Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Man Dozes Off During Vice-President's Speech

I don't care who you are that's funny right there.






HT:  The Blaze

Hump Day Humor: The Three Little Pigs

This is about as clever of comedy as your ever going to see. My wife and I couldn't stop laughing.





HT: Tim Challies


For more:
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Top Ten George W. Bush Moments
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Chopsticks Are Better Than Sticks  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Did you hear a Click?
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Christmas Shopping Prank
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Cannonball!!  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: A Bowflex Machine?
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Rick Perry Bad Lip Reading
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  North Comma South Carolina  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Animal Rights Consistency  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Unanswered Questions
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Fun With Dick and Jane  
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: Leprechaun in Alabama
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor: This is Not a Joke - Affirmative Action For the Ugly-Americans
Blogizomai - Hump Day Humor:  Office Pranks
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day:  Church Greeters and Hand Sanitizers
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day: Mark Lowry's Mamma Had Enough
Blogizomai - Humerous Hump Day: Brian Regan Cell Phones 101
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day - Harry Carry and the Moon Made of Rips
Blogizomai - Humorous Hump Day: Voltswagen Pinata
Blogizomai - Everybody Needs Toucan Subs: Bad Lip Reading Does It Again
Blogizomai - Taxidermatology: The Most Lifelike Dead Animals Around
Blogizomai - This is News?: The Politics of Personal Distruction Continues
Blogizomai - The Election Commercial Season is Upon Us: Discernment in the Season of Political Ads
Blogizomai - Fuzzy Math & Even Fuzzier Theology: Abbott & Costello Meets Modern Theology
Blogiozmai - They're Only Giving Him Material: Letterman Responds to the Jihadists After Him
Blogizomai - Adam & Eve on Comedy Central: Colbert Takes on Mohler & Traditional Christian Theology
Blogizomai - Everything is Amazing, But Nobody Is Happy: An Important Lesson
Blogizomai - The BCS Applied in Real Life
Blogiozmai - Repost Friday: Happy RamaHanuKwanzMas!
Blogizomai - Judge Free Zone?: Daily Show Illustrates Discriminatory Discrimination

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Dick Morris: Obama Will Lose

With the primary race coming to an end the question of who will win the Presidency in November is becoming more real. Recently President Barack Obama told his supporters that he has another 5 years left to deal with the subject of immigration and other issues.  Political commentator and pollster Dick Morris, who I consider very politically insightful and one of my favorite commentators, says that there is no way that President Obama will win re-election.

Here are a few of his reasons:

1. Undecided vote goes against incumbent.
2.  The party shift from Democrat to Republican
3. Each state's Senate polls. Democrats can't get above 50% (he goes on to add that Republicans will win a majority in the Senate)

He has said before that President Obama will likely lose the high number of black votes that he had in 2008.  By that he means that the number of African-Americans voting will be much lower.  In addition, Morris suggests that Obama will not have as many young people voting for him. We could also add the question of the Hispanic vote (since Obama has done virtually nothing on immigration) and the Messianic aura surrounding his 2008 candidacy (especially after beating Hillary Clinton) has vanished.

I would add one other issue to consider. Though each Republican candidate has baggage, that doesn't seem to be as damaging as one would expect.  Republicans know that Obama will run a smear campaign instead of a campaign about accomplishments and issues. Thus the GOP has been smearing each other and as a result we know that none of them are perfect. If the Gingrich rise (and then fall) has taught us anything it is that, at least for most Republican voters, policy and issues and one's ability to articulate their positions are more important than baggage.

And then there will be the gas price issue.

But before the anti-Obama voter gets excited, there are a couple of things to remember. One, there is some evidence that the economy may be turning around though slowly. It is likely that the high gas prices will severely affect the economy as it is still very much struggling, but the perception that unemployment is going down helps the President. Furthermore, I'm not sure a long primary season for the GOP helps the Republicans as some seem to suggests. So long as Republicans are talking about Republicans, the President wins. Thirdly, the President has a lot of money on hand and there is simply no way that any of the GOP candidates will be able to catch him. Money matters in elections. Finally, negative campaigns work and expect the President to utilize a lot of negative ads.

Anyways, here is Dick Morris' take on it.  What do you think?








For more:
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 20: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - Here We Go Again: Mormonism and Presidential Politics
Blogizomai - An Important Read: Is Mormonism "Having a Moment?"
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 1: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 2: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 3: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 4: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 5: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 6: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 7: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 8: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 9: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 10: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 11: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 12:  Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case 
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 13: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 14:  Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case   
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 15:  Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 16:  Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 17: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 18: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 19: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Discussion: Some Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Forum 1: Some Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Forum 2: Some Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Hopefuls on Faith and Freedom
Blogizomai - The Cain-Gingrich Debate
Blogizomai - The Gingrich-Huntsman Debate
Blogizomai - "The last three years have held a lot of change, but they haven’t offered much hope.": Romney's New Hampshire Victory Speech (Video & Text)
Blogizomai - Are You A Bigot?: Morgan Just Can't Help Himself
Blogizomai - Poverty and the Breakdown of the Family: Santorum Raises an Important Point
Blogizomai - Santorum Defends Traditional Marriage in a Hostile Environment
Blogizomai - Protect Life, Protect Liberty: Ron Paul's Pro-Life Libertarianism
Blogizomai - Is This the Dirtiest Campaign Season Ever?: Consider Circa 1800   
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 15: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - The Remarriage of Faith and Public Policy: Why Kennedy's Legacy Is a Farce

Moore: Gambling, Justice, & the Gospel

Last week, gambling was a big topic of conversation in Kentucky as the state legislator voted and rejected expanding gambling to include casinos and other forms of gambling. Thus a lot of Christians have been writing on the dangers of gambling and what it does to a society. One place to begin in dealing with the issue isn't just the morality of it, but the reason why the Kentucky governor, Steve Beshear, and other governments want expanded gambling so bad. Kentucky is in debt like so many other state governments (not to mention the federal government) and the governor and his allies see gambling as a way out our state's financial woes.  Thus instead of decrease spending and waste, expanding gambling is a way for the state government to continue to overspend while relying on the consumerism and greed of its citizens and gambling businesses.

This then leads to the moral problems with gambling. Gambling preys on the poor whether it be the lottery or slot machines. I am unaware of any billionaire hoping to win millions by playing the lottery.  Why would they? I'm sure all of us have heard someone say, "it seems like the people who win the lottery are always in need for money." Of course they, that's who the lottery and other gambling options prey on.  The rich are trying to get rich, but the poor are. Thus many "gamble" and in the process lose. Thus gambling preys on the poor and any society that takes poverty seriously and considers itself moral, especially towards the poor, should rethink its support of expanded gambling.

This is the basic argument articulated much better by Dr. Russell Moore in a recent article on this issue that is worth passing on. Here is a portion of it:

But gambling isn’t merely a “values” issue. Neither is it primarily a “moral” issue, at least not in terms of what we typically classify as “moral values” issues. Gambling isn’t primarily a question of personal vice. If it were, we could simply ask our people to avoid the lottery tickets and horse-tracks, but leave it legal. Gambling is a social justice issue that defines how it is that we love our neighbors and uphold the common good.

Gambling is a form of economic predation. Gambling grinds the faces of the poor into the ground. It benefits multinational corporations while oppressing the lower classes with illusory promises of wealth, and with (typically) low-wage, transitory jobs that simultaneously destroy every other economic engine of a local community.

In the end, the casinos will leave. And they’ll leave behind a burned-over district with no thriving agricultural, manufacturing, or tourism economies. In the meantime, they leave behind the wreckage of “check-to-cash” loan sharks, pawn shops, prostitution, and 1-2-3 divorce courts.
Conservative Christians can’t talk about gambling, if we don’t see the bigger picture.

First of all, most of the “market” for gambling comes from those in despair, seeking meaning and a future. The most important thing a church can do to undercut the local casino is to preach the gospel. By that I don’t just mean how to get saved (although that’s certainly at the root of it). I mean the awe-filled wonder in the face of the really good news that Jesus is crucified and resurrected, the old dragon is overthrown.


Russell Moore - Gambling and the Common Good


For more:
Blogizomai - Alcohol Today, Marijuana Tomorrow: When Money Changes Our Values
Blogizomai - "Mapping Out Our Next Trillion Years: How the Kingdom of Christ Reshapes Your Mission" by Dr. Russell Moore
Blogizomai - Where Are They Now?: Moore on God's Providence & the Next Billy Graham
Blogizomai - Robertson Has Repudiated the Gospel: Russell Moore on CNN
Blogizomai - Dungeons & Dragons, and Calvin, O My!: Moore's Exhortation to the New Calvinists
Blogizomai - Gospel-Centered Ecology: A Reality That Christians Must Face Without Abandoning the Gospel

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bible Breakfast Club Interview - 2/20/12

Last week I had the opportunity to be a guest on the Bible Breakfast Club and enjoyed the conversation. We discussed everything from William Carey to Calvinism/Arminians. I come on at the the very end: the last 30 minutes or so.




For more:
Blogizomai - "Logizomai" Radio Interview - 4/15/11
GBC - Bible Breakfast Club Interview  
Blogizomai - Logizomai Book Now Available

2012 Presidential Debate 20: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case




Here is one of the highlights from the night regarding contraception:




And here is a humorous look summarizing the entire debate in 100 seconds.




HT: The Blaze


For more:
Blogizomai - Here We Go Again: Mormonism and Presidential Politics
Blogizomai - An Important Read: Is Mormonism "Having a Moment?"
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 1: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 2: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 3: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 4: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 5: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 6: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 7: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 8: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 9: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 10: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 11: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 12:  Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case 
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 13: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 14:  Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case   
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 15:  Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 16:  Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 17: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 18: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 19: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Discussion: Some Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Forum 1: Some Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Forum 2: Some Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Hopefuls on Faith and Freedom
Blogizomai - The Cain-Gingrich Debate
Blogizomai - The Gingrich-Huntsman Debate
Blogizomai - "The last three years have held a lot of change, but they haven’t offered much hope.": Romney's New Hampshire Victory Speech (Video & Text)
Blogizomai - Are You A Bigot?: Morgan Just Can't Help Himself
Blogizomai - Poverty and the Breakdown of the Family: Santorum Raises an Important Point
Blogizomai - Santorum Defends Traditional Marriage in a Hostile Environment
Blogizomai - Protect Life, Protect Liberty: Ron Paul's Pro-Life Libertarianism
Blogizomai - Is This the Dirtiest Campaign Season Ever?: Consider Circa 1800   
Blogizomai - 2012 Presidential Debate 15: Republican Hopefuls Make Their Case
Blogizomai - The Remarriage of Faith and Public Policy: Why Kennedy's Legacy Is a Farce

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Moore: The Man In Black at 80

One of my favorite artists of all time is without a doubt the late The Man In Black, Johnny Cash. Today is his 80th birthday and Dr. Russell Moore has written a fitting article on Cash that is worth passing along. My three-year-old son has even gotten into Cash. Of course all he cares about is what Cash has to say about trains and is clueless about what a Ring of Fire is about or what Cash is talking about in Get Rhythm or who Porter is.  All he cares about are trains and any song that mentions trains, he loves. Ergo, he loves Cash who sang a lot about trains.

Nonetheless, Cash's popularity increased at the end of his life against all odds. My love for Cash was reverberated when the "Man Comes Around" album came out. There will never be another Johnny Cash whose story is fascinating from childhood to death.

Here is some of the highlights from Dr. Moore's article:

The prison imagery seemed real to Cash because, for him, it was real. He knew what it was like to be enslaved, enslaved to celebrity, to power, to drugs, to liquor, and to the breaking of his marriage vows. He was subject to, and submissive to, all the temptations the recording industry can parade before a man. He was a prisoner indeed, but to a penitentiary of his own soul. There was no corpse in Reno, but there was the very real guilt of a lifetime of the self-destructive idolatry of the ego. . . .

Even as a Christian, Cash was different. He sang at Billy Graham crusades and wrote for Evangelical audiences, but he never quite fit the prevailing saccharine mood of pop Evangelicalism. Nor did he fit the trivialization of cultural Christianity so persistent in the country music industry, as Grand Old Opry stars effortlessly moved back and forth between songs about the glories of honky-tonk women and songs about the mercies of the Old Rugged Cross.

To be sure, Cash’s Christian testimony is a mixed bag. In his later years, he took out an ad in an industry magazine, with a photograph of himself extending a middle finger to music executives. And yet there is something in the Cash appeal to the youth generation that Christians would do well to emulate.
Other Christian celebrities tried—and failed—to reach youth culture by feigning teenage street language or aping pop culture trends. How successful, after all, was Pat Boone’s embarrassing attempt at heavy metal—complete with a leather outfit and a spiked dog collar?

Cash always seemed to connect. When other Christian celebrities tried to down-play sin and condemnation in favor of upbeat messages about how much better life is with Jesus, Cash sang about the tyranny of guilt and the certainty of coming judgment. An angst-ridden youth culture may not have fully comprehended guilt, but they understood pain. And, somehow, they sensed Cash was for real.

Happy Birthday Johnny Cash!


Dr. Russell Moore - Johnny Cash at Eighty 


"When the Man Comes Around"






"God's Gonna Cut Your Down"







For more:
Blogizomai - "Mapping Out Our Next Trillion Years: How the Kingdom of Christ Reshapes Your Mission" by Dr. Russell Moore
Blogizomai - Where Are They Now?: Moore on God's Providence & the Next Billy Graham
Blogizomai - Robertson Has Repudiated the Gospel: Russell Moore on CNN
Blogizomai - Dungeons & Dragons, and Calvin, O My!: Moore's Exhortation to the New Calvinists
Blogizomai - Gospel-Centered Ecology: A Reality That Christians Must Face Without Abandoning the Gospel

"Exodus 32:1-10, 1 Corinthians 10:6-13" by David Platt




For more:
Blogizomai - David Platt: Go Outside the Camp
Reviews - "Radical Together"" by David Platt
Reviews - "Radical" IPhone App

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Archeological & Historical Evidence of the Exodus

I must admit that the archeological and historical challenges surrounding the Exodus and Israel in Egypt have been a difficult part for me. I have been told for years that there was no evidence that Israel had ever been in Egypt, that they were redeemed by a former, adopted prince of Egypt, and that they wondered in the desert for 40 years. Though I have since learned that there is some evidence supporting the contrary, I have not heard much scholarship supporting the biblical record. Below is a video suggesting that there is in fact evidence of Israel in Egypt and the Exodus and it comes from a respectable scholar. Though I have not seen all of this lecture yet, but this is a great presentation showing evidence of Israel in Egypt and the Exodus.




Lecture with Dr. James Hoffmeier from Lanier Theological Library on Vimeo



HT: Justin Taylor


I would also point you to this History Channel special that I saw parts of a few years ago that seeks to show that there is some evidence of the Exodus and Israel in Egypt. But again, I have not seen all of it. The narrator has been known to make some wild, inaccurate claims before. Perhaps most famously is his assertion that the lost tomb of Jesus had been found.






Also consider this exciting movie called the Search For the Real Mount Sinai.






For more:
Blogizomai - The Search For the Real Mount Sinai
Blogizomai - MacArthur & The Attacks on the Bible
Blogizomai - Digital Media and Scholarship: The Dead Sea Scrolls Goes Online

All Around the Web: Links For Your Weekend - February 25, 2012



HT: Trevin Wax


CNN Belief Blog - Jeremy Lin emerges as emblem of burgeoning Asian-American Christianity | Let's begin with a little bit of Jeremy Lin, and in this case, his pastor.




See also a similar story on Jeremy Lin at the same site here.


Ross Douthat - The ‘Safe, Legal, Rare’ Illusion | New York Times conservative columnist nails it on an issues that gets overlooked. Liberals claim that easy access automatically leads to lower "unwanted" pregnancies. Simply put, they're wrong. You can't separate sex from consequences period.

To begin with, a lack of contraceptive access simply doesn’t seem to be a significant factor in unplanned pregnancy in the United States. When the Alan Guttmacher Institute surveyed more than 10,000 women who had procured abortions in 2000 and 2001, it found that only 12 percent cited problems obtaining birth control as a reason for their pregnancies. A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of teenage mothers found similar results: Only 13 percent of the teens reported having had trouble getting contraception.

At the same time, if liberal social policies really led inexorably to fewer unplanned pregnancies and thus fewer abortions, you would expect “blue” regions of the country to have lower teen pregnancy rates and fewer abortions per capita than demographically similar “red” regions.

But that isn’t what the data show. Instead, abortion rates are frequently higher in more liberal states, where access is often largely unrestricted, than in more conservative states, which are more likely to have parental consent laws, waiting periods, and so on. “Safe, legal and rare” is a nice slogan, but liberal policies don’t always seem to deliver the “rare” part.

What’s more, another Guttmacher Institute study suggests that liberal states don’t necessarily do better than conservative ones at preventing teenagers from getting pregnant in the first place. Instead, the lower teenage birth rates in many blue states are mostly just a consequence of (again) their higher abortion rates. Liberal California, for instance, has a higher teen pregnancy rate than socially conservative Alabama; the Californian teenage birth rate is only lower because the Californian abortion rate is more than twice as high.

These are realities liberals should keep in mind when tempted to rail against conservatives for rejecting the intuitive-seeming promise of “more condoms, fewer abortions.” What’s intuitive isn’t always true, and if social conservatives haven’t figured out how to make all good things go together in post-sexual-revolution America, neither have social liberals
.


First Thoughts -Freedoms in the Future | This is frightening. This is why the debate over health care and marriage are so crucial for our future and for our freedoms.

Adoption services: Catholic Charities in Massachusetts refused to place children with same-sex couples as required by Massachusetts law. After a legislative struggle — during which the Senate president said he could not support a bill “condoning discrimination” — Catholic Charities pulled out of the adoption business in 2006.

Housing: In New York City, Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine, a school under Orthodox Jewish auspices, banned same-sex couples from its married dormitory. New York does not recognize same-sex marriage, but in 2001, the state’s highest court ruled Yeshiva violated New York City’s ban on sexual orientation discrimination. Yeshiva now allows all couples in the dorm.

Parochial schools: California Lutheran High School, a Protestant school in Wildomar, holds that homosexuality is a sin. After the school suspended two girls who were allegedly in a lesbian relationship, the girls’ parents sued, saying the school was violating the state’s civil rights act protecting gay men and lesbians from discrimination. The case is before a state judge.

Medical services: A Christian gynecologist at North Coast Women’s Care Medical Group in Vista, Calif., refused to give his patient in vitro fertilization treatment because she is in a lesbian relationship, and he claimed that doing so would violate his religious beliefs. (The doctor referred the patient to his partner, who agreed to do the treatment.) The woman sued under the state’s civil rights act. The California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in May 2008, and legal experts believe that the woman’s right to medical treatment will trump the doctor’s religious beliefs. One justice suggested that the doctors take up a different line of business.

Psychological services: A mental health counselor at North Mississippi Health Services refused therapy for a woman who wanted help in improving her lesbian relationship. The counselor said doing so would violate her religious beliefs. The counselor was fired. In March 2001, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit sided with the employer, ruling that the employee’s religious beliefs could not be accommodated without causing undue hardship to the company.

Civil servants: A clerk in Vermont refused to perform a civil union ceremony after the state legalized them. In 2001, in a decision that side-stepped the religious liberties issue, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that he did not need to perform the ceremony because there were other civil servants who would. However, the court did indicate that religious beliefs do not allow employees to discriminate against same-sex couples.

Adoption services: A same-sex couple in California applied to Adoption Profiles, an Internet service in Arizona that matches adoptive parents with newborns. The couple’s application was denied based on the religious beliefs of the company’s owners. The couple sued in federal district court in San Francisco. The two sides settled after the adoption company said it will no longer do business in California.

Wedding services: A same sex couple in Albuquerque asked a photographer, Elaine Huguenin, to shoot their commitment ceremony. The photographer declined, saying her Christian beliefs prevented her from sanctioning same-sex unions. The couple sued, and the New Mexico Human Rights Commission found the photographer guilty of discrimination. It ordered her to pay the lesbian couple’s legal fees ($6,600). The photographer is appealing.

Wedding facilities: Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association of New Jersey, a Methodist organization, refused to rent its boardwalk pavilion to a lesbian couple for their civil union ceremony. The couple filed a complaint with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. The division ruled that the boardwalk property was open for public use, therefore the Methodist group could not discriminate against gay couples using it. In the interim, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection revoked a portion of the association’s tax benefits. The case is ongoing.

Youth groups: The city of Berkeley, Calif., requested that the Sea Scouts (affiliated with the Boy Scouts) formally agree to not discriminate against gay men in exchange for free use of berths in the city’s marina. The Sea Scouts sued, claiming this violated their beliefs and First Amendment right to the freedom to associate with other like-minded people. In 2006, the California Supreme Court ruled against the youth group. In San Diego, the Boy Scouts lost access to the city-owned aquatic center for the same reason. While these cases do not directly involve same-sex unions, they presage future conflicts about whether religiously oriented or parachurch organizations may prohibit, for example, gay couples from teaching at summer camp. In June 2008, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals asked the California Supreme Court to review the Boy Scouts’ leases. Meanwhile, the mayor’s office in Philadelphia revoked the Boy Scouts’ $1-a-year lease for a city building
.


The Point (John Stonestreet) - Coke, Candy and Contraception | Stonestreet nails it regarding the Plan B pills in vending machines.

The imagery here is stark: contraception as convenient as sodas and candy bars? Sexuality has been so divorced from healthy relationships that we now seek to address any and all consequences privately without having to answer for our behavior to another human being. Enabling thoughtless sexual behavior by making it more convenient and less interpersonal trivializes what God intended for intimate human relationships.

The young adults I work with don’t need more sexual brokenness, they need less
.


CNN Belief Blog - Jimmy Carter writes about his faith |




Church History Blog - Introducing Charles Finney |

Generally speaking, Charles Finney (1792-1875) is not very highly respected by Reformed writers and preachers. He rarely gets a mention. But he remains one of Christianity’s most effective representatives.

A passionate and powerful Evangelist, Finney was often compared to Whitefield and Wesley by his friends. Yet he is sometimes portrayed as little more than a charlatan by those who were offended by his theology. Even as good a man as DM Lloyd-Jones spoke disparagingly of Finney’s ‘so-called’ converts!

Yet the distance of history may permit a measure of objectivity
.


The Gospel Coalition - Know Your Evangelicals: Charles Colson |

Why You Should Know About Him: Other than the apostle Paul, there are few ex-prisoners who have done more to fulfill the duties of a Christian than Charles Colson. Along with Prison Fellowship, he has overseen the founding of Justice Fellowship (the nation's largest faith-based criminal justice reform group) and Angel Tree (a program that provides Christmas presents to more than 500,000 children of inmates annually on behalf of their incarcerated parents). The ministries now reach more than 40,000 prisoners in 100 countries around the world.

As an author, Colson has written some of the most influential books in the evangelical community, including The Body and How Now Shall We Live? (both co-written with Nancy Pearcey). His Kingdoms in Conflict (1987), a centrist view of the relationship between church and state, is one of my personal favorites. He is also the co-author, along with the late Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, of Evangelicals and Catholics Together, a seminal document that provoked questions such as, "Is the Reformation over?" but also brought him under heavy criticism from fellow evangelicals for underestimating profound theological differences that remain.

Colson was also a co-drafter of the Manhattan Declaration, a "clarion call to the church to take a stand on three vital issues: The sanctity of life, the dignity of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and religious liberty
."


Wall Street Journal - Sex, Lies and Rick Santorum | Exactly right.

When Barack Obama was campaigning for president in 2008, he declared that marriage is between a man and a woman. For the most part, his position was treated as a nonissue. 

Now Rick Santorum is campaigning for president. He too says that marriage is between a man and a woman. What a different reaction he gets.

There's no mystery why. Mr. Santorum is attacked because everyone understands that he means what he says. 

President Obama, by contrast, gets a pass because everyone understands—nudge nudge, wink wink—that he's not telling the truth. The press understands that this is just one of those things a Democratic candidate has to say so he doesn't rile up the great unwashed.

HT:  Denny Burk


Dr. Denny Burk - Why I’m Thankful We’re Keeping Our Name | An interesting article from Dr. Burk.

At the end of the day, however, my concerns about the name change were more than mere sentimentality. As the arguments from both sides mounted up, it became clear that changing the name of the SBC would bring on some significant challenges to our denomination. A name change would have expensive legal consequences, some of them foreseeable and some of them not forseeable. It’s not altogether clear that removing “Southern” from our name would really free us from our past. The historical association could prove more powerful than a rebranding. Changing the name would have the potential not only to sever us from the inglorious aspects of our history but also from the glorious ones—our evangelical doctrine, our ethical stances, our commitment to missions, and the conservative resurgence. And perhaps most important of all, a name change debate had the potential to divide Southern Baptists.

For these reasons and more, it seemed to me that the burden of proof for a name change fell on those who wanted to change it, not on those who wanted to keep it the same. And I never heard anything from anyone that persuaded me that the benefits of changing the name would outweigh the costs. Jimmy Draper confirmed my feelings in his report to the Executive Committee when he said precisely that:

We believe that the potential benefits of a name change do not outweigh the potential risks that would be involved in a legal name change. Renaming the Convention would require a great cost in dollars, in energy, as well as re-branding the name to recapture the meaning that our name now represents. The value of the name change does not justify the risks involved
.


Fox News - What's a 'Fair Share' for Taxes |




LA Times - Nomophobia -- fear of being without your phone -- is on the rise | Welcome to our new world.

Do you feel anxious if your cellphone isn't nearby?

Does just the thought of losing your phone make your heart pound?

Do you keep an extra phone on hand, just in case your primary phone breaks?

Do you sometimes take it to bed with you?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you may be a nomophobe, and you are not alone.

Nomophobia -- the fear of being without your cellphone -- is on the rise, according to a new report sponsored by SecurEnvoy, a company that specializes in digital passwords.

Using the online polling service OnePull, SecurEnvoy found that 66% of the 1,000 people surveyed in the United Kingdom say they fear losing or being without their phone.

Just four years ago a similar survey found that only 53% of people suffered from nomophobia (no-mobile-phobia)
.


Ice Age 4 is coming!






Friday, February 24, 2012

Repost | The Dark Reality of Secular Eschatology: Saving the Planet With One Child at a Time

There are three basic reasons why many reject manmade global warming alarmism.  First, its freezing.  Just look at some of the news headlines this week.  I sit at a computer in Kentucky with the heat cranked up freezing to death and won't be going anywhere for a number of days due to the freezing tempatures and snow.  I don't remember the last time this sort of weather arrived this early in the winter season.

Secondly, to many the environmental movement appears to be more about politics than science.  It seems that for the majority of those that warn us of the coming secular apocalypse want social, distribution of wealth, bigger government, and higher taxes.  To many, such political ambitions and "solutions" to our natural problem appears rather suspicious.

The third reason many reject manmade global warming is due to some of the crazies that support it.  Admittedly most who fear the results of global warming and the melting of the polar ice caps are sane people, but like any group, there are some (many it seems at times) that promote, say, and defend crazy ideas.  We are told to worry about the moose population because of the amount of methane they pass.  We're told to paint our roofs white.  We're told to change our light bulbs, eat local, go vegan, or even to stop breeding in order to save the planet.  To those unwilling to commit to the cause of saving the planet from climate change, it is the fear of being associated with persons like these that cause them to hesitate.

Sometimes all three of these seem to come together.  Consider for example what is going on in Cancun right now.  One would think that of all places, Cancun, Mexico would be a safe, warm place to have a major climate change summit and yet while leaders and thinkers from around the world discuss how to save the planet, Cancun is experiencing some of its coolest weather on record.  Ironic is it not.  Furthermore, some of the blather coming out of the meeting only reaffirms why many hesitate to support this movement and why it is loosing public support around the globe.

Perhaps the most telling of how crazy this movement has become comes from CNN founder and billionaire Ted Turner who suggested that it is time for the world to consider adopting China's (a communist country) one-child policy in order to save the planet.  Like others in the movement (remember James Lee who stormed a Discovery Channel building in Washington, DC angry over their airing of shows that propagate large families?), Turner seems to believe that overpopulation and breeding are causing global warming and the only way to save the planet is through increased abortions, eugenics, and sterilizations.  Turner said:

If we're going to be here [as a species] 5,000 years from now, we're not going to do it with seven billion people.

It is important to understand that Turner's worldview isn't in isolation.  He isn't the first to make such an assertion.  Whether or not he realizes that China has enforced this policy through violence, imprisonment, and murder is beside the point.  Turning to a communist country with severe human rights violations is shocking enough, but to suggest that the world population should be subject to the hands of murderous dictators that determine from a distance who should have children and how many is diabolical.  But, again, Turner is serious and many in the movement agree with him.

We could easily chronicle countless examples of global warming alarmist making such assertions.  One group known as the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement are promoting voluntary sterilization where persons choose not to reproduce.  Others, as with Turner here, are more forceful in their assertions.  If sterilization and one-child policies are to be a reality, government must resort to policing everything and freedom must become a thing of the past.

It is at this point that we must realize that what is going on here is more than just another soundbite from someone who has fallen off their rocker.  No.  Instead what is happening here is a revelation of how theology and worldviews affect our convictions, beliefs, and words.  I believe that Turner believes what he is saying here.  And if he recants of his statement, then I know for sure that millions around the world echo his sentiment.  But before we write such ideas off we need to understand that once one rejects a creating, sustaining, sovereign, providential God and embrace a secular worldview with its own view of creation, matter, and eschatology, this sort of nonsense makes sense.  If you really believe that humans are destroying the planet, then it is logical to conclude that the only answer to the problem is to destroy humans and if Mother Nature is the most transcendent reality (out of a rejection of God) in one's theology, then saving Her is of the utmost importance.

Christian eschatology trusts that our Sovereign Lord is in control of everything including the end.  We don't fear environmental disasters because we know that Mother Nature is in the hands of God, not the other way around.  This does not mean that being caretakers of the planet is unnecessary, but that buying into secular eschatologies and environmental alarmism that denies the truth about the Creator of the universe is needless.  Turner perfectly illustrates why a more faithful, biblical understanding of theology is central to life including when it comes to shaping public policy.  Are we trying to solve a problem that does not exist?  If so, then could we not better spend our money, tax dollars, minds, and efforts elsewhere?

Furthermore, when one rejects a right view of God, humans become a disease rather than a blessing.  Forced abortions and sterilization, not to mention an increase in eugenics, infanticide, and euthanasia are rooted in a theology that denies the dignity and sanctity of life in every person.  The very thought of sacrificing our own in order to please the gods of nature sounds more like pagan civilizations that practice human sacrifice than like an enlightened society that promotes freedom, human autonomy, and civilized advancement.  Worldviews like Turner seek to spill more blood and return us to an age of barbarism than towards secular Utopia.

So Christians need not to be surprised, but they do need to be better armed.  What is happening here is the outworkings of theology, not craziness.  Turner hasn't lost his mind, he is only articulating the logical end of his worldview.  Christians must respond to such dangerous thinking with more than outrage (though outrage is warranted here), but also with the gospel.  The gospel returns us to the God of the gospel who not only created us but has redeemed us though we are rebels.  When we see each other value as evidenced in the cross we look for solutions to life's problems (ecological or something else) that do not lead to death and sterilization.  Instead, we seek to glorify the God who has sacrificed Himself for us instead of thinking that we must sacrifice our children for the god of nature.


OneNewsNow - Ted Turner: Fewer children would reduce global warming 


For more:
Blogizomai - The Real Solution to Global Warming:  Human Extinction
Blogizomai - The Power and Danger of Worldviews - What James Lee Teaches Us About Our Worldview 
Blogizomai - The Gospel and Environmentalism:  Why Christians Are Rightly Uneasy With Modern Environmentalism (Part 1)
Blogizomai - The Gospel and Environmentalism:  Why Christians Are Rightly Uneasy With Modern Environmentalism (Part 2)
Blogizomai - Secular Eschatology 
Blogizomai - Married With Children . . . Lot's of Them!
Blogizomai - Williams: Environmentalists' Wild Predictions
Blogizomai - An Hour A Year Will Keep The Planet From Tears: The Lunacy of Earth Hour
Blogizomai - "No Impact Man": An Oxymoron?
Short-Blogizomai - The Religion of Environmentalism
Short-Blogizomai - An Inconvenient Hypocrisy  
Short-Blogizomai - An Inconvenient Hypocrisy, Part 2
Short-Blogizomai - Gore Divorce Contributing to Global Warming
Short-Blogizomai - The Weather Outside is Frightful: I have a Question to Ask
Short-Blogizomai - Ironic Isn't It? Global Warming and the Obama Express
Short-Blogizomai - Glenn Beck Exposes NBC's Green is Universal Scam
Short-Blogizomai - Stop Global Warming, Eat a Kangaroo
Short-Blogizomai - Global Warming To Blame For Recording Setting Cold

Repost | The "Personhood" of Animals: The Argument is Made . . . Again

Should animals have rights? According to a recent article, perhaps they do. Some scientists are arguing that some animals, namely ones like dolphins, should have rights as "non-human persons." Though the particular article does not mention him, Dr. Peter Singer is perhaps the biggest proponent of such an idea. Though he may not have coined the phrase, he has certainly popularized it. His deep belief in evolution has led to his radical defense of animal rights over his more radical defense of abortion, euthanasia, and even infanticide.

It works this way: evolution explains everything. Evolution implies some life is worth living and some aren't. Those who are stronger thrive, while the weak die out. How do you determine the difference between those worth life and those unworthy of it? Singer suggests that we should separate human from personhood. Those declared persons should be given rights that should be protected. To kill a person is murder. To kill a non-person is not. Not all humans are persons and not all persons are humans. Dolphins, in Singer's and others like him minds, are persons because they are "intelligent," and are conscience. An unborn (or even a born) human, however, does not (especially if they are handicapped). To kill an infant (born or not yet born) with Down Syndrome is not murder because the child is not a person, just merely a human. However, to kill a dolphin intentionally (or unintentionally for that matter) is an act of murder because a person (a non-human person) has been killed.

This clearly means that under such a worldview (a theology if you will), some animals have more dignity than the children of those who make such an argument. It is a frightening worldview to say the least. However, one must admit that if evolution is true, then Singer and company are on to something. Evolution implies, and Singer correctly adopts, that humans and animals are not different from one another. Common ancestry clearly means that monkey is a goat is a human is a pig. We are all animals.

In his book, Practical Ethics, Singer writes about the unethical protection of an infant born with Down Syndrome, even against the mother's wishes:

In this case a human being was kept alive, against the wishes of her mother, and at a cost of thousands of dollars, despite the fact that she would never be able to live an independent life, or to think and talk as normal humans do. Contrast this with the casual way in which we take the lives of stray dogs, experimental monkeys and beef cattle. What justifies the difference? -Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 73

Here, Singer compares a handicap child to a stray dog, experimental monkeys, and cattle born with the purpose of being turned into a McDonald's burger. If we are mere animals, then what we do to some in the animal kingdom can and should be practiced against weak humans like Down Syndrome babies.

But not every human or animal should be relegated to becoming a Big Mac. Those given the status of personhood ought to be protected by the State (run by only human-persons of course). If some animals are also persons, then this means that humans have committed atrocities that have gone unpunished. Singer himself wonders, "Are we turning persons into bacon?" -Practical Ethics, 98-99

This is exactly the sort of theology that led Hitler on a rampage against Jews, the handicap, non-Germans, and many other "humans" that he deemed unworthy of life. Grounded in an evolutionary worldview, Hitler rightly determined that the strong will survive while the weak will die out. The evolutionary Utopia could be realized once the weak are removed and the only the strong reproduce without their genes being tainted with non-persons like the Jews and the unwanted.

History seems to be repeating itself.

Contrast this with the Christian worldview. Evolution is a theology of death while Christianity is a theology of life. Only the gospel can explain why the face of a child with Tricomy is more beautiful than the airbrushed photo of the model on the front of Cosmopolitan magazine. Christianity see beauty in all of life because all life originates with God. Dignity does not exist in the Naturalists vocabulary.

As for the dolphins I remain perplexed as to why the obvious will not be admitted. If dolphins should be considered as persons, then perhaps they form a union, march on Washington, sing "We Shall Overcome," and lobby Congress for their rights. The very fact that only human-persons are having this conversation proves that God has made us unique. This does not mean that dolphins and other animals should be mistreated or abused, for God also created them for His glory. What it does mean is that humans, all humans, have dignity unique to that of the animal kingdom. And until animals hire a lawyer and lobby for their rights, let us treat them like animals. We shouldn't loose sleep over the fear that we have turned the image of God into bacon.


For More:
R. Albert Mohler, Jr. - Humans in Zoos - A Perfect Parable of Confusion
The Silence is Deafening: What the Michael Vick Soga Teaches Us About the Unborn
God Milk? PETA Request Replacing Cow Milk With Human Milk in Ice Cream
Apes Officially Have Rights in Spain

Repost | Blessed Are the Bombmakers: Turning Jesus' Gospel Into a Political Cause

Would Jesus have dropped the bomb onto Nagasaki in 1945?  What Jesus drop any bomb in any war, skirmish, or battle for that matter?  That's the question recently posed and rejected by a number of moderate Evangelicals including Tony Campolo and Greg Boyd.  The point of the video is to show a number of evangelicals standing against our corrupt world that is in love with war.  They make their argument based on Jesus' teachings of love, forgiveness, and nonviolence.

I should make it clear that I firmly believe that Jesus is loving, merciful, and compassionate, but to apply these things to war is a bit of a stretch.  Jesus was not against using violence in the context of righteous anger.  Perhaps twice (depends on how one interprets John 2) Jesus used violence to clean the temple of profiting legalism.  In John 2 Jesus is seen using a whip driving out sellers and venders knocking over tables in the process.  If Jesus was completely against using violence, then please explain the clearing of the temple.

But my concern is how easily we take selective teachings of Jesus out of their context and apply them to areas like politics.  Would Jesus have dropped a bomb in a time of war?  We cannot say for sure because Jesus never addressed the issue.  Jesus didn't come to debate the military efforts of Rome, but to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10).  Jesus didn't speak regarding the federal governments budget and its spending on the military because He was busy preaching the gospel and the Kingdom of God.

It is dangerous for us to make such a leap and apply the Sermon on the Mount to issues of war.  Traditionally Christians have not been against war, but have supported the Just War theory as developed by theologians like Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas.  The reason such a theory was developed is because the Bible, at least in the New Testament, never really addresses the issue of how Christians are to respond to issues of war and the military.  The early Christians did not join the military because to do so would require them to pay homage to Caesar and to worship the pagan gods.  However, once those pagan requirements were ended, many Christians joined the army and still do.  That doesn't make it right, but it does set an interesting precedent.

So how does the New Testament deal with soldiers?  In Matthew 8 and Luke 7, Jesus performs a miracle in behalf of a military leaders never addressing or condoning his acts as a soldier.  In Luke 3 soldiers approached John the Baptist seeking repentance and instead of asking them to leave the military, John tells them to simply "not [to] extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages" (Luke 3:14).  Furthermore, throughout the New Testament the language of being a soldier of Christ is frequent.  In Philippians 2:25, Epaphraditus is described as a faithful soldier of Christ (see also Philemon 2).  2Timothy 2:3 exhorts Christians to "share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus."  

The point of this is to show that the New Testament does not always paint the military in an evil way but in fact uses the picture of the soldier to illustrate how to live as a Christian.  Furthermore, when the New Testament deals with persons in the military they never tell them to abandon the army, but to rather repent.

This is the message that is so often missing from many evangelicals and Jesus-loving-people.  We take Jesus out of context and apply it to things He was never addressing.  Yes Jesus wants us to love our neighbors including our military enemies, but that does not mean one cannot join the army.  At the same time that does not mean that one must join the army.  Jesus never ran for political office or boycotted a particular policy.  He never treated Pontus Pilate or King Herod with disrespect.  Instead He preached the gospel.

The reason for this seemingly lack of concern for the politics of the day should be obvious.  Politics and civil law can only control the outside, it cannot change the inside.  Certainly politics and government have an important role, but it alone cannot turn people into loving citizens.  We need the gospel to do that.  Jesus and the early Christians cared more about spreading the gospel to the ends of the Roman Empire and beyond in order to change hearts, not voting habits.

Whenever Christians raise questions like, "would Jesus drop a bomb?" we must remember that such a question misses the point.  Instead of spending all of our energy on political policy, perhaps we should spend more time preaching the good news of the Kingdom.  Let us spend our time, efforts, and money on calling on men everywhere to repent just like Jesus and the apostles did.  This does not mean that we can't debate issues of war or military tactics, but it does mean that our priorities need to be set straight.  The gospel is what will bring real hope and change, not the Whitehouse or public policy.

So would Jesus drop a bomb is the wrong question.  How did He preach the gospel?  Now that is the right question.



Jonathan Brink - Would Jesus Drop a Bomb? 


For more:
Commentary - Where the Gospel and Politics Collide: The Separation of State and Church  (Part 1)
Commentary - Where the Gospel and Politics Collide:  Under God or Under Government? (Part 2)
Commentary - Where the Gospel and Politics Collide:  The Necessity of Government in a Fallen World (Part 3)
Commentary - What would Jesus Vote?:  Jesus, Health Care, and the Gospel
Commentary - Have We Forgotten the Gospel?:  Glenn Beck, Social Justice, and the Gospel

Thursday, February 23, 2012

White House Statement on Nadarkhani

Today, the White House and the Obama administration released an important public statement regarding Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani who it has been announced will in fact face execution due to his apostacy when converting to Christianity. Here is the statement released from the Obama administration.

The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms reports that Iranian authorities’ reaffirmed a death sentence for Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani for the sole reason of his refusal to recant his Christian faith.  This action is yet another shocking breach of Iran’s international obligations, its own constitution, and stated religious values.  The United States stands in solidarity with Pastor Nadarkhani, his family, and all those who seek to practice their religion without fear of persecution—a fundamental and universal human right.  The trial and sentencing process for Pastor Nadarkhani demonstrates the Iranian government’s total disregard for religious freedom, and further demonstrates Iran's continuing violation of the universal rights of its citizens.  The United States calls upon the Iranian authorities to immediately lift the sentence, release Pastor Nadarkhani, and demonstrate a commitment to basic, universal human rights, including freedom of religion.  The United States renews its calls for people of conscience and governments around the world to reach out to Iranian authorities and demand Pastor Nadarkhani's immediate release.


White House - Statement by the Press Secretary on the Case of Iranian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani

Repost | The Gospel and Environmentalism: Why Christians Are Rightly Uneasy With MOdern Environmentalism - Part 2

Yesterday we discussed why man Christians are hesitant to participate in environmentalism as it is currently being promoted.  In short, there is good reasons why Christians are hesitant.  By the way environmentalism is portrayed in the culture, Christians would be forced to abandon their faith and sell their souls in order to participate.  But the three reasons I offered,* are not the only reasons why Christians are hesitant.  Here are two added reasons for doubt.

ENVIRONMENTALISM IS RIDDLED WITH FANATICISM

As one who has followed the environmentalist movement, one of the things that makes me scratch my head is the fanaticism that permeates the movement.  Perhaps it can be explained by its religious-like devotion that many have for the movement, but regardless, many environmentalists believe and promote the craziest ideas.

Perhaps we are all aware of the comedic petition that sought to ban Dihydrogen Monoxide.  The petition against Dihydrogen Monoxide was presented as a dangerous substance and sure enough, without asking questions, many tree-loving individuals signed the petition giving their support to ban Dihydrogen Monoxide.  What is Dihydrogen Monoxide?  H2O.  Water.

But one doesn't need to look at Dihydrogen Monoxide for proof of the fanaticism of environmentalists.  Many have sought to ban even the most mundane of objects in life on the potential threat it may cause to global warming.  Recently a town banned bottled water because bottles are not biodegradable and destroy our ozone.  When the average American hears of such nonsense, they simply roll their eyes and go about their business.  Christians are no different.

But it goes beyond bottled water, light bulbs, gas millage, appliances, wind mills, and other fanatacal pushes made by environmentalists, its the logic of the movement.  Anytime one is confronted with a worldview, one must ask where this worldview ultimately leads.  For example, evolution implies that God does not exist and morality is relative.  Can you guess were that will lead?

Likewise, the global warming movement leads us down a dangerous path.  Briefly, we should admit that the small solutions offered by alarmists aren't enough to stem the tide of global disaster.  Even if I take shorter showers and get groceries using a reusable bag, these changes will not prevent global warming.  Why?  Because I am the problem, not my grocery bags.  Alarmists suggests that CO2 is the cause of global warming which is what we breathe out.  Therefore, we only have two options to save the planet:  (1) stop breathing out, or (2) die.

Is this not where the movement leads us?  I am not suggesting for one minute that environmentalists think we should all just kill ourselves (though some do, see the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement for example).  What I am suggesting is that this is the logical conclusion of the movement.  If we are the problem at the end of the day, then the only solution is for us to eliminate ourselves.

It is no secret that environmentalists say some of the strangest things and promote some of the strangest things, thus forcing Christians to want to keep their distance.

ENVIRONMENTALISM IS HYPOCRITICAL

Christians are oftentimes accused of being hypocritical and rightly so.  Christians certainly aren't perfect and the process of sanctification can at times be slower than we might want.  But one can easily point to the hypocrisy of the environmental movement.  For example, a few years ago on Earth Day there was concerts on every continent (except Antarctica of course).  The environmentalists prophet, former vice president Al Gore, sought to make an appearance at many of those concerts. The hypocrisy?  Gore was forced to fly his private jet around the world and environmentalists hate jets because of the pollution they create.

Environmentalism is full of this sort of hypocrisy.  If cars contribute to global warming, then driving a smart car or a hybrid aren't enough.  We must instead stop driving.  But you can't walk either because by breathing we contribute to global warming.  Its an unending cycle of hypocrisy.  You just can't win.

Environmentalists writes books which destroy trees.  They drive to protests and speeches which contributes to global warming.  They are consistently living as hypocrites.  From the Christians perspective, it looks as if they are quick to criticize our lifestyle without first thinking seriously about theirs.

CONCLUSION

Though more reasons for the hesitancy of Christians toward the environmentalist movement the five presented in this and the previous posts should make the point clear.  Unless the environmental movement move away from idolatry, politics, and its lunacy, don't expect Christians to be ready to dive in and support it.  This does not mean that Christians do not care for the planet, but refuse to participate in the movement as it currently presents itself.


For More:
Blogizomai - The Gospel and Environmentalism:  Why Christians Are Rightly Uneasy With MOdern Environmentalism (Part 1)
Blogizomai - Even Environmentalists Need An Easter:  What Christians Can Learn on Earth Day
Blogizomai - Mohler:  Is Cap and Trade for Babies Next? 
Blogizomai -  The Real Solution to Global Warming:  Human Extinction  



The three reasons I offered in the previous post were:  (1)Environmentalism is Oftentimes a Form of Idolatry, (2) Environmentalism is Too Political, (3) Environmentalism Confuses the Gospel with the Social Gospel.

Repost | The Gospel and Environmetalism: Why Christians Are Rightly Uneasy With Modern Environmentalism

In light of the recent oil disaster, many Christians are discussing the issue of environmentalism and what our role is in protecting and exercising dominion over the environment.  Recently, one of my favorite theologians and professors, Dr. Russell Moore, made the case as to why Christians care for the environment and I agree with much that he says in that article.  Many more political conservatives (and even some Christians) have show a lack of worry or concern for the environment in light of the BP disaster.  Some have argued that the environment will take care of itself.  Their proof is that every day the earth naturally seeps oil and cleans itself up.  It does this sort of thing everyday, so why worry about it now.

But what about the Christian worldview?  Certainly there are no easy answers to this question, but perhaps we should begin by discussing why many Christians are hesitant in getting behind any conservation or environmental cause.  Few, if any, Christians are in favor of harming the planet, and that is not what is being argued.  Every Christian understands that God has given us the responsibility to take care of His creation.  The question is should we protect the earth, but how do we?  Ought we to join the likes of Al Gore, Earth Day, global warming, and animal rights activists?

So why are so many conservative Christians hesitant about environmentalism as it is being practiced today?

ENVIRONMENTALISM IS OFTENTIMES A FORM OF IDOLATRY

Perhaps the number one reason why many Christians refuse to join environmental causes or even to raise the alarm regarding many environmental concerns is because the modern environmental movement is reminiscent of a religion.  Certainly language and almost worship of "Mother Earth" is common among the most ardent defenders of the planet, but it goes much farther than that.

Environmental preachers oftentimes speak in terms similar to sin and repentance.  One commits a sin if they drive a Hummer or refuse to buy Energy Star appliances.  The reason is because such sins of commission harm the planet.  Likewise, the sins of omission are just as condemned.  If one forgets to turn off their lights or overlook litter on the side of the road, they are chastised as sinners against our planet.

Just watch an environmentalists and a conservative debate on TV.  The environmentalists speaks in accusational language suggesting that unless the opposing sinner repents of their global warming causing actions, we are all subject to the judgment of Almighty Mother Earth.

And of course if there is sin, there must be a way to make amends.  Repentance is the Christian term and environmentalists speak the language.  One can repent of their global warming-causing ways by driving a hybrid or supporting a tree-hugging Democrat.  One cannot have it both ways.  Either one will repent and not wear fur or else they will remain subject to the wrath of the god of the environmentalists.

And with any religion, there must be one figure that transcends everything; a prophet, a leader, or even a Messiah-like figure.  In recent years that person must be Al Gore.  I doubt very seriously that any tree-hugger sees in Gore a messiah, but certainly they treat him like a prophet.  Gore's "An Inconvientant Truth" is like divine revelation and Gore stands as a prophet warning the people about our sinful ways.  He is calling on us to repent, lest we be doomed.

No wonder Christians are leery of joining anything like this.  When environmentalists are presented to the public they appear more idolatrous than anything else.  Christians understand that everyone worships someone and if one pours their heart and passion into environmentalism, perhaps it too will become their god.  As a result, Christians stay at a distance less they become trapped to the wiles of global warming alarmism.

ENVIRONMENTALISM IS TOO POLITICAL

Christians are accused of being too political and for good reason.  We do need a healthy dose of standing back and re-examining our priorities and loyalties, but the religion of environmentalism is no different.  Many Christians believe in small government and such an idea is embedded in the Baptist denomination.  Christians see in a large government a return to persecution and therefore do not want to see a bloated government get bigger.

Environmentalism, at least in how it is popularly presented, seems to want nothing more than bigger government.  We can all disagree on the dangers and benefits of the size of government, but one must agree that environmentalists are placing their hopes in government more than anything.

Global warming is case in point.  The solutions that many environmentalists offer to resolve the problem of global warming is purely political.  In frustration of the people not repenting, alarmists have turned to government for solutions.  Environmentalists wants the government to enact cafe standards on car companies, regulate what kind of light bulbs we can buy, buy more property in order to prevent evil corporations or citizens from destroying it, and taxing one's or one's companies carbon footprint.

For many, the problem with global warming isn't necessarily the science (though many have their doubts), but about the real motive behind it.  Some wonder if global warming is an euphemism for liberal socialism where government grows and person liberties shrink.  As a Christian who observes the political process rather than placing his trust in government, I must admit that it seems that way.  "If the sinners won't repent," the argument seems to be going, "then make the government force their hand."

Is it any surprise that the prophet of environmentalism is the former vice president of the United States?

ENVIRONMENTALISM CONFUSES THE GOSPEL WITH A MORE SOCIAL GOSPEL

Christians have seen this before.  We have been accused of only caring about heaven at the cost of earth before.  Though there may be some truth to that, I don't think its necessarily true.  Moderate Chrsitians who have joined the chorus to save the planet sound more like Walter Rauschenbush than they do the Apostle Paul.  Rauschenbush was an important figure in the social gospel movement of a hundred years ago.  He argued that the Kingdom of God (as proclaimed by Jesus Christ) was primarily a present reality, not a future hope.  Therefore, Christians must focus primarily (read only) on social issues like poverty, racism, war, injustice, and enviornmentalism.

Many in the Evangelical world that pushes environmentalism seem to have adopted the latest form of the social gospel.  From such individuals, little is said regarding the real gospel of substitution, the cross, and the ressurection.  Yes many Christians have taught a "fire insurance" gospel that turns salvation into a prayer rather than a call to repent and become a disciple, but that is no excuse to go to the other extreme.

Christians understand that the end is already determined and the world does not get destroyed by global warming.  We read the prophecies of revelation and see that the prophet Al Gore is wrong about the end.  Though that can make us callous to the challenges around us, it should at least give us some perspective.  Because we reject the idolatry of environmentalism, we must also reject the eschatology (the doctrine of the end times) of environmentalism.

The gospel should move us to environmentalism, not the other way around.  However, in the way that environmentalism is being pushed, many are told that they cannot love Jesus unless they participate in Earth Hour. Christians are rightfully weary of such a message.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, we must admit that Christians have legitimate reasons for rejecting environmentalism as it currently stands.  However, we must add that we must not simply write off concern for the planet completely.  What Christians must do is return to the Scriptures and see what God says about how we must respond to these challenges.  At the end of the day, we must always stand firmly on the gospel of Jesus Christ and let it change the hearts and minds of people.  No petition, politician, or commercial can ever change man's hearts.  Even the government can only change the external.  The gospel, however, is not so limited.

So at the end of the day, we must end where Christians should always begin and end:  with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.  And repentance does not begin with light bulbs. 


For more:
Dr. Russell Moore - The Gulf of Mexico and the Care of Creation
Dr. Denny Burk - Limbaugh vs. Moore 
Commentary - Even Environmentalists Need An Easter:  What Christians Can Learn on Earth Day
Commentary - Mohler:  Is Cap and Trade for Babies Next?


The above photo is taken from CBS News with the caption:    Birds scatter along the shoreline where oil booms were placed in preparation of the looming oil spill from last week's collapse and spill of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, Saturday, May 1, 2010 in Breton National Wildlife Refuge. Wildlife in the region is vulnerable to the looming oil spill from last week's collapse and spill of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.  (AP Photo/Eric Gay)