July 28, 2015

We Are Legion

I believe we need to move beyond the mundane to see our enemies in all their persona. Many will find this post offensive and some uncomfortable because of the truth it exposes about both ourselves and others. 

I will be discussing social media and the Bible today. No, Moses didn't have a smartphone and Jesus didn't need to access to LinkedIn to get the Disciples on-board with Him. There are no direct links to uploaded YouTube video showing Jesus' miracles either. That being said, there are plenty of indirect references to what God expects of us who do have smartphones, access to LinkedIn and videos of last year’s diving board mishap at the pool that gave you a foot-long road rash on your back.

In all seriousness...the outlook so far for non-believers and believers alike is pretty shoddy when it comes to social media usage. Let’s hit this nail right on the head. Social media and its trends are seemingly making us more anti-social not more social. The two main issues I see with social media of all forms other than the obvious failure to have face-to-face contact is it (1) It enforces a low view of authority and (2) It implements a mentality of no accountability.

Is social media inherently evil or unbiblical? No, but like anything else in excess, it becomes an enormous spiritual and therefore relational detriment if people are not careful.

Firstly, because everyone can hide behind a keyboard and monitor, there is diminishing respect for other human beings. There is dwindling respect of authority or authority figures. I believe this might also carry-over into personal interaction in society as a whole too, hence we see trivialization or contempt of other people. When online even well-meaning and benevolent people who do good philanthropically for others become targets for snarky comments and snide innuendos. People seem to become amorphous and less human on line when distance and electronics are put between them. People become abstractions not real humans. It is then easier to callously demean them because they have no true identity, they are only skins, avatars or persona. They are just formless entities. Everyone else looks  formlessly the same. That means the field is leveled for everyone.

To the person providing online comments on websites, blogs, or forums everyone else is fair game. Any attempt to elevate someone else is met with diehard resistance. This makes everyone of equal voice. Anyone that might actually have had authority on an issue then becomes plebeian or more accurately a member of a Proletariat. In Marxist language, the Internet becomes a Socialist Utopian playground. Why do we suppose a loosely associated international network of activist / hacktivist named Anonymous has become so popular online (and off) as vigilantes? They are a collective (noun), an amorphous identity-less, classless social construct that all appear equal and it is only in their unification there is power. In unification they form a gestalt or hive-mind. It is almost as if they become Borg-like in their concerted efforts. The  only true overriding characteristic of them all is that they are characterless with seemingly no centralized moral/ethical authority. Everyone is exactly the same.

This becomes a problem for Christianity and Bible believers in general because (1) God has made us all individually with unique talents and gifts for complimentarian purposes. (2) The Bible is the source of authority on all things spiritual, salvational and Christian. (3) Those that are learned in the ways of the Word of God and Jesus are to speak with the authority of Scripture. When I say Scripture is authoritative I mean it is authoritative over experience, authoritative over reason, and authoritative over tradition or dogma and/or how people behave. People on social media both Christian and non-Christian that do not adhere tightly to Scripture will always have a problem with this (and you if you do adhere to it). Social media gives everyone a soapbox, even those who probably shouldn’t really have one because they are merely propagators of hostility, false information, false teaching or just garden-variety stupidity.

Although this newer medium can be used for a load of good, it is beginning to lead to an egalitarian view of society at-large which is to say everyone’s opinion is just as valid and authoritative as another person's. This of course feeds the postmodern mindset of all opinions are equally valid and equally true which is just not logically tenable. Therefore a failure to allow for an absolute or objective truth claim undermines and subverts Christianity, morality and therefore society. Relativism then ensues from this postmodernism and breeds a community destroying pluralism. I guess you could say social media helps destroy the very network that makes it work which is a communal people network: A physical community. If it does this at the secular level…imagine the negative impact it has on individual interactions of believers who are supposed to physically meet together to worship God.

We end up with a busted disassembly of people with no discernible authority figure. That my friends is not a Church, fellowship or even a community. That my friends is anarchy and invariably a prison of solitude. Idle minds are the Devil's own. It starts with physical isolation then becomes mental and then finally spiritual. The Bible constantly shows the detriment of not having social order or an authoritative figure in society and in our lives: The Tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, the time of the Judges, the end of the Old Testament when kings were deposed at the end of the Kingdom period, etc. We also see it in the New Testament in the church at Corinth.

A lack of a unified individual, communal or societal interpersonal relationships in a face-to-face manner inevitably leads to complete social breakdown and polarizing division. Division which I suggest we see in out deeply divided nation already. Without the face-to-face element in a relationship there is no true emotional and spiritual cohesion, there is only two nodes linked together. Two connections linked together through conduit. Tied together likes prisoners in a daisy chain. We become like the computer circuitry that we use. This failure to have meaningful relationships on the horizontal level then bleeds over to the vertical one which leads to…apostasy. The system God intended breaks down completely without the human contact. There ends up being no loyalty, no honor, no morality. We are more than just social beings. We are tactile social beings.

The second detriment I see is along the same lines and might actually arises from the first. Because social media and the Internet in general are generally leaderless or ungoverned there is little or no authority figure to appeal to. There is no accountability. I believe this is why we have seen such callous online reactions to heinous crimes and world events. We’ve become highly connected and more intellectually aware but we’ve become more emotionally disconnected from the events due to geographic distance.

The farther the geographic distance the more the event's relevance to our lives seems to decrease. Some of the apathy or cruelty I have seen in comment sections or forums of websites are shocking in their total lack of humanity and compassion. My parents used to call it desensitizing or numbing of the masses. Remember folks, my parents said this in the 1980's and they said it about television and radio. They had no idea the Internet and social media was coming in the next 25 years where everyone who had a computer would have a public voice. Imagine how this medium has amplified the problem. Images and news are immediate. Cruel jokes can now be made sooner and spread faster in a wider geographical area because in reality, Internet is ubiquitous and place-less (decentralized). A group of attacking, faceless, intangible entities out to wreak havoc.

We are Legion. As the modern vernacular has rephrased it, we are Borg.

I believe much of the desensitizing is because social media requires very little from people emotionally, physically and usually spiritually. It makes us lazy in these aspects. We become consumers of visual imagery that is disconnected from our reality: Beheadings, bombings, sexual perversions, etc. There is no emotional investment. Viewing these atrocities or sins requires little or no commitment. It doesn’t require covenant, it only requires assent or a tentative mental contract. Covenants are primarily legally, relationally and emotionally binding. Contracts tend to be only legally binding. Covenants are often intended to be indefinite. Contracts are often intended to be finite.

Social media essentially being a detached relationship allows us nearly total control of the relationship, its intensity and level of contact and influence in our lives. I don’t know about you the reader but this sounds an awful lot like the counseling books I read for school when it came to counseling those with porn addictions. Is our social media a temporary suave for latent narcissism? Is there a psychologically addictive element in social media as there is in porn? I suggest there might be but I have no data to back that claim up, only intuition and a gut instinct.

How does this affect the church? I already alluded to it in the previous paragraph. The difference is in the difference between covenant and contract. Specifically the difference between spiritual covenant and social contract. Christians are called to spiritual covenant with one another which is a full on commitment with God at center as Judge and Observer of our wrongs in our lives. Social media and secular society only demand interaction based on an unspoken contract style obligation (social courtesy). Even this so-called courtesy is beginning to breakdown in the face of dehumanizing social networks because of distances involved. The truth is, there isn’t even a contractual obligation. Social interactions are capricious and based solely on whimsy. No one owes anything to anyone else.

There is a huge difference between the two. The biggest being that that covenant requires that God actually be the third party involved in a relationship. I suggest that except in rare cases in social media, God is often absent or is not present in the way that He should be. That is because He's not given proper authority in the social exchange. Where God is absent…there is usually a failure to take proper accountability.

Why? Because people tend to believe there is no one there to hold them accountable or they feel are beholden to no one. No moral arbitrator, no morality benchmark or measuring stick. You know the old saying, "Out of sight, out of mind." What happens on social media stays on social media (to quote the Las Vegas adage). The problem though is that nothing is out of God’s sight…all will be held accountable on the Day of Judgment. Especially if you've been playing fast and loose with your, fellowships, relationships and commitments…just like porn addicts do.

July 26, 2015

In Their Own Words XXXIII: The Cult of Evolutionary Science

[Another post in an ongoing series about the profoundly ironic theological / philosophical quotes scientists or those in academia make.]

Here is something for readers to chew on this week. I say chew because this is going to be a dense read with a great payoff in the end for the reader. I thank Greg West from the The Poached Egg apologetic website for the premise behind this post.

“We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.” ~ James M. Tour - Layman’s Reflections on Evolution and Creation [Website]

This quote comes to us from none other than James M. Tour one of the ten most cited chemists in the world. In short he is a highly recognized and awarded scientist respected for his scientific work. He is not a run-of-the-mill quack, he is a man at the top of his scientific field and is highly revered. He is also a Christian. So it is ironic and unusual that this quote is part of a scientific dissent of a long standing scientific theory that is foundational for much of biological science. Professor Tour, along with over 700 other scientists took a step back in 2001 of signing the Discovery Institute’s “A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism”, which contained the aforementioned comment. The entire list of signatures can be found here in PDF form. It is expansive and impressive with the institutions represented and the positions held.

Tour is a synthetic organic chemist, specializing in nanotechnology. Dr. Tour is the T. T. and W. F. Chao Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Materials Science and Nano-Engineering, and Professor of Computer Science at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

What is he saying here? He is saying something profound and impacting about the theory of evolution, specifically macroevolution or very specifically speciation. Speciation being the supposed process by which an existing species "descends" into two or more descendant species. If one goes on to his website they will find that he is an adherent to microevolution (which even I will admit is probably true and can be observed in nature). I believe this is exactly what Darwin observed in the finches on the Galapagos Islands. What Tour turns a severely critical scientific eye to (and so do I) is macroevolution not small adaptations in within species (microevolution) such as those observed by Darwin.

He has also specifically stated that he felt the explanations offered by evolution are incomplete, and he found it hard to believe that nature can produce the machinery of cells through random processes. He has also corroborated and quoted other highly revered scientists and cited their statements on his website. Among them the following.
“One of the oldest problems in evolutionary biology remains largely unsolved; Historically, the neo-Darwinian synthesizers stressed the predominance of micro-mutations in evolution, whereas others noted the similarities between some dramatic mutations and evolutionary transitions to argue for macro-mutationism.” ~ David L. Stern “Perspective: Evolutionary Developmental Biology and the Problem of Variation,” Evolution 2000, 54, 1079-1091 
”A persistent debate in evolutionary biology is one over the continuity of microevolution and macroevolution — whether macro-evolutionary trends are governed by the principles of microevolution.” ~ Andrew M. Simons “The Continuity of Microevolution and Macroevolution,” Journal of Evolutionary Biology 2002, 15, 688-701

In short, what are these men alluding to? Simple. They are totally skeptical that the validity of micro-evolutionary processes being extended and applied to macro-evolutionary process. They believe Darwin and those that adhere strictly and religiously to Darwin's original theories are reaching too far. Said another way, they might be biting off more than they can chew.

These learned men believe it is not scientifically warranted nor does the evidence prove out marcoevolution. This is not your atypical creationist/evolutionist argument over who gets control of our educational system or who controls the tenants of science. This is a deeply rooted doubt in the minds of many men at the top of their field. If they are doubting the validity of a theory that is foundational or meat-and-potatoes to biological science…so should we.

Tour goes on to state that he simply does not understand, chemically, how macroevolution could have happened. He then poses the a challenging question which is hinted at throughout the article: 

Does anyone understand the chemical details behind macroevolution? 

Tour states that if there is anyone that does understand he would like to sit with that person and be taught. He invites them to meet with him to discuss it. It appears he is so certain that no one else knows, he has challenged them to provide an answer. 

So to summarize: To not be able to answer even a fundamental assumption about an entire branch of science therefore puts the entire rest of that branch in question. It must be understood that any assertions in the field of biological evolutionary science about scientific truths are then based on a flawed fundamental precept(s). Anything built upon those flawed foundation then becomes dubious and untrustworthy. I'm not sure about you the reader but this sounds strangely akin to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and the story of the wise and foolish builders.
Matthew 7:24-27 ~ “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Darwin as I have stated in other posts never actually addressed the actual origin of life in his inaptly named book On The Origin of Species. He wasn’t that stupid. Nor have any since the time of Darwin. At least no adequately enough to satisfy the likes of Tour. That means all later assertions are tenuous and threadbare. What is even more interesting is that so few in evolutionary science attempt to address this overarching theme or theory. Why? 

Because most are too busy in their compartmentalized little aspects of the evolutionary chain in a highly specific study. It is also because evolutionary theory at higher levels stops being an issue of science and becomes more about philosophy and epistemology. In other words, macroevolution is philosophically and epistomologically assumed based on virtually no proofs. That my friends is a violation of the scientific method. They're breaking their own rules in route to arguable conclusions. 

Therefore, by definition they cannot be wholly considered scientific conclusions...they become primarily philosophical ones. They are reinforcing their flawed philosophy not proving things out scientifically. Said another way: In order to draw conclusions, a scientist uses the scientific method which is a rigorous standard that has four steps: Observation/experimentation, deduction, hypothesis, falsification. Please note I said falsification, not verification. If a theory falsifies or fails any of these tests then a theory is damaged. Macroevolution fails at the deduction step. Evolutionary theory cannot logically arrive at their conclusions as they claim as shown by Tour because they either skip previous foundational steps or those steps are not complete as Tour has said. Therefore we only arrive at more philosophical reinforced assertions, not scientific conclusions or proofs.

According to Tour this willingness to assume the unproven as become almost Draconian in the scientific/academic world. He mentions in his article that in the last few years he has witnessed a dismaying trend towards the unfair and almost radical treatment of scientists that do not automatically accept macroevolution in a precursory manner.

What’s Tour really saying? He’s saying science has become dogmatic and unbending about evolution. They are religious in their zeal to adhere to something in faith because the truth is…they have very little evidence to back up their philosophical assertions. Science therefore has become a religion/faith. Tour is correct, with little or no a posteriori knowledge to support what they believe…they are making a leap of faith. 

All this to say this...

When so-called educational and scientific institutions and their tenured professors/scientists are no longer free to inquire and question the validity of statements of other men (supposedly peers)…they have then become institutions of fundamentalist dogmatic religions that refuse to allow for any unorthodox inquiry or alternate opinions. They have also abandoned the scientific method and praxis of peer review.

That my friends is a cult...as in a religious cult. 

A cult by definition (and there are many) is:
  1. A group of people claiming allegiance to a specific identity (Science, Scientists).
  2. Who embrace a doctrinal and dogmatic system (as stated in article).
  3. Who often embrace some form of works to achieve a given end that usually ends in a closer proximity to leadership or deity.
  4. Are generally taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization (peer reviewed journals, academia).
  5. A system of beliefs characterized by unfounded unorthodox or spurious beliefs.
  6. There is often great devotion to a person (Darwin), idea (evolution), object, movement, or work as a film or book (On the Origin of Species).
  7. The devotion is often not founded in fact or data but rather emotion and pathos (as stated in article).

Here are five signs that you might be involved in a cult.

  1. All your friends believe just like you do and think exactly the same way you do.
  2. Nobody questions or is allowed to question authority.
  3. The source of authority is usually consolidated in a single person or extremely small group of people with special knowledge.
  4. There is no independent accountability of a leader or organization's authority to another person or organization. They are not beholden, held accountable outside of their own little “clique”.
  5. Doctrine or dogma is not to be questioned. If you do question it you are ostracized, demonized or shouted-down if you attempt to question.
  6. Secret or special knowledge only a few can know or truly understand. Usually some form of Gnosticism.

July 24, 2015

Jesus Christ and Jiminy Cricket

I believe it is important to note the point in time where God renames Jacob to Israel in Genesis 32. God asked him his name. The last time Jacob had been asked who he was, he deceived and lied in Genesis 27 to Isaac. This time he tells truth. There is now "no guile in him". The irony is in Jacob’s name meaning…Jacob means deceiver. It is no accident that at the time Jacob is named Jacob, he is a deceiver...because that is exactly the nature of his character. By the time he is called Israel the nature of his character has matured and changed due to life's circumstances and his understanding of God. 

Israel means "triumphant with God" or "he who prevails with God". This name is a combination of the Hebrew words for "wrestle" and"God". Jacob had wrestled physically and throughout his life he had done so spiritually in his contention with his own sin or natural proclivity for deception (not unlike all sinners). It is not irony that the Messiah would come through his lineage. His lineage would produce the very One that would overcome the sin that Jacob/Israel would contend with his entire life.

Genesis 32:25 ~ When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed."

Genesis 27:18 ~ “So he went in to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?”

Why does this matter? It matters because names are often descriptors of character in the Old Testament. In other words names are significant in describing the very nature of people and their character. Many names describe nations, people, and ancient history. Some describe expressions of hopes, revelations of divine purposes, and prophecies of the future.

Characteristics and traits of people were an important aspect of names in ancient Israel. For example the name Nabal means "senseless and fool", and Abigail indicated that this is what her husband amounted to, a senseless fool.

1 Samuel 25:25 Let not my lord regard this worthless fellow, Nabal, for as his name is, so is he. Nabal is his name, and folly is with him. But I your servant did not see the young men of my lord, whom you sent.

We really get more to the heart of the matter when we visit the issue of God’s name and why we are not to take His name in vain in Exodus.

Exodus 20:7 ~ “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”

Here it says the penalty for taking God's name in vain is death. That is a pretty stiff penalty for using God’s name improperly. Why? Well, first off, this commandment has nothing to do with the proper pronunciation of God's name (which no one knows for certain how to say anyway) (YHWH). It also has nothing to do with superstition or magic. This commandment's application is spiritually much broader, deeper, and more dignified than that.

This commandment is certainly against common swearing, including the use of euphemisms so common in this society. Some examples of which are “Jiminy Cricket”, "Jeepers Creepers", “Jesus, Mary and Joseph”, "cripes", "bejeezer", "Lawdy/Lordy", “cheese and crackers”, “gosh darn-it” and “doggone”. More importantly, it includes the irreverent and disrespectful use of any of God's attributes or character traits…which the very name implies. What we learn in the use of names in the Old Testament and the third commandment is how much God is to be a part of our every word, deed, and attitude. This naming philosophy appears to bleed over to mankind also. Why? Because man is created in God’s image. To defame a person’s name is to defame their character. To defame their character is to essentially commit an assassination or murder of that person’s reputation….God’s or men’s.

As in the case of Jacob/Israel it ends up paying bonuses of insight and understanding to take notice to his biblical name. In biblical/Hebraic thought names are not merely labels to identify people or things but actual expressions of the possessor's very nature. A nature that includes their reputation, character, and distinctiveness from others. In Hebraic thought, a name is inseparably tied to the named thing's ontology or existence. So, to know the name of God is to know the nature and character of what God has chosen to reveal about Himself. Likewise, the names of men appear (in many cases) to be a revelation of what God wants known about the character of men in Scripture throughout the Scripture.

In other words, nothing exists unless it has a name, its essence is concentrated in its name. To cut off a person's name is to end the bearer's existence. To change a person's name is to indicate a shift in his character and standing before God. To defame a person’s name is to murder the character of the bearer of that name. Likewise, to speak and act on behalf of another person’s name by proxy is to act as that person’s agent and with their authority. In the New Testament they are most often called…disciples. To fall under the authority of their name is to make one a slave/servant that serves under their authority. We do things in Jesus' name as Christians, what does this truly mean? When we say we do things in Jesus’ name we are saying we are willingly submitting to His ownership or rule over us. In this way we are willfully acknowledging ourselves as slaves to Christ.

1 John 3:23 ~ “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.

In the verse above, when a name is used in this way, it does not mean the word by which a person is called but rather the “whole nature” or “character of the person" as far as we know it or understand it. This is why the Proverb says, "A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches" (Proverbs 22:1). The name therefore contains nothing magical. It means that our help is in His love, His mercy, His power and in His promises (or his very character and nature). The use of the word name here is essentially a metonymy. God’s name doesn’t act as an incantation of spell. It is in the things that have been revealed to us as parts of His nature, of His attributes, and of His promises…His Gospel…and whether or not we have faith in them.

So to "believe in the name of Jesus Christ" means to believe in the nature and the character of Jesus Christ and what He has promised and done for us, such as die on a cross and rise again the third day. It means that we believe Jesus is Messiah, Savior, High Priest, and King. It means we believe He died in accord with Scripture, was buried and rose again the third day. It means that we believe that through Him we have entrance into God's presence in eternal life—not just entrance to Him, but actual fellowship with Him.

So the next time you “innocently” use the euphemism Jiminy Cricket in place of Jesus Christ, realize it is not innocent at all. You are degrading Jesus Christ to the level of an object in the Creation. What’s worse is you demean him to the level of a cartoon and/or an insect. This says more about us being morons than it will ever say about God. If anything our belittling still allows God’s glorious character and attributes to shine through? How? It shows God’s patience and forbearance with our disrespect and insolence that clearly deserves punishment.

In the end I believe as Christians we are best served by obeying the following from Paul.

Ephesians 4:29 ~ “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification”

You need to use the brain that the good Lord gave you. If it seems wrong to say, that is probably your conscience telling you that it is wrong. It would then warrant thinking about what you are about to say...and possibly reserving comment and remaining silent.

July 22, 2015

Planned Parenthood Says More Videos Could Surface...

Planned Parenthood Says More Videos Could Surface After Ongoing Harassment Campaign

From: [The Cut]

By: Jessica Roy

The undercover video released last week by anti-abortion activists could be one of many, Planned Parenthood's legal counsel said in a letter addressed to Congress on Monday. This isn't because Planned Parenthood is guilty of profiting from the sale of fetal tissue, as the activists alleged, but because it has long been the target of harassment campaigns by extremists who infiltrate clinics and illegally film footage they can then "deceptively edit" to fit their anti-abortion agenda.

The letter, which comes in response to the announcement that Congressional Republicans will be investigating Planned Parenthood's tissue-donation program, outlines several ways in which last week's bombshell video was edited to make it seem as if the health-care provider profits off of fetal tissue. 

Okay folks, logical fallacy time again. This is pretty much a Red Herring argument. Although I do not necessarily agree with the methods utilized by David Daleiden/Biomax to gain the information from Planned Parenthood officials...how does the praxis/methods for getting said information lessen the severity or minimize the heinousness of the mindset captured in the most recent videos from Planned Parenthood officials?

Considering that there is essentially a war on the unborn approved right within our legal system, how is the opposing force (to something morally abhorrent) supposed to be able to gain the upper hand other than through spying/espionage? The US government has morally justified the use of spying in times of war as has the Bible in times of wars against an immoral enemy (Joshua 2). Planned Parenthood's logic defending themselves here therefore says that the police shouldn't pose as children to catch pedophiles online. That in turn would be a violation of logic called a non-sequitur. This is called damage control and it is poor damage control at that.

I guess what is even more insulting to people with intelligence and proper understanding of dictionary definitions is the original article published in The Cut (morbidly ironic) was put under the sub-title Women’s Rights. It appears the only humans involved that have "rights" are the women because the unborn appear to have none and have no way to defend themselves either. The practices of Planned Parenthood are abhorrent. The leaders of the organization making claims early on that no other issues would arise like the first video and then a subsequent video showing the same thing forced them to do an about-face. They are now lamenting that the man attempting to protect the unborn is unethical and morally wrong for doing what he’s doing to Planned Parenthood. 

That's pretty arrogant. Saying Planned Parenthood is being harassed by one man recording their actual words about murdering the unborn is like saying the Jews in concentration camps were harassing Hitler by calling him mean names. We're talking about defenseless unborn children being systematically killed via a medical/industrial complex. They are being tortured and killed in what was suppose to be the safest place on earth for a child....in their mother's womb. They're being harassed? Really? 

That is the pot calling the kettle black. They appear to have selective morality in this situation. They are hypocrites of the most murderous kind and frankly its disgusting and insults my intelligence to try and lie like this to maintain the half billion dollars of government funding that they are currently allocated for "health" and "human services". While Planned Parenthood holds non-profit status, their total revenue for 2013-2014 was over $1.3 billion. The Planned Parenthood report documents that it received $500+ million in combined federal, state and local government grants and contracts. This means that 46% of all funding received by Planned Parenthood comes from taxpayers' pockets. That is disgusting and insulting.

What's worse is the unborn are then being exploited for the purposes of vanity and avarice of people that have virtually no conscience. Their organs are possibly being sold to the highest bidder for profit. Forget China's Great Leap Forward, forget the Holocaust, for get Stalin's political exterminations. These reigns of terror are dwarfed by what the American government and American people have allowed since 1973 and Roe vs. Wade....55,ooo,ooo and counting. I shudder. 

The unborn are then being exploited for the purposes of vanity and the avarice of people that have virtually no conscience. Their organs are possibly being sold to the highest bidder for profit. Forget China's Great Leap Forward, forget the Holocaust, forget Stalin's political exterminations. These reigns of terror are dwarfed by what the American government and American people have allowed since 1973 and Roe vs. Wade and we will be judged sternly for it.

In truth I will state the following:

There are times when abortions are necessary. There are times when I would condone them. The first that comes to mind is the ending or terminating of the parasitic relationship between "Planned Parenthood" and the government. We really need to stop funding these halls of horror.

July 21, 2015

So Why Is The Pope So Obsessed With the Devil?

Why is Pope Francis so obsessed with the devil?

(CNN) Rev. Thomas Rosica

His tweets and homilies about the devil, Satan, the Accuser, the Evil One, the Father of Lies, the Ancient Serpent, the Tempter, the Seducer, the Great Dragon, the Enemy and just plain "demon" are now legion. For Francis, the devil is not a myth, but a real person. Many modern people may greet the Pope's insistence on the devil with a dismissive, cultural affectation, indifference, or at the most indulgent curiosity. Yet Francis refers to the devil continually[Read Full Article Here]

This is actually an easy one to answer without actually getting into the nuances of the CNN article. The Pope's attention to Satan is admirable in some respects because he brings attention to an entity that society pretty much doesn't even believe exists anymore. An entity that has been a thorn in the side of humanity and a rebel against God since the dawn of time. The problem lies in the fact that the Pope seems to be obsessing over the Devil because he is obsessing. Even a liberal news agency like CNN recognizes that fact too. This type of theological neurosis is unhealthy. He is mostly distracted by the Devil because of his poor grasp on the Bible and bad theology that is driven by a flawed social/theological ideology. His focus is primarily in the wrong direction. Some of his anxiety and concern over 'Ole Nick is justifiable but his semi-neurotic mentioning of him at every turn is a product of is misguided theology.

Why does the Pope constantly talk about the Devil? Because he believes in Liberation Theology. Liberation Theology is about looking outward towards the oppressor, not inward as Jesus taught. It is about finding the sin in others and pointing it out in hopes of a social and cultural remedy for individual’s sins. It doesn’t work that way. We are all individually accountable for our own transgressions. It is the Church itself that helps us in that sanctification process. Please note I said helps us. The Church does not give us our sanctification or salvation. Jesus said it is what comes out of a man that defiles him (Matthew 15:11). 

The Liberation Theology says that injustice in the world is usually someone else’s fault, not our own. Liberation Theology places accountability on others right where a sinful person likes it drawing attention away from themselves. It therefore doesn’t focus on our need for repentance but rather other people’s. So, instead the Devil is found under every stone and behind every corner instead of us realizing that it is our sin and unrighteousness that is the primary culprit in our lives and society. 

It’s not the system that is evil per se, it is the individual people that have turned their backs on God that form the societal unit that create the injustices that this Pope laments. Fix the individual people by getting them to repent and the system fixes itself. Thereby we take the Devil out of the equation before he can even wreak havoce. The Devil is a secondary cause, our own internal sin is the primary. We commit the sin, the Devil is just an enabler and a convenient scapegoat for our own sins. We need to take responsibility for ourselves and stop blaming the Devil for everything like the Pope does.

Pardon the pun...but the Devil is truly in the details (or subtleties) on this one. If all the Devil has to do is get you to blame him for everything...he has already deceived you and won the battle. How? He got you to focus on the wrong issue(s). Do you really think he cares that you blame him for your sin? He is already condemned. Why would he care? No, he is more elated that he got you to stop repenting and seeking God which is your path to holiness. You thereby build God's wrath and sin against yourself. In the case of Satan, misery loves company. If the Devil is anything he is subtle and clever. People need to pay attention to the subtlest details. Something as small as a virus can bring down a healthy person. Something has small as a termite can bring down a home. Any of these things left to fester can become deadly.

Forthcoming Cultural and Societal Commentary

Recently the absurdity of the news has become quite pronounced. People's inability to make sound moral decisions has reached historic lows. Even those in supposed positions of spiritual authority have been compromised by their own machinations and myths. This has become rather evident especially by the article about the Pope in my next post. As the days progress I will probably be posting more and more absurd news articles with pieces of subsequent commentary because the frequency and depth of depravity in the world has reached staggering levels. I post some of these on Facebook and they seemed to solicit quite a bit of reaction. No sense in not putting them on the blog too.

Andy Pierson

July 15, 2015

A Nuanced Eternal Mosaic

Having just charged up to Death's door and then slowly backed away, the Lord has repositioned my mortal perspective...again. Lyme Disease is much more traumatic and dangerous than I ever imagined. I guess I'm just a slow learner or if I learn I don't retain it well. Lyme Disease's extended and pronounced fever and joint pain has a way of becoming a life-altering experience. Pain and discomfort have a way of doing that to a person. It took what was effectively an exceptionally healthy and active 46 year old and drove me face-down for a close-up inspection of the dirt I felt I was about to buried in. That being said, when all you really have the energy for is introspective thought, you come up with posts like this one. Read it slowly, it came at great price.
I am starting to fully accept the fact that there is another world behind the world. Yeah, what we call the spiritual. Acknowledging it existed in faith as I had in the past was one thing (a priori). To firmly accept it as a foundational certainty is another thing quite different (a posteriori). I am now leaning distinctly towards the latter because God is continuing to reveal things only He can and it is establishing it as certainty.
When I say accepting it (the unseen) I mean that not only does the world-behind-the-world exist, it most certainly has profound impacts on the here-and-now as we read in Daniel 10:13. It is levels of reality that intertwine and interact like air and fuel mixing to create explosive combustion. You can't always see the individual elements but you can see the end results they produce. These elements or levels include individual people’s lives. What I am saying here is that there are always extenuating circumstances for people’s actions, behaviors and moods. Some driven by the needs or trials of this world…but sometimes driven by the impetus of the other world…of the spiritual. For good...and bad.
Most do not even see it in themselves let alone others. The interplay between the two often blurs into a homogeneous whole sometimes. It takes a spiritually discerning eye to separate out what is natural and what is spiritual. It takes even more discernment to know which is of God and which is against God. It is wisdom of the Spirit. It is the knowledge of Scripture that does this too.
1 Corinthians 2:12-14 “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
As it is said in an old Lynyrd Skynyrd song, “There’s things goin’ on that you don’t know.”
I guess, in a way it is a meta-narrative. In biblical interpretation it is called meta-narrative anyway. When I say meta-narrative I mean a grand narrative that tries to give a totalizing, comprehensive account to historical events, experiences, and social, cultural phenomena based upon the appeal to God’s biblical and universal truth/values. But it is more than that. It is the overarching story beneath the story. It is the multitude of stories that build the larger story like floors build a skyscraper. In God’s case it is His narrative and He is actually above the story or as I said…overarching
Interestingly it is an overarching narrative that delves down to individual lives like mine on a one-on-one basis and it affects us both physically and spiritually. God has allowed our lives individually to affect the divine aesthetic of the over all historical/eternal mosaic. Otherwise we would merely exist for a moment and be gone the next only to be forgotten having served no purpose other than to exist. We are told in the Bible we are much more though. We are part of an intimate exchange between the Father and the Son and our salvation is the diadem in the Father and Son's crown.
Christian meta-narrative believes that human nature, since the Fall (Genesis 3), is characteristically sinful, but has the possibility of redemption and experiencing eternal life in heaven; thus representing a belief in a universal rule and a teleological end result for a repentant humankind. I also believe (backed by Scripture) that in the overarching trans-historical narrative there are multiple realities to deal with in terms of the physical realm and the spiritual realm for every living person.
So even in the grand narrative there are multiple realities or a larger story that gives way to many smaller ones. The grand narrative gives way to smaller and "localized" narratives in each of our individual lives that make up God’s “big picture”. Fortunately or unfortunately, the big picture is so big we cannot fully grasp and understand all the different levels, interactions and interplay. We think we can but we quickly find out that it is impossible.
This then gives way to the understanding that (as I said before), there are thing goin' on that we don’t know…nor can we. There are mysteries of God only He will know and they are not for us to try and unravel. It is at these points that we come to the realization that we must turn things over to God or we will go insane trying to control and fix things that are out of our grasps. This is especially the case in the spiritual realm. We wage war not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities fueled on by the dark and wicked things of this world.
Good or bad, the smaller narratives of our individual lives whether they be repentant or not make up God’s big picture. There are some chosen for salvation...others not. To discount all the things we can’t account for and see is foolish. Just because it cannot be understood doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, it just means we are incapable of grasping it or don’t have the proper type of vision.
The only reason I write on this now is because I am staggered by how many situations in my life (including this most recent bout with Lyme Disease) where I thought I understood what was truly going on….well, I didn’t. When I finally did realize what was "goin' on", things were not as they seemed. I came to the conclusion that I hadn’t had a clue to the truth. I was severely off-base about what I did believe.
People who I thought were just grumpy people were much more than they seemed. Some had just been diagnosed with cancer right after losing a sibling to death. They weren’t grumpy, they were in a prolonged form of depression and shock. A stressed-out family was not anti-social, they had children with social disabilities like Autism and Asperger’s and had been treated poorly by the world. They naturally become withdrawn and defensive in an attempt to protect the precious children the Lord had given them stewardship over. Otherwise functioning couples in public had lifelong battles with alcoholism behind closed doors but had become adept at hiding it.
The list goes on. Looks and the surface of things are often deceiving especially in the spiritual realm because at first…there might be nothing there to see. It isn’t until the fruits of a fallen world, sin or depravity begin to manifest themselves in forms of death that anything even becomes visible. These types of events have pushed me back and forced me to re-analyze what I once held tenaciously to as truth. When I was forced to look at the entire picture or narrative it took on a completely different complexion. the much larger scheme/schema became easier to see and much more evident.
As John F. Kennedy once said:
"The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds..." 
I have learned (sometimes difficultly) that everyone has a backstory and we must allow for that in our discernment of situations. Things are not always as they seem on the surface at face value. People and history are not two dimensional mosaics but rather multi-dimensional dynamics. There is not only a visual aesthetic but also elements of emotion, logic, spirituality and time to name a few. I do not have all the facts even when I think I do. I need to allow for God’s providence and sovereignty to work not only in my life but in other people’s lives too.
Sometimes seeing what we need to see in situations to even be able to do what God wants us to do requires that we depend solely and completely on Him, otherwise we wander blindly just like the people we are trying to help. To even be able to do this we must admit we are incapable and this requires the utmost in humility. This is exactly why God cannot use a haughty or proud heart. The heart of the haughty must first be broken.
The large picture is made of smaller snapshots just as the building is often made up of smaller blocks and bricks. The Church is made up of individual lives unified in one Spirit. The key is understanding that those lives are sinful and damaged lives that are in route to glorification through repentance but have not perfectly reached that destination. We are rough-hewn stones. It is only the Spirit Himself that allows for us to see the bigger picture and work together in harmony to have a piece (and the peace) of the kingdom as a Church on this side of the grave. 
Therefore we must realize that things in this life will be less than ideal for them, and us, until the Kingdom is fully realized and the physical and the spiritual merge. That is the end result of the meta-narrative. Merger into the spirit-body. We will be returned to the original state intended before the Fall took place in Genesis 3. The Kingdom will therefore be made up of repentant Godly people under the head of Christ. Not quite perfected now but soon to be then. All will be submitted to the authority of Christ. It’s all just part the larger narrative which is to bring glory to God by our salvation through Him because that was the plan since before the beginning of the narrative in eternity past.

July 7, 2015

Diabolic Soul

Interesting list I read recently. I still see pieces of myself in this list. Do your see yourself in here? If you do perhaps you should be taking a ruthless moral inventory of yourself and being honest about who and what you really are.

How does one know if they or another have a wicked heart and a diabolic soul? Well, not surprisingly, those heart and souls look a lot like a sociopath's and/or a narcissist's

1. They’re experts at creating chaos and contention or conflict. Once they do they will never acknowledge they are the source of it.

They twist the facts, mislead, lie, avoid taking responsibility, deny reality, make up stories, and withhold information. (Psalms 5:8; 10:7; 58:3; 109:2–5; 140:2; Proverbs 6:13,14; 6:18,19; 12:13; 16:20; 16:27, 28; 30:14; Job 15:35; Jeremiah 18:18; Nehemiah 6:8; Micah 2:1; Matthew 12:34,35; Acts 6:11–13; 2 Peter 3:16)

2. They’re experts at misleading people with sycophantic words and flattery to get what they want.

But if you look at the fruit of their lives or the follow through of their words, you will find no real evidence of godly growth or change. It’s all smoke and mirrors. (Psalms 50:19; 52:2,3; 57:4; 59:7; 101:7; Proverbs 12:5; 26:23–26; 26:28; Job 20:12; Jeremiah 12:6; Matthew 26:59; Acts 6:11–13; Romans 16:17,18; 2 Corinthians 11:13,14; 2 Timothy 3:2–5; 3:13; Titus 1:10,16).

3. They’re control freaks. They bow at the altar of self.

They reject feedback, real accountability, and make up their own rules to live by. They use Scripture to their own advantage but ignore and reject passages that might require self-correction and repentance. (Romans 2:8; Psalms 10; 36:1–4; 50:16–22; 54:5,6; 73:6–9; Proverbs 21:24; Jude 1:8–16).

4. They use good people, often abusing grace.

They demand mercy but give none themselves. They demand warmth, forgiveness, and intimacy from those they have harmed with no empathy for the pain they have caused and no real intention of making amends or working hard to rebuild broken trust. (Proverbs 21:10; 1 Peter 2:16; Jude 1:4).

5. They have little or no conscience and/or remorse.

They do not struggle against sin or evil—they delight in it—all the while masquerading as someone of noble character. (Proverbs 2:14–15; 10:23; 12:10; 21:27, 29; Isaiah 32:6; Romans 1:30; 2 Corinthians 11:13–15)

6. They believe their sinful actions should have no painful consequence.

When they say “I’m sorry,” they look to you as the pastor or Christian counselor to be their advocate for amnesty with the person he or she has harmed. They believe grace means they are immediately granted immunity from the relational fallout of their serious sin. They believe forgiveness entitles them to full reconciliation and will pressure you and their victim to comply.

7. They are expert imitators/mimics. They look and sound like Christians but are not.

Remember, Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13–15). He knows more true doctrine than you or I will ever know, but his heart is wicked. Why? Because although he knows the truth, he does not believe it or live it.

July 4, 2015

July 4th, 2015

I small picture to remind us of what the 4th of July used to mean. Midsummer harvest on the neighbors farm. Corn halfway grown. Heat radiating off the fields of grain. Sweat on the brow of the child running through those fields. Exhausted by sunset but not that exhausted that they couldn't chase fireflies right before bedtime.
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