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Showing posts from December, 2008

Palestinian Authority Legalizes Crucifixion

This piece from the Jerusalem post, if accurate, is disturbing.

Both Iran and its Hamas proxy in Gaza have been busy this Christmas week showing Christendom just what they think of it. But no one seems to have noticed.

On Tuesday, Hamas legislators marked the Christmas season by passing a Shari'a criminal code for the Palestinian Authority. Among other things, it legalizes crucifixion.

Hamas's endorsement of nailing enemies of Islam to crosses came at the same time it renewed its jihad. Here, too, Hamas wanted to make sure that Christians didn't feel neglected as its fighters launched missiles at Jewish day care centers and schools. So on Wednesday, Hamas lobbed a mortar shell at the Erez crossing point into Israel just as a group of Gazan Christians were standing on line waiting to travel to Bethlehem for Christmas.
As anyone knows who has studied the practice, crucifixion is a cruel and barbaric punishment where a person (in the ordinary case) dies slowly over several days…

Another Study Supports the Value of Religion

From time to time, studies pop up which support the ridiculous assertions by atheists such as Christopher Hitchens that somehow religion is responsible for all of the evils in the world. Many of the posts on this weblog have demonstrated that such a view point is unsupported and that many of the studies start with poor assumptions. (See, as an example of our review of one study, Societal ills, absolute morality and charity and Does religion cause societal ills?)

Now the Family Research Council has released a brand new study by Nicholas Zill, Ph.D. and Philip Fletcher, Ph.D.entitled Intact Family and Religious Participation Are Associated with Fewer Developmental Problems in School-Age Children.

The study begins:

New analyses of data from a large-scale federal survey of child health and development show that children and adolescents are less likely to exhibit problems in school or at home if they live with both their biological parents and attend religious services regularly. For examp…

Atheist are Idolotors

Atheists are not people who don't believe in any God or gods. They have a god, they worship science. When you question science they go insane like fundies who can't stand the little taunts atheists love to use: "there's no proof for your God." They are not capable of serious thinking, so they get really upset if you try to analyze science with any kind a critical eye. I decided to try a fun little experiment to see what would happen if one made the same kind of little taunts about science that they make about God. This is fair because Christian theology is 2000 year tradition involving many of the greatest thinkers in human history, it has a vast library of works written by the most brilliant people the world has ever seen; atheists wont read on page of it but still insist upon telling us how stupid and useless it is. So it's totally fair to throw this back in their faces.

What I have discovered is shocking. The react the same kind of taunts "no one beli…

Christian-Centered Christmas from the White House

Back in the 1980s, I first became involved in the issue of the Christian foundations in the United States from reading two books, The Separation of Church and State by Robert L. Cord and The Myth of Separation by David Barton (a book I believe is now out of print). While I haven't seen much further out of Robert Cord other than some Political Science textbooks, David Barton has gone on to expand on his original book in creating Wallbuilders, an organization dedicated to publicizing information demonstrating our nation's clear Christian roots.

In the spirit of the Christmas season, David Barton and Wallbuilders have just published a very interesting article entitled Christmas with the Presidents in which he reviews the way in which Presidents of the United States have recognized the holidays -- including a surprising number of items that demonstrate the faith and devotion of various Presidents to Christ.

Naturally, the details of the celebrations of the first few presidents are…

Are Terminators Children of God?

I was not a big fan of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles during its first season. But the second season has been great and I look forward to its resumption in 2009. One of the story lines has been the development of an artificial intelligence (AI) by a company headed up by a terminator from the future. On the face of it, it appears that the company is trying to develop the AI to become SkyNet, the AI that wipes out most of humanity once it gains control of nuclear weapons. But there are some odd things going on in that the company has brought in former FBI agent James Ellison (obviously unaware of the executive's terminator identity) to teach the AI ethics and morality. Ellison is a devout Christian who is an interesting -- likely intentional -- contrast to the amoral Terminators and Sarah Connor, who is strongly tempted to do whatever it takes to protect her son.

Previously, Dr. Sherman -- a child psychologist -- had been working with the AI to help it develop intellec…

The financial crisis in Christian perspective

In a previous post Jason Pratt referred us to an article in the NY Times about increased attendance in evangelical churches as a result of the economic meltdown. I think it is fairly clear that our present predicament will prompt a rethinking in many people of what we owe to one another and the kind of economic practice that may lead to a more just, humane society. Of course, we will probably also see material want bringing out the worst in people, as they summarily absolve themselves of guilt for hoarding supplies or even stealing. As Dickens would say, it will be the best of times and the worst of times. What no one can doubt is that the next few years will definitely not be 'business as usual'.

How should Christians respond? I have no economic expertise and no specific suggestions with regard to job hunting, investments or policy. But I can point you to some resources which may help us keep our troubles in perspective and rethink economics from a Christian point of view. You…

No Atheists in Financial Meltdowns

The NY Times has an interesting article, Bad Times Draw Bigger Crowds to Churches. The gist of the article is that Evangelical churches are seeing increased attendance due to the emotional and spiritual effects of insecure financial times.

Since September, pastors nationwide say they have seen such a burst of new interest that they find themselves contending with powerful conflicting emotions — deep empathy and quiet excitement — as they re-encounter an old piece of religious lore:

Bad times are good for evangelical churches.
Catholic and mainline Protestant denominations have also seen some stirrings, but in lesser numbers.

A recent spot check of some large Roman Catholic parishes and mainline Protestant churches around the nation indicated attendance increases there, too. But they were nowhere near as striking as those reported by congregations describing themselves as evangelical....
Various explanations are offered, including this one I particularly liked: "'We have the gr…

Chimera Rights?

One of the thornier issues that arise from our increasing technical knowledge involve the rights of embryos. Today, a friend pointed out an article that shocked me -- Great Britain is planning on allowing its scientists to create human based chimeras.

According to an article in the Telegraph entitled Chimera embryos have right to life, say bishops, by Jonathan Price, draft legislation in the U.K. would allow scientists to create "human-animal hybrid embryos" - "so-called 'chimeras'" in their laboratories for research "as long as they destroy them within two weeks."

Now, I personally don't believe that such chimeras should be created at all. I don't care if it they are created for scientific research because they call for the creation of a new type of human being -- one that is mixed with a non-human. Regardless of my religious beliefs, the idea of intentionally creating such chimeras simply strikes me as mad-scientist-type behavior.

Moreov…

Follow Up: UN Petition for the Unborn Child and the Family

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entitled U.N. Petition for the Rights of the Unborn about a petition that the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute ("CFHRI") created calling for government to interpret the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as protecting the unborn child from abortion. The Petition was responsive to one being presented by pro-abortion groups. The CFHRI has just released a press report in which they announce that they have received 300,000 signatures in support of the alternate petition.

Here is the entire press release from the CFHRI:

December 9, 2008

MEDIA ADVISORY/
PRESS CONFERENCE

300,000 NAMES SUBMITTED TO UN IN FAVOR OF RIGHT TO LIFE

Where: Press briefing room, UN headquarters, New York

Contact: Austin Ruse, President 202 -393-7002 (office), 202-531-3770 (cell)

UN Headquarters, New York – Tomorrow, December 10th, a coalition of social conservative groups from around the world will present a petition of 330,000 names calling for Member States of the Uni…

Favorite/Least Favorite Christmas Songs

Just for the fun of it, I would be interested in hearing suggestions for both your favorite and least favorite Christmas songs with brief explanations as to why you like or don't like them. Choose as many as you like, but I think no more than three in each category should suffice. Sometimes, the only good version of a song is by a particular musical group or singer, so please point that out when it happens.

Since I am suggesting this, let me give my choices:

Favorites (in no particular order):

"O Come, O Come Emmanuel" -- What's not to like about this song? In a minor key with a haunting melody, I love singing it throughout the Christmas season. (Yes, I know it's really an Advent song, but Advent and Christmas are one season to me.) It has meaningful lyrics and has the right message for the season.

"Do You Hear What I Hear" by Third Day -- While this song is obviously not Biblical, I like the idea of all of creation praising the baby Jesus. Third Day'…

Time Magazine article on Christians in Germany during World War II

Not you, Herr Hitler, but God is my Führer. These defiant words of Pastor Martin Niemoller were echoed by millions of Germans. And Hitler raged: "It is Niemoller or I."

So this second Christmas of Hitler's war finds Niemoller and upwards of 200,000 other Christians (some estimates run as high as 800,000) behind the barbed wire of the frozen Nazi concentration camps. Here men bear mute witness that the Christ—whose birth the outside world celebrates unthinkingly at Christmas—can still inspire a living faith for which men and women even now endure im prisonment, torture and death as bravely as in centuries past.

More than 80% of the prisoners in the concentration camps are not Jews but Christians, and the best tribute to the spirit of Germany's Christians comes from a Jew and agnostic (TIME, Sept. 23) — the world's most famous scientist, Albert Einstein. Says he:

"Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defe…

Sharing Churches with Muslims; Ignoring God's Holiness

An article recently published in the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Sentinel Journal caught my eye about a week ago. The article, entitled Christians and Muslims, both under one roof : Faith Presbyterian in Franklin doubles as Islamic prayer center, details how one Presbyterian church has allowed its Islamic neighbors to come pray to Allah in the church twice a day (for a nominal fee).

According to the article,

Each Sunday, children gather in the fellowship hall at Faith Presbyterian Church to ponder the lessons of Christianity, among them, "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Now the church is setting a real-life example for the kids, by opening its Sunday school space to its Muslim neighbors for two of their five daily prayers.

Faith Presbyterian becomes the third satellite prayer center for area Muslims who wish to pray communally but may not be able to get across town to one of the four area mosques. The other prayer sites are at Waukesha Memorial Hospital and the Muslim Student Center …