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News

Saturday Selections – Feb. 24, 2024

Click on the titles below for the linked articles...

Shane & Shane with "You've already won" (7 min)

Love this one – this is why we can take on that scary world out there without fear. Repetitive near the end, but it's a point we'd benefit from hearing on repeat.

Court recognizes frozen IVF embryos as children

The IVF "industry" has frozen hundreds of thousands of embryonic children and killed hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, more. So we can be thankful for a ruling this past week that had the University of Alabama hit the pause button on their IVF treatments.

"Alabama’s IVF industry may be forced to make radical changes in its practices. The sole dissenting justice said as much in his opinion: 'the main opinion’s holding almost certainly ends the creation of frozen embryos through in vitro fertilization (‘IVF’) in Alabama.'"

The case for phone-free schools (10-minute read)

"...Students around the world became less likely to agree with items such as 'I feel like I belong at school,' and more likely to agree with items such as 'I feel lonely at school.' That's roughly when teens went from mostly using flip phones to mostly using smartphones. It's also when Instagram caught fire with girls and young women globally, following its acquisition by Facebook. If we must pick a date for the start of selfie culture and its poisonous levels of visual social comparison, I'd say it's 2012."

Big Tech and the role of families and government

When social media companies do damage to teens and won't self-police, is it time for even the strongest small-government proponents to look to the State to intervene? John Stonestreet makes the case.

Farewell to a pro-life hero

John Barros wore dents in the sidewalk of the abortion clinic he witnessed in front of. He saw horrors. But he also saved babies. As he told his fellow demonstrators "Isn’t it amazing what God will do if you just show up?”

When tree rings go bad

When you hold the marvel of a smartphone in your hand, or consider the complexities that were conquered to put a man on the moon, you might think much of Science and what scientists have been able to do. But there is a difference between that kind of repeatedly and immediately testable science and the very different and much more uncertain historical science that's being used to promote everything from the theory of evolution to the theory of cataclysmic global warming.

There we are dealing with could-haves and maybes, but in adherents' arrogance these findings are too often delivered as discoveries and facts. And now it seems too-certain-by-half might be a thing with tree ring findings too, as John Robson details below.

News

All votes are not equal

Come the next election, the House of Commons is set to add five more seats and see the ridings redistributed. These changes flow from a requirement in our Constitution to do this after each census, to try ensure that each vote in Canada counts about the same when it comes to electing Members of Parliament. Populations change from movement within Canada and immigration, and a representative democracy is supposed to account for this. Yet Globe and Mail columnist Andrew Coyne has shown that the new boundaries don’t come close to representing where Canadians live, resulting in some votes being worth far more than others. Some of his findings included: Labrador, the smallest riding, has just 27,000 people. Contrast this with Edmonton-Wetaskiwin, which has more than 209,000. Both ridings send one MP to Parliament, so a vote in Labrador is worth eight times as much. The average Alberta riding has more than 125,000 people. Contrast this with PEI, where the average riding size is 39,000 people. The four Atlantic provinces and the three northern territories have a population below 2.8 million, yet they have more seats than Alberta, which had 4.8 million as of the 2021 census. The smaller ridings tend to vote Liberal. A total of 43,848 votes elected six Liberal MPs in Newfoundland, PEI, and the territories. This is less than the average number of votes to elect a single MP in the six largest Conservative ridings. Canada’s population has grown by 10 percent since the 2021 Census, with three-quarters of the growth in Alberta, BC, and Ontario, which are all already under-represented in Parliament. This means that the new distribution is already far out of date, even before it takes effect. These inequalities resulted from a series of decisions by our leaders. One of the most significant was the “grandfather clause” of 1985 which decided that a province cannot have fewer seats than it had that year. The most recent redistribution decided that Quebec can’t ever get fewer seats. This means that the only remaining option to restore proportionality is to add seats. But for this to be truly fair, based on Labrador’s population, our House of Commons would need to grow from 337 MPs to 925! That is clearly unrealistic. But adding a measly three to Alberta and one to Ontario and BC doesn’t even come close to being representative. If we were aiming for genuine proportionality, they should be getting 24 new seats. It would be difficult to change the representation in the Senate, as a change to the constitution requires approval from all provinces. But Coyne noted that it could be done in Parliament: “the ‘grandfather clause’ and the rest could all be amended or abolished by simple act of Parliament. Or are we incapable of living up to the same basic democratic principles that apply in other countries?” Of course, other countries aren’t our ultimate standard. A better standard is the basic biblical principles of fairness, justice, and impartiality. As Proverbs 16:11 instructs, “a just balance and scales are the LORD’s.”...

News

Saturday Selections – Feb 3, 2024

Click on the titles below for the linked articles... Make more babies! I don't share enough good news, so here's a fun one. This is a diaper company taking the sort of stand that any self-interested diaper company should logically take - give us more customers! But with all the doom and gloom about population these days, it's probably brave for even a diaper company to come out in favor of babies. While they hang their baby endorsement on a statement from agnostic Elon Musk, there's also an uncredited voice-over recognizable as American's favorite pastor, Billy Graham (or, possibly, his son Franklin). So while they could get bolder – let's explicitly proclaim God's truth as God's truth – these folk are certainly taking some baby steps in the right direction! The price of legalized pot Way more teens are smoking way more marijuana than 10 years ago. And what they're smoking is way more potent than what was around a generation ago. And it's costing many teens their mental stability... Euthanasia normalized by manipulation under the Trudeau government (10 min read) There's been some good news on the state-sanctioned suicide front this week. On March 17 the "eligibility" of death-as-medicine was going to be expanded to include the mentally ill too. Rising costs have made it impossible to find a home? If that left you depressed, the government might have helped, not with more affordable housing, but a prescription of lethal drugs. But on January 29, the federal health minister announced they would suspend, at least for now, this expansion. You can read more, and what to do about it at the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, and ARPA Canada. To find out how we ever got here, read the longer article, from REAL Women of Canada, linked above. Barbara Kay: on "Grave Error: How the media misled us (and the truth about residential schools)" "''Canadians deserve to know the truth,' Federal Opposition leader Pierre Poilievre told reporters earlier this week, regarding 2021 claims made — but never investigated — of unmarked graves at the Kamloops, British Columbia Indian residential school." And there's a new book out highlighting how the media, and some of our elected leaders, steered us wrong. A 21st-century Peasants’ Revolt World traveler and sometime RP contributor Jonathon Van Maren was in Europe this past week to report on the massive farmer protests going on. How we got here - a  transgender documentary (12 min) How did transgenderism shift so quickly from a fringe movement to something taught in our public schools and affirmed by almost all our political leaders? This documentary gets to some of it. While narrator Christopher Rufo doesn't frame it in specifically Christian terms, what he highlights is how transgenderism is seen by its proponents as more than simply surgery, more than a personal decision, more than a struggle some small minority have to deal with: leading proponents view it as an all-encompassing worldview from which we are to interpret all else. Susan Striker, one trans proponent, spoke of his transgender manifesto as a "secular sermon." That gives us all the clue we should need as to how best to counter this movement. Not with Rufo's equally secular response, in which he's left confused enough to refer to Striker with female pronouns. No, what's needed is our own sermon of sorts, but a spiritual one. We need to lead with the facts as God as defined them, that He defines our gender. ...

News

Understanding the war in Gaza

On October 7, 2023, the terrorist organization Hamas launched an attack on Israel from Gaza that killed about 1400 Israeli civilians. Hamas also took over 200 hostages. The brutality of the attack was staggering, and there are reports of Hamas terrorists recording videos of their own gleefulness as they committed atrocities against Jewish women and children. In Western countries, thousands of “progressives” began demonstrating in the streets and posting messages on social media in support of the Hamas attacks. Then, as Israel counterattacked into Gaza to prevent further Hamas aggression, progressives demanded that there be a ceasefire to halt Israel’s military advance. In the view of such progressives, the Palestinians of Gaza are an oppressed people under the colonial rule of Israel. But such a view doesn’t understand the history of the region and the current situation. Correcting misinformation To correct the misconceptions, Dr. Willem J. Ouweneel, a prominent evangelical theologian in the Netherlands, quickly put together a small book to help Christians understand the big picture. This book is called Israel and the Palestinians and it was published by Paideia Press within weeks of the terrorist attack. First of all, it’s important to understand that Palestinian Arabs are not the original occupants of the land who were subsequently dispossessed by Jews. Yes, there have been Arabs in Palestine for centuries, and there were Jews living there too for an even longer time. As Ouweneel explains, “There have been Jews living in the Holy Land virtually continuously since the arrival of Israel under the leadership of Moses (about 3,200 to 3,400 years ago).” Yes, many Jews were expelled by the Romans in the first and second centuries AD, but some Jews always remained. It was their original homeland, after all. Arab and Jewish Palestinians The Muslims conquered Jerusalem in 638 and much of the rest of the Middle East during the seventh century. For centuries thereafter the area, revered as the “Holy Land,” remained under Muslim rule – except for a brief interlude when the Crusaders held control. In 1917, during World War One, the British seized it from the Ottoman Empire. Between the two world wars, while the British administered this territory, large numbers of Jews came from other parts of the world to live there. Both the Arab and Jewish residents were known as “Palestinians.” The idea that only Arabs are Palestinians developed later, especially after Israel became a country in 1948. That is, the claim that there is a specifically Arab Palestinian national identity is very recent historically. Palestine partitioned As the number of Jewish people in Palestine surged, their potential military strength grew correspondingly. Tensions between Jews and Arabs increased. The British therefore tossed the “Palestinian issue” hot potato to the United Nations (UN) for a solution. A UN commission proposed partitioning Palestine into the modern country of Israel and an Arab Palestine territory, and this proposal was adopted by the UN. The Jews were jubilant that they would get their own country and they formed the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. The Palestinian Arabs refused to establish their own country, partly due to pressure from neighboring Arab countries. The Arab leadership wanted every inch of Palestine. Those neighboring Arab states immediately launched an all-out attack to wipe Israel off the map in 1948. However, the Arabs lost this conflict, known as Israel’s War of Independence (1948-1949), so Israel was successfully established. The Palestinian Arabs ended up with nothing, because the country of Jordan took control of the West Bank and Egypt took control of the Gaza Strip, both of which territories had been assigned by the UN to the Palestinian Arabs. Ethnic cleansing? At the formation of Israel, about 700,000 Arabs fled the new country and became refugees in surrounding Arab countries. This was encouraged by the Arab states, but Ouweneel notes that “the Jews themselves may have contributed to this Arab departure by intimidating them.” At the same time, though, “around 850,000 Jews were expelled from the surrounding Arab countries. These were Jews whose ancestors had often lived in those Arab countries for centuries.” They were welcomed in Israel. So, it seems that to some degree, there was a form of ethnic cleansing on both sides. Israel is an officially Jewish state, so Arabs who live there “are, in a sense, second-class citizens.” Nevertheless, they enjoy the same democratic rights as Jewish residents. Indeed, there “is no country in the Middle East where Arabic speakers have as many rights as in the land of Israel.” The main point, though, is that Israel is not some sort of Jewish colony in Palestine. Jews have lived there for millennia. Furthermore: “throughout history, there have always been more Jews than Muslims living in Jerusalem. In 1860, when Zionism did not yet exist, there were 11,000 Jews compared to 6,500 Muslims, and in 1906, there were 40,000 Jews compared to 7,000 Muslims. At all times, Jerusalem has been more of a Jewish city than an Arab one.” Muslims cannot accept Israel According to Ouweneel, the bottom line is that the root of the conflict is religious. Muslims believe that since they conquered Palestine in the seventh century, it is and must always belong to the “realm of Allah.” In other words, “it is inconceivable that Jews would ever have their own state in an area that has become part of Allah’s world. This is an abomination to many consistent Muslims, both within and outside the Middle East. For seventy-five years, these Muslims have fervently desired that the state of Israel come to an end as soon as possible.” It is with this in mind that the chant “From the River to the Sea, Palestine must be free” can be properly understood. It means that “all Jews must be expelled (or better yet, killed) from the land, only then will Palestine truly be ‘liberated.’” Due to the deep-seated religious basis of this conflict, then, Ouweneel believes there can be no lasting political solution. The Jews believe strongly in defending their country, and consistent Muslims believe strongly in wiping it out completely. There’s no middle ground. Peace only through Christ However, peace would be possible if both Jews and Muslims in the region turned to Christ. As Ouweneel writes, “The solution is for Jews and Arabs to be reconciled with God individually, in Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:18–20). Then reconciliation with each other will follow naturally.” So, while it’s easy to sympathize with the Israelis rather than their opponents, there is no room for hatred. “We must learn to see in the face of every Muslim a potential Jesus-believer." Indeed, some missionary organizations are reporting that thousands of Muslims are turning to Christ right now. Conclusion Israeli forces have continued to push into Gaza to root out Hamas terrorists. Unfortunately, many civilians are dying as result. Civilian casualties are much higher than they need to be because Hamas uses them as human shields by operating out of schools and hospitals. From the Israeli perspective, if Hamas is not destroyed, its terrorists will continue to commit atrocities against civilians in Israel. Thus, to protect their own people, the military operation in Gaza must continue, despite the unfortunate civilian casualties. Every country has a right to self-defense, and Israel is no different in this regard. Hamas launched its attack on October 7, and Israel is fighting back. Those who are outraged by Israel’s military operation should reflect on the fact that this entire episode is the result of a massacre of Israeli civilians by Hamas. Oct 9 march in New York two days after the attacks with a sign touting the slogan "From the River to the Sea." (Picture credit: Lev Radin / Shutterstock - Top picture credit: Below the Sky / Shutterstock)...

News

Alberta government announces new transgender policies 

Yesterday, the Premier of Alberta, Danielle Smith, announced several transgender policies concerning surgeries, hormone treatment, parental rights, sexual education, and sports. Smith delivered the policies in a video posted on social media. Surgeries and hormone treatments  Smith declared a ban on transgender top and bottom “surgeries” for minors aged 17 and under. Previously, “bottom surgeries,” involving the mutilation of a child’s genitalia, were already prohibited for minors. Levi Minderhoud is the BC Manager at the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA), which has been advocating for these changes through the “Let Kids Be” campaign. He mentions that before this announcement, “top surgeries” – breast removals – were happening to minors: “The National Post reported last year that hundreds of girls in Canada have had mastectomies under the guise of ‘gender-affirming care.’ These are not only medically unnecessary but also cause permanent damage to young women's bodies. Alberta is right to prohibit them for minors.” Additionally, Smith announced the ban on hormone treatments for children aged 15 and under. She clarified that children currently receiving hormones would not be affected. Those aged 16 and 17 could start hormones with approval from parents, a physician, and a psychologist. Parental rights in the classroom Under the new policies, students aged 15 and under who wish to use another name and/or pronouns at school must get parental permission. Students aged 16 and 17 will not require permission, but parents will have to be informed by the school if their child is using a new name or pronouns. Regarding sexual education lessons in the classroom, parents will need to opt-in to every lesson covering sex education, sexual identity, or gender identity. Smith’s decision to implement an opt-in policy, rather than an opt-out policy, is significant, as it could remove contentious presentations from the classroom without facing a major political backlash. If most parents choose not to opt-in, it could lead to the shutdown of these classes if only a few students participate. Female sports   The new rules will also prohibit so-called “transgender female athletes” (aka, men) from participating in female sports. As Smith noted: “There are obvious biological realities that give transgender female athletes a massive competitive advantage over women and girls.” Although Smith failed to articulate that “transgender female” really means “male,” she did affirm the reality of biological differences between males and females (Gen 1:27). Two steps forward, one back It wasn’t all good though. Children 16 and up will still be able to get hormones that may leave them irreversibly sterile. Smith also announced efforts to advance “transgender care” for adults. Currently, Alberta residents seeking transgender surgeries have to travel to Quebec. Smith aims to change this by bringing specialists to Alberta to facilitate these genital mutilations within the province. It’s important to care for those around us struggling with gender dysphoria, but it’s not caring to harm a patient’s body in an attempt to remake them into a gender they can never become. These policies have faced significant backlash from transgender advocacy groups, some arguing that Alberta’s policies surpass the parental rights policies in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.  John Sikkema, Director of Law and Policy for ARPA, expressed gratitude for the announcement, stating: “ARPA is very thankful for Premier Smith’s policy announcement this week. We urge her government to follow through with implementing these sound policy changes, despite the predictable backlash by progressive activist groups and media.” Smith took questions today, at a press conference on these new policies. You can view it below. ...

News

Saturday Selections – Jan 20, 2024

Click on the titles below for the linked articles... Animal Farm redone In a single from his album Lyrical Theology Part 3: Sociology, Reformed rapper Shai Linne does an update on Orwell's Animal Farm. Fauci admits that 6-feet distancing just kind of appeared Scientism existed before COVID, but the cult hit a high then, demanding the media (and social media) treat it as beyond questioning. Anthony Fauci was the key figure in the US, and that made him influential in Canada too. So his admittance here is relevant to us too. Profile good news: Peru to protect the unborn! Jonathon Van Maren reports on how Peru has passed a law recognizing the unborn as human beings. More good news? Argentine President Javier Milei took to the World Economic Forum stage this week to blast those assembled for their "bloody abortion agenda." And, this last week, even on quite the chilly day, 100,000 marched for life in Washington DC. Where do the remaining GOP US presidential candidates stand on key issues? While the US Republicans (GOP) can't be characterized as a Christian party, the Democrats are certainly the Devil's own, making abortion a party plank. So, it is worth a look-see at LifeSiteNews' overview of the leading candidates for the Republicans' presidential nomination. One of the four listed – Vivek Ramaswamy – is no longer running, but could be in contention for vice president, and might be described as the Pierre Poilievre of the GOP for his ability to take on the media. Biggest takeaway: Donald Trump is not as pro-life as he once was. Alistair Begg, gay "marriage," and love Should Christians attend a gay "marriage" ceremony? One respected Reformed leader recently gave the wrong answer, and Samuel Sey wrote on why Begg is indeed wrong, and why we should still correct this elder statesman with care, and not as a fool. In Begg's defense, he was arguing for a Christian to attend only if the couple knew what that Christian thought about their "marriage." Begg thought it important there wasn't any misunderstanding (otherwise attending could be seen as an encouragement and blessing on the event). But Begg's error seems to be based on his own misunderstanding of what this ceremony involves. It is two people committing to live out a lifelong rebellion against God. How can Christians help celebrate a couple's pledge to forevermore aid and urge each other along the path of destruction? You could only go there to mourn. This is a point worth belaboring: Christians shouldn't attend a gay "marriage" ceremony for the same reason we shouldn't congratulate someone for their job promotion at the local abortion clinic. There is nothing here to celebrate. Pierre Poilievre's Debtonation (15 min) This is a Conservative Party presentation, so it is important to understand that it is going to present the current Liberal/NDP government's fiscal mismanagement in the worst possible light. But the facts are scary enough – when we add up government, personal, and business debt, Canada owes a collective 10 trillion dollars. Debt isn't a good thing (Deut. 15:6, Prov. 22:7) but it gets downright scary when interest rates go up, and we face the possibility, as Poilievre outlines, of paying a quarter of our yearly GDP just to debt servicing. Will it get that bad? The point is, we've arrived at a spot where that is a real possibility. And that peril is not the sort of inheritance we are supposed to leave our children (Prov. 13:22). While Poilievre cites the Bible at one point – "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun" (Eccl. 1:9) – the video's most religious statement might be this one: "Numbers rule the universe." The Conservative Party leader is making a primarily economic argument here, and when he offers a lesson in prophecy, it too is of the economic sort. But because God is the Author of the created order, when someone grounds their prognostication in that reality, he may well get a lot closer to truth than those who are so bound by their ideology that they blind themselves to anything reality reveals. Poilievre has his own blind spots, so it is encouraging to see the otherwise pro-choice Poilievre speak to the insanity of offering doctor-aided suicide to the mentally ill. He won't defend the unborn, but he is against killing those distraught by being homeless, and he is the only Parliamentary party leader to say so. ...

News

In the age of the smartphone, kids aren’t performing as well

Research released in December seems to indicate a general decline in student performance around the world over the last decade and a half. These findings were based on the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), a test administered to almost 700,000 15-year-old students in 2022. The PISA has been run every two years for decades now. One of the takeaways from the latest results was that in the 16 years from 2006 to 2022, worldwide scores for math, reading, and science dropped from 10 to 20 points. According to PISA, 20 points represents approximately a year’s worth of learning, so this amounted to between a half and a full year of learning lost in these three areas. It’s hard to get the why from such statistics. Some of that was almost certainly due to COVID closures, with the sharpest declines in math and reading happening over the years 2020 to 2022. But as the author of one of the reports, Andreas Schleicher, noted, the trajectory was already downward beforehand. Schleicher pointed to “digital distractions” as a possible culprit. “Students who reported being distracted by other students using digital devices in some, most or every maths class scored 15 points lower in PISA maths tests than those who barely experienced this.” What can be done to improve scores? State schools are going to look to the government for the solution, and some have tried banning smartphone usage at school. The results have been mixed: good in some countries, and not as much in others, where students may simply be getting around the ban. Christians can point to something that hasn’t been tried: instead of more government intervention, what if we had less? Children who are on screens 5-7 hours a day (or even more) need parents (not a Big Brother) to step up and fill the void, both educational and emotional, that these phones and screens are currently filling....

News

Saturday Selections – Jan 13, 2024

Click on the titles below to go to the linked articles... Were women dying by the thousands before abortion was legalized? (3 min) One of the big lies was that before abortion was legal, women resorted to dangerous back-alley abortions that killed women by the thousands. Even if that was true, this sidesteps the bigger issue that for every legal abortion, one person dies every time. And it isn't even true. The case against legal gambling (10 min read) Now that marijuana has been legalized, the Church is going to have to deal with it on a whole other level. It used to be only the kids willing to break laws who could get their hands on it. But with legalization, experimentation becomes a lot easier to do... even for the "good" kids. So, too, with gambling. It's always been an issue, but only for some. Now, it seems like half the commercials on TV are shouting about some easy online way to gamble away your money. The article linked above is an American secular argument against gambling, but the point is equally applicable to Canada. And a biblical case against gambling can be found here. 7 questions for COVID expert Francis Collins Collins was part of the efforts being made to censor COVID questioners, but in a clip making the rounds recently, he concedes that as a public health "expert" he was pushing conclusions based on only limited considerations: “...so you attach infinite value to stopping the disease and saving a life. You attach zero value to whether this actually totally disrupts people’s lives, ruins the economy, and has many kids kept out of school in a way that they never might quite recover from. Collateral damage. This is a public health mindset. And I think a lot of us involved in trying to make those recommendations had that mindset — and that was really unfortunate, it’s another mistake we made.” If we were to become a post-family world (10-min read) South Korea is the leading edge of a post-natalist – no baby – world where, in the last 70 years, women have gone from having an average of 6 children each to now just 0.78. And where South Korea is, is where we are heading. Much of the blame for this demographic decline can be laid at the feet of the government, but the government is finding they aren't able to undo the damage they've done. This, then, is just another example of how desperately the world needs to hear the Gospel so they can know and love the Lord first of all, and then, so they can start seeing the world as He does. Only then will countries be able to repent from and overcome the selfishness their governments have encouraged them to embrace. Solar and wind are cheaper? (15-min read) Solar and wind are sometimes marketed as being cheaper than fossil fuels. If that were so, notes Alex Epstein, author of The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, then why would they need massive government subsidies to get people to use them? I appreciate Epstein for making his case methodically and carefully, but wish he'd call a spade a spade and use "lie" instead of "false generalizations." Eggs are a wonder of engineering The closer we look at creation, the more obvious the Creator's fingerprints... even in the case of a "simple" chicken's egg. ...

News

Toronto hospital experiments with artificial wombs

In mid-November, Toronto SickKids Hospital began the first experiments in its new lab, testing the creation of an artificial womb.  In 2017, artificial womb testing succeeded in keeping fetal lambs gestating in “bio bags” for up to 28 days. Lambs surgically removed from their mothers' wombs at 105 to 115 days, were transferred into the bio bags. Scientists from the Philadelphia-based lab claim this experiment showed promise as the first time an artificial womb could maintain fetal and organ development. These tests have been conducted with over 300 lambs. Toronto SickKids Hospital is following on with their own experiment, this time using pigs, not lambs.  Dr. Mike Seed, head cardiologist of the hospital, states that these experiments aim to develop better life support for prematurely born babies. The hope is to simulate a womb that would support continued growth and nurture of the fetus, providing a better chance at life.  If the preborn aren't recognized as human... Now, just because we can do something, doesn’t necessarily mean we should. In the pursuit of scientific advancements, there is a need for scrutiny, especially when it involves interventions that potentially disrupt the natural order established by God, such as the sacred process of childbearing. Of course, the idea that a baby born prematurely at 22 weeks could thrive in an “artificial womb” is appealing. However, can we trust those who evidently have little regard for the sanctity of life to continue their process of experimentation in a way that respects these smallest and most vulnerable of lives? What if it wasn't her body? A recent National Post article explores the idea that advances in this medical technology could impact “abortion rights.” In Canada, pre-born children have no legal status until their first breath. University of Montreal bioethicist Vardit Ravitsky expresses concern about how this could “revolutionize our relationship to pregnancy, reproduction, and women’s place in society.”  Could legislators change abortion policies to remove the pre-born child from the mother to finish gestation inside an artificial womb? Ravitsky warns that having such a womb capable of carrying on an unwanted pregnancy apart from the mother could result in the mother losing the "right to decide that this child will not live.” She poses the questions: “Is the pre-born child considered born when it leaves my body? Is it born when it leaves the artificial womb?”  An important truth that can be highlighted is that inside or outside of the womb (natural or artificial) life begins at conception. Although this bioethicist has a pro-abortion worldview, she strips away the jargon and euphemisms of what abortion is. Ravisky says that when women say they want an abortion they are saying two things: “I don’t want this pregnancy in my body,” and “I don’t want this child to be in the world.” Abortion is not just the removal of pregnancy; it is at the essence the removal of the child from the world in a way that is utterly brutal and destructive to God’s creation.  Not a brave new world Another concern is where this could all lead. The concept of an artificial womb is not new, with Aldous Huxley’s dystopian classic Brave New World exploring the idea over 90 years ago. Huxley warned that separating reproduction from love and family bonds could lead to a less human and more controlled society. Eliminating natural reproduction from the God-ordained male-female process alters the structure of families. This transformation is evident in practices like in vitro fertilization and surrogacy, where same-sex couples are now able to create children, depriving the right for children to have both a mother and a father. The plotline of babies being born inside of incubated bottles now doesn’t seem too far off. As the medical field makes advances that may seem like “preserving” human life, there is a need for discernment. Society should avoid practicing science or legislation that would harm the pre-born. Psalm 127:3-5 says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!” Photo by Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/NCOMMS15112, used and adapted under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license....

News

Print & pod – the real “social” media?

I’m typing these words on my laptop, in a not-so-comfortable seat of an airplane, somewhere between Vancouver and my hometown in northern BC. But I’m guessing that you are reading these words in ink and paper, seated in a comfortable chair, ready to relax. If I’m right, congratulations. You made a good choice! You could have been staring at a screen, filling your time with content that’s more likely than not to leave you feeling empty. Instead, you are engaging with a publication that, I am confident, by the last page will leave you feeling like you finished a nourishing and tasty meal. I’m on my way back from Reformed Perspective’s annual in-person board meetings, where we took a good hard look at why this organization exists, and what’s most important for us to focus on. We concluded that RP exists not just to apply God’s truth to the issues of our day, but also to celebrate His truth. And we concluded that our time and resources are best spent producing content that goes deep (rooted in God’s Word) and goes wide (for all His people). In particular, we want to invest even more in “print and pod” – this magazine and our Real Talk podcast. These two mediums allow us to deliver solid content directly to you, without it being watered down, or interrupted by big-tech and government gate-keepers, or getting lost in a sea of other messages. Can we even be deep on social media? This world has no shortage of shallow content competing for our attention. We’re all becoming more aware of the negative consequences that social media in particular can have on hearts and minds, literally re-wiring our brains and making us feel like we are alone in a scary world. Yet, like an addiction, we keep going back for our fix. And this isn’t just a struggle for youth and young adults. Many adults and seniors are no less attached to their devices. The irony of “social” media is that we have never been lonelier and more fragmented. RP publishes on Instagram, Facebook, and X (Twitter), and has also used smaller outlets like MeWe and Gab. In the past we could justify this quite easily – it drove people to good content on our website and reached people who would never have seen this content otherwise. It even allowed for some discussion. It has been encouraging to see RP’s resources seen by hundreds of thousands of people online. But things have changed. Today, people rarely share posts and links, or engage with what is shared. And platforms like Instagram make it difficult to connect our followers to our website. That means most posts there are limited to the few hundred words that Instagram allows, so our posts are necessarily simpler and shallower than you’ll find in this magazine. Also, people who “like” or “follow” us often don’t see our content in their feed, even if they want it. And if they do, we are one message among thousands, including a lot of ads. We can’t compete with the flashy eye-candy that fills these feeds. Even if we invested tens of thousands of dollars to compete, would even that get us seen? In fact, a good argument could be made that by being on all sorts of social media platforms, RP is encouraging others to spend their time there too. And when we consider that there are no shortage of dangers lurking – users are just a couple clicks away from pornography – is that something we want to encourage? Bringing “social” back to media Now the supposed benefit of social media is the “social” – the many family members, friends, and past acquaintances that we can reconnect with. But how deep does that reconnection go? So what if RP could facilitate reconnection on a deeper level? Because we are a charity that provides the magazine (and podcast) at no cost, not only does it go to you, it also goes to thousands of others, including those who sit next to you in the pew. You have no idea what they are scrolling through on their phone, but you do know that they received a copy of RP and had an opportunity to read these very words. Why does that matter? If we have something in common, it can provide us with an opportunity to talk about an issue that needs attention. In recent years it has become common for church members to shape their opinions on cultural matters by following personalities that they respect or admire. Social media companies notice what we’ve clicked on, and then serve more content that aligns with what we already like, making us all-the-more convinced. At the same time, other Christian brothers and sisters have been carried in a different direction. And then we wonder why there is such division! We sure don’t claim to have figured out all the topics we write about or speak on. Far from it. We have a lot to learn. Sometimes we are wrong. But mediums like this can start a discussion with brothers and sisters in the LORD so that we can sharpen each other in our walk with the LORD. If you know that others have access to the same content, it makes a discussion all the easier. So could it be then, that print could be the basis of a new, actually social media? We believe so. Seeking your advice So what should we do about the digital sort of social media? Is it time to flick the switch, cold turkey? There’s good reason to at least consider that option. The small choices we make in the moment become habits which shape our character and lives. Few of us spend hours straight scrolling through our feed. But we do spend 10 minutes here, and then another 5 there, again and again and again. It adds up. And it is time taken away from our family, our friends, and from the worship of our God, doing the tasks He has set before us. So if your life ended today, how might you be described in your obituary? How would your children and friends describe your life? As grounded in God’s Word, relationships, and nurtured by resources with substance? Or addicted to whatever was sent to your device? As you can read in the ED update at the end of this magazine, we are investing in print and pod by making this magazine available to even more churches (beyond the nine or so denominations who get it today) and increasing the collaboration with the podcast. We haven’t yet decided what to do with RP’s social media presence. Just because it doesn’t have the same advantages as print and pod doesn’t mean it has no value. Knowing that there is wisdom in the counsel of many advisers (Prov. 15:22), we respectfully ask that you weigh in. If you have a few moments, please share your thoughts with us. Here are three ways to do so: Write a letter to the editor for publication at [email protected] If you prefer to just send us a note, email: [email protected] and we will share it with the team and take it into consideration. Or you  can fill in the form below. Loading…...

News

Halloween decorations overtaking Christmas decorations in BC

A survey of BC residents concluded that, for the first time, more people in the province are going “all out” with their decorating for Halloween than for Christmas. The survey was conducted by BC Hydro, the crown corporation that provides most of BC’s hydro power. It found that half of BC residents decorated their homes for Halloween this year, thirteen percent of which put on a “mega display” (defined as ten or more strings of lights and at least one plug-in inflatable). Just over half plan to decorate for Christmas, of which ten percent plan a “mega display.” Although the numbers are similar, and the survey was done before Christmas, when one compares Halloween decorations with Christmas, the contrast is striking. Halloween decorations generally celebrate death with tombstones, skeletons, and even effigies, ropes around their necks, hanging from trees, and then there’s the embrace of the occult, witches, and darkness. In contrast, most Christmas decorations radiate light, joy, and beauty, a fitting display to mark a holiday that celebrates the birth of our Incarnate LORD. BC recently made headlines for being the province with the highest proportion of people who say they have “no religious affiliation” (now up to 41 percent). As such, it isn’t surprising that there is waning enthusiasm for the celebration of Christ’s birth. Yet it is sad that a population would willfully celebrate the darkness which Christ came to save us from. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Isaiah 5:20)....

News, Pro-life - Abortion

What does Pierre Poilievre think about the unborn?

In a Dec. 11 profile published by le journal de québec, the wife of Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre talked about the couple’s attitude toward the unborn. Anaida Poilievre told the newspaper (in French): “We are pro-choice. We decided on this. I am a woman from Quebec, I grew up here. And it’s part of my values.” But one of Canada’s most prominent abortion defenders, Joyce Arthur, doesn’t think Poilievre is really on her side. She argued back in the summer of 2022 that while Poilievre had declared himself both “pro-choice” and “pro-choix” at the French-language leadership debate earlier that year, his voting record indicated he was “anti-choice.” So which is it? Is Poilievre somehow against the slaughter of the unborn, even as he has verbally defended a mother’s right to murder her child? The voting record that Arthur points to shows Poilievre voted for a number of bills which did seek to protect the unborn. But these were protections that pro-choicers should have supported too… if they were, in fact, pro-choice and not simply pro-abortion. Poilievre voted for bills that would have made it a crime to kill or harm an unborn child that the mother wanted to keep. He also supporting penalizing attempts to coerce a woman into having an abortion she didn’t want. Even if we were, for the sake of argument, to adopt the pro-choice notion that a mother’s decision is what makes an unborn baby valuable, then one could be entirely pro-choice (or “pro-choix”) and still support these bills. That same voting record also shows that Poilievre voted against a pro-life bill that would have banned sex-selective abortions. So, Arthur doesn’t make a compelling case for Poilievre to be anything other than what he, and his wife, have said he is. That said, Poilievre’s Conservatives still welcome pro-life MPs – the only party in Parliament to do so – and he himself has voted for some of the private member's bills the party’s pro-life MPs have offered that would have protected at least some unborn children. As leader he is courting the pro-choice vote, but he is still looking for the pro-life vote too. So any interaction pro-life voters have with him will need to be done with our eyes wide open. Photo is adapted from the original here by Wikipageedittor099 and is licensed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 agreement....

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