Why do American Secularists Fight Christianity but Embrace Islam?

You would think that the secularists in America would resist Islam as much as they do Christianity since secularism is opposed to religious values having currency in the public square…and both Islam and Christianity are religions.  Nevertheless, it’s far easier to find a secularist who expresses outrage at “Islamophobia” than it is to find one who is outraged about “Christophobia.”  (Do they even admit that there is such a thing as the latter?)

The explanation for the alliance between secularism and Islam can be found in what these two ideologies have in common: opposition to the lordship of Christ.

The Bible calls such a spirit “antichrist.”

(1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 1:7)

When Is the News Not News?

If all the information I had about the U.S. president was what I read and heard from our nation’s major media outlets in the last six months, I would think that our former president could do no wrong and that our current one can do no right – that our former president was a decent man, worthy of the utmost respect, and that our current president lacks decency, and is worthy of little respect and perhaps even contempt.  This is the sense I would have from major news sources.

When I reflect on what I’m being told about these two presidents, I have to ask myself, “Is it reasonable to believe that the two men are being judged objectively?  As a person keenly interested in truth, I cannot help but conclude that those who are reporting to me on the activities of these two men are not objective observers.  They are taking sides in the battle.  If the differences between the two men were as stark – as night and day different – as the news providers are suggesting, the same country could not have elected both men.

No one wants to watch a football game in which the referees make their calls based on their own personal team loyalties.  No one wants to watch baseball if the umpires are “homers” – that is, giving the benefit of every call to the home team.  It’s not edifying to keep up with current events if the selected facts are alternately emphasized or deemphasized in order to consistently favor one side of the argument.

Alas, as someone recently said, “If we don’t keep up with the news, we’re uninformed; but if we do keep up with the news, we’re misinformed.”  When is the news not news?  When those providing it to you shape it according to their biases.

Yes, I am aware that in this day and age there are alternative news sources, but that takes time that one often doesn’t have, and even when you find an alternative source you’re sometimes just exchanging one set of reporting biases for another.

The point is that we live in a mendacious world, and in an increasingly mendacious time.  If you are a person who cares about truth, be careful what information you consume and the sources from which it comes.  Better to have a little information and know that it’s true than to have a lot of information that suppresses and distorts truth.

This is just one more reason I love the Bible: it is…good…news…that is 100% reliable.

The Women’s March

I’ve been reflecting on the “women’s march,” held Saturday primarily in Washington D.C., but in other cities as well.  It’s not so much that I’ve chosen to reflect on this march; it’s just that the sights and sounds of it won’t go away.

I have found these sights and sounds quite disturbing.  By “sights and sounds,” I mean the snapshots and video clips that have been plastered across so many media outlets.  Disturbing enough on their own, they are made even more disturbing by the fact that so many children were brought to the event, and that so many other children have been exposed to its images and speeches as I have been.

How do children mentally process such an event?  What do they think of the strange hats so many of the participants were wearing?  Who is explaining to the children what those hats represent?  What do the children think of the foul language used by so many of the speakers?  Are children familiar with these words?  And what do the children think of the tone in which most of the speakers addressed the crowd?  Are children comforted by the sort of bitter invective and taunting mockery that spewed from the microphones?

Apparently, there were anti-abortion women’s organizations who wanted to help sponsor the march, but the pro-abortion women’s organizations would not let them.  Thus the march’s focus on women’s rights stopped at a woman’s womb.  Only after a female escapes her mother’s womb will she have any rights.  Until then, she’d better watch out.  (Only she can’t watch out because she’s completely defenseless.)

I have heard repeatedly from supporters of this march that it was about the protection of women’s rights, but I have to conclude that it was just as much about the destruction of children’s rights.  These include the right of a child to be protected from profane and vulgar speech, the right to be shielded from discussion of sexual matters until an appropriate age, and even the right to be born once he or she has been conceived.

Thus the march was more anti-children than it was pro-women.

And while I don’t excuse the crude and vile speeches, signs, and props used by the women at this event, I grieve deeply for the sins of men who, instead of being proper fathers and husbands, have so mistreated women in the past that some of them have been driven to such displays of anger and bitterness in the present.

May God forgive our sins and grant us repentance.

God Is Displeased with Us

When I say “God is displeased with us,” the “us” refers to Americans.

Because of its Christianity, God made America great.  And because of its rejection of Christianity – that is, its rejection of the truth – He is bringing America to its knees.

America has two political parties, and only one of them welcomes God-fearing citizens.  What’s noteworthy is that in the current presidential election cycle, the party that welcomes people of Christian faith has formed itself into a circular firing squad.  In other words, it is divided against itself.  The political citadel which formerly provided refuge for the people of Christ has, in the last year, collapsed into civil war.  With this turn of events, the enemies of the gospel are gaining even more power.

There is always a deliverance for those individuals and families who fear God and keep His commandments, but a deliverance for the nation itself is looking increasingly unlikely.  It appears that it will continue to be plagued with increasing corruption and mismanagement.

If God would allow the only major political party which stands against the moral insanity of abortion to tear itself asunder before our eyes, it is because we as a nation have given Him insufficient reason to intervene on its behalf.  While keeping its platform anti-abortion, the Republicans have given up on the sanctity of marriage and have tried to get us to give up on it, too.  God’s saving intervention for those who love Him will have to come in ways other than through a government that honors Him.  And we will have to look for His salvation in the midst of a declining and decadent nation – and God is surely able to bring His salvation to us by non-political means.  Only further destruction appears to be coming through the political arena.

Here are some scriptures to remember and ponder:

Righteousness exalts a nation,
But sin is a disgrace to any people.
–  Proverbs 14:34

For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  “And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and sinner?”  Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
–  1 Peter 4:17-19 (quoting Proverbs 11:31)

For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His….
–  2 Chronicles 16:9

…A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
You will only look on with your eyes
And see the recompense of the wicked.
For you have made the Lord, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent…
–  Psalm 91:1-16

See also Smaller God, Bigger Government.

I Hate Halloween

I hate Halloween, but Jesus is the only “safe space” I need.

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
–  Psalm 91:1 KJV

O Lord my God, in You I have taken refuge…
–  Psalm 7:1

Therefore, I can even adapt the 23rd psalm to my current circumstance by substituting “Halloween” for “the valley of the shadow of death” in the following verse:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me…
–  Psalm 23:4

God’s promises are an ever-present help in time of need:

You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
You will only look on with your eyes
And see the recompense of the wicked.
For you have made the Lord, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.
–  Psalm 91:5-10

The only “safe space” we need is the spiritual state of mind that God gives us through His word.  Let’s look at the world through Jesus’ eyes.  Psalms like the ones above provided Jesus His worldview when He walked the earth.  They will work for us in the same way.

No one has to give me a physical “safe space” to protect me through Halloween.  My safe space is with me wherever I go.

…the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
–  Joshua 1:9

Caligula A or Caligula B?

Let’s say that you and I are Christians living in the ancient Roman Empire.  Let’s further imagine that voting was allowed for the position of emperor and there are only two candidates who have a chance of capturing enough votes to win the election:  Caligula A and Caligula B.  Both are of unsavory character and both would make a terrible emperor.  The only difference between them is that Caligula A (a longtime abortion supporter) promises to continue being pro-abortion while Caligula B (a longtime abortion supporter) promises to be anti-abortion.

Even though the outcome of the election would make no difference in your life or mine, would our Christian duty impel us to vote for Caligula B in the hope that fewer babies might be murdered?  And if it did, would we allow ourselves to be dissuaded from voting in this way because some Christians said that voting for Caligula B meant that you and I would therefore be complicit in whatever evil deeds he would commit while in office?

Is it more important to do right in the sight of God or to do right in the sight of people?

A Baby’s Heart Starts Beating Within Three Weeks of Conception – UK Study

Key quote:

The first tick of a baby’s heart happens as early as 16 days after conception, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Oxford.

Sources:

If the US Supreme Court of the last fifty years has legalized, institutionalized, and made practically sacred a mother’s right to abortion-on-demand, what will the Supreme Court of the next fifty years do when its liberal wing is given clear and overwhelming majority status with the next few justices who will be appointed?

Do you think things cannot get worse?  Think again.

I Wonder Who the Babies Would Vote For?

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th – just over a month away.  Here’s a comparison of where the two major candidates stand on the issues, produced by a Christian organization that studies the publicly-available information:

Faith and Freedom Coalition 2016 Voter Guide
[Editorial note, November 22, 2016: This voter guide is no longer being maintained, so I had to disable the link.]

Since babies in the womb are not eligible to vote, and since the Bible tells us to look out not merely for our own interests but for the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4), especially when they are weaker than we are (Romans 15:1), I can’t help my attention being drawn to the issue that is listed first on this voter guide:  abortion.

Personally, I wish we had two other people from whom to choose the next president…but we don’t.  Nevertheless, it is clear to me that one of these two people, especially when Supreme Court appointments are taken into consideration, will surely keep children in the womb vulnerable to legal abortion-on-demand for the next 30-40 years.  The other might not.  Therefore, it’s clear to me for whom I should vote – if I follow Jesus’ instructions to put first the interest of those weaker than myself.

Obama calls on the world to morally evolve

So, President Obama is calling on the world to morally evolve.  Hmm.  This is the same man who rejected Judeo-Christian morality – and the morality of all human civilization before him – in calling for the legalization and celebration of sexual deviancy as same-sex “marriage.”  For this man and those who think like him, morality is something only the newest generation of humanity has even a chance of achieving; prior generations were just not “evolved” enough.  And for Obama, whatever morality is, it’s something different from and far beyond the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount.  He has thus set himself above both Moses and Jesus as a moral authority for the world to heed.  If hubris was a virtue, he’d be among the most virtuous of men, and those who constantly praise him would be among the wisest of men.

Hubris, however, is not a virtue.  And this leader of the free world is nothing more than a blind man calling on other blind men to follow him into unmapped territory.  It will not go well for him…nor for any who follow him.

The world – free and otherwise – is devolving into moral chaos but those who acknowledge the light of the Son of God will walk righteously and will thereby find deliverance for themselves and their families in this darkening world.

Source: In historic visit to Hiroshima, Obama calls on the world to morally evolve – LA Times

Prince Rogers Nelson (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016)

I have not been surprised by the gushing and fawning over the entertainer known as “Prince” among worldly people.  We expect unbelievers to gush and fawn over the luminaries of pop culture, and to act as if their deaths are momentous historic milestones to be marked with sober reflections and pious praise.  For unbelievers, this life and its pleasures are all they have as a claim to significance.  What has surprised me is the gushing and fawning from Christians.

For example, I offer Denny Burk, conservative evangelical college professor, who at least has the common sense to feel a little sheepish about his devotion to the man:

I’m a huge fan of the artist formerly known as “the artist formerly known as Prince.”  His music was the soundtrack of about a decade of my young life. In some ways, that is a sad commentary because so much of what he sang about was foul and salacious.

Even more surprising is the lengths to which evangelical Christianity’s flagship magazine, Christianity Today, went to genuflect before Mr. Nelson’s entertainment career:

When word of Prince’s death hit yesterday, what followed was a connected string of remembrances. Over and over, certain words and phrases reappeared: magical, immortal, supernatural. Like the death of David Bowie just a few months ago, Prince Roger Nelson’s death was shocking because most assumed he was already immortal. And yet, he is gone, at the age of 57.

These are just the Christian writer’s first sixty words!  He goes on like this for almost 1,400 more!

At least Burk and Christianity Today made some use of the man’s full name, which is entirely appropriate when reflecting on a man’s life.  Even they, however, quickly reverted to the six-letter mononym, as if to talk about him in any other way would be sacrilegious.  I understand why the entertainer used a stage name – it created a sense of mystique and differentiation for him, as it did for Liberace and still does, I suppose, for Cher.  But his show is over.  We should respect him as a fellow human being, not grovel before an image he had been embellishing and projecting for the purpose of increasing his popularity.

Again, I’m talking about my being perplexed by Christians invoking these “worshipful” tones toward a man who 1) was not known for promoting the Lord Jesus, and 2) was known for promoting sensuality and sexuality.  This is what perplexes me.

What I am about to say next, I say to every Christian, and can be applied to any pop star.

If you mourn for Prince Rogers Nelson because he is a fellow human being worthy of our appreciation as a fellow human being, I understand.

If you mourn for him because you were friend or family to him, I understand.

If you mourn for him because you were the beneficiary of some act of kindness he bestowed on you or someone else, I understand.

If you mourn because he was a great entertainer and an extremely talented musician and singer, I only “sort of” understand.  But it’s not as though he was Mother Theresa feeding orphans in the slums of Calcutta.  Why talk about his work in the same reverential way?  Besides, there are other entertainers…and the world will always have its music.  Is music more important than righteousness?  Do you think Jesus is more impressed by a fancy guitar lick than by turning the other cheek?

If, however, you are a Christian and you mourn Nelson’s loss because of the “greatness” of his life and impact on our generation, then I am really perplexed.  I have to question how deeply the knowledge of Jesus Christ – and what He considered to qualify as “greatness” – has seeped into your consciousness.  Do you really take Jesus’ teachings to heart?

If you know much about my perspective on His teachings, you know that I believe every human being goes to heaven.  Therefore, Prince Rogers Nelson enjoys a place somewhere there.  And I am for this reason happy for him.  However, he did not achieve residence in heaven because of his career as an entertainer, but rather because of the magnanimous grace of the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.  And the same will go for you and me.

If anyone deserves gushing and fawning, it is the One who has made a place for everyone in heaven.  In fact, He deserves a glowing eulogy every day that we take a breath.