How Genesis Got it Right

How Genesis Got it Right
Vol: 135 Issue: 31 Monday, December 31, 2012

Environmental scientists discovered that the Arctic once had a tropical climate not unlike that of Florida.  That should come as no surprise to Bible-believers — but it was evidently quite a stunner for the scientific community.

According to the journal, “Nature” the most likely reason is because “scientists have greatly underestimated the power of heat-trapping gases to warm the Arctic.”

Moreover, they concluded, the cause was ‘greenhouse gases’ — the same culprit that environmentalists are now blaming for global warming — despite the fact that nobody can prove global warming is even taking place.

“The new research provides additional important evidence that greenhouse-gas changes controlled much of climate history, which strengthens the argument that greenhouse-gas changes are likely to control much of the climate future,” said one such expert, Richard B. Alley, a geoscientist at Pennsylvania State University.

So, greenhouse gases turned the Arctic from a tropical paradise into a frozen wasteland — and if we don’t fix the problem, it will happen again.

(It is ten degrees out with a foot of snow on the ground.  Tell me again why that is a bad thing?)

In any event, the scientists didn’t have to go all the way to the Arctic and ‘core’ the earth for samples in order to determine that the Arctic was once tropical.  Neither did they have to go to all that effort to determine the cause was the ‘greenhouse effect’.

All they had to do was open the Book of Genesis, penned by Moses more than three thousand years ago.

“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.” (Genesis 1:7-8)

Prior to the latest scientific breakthrough, Genesis 1:7-8 was the centerpiece of the skeptic’s argument that the Bible is a book of fables written by scientifically ignorant men in an effort to explain their existence.

The sky is blue, they say, so Moses thought that meant there was a big bubble around the earth and the blue sky was really the water outside it.

Then we come to the story of the Great Flood — another favorite among the scoffers. “Every civilization has a story of a great flood,” they say.  “Moses just borrowed the story from the Epic of Gilgamesh or some other ancient fable.”

But the story of the Flood begins by noting the lifespan of our pre-Diluvian was measured in centuries, until God concluded,

“My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” (Genesis 6:3)

What would be the scientific method for shortening a human lifespan from hundreds of years to mere decades?

Exposure to the sun.

In an enclosed eco-system in which the earth would be encased in a giant gas bubble, it wouldn’t rain.  It didn’t rain in the Biosphere experiment a few years ago, either.  But the closed system meant water from the air would condense at night, providing all the fresh water necessary each morning.

It also means there would be no climate zones — heat from the sun would dissipate across the water vapor barrier, like the heat coming through the glass of a ‘Florida room’ on a sunny day in January.

In such a system, the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays would be filtered out.  We know from recent scientific advances that it is the sun’s ultraviolet rays that are most responsible for the aging process.

(We also know it from personal observation.  Someone who spent a lifetime working on a tan looks years older than somebody who spent a lifetime avoiding direct exposure to the sun.)

So, if the Bible’s account were accurate, science should confirm the following facts.

First, the sun’s ultraviolet rays are a major contributor to the aging process.

Secondly, science would have to conclude that the greenhouse effect would trap heat inside the earth’s atmosphere, which would mean that the temperature in Florida would be about the same as the temperature at the North Pole.

Third, science would have to conclude that this greenhouse effect would create a condition of global warming.

Removing that ‘canopy’ would ultimately trigger an Ice Age, particularly where the earth received the least amount of sunlight.  Like, say, the North Pole?

If these conditions were met, then by all scientific standards, historical and archeological evidence could reach only one of two conclusions.

Either somebody told Moses all these scientific facts which he then incorporated into a work of fiction called the Book of Genesis.

Or the Book of Genesis is a scientifically accurate account that explains why the evidence shows the North Pole was once a tropical paradise.

Of course, science reaches neither conclusion.  Instead, it concludes, according to the journal, “Nature,” that 55 million years ago, “conditions suddenly fostered the summertime growth of vast mats of an ancient cousin of the Azolla duckweed that now cloaks suburban ponds”.

The flow of water from precipitation and rivers created a great pool of fresh water, but about 800,000 years after the blossoming of duckweed began, it ended with a sudden warming of a few additional degrees.

Ok, the ‘duckweed’ doesn’t exist — but it must have, once.  And when it all died, it made the earth warm.  Then all the dinosaurs died, because it also made the earth really cold.  Or maybe it was an asteroid hit 85 million years ago?

But wait! “The Duckweed Effect” didn’t take place until thirty million years later.  But, when one is talking about theory that encompasses hundreds of millions of years, what’s a few million years one way or the other?

It reminds me of a quote made famous by Senator Everett Dirksen during the Vietnam era when arguing against increasing appropriations;

“A few billion here, a few billion there, and pretty soon you are talking about real money.”

On the other hand, we have the testimony from the Apostle Paul to the Romans, in which he observed;

 “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind. . .”  (Romans 1:28)

Not to mention his warning to Timothy:

“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called.” (1st Timothy 6:20)

Ok, so the Arctic used to be tropical.

To the world, it is evidence that God is a myth, that the Bible is a book of myths, and to prove it, confirmation of the Flood MUST be the result of the Duckweed Effect.

And they call Christians gullible?

The Great Comets of 2013

The Great Comets of 2013
Vol: 135 Issue: 29 Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Great Comet of 1680 was the first comet to be discovered by telescope in history.  German astronomer Gottfried Kirsch discovered it on November 4, 1680 but by December 4 it was visible to the naked eye.  By December 18, it was so close that it could be seen during daylight, according to a report from Albany, NY.

The Great Comet of 1744 made a pass-by in which it could be seen by the naked eye in the morning sky, followed by six tails that resembled a Japanese fan.

The Great Comet of 1843 was seen for a few weeks prior to February 27, on the day of its closest approach to the sun it was widely observed in full daylight.

The Great September Comet of 1882 is perhaps the brightest comet ever observed.  Observers in Cordoba, Spain described the comet as a “blazing star” near the sun. 

The nucleus also broke into at least four separate parts.  In the days and weeks that followed, the comet became visible in the morning sky as an immense object sporting a brilliant tail. 

Then there was the Great January Comet of 1910.  It was visible during the daytime for a couple more days, then moved northward and away from the sun, becoming a stupendous object in the evening sky for the rest of January in the Northern Hemisphere.  

The Comet Ikeya-Seki made its appearance in 1965 as the brightest comet of the 20th century.  From Japan, the homeland of the observers who discovered it, Ikeya-Seki was described as appearing “ten times brighter than the full moon”.

Comet West was discovered in early March, 1976.  Comet McNaught was discovered in August, 2006 and became visible to the naked eye in early January 2007.  

Astronomers at the University of Hawaii announced the discovery of the Comet PANSTARRS (named after the telescope used to find it).

When it was discovered in the constellation Libra, Comet PANSTARRS was a 19th-magnitude object — so faint that only telescopes with sensitive electronic detectors could pick it up — some 759 million miles from the sun.

The Comet PANSTARRS is expected to reach earth sometime in early March, 2013.  On successive evenings thereafter, it’s visibility will decrease until early April when it will only be observable by telescope.

Now comes Comet ISON.  Comet ISON was discovered by two Russian astronomers last September.  Comet ISON comes from the Oort asteroid cloud more than a light year away from earth. 

Comet ISON is expected to become visible to the naked eye as early as November, 2013 its newly formed tail stretching far into the sky above the horizon.

What makes Comet ISON especially exciting to astronomers is the fact that ISON is forecast to be some fifteen times brighter than a full moon.  

The Comet will be visible with the naked eye from November to the first weeks of January 2014, prompting some astronomers to call it “the Christmas Comet”.

Incidentally, Comet ISON is expected to make its appearance at roughly the same time as a hybrid solar eclipse on November 3, 2013.

Both will be visible from Jerusalem. 

Assessment:

“And they asked Him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass . . .?”

“. . .And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” (Luke 21:7, 25-26)

Of the nine most impressive comets of the past four centuries, five have made their appearance since 1948.  One might argue that is because of improved telescopes and other optics, but since ALL of these comets were visible to the naked eye, I don’t think that really applies.

2013 is not just the Year of the Comets or the Year of the Christmas Comet.  On April 25, there will be a partial lunar eclipse (NASA, pdf).  On May 10 there will be an annular solar eclipse.  On May 25 a Penumbral Lunar eclipse, and another on October 18.  

Right now, the sun is in the middle of Cycle 24, and is due to reach a maximum in 2013.  The next cycle would be expected to start in around 2020. 

According to NASA’s astro-forecasts, the current solar maximum is likely to unleash a series of massive solar storms, peaking sometime early 2013, after which, solar inactivity is expected to collapse completely, bringing on another period of global cooling.

A powerful enough solar flare hitting the earth head-on would mimic the effect of an EMP pulse on our electrical grid.

Forecasters say that the worst is yet to come.  In a worst-case scenario, the world would be instantly plunged into technological darkness that could cause a global blackout that could take years to repair.

The world’s scientists are so confused on the consensus opinion on global warming and solar activity that there IS no consensus opinion, but they are so alarmed that they insist on doing something, even if we don’t know what effect of that “something” might be.

Here is what we do know.  In 2013, there will be one solar eclipse and two lunar eclipses.

The sun and the moon. . .  check.  

At least two comets will make their appearance so brightly as to be seen with the naked eye. 

So that’s the sun, moon and two ‘stars’.  Check.

Then there are the signs in the sun, including an unusually quiet solar minimum, followed up by one of the most violent solar maximums since 1858, which many meteorologists and astronomers say accounts for the majority of what the UN and leaders of the free world have renamed “climate change.”

“Climate change” is about the third or fourth official name given to what was once dubbed “global warming” since the earth is no longer warming.  It was only a few years ago that world leaders gathered in Copenhagen to debate a climate change treaty that nobody could agree upon. 

The Copenhagen Conference was supposed to strengthen and codify the 1999 Kyoto Treaty which the US never ratified (and Canada just pulled out from). 

The Kyoto Treaty and the Copenhagen Conference were fear-induced efforts by global leaders to fix what is broken before anybody even knows for sure what IS broken.

But sadly for the Copenhagen conference, it turns out that the ice wasn’t receding in Antarctica and the dire predictions of the sea reclaiming the world’s coastlines were replaced with fears of coastline erosion from climate change-induced hurricanes.  

Soooo. . .   the sea and the waves roaring.  Check.

Finally, the distress (fear) of nations, with perplexity (confusion).  Check.  

Let’s see. . .  did we miss anything?

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)

My neck hurts.

Is Sam Donaldson Right?

Is Sam Donaldson Right?
Vol: 135 Issue: 28 Friday, December 28, 2012

The United States has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world. Has anybody ever stopped to think about why guns are such an integral part of American culture?

Why is America different than most other countries in the world? This shouldn’t be a hard question, but since the revisionists have seized control of history, it apparently is. Let’s look at history as it was before the revisionists had a chance to rewrite it.

America was founded by revolutionaries in a rebellion against the world’s greatest superpower of its time.

In 1776, the British Empire covered almost all the known world. At its height, it was the largest empire in history, ruling over a quarter of the earth’s land mass and a fifth of the world’s population.

The American colonials had no standing army. Each colony had its own local militia made up of volunteers armed with fowling pieces, muskets and other personal weapons.

An unarmed citizen was of no use to the colonial militias.

At the outset of war, the militias came together with the new federal army raised and led by George Washington. The United States government had no military arsenal. Each soldier supplied his own rifle, knife, tomahawk, powderhorn and hunting pouch.

It wasn’t until 1778 that the revolutionary government was able to procure some weapons and uniforms from France. But the French were reluctant to involve themselves until they were reasonably sure the revolution had a chance.

That wouldn’t have happened without the prior existence of the militiaman.

The Founders recognized the necessity of a well-armed citizen-soldier to their successful pursuit of liberty, which is why they listed it second in importance in the Bill of Rights, after freedom of religion, speech, the press and assembly, and before such legal protections as the rights protecting one’s home from illegal searches and one’s right against self-incrimination.

The Founders recognized that those rights weren’t worth anything to an unarmed citizenry facing an armed government. The Second Amendment, as ratified by the States, reads as follows;

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Those on the Left have adopted the ridiculous interpretation that the Founders thought it necessary to give the government the right to bear arms. Why is that ridiculous?

The Bill of Rights is so-called because it enumerates the negative rights of the state.

By definition, every right not specifically granted to its citizens is automatically reserved to the state. That is the only reason for HAVING a “Bill of Rights” — to protect the rights of the people — not to protect the rights of the government.

The government didn’t need to give itself the right to bear arms. It already had that right by virtue of its independence. The 2nd Amendment was a restriction on government rights and an affirmation of citizens rights.

The original purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure the liberty of the people by assuring them of the means to prevent the rise of a tyrannical government.

In a letter to William Stephens Smith, then a member of Genera Lafayette’s staff in Paris, Thomas Jefferson explained why gun control was antithetical to the spirit and intent of the new American republic:

“The people can not be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. We have had 13 states independent 11 years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a half for each state. What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.”

And so, the answer to the question, “why does America have the highest rate of gun ownership in the world?” is not that complicated. America was founded on the principle that individual liberty is more important than government-sponsored security.

Would-be tyrants would therefore have to defeat and disarm every American in order to be successful.

It is no accident that every attempt to disarm Americans is predicated on the premise that Americans need to trade some of that individual liberty for some government-sponsored security.

Have you ever noticed how desperate the effort to disarm America is? Having taken notice of the desperation, allow me to now direct your attention to the worldview of those so desperate to trade your liberty for their security.

What else do the gun-grabbers want? They want to enslave the population via entitlements, in effect, buying the votes of the poor by promising them free stuff if they vote the right way and threatening to take stuff away if they don’t.

This latest wrinkle is to somehow equate that with racism. Forty-seven percent of the country is on some form of government dole. Only 12% of the country is black.

Assuming every black America is on welfare, (don’t tell Obama, Eric Holder, Colin Powell, Susan Rice, Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, Jeremiah Wright, Jamie Foxx, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Kanye West . . . I could go on, but why?).

12% is a far cry from 47%, so how does the “racist” part work? The ones crying racism the loudest are the racists — mainly, rich white liberals and black racists (see partial list above.)

The ones that want to grab your guns also want to grab your children. They want your children to inform on you should you deviate (interesting word) from the politically correct views on all manner of issues of sex and morality.

They are the ones seeking to impose their morals on your children whether you agree or not. They ridicule the idea of abstinence as a form of birth control, while supporting abortion on demand as an alternative.

They ridicule the traditional family unit, while teaching alternative lifestyles from single parenthood to same-sex parenting.

They are the ones that expect the most from government while personally giving the least to charity, hence Margaret Thatcher’s observation that “the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

They favor confiscating wealth from others to redistribute according to their own worldview, justifying it by claiming that is “what Jesus would do.” (I notice that those who claim to know the most about “what Jesus would do” seem to know the least about Jesus.)

They claim that they only want to take away your guns to keep YOU safe.

So how is that working out?

Assessment:

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12)

I noted with interest that one of America’s most liberal cities with the most restrictive gun laws in the entire nation set a milestone in 2012. Chicago, home of Barack Hussein Obama and led by Obamanite Rahm Emmanuel, marked its FIVE HUNDREDTH homicide of the year.

In 1982 Chicago outlawed the sale and possession of handguns by anybody. Chicago police confiscate on average, some 10,000 guns a year. (And Chicago still leads the nation in firearms homicides.)

The only city in America with more restrictive gun laws than Chicago is the nation’s capital. According to the Washington Times, restricting guns hasn’t had much of a positive effect on DC’s crime rate.

Another thing worth noticing is how little attention gun crimes in Chicago and DC actually get from the mainstream media.

Whenever one DOES read of gun crimes in Chicago or Washington, it is usually from the Right and within the context of demonstrating the failure of gun control laws to prevent gun crimes.

Washington’s gun laws are so ridiculously restrictive that NBC’s David Gregory committed a felony by holding an empty 30-round magazine up in front of a camera. No gun. No bullets. Just an empty magazine.

Don’t worry, though. The liberals take care of their own. Even though Gregory first sought and was refused permission to violate DC law and did it anyway, he won’t have to worry about prosecution. Liberals shouldn’t be held to such a ridiculous legal standard.

But look at the desperation of the gun control lobby to find reasons to disarm the law-abiding public every time a criminal commits a gun crime.

Wayne LaPierre set the liberals on fire with his indisputably true observation that “the only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

It freaked the Left out because it left them without a credible response.

For example, you won’t read this column, or even an excerpt of it on Facebook. Facebook has threatened to delete the accounts of anyone not toeing the Marxist line when it comes to the gun control issue.Thought Police

Facebook is an American company, but it is run by liberals. Liberals believe that freedom of speech is reserved for the “correct” kind of speech — as they define it. Non-approved thought is ‘intolerant’.

The liberals love to point to England as a example of gun control in action.

In 1987, Michael Ryan went on a shooting spree in his small town of Hungerford, England, killing 16 people (including his mother) and wounding another 14 before shooting himself. Since the public was unarmed as were the police Ryan wandered the streets for eight hours with two semiautomatic rifles and a handgun before anyone with a firearm was able to come to the rescue.

Within a decade of the handgun ban and the confiscation of handguns from registered owners, crime with handguns had doubled according to British government crime reports. Gun crime, not a serious problem in the past, now is. Armed street gangs have some British police carrying guns for the first time. Moreover, another massacre occurred in June 2010. Derrick Bird, a taxi driver in Cumbria, shot his brother and a colleague then drove off through rural villages killing 12 people and injuring 11 more before killing himself.

Fox News’ Rupert Murdoch tweeted after the Connecticut massacre that America should adopt gun control laws like they have in Australia.

“Six weeks after the Dunblane massacre in 1996, Martin Bryant, an Australian with a lifelong history of violence, attacked tourists at a Port Arthur prison site in Tasmania with two semiautomatic rifles. He killed 35 people and wounded 21 others.

At the time, Australia’s guns laws were stricter than the United Kingdom’s. In lieu of the requirement in Britain that an applicant for permission to purchase a gun have a “good reason,” Australia required a “genuine reason.” Hunting and protecting crops from feral animals were genuine reasons – personal protection was not. . . .

In 2008, the Australian Institute of Criminology reported a decrease of 9% in homicides and a one-third decrease in armed robbery since the 1990s, but an increase of over 40% in assaults and 20% in sexual assaults.”

The issue here isn’t really gun control. At least, not in the context in which it is being presented. The issue here is the power of delusion.

Millions upon millions of people have been convinced by constant propaganda, to ignore the evidence of their eyes, discount the evidence of their experience, and to embrace the notion that guns are responsible for gun violence.

Where guns are prohibited, people use other weapons; knives, baseball bats, chains, broken glass, chair legs, sticks, rocks, sharp sticks . . . do we ban them all? What about other inanimate objects that can kill?

Millions of Americans believe that the police can protect them from violence. Try calling the police before you are assaulted and see what they tell you. (Hint: “Call us back after a crime has been committed.”)

Police cannot protect you from criminal assault. At best, they can avenge you. The only one that can protect you is you. (Unless you can afford a bodyguard.)

But there are literally millions who are so brainwashed that they cannot figure this out for themselves. They are easy prey for the Marxists that now control five-sixths of the federal government and almost all of the mainstream media.

As ABC’s Sam Donaldson pointed out last weekend concerning the Obamanation of America:

“It’s the Tea Party and thinking of the Tea Party and people like that that are driving the Republicans out of contention as a national party. You cannot win nationally if you don’t know something about the way the country’s changed, and the Tea Party seems to think the country can go back 25 or 30 years. The greatest slogan that I hated during this last campaign was “We want to take back our country.” Guys, it’s not your country anymore – it’s our country and you’re part of it, but that thinking is going to defeat Republicans nationally if they don’t get rid of it.”

I’m inclined to believe that Donaldson is right – perhaps for the first time ever. It isn’t your country anymore. It took them a generation, but if 2012 is any indication at all, the Marxists have won.

2013 should be a very interesting year.

Is Christmas A ‘Christian’ Holiday?

Is Christmas A ‘Christian’ Holiday?
Vol: 135 Issue: 27 Thursday, December 27, 2012

I know a lot of Christians who refuse to celebrate Christmas. And a lot more who do, but feel guilty about it before the Lord, whether they want to admit it or not. It is difficult to really identify Christmas as it is celebrated in our culture with a Christian holiday.

There’s a reason for that. 

Although a majority of Americans polled identify themselves with Christmas, the greeting “Merry Christmas” grows more rare with each passing year, replaced instead with the secular (and meaningless) “Happy Holidays!”

What the heck does THAT mean? It applies equally to ‘Happy Labor Day” or “Happy President’s Day” so what does it have to do with Christ?

Let’s take a look and see. And read carefully before you start firing off angry emails. I am probably NOT going where you think I am.

First, there is no Bible doctrine that tells us we are to celebrate Christ’s birth. It is His Death and Resurrection that paid our penalty for sin.

The celebration of a birthday is actually antithetical to Scripture. There are only two birthday celebrations recorded in Scripture — both pagan.

The Bible tells us in Genesis 40:22 that on one of Pharaoh’s birthdays he murdered his chief baker while a big celebration was going on. The other birthday celebration recorded was that of Herod, when he had John the Baptist murdered.

On the other hand, Ecclesiates 7:1 tells us:

“A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.”

It is also clear that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th. It gets COLD in the hills of Jerusalem in December. (Jerusalem is forecast to have a White Christmas this year). Even during a mild winter, December is the middle of the rainy season.

Shepherds corraled their flocks from October to April. They weren’t grazing in the fields, and the shepherds wouldn’t have been out there with them at night in December.

But Luke tells us;

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night . . .” (Luke 2:8)

Joseph and Mary were called to Bethlehem by order of Caesar to be taxed and for the census.

Travel in December would be difficult at best, and no thinking ruler who wanted to collect taxes would pick the worst time of the year to order mass travel of an entire population. Travel was hard enough already.

Jesus confirmed this, saying in Matthew 24:20, speaking to the Jews of Jerusalem (Bethlehem is six miles away);

“But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day . . “

The choice of late December for the birth of our Lord predates Jesus by centuries. The celebration of the Babylonian sun-god, Tammuz, took place during the Winter Solstice (Dec 21 by our calendar).

Any reputable encyclopedia will verify these facts.

“Christmas- It was according to many authorities NOT celebrated in the first centuries of the Christian church as the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of a remarkable person rather than their birth. A feast was established in memory of the Saviour in the 4th century. In the 5th century the Western Church ordered it to be celebrated forever on the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol. The holly, the mistletoe, the yule log, and the wassail bowl are of pre-Christian times. The Christmas tree has been traced back to the Romans. It went from Germany to Great Britain.” (Encyclopedia Americana)

After Constantine declared Christianity to be the state Church of Rome, there was considerable outcry from the pagan population who resented losing their feast days and traditions and myriad gods and goddesses.

Constantine didn’t get to be Caesar by alienating his base of support. He simply replaced the gods and goddesses with statues of saints and incorporated pagan holidays into Christian ones.

Easter, for example, corresponds with the feast of “Ishtar” the goddess of fertility — explaining all the rabbits and eggs (pagan symbols of fertility) associated with contemporary Easter celebrations.

Christmas replaced the celebration of the Feast of Tammuz. It kept the masses happy and the Empire intact.

To the world, Christmas is about Santa Claus, in whom our culture has invested all the attributes of Christ. . .  “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows if you’re awake. . .” etc.

So, should Christians celebrate Christmas?

WHY NOT? What are you celebrating? Do YOU believe in Santa Claus? Or in Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world?

Do you REALLY believe God can’t tell the difference?

Why should we exclude ourselves from the merriment and the fun of family, Christmas presents and exclamations of ‘peace on earth, good will toward men’ because others don’t see things as we do?

We celebrate Labor Day with picnics and hot dogs. We celebrate the Fourth of July, according to our unique American customs and traditions.

We KNOW that Jesus is the reason for the season – for us. Should we choose this date to celebrate the unspeakable Gift God has given us, we can do so without worrying about it.

On the other hand, if we choose not to celebrate Christmas because it is commercialized beyond recognition and not in keeping with the Bible, we find ourselves in a quandry. We are taking a stand on empty air.

The world has never celebrated Christmas because of Biblical principles — neither has the True Church, since there are no Biblical principles upon which to base it.

In the Agony in the Garden, Jesus prayed for us so fervently that His sweat mingled with blood. What was it that He prayed?

“I pray NOT that thou shouldest take them OUT of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not OF the world, even as I am not OF the world.” (John 17:15-16)

There is a difference between our physical state of being, which is currently IN the world, and our spiritual state of being, which is, as Blood-bought Christians, being positionally ALREADY seated in the heavenlies.

Jesus kept the cultural feast days of His era. Some of them were religious, some were not. He knew He was ‘in’ the world, but not ‘of’ it.

Paul wrote in Romans 14:5; “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”

There is no sin in celebrating Christmas as the day we acknowledge God’s Gift to the world of a Saviour. Neither can I see any Biblical basis for NOT celebrating Christmas because it isn’t really His Birthday.

To some it is a day on the calendar. To others, it is a day of frustration and anger because others fail to associate Christmas with Christ — a frustration so intense that it makes Christmas, for them, the least happy of all days.

Somehow, that doesn’t quite connect with what Christmas is all about. It is merely a cultural reminder that there WAS a Day when the Lord of all Glory took on the body of a Man, lived the perfect life we are incapable of living, and paid the penalty on our behalf for that incapacity.

It doesn’t matter if it really WAS December 25th. It doesn’t matter if the world has a different agenda. We already know that. That is why we sought forgiveness for our sins, whereas the world loves its sin.

There is no sin in being happy. Even on Christmas. God knows who worships Him and who worships Santa Claus. He doesn’t base it on whether or not you have a Christmas tree (unless you start offering sacrifices to it).

This isn’t rocket science, but you needn’t take my word for it.

“He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.” (Romans 14:6)

“But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (Romans 14:8)

Enjoy Christmas in all its joy and good will, according to your family customs and traditions. Go ahead and put up a Christmas tree. Christians don’t worship a DAY — we worship the Author of Days.

Merry Christmas, my brothers and sisters. I love you all. Especially at Christmas.

Christmas Pie

Christmas Pie
Vol: 135 Issue: 26 Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas at my house is always a busy time of year. As the kids grew older, it got even busier. Our family tradition was something started by my maternal grandfather.

Granddad had five daughters, and he realized he was going have to compete with five sons-in-law if he hoped to continue his own Christmas tradition. Granddad adopted the English Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) as HIS Christmas celebration.

They called it the ‘Christmas Pie’. The ‘Christmas Pie’ was an old refrigerator shipping box filled with presents for all the parents and grandchildren. We’d all gather, the day after our individual Christmas celebration, for an extended Christmas.

All the time I was growing up, I thought that Granddad did it all for us grandkids, something that I thought odd in light of the fact that the rest of the year, he was a very proper English grandfather.

But at Christmas, all that British reserve would evaporate.

It wasn’t until my kids had kids that I realized what a brilliant man Granddad really was. The Christmas Pie was NEVER about us, but WE never knew it.

It was really about my Granddad and his daughters never losing their own special Christmas traditions.

Granddad headed off any competition with the outlaws about who went to whose house last year — whenever some young fella married into the family, it was firmly understood at the outset that Christmas was for them — but Boxing Day was Granddad’s.

I share my grandfather’s love of Christmas and could not imagine not having my day with my kids. So when Mike and Kari got married, I sat down with Mike and told him that he could have Kari for eleven of the twelve days of Christmas, but that Boxing Day was MINE.

Or he’d have to find himself another girl.

So, at our house, Christmas is a two-day affair. Christmas Day is now for Gayle and her mother and I. We read the Christmas Story from Luke, remember the Greatest Christmas Gift of all — eternity — and have a traditional American Christmas. Then, we spend the rest of the day preparing for tomorrow’s Main Event.

And so each Boxing Day, we become Englishmen for a day.

Mike and Kari and Hannah and Mikie and Sarah and Johnny, Ricky and Jacob and Mike and Kerilyn and Tristan and Tasha and Charlyn and Taya and sometimes Jerry and Jessica and Bailey and Justin and Jeremy and Lori — all together and at home with us — for one glorious day.

Lots of food, a Christmas ‘Pie’ and a chance for the parents to take a day off to be kids.

Our Christmas wish for you is that you are surrounded by a family that loves you. We wish you laughter and love and fun and joy.

We pray our Lord Jesus Christ will envelope your family with an unspeakable love for one another — and for Him.

We wish you a merry, merry Christmas. And may you be truly blessed.

With much love, from all of us, to all of you.

The Unicorn Delusion

The Unicorn Delusion
Vol: 135 Issue: 25 Tuesday, December 25, 2012

In North America, Christmas tradition demands a Christmas feast and candy canes and unique little pastries and all kinds of nuts.  The kinds that come in shells — and the other kind.

The American Humanist Association is spending millions sponsoring billboards of happy young models wearing Santa hats over the legend, “No God? No problem. Be Good for Goodness Sake.”

Out West, the inaptly-named atheist group, “Freedom From Religion” plans an ad campaign under the tag line, “Yes, Virginia, There Is No God.”

I said they were inaptly-named because they already have freedom from religion — there is no religious litmus test in America. Christmas Without Christ

And if there was, it sure wouldn’t be Christianity, which despite its 80% majority in the population, is virtually illegal to practice in public.

The folks at “Freedom From Religion” don’t want freedom of religion for themselves — they want to take your freedom of religion away from you in the name of “reason.”

To these folks, you are the hypocrites because you don’t practice your religion they way they think you should, therefore it is right and just that they take it away from you.
AHA Billboard
In return, they offer you nothing. Well, less than nothing.

Oddly, atheists are also big on global warming, euthanasia, abortion gay rights and social Darwinism. You’d think that since this life is all there is, they’d view it as being more precious than they do.

I’ve never really understood why atheism is so militant. It would seem that a religious system based on the belief in nothing wouldn’t really have much to say. I mean, it’s about nothing. What more is there to say?

But nature (including human nature) abhors a vacuum. So a religion based on nothing has to fill the vacuum with something.

Since they don’t have a God, they use ours.

I note with interest that they only use the God of Christians and Jews. I’m still waiting for the American Humanist Group or Atheism.com or Freedom from Religion to sponsor billboards proclaiming, “There is no Allah.”

I suspect I’ll have to wait a very long time.

Atheists and humanists have a problem with Jews putting up a menorah or Christians displaying a Nativity scene.

But I’ve never heard an atheist group going after Hinduism, Jainism, Tenrikyo, Bahai, Unitarianism, Rastafarianism, Wicca or Druidism.

Assessment:

I think the reason that the humanist and atheist movement are so obsessed with attacking the God of Christians and Jews is self-evident.

If they REALLY didn’t believe there was a God, they would live out their lives as if God wasn’t there. Apologist Dinesh D’Souza framed it this way:

“I don’t believe in unicorns, so I just go about my life as if there are no unicorns. I haven’t written any books called “The End of the Unicorn” or “Unicorns are Not Great” or “The Unicorn Delusion” and I don’t spend my time obsessing about unicorns.”

Atheists don’t spend their time obsessing about Vishnu, or Brahma or Shiva or (especially) Allah or Quetzalcoatl. Because they don’t believe that they are any more real than unicorns.

But they spend millions to pay for billboards and movies and lawyers (lots and lots of lawyers) to suppress any mention or memory of the God of Christians and Jews from the public square.

I’ve read lots of thoughtful analyses this season speculating that atheists and humanists are obsessed with Christmas because they are jealous. I don’t think that’s it, exactly, although it may be partially valid.

I’ve read other analyses that speculate it is because atheists want to demonstrate that they are as moral as believers. It seems too counterproductive to be a deliberate strategy.

Attempting to demonstrate one’s morality by launching a bigoted attack against a whole class of people is a demonstration of hypocrisy, not morality.

One can’t even argue ‘fairness’, since the only remedy possible is to impose the view of a tiny few on the vast majority, hardly qualifying as ‘fair’.

The only conclusion that seems reasonable is, as I said earlier, self-evident. Mythical gods have no power. It isn’t the concept of religion that scares them. What scares them is the issue of accountability.

It amuses me that atheists and humanists believe they have some special insight not available to Christians. I wasn’t always a believer. Neither were most of you. I resisted Christ primarily because I didn’t want to have to change my ways.

I tried to be an atheist, but it seemed too intellectually dishonest. How does one begin to defend a position whose starting point is that of one who is certain that he knows the unknowable? I’m not that arrogant.

The best I could ever manage before coming to Christ was that of an agnostic, or one who knows he does not know what he does not know. That’s a lot more humble, but not very satisfying.

Sort of like the statistics that place American students last in Western academia but first in self-esteem. “Not too bright, but feeling good about it.”

Logically speaking, the billboard campaigns are themselves direct evidence that the Bible is true. The Bible says that all mankind is born with an instinctive knowledge of God.

“Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.”

“For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

That conforms with my personal experience. I always believed in God for as far back into my childhood as I can remember, despite the fact we never went to church.

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

The existence of God isn’t something that is learned, it is something that must be unlearned. I believed in God until somebody told me only kids believed in God.

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient.”

They don’t do billboards protesting Ramadan. But they never let a Christmas or Easter go by without highlighting Jesus. It helps the rest of us remember the Reason for the Season. Proving yet another truth of Scripture.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Even atheist billboard campaigns.

Beware the Mythical Baby

Beware the Mythical Baby
Vol: 135 Issue: 24 Monday, December 24, 2012

I was thinking that they’ve come a bit early this year, but, no, they are right on time. Every year the legions of atheists, agnostics, animists, pagans and other assorted malcontents come together as one to launch a concerted attack against what they claim is a Mythical Baby.

Not one of these groups or individuals believes that the Mythical Baby has any supernatural power or authority. Not one of them believes the Mythical Baby is alive today, arguing against such nonsense in the name of ‘reason’. 

But every year, they unite to do battle with the Mythical Baby and His followers, claiming that the Mythical Baby hates them and wants to do them harm. They usually band together in groups that, under the banner of ‘freedom’ or ‘reason’ or ‘liberty’ oppose all three. 

One of the more prominent Mythical Baby Haters is a guy named Dan Barker, founder of a group called “Freedom From Religion.” Barker is another one of these guys who defines “freedom” as “something to be taken away from others”. 

Dan Barker got his fifteen minutes of fame because of a sign he posted in the name of ‘reason’ alongside the Christmas display at the Washington State capital in Olympia.  The sign reads:

“At this season of the winter solstice may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

We’ll get back to the sign in a moment, but first, a little background. 

The Christian Alliance Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against the state in 2007 on behalf of a man who wanted to display a Nativity scene in the state capitol rotunda. The suit alleged that since a menorah and a “holiday tree” were displayed, officials cannot discriminate against a depiction of the birth of Jesus.

The case was settled with an agreement that the Nativity scene would be displayed and that the state would broaden its policy on religious displays. 

Enter Dan Barker and his group who demanded that the state accommodate their view, including its judgment of religion, alongside the rest of the displays. As we move on to the discussion of the display itself, keep two things in mind: 

The request was made in the name of ‘reason’. It was granted in the name of ‘freedom’. 

Assessment:

I Googled Dan Barker and among the returns was an about.atheism.com page containing a list of some of Barker’s more memorable quotations. 

The one that seemed most relevant to our discussion was this one: “There is joy in rationality, happiness in clarity of mind. Freethought is thrilling and fulfilling–absolutely essential to mental health and happiness.” 

I thought it was relevant because, in his public comments, Barker sounds anything BUT happy. In an interview, he told CNN, 

“When people ask us, ‘Why are you hateful? Why are you putting up something critical of people’s holidays? — we respond that we kind of feel that the Christian message is the hate message.”

(Reflecting on the relative hatefulness of the Christmas sentiment of  “peace on earth, goodwill toward men” — that argument doesn’t sound particularly rational. Maybe it’s just me.) In the same interview, Barker told CNN;

“On that Nativity scene, there is this threat of internal violence if we don’t submit to that master. Hate speech goes both ways.” 

“The Mythical Baby threatens me?” That’s his argument . . . from reason? Well, no.

That’s his argument for why a display that essentially calls people of faith fools isn’t hateful — but why a display of a Baby, His parents and some barnyard animals is.

Let’s get this straight. Barker justifies his sign declaring the Baby mythical and His followers to be hard-hearted, superstitious and mentally enslaved on the grounds that they (the hard-hearted, superstitious and mentally enslaved) are hateful. 

Because he says so.

And otherwise logical and intelligent people accepted this argument — in the name of reason? Barker told CNN that:

“Most people think December is for Christians and view our signs as an intrusion, when actually it’s the other way around,” he said. “People have been celebrating the winter solstice long before Christmas. We see Christianity as the intruder, trying to steal the holiday from all of us humans.” 

I’m not sure if that falls into the ‘clarity of mind’ category or the overall thrill of ‘freethought’. Let’s see. We’ll start with ‘clarity of mind’.

When do ‘humans’ in, oh, South Africa or Australia ‘celebrate’ the winter solstice? Mostly, they don’t. Why? It doesn’t commemorate anything, but if it did, it still wouldn’t matter.  (Winter solstice Down Under is in June.) 

When do ‘humans’ in, oh, South Africa or Australia celebrate Christmas? You’ll never guess, so I might as well tell you. (It’s only reasonable.) December 25th. 

The same day that they do in the Northern hemisphere. Except Down Under, it falls three days after the summer solstice. So, although Christmas is the same in either hemisphere, only the winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere is anywhere near Christmas.

Now run that “Christians stole the winter solstice from humans” argument by me again? Just for ‘clarity of thought’, I mean. 

Christians stole the holiday from “humans” even though it is on a different day — and off by six months for half the world? That’s the argument from reason?  Does that mean the inhabitants of the southern hemisphere aren’t  humans?

Bundle that with with the published contention that religion attracts hard-harded bigots of inferior intellect, and that must be the argument from ‘humanistic kindness’) 

“For my money, I’ll bet on reason and humanistic kindness. Even if I am wrong, I will have enjoyed my life, the existence of which is under little dispute.” Dan Barker, “Losing Faith in Faith” (as quoted at about.atheism.com.)

To see the benefits of ‘freethought’ one needs to consider Barker’s belief that his sign judging religion and religionists as “mentally enslaved, superstitious and hard-hearted” as ‘reasonable’. 

That seems at least as ‘reasonable’ as launching an annual assault on that hateful and dangerous mythical Baby.