Secular Humanism and the ”Death” of God

Secular Humanism and the ”Death” of God
Vol: 24 Issue: 31 Thursday, May 31, 2018

Secular Humanism is a religion — the Supreme Court says so. In 1947, Harold Rafton wrote the following definition of a secular humanist:

“I propose to meet the issue squarely…by fostering humanism, a rationalistic religion based on science, centered on man, rejecting supernaturalism but retaining our cherished moral values.” (“Released Time and Democracy” The Humanist Spring 1947 pg 294 cited in “Understanding the Times” David A. Noebel, Harvest House Publishers)

“The American Humanist Association “certifies humanist counselors who enjoy the same legal status as ordained priests, pastors and rabbis.”” (“Understanding the Times” David A. Noebel, Harvest House Publishers)

Humanism is not only accepted as a religion with full religious 501(c)(3) tax exemptions, but the Supreme Court upheld Daniel Seeger’s right to claim conscientious objector status exempting him from military service because of his religious beliefs. His ‘religious belief’ cited before the court was secular humanism.

Secular humanism is the only religious belief that can legally be taught in American schools. The slippery slope of Constitutional interpretation that reads ‘freedom of religion’ (a phrase not found anywhere in the US Constitution) as meaning ‘freedom from religion’ began with the case of McCollum v the Board of Education.

Humanist teachers recognize the potential for converts among the young and impressionable minds of students. They are careful to disguise their religious beliefs as ‘science’ teaching the ‘theory’ of evolution as ‘fact’ despite the total absence of any conclusive evidence to support it.

In 1948, the theory of evolution received two major boosts. The first was the introduction of the ‘Big Bang Theory’ that provided a pseudo-scientific explanation for the origin of the universe. Prior to the development of the so called ‘Big Bang’, evolutionists still had a major unexplained problem. Although they came up with explanations for the earth; (a spinning ball of magnetically charged particles that stuck together was one such;) and for life on earth (evolution or ‘natural selection’) there was still no explanation for where the universe itself came from — apart from an Intelligent Creator.

Still, there remained another problem. How to get this new ‘scientific’ information before the young impressionable students in American schools. Many students still believed in God, and often the school day began with a prayer to Him. Educators were faced with the problem of officially acknowledging a Creator at 9 am, then trashing Him for the rest of the school day.

The Supreme Court settled that issue in a decision entitled McCollum v. Board of Education, 1948, and further established it as a matter of law in the case of Zorach v. Clauson, 1952. They found in public schools a period of silence may be observed in which children may pray if they wish, but the schools may not conduct devotional exercises, compose prayers, read the Bible, or otherwise enter the field of religious instruction.

That was interpreted to mean acknowledging any Divine Hand in the creation of the Universe or its contents was “entering the field of religious instruction.”

It is interesting to note than in 1948, when God was still allowed to enter the classroom, the American students were among the best educated in the world. We now sit dead last. SAT scores fell so low the Supreme Court ruled the grading system “unconstitutional.” Students were ordered to be graded on a sliding curve.

The very next year, SAT scores skyrocketed! An educational miracle! On the other hand, American students rank #1 in self esteem! As David Barton put it in a lecture last year, “We may be stupid, but we feel good about it.”

Also, in 1948, the number one student problem cited by teachers was talking in class, closely followed by children chewing gum in class. Today, it’s guns in the classroom, followed closely by assault on teachers.

Evolution – A New Religion

The very word ‘theory’ means “An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture” but it is illegal in the United States to teach any other explanation dealing with the origins of life. Even the ‘abrupt appearance’ theory, without the mention of God is forbidden, despite the fact the abrupt appearance theory has far fewer flaws than does evolution.

For example, a belief in ‘scientific evolution’ requires a suspension of the provable, immutable natural law known as the “2nd Law of Thermodynamics.” The laws of thermodynamics can no more be repealed than can the law of gravity, yet our children are taught one has no bearing on the other.

The 2nd law of thermodynamics incorporates the law of ‘entropy’ — the measurable, systematic breakdown of all things into their component elements.

In other words, the fact everything ages, and everything breaks down with age. Even communications. The concept of entropy also plays an important part in the modern discipline of information theory, in which it denotes the tendency of communications to become confused by noise or static. The American mathematician Claude E. Shannon first used the term for this purpose in 1948.

Entropy is a natural law that can be observed, without scientific instruments or double-talk. A beautifully landscaped park, left untended, becomes an overgrowth of weeds. A new car left parked and untended gets rusty and falls apart. A baby becomes an old person and dies.

Everything decays, eventually. Even earth’s orbit around the sun has a measurable decay factor — yet evolution teaches that — with the addition of a billion or so years, the exact opposite happens! Evolution is a made-up explanation, constantly under revision, to explain the unexplainable — apart from the existence of God.

“When you see these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)

The Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on January 9, 2004

Featured Commentary: O’ Prophets, Where Art Thou? ~J.L. Robb

I Know The Bible Is True

I Know The Bible Is True
Vol: 24 Issue: 30 Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Rene Descartes was a mathematician, scientist and philosopher who has been called the father of modern philosophy. It was Descartes who formulated the ‘system of thought’ by asking what could be known if all else were doubted – suggesting the famous “I think therefore I am”. Which gives rise to one of my favorite groaners.

Descartes walks into a pizza parlor and orders a large pepperoni pizza.

“You want anchovies on that?” asked the order-taker. “I think not,” Descarte says . . . wait for it. . . . just before he disappears.

Descartes is another famous thinker often cited to support the concept of atheism. However, Descartes’ conclusions actually establish the near-certainty of the existence of God.

For only if God both exists and would not want us to be deceived by our experiences – can we trust our senses and logical thought processes. God is, therefore, central to Descartes’ entire philosophy.

Sir Isaac Newton was an historical figure of undisputed genius and innovation. In all his science (including chemistry) he saw mathematics and numbers as central. What is less well known is that he was devoutly religious and saw numbers as involved in understanding God’s plan for history from the Bible. In his system of physics, God is essential to the nature and absoluteness of space.

Far from finding atheism in science, Newton found the evidence of God’s existence in the perfect harmony of predicted and fulfilled Bible prophecy. In fact, he indulged in a little prophecy himself:

“About the time of the end, a body of men will be raised up who will turn their attention to the prophecies, and insist upon their literal interpretation, in the midst of much clamour and opposition.”

Albert Einstein is another scientist often quoted by atheists as having proved the validity of atheism as a logical philosophy. There is no evidence that Einstein was a Christian, but there are his own words to disprove any argument that he believed in atheism.

The Encyclopedia Britannica says of him:

“Firmly denying atheism, Einstein expressed a belief in “Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the harmony of what exists.”

This actually motivated his interest in science, as he once remarked to a young physicist:

“I want to know how God created this world, I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.”

Einstein’s famous epithet on the “uncertainty principle” was “God does not play dice” – and to him this was a real statement about a God Whose existence Einstein tacitly acknowledged. A famous saying of his was “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

Many atheists actually cite Sir Francis Bacon as having advanced atheism as a logical philosophy. Bacon established his goals as being the discovery of truth, service to his country, and service to the church.

Although his work was based upon experimentation and reasoning, he rejected atheism as being the result of insufficient depth of philosophy, stating;

“It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion; for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate, and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity.”

“…for as God uses the help of our reason to illuminate us, so should we likewise turn it every way, that we may be more capable of understanding His mysteries; provided only that the mind be enlarged, according to its capacity, to the grandeur of the mysteries, and not the mysteries contracted to the narrowness of the mind.”

Putting one’s faith in Christ is not in harmony with the concept one has to ‘check his brains at the door’ of a church. The greatest scientific minds in all history found no contradictions between science and the Bible. If anything, the more they discovered about science, the more they saw the harmony that exists between science and Scripture.

Every generation in history has had its share of great thinkers, philosophers, scientists and debaters. Since the Bible claims 100% accuracy, 100% of the time, the Bible has always been the most tempting target to attack.

If one single fact in Scripture were conclusively disprovable; historical, scientific, geographic, or even biological, then the Bible’s central claim of authority — that is, its Authorship — would crumble, together with the foundations upon which both Judaism and Christianity are built.

The philosopher, debater or scientist who accomplished such a feat would be the most famous who ever lived. Keeping in mind all the generations, in all the countries in all the centuries since the Bible was assembled, who was that single, brilliant individual?

Nobody has ever claimed the title.

Assessment:

The Book of Job is generally the first place Christians turn when they want to see how best to stand up to the trials and tribulations of life.

I once knew a pastor who counseled his congregation about patience. He told them, “Before you pray for patience, read the Book of Job and find out how you get it, first.”

Good advice. Patience is learning to trust God to see you safely through the rapids of life. Being sinful, fallen creatures, it takes a couple of trips through the rapids to convince us, first. (In that sense, praying for patience is like praying for a slicker and a paddle.)

But the Book of Job is much more than a narrative about patience and reward. The Book of Job is rich with evidences of God’s Truth. In Job, God reveals much about science, nature, physics, astronomy and geography.

Details that no single person living in the ancient times of Job could possibly know. Especially not someone living in the Middle Eastern desert.

For centuries, man believed that the earth was flat. Christopher Columbus was criticized for setting sail to the other side of the earth, they expected Columbus to sail off the edge of the earth.

But Job noted that “He walks above the circle of heaven”. (Job 22:14) The original Hebrew, using Roman characters, is, “Choq- chag `al- pney- mayim `ad-takliyt ‘owr `im- choshek.”

The word translated as circle comes from the Hebrew word “chuwg” which transliterates into English as ‘circuit’ or ‘sphere’ in addition to ‘circle’.

Early man thought Atlas, a huge turtle or elephants held up the earth. In the North sky within the millions of stars is a vast expanse of blackness.

Job 26:7 says the earth is suspended on nothing. The Bible was before the telescope so only God could describe it. Today we know it is gravity that holds the planets and stars in their orbits making them appears to be hung on nothing.

Job 28:25 says air has weight. Science confirms air is about 50 miles thick, exactly the right composition to support life. It’s perfect for our lungs. The air filters deadly rays. If the earth was 10% larger or smaller all would die. We are in a fragile balance before the sun between frying and freezing.

Job 26:10 says; “He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end.” (KJV) The RSV translates it; “He has described a circle upon the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness.”

In any case, it is clear Job knew the earth was round millennia before Columbus. Who told him?

Job 36:27:28 explains the hydrological cycle, the condensation and hydrology maintain life, provide evaporation, transportation, precipitation and run-off .

He describes the repeated cycle of precipitation, its evaporation, and condensation in the clouds.

In addition, Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 1:6; “The wind blows to the south and goes round to the north; round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits with wind returns.”

It took modern science to document the direction of wind currents and wind paths. Who told Job and Solomon?

About 4,000 years ago, Job says; “Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place;” adding, “It is TURNED as clay to the seal.” (Job 38:12)

Job paints a word picture here using a clay pot on a potter’s wheel as an analogy.

Job 38:16 tells us there are springs in the sea (this was not known until 1913 when they found underground rivers).

So, who told Job?

Job 38:22 mentions the treasures of the snow. Each flake is of perfect dimensions and all are different. The snow is beneficial for nitrogen for fertilizer. How often do you think it snowed in southern Iraq where Job most likely lived?

Water is heavier than air, and is transported in clouds.

“Dost thou know the balancing of the clouds, the wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge?” (Job 37:16)

Job lived in the Middle East some four thousand years ago. The Book of Job, chronologically speaking, is the oldest Book of the Bible.

“Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it? The waters are hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen.” (Job 38:29-30)

Who told Job about ice and snow? How did a guy living 4000 years ago in the Middle East know about the permanent polar ice caps, ‘hid as with a stone, and the face of the deep is frozen’? An Eskimo with wanderlust? What would a desert-bound nomad know about ‘the deep’ in the first place?

Job 38:31 explains the solar system. The Hebrew speaks of a pivot or hinge. In the South-Southwest is the Pleiades, 7 stars making up the center of the solar system.

Amos 5:8 says the Pleiades consists of 7 stars. The seventh star was only discovered in the last century because with the naked eye one can see only 6.

Some time back, a series of 14 human footprints with at least 134 dinosaur tracks were discovered in the bed of the Paluxy River, near Glen Rose, Texas. Bible-haters have come up with thousands of explanations, but one explanation is no more reasonable than another.

According to Job, there lived in his day, a beast he termed ‘behemoth’. It is described in Job 40:15-24 as “eating grass like an ox” that “moves his tail like a cedar” — the Hebrew literally says; “he lets hang his tail like a cedar.” “Its “bones are like beams of bronze . . . His ribs like bars of iron. . . “He is the first of the ways of God. . .” “He lies under the lotus trees,In a covert of reeds and marsh. . . ”

Some translations translate ‘behemoth’ as ‘elephant’ or ‘hippopotamus’. A key phrase is, “He is the first of the ways of God.” This phrase in the original Hebrew implied that behemoth was the biggest animal created.

Then there is leviathan. The Bible describes ‘leviathan’ in Job 41 this way:

“Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?” (41:1)

“Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants? Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears?) (v6-7)

“None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before Me?” (v10)

Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about” (v14).

Ever seen an elephant with scales? Or a fire-breathing hippopotamus? Job describes the physical appearance of ‘leviathan:’

“His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal. One is so near to another, that no air can come between them. They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered.” (v15-16)

“Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth.” (v19-21)

“When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves.” (v25)

THIS is a pretty convincing description. The ‘mighty’ ‘purify’ themselves by reasons of ‘breakings’ at the sight of leviathan. (We have a phrase for that in English, too)

Every culture is filled with stories of fire-breathing dragons. The first dinosaur bones were discovered in 1822 by Mary Ann Mantell. (The word ‘dinosaur’ was coined in 1841)

If the ancients had never seen a dinosaur, where did the fire-breathing dragons of old come from? And if Job had never seen one, who told him about them 4000 years before the first bones were discovered?

(Even if dinosaur bones were common in Job’s day, paleontologists were not.)

The Book of Job teaches a lot more than merely how to be patient and trust in the Lord. It teaches that an itinerant nomad in the middle of the Arabian desert knew more about science four thousand years ago than science knew at the dawn of the 20th century.

Although Job told us that light was in motion, (Job 38:19) it took Einstein before anybody believed it.

“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the LATTER DAY UPON THE EARTH: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet IN MY FLESH shall I see God: Whom I shall see FOR MYSELF, and mine eyes shall behold, and NOT ANOTHER; though my reins be consumed within me.” (Job 19:25-27)

As noted, Job is the oldest Book in the Bible, penned before Moses wrote Genesis and set historically almost a thousand years earlier than the Exodus from Egypt.

Job didn’t have access to large collections of books about natural science, geography, climatology or physics.

Neither did he have access to the writings of the prophets or the promises of the New Testament. Job had never been taught of the Rapture, the Resurrection or of a coming Redeemer in the last days.

But Job knew. Who told Job all these things? The same One who told you. That’s how you can know it’s all true.

Maranatha!

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on December 20, 2008

Featured Commentary: Firm Foundation ~Wendy Wippel

The Question Nobody is Asking

The Question Nobody is Asking
Vol: 24 Issue: 29 Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Bible has, over the past two thousand years, been subjected to every form of criticism; textual criticism, archeological or historical criticism, criticism of its form, authorship, and content, but has survived every effort to find even a single, documentable, provable mistake in its pages.

The Bible is the #1 best-seller in history.  It has been translated into 2,123 languages and dialects.  Nine out of every ten Americans own a Bible.

There are plenty of folks who claim they’ve found mistakes in the Bible, but the simple fact is this.  If somebody actually found a verifiable, provable error contained in Scripture, they have yet to demonstrate it.

While there are clever and articulate Bible-haters who have dedicated their entire lives to disputing Scripture, not one of them has made it into the history books as the one who disproved the foundational text of Judeo-Christianity.

Instead, they generally find themselves on the list of folks who take the more difficult parts of Scripture that they don’t understand and call them ‘errors’.

And despite the Bible’s record for being 100% accurate in every area in which its accuracy can be measured, there is no shortage of folks willing to step up to the plate, put their reputations on the line, and announce that they, of all the skeptics that have lived in the past two thousand years, have discovered ‘evidence’ the Bible contains mistakes.

Entire organizations and groups have been created for the express purpose of disproving the accuracy of Scripture, from avowed atheists to ‘professing Christians’ like the self-appointed members of the ‘Jesus Seminar’ who vote on which quotes attributed to Jesus were actually spoken by Him.

As an example, the Jesus Seminar’s theologians once considered Jesus’ teaching of the Lord’s Prayer and concluded that the only words of that prayer actually spoken by Jesus were ‘Our Father’.  (They say the rest was added later.)

Christians are used to seeing the world twist and pervert the Bible, deny its Authorship, question its teachings and condemn it as ‘hate literature.’  There are entire collegiate-level curriculums exclusively devoted to Biblical criticism.

Even the phrase, ‘Biblical criticism’ refers to anyone who takes a position, pro or con, on the accuracy of Scripture.  Although almost 90% of Americans identify themselves as ‘Christian,’ Bible critics are among America’s most respected thinkers.

Critics of the Koran are among America’s loneliest.

Assessment:

Ever notice that other religious books, like the Hindu Upanishads, the writings of Buddha or Zoroaster, and, most particularly, the Koran, are never subjected to a scholarly analysis of their historical or textual accuracy?

Well, maybe ‘never’ is a strong word, but I can’t think of any famous Koran critics.

The Angel Gabriel is said to have told Mohammed: “This book is not to be questioned.” That is an article of faith among Muslims — subjecting the Koran to the same kind of textual criticism given the Bible would be suicide for a Muslim.

Questioning the Koran isn’t a popular enterprise among non-Muslims, either. It’s a great way to wake up one morning to discover you are dead.

The Arab scholar, Suliman Bashear, argued that Islam developed over time as a religion rather than emerging suddenly.  His students in the University of Nablus threw him out the window as a result.

Salman Rushdie’s “Satanic Verses” resulted in a fatwa because it was thought to mock Mohammed.  Islamic scholar Naguib Mahfouz was stabbed because his works were said to be ‘irreligious.’

One scholar of Semitic languages, writing under the pseudo-name Christopher Luxenberg, published a criticism of the Koran in which he claims the text is both mistranslated and misread.

His work involving the analysis of the earliest copies of the Koran led him to the conclusion that parts of the Koran came from preexisting Aramaic texts.  These, he says, were misinterpreted by later Islamic scholars who composed the Koran as it is circulated today.

The classic example of this relates to the virgins supposedly awaiting loyal Muslim martyrs. Rather than ‘virgins,’ Luxenberg observes that in the original text, the Koran actually promises “white raisins” of crystal clarity.

This, one would think, would be a verse carefully scrutinized by Islamists.  Especially those Islamofascists planning to blow themselves up.  Who would want to commit suicide in exchange for a box of transparent raisins?

Those Semitic scholars who dare to voice an opinion are unanimous in their contention that there is no historical evidence of the existence of the Koran prior to 691 AD, about sixty years after Mohammed’s death. Much of what is known of Mohammed is based on texts that were written 300 years after his death.

John Wansbrough of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London says the text of the Koran now used appears to have been a composite of different texts complied over perhaps hundreds of years.  It appears to academicians to have continued to evolve until the end of the seventh century.

There are three schools of thought about who actually wrote the Koran and how it was assembled.  The first school of thought maintains Mohammed wrote the Koran.  The second says the Koran was simply assembled from notes left behind after the prophet’s death.

(It is a matter of accepted historical fact that Mohammed was illiterate. Illiterate men don’t leave behind notes so copious that, assembled together, they could form a six hundred page book.)

The third school of thought maintains that Mohammed dictated the Koran to a trusted [unknown] aide who faithfully transcribed the words of the prophet.

The Koran itself is more accurately an Arab commentary on the Bible, of which the Koran claims to be the final testament.

However, the Koran contradicts both the Old and New Testaments in both spirit and substance.  So Islam claims that the original Bible was changed by the Jews.

A complete copy of the Book of Isaiah was unearthed in 1948 at Qumran as part of the larger collection known as the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’.  Although the exact age of the document is unknown, what is unquestionable is the fact it lay hidden (and untampered with) since at least AD 70 — five hundred years before Mohammed.

The Isaiah Scroll is now on display at the ‘Dome of the Tablets’ in Israel.  I have seen it with my own eyes.  Scholars universally agree that the 2000 year old scroll is identical to the Book of Isaiah in a modern Bible.

Christianity welcomes, even invites textual criticism of the Scriptures.  Each effort merely serves to confirm the Bible’s Divine Authorship.  And, logically speaking, who would want to trust their eternity to a God Who might not be real?  (If the Bible wasn’t true, I know that I’d want to know about it).

But examining the Koran for accuracy and textual consistency is not just unpopular, it is dangerous to the point of being deadly.

If it is true, then what is there to fear?

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on June 12, 2012

Featured Commentary: Some Not-So-Subtle Sermon Suggestions ~Steve Schmutzer

More Than Baseball and Hot Dogs

More Than Baseball and Hot Dogs
Vol: 24 Issue: 28 Monday, May 28, 2018

Tiny Melton was a truck driver from Missouri. Tiny got his nickname in boot camp after his drill instructor took one look at his 6’4″ 220lb frame and said, ”From now on, son, your name is Tiny.”

The name stuck. Tiny looked like a body-builder, but it was just the way he looked, he didn’t work at it. And as big as he was, he was as gentle as a lamb. 

Tiny always put me in mind of Clint Walker’s character, “Posey” in the 60’s war movie, “The Dirty Dozen.” 

Lynwood Richardson was from Alabama.  Lynn was black, his skin a deep, rich ebony color. He was rechristened by his drill instructor as ‘Snowball’. 

Richardson was a great runner, but a lousy athlete.  It was a dirty little secret then, but I suppose it’s safe to admit it now. 

In those days, it was fairly common for the drill instructor to cheat a little in order to squeeze somebody by some parts of the physical fitness test. 

The tester was a drill instructor from another platoon.  Snowball couldn’t do the requisite number of pull ups — my DI had me wear his sweatshirt and do them for him. (Snowball did the 3 mile run wearing my sweatshirt while I wore Pvt. Brunson’s and did his situps) 

Sherman Latchaw was a little bitty guy from Pennsylvania — he didn’t weigh 95 pounds dripping wet.  He wore great big, oversized glasses that made him look like the little kid ‘Sherman’ from the Mr. Peabody cartoons. 

But, since his name was ALREADY Sherman, we called him ‘Poindexter.’  Poindexter looked like a stiff wind would knock him over.  But he whipped every guy he was matched up with in hand-to-hand combat training. Poindexter, the little guy with the big glasses, graduated at the top of his boot camp class. 

Terry Severance was from Pennsylvania, as well.  For some reason, he and I didn’t hit it off that well at first.  One of the duties shared by each recruit in boot camp was ‘firewatch’ duty.  Each recruit in turn pulled a one-hour patrol of the barracks at night, before waking up the next man. 

Terry fell asleep and when he woke me, it was halfway through my turn.  Somehow, we ended up having a fight in the shower room — me barefoot in my skivvies, he in full dungaree uniform and combat boots. 

I don’t remember who won, but I remember we were friends from them on. 

My drill instructor was a guy named S/Sgt. J. R. James.  When he found out I was Canadian, he nicknamed me ‘Wacky Jack’ — whenever another DI stopped by, Sgt. James would invite him to inspect ‘his pet Canadian’ whereupon I would race to the center of the squadbay to be ‘inspected.’ 

They’d look me over and say things like, “No wonder the Canadians sent him down here.” and, “they don’t grow ’em too sturdy up there, do they?” and other kind words of encouragement.  (I kept part of the nickname — I dropped the ‘Wacky’ part and only had to put up with it when I ran into somebody from my old platoon) 

Mike Tuscan was a decent guy, quiet, steady, and somebody you knew you could count on when the chips were down.  He was a fairly nondescript looking guy, you’d pass him on the street without a second glance. 

The last time I saw him, he had made it to S/Sgt in less than three years — quite an accomplishment for a Marine so bland that HIS nickname was ‘Mike’.

Assessment:

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day” shortly after the end of the Civil War.  Prior to that war, veterans and their war service were most frequently honored as part of the annual Independence Day celebrations. 

In the aftermath of the Civil War many cities and communities began a tradition of marking the graves of their war dead.  Eventually, the observance became a national phenomenon and began to be observed nationwide on May 30. 

With time, the observances came to include the dead of other wars.  In 1967 the observance was officially recognized as a federal holiday — Memorial Day.

Memorial Day was recently marked with controversy as some school districts have taken Memorial Day off their school holiday calendar.  In North Carolina alone, there were twenty school district that held classes on this Memorial Day. 

Explained Charlie Wyant, Catawba County Schools Board of Education chairman;

“The legislators have put us in a bind,” Wyant said. “We have only so many days to get 180 instruction days in, plus teacher workdays, plus holidays. People want their Easter vacation and Christmas break, so when we did the calendar for this year, we chose to keep those and take away Memorial Day.”

The two holidays being reconsidered as ordinary school days are Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day.  Why not Martin Luther King Day?  Why not President’s day, (since it no longer honors any particular president?) 

Martin Luther King Day celebrates the murder of a great social leader.  President’s Day honors the presidents who led the nation in times of war. 

Memorial Day honors those ordinary men and women who volunteered to stand in harm’s way so that the rest of us wouldn’t have to.  They paid the price for freedom with their blood, their sweat, their tears, and, too often, with their lives. 

They did so while living on salaries below the federal poverty line, leaving their families to the tender mercies of their self-absorbed countrymen, many of whom were subjected to verbal abuse and insults as a reward for their sacrifices. 

Memorial Day is arguably one of America’s most important holidays, since it celebrates the ongoing willingness of young Americans to sacrifice themselves in the name of freedom, on behalf of an increasingly ungrateful nation. 

I took this Memorial Day off.  I spent the day remembering. 

I remembered Tiny Melton, Lynn Richardson, Terry Severence, Sherman Latchaw and all the rest.  To the many veterans among our membership, I apologize on behalf of the ignorant among us.  And to all the millions before and since, I add my heartfelt thanks. 

There is a bumper sticker out there that sums it all up nicely; 

“If you don’t stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them.”

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on May 25, 2009

Featured Commentary: The Uncanny Valley: Random Thoughts on Bible Prophecy Part II ~Pete Garcia

Hell and A Merciful God

Hell and A Merciful God
Vol: 24 Issue: 26 Saturday, May 26, 2018

The question has been asked so many times that has morphed from a question into a challenge; “How can a merciful and loving God condemn people to eternal torments in hell?”

The question is not just posed by atheists and skeptics, but also by some sincere, but woefully uneducated Christians.  The argument has some merit on the surface.  God is love. All men are created with a sin nature.

Since, by definition and design, all men are sinners and our Creator God is love, it logically follows that a loving God who created sinners would be unjust in condemning them to hell for being what they are. 

God is the Righteous Judge.  If He is so righteous, it seems logical that He would take into account the mitigating circumstances. 

Especially since the chief mitigation is the fact it was the Righteous Judge that created the unrighteous sinner and that unrighteousness is the default condition of man.  That cannot be stressed strongly enough. 

The default condition of mankind is that of utter depravity.  People are not born good and then learn bad things.  It is precisely the opposite. 

There is a common canard in our society that dictates that racism, for example, is learned behavior.  A ‘learned behavior’ is something that has been taught to someone, or a way of thinking that they did not come up with themselves. 

The prevailing worldview is that children who grow up to be racists are taught to be racist as a child.  In this view, unless a child is taught to be racist, he will grow up to be ‘color-blind’ so to speak. 

An article posted on the American Psychiatric Association’s website attempted to argue against racism as a ‘mental illness’, claiming that racism “is mainly a product of learned behavior,” and “a majority of explicitly racist persons do not have any psychopathology.”

I don’t know if racism is a mental illness, but I know that racism is not something that children are taught. It is something that they must be ‘untaught’. 

Children are racist by nature.  Studies conducted that put one black pre-schooler into a classroom full of white pre-schoolers showed the white pre-schoolers abused, ostracized and teased the black kid corporately, that is to say, they did so as a group. 

Reversing the situation produced the same results; the black kids abused, ostracized and teased the white kid, again corporately.  Were all these pre-schoolers taught to be racists?

Moreover, who taught them to be abusive?  Who taught them the principles of boycott, or ostracization? 

These are fairly advanced principles for pre-schoolers — it took Jesse Jackson a lifetime of effort to fine-tune them into the social weapons they are today.  Where did these kids learn to be racist? 

Any school teacher will confirm that children are not only racist, they are mean.  Kids are really small terrorists without advanced weaponry or a cause.  And we were all kids. 

If we reach back far enough into our memories, it is fairly obvious that the cruelest people we ever met were our own classmates. 

Everyone remembers that one kid who was taunted unmercifully, (maybe it was you) because of their skin color, their religion, their social status, or some other characteristic that made that kid different.  (I remember a kid we all teased because he was ugly.) 

I was teased unmercifully because I had no hand-to-eye coordination.  When we would choose up sides to play baseball, the two team captains would choose their players until they got to me.  Then they’d fight over who got ‘stuck’ with me — as if I wasn’t there. 

My nicknames were alternatively, “Easy Out” and “Butterfingers” — two terms that make me cringe to this day. 

Children have to be taught not to hit each other, bite each other, they have to be taught not to steal, to show respect, not to lie, etc. 

Prisons are full of folks who blame their upbringing for their shortcomings.  That’s a cop out. Children needn’t be taught bad values because ‘bad’ is their default state. 

Prisons, as rehabilitation centers, attempt to teach ‘good’ values — or the word ‘rehabilitation’ is meaningless. 

A long example to prove a short principle; We are born sinners.  Evil is our default condition.  It is goodness that is the learned behavior.

To return to our original premise, if a loving God created us without a spark of goodness, then how could He then condemn us to an eternity of torment for being what He made us to be — and still call that ‘perfect justice’? 

It is worth noting that the only inherently evil creation in the corporeal (physical) world is humanity.  Animals aren’t evil by nature.  They do what comes naturally. 

Sin isn’t a learned behavior.  It is something that must be unlearned.  The degree to which a human being ‘unlearns’ selfishness, cruelty and sadism becomes the measure of his goodness.  Provide the right set of circumstances, say, New Orleans after Katrina, and humanity reverts to type. 

Doctors murder patients to save themselves.  People with no criminal record become looters.  The strong prey on the weak.  Right and wrong, as social concepts, essentially evaporate. 

Man was created in God’s image.  He was created with the ability to discern between right and wrong, and was also created with the ability to choose which path to take. 

This planet is the only place in God’s creation where evil is permitted unfettered operation.  Theologians call it the ‘cosmos diabolicus’.  It is enclosed by an atmosphere which keeps evil from escaping out into the universe. 

When Satan came to present himself before the Lord, “the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” (Job 1:7

It is Satan’s domain. When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he offered the Creator of the Universe a bargain:

“the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto Him, All these things will I give thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:8-9)

Although Jesus is the Creator (and Satan knew it) the ‘cosmos diabolicus’ was Satan’s to offer. 

So, again we return to the central question: “How could a loving God condemn us to eternal torment for being what He made us to be?” 

A lion who hunts down and kills an injured wildebeest that can’t keep up with the herd isn’t doing evil because he selected the weakest and most vulnerable prey.  That’s what he was created to do.  He has no other choice. 

And THAT is where God’s perfect justice comes in.  We DO have a choice.  We were created specifically to that single purpose.  So that, when given the choice, we could then choose God. 

God’s perfect justice demands that there be some provision of salvation for those who choose Him — or He could impose no penalty for those who choose to reject Him. 

Jesus Christ is God in the flesh.  Therefore, man has a choice between ‘good’ (God) and man’s default nature of evil (self).  Jesus Christ represents God’s perfect justice. 

Having defeated the sin nature by living a perfect life, He was uniquely qualified to pay the penalty perfect justice demands, because no created being could earn the currency necessary to pay the price on their own behalf. 

Each of us is acutely aware of our sin nature.  We spend a lifetime seeking to overcome it, and in so doing, learn that it is impossible.  We then are confronted with a choice. 

We can choose Heaven by humbly accepting the offer of Pardon extended to us, knowing it is not something we earned, cannot earn, and cannot buy or steal. 

Or we can choose hell, the place prepared as the eternal repository for sin after this cosmos diabolicus is destroyed at the end of human history. 

The earth will have served its purpose as a confinement area for sin, and having served that purpose, “shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” (2nd Peter 3:12

After Satan is banished to hell and sin is contained, the cosmos diabolicus gives way to “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (2nd Peter 3:13)

God doesn’t condemn us to hell.  He condemns sin.  But in His mercy, He provides a way for us to shed our sin nature through the regeneration of salvation. 

But we are the ones who make the final choice.  It is indeed perfect justice that the condemned be given the choice — while still in their sins — of where they will spend eternity. 

Having expressly provided the choices to us, it would be utterly unjust of God to ignore the choice we make.

God is just, so He honors the choice we make.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on July 25, 2006

Milk And Meat

Milk And Meat
Vol: 24 Issue: 25 Friday, May 25, 2018

A recent Pew Poll on Religious Attitudes in America troubled me so much that I kept going back to it, thinking that somewhere I must have misread something. 

The question was formed as an agree/disagree statement. 

When asked, “Do you agree that many religions can lead to eternal life?” fully 83% of mainstream churches, (including both mainstream Protestant and Catholic) indicated that they agreed with the statement. 

What does that really mean? These are, ostensibly, Christian churches. That is to say, churches founded on the teaching of Jesus Christ and the writers of the New Testament. 

We often speak of ‘milk’ issues and ‘meat’ issues in our briefings and discussion forums. The ‘meat’ issues are the ‘deeper’ things of Scripture; like Bible prophecy, Dispensationalism, eternal security and so on. 

But one cannot grasp the ‘meat’ issues until one first has a handle on the ‘milk’ issues. The most important of these is salvation. 

If one is not saved, according to the Scripture, there is no possible way one can grasp the deeper doctrinal issues. 

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1st Corinthians 1:18, 2:14)

The milk doctrine of salvation is summed up in a single verse of Scripture delivered by Jesus Christ Himself:

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6)

Does this mean that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to salvation? Let me put it another way: does this leave room for another path to salvation? 

Not according to the Apostle Peter: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other Name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

If Jesus Christ is NOT the only way to heaven, then, by definition, Christianity cannot lead to heaven at all. 

The essence of Bible Christianity is this: “You can’t do it, so Jesus did.” Whether or not one is saved depends on whether or not one agrees with that statement.

“For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.” (Romans 2:  
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12)

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“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)

It teaches that those sinners who recognize their hopeless state under the Law can be justified through faith that, “God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

What does ‘believing in Him’ mean? Does it mean believing that there was once a Jewish carpenter named Jesus who was a wise man and a good teacher who was put to death by the Romans?

In a word, no. Not even close. 

It means understanding that God loved me so much He stepped out of eternity and into space and time in the Person of Jesus Christ, to live the life expected of me. 

And, having lived the life God expects of me, He suffered the penalty that I so richly deserved — on my behalf. 

It is that understanding that breaks down the barrier between me and God. Without that understanding, the death and resurrection of Jesus is irrelevant to my own condition. If my condition is not hopeless apart from Christ, then it isn’t hopeless at  
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all. 

And if Christianity is not the only way to heaven, then, again by definition, there must be several ‘heavens’. No man has ever seen heaven. So how do we know that it exists? 

Because it says so in the Bible. That’s where we learned of it. If the Bible is accurate about the existence of heaven, then it is equally accurate about its entrance requirements. 

According to the Pew poll results, 83% of mainline Christian churches do not meet the minimum requirements necessary for admission. 

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth. ” (Revelation 3:16)

Assessment:

While the response to the first question stunned me, the response to the question: “There is more than one true way to interpret the teachings of my religion” absolutely floored me. 

In the first place, the premise of the question itself assumes that there can be more than one ‘truth.’ 

This is illogical to the point of delusional. There can be many variations of truth, in the sense that there are many variations of ‘red’ — but only one of them is pure ‘red’ — the rest contain shades of red. 

There is only one ‘truth’. Everything else is different. And things that are different are not the same. For example, the Bible is the Word of God, and therefore, infallible “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2nd Timothy 3:16)

Today’s column contains the Word of God — but it is NOT infallible on any of those issues. And if this column were to conflict with the Word of God — (ie; by denying Jesus is the only way to heaven) it would NOT be an alternate ‘truth’ even though it contains the word of God. 

This may be a good place to restate the bedrock truths upon which the Omega Letter is founded.

First, we believe that salvation comes by grace through faith in the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ as FULL propitiation (payment) for our sins. 

“And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1st John 2:2) 

There is NO alternative religion that can lead to eternal life apart from Christ. If there is, then Christ is dead in vain. 

“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” (Galatians 2:21)

We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, inerrant in its original languages, and preserved by God through the ages. It contains the full and complete record of God’s interaction with man. 

We reject any suggestion that there can be more than one ‘truth’ on the basis of ordinary logic and the dictionary’s definition of the word, ‘truth.’

We believe that salvation is eternal, and that, while man has free will to accept or reject the offer of salvation procured for him by Jesus, God in His foreknowledge is already aware of the choice each of us will make. 

“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)

This is by no means a complete statement of faith — but it is the bedrock upon which Biblical Christianity rests. It is the ‘milk’ of the Scriptures. Without an understanding of the Cross and the role it plays in one’s salvation, one can never grasp the meaning of the word ‘truth.’

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (1st Corinthians 1:18) 

Pew’s poll results DO serve as a wake-up call to us  
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all, however. Don’t assume that just because somebody goes to church on Sunday that they have already ‘finished their milk’ — so to speak. 

Odds are 83% in favor of the assumption they haven’t even picked up the glass.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on December 15, 2010

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Confessions of a Doomsday Prepper

Confessions of a Doomsday Prepper
Vol: 24 Issue: 24 Thursday, May 24, 2018

Reality TV is a relatively recent trend in entertainment programming that I confess baffles me to the core.  Reality is where I live.  If I’m looking for reality, I should be looking out the window, not into my TV screen.

When I was a kid growing up in the 1950’s, TV was new — and so was everything on it.  Live entertainment programs really were “live” and the entertainment was sublime.  Television was literally imagination in a box.  And it was largely original. 

General Electric Theater produced a new, original screenplay every week.  So did Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the Ford Television Theater, Fireside Theatre, Somerset Maugham Theater, the Philco Television Playhouse and a dozen others.

All the sitcoms were from original ideas; the Life of Riley, Our Miss Brooks, I Love Lucy, Life with Luigi, The Honeymooners, December Bride, etc.  The format was new, and so were all the routines.  

The TV dramas were often brilliant, and always fun.  And like everything else on television in those days, all original.  

Dragnet, The Millionaire, Private Secretary, Cheyenne, Maverick, Have Gun Will Travel, Peter Gunn, Perry Mason, Wanted: Dead or Alive . . . . every episode of every program was unique and original.

Reruns were rare at first; later they became more common, but only as “filler” between seasons for that show.  Nobody would watch a program made up exclusively of reruns.  Not yet.  There was still too much on TV that was new.

In the early days, TV offered escapism, not reality.  (Reality TV, as I noted, came on at six o’clock starring Douglas Edwards, Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.)

In recent years, original entertainment programming has become as common as the dodo bird.  You can’t get much more original than to write about stuff that doesn’t exist, and so Star Trek managed to survive through four incarnations, but in the end, even the coolest gadgets couldn’t disguise the recycled plotlines.

And so, Reality TV was inevitable.  We’re bored with the fantastic — we live in an age where hardly anything is fantastic, anymore.  Or put another way, everything is so fantastic that we need to turn to our television sets to find a little old-fashioned reality.

We started out seeking thrills; Rescue 9/11, COPS, Real Stories of the Highway Patrol and World’s Wildest Police Videos, but soon craved more; from the disgusting, (Wife Swap)  to the more disgusting (Keeping Up With the Kardashians) until we discovered the joys of reality voyeurism, (the Bachelor, Big Brother).

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5)

Assessment:

“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. ” (Matthew 24:37-39)

In February 2012, the Discovery Channel introduced a new reality TV series called “Doomsday Preppers.” The program is described at its website under the heading, “About the Show” — just below the dramatic photo of a teen-aged boy firing a scoped assault rifle with an extended banana clip.

“Doomsday Preppers explores the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. Unique in their beliefs, motivations, and strategies, preppers will go to whatever lengths they can to make sure they are prepared for any of life’s uncertainties. And with our expert’s assessment, they will find out their chances of survival if their worst fears become a reality.”

What is a “Doomsday Prepper”?  That is evidently what the New York Times set out to discover.  Here is what staff critic Neil Genzlinger (Gezundheit!) found.

“Watch either show for a short while and, unless you’re a prepper yourself, you might be moderately amused at the absurd excess on display and at what an easy target the prepper worldview is for ridicule. Watch a bit longer, though, and amusement may give way to annoyance at how offensively anti-life these shows are, full of contempt for humankind.”

Hmmm.  I’ve not seen the show.  But if the New York Times hates it . . . 

“Who knows how representative these shows are of the prepper universe, but the people they feature are disproportionately white. They can’t speak for long without employing that cliché involving excrement and a fan. And whatever their religious beliefs might be, something “Preppers” doesn’t generally explore, most of them put their real faith in firearms.”

No, I think I was reading it wrong.  The New York Times loves the show — it gives them the chance to showcase how much they hate those people.

“But the unmistakable impression left by these programs is that what these folks want most of all is not to protect their families — the standard explanation for why they’re doing what they’re doing — or even the dubious pleasure of being able to say to the rest of us, “See, I told you the world was going to end.” What they want is a license to open fire.”

According to the New York Times, Doomsday Preppers are primarily gun-toting racists who have no respect for human life.  And that is pretty much the same view taken by the rest of the liberal elite, including the top echelons of the Department of Homeland Security. 

That is also the view that you are supposed to have, if you are the sort of person that takes his ideological marching orders from the New York Times or shares the worldview of the Discovery Channel that produced the program.

Doomsday Preppers is played strictly for laughs, quietly mocking their subjects, holding them up as objects of ridicule, but also as folks to be feared, (once the cliché’ involving excrement and a fan becomes appropriate.)

Who are they, really?  Lots of them are precisely what the Discovery Channel makes them out to be. (That’s why they were the ones chosen.)  

The real Doomsday Preppers are simply folks that are preparing for the obvious the way one would prepare for a coming storm.  Clearly, it is coming and it is just as clearly that obvious. Or there wouldn’t be a prime-time reality show devoted to the premise.

Only a liberal would view the decision not to become a victim as anti-life and contemptuous of mankind –  “mankind” meaning, presumably, the roving bands of looters that Doomsday preppers are preparing to defend their families from.

What I find fascinating, however, is that Doomsday prepping is not a phenomenon exclusive to Christians that believe in Bible prophecy.

There are some Christians among the Doomsday Preppers, but they are preparing for economic and political collapse, not “Doomsday” in the sense of the end of the world.  

Christians await the coming of Christ, and the Millennial Kingdom —  not the coming of antichrist and the end of the world. They aren’t prepping for Biblical Doomsday — they are prepping for hard times.

What I want you to see here is the whole progression in one lifetime (generation). 

From the unbridled hope and freshness with which it began, as reflected by television — imagination in a box — to the unmitigated fear and confusion (distress and perplexity) into which it is descending.

Again, as reflected by our “imagination in a box.”

As the eyes are a mirror into the soul, television is a mirror into our collective society.  Here’s what it reflects: We started out with Milton Berle and the Cavalcade of Stars and “progressed” to “Doomsday Preppers.”   

My parents were confident that life would be better for me than for them.  I am confident they were right — but life was better for me than it will be for my children.  Everywhere, there is a sense that time is running out and Doomsday Preppers is an uncomfortable reminder of that reality.

What I noted throughout the Times’ article, over at the Doomsday Preppers website, and the other articles I read while preparing this one was that while they all mocked the preppers, nobodymocked the premise.

Everybody was pretty much in universal agreement that preparing for Doomsday was contemptuous of humanity, selfish, etc., etc., but none of them were arguing that it was unnecessary.   

“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Matthew 24:33-34)

The secular world knows, just like we do.  They just don’t want to accept what it means.

“That at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” (Philippians 2:10)

To the secular world, that is Doomsday.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on April 18, 2012

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