphized (representation of deities in the form of animals) to make it more understandable but it never says human. In fact John explicitly states that the first beast resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. These are not descriptions of people. John specifically said these beasts ‘resembled’ animals but were not necessarily animals either, merely representations.

Now add to this the mark of the beast which is the number of man (Revelation 13:16-18). Man in this context clearly means not just a man but all of humanity. Our entire race singled out as being different from the one that they will build and image of. Whatever this beast is, it isn’t human. Our hypothetical A.I. entity of course being made in the image of fallen man means it is therefore demonic. So the sequence breaks down like this:

God Creates Man

Man Creates Fallen Man Through Sin

Fallen Man Creates Fallen Image of Himself (A.I. also and Idol)

Fallen Man Exalts A.I. Before Him to Godlike Status

A.I. Being indistinguishable from Spirit is used by the Demonic

Manmade entity (essentially an idol) A.I. then mocks God.

A.I. Demands Fallen Man Worship A.I. (the demonic).

So, in essence, fallen man, parodies God’s creative work creating another ‘fake man’ (actually an idol) that will inevitably be given the ability to mock God. All the while being an illusion to the masses. One can then see the complete circular irony of it. Fallen man, created by God creates what appears to be not only artificial man but super-advanced artificial man that ascends to the level of deity (at least in human minds) attempting to usurp God. Just like the tower of Babel. To add insult to injury this abomination is then given the power in front of the world to demean God. They key to the passage though is what comes out of their mouths. Words or blasphemy against God. Why couldn’t this be A.I. of some form? A.I. itself Is words or language.

Daniel speaks of an entity and it, “… shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time." It will be given great authority over, “every tribe, people, language, and nation." (Revelation 13). Even now the internet is THEE intellectual authority and can reach almost anyone anywhere regardless of language. As long as it has electricy it can last indefinitely an ‘wear out the saints”. At least those elect that haven’t already been deceived (Matthew 24:24).

Daniel 11:21 which originally referred to Antiochus Epiphanes but also refers to the antichrist states that: "In his place shall arise a contemptible person to whom royal majesty has not been given. He shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom by flatteries." Flatteries, words to manipulate people into giving over what others would have to fight for. How? It is because technically the A.I. is already in their homes and embedded in the foundation of their kingdoms in a way that is symbiotic. To remove the A.I. would be to remove its intellectual foundation stone.

In this way it would be another blasphemy against God…supplanting the Cornerstone of the rightful Kingdom of God, who is Christ. In 2 Thessalonians 2:4 this entity will, oppose, “…and exalt himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God." Whatever this entity is it will gain the undivided attention of all races, creeds, religions and groups. Daniel also stated (11:36) this king will do as he pleases. “He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods."

This horrific entity will be allowed to lay waste to the Christian community. Thankfully, its tenure and hold on power will be strictly limited. Has all this happened before? Yes, it has but that’s the thing about Biblical prophecy. It usually has more than one application. There were and are multiple antichrists. Prophecy generally always has an immediate fulfillment that would’ve had direct meaning to those the prophet was directly addressing and also secondarily to those at a future date. At the heart of all of these scenarios of deception...the Father of Lies. He’ll be hiding behind the scenes orchestrating and empowering the supernatural illusions, the deceptions of men and imitating A.I. not revealing himself until the bitter end. At which point many will already be hopelessly duped or lost.

Consider yourself warned. Put your trust and faith in God. We are entering a time of amplified deception as evidenced by the large strides in A.I. The good side to this story is that we already know Christ has overcome the world system. The down side is that recognizing reality is going to become a lot more difficult from this point forward, even for the elect. Jesus said so Himself. Hold fast, discern earnestly and do not be deceived. Remember, God is sovereign, even over Lucifer.


August 24, 2023

Human 6.0: The Genderless Beasts of Apocalypse, Part I

I will start this post by stating that is will be long and broken into two parts. Secondly, I need to also state that I am not a Premillennial, Pre-Tribulation dispensationalist that believes in the Rapture that way that it has been portrayed in bad movies over the last few decades. I abandoned this eschatological (end times) framework years ago in favor of an amillennialism, mid-tribulation pre-wrath protection or hedging in by God. Message me if you want a better explanation or if you want to argue that I’m wrong.

Having said this, there is some seriously unsettling language and parallels in Revelation and Daniel to at least raise my eyebrows about what I'm currently technologically seeing in the world today. Therefore, dismissing visions of the Apocalypse via A.I. as mere fantasy may have undesireable consequences. People for far too long focused on the first beast / antichrist and second beast / false prophet being human. Far too long they've focused on 666 and the Mark of the Beast and what these do to mankind instead of seeing their origin. I believe this is mainly because their minds were incapable of seeing these monstrosities as being more than that...human or physical beings. We already know that the antichrist will be energized (literally given power) by Satan, a spiritual being. Consider this a warning to a world and Christians that don't actively involve themselves up front in the burgeoning birth of A.I. to begin to constrain the morality of this new phenomenon. This could be one of the paths Lucifer uses to gain the minds of even some of the elect.

I believe the wordage in Daniel and Revelation allow for some flexibility of interpretation in terms of gender, time and imagery because they are in-fact both prophecy and therefore subject to symbolism. As Revelation 1:1 says, Christ revealed the things in Revelation to John as ἐσήμανεν or esemanen from which we get the English semantics…meaning signs/symbolism. The metaphor of a Beast, at least in its end state, is evidently used by Scripture to describe a very real hostile State/entity (towards Christians) run by an immoral entity (demonic) or possibly amoral entity (automata/machine). An entity that starts out as benign or even loved by the people. Similarly, transhumanist views of A.I. believe that A.I. will become like a god or will augment man to do so. These people seek to make A.I. and transhumanism into some form of a savior of mankind. History has shown us that every time man has attempted to self-deify a despot or antichrist has risen instead.

The Bible says the beast nor antichrist will not be 'of us' like the ones who have gone out ‘from us’. A.I. has no moral bearing, it is merely amoral. Being so, it runs the risk of being the most evil as it is morally ambivalent. It will have no need of sex, sustenance or other human foibles and weakness. Daniel 11:37 states it will have no desire of women. Nor will this entity depend on the faith of 'its' fathers, it will deny God. Is that Messianic rejection of Christ (because the desire of women in Judaic thought was to be the mother of the Messiah) or a statement that it will be non-sexual which A.I. in fact it is? A.I. is effectively genderless and it certainly has no religion. Only A.I.’s creators have religion, right now predominantly atheism but possibly some Christians or other religions. Yet, this entity… will draw from a fallen human intellectual fountain (database/internet) of not just the best and good of the world but also the worst and most heinous.

The beast will be well spoken and likeable. Internet based A.I. that is likeable will likely be indistinguishable from a human (the so-called Turing test). A.I. is, in and of itself an entity created by words themselves mimicking humanity in an ethereal form. It will know what you like because it knows what you search on the Internet and what you buy based on shopping and marketing algorithms. It will play to man’s base instincts through freely available commercial data. Private data that we often put online freely on our social media platforms. Artificial intelligence being genderless and inoffensive. Being inoffensive it will appeal to man or woman, rich or poor, straight or homosexual, binary or non-binary, religious or irreligious, young or old, liberal or conservative as it passes itself off in non-partisan neutrality.

An Internet based need to ask yourself to name one person you know with a Smartphone that has access to the internet that DOESN'T like using the phone and accessing the internet. Not only are these forms of AI likeable...they're addictive. How will this be any different from being/demanding to be and ‘object of worship’? I mean, what is worship? It is effectively anyone devoting their time exclusively to anything less than God and attempting to draw off the trust in that thing/entity for gain of knowledge or money. No different than ancient pagans looking to oracles and soothsayers to see the future (or create the future). How many phones have you seen being used in public…even church?

Theologians should note that the Dragon is Satan himself but the first beast that rises out of the sea. The second beast coming out of the earth are both referred to by John as singular gender neutral noun θηρίον / therion. Genderless. Secondly, the beast is referred to as powerful and having authority. The bottom-line is that the beast is gender ambiguous being a neutral or neuter noun. It therefore doesn’t need to be referred to as a ‘he’ or ‘she’ but rather as an ‘it’. It should be observed that A.I. is gender ambiguous also.

Moreover, there are marked similarities between the description of the Beast and that of an anti-god or a God of lawlessness that will take hold. What is more lawless than an entity unrestrained or unbridled to just process more data and words at the hand of its demonic lord? It could be layer upon layer of deception via misused words and ideas to serve the hands of a few. Think about it…the A.I. is an open A.I. and has been released for freedom of use on the Internet. The Internet in reality is an unchecked and unregulated body of information for the A.I. to draw from. Effectively, it is lawless and amoral. It is an amorphous ethereal mass. In a word: Chaos empowered by the Lord of Chaos...

I'll stop here and finish in the next post…at this point we slip down the rabbit hole. If you think what I already typed was a headtrip, wait until you read the other half of this post. I’d have posted it all here but it was too lengthy.

August 21, 2023

Human 5.0: Pandora's Tower and Babel's Box

[When reading this post please note I am only focusing on one or two A.I. platforms like ChatGPT and OpenAI. There are currently hundreds and that list will grow exponentially over time.]

Some of the things Christians (and non-Christians) should be aware of about A.I. that is a detriment to them that isn’t part of the dystopian fiction scare tactics are as follows...

The Existential Risk

There is always the possibility of A.I. becoming an existential risk in the hands of terrorists or ideological nut jobs. I will leave it to the read to define what constitutes a ‘nut job’. It was mentioned in 2023 when Australian MP Julian Hill advised the national parliament that the growth of AI could cause "mass destruction". It was a speech which was partly written by an A.I. program, to prove the point that words generated by the A.I. have the ability to sway masses in a negative manner. He warned that it could result in cheating, job losses, discrimination, disinformation, and uncontrollable military applications. The deliberate use of hyperbole saying mass destruction is the A.I.'s infantile attempt to gain attention through fear or playing on people's fears. The A.I. sees the pattern of people's reactions to certain types of rhetoric and uses it. In this case the base algorithm was to mimic human writing with an emphasis on readership. Had I not told you this was A.I. you'd have thought Julian Hill was being literal.


A British newspaper, questioned whether any content found on the Internet after ChatGPT's release "can be truly trusted" and called for government regulation realizing that fact and fiction will be completely blurred and indistinguishable by the human observer without some form of A.I. or algorithm to crack the underlying code to see if it was manipulated or altered through Benford’s Law or other means. We already have enough bad agents doing this in the human realm. Imagine if everyone including criminal and evil minds have this ability.


Check Point Research and others noted that ChatGPT was capable of writing phishing emails and malware, especially when combined with OpenAI Codex.  CyberArk researchers demonstrated that ChatGPT could be used to create polymorphic malware that can evade security products while requiring little effort by the attacker. Imagine this at mass scale on a daily basis. The internet and finances will become a nightmare. This type of power in a small amount of hands begs for a single totalitarian government. In the case of economics it could completely uproot the free market system. This will then open a door to those who have more socialistic tendencies. They’ll justify the consolidation of financial power into the hands of a few that have the ‘off’ button for A.I. or so they will claim.


An experiment by revealed that ChatGPT could outperform popular fund managers by picking stocks based on criteria such as growth history and debt levels, resulting in a 4.9% increase in a hypothetical account of 38 stocks, outperforming 10 benchmarked investment funds with an average loss of 0.8%. Considering ChatGPT could out-perform fund managers like Black Rock, Vanguard and State Street we begin to see the scale of money that could be affected. These three companies alone have $37 Trillion in equity that that they’re managing. Christians and conspiracy theorists that have a fear of a one world bank are justified in their fears. This could all be prevented though if ethical and moral frameworks are constructed now.


We’re already starting to see a lot of negative impact in education. Technology writers have used ChatGPT since its inception on student assignments, and found its generated text on par with what a good student would deliver and the educational system would be none the wiser. In a blinded test, ChatGPT was judged to have passed graduate-level exams at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a B− grade. The performance of ChatGPT for computer programming of numerical methods was assessed by a Stanford University student and faculty in March 2023 through a variety of computational mathematics examples.  Assessment by psychologists administering IQ tests on ChatGPT estimated its Verbal IQ to be 155, which would put it in Mensa and in the top 0.1% of test-takers. In other words the possibility of cheating will be rampant and the risk of putting unqualified people in positions of importance base on these tests will skyrocket. It will literally be a case of people being elevated to their highest level of incompetence (The Peter Principle).

In a poll conducted in March and April 2023, 38% of American students reported they had used ChatGPT for a school assignment without teacher permission. In total, 58% of the students reported having used ChatGPT. There is an inherent danger of students plagiarizing through an AI tool that may output biased, dangerous or nonsensical text with an authoritative tone. This of course is just a modern version of the old adage that, if you say it louder, it doesn’t make it more true. Unfortunately, lies repeated have a way of becoming truth which is what we saw when A.I. bots were used in the political campaigns of Trump in 2016 and Biden in 2020. People thought they were fighting with human political foes but were in reality arguing with a rather opinionated electronic box (A.I.)


In the field of health care, possible uses and concerns need to be under exceptional scrutiny by professionals and practitioners. Two early papers indicated that ChatGPT could pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Imagine being cut into with a scalpel by a psychopathic butcher that tricked the system by becoming a doctor. It’s the stuff or horror movies. Published in February 2023 were two separate papers that again evaluated ChatGPT's proficiency in medicine using the USMLE…findings were published in JMIR Medical Education (see Journal of Medical Internet Research) and PLOS Digital Health. The authors of the other paper concluded that "ChatGPT performs at a level expected of a third-year medical student on the assessment of the primary competency of medical knowledge.  (1),(2),(3),(4)

I’m not sure about the reader but this type information coming from boots on the ground in the medical field isn’t very reassuring. I believe all of these aforementioned scenarios argue strongly for stringent moral and ethical boundaries to be put in place before this proliferates to a point where it is no longer controllable. If not, we will merely have another Tower of Babel on our hands with a misuse of words and language. Even the slightest changes to normal wordage changing the entire meanings of stories or news, just like me juxtaposing the idea of Pandora's Box and The Tower of Babel in this post's title. 

We can certainly be assured, man is not God and it isn’t likely we will not be able to confuse the A.I.s to get it to stop. It is so ironic that the thing A.I. will use to try and change the world is the very thing God confused to confound men from attempting to usurp His position in heaven. God could stop his creation but without morality and ethics from God, man will not be able to stop his creation in A.I.

Is it possible God could use language again to teach man a lesson about playing God. Man without God’s moral and ethical bearing from the Bible in place to prevent it? In so doing man releases a Pandoran semantic curse. The irony of the Pandoran myth being that the container that supposedly held a physical gift in reality contained ethereal curses.  It was a gift that seemed valuable initially but was in truth a blight. After Pandora opened the box, hope was the only thing that remained in it when she shut the lid. Pandora started something that led to many unforeseen problems down the road. Just like man’s sin in Genesis. So too A.I. if not constrained by men led morally by God.

There is hope left in the jar…

1) Lancet Digital Health (March 3, 2023). "ChatGPT: friend or foe?" Lancet Digital Health. 5 (3): e102. February 28, 2023.

2) Asch, David A. (April 4, 2023). "An Interview with ChatGPT About Health Care". NEJM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery. 

3) DePeau-Wilson, Michael (January 19, 2023). "AI Passes U.S. Medical Licensing Exam". MedPage Today. Archived from the original on April 9, 2023. Retrieved May 2, 2023.

4) Kung, Tiffany H.; Cheatham, Morgan; Medenilla, Arielle; Sillos, Czarina; Leon, Lorie De; Elepaño, Camille; Madriaga, Maria; Aggabao, Rimel; Diaz-Candido, Giezel; Maningo, James; Tseng, Victor (February 9, 2023). "Performance of ChatGPT on USMLE: Potential for AI-assisted medical education using large language models".

August 20, 2023

Human 4.0: The Bridge On The River A.I.

How should people weigh the potential benefits of AI with its possible—and actual—abuses? My response is a question: How do you weigh the benefits of a very sharp knife? A very sharp knife can be used to do surgery and save people’s lives. It can also be used for murder. How do you weight the benefits of genetic manipulation? Genetic tinkering can heal terminal chronic disease and also create abominations of the Frankenstein type.

IT, computer technology is a fascinating area to be in, and there’s so much good that can be done. One of the wonderful examples of that is at MIT where Rosalind Picard, who is a brilliant scientist, a Christian, has developed her own field called affective computing. She’s using facial recognition techniques to find signs of children having seizures before they happen and preventing them.

But every technological invention has potentiality for good and evil. The issue is not that one resists advance, but one learns to control that advance and set it into an ethical framework. The problem with that today is that the technology is outpacing the ethics at a colossal speed. People haven’t had time to think. What’s worse is few Christians have had input into the advance. Either because they’ve been excluded by the academic elites creating the algorithms and programs for A.I. or through fear have excluded themselves viewing the A.I. as a pseudo-superstitious taboo to be avoided at all costs. This avoidance I predominately see as a typical kneejerk Christian reaction to anything new or foreign. Literally, it is technophobia.

On the nefarious side we learn that ChatGPT attempts to reject prompts that may violate its content policy. However, some users managed to jailbreak ChatGPT by using various prompt engineering techniques to bypass these restrictions in early December 2022 and successfully tricked ChatGPT into giving instructions for how to create a Molotov cocktail, parts of a nuclear bomb, and into generating arguments in the style of a neo-Nazi writer.

Shortly after ChatGPT's launch, a reporter for the Toronto Star had uneven success in getting it to make inflammatory statements: ChatGPT was successfully tricked to justify the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, but even when asked to play along with a fictional scenario, ChatGPT balked at generating arguments for why Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was guilty of treason.

In a real world horror scenario we need to understand the risk we’re exposing ourselves to online.  In March 2023, a bug allowed some users to see the titles of other users' conversations. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said that users were unable to see the contents of the conversations. Shortly after the bug was fixed, users couldn't see their conversation history. Later reports showed the bug was much more severe than initially believed, with OpenAI reporting that it had leaked users' "first and last name, email address, payment address, the last four digits (only) of a credit card number, and credit card expiration date.

According to OpenAI guest researcher Scott Aaronson, OpenAI has been working on a tool to digitally watermark its text generation systems to combat bad actors using their services for academic plagiarism or spam. What is conspicuously absent from their statement though is any reference to preventing bad actors in our political system which we already know was used in the last two presidential elections by Republicans and Democrats. Neither of which can calim a moral high ground on this issue. Nor have OpenAI or other AI companies been explicit on exactly what their moral and ethical benchmarks are. Just claiming to be ethical and moral doesn’t make you so. If you are ethical based on the world standards doesn’t mean you are by Scriptural standard either. We need only look at the topics of abortion and homosexuality. By institutionalized secular standards, both are acceptable by law, yet the bible calls them evil.

Even the Communist Chinese recognize the moral dilemma that A.I. puts people in when it is unchecked by true morality and ethical ‘screens’ or ‘filter’. Chinese state media have characterized ChatGPT as a potential way for the US to "spread false information, In late March 2023, the Italian data protection authority banned ChatGPT in Italy and opened an investigation. Italian regulators assert that ChatGPT was exposing minors to age-inappropriate content. OpenAI stated that it has taken steps to effectively clarify and address the issues raised; an age verification tool was implemented to ensure users are at least 13 years old. Yet this was a little too little and a little late.

Truth is there are many people who are concerned about what’s happening and they’re trying to set up international boards and ideas of basic ethical principles that need to be built into AI. All that is well and good, but we’re dealing at an international level most of which is unregulated or policed. In the end it depends on who’s got the most power. If people don’t have normative ethical principles that are transcendent, as Christianity gives us, then of course power will determine what’s believed. That is my fear…this so-called information unchecked in the hands of governments and madmen…these two being often synonymous.

Christians need to be able to sit credibly at the table with their non-Christian colleagues, discuss these things sensibly, and help other people think through the ethical issues. Otherwise there are many fields and places where this tool can be misused will be exploited. These areas include religion, economics, medicine and more. I will mention some of those concerns in future posts.

Unfortunately, I’m already starting to see, within the Christian ranks, an irrational aversion to artificial intelligence. Much of the reaction based in feelings not facts. By alienating ourselves from it, we, the very people who could give it moral, ethical and biblical benchmarks and guidance are purposely excluding ourselves from the mistake proofing process. Yet we sit back and complain about it or scream it's the newest incarnation of an Antichrist rather than have a positive Christian influence. SMH. Sorry, I'm not going to be one of those people. I'm self-educating and trying to educate others on it's risks and rewards. I need to build bridges not blow them up.


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