“The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.” – George Mueller

“The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.”  –  George Mueller

Source: (I assume “George Muller” is “George Mueller.”)

The Persecution of Christians in the Middle East, and Why So Little of It Gets Reported

I’ve written before on the persecution of Christians outside the U.S. and how little of it is being reported to us.  Just browse the “Persecution” category to the right to see some of the post titles.

Today, I offer this 22-minute podcast by Terry Mattingly and Todd Wilken of GetReligion.org (“The Persecution of Christians in the Middle East“), which does a highly-commendable job of explaining why such news is hard for us to get.

I commend it highly because it give a fair-minded answer to this question.  It’s not simply a matter of the media blacking out news about Christians, though the general bias against biblical Christianity in society today is certainly part of the answer.

It’s a very informative 22 minutes.

What Did Gutenberg Do with His Printing Press?

It is only a press, but a press from which will flow a constant stream…Through it, God will spread His Word.  A spring of truth will flow from it.  Like a new star it will scatter the darkness of ignorance and cause an unknown light to shine for all.
–  Johannes Gutenberg (1398-1468), inventor of the movable-type printing press (The Bible was one of the first things he printed and a number of these volumes, though many only in partial form, remain to this day)

Source:  The Bible in America by Steve Green and Todd Hillard, DustJacket Press, 2013, page 25.

For an extensive list of quotes like this from American leaders and those who influenced them, see Historic Quotes About the Bible.

ISIS is committing genocide – and worse – against Christians

Reading an article like this is an antidote to thinking that we have problems.  It is hard to believe the brutality that is taking place as our president and government devote so much time to trivialities and mendacities.  These are our brothers and sisters who are being so cruelly treated.

O God, forgive our sins and give us leaders who will love You and Your idea of what is right.  We are so far from this now.  

(5-minute read; 1,211 words)

Source: Isis Genocide Mideast — U.S. Must Take Refugees| National Review Online

Social Science Debunks Social Science

When I wrote the short post Understanding Social Scientists and Their Role last week, I had no idea a published social science study would support my skepticism about social science – but here it is!

In the October 19, 2015 issue of The Weekly Standard, senior editor Andrew Ferguson writes a six-thousand-word article.  That’s a lot to read, but here are the first five hundred words which will give you the gist of the point he wants to make.

One morning in August, the social science reporter for National Public Radio, a man named Shankar Vedantam, sounded a little shellshocked. You couldn’t blame him.

Like so many science writers in the popular press, he is charged with reporting provocative findings from the world of behavioral science: “.  .  . and researchers were very surprised at what they found. The peer-reviewed study suggests that [dog lovers, redheads, Tea Party members] are much more likely to [wear short sleeves, participate in hockey fights, play contract bridge] than cat lovers, but only if [the barometer is falling, they are slapped lightly upside the head, a picture of Jerry Lewis suddenly appears in their cubicle .  .  .  ].”

I’m just making these up, obviously, but as we shall see, there’s a lot of that going around.

On this August morning Science magazine had published a scandalous article. The subject was the practice of behavioral psychology. Behavioral psychology is a wellspring of modern journalism. It is the source for most of those thrilling studies that keep reporters like Vedantam in business.

Over 270 researchers, working as the Reproducibility Project, had gathered 100 studies from three of the most prestigious journals in the field of social psychology. Then they set about to redo the experiments and see if they could get the same results. Mostly they used the materials and methods the original researchers had used. Direct replications are seldom attempted in the social sciences, even though the ability to repeat an experiment and get the same findings is supposed to be a cornerstone of scientific knowledge. It’s the way to separate real information from flukes and anomalies.

These 100 studies had cleared the highest hurdles that social science puts up. They had been edited, revised, reviewed by panels of peers, revised again, published, widely read, and taken by other social scientists as the starting point for further experiments. Except . . .

The researchers, Vedantam glumly told his NPR audience, “found something very disappointing. Nearly two-thirds of the experiments did not replicate, meaning that scientists repeated these studies but could not obtain the results that were found by the original research team.”

“Disappointing” is Vedantam’s word, and it was commonly heard that morning and over the following several days, as the full impact of the project’s findings began to register in the world of social science. Describing the Reproducibility Project’s report, other social psychologists, bloggers, and science writers tried out “alarming,” “shocking,” “devastating,” and “depressing.”

But in the end most of them rallied. They settled for just “surprised.” Everybody was surprised that two out of three experiments in behavioral psychology have a fair chance of being worthless.

The most surprising thing about the Reproducibility Project, however​—​the most alarming, shocking, devastating, and depressing thing​—​is that anybody at all was surprised. The warning bells about the feebleness of behavioral science have been clanging for many years.

Thus we now have a social science study which shows why we should be cautious about the pronouncements of social science studies.  I have to figure the irony was lost on NPR.

I am emphasizing this point because in our day secular society thinks and acts as if this or that “scientific” study deserves more trust than the Bible.  People can show you a survey that will make whatever political or social point they’re wanting to push (e.g. “Children Raised by Free-Range Panda Bears Fare Just as Well as Those with a Human Mom and Dad”).  Don’t fall for it.  The word of God and conscience are far more reliable guides.

As I quoted in the previous post, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”  Yet, as Paul said, “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar” (Romans 3:4).

(24-minute read; 6,170 words)

Source: Making It All Up | The Weekly Standard

Who Was John Locke?

The Bible is one of the greatest blessings bestowed by God on the children of men. It has God for its Author, salvation for its end, and truth without any mixture for its matter. It is all pure, all sincere; nothing too much; nothing wanting!  (6)
–  John Locke (1632-1704), British philosopher and political theorist who influenced America’s Founding Fathers

Source:  GoodReads

[I]n John Locke’s 1690 Two Treatises on Government, on which [America’s] Founding Fathers so heavily relied, he invoked the Bible in 1,349 references in his first treatise and 157 times in his second one.

Source:  U-Turn: Restoring America to the Strength of its Roots by David Barton and George Barna, Frontline, 2014, page 54 and reprised on page 156.

We see Locke’s influence on our country’s founders in the way that they themselves wrote about what they were doing.  To be specific:

[I]n Patrick Henry’s famous “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech, he quoted directly from eight different Bible phrases.  In Benjamin Franklin’s famous address to the Constitutional Convention, he quoted eight different Bible phrases in only nine sentences.  In a letter from George Washington to Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette, Washington quoted seven different verses in only four sentences; and in a letter to a Hebrew congregation, in only two sentences he quoted nine Bible phrases.  Significantly, when modern political scientists examined fifteen thousand representative Founding Era writings from the realms of politics, government, journalism, sermons, literature, and education, they found that the single-most-cited source throughout those diverse works was the Bible, with 34 percent of the quotes taken from the Bible.

Source:  U-Turn: Restoring America to the Strength of its Roots by David Barton and George Barna, Frontline, 2014, page 44.

For an extensive list of quotes like this from American leaders and those who influenced them, see Historic Quotes About the Bible.

 

How Did Christopher Columbus Find This Place?

It was the Lord who put into my mind (I could feel his hand upon me) the fact that it would be possible to sail from here to the Indies.  All who heard of my project rejected it with laughter, ridiculing me…There is no question that the inspiration was from the Holy Spirit, because He comforted me with rays of marvelous inspiration from the Holy Scriptures…I said that I would state my reasons: I hold alone to the sacred and Holy Scriptures, and to the interpretations of prophecy given by certain devout persons…
–  Christopher Columbus (1451-1506), Italian explorer

Source:  The Bible in America by Steve Green and Todd Hillard, DustJacket Press, 2013, page 18.

For an extensive list of quotes like this from American leaders, see Historic Quotes About the Bible.

Update on Barronelle Stutzman

People like Barronelle Stutzman are the unsung heroes of our age. Here are two videos which will update you on her case.  The first one lasts 3:15 and the second one last 1:48.

Oh, How Our Supreme Court Has Changed Its Tune!

Why may not the Bible, and especially the New Testament, without note or comment, be read and taught as a divine revelation in the college — its general precepts expounded, its evidences explained, and its glorious principles of morality inculcated? What is there to prevent a work, not sectarian, upon the general evidences of Christianity, from being read and taught in the college by lay teachers?… Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament? Where are benevolence, the love of truth, sobriety, and industry, so powerfully and irresistibly inculcated as in the sacred volume?
–  U.S. Supreme Court in a unanimous 1844 decision (Vidal v. Girard’s Executors)

Source:  U-Turn: Restoring America to the Strength of its Roots by David Barton and George Barna, Frontline, 2014, page 103.

For an extensive list of quotes like this from American leaders, see Historic Quotes About the Bible.