Culture Clashes, News
Lorie Smith: another Christian battling to preserve a freedom we all need to use more often
Lorie Smith is a Colorado website designer and graphic artist who wants to expand her business to include wedding clients. While she’s worked with homosexual clients in the past, that hadn’t involved weddings, and she knew that she wouldn’t want to design wedding websites for same-sex “marriages.” The Colorado government has declared that her stand amounts to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Smith’s pastor suggested that she contact the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the same legal team that represented Jack Philips, another Coloradan who got in trouble for refusing to design wedding cakes for same-sex “marriages.” While he eventually won his case in front of the Supreme Court, the ADF confirmed that the Colorado officials would still come after Smith. So Smith decided to challenge the law with the help of the ADF. Since she first began her challenge 6 years ago, she’s had to endure rape and death threats against her and her family and she’s lost both clients and friends. Through it all, she could take comfort knowing that what she was doing was for God and to His glory. And now, this fall, she will have a hearing before the Supreme Court.
Hers is only one of many cases this year involving compelled speech. In the UK earlier this year, a small bakery finally won their case. Their journey started in 2014, when British LGBT activist Gareth Lee ordered a cake from the Belfast shop, requesting a picture of Sesame Street characters Ernie and Bert, and the slogan “Support Gay Marriage.” His order was taken and the cake paid for, but a few days later Ashers Bakery called him to explain they couldn’t make the cake because of the slogan, and that his money would be refunded. He took them to court for discrimination and won initially before losing in UK’s Supreme Court, which said it was the message and not the man, that was at issue, and Ashers Bakery had the right not to create messages they disagreed with. But Lee wasn’t finished, and took the case to the European Court of Human Rights. Fortunately, in January the bakers won again, though on a technicality that leaves the door open for Lee to file further appeals. So it’s good news, for now. Interestingly the bakery got support from an unexpected source. Another LGBT activist, Peter Tatchell, pointed out that:
"If the judgement had gone the other way, a gay baker could have been forced by law to accede to requests to decorate cakes with messages opposing LGBT+ equality.”
What Tatchell was echoing here (however unintentional) was Jesus’ warning against judging others by standards we wouldn’t want applied to ourselves (Matt. 7:1-2). That might even be the message a Christian should get cake-printed from the nearest gay bakery: “Do not judge… for in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
As with Lorie Smith’s battle, this was been defended as a matter of free speech. It is that, most certainly. But what has largely been lost is how the decision affirmed Ashers Bakery’s right not to harm others. That is the more important battle, in part because it is the fight we’ll be fighting alone.
Even an LGBT activist may, in his own self-interest, defend a Christian’s right to free speech. But what only Christians will defend is God’s Truth that gay “marriage” is harmful, and, thus, so too is its celebration. It’s one thing to fight for a right to free speech, and quite another to exercise that freedom to explain that the reason we don’t want to bake the cake or make the website is because we don’t want to hurt homosexuals by promoting a sinful lifestyle that separates them from their Savior. That’s a message no LGBT activist is ever going to speak. But is a message that desperately needs to be heard more often, and more clearly. It’s also a message that’ll require even more courage.
Saturday Selections – September 10, 2022
Economics 101: how profits answer the "knowledge problem" How can we know what to make? And how much to make? And who would be best to make it? This ...
Queen Elizabeth II, dead at 96
Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022 at the age of 96, after reigning as Queen of Great Britain and the Commonwealth for over 71 years. Hers w...
Saturday Selections – September 3, 2022
Birds are crafted (2 min) In this clip from the documentary Flight: the Genius of Birds, we get to explore how the depth of design needed, even merel...
Saturday Selections – August 27, 2022
Joe Rogan vs. Babylon Bee on abortion! (10 min) Last week Seth Dillon of Babylon Bee made an appearance on the world's most popular podcast, where he did a solid job of defending the unborn. Calling it "convergence" doesn't explain away the evidence of a Designer When two species exhibit similar traits or organs but are otherwise so different from one another that even evolutionists doubt they had a common ancestor then what they share – ie. both man and octopus have a "camera-type eye" – will be said to have happened via "convergent" evolution. This is just saying that the same feature must have evolved two entirely separate times... or maybe even thrice, or many more times than that. But if a scientist isn't already committed to evolution, these similar traits in divergent species would instead be understood as evidence of a common Designer. Don't miss the Abbot and Costello "Who's on First?" comic at the bottom of the linked article. Can we get kids to 15 without a phone glued to their palm? A group in Australia is making the case for parents to push off giving their kids a smartphone until at least 15. Is depression caused by a chemical imbalance? Evidence is lacking Evidence of experts' fallibility came out earlier this summer when an umbrella study found that the idea depression is caused by a chemical imbalance – a theory presumed true for decades now – lacks empirical evidence. This seems another instance of what the experts know, not necessarily being so. That people get things wrong shouldn't be shocking to Christians, but as some in the world urge us to let the so-called experts handle the running of larger and larger aspects of our lives, it's worth remembering that experts can get it really wrong. (One caution: the article author has a passing reference to David Murray that is a bit of a shot, and doesn't line up with my own recollection of Murray's position.) Girl identifies as cat, and school runs with it Who defines reality? That's what this comes down to, with the Bible offering one answer, and the world another. So each instance like this is an evangelistic opportunity to contrast God's Truth with the world's foolishness. The temptation that Christians often succumb to, is to simply point out the foolishness and leave God's Truth implicit. But we ain't doing anyone any good if we point out foolishness and then presume that a world so blinded as to fall for believing people can be cats is somehow smart enough to figure out for themselves a Truth we aren't brave enough to share. What's the deal with BeReal? Chris Martin gives parents a heads-up on the newest social media app, BeReal: "The app creates this more “authentic” (theoretically, anyway) environment by notifying users via a smartphone notification that it is “⚠️ Time to BeReal. ⚠️” at a random time each day—users in the same timezone will have the same posting time each day—during which the users have two minutes to post." Jordan Peterson's message to the Church Jordan Peterson gives here, what one pastor has called "straight talk from a crooked foundation" and another describes as "painfully... mostly spot on." This is an outsider's perspective – Peterson is not (yet) a Christian – which makes it all the more remarkable that he has here accurately diagnosed, and has the courage to share, one of the Devil's key strategic efforts in undermining the Church: Satan is going after young men. Where Peterson falls short is in his response to Satan's attack. Yes, the Church needs to go after young men, and needs to disciple them, but not to save our families and our culture. That is not the purpose young men (or young women, or any old or young) are being called to. That is, instead, the fruit that comes with returning to the purpose for which we have been created: the worship and glorification of God. One word of warning: in the concluding seconds Peterson interjects God's name in a manner that on the one hand is actually factually so – "You are churches for God's sake" – but which here is being misused by Peterson as an expletive for emphasis. ...
Saturday Selections - August 20, 2022
Trick shots from level 1 to 1oo School has been out for a while now - are the kids getting antsy with nothing to do? Here's something that may inspire a bit of fun! Indoctrinated by the Matrix "In itself, indoctrination is good; children have to learn the rules and virtues, and be molded gradually into adults who will be capable of living wise and good lives. But how are they indoctrinated, and into what? We used to assume that each generation would be a lot like the one before it. No longer. But why not?" Scientists are undermining our trust in science "A just-published exposé in the journal Science claims that a seminal study on the causes of Alzheimer’s disease may contain falsified data...." 4 guidelines for dating without regret Stop acting like you're married when you're not Make intentions known when you're dating - ie "I would like to take you on a date this weekend” vs. “Let’s hang out some time” Foreplay is not play Realize that you are not already committed Monkeypox: we can stop it but health authorities aren't shouting out how Even as authorities said COVID-19 necessitated church closures, they let BLM protests proceed. We'd be mystified as to the contradiction if God hadn't told us there are spiritual forces seeking to oppose His Church and champion chaos. More recently the Devil's fingerprints are evident in how monkeypox has been declared a "global health emergency" even as the obvious cure isn't being shared. It is getting attention because of the group afflicted (homosexuals), however the prevention (stop messing around!) is only being obscured because it involves taking at least a step toward God's standards for sex. Privacy: who needs it? We're getting tracked by giant social media companies, but, more importantly, by our governments too. But if we're not doing anything wrong, why should we care if they know what we're up to? Well, in a world where the norms are constantly changing, your politics and especially your biblical stances on sexuality could be used against you at a later date. The video below is a libertarian perspective but it offers thoughts worth Christians' consideration too. ...
Saturday Selections – August 13, 2022
Fantastic fireflies! (8 min) Most everyone would say fireflies are super cool, but we really have no idea. God has crafted a creature that has a near 100% efficiency in turning the energy they produce into light. Compare that to an incandescent bulb that might well be just 10% efficient. A A biblical case for limited government (15-min read) J.P. Moreland offers up his 7-point argument for why Christians should want, and so far as they are able should promote, limits on government. Pastor, what are your 30-year goals? This is directed at pastors, but relevant to us all. It's said "man makes plans, and God laughs" but that's not a discouragement to making plans, but to making arrogant plans – it's in line with what Jesus said about a fellow building his "farming empire" who gave no thought to how God could call him to account that very night (Luke 12:16-21). For God's people, prayerfully setting off in a deliberate direction is about trying to best use the talents God has given you (Matt. 25:14-30). On job satisfaction Some are blessed with many job opportunities, particularly early on in their lives, so if they don't like what they have, the possibility exists for seeking out something more enjoyable. But what if you're stuck in a job you don't like, and there aren't options for anything better? Tim Bayly offers some insights and encouragement... 5 guidelines for dating without regret Tim Challies weighs in with some helpful direction... China's social credit system (6 min) A refugee from China warns us of the oppressive government monitoring system he fled. What he describes happening there is not simply technologically possible here, but is becoming ideologically so, as more and more are demanding government manage ever-increasing portions of their lives. ...
Saturday Selections - August 6, 2022
The Great Escape? (8 min) Might God be using technological innovations to grant His people freedom from government tyranny? That's not quite how this fellow puts it, but that is the interesting possibility he's presenting. While this is a libertarian, rather than Christian perspective, we share in common with libertarians the understanding that Man is limited and fallible. That gives us both every reason to oppose centralized government proposals, predicated as they are on those at the top having near-omniscient powers to know what's best for everyone else. Christians know world leaders aren't God, and don't have His omniscience, and thus they shouldn't put themselves in a position that requires them to be god-like. To that insight, Christians can add our awareness of Man's sinful nature, and Lord Acton's adage that power corrupts. So, like this libertarian, we should want government powers to be limited. 5 things you might not know about Eve Did you know that Eve wasn't her real name? Only the rich can "afford" to be godless It's no secret that certain Christian values, like stable marriage, sex within marriage, and abstaining from drug abuse, "strongly correspond to long term success." So why do so many of the richest hold to more "progressive" views on marriage and sex? It might be, because they can afford to. They can use their money to pay the price for their unwise lifestyles. But for the millions of others who admire and imitate them, they are not able to afford these "luxury beliefs." When are you really dead? Though this seems a Roman Catholic writer, he brings insight to an issue that is of growing importance "as doctors’ ability to transplant organs grows." Do we die when our heart stops, or when our brain function seizes? This article doesn't raise the issue of euthanasia, but in the context of transplants, the importance of knowing when a person dies becomes all the more important in a society that has no ethical objection to killing patients. Deut 22:5 is a help to confused Christians Genesis 1:27 should have been enough, with God declaring that He "assigns" our gender, and no one else. But to His Church, knowing how easily we are influenced by the world, He has also given us Deut 22:5. Everybody loves Jesus until they understand who He really is (1 minute) When the Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses come knocking the way to get to the heart of it is to ask them what they think about Jesus. ...
Saturday Selections - July 30, 2022
State or parents: whose child is it? (2 min) The case made for home school here is one Christians – even those of us with our own Christian schools...
Saturday Selections - July 23, 2022
Wikipedia's bias (8 min) One of Wikipedia's founders now describes it as propaganda for the leftwing. The passive husband A passive husband can...
Saturday Selections - July 16, 2022
Dude Perfect Jr.? These kids are likely to inspire your own with all their ballon-popping trick shots. The myth that sports stadiums create new ...
Saturday Selections – July 2, 2022
A fish that shoots its prey (2 min) God's craftsmanship is on display in the Archer Fish and Velvet Worm (and it might get you curious about how such effective predators designs came about). How thick is your Bible? How do we tell the right from the almost right? The world speaks of justice, love, tolerance, and equality, and it all sounds so good. But to know if it is actually good, we need to be able to test their definitions against God's. And to do that, we'll need to have "thick Bibles" - we'll need to know, not just a verse or two, but really understand what He has said through and through. This article is intended for Christian counselors but is highly relevant for us all. Will we work on the New Earth? Christians sometimes think work is the result of the Fall and the curse that followed. But God had work for Adam to do right from the start... Christian school caught teaching biblical truth This reads like satire - a parent surprised that the Christian school assigned their child the task of writing a loving and compassionate explanation of the Christian truth about homosexuality to an imagined friend struggling with same-sex feelings. But it's real, and as Albert Mohler notes: "That moment of truth is coming for every school, and every Christian institution had better be ready for it. But I just can’t stop thinking about the parents who are upset because they are getting what they paid for: a Christian education for their children. It appears the greatest enemies of Christian education are not the secular powers outside the schools but the spineless agents of surrender within. "The fact that all this started with a parent upset about an assignment upholding Biblical truth leads me to offer this word of advice to the teacher: Evidently, some of your students need to write that letter to their parents." Sidenote: do many Christian schools assign this kind of task to middle school students? Impressive! An FAQ on the overturn of Roe vs. Wade The US Supreme Court has overruled Roe vs. Wade, but why, and how exactly did it happen? If you've got questions, this FAQ article has the answers. Another weak link in evolutionary theory This is a short read that'll reward the close attention it requires – this is an important one! The gist? One of the arguments for evolution has been common features in different species: both human hands and bat wings have five "fingers" and, so the argument goes, that might indicate a shared five-fingered ancestor deep in the two species' past. But imagine now, if similar traits were discovered to be programmed for in very different parts of the genome. That's what has been recently discovered: "...the functions necessary to sustain life are carried out by different molecules coded by different genes in different species." What is the basis for equal rights? (4 min) Even atheists have acknowledged that the only basis for equal human rights is found in Christianity. After all, in what sense are any of us equal, from a secular perspective? I might be bigger than you, you may be faster than me, and that person over there might be smarter than us both. So in what sense are we equal? As Nancey Pearcey and Greg Koukl explain, the only sense in which we are equal is that we are all made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). And when secular folk talk of equal rights they are "freeloading" from the Christian worldview. ...
Saturday Selections – June 25, 2022
Economics 101 in 7 great quotes (6 min) David Bahnsen's company manages more than $3.5 billion in client assets but, in Reformed circles, he might be best known as the son of presuppositional apologist Greg Bahnsen. Here he gives a fantastic primer on economics using seven key quotes. (For more check out his book There's No Free Lunch: 250 Economic Truths.) Why a seven-day week? Years come from the rotation of the Earth around the Sun, and months come from the lunar cycle, so where does the week come from? Christians know it springs from the Creation Week, of course. The world has tried to tinker with seven days, trying from 5 to 10 day "weeks" but 7 keeps winning. How well are we fulfilling God's original command? ARPA Canada asks, how well are Canadians doing with God's "be fruitful and multiply" command (Gen. 1:28)? Their answer? Not so good – were it not for immigration, our population might be shrinking! Their solution? We need to better foster an appreciation for children, which includes not aborting 75,000+ of them each year. That's a very good suggestion But another is less clearly so. While acknowledging "changing the cultural conversation about children isn’t primarily the task of the government" they do suggest government child benefit cash transfers and more generous parental leaves. But were parental leaves first put in place to enable families to prosper, or to encourage women to get out of the home? These leaves increases the tax burden, making them one more reason it's difficult for families to get by on a single income. The secular world demands cradle-to-grave care from their government, turning to it as a stand-in for the God they deny, but Christians who know the government to be limited, fallible, and flawed, should ask for much less. So yes, to pressing for protection of the unborn, but let's say no to more government programs aimed at "supporting" the family. This Texas teen wanted an abortion. She now has twins. (10-min read) Something to celebrate: Texas has passed one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the country and the Washington Post just shared the story of a teen couple the law prevented from aborting their twins. They didn't mean to share a pro-life story. However, when they contrast what these two gave up, with the two living babies and a pro-choice mom who is grateful for them and wondering what would have happened to them but for this new law, it is pro-life indeed. The CRC takes a stand on sexuality More to celebrate: "Last week, the Christian Reformed Church in North America’s 2022 Synod overwhelmingly voted to uphold its historic confessional position that the Bible permits sexual activity only within a marriage between one man and one woman. ....This move came as a surprise to many outside the denomination, though a very welcome one.... p to a third of the professors at Calvin University opposed the decision. By contrast, the vote at Synod was not close. The motion carried 123 to 53." How to greet the end of Roe vs. Wade 49 years after the Roe vs. Wade US Supreme court decision made abortion legal in the US, it has been overturned. It's a moment to thank God... and get to work. The overturning of Roe vs. Wade doesn't make abortion illegal but simply makes it possible to do so. New restrictions will mean more living babies and a need for more adoptions and more crisis intervention to enable these children to stay with the mothers who do want them. So there will be a need for more generosity from God's people. Click on the link above for what the Church can do. Watch the video below to see just how demonic the opposition is outing itself to be. If they can't murder babies, they're going to turn to violence and vasectomies! A word of warning about language - specifically f-bombs - that are mostly but not entirely bleeped. ...
Saturday Selections – June 18, 2022
Can our kids be salt and light in government schools? (2 min) Maybe... if they were trained. But in a government school who is training whom? A 4-year-old can run an errand This NPR article has a good dose of common sense but mixes it with evolutionary psychology so it isn't something to swallow whole. Its value lies in its counter-cultural pitch: giving our children more responsibility at younger ages. The world wants to selectively give children more responsibility but in reckless ways, leaving them unguided and unprotected when it comes to sexual activity, or whether they actually are the gender God made them. We aren't to abandon our children that way... but we also aren't to coddle them. This is an eye-opener on how our children may be able to embrace responsibility at younger ages than we might have considered. It can start small, like getting a small one to go track down the milk by themselves the next time you're in the grocery store. Most men don't have real friends (but need them) "One hundred years ago, men were far more comfortable showing each other everyday physical affection: draping arms over shoulders, sitting close to each other, even holding hands.... The typical ways men have shown each other affection for all of human history are so foreign to us that, when we see them, we don’t recognize them. That’s the exact phenomenon C.S. Lewis wrote about in The Four Loves, when he said that “those who cannot conceive friendship as a substantive love but only as a disguise or elaboration of Eros betray the fact that they have never had a friend.” The continuing importance of Thomas Sowell (10-min read) Never heard of Thomas Sowell? This 91-year-old economist has continually made the case against public schools and does so again in his latest book Charter Schools and their enemies. "Schools exist for the education of children. Schools do not exist to provide iron-clad jobs for teachers, billions of dollars in union dues for teachers unions, monopolies for educational bureaucracies, a guaranteed market for teachers colleges, or a captive audience for indoctrinators." God has the Left fighting itself (30-min read) One of the ways God protects His Church is by having His enemies reap what they sow (Gal. 6:7, Prov. 22:8, Luke 6:38). This lengthy article provides example after example of the groups pushing the cancel agenda being sent into turmoil when their employees apply that same standard internally. The Saviour-less Left still believes in sin, but not forgiveness, leading to a constant state of dissatisfaction at what's being done. And that leads to ironies like the abortion-pushing Guttmacher Institute being criticized internally by its staff for being too abortion-focussed, and not caring enough about reproductive justice. We can only pray that they'll continue to distract themselves so. This is a long read, but for the many who are distraught at what seems to be an endless flow of bad news what an encouragement it will be to see how God is fighting for us. That said, this reporter isn't offering a Christian perspective – he's reporting here as a friend of the Left. But those with eyes to see will have something to celebrate. We aren't in these groups, so we can't take credit for any of their implosions – this is the Lord fighting for us; we need only be still. 5 cool things about fish Did you know some fish can: 1) regrow their teeth, 2) "see" with their skin, 3) out"run" Usain Bolt, "4) and incapacitate a horse? Paul Tripp with 5 questions parents should ask their kids (12 min) To discipline their children parents will often turn to fear, bribery, and shame. But these generally only work short-term. If we're going to be on "Team Little Johnny" to help him become a more godly man, we need to help him see what he's doing rightly. And we can help him do so, not so much by lecturing as by asking good questions. ...
Saturday Selections – June 11, 2022
Discovered: new mode of flight! Have you heard of a beetle with feathers? It wasn't so long ago that scientists thought that the beetle in this article didn't fly at all, but just got carried along by the wind. But it turns out this little guy uses feathered wings to fly. To read about this, and two other remarkable beetles, click on the link above. Or check out the 4-minute video below. Kevin DeYoung on the pretense of Pride month DeYoung makes two key points: 1) that by marketing their movement on "pride" – on feelings of self-worth – the homosexual movement evaded a rational evaluation of their agenda, and 2) Pride month might be an indication that they dost protest too much. "If you need the worlds of sports, entertainment, education, media, and government to celebrate your sexuality in order to feel proud, maybe your conscience is trying to tell you something." Pro-life MP kept out of Parliament for not disclosing her vaccination status On April 25, 2020, the The Globe and Mail ran a column headlined "We are giving up our freedoms in the fight against COVID-19. The question is will we get them back?" Over two years later, Cathay Wagantall's exclusion from Parliament shows that's still the question. Jesus' response to massacres - why? " answer today would seem rather abrupt and terse. He made sure first that they understood that such human disasters are not always correlated with some particular sin on the part of the victims.... But, what does he say? I tell you 'unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish.'...” Don't say "they": Why pronouns matter Pronouns may not seem like a fight worth having, but as Chesterton said, “The Church and the heresies always used to fight about words, because they are the only thing worth fighting about.” Man kills 6; Supreme Court rules 150 years is "cruel and unusual" (1o-min read) ARPA Canada weighs in on a recent Canadian Supreme Court decision that says "rehabilitation is the basis upon which all criminal law is based." Really? How does that compare to biblical justice? Homeschooling movie in US theaters June 13 and 14 The Left is getting increasingly brazen about declaring our children as being the State's. Christians need to stand together and make clear that God has given us parents the responsibility and privilege to be our children's primary educators (whether that is with some help from a private school or not). This new film from Kirk Cameron looks like it could be a great encouragement. It's playing only in American theaters this next week but is sure to be released soon for online streaming, so be sure to check out the trailer below. ...
Saturday Selections – June 4, 2022
The Left rediscovers biology (3 min) At the risk of ruining the joke, this video is deeper than its creator knows. When we reject God's standard - no...
Nancy Pelosi steals communion
A man, given a handsome offer by his king for a piece of property he owned, refused to sell. It was not that the man meant to offend the king or that ...
News that inspires action!
“Can we watch World Watch now?” That’s what one of my six blond-haired children is bound to ask on most weekdays after the dinner dishes have...
Saturday Selections – May 21, 2022
Why free trade is win-win So long as two people make an exchange voluntarily, it's going to be win-win. If I trade $10,000 for your used Volkswagon Beetle, it's only because I must think the car is worth more than the money, and you'll only sell it to me if you think the money is worth more to you than the car. Otherwise, neither of us would make the trade. That means, in making this voluntary exchange, we're both better off than when we started – we both believe we've gotten more than we had before. That means business, as it is normally done, makes both parties wealthier. Jesus on the age of the Earth It's so clear that Jesus believed in a young world, that the only way leading theistic evolutionists can reconcile His statements with their old Earth views is to say... He got it wrong. How the US government exasperated the baby formula shortage Tariffs and restrictions on European brands have limited American alternative supplies. "Bureaucrats in DC no doubt will tell you their formula is the correct and healthy one, while bureaucrats in the EU almost certainly would contend they have the right mixture of ingredients. This invites an important question: who actually has the best baby formula for infants, the EU or the US? Many may think they know, but the economist Thomas Sowell reminds us this is the wrong question. 'The most basic question is not what is best, but who shall decide what is best,' Sowell says." The war in Ukraine and the myth of overpopulation Russia has lost thousands of soldiers in their invasion, and "the majority of those poor young men killed for Russians honor will be their mother's only son, in many cases their only child..." Why? While we still hear fearful mention made of the danger of overpopulation such fearmongering has Russia shrinking by more than 100,000 a year, and every continent but Africa is facing birth rates at near or below replacement rate. Why then does the fearmongering persist? Because this anti-natal ideology is in rebellion against not simply the facts, but God. Because He says children are a blessing, our culture persists in treating them as a curse. What else fueled the Buffalo shooter? The man who targeted blacks and killed 10 people this last weekend was a racist, but what wasn't shared is that his purported manifesto appealed to evolution as the basis for his racism. Is college worth it? If you're going to college and university to get a good job, then it's worth considering what sort of return you'll get on your investment of 4 years and tens of thousands of dollars (not just in tuition, books, and rent, but in deferred income you would otherwise have earned if you were out in the workforce). "If you get a degree in something like Art, Music, Philosophy, or Psychology, there's a pretty good chance you're going to be worse off financially than if you'd never gone to college at all." The article linked to above and the video below use American numbers, but offer something for Canadians to consider too. ...
Saturday Selections – May 14, 2022
US creates 1984-ish Disinformation Governance Board Meanwhile, in Canada, the government's Bill C-11 would give the government enormous power over the Internet. So, like our American counterparts express below, we need to call on our government to "shut this down." Social media: designed to addict Jonathon Van Maren reviews RP contributor Chris Martin's new book, and shares how: "In order for people to use social media responsibly—i.e., not get addicted—we essentially have to use these platforms in ways that they were not designed to be used." Canadians love government spending...but not paying for it The Fraser Institute has found support drops off dramatically for three new government spending programs when a cost is mentioned. It seems much of the initial support was based on an assumption that the programs would cost nothing. But isn't this like going out for a meal and then being all surprised when the bill comes? Don't we all know, there is no free lunch? No. As Henry Hazlitt noted, "The world is full of so-called economists who in turn are full of schemes for getting something for nothing." Governments tout the benefits of their program but seldom spell out all the costs, so it may well be that taxpayers have been tricked into thinking that lunch will be free. Or the answer might be found on a different front: some support might have come from people who thought they would get the benefit, and someone else the cost. Here's the real reason young people can't afford a house It comes down to trade-offs... that politicians aren't even willing to acknowledge. LA woman discovers 100+ mail-in ballots Canada's federal, in-person voting on Election Day has each vote counted by a poll clerk, as well as representatives from all the major parties. That means there isn't just one count, but at least four (Election Canada's, plus counts from the Liberals, Conservatives, and NDP). This process precludes not only the possibility of fraud but even the appearance of it. Our in-person voting procedure is secure and it is spectacular. In contrast, mail-in ballots leave possibilities like this... We need to talk about Assisted Reproduction "The pain of infertility is real and deep, and the desire for children is natural, inherent, and good. It’s a tragedy whenever someone who embraces this desire is unable to experience it. At the same time, we question the use of certain artificial reproductive technologies. Ours is a culture in which adult happiness is prioritized over the rights of children, both in the taking and the making of preborn life..." "It's not a boat!" (52 min) If you've thought about visiting the life-size model of the ark they've built down in Kentucky, you won't find a better preview than this 1-hour tour with Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham and Babylon Bee's editor-in-chief Kyle Mann. Mann brings some of the funny, but in a surprising twist, Ham proves to be quite the sardonic wit! ...
A secular defense of the Sabbath, and how it falls short
Fast Company is a secular business magazine, as likely to pass on presentation tips from industry leaders as it is to pass on marketing tips from drag queens so this isn't the first place you'd look to find a defense of Sabbath rest. But there it was in a Sept. 14, 2018 piece titled: "Let's bring back the Sabbath as a radical act against the always-on economy." The author, William Black does overlook the core of Sabbath rest – there's nothing in this article about taking our rest in the Lord, and coming together to worship Him. But because God's Law is written on our hearts (Romans 2:14-15), even unbelievers can recognize that Law's validity, at least in part. A practical case for the Sabbath Black began his article by pointing to the religious roots of the commandment, but he certainly wasn't making a religiously-based appeal for it. Implicit in his argument was that, despite how "the commandment smacks of obsolete puritanism," there was still something radical and vital about it. "When taken seriously, the Sabbath has the power to restructure not only the calendar but also the entire political economy. In place of an economy built upon the profit motive – the ever-present need for more, in fact the need for there to never be enough – the Sabbath puts forward an economy built upon the belief that there is enough." In a materialistic world, whose gods include "career advancement" and "more take-home pay" there's no end of the work that can be done to earn the gods' favor. Enough is never enough, because extra work can help you advance further and faster, and help you earn more. In that kind of world, the idea of taking one day off every week is not only radical, but downright blasphemous – such a break can only be enjoyed by those who recognize the materialistic gods are not worth giving our full devotion. Black continues by sharing how Sabbath rest was a benefit for the whole community: "The fourth commandment presents a od who, rather than demanding ever more work, insists on rest. The weekly Sabbath placed a hard limit on how much work could be done and suggested that this was perfectly all right; enough work was done on the other six days. And whereas the pharaoh relaxed while his people toiled, Yahweh insisted that the people rest as Yahweh rested: 'For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it.' "The Sabbath, as described in Exodus and other passages in the Torah, had a democratizing effect. Yahweh’s example – not forcing others to labor while Yahweh rested – was one anybody in power was to imitate. It was not enough for you to rest; your children, slaves, livestock, and even the 'aliens' in your towns were to rest as well. The Sabbath wasn’t just a time for personal reflection and rejuvenation. It wasn’t self-care. It was for everyone." While Black repeatedly mentions the Jewish origins of Sabbath rest, his is still a secular case for the command. He's touting the practical benefits, and not that this is God's authoritative command. Black may or may not be a Christian himself, but his approach – praising God's Law, without praising the Lawmaker – is one Christians commonly take. Whether it's abortion, sex-ed curriculums, or refusing to bake cakes for same-sex marriages, Christians regularly argue for the godly position while avoiding any mention of our God. Without God the argument fails We do that for tactical reasons – the world's not interested in God, so they'll just ignore us if we start any argument with His Name, right? But the problem is, all of God's Law – every position we're arguing for – stands on Him. So when we try to defend His Law without any mention of Him, it will, ultimately, fail. To put it another way, this not only robs God of the glory that He is due – God's people refusing to mention our Lord's Name does rob Him of His due – it isn't even an effective tactic. Take abortion as an example. Christians will argue that abortion is wrong because killing babies is wrong. And because God's Law is written on everyone's hearts, that's an argument the other side will concede. But they'll dispute that the unborn are babies and question how something so small and immature can really be of the same worth as much larger, already-born human beings. So the real argument is not, "Is killing wrong?" but "Where does our worth come from?" Only God provides a satisfactory answer to that question: our worth comes not from any abilities we have, but is intrinsic in being made in His Image (Gen. 1:26-27, Gen. 9:6). That's why an unborn baby has value, no matter how small, and doesn't gain worth as it gains in abilities. This intrinsic value is also why a disabled adult isn't of lesser worth even though he can do less, and why an elderly adult doesn't lose their worth as they lose some of their abilities. Our worth comes not from what we can do, but from in Whose Image we are made. Even as the world rejects this explanation, they can offer no viable alternative. Why do they believe we – at least those of us who have already been born – are of equal worth? Where does the basis for equality come from? Some are bigger, or smarter, or faster, or more inventive, or more artistic, and some are less so – in every which way, no two human beings are exactly alike, so on what basis would we ever talk about equality? There is no worldly justification for it. The world holds to equality, but can't offer an explanation for it. But we can. Only God makes sense of the world Isn't that something we should be pointing out? That's God makes the world make sense? It's no different with Sabbath rest – any argument for it needs to be built on God, and if it isn't, the argument will fall short. In his article Black speaks of an economy that embraces Sabbath rest as being one "driven, not by anxiety, but by...enoughness." And he contrasts that with our current 24-7 "anxious striving for more." Black wants our society to make the switch; he wants us to leave the "always-on economy" and start trusting in "enoughness." But what Black can't explain is on what basis his secular audience can confidently make that leap. Is there always going to be enough? Can we really depend on that? His readers will know that in some spots on our planet there isn't enough right now. They'll also know that if our economy takes a downward turn, there might not be enough here too. That's why the secular soul always has a reason to strive for more – so they can build a better cushion against whatever difficulties the future might bring. In short, as much sense as Sabbath rest makes – as great as the practical benefits are for mental, physical, emotional, and even relational, health – it doesn't make near the same sense without the Sabbath Lord. The world always has reason to fear the future, so they always have reason to continue striving anxiously. It is only the Christian, trusting in the Lord, who can not only take a break each week from the constant demands of work, but who can take rest where it can truly be found: "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). That the secular argument for the Sabbath doesn't stand up on its own isn't a reason to give up on the practical arguments for obeying God's law. But it is a reason to start with God – to start with Him as our cornerstone – and build up from there....
Saturday Selections – May 7, 2022
The relationship between Mohammed and Satan (7 min) When someone claims to have a revelation from God there are three possibilities for us to consider: It is a product of only their own mind: they are making it up or are crazy. They are getting revelation, but it isn't from God. It's from the devil. They are getting revelation from God. David Wood examines these possibilities when it comes to Mohammed... Gen Z enters the ministry: 3 big challenges As Gen Z hits 25, the culture they've grown up with presents them with 3 challenges their parents might not have had to face, or not to the same extent: growing up with porn at the ready on their phone Gender confusion - even in the Church we're getting confused about what makes males and females different Opinions trumping facts - it'd more and more about "lived experiences" A chance to speak up for the unborn This week it was reported that the US Supreme Court may overturn Roe vs. Wade – this is the 1972 court case that legalized abortion in the United States. The reports are based on a leaked early draft of an upcoming Supreme Court decision, and this news has pro-abortion protesters camping out on the Supreme Court steps shouting "My body, my choice." Of course, this same chant was recently used by some who didn’t want the COVID vaccines. But their appeal to bodily autonomy was labeled “selfish.” It was deemed good and right to pressure the unwilling to get jabbed because it was being done for the sake of others. Whatever we might think of that argument, what we have here is a God-given opportunity to make a point. And what a swing and a miss it would be if we made that point about vaccines rather than the unborn! “My body, my choice” doesn’t apply when lives are at stake? Well, let's take that to its logical end: banning abortion would save almost one million American lives every year! So let's ask the Left, "If you think ‘my body, my choice’ is a selfish reason to refuse the vaccine, why would it be any sort of justification for killing a baby?" https://www.instagram.com/p/CdHHJ7HuJsV/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link Great pro-life shirts for sale To help you speak up for the unborn, Canadians and Americans can order some great pro-life shirts from Choice42 (the same group that brought us the wacky and wonderful "Magic Birth Canal" video). You can see pictures of the three shirts on offer at the top of this page, and order them by clicking here on the title above. Is brainwashing going to make a dishonorable comeback? "Compulsory moral bioenhancement" is quite the mouthful, but it's just a modern update for what, in the Cold War era, we called "brainwashing." Now some bioethicists are proposing it as a supposedly legitimate alternative to execution or imprisonment for prisoners of war fighting "unjustly." But who defines what's just and unjust when the world has rejected the only fixed standard of God's law? What ethics are these bioethicists standing on? A case against the minimum wage Some who support a mandatory minimum wage do so out of a sense of compassion for the poor. But does such legislation help the poor, or limit their options? In the clip below (from some years back) US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi makes a case that some of the people working in her office don't need to make any wage at all because the experience of working for a United States congresswoman is so educational. That's a good point. Trade school and university are expensive ways to learn new skills, so how much better off young people would be if they could learn what they needed via low-paying or unpaid internships instead. However, in this same clip, Speaker Pelosi also argues for a mandatory minimum wage. She hasn't applied such a rule to her own office, and yet she's sure that it is the right thing for everyone else's workplace. That's hypocritical, to be sure (Matthew 7:2), but more importantly, it is arrogant. She has compelling reasons to carve out an exemption to the mandatory minimum wage for her own situation but is certain that in businesses across the country none of the millions of employees and employers could have different, but equally compelling, reasons to work for free or for some other sum that's below the minimum wage. ...