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News, Politics

Backing away from Big Brother: government overreach doesn't just happen in China

Who should get to decide what information you see? And who would you trust with your own personal information? On the other side of the globe one government is taking on the dual role of data collector, and information gatekeeper. And while it is nowhere near that bad here at home, we do have reason for concern. Collecting and restricting information in China We've known for some time now that the Chinese government, via its "Great Firewall," restricts what information its citizens get to see. Social media giants like Facebook and Twitter have been blocked, as are many mainstream media sites like the National Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal (though Reformed Perspective seems to have slipped past the censors' notice).  While search giant Google is also banned (as are their Gmail and Youtube properties) it's being reported that they are now willing to comply with the Chinese government's restrictions. Google plans:

"to launch a censored version of its search engine in China that will blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion, and peaceful protest."

The company that once had as its slogan "Don't be evil" is now siding with the government censor. In addition to restricting the access its citizens have to information, it's also being reported that the Chinese government is collecting personal information on its citizens so it can assign everyone a "social credit" rating – a three digit number – that would increase or decrease based on behavior both online and off. That "social credit" rating would then be used to determine what services a citizen would be allowed to receive. If you behave, you can book flights. But if, like journalist Liu Hu, you publish claims critical of the government, you may find yourself ground-bound. There is some dispute (even among writers appearing in the same magazine) about just how far along China is in developing this social credit system. It is a work in progress with the grand unveiling planned for 2020, even as local experiments are already taking place. But even in its unfinished state, there is interest from overseas. Venezuela is getting Chinese help to implement their own system and Reuters is reporting the information the Venezuelan government is collecting seems to include not only phone numbers and home addresses but "emails... participation at Socialist Party events and even whether a person owns a pet." Closer to home In the West we are still quite free, but even here the government's data collection is expanding. And the government also restricts our access to information. Starting in January, the Canadian government is planning to compel banks to give them the personal banking records of 500,000 citizens. It promises to use the information only to analyze overall trends, and not to look at any individuals. But it is doing so without the individuals' permission or knowledge. The same government asked businesses for information as to their position on abortion if they wanted to qualify for funding under the summer jobs program. And they only received the funding if they were pro-choice. When it comes to restricting information, the Ontario government tried to keep the province's abortion statistics secret, and it was only a successful 2017 court challenge that made that information available again. And whereas parental notification and consent is required for school field trips, in Canada and parts of the US abortionists don't need to tell parents when their underage children are getting an abortion. More recently, in Alberta the government has passed a bill banning schools from informing a child's parents that their child has joined a Gay/Straight Alliance club. That's information that the government has decided parents don't need to have. Bigger and bigger In China, the government manages every aspect of its citizens' lives, from where they might be allowed to live to how many children a couple is allowed to have. It's hardly surprising that a government that's already this intrusive doesn't recognize any limits on what it can do. Here in the West, our governments do less than the communist state, but perhaps more than we really realize. A partial list of what we expect from the government shows that in Canada, too, there is hardly an area of our lives untouched by the government. Canadians expect our government to: supplement our retirement income deliver our mail provide us with national radio and TV stations provide care for us when we are sick ensure there are affordable places to live when we are old create summer jobs for our teens verify the safety of our food build recreation centers and neighborhood playgrounds subsidize the creation of professional hockey arenas educate our children help provide daycare for them before school pay for abortion provide euthanasia Some of these responsibilities are small and some are enormous. It's hardly surprising, then, that Prime Minister Trudeau wants more information and defends his government's data grab by arguing government decisions need to be based on evidence. Can we really expect a government to mind its own business after we've invited it to take on some of the biggest responsibilities in our lives? It would seem our lives are their business. Backing away from Big Brother In China the government has taken on the role of Big Brother, dominating all of life...but that's not how it thinks of itself. Big Brother never thinks of itself as Big Brother - it looks in the mirror and sees a kind benevolent Nanny State whose only concern is the care of its citizens because, well, citizens aren't really capable of caring for themselves, are they? In the West we might think ours is still the kind and gentle Nanny State – we are grateful for its provision of free healthcare, and free education. But it is in those two roles - those two enormous roles - that our government is also doing its worst, providing the facilities or funding for the murder of one-quarter of its citizens. And that doesn't even include the murders it now manages of the elderly! The Alberta government wants to use its educational role to teach children that the State, not God, is supreme. That's a recent development, but for years now the government has been teaching our children the very opposite of God's Truth when it comes to sex, marriage, human worth, the environment, and much more. So if our Nanny State isn't already Big Brother, we can certainly see how natural the progression will be. What can we do about it? This is a massive problem, so there's any number of fronts on which we can take up this battle. But perhaps a useful first step is to consider the warning Samuel gives in 1 Samuel 8:10-22  against relying on the power of kings. If we demand that someone rule over us, rule they shall, but it's quite likely they will not rule as we hoped. When the government directed summer jobs funding to only pro-choice companies, Christians were outraged at the favoritism. But what few considered was, why were we expecting the government to fund summer job creation in the first place? To do it they have to take money from some companies – and doing so limits those companies' opportunities to create jobs – to give to other companies to fund their summer jobs. From the start, such a program involved the government rewarding some at the expense of others. And when we expect the government to pick winners and losers, why would we be surprised when it decides the winners need to think like they do? Lord Acton gave a warning that matches up well with Samuel's: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." If we want a less arrogant government, it would help if we started asking for a much smaller one.

This will appear in the November/December issue of the magazine

POSTSCRIPT: A couple of points to ponder Q1: ARPA Canada and many other Christian groups protested the government's discriminatory summer job program requirements. If, as this article argues, the government shouldn't be expected to create summer jobs, was it misguided to protest the discriminatory nature of the program? Shouldn't the protest have targeted the program itself? A: When there are two wrongs to right, is it misguided to take them on one at a time? The discriminatory nature of the program was the far more topical issue and the more winnable one. It made good sense to take it on first. Q2: If we wanted a smaller government, where could we begin? Where could we ask it to do less? A: Two of the government's biggest expenditures are healthcare and education. Even if the government continued to fund both why do they need to provide both? If parents directed educational funding to the school of their choice that would put them back in charge of their children's education. That's a step in the right direction.

News

Reagan’s challenge to his dying atheist father-in-law

Earlier this year a note was discovered in Nancy Reagan’s personal effects – dated August 7, 1982 – written by Ronald Reagan to his father-in-law. What makes the 36-year-old letter special is the topic – the president of the United States was taking time on a Saturday afternoon to write to Loyal Davis, his ailing father-in-law. Reagan was concerned about his health, but even more so about his eternity – Davis was a self-declared atheist. Reagan was 71, and just 16 months removed from being shot in the chest by crazed gunman John Hinckley Jr. So maybe he understood what his father-in-law was facing, how he was being confronted with his certain mortality. From the letter it's clear that Reagan has been doing some reading about God, sharing with his father-in-law arguments that probably came from C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity and Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict. What he began with was one of his own experiences. During his first year as governor of California, Reagan developed an ulcer that gave him sharp pains, and other times only discomfort, but which never went away entirely. Then one morning, as he reached for his Maalox, he discovered he didn’t need it – he was healed. That same morning the first and second letters of the day were from people telling him that they and others were praying for Reagan. Inside of an hour, a member of his legal staff popped in “on some routine matter” and on the way out the young man shared that some of Reagan's staff would arrive early every day to pray for him. An appointment two weeks later confirmed that not only did Reagan no longer have an ulcer, but, the doctor added, “there was no indication I’d ever had one.” Reagan understood this as God answering these many prayers. But he knew his skeptical father-in-law might dismiss this as coincidence, so he presented him with more to consider. Some seven hundred years before the birth of Christ the ancient Jewish prophets predicted the coming of a Messiah…. All in all there were a total of one hundred and twenty-three specific prophesys (sic) about his life all of which came true. Crucifixion was unknown in those times, yet it was foretold that he would be nailed to a cross of wood.* And one of the predictions was that he would be born of a Virgin. ....But Loyal, I don’t find that as great a miracle as the actual history of his life. Either he was who he said he was or he was the greatest faker & charlatan who ever lived. But would a liar & faker suffer the death he did when all he had to do to save himself was admit he’d been lying? The miracle is that a young man of 30 yrs. without credentials as a scholar or priest began preaching on street corners. He owned nothing but the clothes on his back & he didn’t travel beyond a circle less than one hundred miles across. He did this for only 3 years and then was executed as a common criminal. But for two thousand years he has had more impact on the world than all the teachers, scientists, emperors, generals and admirals who ever lived, all put together. And with that, Reagan pleaded with his father-in-law to turn to God and place his trust in Jesus Christ. And there is some reason to hope that he did. Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post discovered the letter while doing research for a biography on Nancy Reagan, and, rather than simply place it back in the box, she brought it to her paper, where they published it this past month. And so it was that, some 35 years after it was written, God used this private plea to challenge the many hundreds of thousands who have now been able to read it. * Reagan isn't quite right on this point. King David does prophecy, in Psalm 22, of Jesus' hands and feet being pierced (which points to the cross) but nowhere does it prophecy specifically that he would be nailed to a cross of wood. This is important to mention only because Christians don't want to be accused of overstating things....

News

Saturday Selections - Oct. 20, 2018

How our sun and atmosphere show evidence of being Intelligently-designed (3 minutes) A different take on pro-abortion bully Jordan Hunter When Jordan Hunter kicked pro-life protester Marie-Claire Bissonnette on a street in Toronto, video of his attack went viral. That viral video led to Hunter losing his job, and to the police pressing charges. Both results were unusual – though violence and destruction of property are regularly committed against pro-lifers, it's probably more common that pro-lifers are arrested by the police than the police arrest someone for attacking pro-lifers. It felt good to be on the winning side for once. But one commentator questioned whether the pro-life camp came out looking good. On a related note, even as this was all about the unborn – Hunter kicked Bissonnette for speaking up for the unborn and the unborn were the reason Bissonnette was out there protesting – what got lost in the news coverage was the unborn themselves. The press presented this as being about the principles of freedom of speech, and peaceful protest. Jordan Hunter was certainly attacking those principles, but those principles don't need defending like the unborn do. So, when attention comes our way, how can pro-lifers direct the media spotlight towards the unborn? Most importantly, we have to stick to our own talking points, about the humanity of the unborn, no matter where a reporter might want to take us. The media wants to do something on freedom of speech? We talk about how important it is that we be free to tell the country about the humanity of the unborn. They want to talk about peaceful protest? We talk about how it isn't our own peace we most want to ensure, but peace for the unborn. Of course, sticking to our message is no guarantee that the unborn's humanity will make it to the nightly news – we can't control reporters – but by ensuring all our answers are about the unborn (even as the media tries to take us in other directions) we can make it more likely the media will pass along at least some Truth about the unborn. A warning for parents: Instagram is full of porn Reformed commentator Jonathan Van Maren shares a secular magazine's warning about Instagram, and then shares a helpful resource – Social Media and Teens: The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Kids Safe Online – that parents may appreciate. The deadly Canadian M.A.I.D Three Canadians doctors are promoting the idea of euthanasia for children without their parents' permission. That's where you end up when life is no longer understood as intrinsically valuable. Man wins women's cycling race A man who says he is a woman just won a women's cycling race. How is that fair? The transgender winner argued that because he's lost to the women he was competing against more times than he's beat them, that makes it fair. That might make it competitive in much the same way that if a 40-something-year-old on foot raced his 8-year-old daughter on her bike, it might be close for the first 50 meters or so. But that doesn't make it any less a matter of apples competing against oranges. What was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah? Some are arguing it wasn't homosexuality but was really about inhospitality or rape. Koukl shows how an honest look at the text says otherwise. (5 minutes) ...

News

Woman identifies as a man who identifies as a dog

Any journalist knows there's nothing newsworthy about a dog biting a man, but when a man bites a dog then you have headline material! So you can imagine the excitement at the Daily Mail when they discovered a woman who identifies as a man who identifies as a dog. The British tabloid's Oct. 12 headline read: "Transgender man identifies as a DOG..." The article goes on to detail how the woman, Tony McGinn, loves to play fetch, run around on all fours, and be told by her husband and "handler" that she is a "good boy." What's interesting is how the newspaper has only partially bought into the transgender philosophy that "thinking makes it so." When it came to McGinn telling them she was a man, the Daily Mail was happy to agree that, just because she thought she was a man, she must be one – they consistently described her as a he. But when she said she was a "human pup" they were willing to go only so far. The difference was evident even in the headline where they describe her as a transgender man but don't describe her as a dog – no, they note that this is how she "identifies." So which is it, Daily Mail; does thinking make it so? If a woman can become a man simply by thinking it, why can't she become a dog the same way? The newspaper isn't the only one confused here. Even the couple – Tony McGinn and her husband – switch between talking of Tony as a "real dog" and talking about this being a "fantasy" with her "pretending," "imagining" and "playing" at being a dog. Why the confusion? Because, at least for the moment, everyone knows that people are not dogs and can never become dogs. They understand that when it comes to species, thinking doesn't make it so. But when it comes to gender they draw a different conclusion. Why? At its root, this is about Man saying it is our thinking, not God's, that creates the world around us. And if that is what they insist, then we need to compare and contrast their confused claims with the clarity God's Word offers - "...in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them" (Gen. 1:27). God's thinking decides our species and gender. They say otherwise. But can they practice what they preach? Can they live it? As a witness to the world, Christians need to highlight their inconsistency and demand that they either renounce the idea that thinking makes it so, and stop saying people can switch genders... or they need to fully adopt this philosophy and everything that goes with it.  Then women can become dogs. And then we need to treat these new dogs the way we treat all others. If they are dogs, why would we treat them any differently than other dogs? This is what transgender people demand, after all – to be treated as if they are the gender they claim to be. So if people can become dogs then we should require them to get dog licenses, eat kibble, fly in the airplane luggage compartment, and, of course, stop driving cars, stop shopping online at Amazon, and stop using the toilet for anything other than a drinking bowl. And the next time a classroom of kindergarten students thinks two plus two equals five, we should expect the teacher to nod in agreement....

News

Saturday Selections - October 13, 2018

Conservative group confronts students with a smile and a $100 bill Campus Reform offered college students $100 to name just one time that conservatives shut down a liberal speaker on campus - no one could do it. Campus Reform is not a Christian group, but if you've ever wondered what Christ meant when he sent out the twelve with instructions to be "shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves" (Matt. 10:16) this may well be what that looks like. Campus Reform's quiet, confident, and humorous questioning approach allows the students to discover for themselves that what they believe about liberals being more tolerant simply isn't so. The power of gentleness Parents, are you gentle? Or to ask the same question another way, parents, do you want to be the one your children turn to when they have problems? British bakers win case against at the UK Supreme Court level In 2014 Gareth Lee requested that Ashers Baking Company make a cake with Ernie and Bert on it, and the message "Support Gay Marriage." The Christian couple who owns the bakery refused, and this past week the UK Supreme Court sided with them, though at a cost. Some scientists fudge facts - the fall of Brian Wansink Science is sometimes given God's place as the final arbiter of Truth. It's good, then, to be reminded that Science is the findings of fallible men. And sometimes those men are not only fallible, but dishonest. The New Fall TV Season - should we tune in? What would happen if we watched TV with our kids and hit the pause button now and again to discuss what we were seeing? Sign up to watch "Tortured for Christ" online for free Oct. 22 and Oct 23 Voice of the Martyrs has made a movie about their founder, Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, who spent 14 years in a Communist camp for preaching the Gospel. From the trailer this looks like a well-done and important film to see, and for two days – Oct. 22 and 23 – you can do just that if you provide them with your email address at the link above (they will add you to their email list, but you can always unsubscribe later). In the trailer below, Wurmbrand explains to his wife the cost of telling others about God: "You know if I speak now, you will have no husband." Her answer? "I don't need a coward for a husband." ...

News

Saturday Selections – September 15, 2018

Mark Schultz on standing with, and praising God for, those who are devastated by grief In the first of these two videos Mark Schultz shares a beautiful song he has written as a pledge of sort to those who are so emptied they can't manage to stand and sing. In the second video he shares the story behind the song. h/t David Murray Addictions: sickness or sin? The trend to view all addictions as merely physical problems rather than sin, as John points out, will never get to the root of the problem. How the United Nations gets poverty wrong Inequality isn’t poverty and poverty ain’t inequality. Hope for ex-readers "Are you an ‘ex-reader’? Did you read Christian books in the past but have long since given up? If this bothers you, it should. Reading quality Christian books is good for you and for the people who know you. But don’t despair; you can start reading again. Here’s how." 3 problems with libertarianism "libertarianism tends to be ideologically-driven, and not driven by love" "libertarianism is backing away from the 'social issues' at just the moment when corruption on those issues has reached our nation’s lymph nodes." "libertarianism sees the abstraction of 'free market forces' as a tree in the orchard, instead of fruit from the orchard." The impact of legalizing marijuana in Colorado Prov. 18:17 says it is good to hear both sides of a debate. This documentary presents one side that is being underreported (57 minutes). ...

News

Saturday Selections – Sept. 8, 2018

Porcupine quills and a half dozen other examples of "Nature's" foresight Porcupines are able to make it through the birth canal without harming their mother because they are born with soft quills that quickly harden. An atheist's perspective on Christians' engagement with the world Madalyn Murray O'Hair – once America's most famous atheist – thought Christianity was about faith apart from works. And that's one reason she rejected it. Christians should not make the same mistake. Putting off children robs them of our youth Parents who put off having children till they are in their 30s deprives those children of years’ worth of their parents' loving presence and their parental guidance later in life. Fewer and fewer people actually need to go to college College takes time and money, but it used to offer a real benefit: higher paying, better jobs. Now companies like Apple, Google IBM, no longer require a college degree – they want skills, not a piece of paper. More on the birth control pill's dark side There's a lot about the pill that the medical community isn't readily sharing with those who use it. The most notable is that the pill can have a third action that doesn't prevent pregnancy, but instead prevents implantation - if a child was conceived it would cause a miscarriage. The mainstream press still won't talk about that, but a recent BBC report shared some of the under-reported side-effects Why is "mutualism" an important argument for Creation? ...

News

Saturday Selections - September 1, 2018

Pet clones - on the edge of human cloning? and The IVF needle baby The folks at Breakpoint.org have consistently solid, thoroughly biblical, commentary on the news of the day, with these two stories serving as great examples: 1) Pet cloning is a reality so what might distraught parents be willing to do if they learned a clone would bear an 85% resemblance to their dead child? 2) IVF and how "the redefinition of sex gave us the redefinition of marriage which is now leading to the redefinition of children." Delayed gratification: 3 simple ways to teach your kids about it The big double standard on child sex abuse no one is talking about Recent news articles have revealed how child sex abuse was covered up by the the Roman Catholic church but there's an even bigger story we're not hearing about: the child sex abuse being committed by public school teachers. Politician to transgender activists: You want woke? Fine, I’ll give you woke A politician shows how sometimes the perfect response to an absurdity is to embrace it fully. Are Western wildfires due to global warming? E. Calvin Beisner of the biblical stewardship group, the Cornwall Alliance, weighs in with an alternate explanation, and Kenneth P. Green of the Fraser Institute notes that even with the smoke, air quality in Canada is much better than it was in the past. A different sort of pro-life apologetic Prov. 26:4 warns us of the danger in answering a fool (or foolish argument): it can legitimize his argument, making it look like his is a respectable, reasonable position, comparable to our own. That's why satire, in these situations, is the more appropriate response: satire treats ridiculous argument as ridiculous. Recently some pro-lifers at Choice42 have taken up the challenge of answering a fool in his folly the right way, leaving no room for him to see himself as wise (Prov. 26:5). In their latest below they take on the argument that, when it comes to abortion and the unborn, men should just shut up, since they can't get pregnant. ...

News

Saturday Selections – August 25, 2018

Colorado Civil Rights Commission is after Jack Phillips again! A baker, who had to take his case all the way to the Supreme Court to be allowed not to bake cakes for same-sex weddings, is now facing charges from the same human rights commission for declining to bake a cake for a transgender transitioning celebration. Today, more than ever, read beyond the headlines Tim Challies on how even conservative or Christian media and bloggers can use headlines that are not telling us the full truth. That's why we need to do more than skim article titles. Susan Pevensie lives! If you were disturbed by Susan's absence in The Last Battle, the concluding book of the Narnia series, you'll enjoy this explanation of where she's ended up (10 min. read). Two atheists walk into a bar... Atheists will get upset when it's claimed they can't account for morality: "We can be as moral, kind, and helpful as anyone else. Many an atheist is the model neighbor, friend, and citizen." This claim may be true enough, but it isn't relevant. The point isn't whether atheists act moral, but whether their worldview provides any reason for them to do so. A Christian may well kill and steal (think of King David), even as that atheist over there spends his life helping little old ladies across the street. But the point is that when a Christian steals and kills he is breaking God's Commandments – he is not living according to his worldview. But if an atheist were to do the same thing, what atheist creed or principle would they be violating? What morality does atheism teach? School is here again - parents, watch out for the performance trap "The gospel is about grace; School is about performance. The gospel is about receiving compassion; School is about earning grades....The gospel and school. There is a disconnect, but it doesn’t have to exist." Truth is compassion: a grown man cannot become a little girl Just five years ago, almost no one took transgender claims seriously. Now folks are getting fired for insisting that God created us male and female. Why are we are losing this debate? One reason is because too many are afraid to even offer up the truth. Compelling, thought-provoking presentations of the truth are available, like this one below. But they are only useful if Christians use them, sharing them on our social media feeds. If no one will speak the truth – if we won't speak the truth – it shouldn't be surprised when the lie gains ground (3 min). ...

News

Venezuela’s inflation to hit 1 million percent?

An official with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is predicting that by the end of the year Venezuelan inflation will his 1,000,000 percent. What does that even mean? It would be like that $1 dollar soda you bought with your burger increasing in cost to $10,000 by year’s end. As recently as 2012 Venezuela was being touted by some as an example of socialist success. So what, over the space of just the last six years, has caused the sudden collapse of the Venezuelan economy? Oil prices are certainly a factor. Venezuela’s main export is oil and world prices for a barrel of crude fell from $100 (US) in 2014 to roughly $30 in 2016 before slowly rising to around $70 today. But many other oil-producing countries have been able to ride out this oil price drop. Another significant factor is surely the precipitous loss of economic freedom in the country. Since 1995 the Heritage Foundation has been ranking countries on their Index of Economic Freedom. The higher the score, the more individuals “are free to work, produce, consume, and invest in any way they please.” In 1995 Venezuela scored a 59.8, which gave them a “mostly unfree” rating but that was, at least, a couple points better than the world average. However, since then the Venezuelan government has taken over large parts of the economy by nationalizing everything from oil projects to glass manufacturing. The Heritage Foundation ranks countries who score under 50 as being “repressed” and Venezuela now comes in at just 25.2. (By way of comparison, the United States, Canada, and Australia score 75.7, 77.7, and 80.9, respectively.) The Index of Economic Freedom highlights many practical reasons why a loss of economic freedom leads to a loss of economic prosperity. If a business owner has to bribe officials to get his permits, or can't hire new workers because high taxes don't leave him money to pay for them, or he isn't sure whether he'll even own his business next year for fear the government might nationalize it, we can understand that this type of business environment is going to stifle initiative and innovation. Why start or expand a business – investing your sweat and yours savings – when the government is going to take most of the earnings via high taxes, or might take it from you completely via nationalization? But the practical argument against socialism is only the outworking of the theological argument. As Nancy Pearcey has noted, "biblical principles are not only true, but also work better in the grit and grime of the real world" and reverse is true too: what conflicts with biblical principles isn't going to work for long in that grit and grime. While socialism might seem admirable at first blush, as John Piper explains, it isn't biblical: "Socialism borrows the compassionate aims of Christianity in meeting people’s needs while rejecting the Christian expectation that this compassion not be coerced or forced. ....ll of the Bible, the Old Testament and the New Testament, assumes both the legitimacy — and, I think, the necessity — of personal ownership. 'Thou shalt not steal' makes no sense where no one has a right to keep what is his." Venezuela is just the latest example of how socialism fails everywhere it is tried. Will the world ever learn?...

News

Saturday Selections - August 4, 2018

Parents: act, don't react! This is an incredibly helpful piece of parenting advice on the topic of disciplining and spanking. When we react, we are most often punishing, not disciplining. (6 minutes). Conversation-killing short answers Is your teen giving you one word answers to all your questions? Jay Younts points us to the Bible to figure out how to really reach our children. Reading and forgetting might be worse than never reading at all "James talks about the man who looks into a mirror, sees his face is dirty, but then goes away and forgets all about it—as a result, he still has a dirty face. What was he talking about? People who look into (study) the Bible, find out what is wrong with them, but go away and do nothing about it." Albert Mohler on a pope that likes to push Catholic's buttons Reformed baptist Albert Mohler has a 20+ minute daily podcast well worth a listen or a read. On April 5, he delved into how Pope Francis is subverting established Catholic doctrine by offering up a trail of vague hints as to what he believes. The controversies that follow the Pope could be ended in a moment if he would just make a straight-forward statement that affirms what the Catholic church has also always affirmed...but he doesn't do that. A war criminal converted An account from the aftermath of World War II about a Dutch collaborator who was sent a Bible by the mother of one of the men he helped kill. Big numbers! A short video exploring numbers on the grand scale – how many stars are there in the universe? – and the microscopic scale – how many atoms in a grain of sand? (6 minutes) ...

News

Why do more today feel like have-nots?

Back in 1988 a Pew Research poll of Americans found that a majority thought they were doing quite well, describing themselves as “haves.” Just 17% said they were “have-nots.” Twenty years later there was quite the change: a 2011 Pew poll found that self-identified have-nots had doubled to 34%. So, why this pessimistic turn in Americans’ self-assessment? Is it because things have gotten so much worse? Well, no. Things have improved in big ways and little since 1988! Consider, for example, how many Americans had cellphones in 1988. It was under 5% of the US populace. Today 95% of Americans have a cellphone, and more than 75% of them have a smartphone. In other words, three quarters of the population are walking around with a device in their back pocket that their 1988 forbearers couldn’t even have imagined, but if they did, they would have thought this music-playing, direction-giving, movie-showing, call-anywhere, super computer would have to be a tool reserved for only the super rich. And yet we all have one. And when it comes to the basics, in 1988 necessities used to eat up 39% of the average American worker’s income. In 2013 that had fallen to just 32%, meaning more disposable income for most everyone. So, again, why do more people feel like they are bad off when, in general, things are actually improving? Well, maybe it has something to do with the growing popularity of the term “income inequality.” By one measure, this term is used almost twice as often as it was in 1988. And focusing our attention on how much more our neighbor has than us can make it hard to appreciate our own blessings (Prov. 14:30)....

News

Saturday Selections - July 28, 2018

How to help your daughter deal with mean girls Three tips on how to help your girls deal with - and not become - mean girls. Some cultures are better than others Some post-modern folk are so consistent with the outworking of their worldview, they'll argue that a culture that conducted ritual sacrifice daily is just practicing what they believe, and we shouldn't judge them. Thankfully, most post-modern folk aren't this consistent, and showing them something like this can help them see through the problem with their worldview. Facebook shuts down Christian ideas while allowing others to post threats  When CBC posted a video pushing homosexuality on what looked like kindergarten kids, a Christian professor posted a protest to his Facebook page. And got suspended by Facebook. Moreover, when folks share that they have been muted by Facebook, on Facebook - or their friends do - that can lead to further suspensions. Anne with an E is a PC fail Anne of Green Gables, everyone's favorite Canadian heroine, has been turned into an advocate for homosexuality, and an opponent of "domesticity and traditional social roles." What the Roman Catholic Church is still wrong: a helpful book R. Scott Clark reviews D.G Hart's new book Still Protesting: Why the Reformation matters. If you have a Roman Catholic in your life, this may be a good read. Another is R.C. Sproul's Are We Together: A Protestant analyzes Roman Catholicism. Is the Earth's climate unstable? A young earth creationist's thoughts (3 minutes) ...

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