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News

Saturday Selections – Feb. 2, 2019

New government regulations shut down church program feeding the homeless

Everyone understands that because government laws impact thousands and even millions, the government won't be able to anticipate all the consequences their laws will have...like shutting down a mission that fed homeless people. But why don't we see those unforeseen consequences – those unanticipated harms – as a reason for the government not to make many laws?

Homeschooling parents in Germany lose right to educate their children

Parental rights aren't just fragile in Germany (and Alberta and BC, etc.). Many attacks are government-led, but this past month a social media campaign was begun to #ExposeChristianSchools, asking people to share their horrible experiences in Christian schools. However, as WORLD magazine's Laura Edghill shares, Christians took the opportunity to "expose" the wonderful and caring education they received.

Reformed seminary president is now NFL coach

Many are happy that a sincere, Reformed, and very public, Christian is now the coach of the Indianapolis Colts. But this former Reformed seminary president is also very publicly working on Sunday, and what message does that send?

When your child is disobedient...

When a child sins, parents often deal with just the immediate act. But sin is a process and parents need to deal with how our child got there in the first place.

Here's how to tell if scientists are exaggerating

If they can't explain simpler things, then we have no reason to believe scientists when they say they've got something far more complicated all figured out.

What is money? (1 hour)

If you've ever wondered what money is, and how it gets its value, this 1-hour documentary will be intriguing. It is funded by Steve Forbes, a gold-standard proponent, and while it allows opponents to be heard, that bias does come out. You can watch the trailer below, and the whole documentary here.

News

26 richest people own as much as the world's poorest 3.75 billion

The 26 richest people on the planet hold as much wealth as the poorest 50% of the world’s population. So says the Oxfam Inequality Report 2019 released this January. That quite the statistic – it’s a disparity that will surprise and stun many. But why is Oxfam sharing it? To foster covetousness. Of course, that’s not how they present their case. They speak of fairness. They think it obviously unfair that the 26 people at the top have as much as the 3.75 billion on the bottom. But what the report doesn’t detail is how these 26 got their wealth. No accusations of theft are made. We know God hates for the powerful to oppress the poor (Prov. 22:16, 22-23) but Oxfam doesn’t even try to make the case that this is how the rich gained their money. The report details the dire circumstances the poor face around the world, but no linkage is made between their poverty and wickedness done by the rich. Still, isn’t it obviously wrong that so few have so much, when so many have so little? To answer that question properly, we need to view things biblically. In Scripture we find God repeatedly calling on us to help the poor (Prov. 28:27, 31:9, etc.). And at the very same time in the 10thCommandment – Do not covet – He makes it clear He doesn’t want us concerned with what the rich have. Poverty is a problem to be tackled, but the God who made Solomon wealthier than any before him nowhere speaks of “fixing” wealth inequality. How can the God who wants us to help the poor also tell us not to concern ourselves with the wealth of the rich? Aren’t the two related? No. That’s the lesson the Oxfam needs to learn. Abraham prospered, but his increased wealth didn’t come at the expense of anyone else (Genesis 14:23). Similarly, a successful businessman doesn't become rich by taking from the poor. Unless he steals, the only way he can become wealthy is by making others wealthier too. He can only sell us his $10 widget if we think he’s delivering more than $10 worth of value. After all, if we don’t think it's worth more than the asking price, why would we trade our money for it? If we do make that exchange, not only is the widget-maker wealthier (he’s up $10!) we're wealthier too because we now own a widget that’s worth much more than $10 to us! The Oxfam Report laments the wealth of the super-rich. They see it as representing good that could be, but isn't being, done – they see it as good withheld. What they don't understand is that this wealth represents enormous good already done – every dollar representing more than a dollar’s worth of wealth given to their customers. (And we haven't even touched on how these 26 people’s wealth is tied up in companies that bring further benefits by employing millions.) There will always be a temptation to look over our back fence at what our rich neighbor has. But when God calls on us to help the poor, He's calling on us to help the poor....

News

Saturday Selections - January 19

Defending the unborn can be as simple as asking the other side to explain themselves   Marie Kondo and her "life-changing magic"  Marie Kondo and her book, The life-changing magic of tidying up, has taken over the Internet and inspired many to throw out and simplify. But like every other secular "life-changing formula" it is so very incomplete. “Unborn Child” – remembering a musical plea for life John Stonestreet tells the story of the pro-life song below, that came out just one year after Roe vs. Wade. UNBORN CHILDOh little baby, you'll never cry, nor will you hear a sweet lullabye. Oh unborn child, if you only knew just what your momma was plannin' to do. You're still a-clingin' to the tree of life, but soon you'll be cut off before you get ripe. Oh unborn child, beginning to grow inside your momma, but you'll never know. Oh tiny bud, that grows in the womb, only to be crushed before you can bloom. Mama stop! Turn around, go back, think it over. Now stop, turn around, go back, think it over. Stop, turn around, go back think it over. Oh no momma, just let it be. You'll never regret it, just wait and see. Think of all the great ones who gave everything That we might have life here, so please bear the pain. Mama stop! Turn around, go back, think it over. Now stop, turn around, go back, think it over. Stop, turn around, go back think it over. The new taboo: More people regret sex change and want to "detransition" The National Post carried a story that few other media outlets are willing to cover... Going Dutch: Netherlands imports Nashville Statement controversy The US evangelical document on LGBT issues has divided the Dutch Bible Belt. "Seek Social Justice" - a free six-session course available This course features Albert Mohler, Marvin Olasky, Chuck Colson, and you can access it at the link above (and you can watch the trailer below).   ...

News

Who do you want to know better?

In a holiday ad (for Spanish speakers) the furniture giant IKEA gathered several families, seating each clan around a large table where a holiday feast was prepared with all the trimmings. Then a quiz started: if a person answered the question correctly they could stay and keep eating, but if they got something wrong they had to leave. Initially, everyone found the quiz easy, correctly answering questions like: What animal filters can you find on Instagram stories? Can you demonstrate the “swish swish” (or “floss”) dance? What is the latest Instagram feature? Can you finish a lyric from this current song? What does this text message abbreviation mean? How did this celebrity couple meet? But when the questions became more personal the answers stopped coming: How did your parents meet? What exactly is your dad’s job? What degrees does your grandma have? What’s your son’s favorite group? What’s your wife’s dream? What has your mother been studying recently? Some family members tried to guess the right answer, but one after another, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, grandparents too, had to get up and leave. Finally, there was one solitary figure remaining, a lonely grandpa. A teen daughter summed up the embarrassment everyone felt: “What I’ve discovered is that I don’t know as much about my family as I do about some celebrities.” There was a happy ending. Everyone was invited back to the table, but this time smartphones were placed in a box in the middle of the table and the lid was firmly affixed....

News

Saturday Selections – Jan. 12, 2019

Parents, should we pay our children to do their chores and homework? This isn't a specifically Christian article, but it makes a point worth considering. Teach your teen how to read their Bible Our kids need to be given some basic tools to be able to read and understand the Bible. Here's some practical and helpful tips on how to equip them. Are you helping your children to despise themselves? If we let our children get away with disobedience we are teaching them to hate wisdom... and also hate themselves. When we smile... We've all experienced the power of a smile to change the mood of a room - a chipper, cheerful dad home from work can lift up the whole house, and a happy mom, ready to tickle her pre-schooler, can change that little one's trajectory for the entire day. As this article details, smiles also seem to benefit the smiler too. The sheer scale of God's creation Voyager 2 just left our Solar System and it will take another 40,000 years to reach the next nearest star... The Corner Room's rendition of Psalm 119:33-40 Wow. ...

News

Miss Universe pageant decides gender is only skin deep

The annual Miss Universe beauty contest was held this past Sunday, and while the winner was Miss Philippines, most of the attention was on a contestant who didn’t make it past the preliminary round. Miss Spain, Angela Ponce, made history by being the pageant’s first transgender contestant – a man was now on stage with the women. In 2012, the Miss Universe organization eliminated its requirement that contestants had to be “naturally born” women, making Ponce’s appearance this year possible. But the pageant isn’t doing away with all their rules: women over 28 are still out, as are married or divorced women. In addition, the swimsuit/athletic wear requirement excludes women who find that style of dress immodest, eliminating much of the Muslim world, the Amish, and also Orthodox Jews. Finally, contestants can’t ever have been pregnant. Even as the media was celebrating the pageant’s historic inclusion of all sorts of “women” it was continuing to exclude all sorts of women, banning them on the basis of age, marital status, or religion (those modest Muslims and others). The pageant wasn't acting consistent with their professed “inclusive” values. But that the organizers aren't exactly deep thinkers shouldn’t surprise us; these are folks who evaluate a woman based on how she fills out a bikini. What’s funny is how far the pageant is willing to go to accommodate men. Consider their ban on contestants who’ve been pregnant. This actually tilts the field in favor of transgender contestants because it can only be applied against genuine women – Angela Ponce can’t ever get pregnant....

News

Top 10 articles of 2018

The top ten posts of 2018 show that Reformed folk have had wide-ranging interests this past year... #10. Movie Review: “I survived ‘I Kissed Dating Goodbye’” I Kissed Dating Goodbye was huge in Christian circles, selling more than a million copies. This year a documentarian, along with the author himself, critiqued the impact the book has had over the last two decades. It's a very good documentary, if an overly critical one, and if you read to the bottom of the review there's a link there to where you can watch it for free. #9. Why do we suffer? Buddhism vs. Christianity The readership for this article keeps growing. It didn't make it to the Top 10 back in 2017 when it was first published, but every month hundreds more would track it down, giving it a place on the list in 2018. #8. Is recreational marijuana sinful? This is another 2017 article. It returned to the Top 10 when Canada legalized marijuana and this question became a pressing one for the Church. #7. War through the eyes of a child: Alice Kuik shares her memories of World War II Little Alice didn’t know her parents were hiding Jews in their home. But she did understand the Nazis were watching their whole family. #6. When we have to parent our parents Sharon Bratcher offers some help and encouragement for caregivers. #5. What’s next? The growth of Statism in Canada ARPA Canada’s André Schutten on the government requiring citizens to comply with its State ideology. #4. Should we baptize our infants? Resources that make the case On the evening of Sept. 27, 2018, two Reformed pastors debated "Should we baptize infants as well as adults?" Reformed Perspective holds to a paedobaptism position, and in preparation for the debate, we shared a list of some of the very best resources available in defense of infant baptism. #3. Ronald Reagan's challenge to his dying atheist father-in-law Thirty-six years after Reagan wrote this private letter to his father-in-law, God used it to challenge hundreds of thousands of others. #2. Chick-fil-A is always closed on Sunday...except when an ox falls in a pit This was an encouraging story about how a restaurant chain in the US recognizes that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). **** And the number one post of 2018 was... #1. Is Jordan Peterson the champion we've been looking for? Jordan Peterson was all over the Internet in 2018, and in many of the interviews and appearances, he sounded quite like a Christian, talking with respect about Jesus, or speaking of "the Word become divine." He also emphasized personal responsibility, telling his 20-something-year-old followers that if they really want to change the world, it starts with self-discipline – you can't refashion society if you can't even manage to put your socks in the laundry. It was old-fashioned common sense that's becoming increasingly uncommon outside of the Church. To top it off, he'd continue talking, even when he was getting attacked for what he believed. His courage was admirable and unusual, and it made many in his audience hope all the more that he was Christian – here, finally, was someone displaying the courage of a David before Goliath, or a Daniel in the lions' den. But as Joel McDurmon explains in his article, Peterson isn't a Christian at all. The reason he sounds like one is because he is a Jungian and he believes that the world's myths tell us something important about Man. In his view, the tales of Thor, the 12 labors of Hercules, the voyage of Odysseus, and yes, also the life of Jesus, have stayed with us because they all capture something important about who we are. Peterson respects the Bible more than other myths, because of its greater impact on the world. But he doesn't believe it to be God's very words. Peterson doesn't believe that Jesus died for his sins; despite how he often sounds, he is not Christian. And instead of pointing people to Christ, he is telling them to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps....

News

Saturday Selections - December 15, 2018

Merry Christmas from the moon On Dec. 24, 1968, three American astronauts, orbiting the moon for the first time ever, had an opportunity to give a Christmas address to one billion listening people. They chose to read Genesis 1. Using PragerU to engage the minds of your kids Tim Barnett on how, even though you won't agree with all PragerU's videos, you may find them absolutely fantastic 5-minute conversation-starters for you and your kids about things that matter. Your gut is wrong Our gut instinct is to downplay parts of the Bible that don't sound so pleasant to us, or, we suspect, to new listeners. "Jesus is the one and only way to God (John 14:6). The hearer’s gut reaction is: 'That can’t be right! It just feels wrong.' The question that soon follows is: 'Does that mean that all the other religions in the world are wrong?' When we reply 'yes,' the offense of our response can be felt." "Sadly we also see it in our churches amongst Christians. When we teach on some of those (supposedly) trickier passages, such as God’s good design for human sexuality and the role of men and women, the initial gut reaction is often anything but positive. It’s not that congregations want to openly rebel against God’s word, it’s just that 'it doesn’t feel right.'” Climate scientists aren't economists (and a few other obvious things we tend to forget) The Cornwall Alliance's E. Calvin Beisner (and National Review's Jonah Goldberg) on how, even if we were to grant that climate change is a problem, why would we think climate scientists know the best way forward? The New York Times reveals serious problems with Transgender Ideology The folks at Breakpoint highlight a Times article on the harmful natures of transgender surgeries. Was Jesus just a good teacher? Greg Koukl, channeling C.S. Lewis, with a short video perfect for sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and everywhere, to help us talk about Jesus this season. ...

News, Science - General

Genetically-engineered babies have now been born

Human experimentation has been happening around the world for the past four decades, with research scientists actively carrying out experiments on human embryos. The stated objective, in usually something noble-sounding: to learn more about human biology, or to possibly treat some disease conditions. And while few scientists will admit to an interest in cloning people, or in actually producing genetically-altered individuals, this is the direction our society is heading. Indeed, modern society does not value unborn babies enough to protect them, and at the same time society is terribly afraid of genetic abnormalities. Under these conditions – little respect for unborn human life, and little respect for those with genetic abnormalities like Down syndrome – it would seem human cloning and gene alteration is inevitable. But it isn’t acceptable yet. That became clear when, on November 26, 2018, the scientific and medical world reacted in horror to the announcement by Dr. Jiankui He at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong, that he had created modified human embryos. These embryos had been implanted in their mother, and in early November, twin baby girls had been born in China. This was a world-wide first – the first genetically-edited full-term human babies.  What happened Ever since the 1970s introduction of in vitro fertilization of human eggs with sperm outside the womb, the stage was set for scientists to experiment on such embryos. Many people, mindful of the special nature of humans at every level of development, protested against such work. Even some scientists were nervous about the implications of these experiments. However, for many, the concern was only that individuals damaged in laboratory experiments should not be allowed to develop to term. They were okay with the human experimentation – they just didn’t want these babies to be born. As a result, a general understanding was reached between ethicists and scientists, that no experiments on embryos would continue longer than 14 days – at this point these embryos were to be destroyed. The 14-day limit was chosen because it is at this point that the embryos begin to develop specialized tissues and thus becomes more obviously human (Nature July 5, 2018 p. 22). But as the experimentation has become more sophisticated, scientists have begun to promote the idea of a longer timeline for their investigations. Thus, a conference was held in May at Rice University at which 30 American scientists and ethicists discussed “whether and how to move the boundary” (Nature July 5, 2018 p. 22). About the same time, Nature magazine published an announcement concerning such research: “At present, many countries …prohibit culture beyond 14 days, a restriction that reflects the conclusions of the 1984 UK Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Human Fertilization and Embryology (also known as the Warnock Report. Whether this rule should be relaxed is currently being debated” (May 3, 2018 p. 6, emphasis mine). Scientists are clearly seeking to relax the rules governing their studies. “Germ-line changes” Research on human embryos has continued worldwide since those early days. However, all parties once agreed that on no account should modified embryos be implanted into a mother and be allowed to develop. The reasons included society’s disapproval of experiments on people, but especially because such individuals would carry “germ-line changes.” Changes to most cells in the human body have no impact on future generations – these changes die with that individual. However, changes to the gametes (egg and sperm) are called germ-line changes because these modifications will be passed on to each subsequent generation. It is not that the scientists involved actually object to germ-line changes. The problem is that they want their results to be predictable and “safe.” Any uncertainties could lead to catastrophic results, ensuing hostile public opinion and big lawsuits. It would be far better to proceed cautiously. Thus, it is illegal in the US and many other countries to alter genes of human embryos or gametes. However, within the last decade, another new biomedical technology has appeared on the scene that has drastically streamlined gene editing in numerous organisms. The CRISPR-Cas9 technology has made gene editing much easier and much more precise.* Obviously, it was a mere matter of time before someone used this to try his hand at gene editing in human embryos. The scientific community offered no serious objections when Dr. Jiankui He of China presented an account of such work at a conference at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York during the spring of 2018. At this conference, Dr. He discussed the editing of embryos from seven couples. However, at that point, this man made no mention that any of these embryos had been implanted into their mothers. Dr. He “edits” babies to be HIV-resistant According to a Nov. 28 news item at Nature.com (David Cyranoski's "CRISPR-baby scientist fails to satisfy critics") Dr. He recruited couples in which the male was HIV positive but the female was normal. Individual sperm cells were washed to remove any viruses and the cells were injected into eggs along with CRISPR-Cas9 enzymes carrying a gene for resistance to HIV infection. A total of 30 fertilized embryos resulted of which 19 were deemed viable (able to live) and apparently healthy. These were tested for the CCR5 mutation which confers resistance to HIV infection. From one couple, two of four embryos tested positive for the mutation. One embryo carried the mutated gene on one chromosome and a normal gene on the other, while the other embryo carried the mutation on both maternal and paternal chromosomes. These embryos were implanted into the mother who successfully gave birth to twin baby girls early in November. No information was forthcoming on the fate of the other embryos, although Dr. He now says that another woman may be pregnant. The response of the scientific community has been shock and horror. But why are they so horrified? Is this not what they have been working towards? The scientific community is afraid because the risks of this procedure at this preliminary stage of research, are substantial. There are, at present, major questions as to whether the genetic modifications will actually have the desired effect. A well-known problem is that the CRISPR apparatus sometimes cuts the chromosomes at other places as well as/ or instead of the desired location. This off-target effect has been found to be a major problem in some studies. In addition, most genes are known to influence a number of seemingly unrelated traits. This phenomenon is called pleiotropic impact of one gene on other genes. These risks are particularly serious when we consider that these are germ-line changes, that will impact subsequent generations from this individual. Response The same Nov. 28 Nature.com news item declared: “Fears are now growing in the gene-editing community that He’s actions could stall the responsible development of gene editing in babies.” Indeed, a commentator on one website reflected that “if this experiment is unsuccessful or leads to complications later in life … set the field of gene therapy back years if not decades.” In view of these concerns, many individuals and medical and scientific institutions released statements expressing condemnation for this gene-editing work. Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health in the United States, declared that the NIH “does not support the use of gene-editing technologies in human embryos.” The Chinese Academy of Sciences declared that Dr. He’s work “violates internationally accepted ethical principles regulating human experimentation and human rights law." A colleague and friend of Dr. He suggested that the gene-editing work lacked prudence, that it could, unfortunately, serve to create distrust in the public. Obviously, an important concern on the part of the scientists was that the promise of this technology not be rejected by the public. Dr. David Liu of Harvard and MIT’s Broad Institute (heavily involved in CRISPR research), insisted of He’s work: “It’s an appalling example of what not to do about a promising technology that has great potential to benefit society.” Dr. George Daley, dean of Harvard Medical School, summed up the feelings of many colleagues when he said: “It’s possible that the first instance came forward as a misstep, but that should not lead us to stick our heads in the sand and not consider more responsible pathway to clinical translation.” In other words, many scientists seek to continue to pursue the goals also sought by Dr. He, only the rest of them will proceed more slowly and carefully. Conclusion It is largely Christian objections to treating human embryos as things, rather than as persons (made in the image of God), that has led to the ethical rules that control this research. It is a vestige of our Judeo-Christian heritage which limits scientists from just doing whatever they want. They have to obtain permission from ethics committees to conduct their particular research program. Of course, Christians want to see this work made completely illegal, but if political realities make such a ban impossible, then we can still seek to restrict this work as much as possible. It is interesting that a news feature in Nature (July 5, 2018 p. 22) articulated the fascination and unease that some scientists derive from this work. Bioethicist Dr. Jennifer Johnston of the Hastings Center in upstate New York, reflected on the respect that the human embryo commands even in secular observers: “That feeling of wonder and awe reminds us that this is the earliest version of human beings and that’s why so many people have moral misgivings …..  It reminds us that this is not just a couple of cells in a dish.” Are there any good results from this controversy over genetically-engineered babies? Perhaps there is one. The event may cause more people to pay critical attention to the experiments that are, every day, conducted on human embryos. Let the whole world know that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, from the very first cell onward, and manipulation in laboratories should have no place in our society. For further study * For more on this topic, see: Dr. Helder’s book No Christian Silence on Science pages 32-39 for a discussion on Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (ie. CRISPR). Jennifer Doudna and Samuel Sternberg’s book  A Crack in Creation: the new power to control evolution, page 281. Dr. Helder's article, providing further background to CRISPR, Natural Firewalls in Bacteria ...

News

Saturday Selections - Nov. 17, 2018

Canadian doctors get ready for child euthanasia Doctors and bioethicists associated with the children's hospital in Toronto are pushing to be "allowed to euthanize 'capable minors'... without parental consent or even their notification." And a hospital waiting room in Canada is now promoting euthanasia. The effects of childlessness on the elderly A new study finds that elderly parents who have three or more children and who have weekly contact with them are the happiest seniors. We should let the world know. Mother-to-mother gospel opportunities Mothers are often looking for parenting advice and that gives us an opportunity to share, not mere moralisms, but the good news of the gospel! Before your kids get a smartphone...a question to ask The folks at Breakpoint have a question you should ask if your children have a smartphone on their Christmas wishlist. And related to that, researchers have now shown that social media use increases depression and loneliness. Good lovemaking is about God "God ordains lovemaking for couples when we are richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, when life is better or worse — until death do us part — because it reflects his enduring love for us." The Wild Brothers have a vlog! The Wild Brothers are four brothers who are part of a missionary family – the Wilds – living in Indonesia. They originally had their own  eight-episode "reality series" about their lives, published on DVD by Answers in Genesis. It was a family-friendly series that children and parents could all enjoy, showing both the challenges of life among the natives in the highlands of Indonesia, and the joys. And, of course, there were all sorts of exotic animals and locales for them to share with us. Now the brothers have their own vlog – Highlands to Island – with eight short (roughly 10-minute) episodes so far. I've only watched the first, but based on the DVD series, this should be good! ...

News

Saturday Selections - Nov. 3, 2018

Do you read the Bible literally? Stand to Reason's Greg Koukl on how reading the Bible literally isn't the same as reading it woodenly (10-minute read). Tortured for Christ – a free film everyone needs to see Wurmbrand: "If I speak now, you will have no husband." His wife: "I don't need a coward for a husband." Tortured for Christ is a must-see film about Richard Wurmbrand's courageous and faithful stand against the Communists when they took over Romania. This is not family viewing, but it is a film older teens and up should see to understand how much more outspoken we should dare to be, and how faithful God is to his children in the most desperate of circumstances. In that way it is an incredibly encouraging film. While the subject matter includes torture, it does so with as much delicacy as is possible. But there is a reason they left it at only one hour – it would be too much if it was longer. It can be viewed at the link above - they ask you to consider a donation, but there is a link to watch it for free (near the bottom or on the right-hand side) on that page. Are women real? Our society, on one hand, holds that men can never understand women’s struggle and, at the same time, insists that men can become women. Clearly, something has to give. Motherhood and the "Wage Gap" Women, averaged overall, make less than men, but that's because they have prioritized something else over making money – having children. Society is presumptuous to act like that is a choice that needs correcting. Why sex is the best argument for creation The director of Is Genesis History? presents an attention-getting argument for God's design. For another aspect of the incredible design evident in sexual reproduction, check out Dr. David Menton on The Placenta. World War I in color Director Peter Jackson (best known for his Lord of the Rings trilogy) has created a documentary on the First World War using the original footage, first cleaning it up, then colorizing it, hiring lip readers to figure out what the soldiers are saying (the original footage is silent), and hiring Hollywood actors to give these soldiers a voice again. The film has already played in Britain, and won't play in North America until later this year, but even the trailer is fascinating for how it makes these men – these boys – come back to us as real people. ...

News

Saturday Selections - Oct. 27, 2018

Should prostitution be legal? An important one to watch....but not with the kids around What happy teens do By one measure, a third of teens struggle with anxiety. So what do happy teens do differently? Some cautions concerning Fortnite More than 100 million play Fortnite, so this parent and political scientist decided to take a look. Evangelicals are confused (but a fantastic free book might help) Ligonier Ministries has put out their 2018 survey on "The State of Theology" and it turns out Evangelical Americans are very confused about the core of the Gospel, with a majority thinking most people are good at heart, and that you can worship God through Islam and Judaism. But, while this confusion is distressing, Ligonier Ministries is doing what it can to correct it, by offering a free download of R.C. Sproul's incredibly readable Everyone's a Theologian (you do have to give them your email, but you can always unsubscribe). So check out the survey results, and then scroll to the bottom for a book that is simply a must-have for any Christian. Peer-reviewed Pranksters Three liberal professors set out to show if a paper was couched in enough politically-correct phraseology, it would get accepted by many peer-reviewed academic journals....even if the paper itself was sheer nonsense. 3 things to remember when you are anxious David Powilson on how anxiety is universal and understandable, and we can take comfort in knowing God is in control. ...

News

Scottish minister charges police with hate for their hate crime campaign

The Scottish government and Scottish police have joined together under the banner "One Scotland" to campaign against hate crimes using videos and a variety of billboards. One billboard reads: Dear bigots, you can't spread your religious hate here. End of sermon. Yours, Scotland. Another, longer one, says: Dear bigots, division seems to be what you believe in. We don't want your religious hate on our buses, on our streets and in our communities. We don't want you spreading your intolerance. Or making people's lives a misery because of their religious dress. You may not have faith in respect and love, but we do. That's why if we see or hear your hate, we're reporting you.  End of sermon.  Yours, Scotland The minister at St Peters Free Church (and former moderator of the Free Church of Scotland) David Robertson, was quick to point out the problem with this campaign – the police have lumped hate crimes (crimes motivated by hate...as opposed to those motivated by love?) in with "hate incidents." Vague definitions mean that the police's hate crime campaign might well be violating their own definition of a hate incident. On his blog (theweeflea.com) Robertson shared a letter he had written to the police and government to report to them their own "hate incident" and began with their definition: “A hate incident is any incident that is not a criminal offence, but something which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hate or prejudice.” On these incredibly vague grounds, he points out that on a day-to-day basis, he experiences a lot of anti-Christian "hate." He gives as examples, parishioners who have been bullied at work and in higher education. But he also quotes a number of emails that he regularly receives, such as: “Personally, as a secularist, I hate religion and feel I have every right to, despite attempts by the Scottish government to sneak a blasphemy law round the back door by making it an offence this year to hate religion.” He then points out that the inundation of billboards is in and of itself "hate incidents," promoting anger and hatred against religion, possibly resulting in vandalism against churches and worse. He also points out that the problem with the term "hate crime" is that it bears with it the threat of criminal prosecution. We can learn from Robertson's response to the officials in Scotland. With some wit, he points out the self-contradicting nature of their own propaganda, and then takes the time to ensure there is no doubt that he is against bullying and hatred...and also governments that exceed their proper limits. Hatred, as we know from Scripture, is a sin, but things such as murder and assault are sins as well as crimes. Sin must be repented of, and then forgiven in Christ. Crimes must be punished by the government, and it is difficult to judge something based on feelings in a court of law. At the end of the day, the irrationality of such a billboard campaign may be clear enough for even the culture at large to see. It is internally incoherent, as can be seen in their two fundamental principles: 1) Hatred is a crime 2) I hate haters One other Christian voice has chimed in with wit and humor to expose this campaign. A Christian think tank and advocacy group, Christian Concern, created three alternative posters copying the very same style. One read: Dear One Scotland, All people should be free to express their views, even if they offend other people. This is what freedom of speech means. How about promising to protect those whose views others might find offensive? This is how democracy works.  Love,  Some Christian friends And we'll leave them with the last word: Dear One Scotland, Do you really think that churches are teaching their members to be hateful towards others? Or to be violent towards people we disagree with? Why not pop into a church sometime and find out what we really think? Love, Some Christian friends...

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