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News and Information Posts from Bro Bo

DDNI Featured News Article – Regional emergency declared in eight states due to gasoline, diesel and jet fuel shortages



Regional emergency declared in eight states due to gasoline, diesel and jet fuel shortages

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has declared a regional emergency in eight states due to a shortage of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel caused by the combination of low production and high demand.

The FMCSA’s regional emergency declaration affects Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. The agency, a component of the Department of Transportation responsible for regulating the trucking industry, made the declaration in response to the closure of a refinery in Colorado and the exceptionally severe winter weather that is causing demand for fuel to surge.

“This seems almost engineered,” commented political commentator Patrick Humphrey in a video posted on social media. “How is this happening? How does this keep happening in the most prosperous and the most energy-producing country in the entire world?” (Related: No trains, no planes, no automobiles and NO GAS – Welcome to the DE-CIVILIZATION Democrat utopia.)

On Dec. 24, the Suncor Refinery in Commerce City, Colorado, unexpectedly shut down due to “extreme and record-setting weather,” according to the company’s press release. Suncor claimed the refinery isn’t expected to resume full operations until late into the first quarter of 2023.

This factor, combined with the shutdown occurring in the middle of winter, has made in difficult to obtain the necessary gasoline, diesel and jet fuel in the affected states, according to the FMCSA’s emergency order.

“This declaration addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel and provides necessary relief,” reads the emergency declaration.

Regional emergency declaration to provide aid to drivers and companies supporting relief efforts

The FMCSA’s emergency declaration temporarily lifts the maximum driving time of property-carrying vehicles as established by Part 395.3 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

This waiver of the regulation only affects drivers providing direct assistance to the FMCSA’s emergency relief efforts, such as truckers hauling gasoline, diesel and jet fuel into the affected states

According to the FMCSA, any driver or motor carrier who wants to aid emergency relief efforts must also abide by certain conditions. First and foremost is the motor carrier or driver’s understanding that no other part of the Federal Motor Carrier Regulations are waived.

Another condition is an understanding that “direct assistance” to emergency relief efforts does not include the transportation of fuel supplies or other products “related to long-term rehabilitation of damaged physical infrastructure.”

Truckers that are carrying mixed loads that include the much-needed fuel supplies and commercial goods, or those providing services that are not in support of emergency relief efforts, are immediately no longer eligible for emergency benefits.

Furthermore, once truckers are sent by motor carriers to another location to begin commercial operations, their participation in the Part 395.3 waiver is immediately terminated. Other conditions include:

  • Motor carriers or drivers who are subject to out-of-service orders are not eligible for the benefits of the emergency declaration until the orders have been rescinded in writing by the issuing jurisdictions.
  • Drivers that move from aiding emergency relief efforts to normal commercial operations are required to take a 10-hour break when the total time they engaged in emergency relief efforts, or in a combination of emergency relief and normal commercial operations, equals or exceeds 14 hours.

The FMCSA’s declaration remains in effect until the end of the emergency or until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Feb. 15, 2023, whichever comes first.

by: Arsenio Toledo

(Natural News)

Learn more about the energy crisis in the United States and other parts of the world at NewEnergyReport.com.

Watch this video of political commentator Patrick Humphrey discussing the FMCSA’s regional emergency declaration.

DDNI Featured News Article – Is transhumanism compatible with Christianity?

Last week 2,700 political and civil society leaders from 130 countries, including 52 heads of state, gathered in Davos for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF). Led by the infamous Klaus Shwab, the WEF agenda is pushing several controversial initiatives — from mandatory vaccine passports and universal surveillance to absolute control over the free flow of information. Ultimately, their solution for a world in crisis is to replace human-scale participation with a more manageable, editable version of future humanity. From their point of view, humanity is a problem that can finally be solved with innovative technology like biometric implants and personal avatars that would dominate our interaction with the world.

Their goals are best understood in their own words.

Dr. Yuval Noah Harari, Schwab’s top advisor, put it this way:

“We are no longer mysterious souls; humans are now hackable animals … replacing evolution by natural selection with intelligent design. Not the intelligent design of some God above the clouds, but the intelligent design of our clouds, the IBM cloud, the Microsoft clouds. These are the new driving forces of evolution … the idea that humans are spiritual beings having free will is over … through transhumanism, we become the Gods. It’s a religion coming from silicon valley.”

Ray Kurzweil, a heavyweight in the Davos crowd who heads up engineering at Google, predicted humans would be transformed into “Spiritual Machines” because they will “resurrect” our minds onto supercomputers, potentially extending our lifespan indefinitely. He predicted that technological advances could make our bodies incorruptible, preventing diseases and decay. People would acquire knowledge by uploading it to their brains stored on a supercomputer. Nanotechnology would allow us to remake Earth into a paradise and expand into space to inhabit other planets. This hybrid human creature would have limitless power.

According to the WEF, “The central premise of transhumanism, then, is that biological evolution will eventually be overtaken by advances in genetic, wearable, and implantable technologies that artificially expedite the evolutionary process.” The transhumanist declaration asserts, “We favor morphological freedom — the right to modify and enhance one’s body, cognition, and emotions.”

Juxtapose this agenda with what the Bible says, “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1.7). So, does a believer have unlimited morphological freedom to change their biological sex or implant a chip to alter their lifespan? At what point would our participation in the transhumanist future violate the sovereignty of God? These are serious and important questions we all must ask ourselves.

We cannot naively assume this is only about improving the human condition when the result permanently alters what it means to be human. It’s them playing God with everything from saving the planet to creating a virtual village that uses an avatar instead of real people.

Regardless of whether this sounds like something made up for a science fiction movie, wealthy and powerful globalists are determined to make this the future of society and our human experience.

As Christians, we can accept medical or technological advances that improve the human experience, but is there a line we should not cross? The fundamental challenge arises when people or governments assume that humanity has unrestricted power to alter creation without needing God or setting up a false God that promises immortality. Since God gave mankind dominion over the Earth, there are spiritually acceptable means of improving the human condition through technology. However, that is not the same as saying humans are entirely free to change themselves in any way they choose. Ultimately, God is sovereign over us; we are not sovereign over ourselves. To assume we can re-create ourselves as some hybrid computer program is to usurp the prerogatives only God has.

Clearly, there is a spiritual aspect to this challenge of the sovereignty of God over creation. Since the Garden, Satan has wanted to eliminate man’s obedience to God and His will for our lives. The enemy of mankind wants to convince us — whether it’s preventing aging, changing biological gender, or killing the unborn — that he can control these outcomes in a more desirable way. It is the perennial struggle of humanity constantly drawn to worship “other Gods” that Satan sets up for mankind. From the Tower of Babel to Nebuchadnezzar and Cesaer, man is repeatedly enticed into battle against the Lord, defiantly trying to break the shackles of his perceived oppressor. It happened to the Israelites for thousands of years, and it’s happening again — there’s nothing new under the sun.

“The kings of the Earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against His Anointed One. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they cry. ‘And free ourselves from this slavery.’ But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them” (Psalm 2:1-4).

By Hedieh Mirahmadi, Exclusive Columnist

https://www.christianpost.com/voices/is-transhumanism-compatible-with-christianity.html

Hedieh Mirahmadi was a devout Muslim for two decades working in the field of national security before she experienced the redemptive power of Jesus Christ and has a new passion for sharing the Gospel.  She dedicates herself full-time to Resurrect Ministry, an online resource that harnesses the power of the Internet to make salvation through Christ available to people of all nations, and her daily podcast LivingFearlessDevotional.com.

DDNI Featured News Article – You must bow at the LGBT altar or else

Do you remember when the main goal of LGBT activism was creating an atmosphere of “tolerance and acceptance”? Those days are long gone, and the goal posts have been moved dramatically. Today, if you do not partake in the public, mandatory celebration of LGBT pride, you will be marked and you will be ostracized. If you don’t believe me, just ask NHL hockey player Ivan Provorov.

Provorov, who is from Russia and plays on the Philadelphia Flyers, declined to participate in pregame warmups for the Flyer’s LGBT pride night, since he would have been required to wear a pride-themed jersey.

He explained to reporters, “I respect everybody and I respect everybody’s choices. My choice is to stay true to myself and my religion [which is Russian Orthodox]. That’s all I’m going to say.”

In other words, if someone identifies as LGBT, that’s their business, and he respects that. He has his own religious beliefs which dictate how he lives, and he would ask others to respect that. Live and let live.

Flyers coach John Tortorella was supportive of Provorov’s choice, explaining that the team made clear where it stood on LGBT pride. As for Provorov himself, Tortorella said that “he is being true to himself and to his religion. This has to do with his beliefs and his religion. That is one thing I respect about Provy, he is always true to himself, so that’s where we’re at with that.”

But not everyone was as tolerant (remember that word?).

According to hockey journalist Pierre LeBrun, if Provorov really respected the LGBT community, he would have participated in the event and worn the jersey. To paraphrase, “Who gives a hoot about his religious convictions? To respect someone means to celebrate who they are and what they do, even if it is in fundamental contradiction to one’s own beliefs and convictions.”

Hockey commentator Gord Miller seconded LeBrun’s sentiments, adding that Provorov should have been banned from playing in the game. After all, he tweeted, “Freedom of expression doesn’t give you freedom from the consequences of your words or actions.”

To paraphrase again, “Failure to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride has serious professional consequences!”

Sports and comedy writer Rachael Millanta was even more blunt, calling Provorov “ignorant, obnoxious, and homophobic,” also referring to people like him as “bigots” who “hide behind their cherry-picked religion.”

Oh, the beauty of open-minded, liberal tolerance!

So, by Provorov following the consistent Christian teachings of the last 2,000 years (or, more broadly, the consistent biblical teachings of the last 3,000+ years), he is an ignorant, obnoxious and homophobic bigot who is cherry-picking his beliefs.

The same can be said for the tens of millions of Russian Orthodox Christians who share these beliefs, along with many hundreds of millions of other Christians of like heart and like mind.

In short, you cannot graciously disagree. You cannot respectfully opt out. Instead, you must deny your convictions, rewrite the Bible, run roughshod over your faith and publicly celebrate something you believe to be wrong. Otherwise, you are a crass human being and a small-minded bigot. Those are your only choices!

Already in 2011 in my book A Queer Thing Happened to America, I could point to the Riddle Homophobia Scale, used in schools to evaluate whether the students were “homophobic.” According to the scale, both tolerance and acceptance were considered homophobic, since homosexuality was not something to “tolerate” or “accept.”

Instead, the only way not to be homophobic was to embrace a “positive” attitude which called for “support, admiration, appreciation, and nurturance.”

Yes, if you don’t want to be a homophobe, you must admire your lesbian friend. You must nurture your transgender colleague’s new identity. Otherwise, you will be marked.

Are you surprised?

Well, consider this: “The Riddle homophobia scale was developed by Dorothy Riddle in 1973–74 while she was overseeing research for the American Psychological Association Task Force on Gays and Lesbians.”

That’s how far back it goes, although it wasn’t widely released until 1994. That’s why I started my article with this question: “Do you remember when the main goal of LGBT activism was creating an atmosphere of ‘tolerance and acceptance?’”

Most young people, including young adults, do not remember this time because they never experienced it. Instead, they have grown up with the choice to celebrate LGBT pride or be branded, to comply publicly or be ousted.

That’s why one of the chapters in my forthcoming book Why Have So Many Christians Left the Faith is titled, “If Gay Is Good, Christianity Is Bad.” That’s how much the tables have turned, even though the testimony of Scripture remains as clear today as it has ever been.

One of my colleagues, who is now a pastor, worked for years as a computer programmer with Bank of America. He told me that little by little, he was getting pushed out of his job through LGBT activism. By the time he quit, every employee, let alone higher-level manager or executive, could see on your bio whether you identified as an LGBT ally. If not, you could virtually kiss your career advancements goodbye.

Provorov is just the latest example of this reverse bigoted, small-minded, judgmentalism which leaves us with only one ethical choice: We will continue to love our LGBT neighbor as ourselves and we will refuse to back down on our convictions regardless of cost or consequence. That’s what Jesus would have us do.

By Michael Brown, CP Op-Ed Contributor| Monday, January 23, 2023

Update: Since writing this article, it was reported that, “Jerseys for Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov have sold out online days after the 26-year-old refused to wear a gay pride-themed jersey for religious reasons.”

Dr. Michael Brown(www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Revival Or We Die: A Great Awakening Is Our Only Hope. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or YouTube.

Playing With Personhood — Denying Creation Dehumanizes People 

Deep Dive: Playing With Personhood — Denying Creation Dehumanizes People

Rudyard Kipling’s classic 1894 work, The Jungle Book, came to life onscreen in the very memorable 1967 Walt Disney animated film. It featured many popular characters like Baloo the bear, Bagheera the black panther, and of course Mowgli (an abandoned child raised by wolves), whose peaceful jungle existence is threatened by the return of the man-eating tiger Shere Khan.

But one of my favorites was always the kooky character King Louie, an ambitious orangutan with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, who wanted to move up in the world so to speak. And he had a specific way he thought he could do it.

You might remember some of the words to the song he sings to Mowgli after his minion monkeys capture and attempt to extract a special secret from him. Louie believes he’s at the top of the animal kingdom, but that’s not good enough—he wants to be a man and be recognized as one!

King Louie was depicted as a kind of scatter-brained, bebopping, jazz-singing character that Disney (according to their own disclaimers on the Disney+ streaming service) now considers an offensive caricature that utilized racist stereotypes of African Americans.

However, I want to use him to illustrate a variety of concepts that may also seem scatter-brained and disconnected initially (and I’ll be using a lot of rhetorical questions as well), but I will try to pull everything together toward the end of the article for a fuller understanding of our topic.

Evolutionary Personhood

You see, what King Louie (or rather the writer[s] of his song) was really getting at was the issue of personhood. He was tired of “monkeying around” and wanted his “cuz” (cousin) to give him the secret of how to become human. And what did he think was that secret? The ability to make and manipulate the use of fire.

Now, where did the writers get this idea? Was it just a whimsical notion thrown into the story’s amusing side-plot? Not at all, it was a very specific point made to promote the materialistic and atheistic story of evolution through a commonly taught idea.

This is the notion that the ability to master fire was one of the major transition points in the supposed evolution of our apelike ancestors as they turned into modern humans. As a 2016 Royal Society article stated, “It is plain that fire control has had a major impact in the course of human evolution.”

This notion has roots right back to the father of modern evolutionary thought, as the author makes the point that fire “was regarded by Darwin as the greatest discovery made by humanity, excepting only language” in his 1871 book, The Descent of Man. And so, the “fire drove evolution” notion persists, as this quote from a Smithsonian science article makes clear.

Harvard biologist Richard Wrangham . . . believes that fire is needed to fuel the organ that makes possible all the other products of culture, language included: the human brain.

And lest some skeptics want to downplay its inclusion in The Jungle Book as simply an innocent accident, this admission by a PMLA article published online by Cambridge University Press in 2020 makes the point that Kipling himself embraced Darwin’s ideas and expressed them in many of his works, including his controversial book White Man’s Burden, where his biological views of white superiority (as per Darwin’s conclusions) and Social Darwinism were front and center.

Scholars have long described Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Books as a Darwinian narrative. . . . This essay contextualizes Mowgli’s narrative within a fierce late-nineteenth-century debate about whether the Darwinian theory of natural selection or Lamarckian use inheritance was the main driver of evolutionary change.

The fact is, artists and authors often embed their own beliefs into their works, and Kipling was not immune to that tendency. And this can often influence others.

The Evolution of Disney

Now Walt Disney, although in the past it portrayed itself as a company promoting “traditional family values” (which used to include portraying biblical morality), has long promoted the story of evolution in many of its movies and in its theme park exhibits—sometimes with more subtlety like in King Louie’s lyrics, and sometimes more upfront, such as the entire pond-scum-to-people finale in the animated feature Fantasia.

Of course, the Disney of today is hardly family friendly in any traditional sense at all; rather, it has “evolved” far beyond such notions and seems willing to sacrifice billions of dollars of potential profit just to promote so-called progressive values by including themes and characters in their content that offend many conservative-minded people.

Disney’s 100th anniversary happens this year, and although many (especially older) folks may have a tug of nostalgia for the “old Disney” and what it supposedly used to stand for, they recognize it as extremely agenda-driven today in many ways that it never was before. Why such a big transformation in such a short time?

It seems like they are not just keeping up with society’s acceptance of naturalism and its inevitable consequences, but rather are at the forefront of endorsing all sorts of unbiblical nonsense, such as the idea that people can change their God-given identity by sheer force of will (i.e., a person born A can become Z simply by “deciding it is so”)!

Apparently, a majority of their decision makers are attempting to push their Marxist views of personhood through this entertainment giant now, whereas in the past, there were probably fewer with that bent, so it was less obvious.

What Is a Person?

Now what’s interesting is that up until the last few hundred years, everyone in the West seemed to know exactly what a person was. A human being was considered a special creation—different from and superior to the animals—made in the image of God. Why? Because that’s what the book of Genesis in the Bible plainly said about man’s origins, and the Bible was held in high esteem by most.

But that conceptualization of what a human being is and what personhood means began to change as the story of evolution began to take root among naturalistic influencers in the early 1800s. For example, as early as 1846, promotional material for a Barnum circus sideshow performer touted as a “man-monkey” (a man named Harvey Leech) asked,

Is it an animal? Is it human? . . . Or is it the long sought for link between man and the Ourang-Outang, which naturalists have for years decided does exist . . . ?

You see, this idea that humans are nothing more than hairless apes linked to our hominid forerunners began to be accepted, popularized, and taught as science in academia and eventually to the average child in public schools. Genesis became mythologized for many (even within the church), and this of course radically changed what people believed about what humans are and what personhood means.

No wonder King Louie eventually got the memo that all he needed to do to be like the “other humans” was to inch his way up on the evolutionary scale.

People Championing Personhood for Apes and Other Animals

And his message seems to have made an impact over the years, as at least one of his kind (an orangutan named Sandra) has attained what he was looking for (although not in the same way he’d been trying). An NBC News article reported,

Judge Elena Liberatori’s landmark ruling in 2015 declared that Sandra is legally not an animal, but a non-human person, thus entitled to some legal rights enjoyed by people, and better living conditions. “With that ruling I wanted to tell society something new, that animals are sentient beings and that the first right they have is our obligation to respect them. . . .”

Now (aside from the biblical notion that we should care for animals) this certainly is something new in Western society and puts us in a situation that raises the question, “What is a non-human person?” Is the qualifying factor for personhood being sentient (“able to perceive or feel things”)? Because lots of creatures could be considered sentient, and that’s likely why Sandra isn’t the only animal that people have tried elevating to human status.

For example, Happy the elephant (a resident of the Bronx Zoo) may have been denied personhood (in a recent New York court case testing the boundaries of applying human rights to animals) but the decision was arrived at by a 5-2 vote.

And that means 2 out of 7 of New York’s top court judges were in favor of assigning an elephant personhood and accompanying human rights. Let’s think about this from a modern societal view.

Evolutionists often argue that humans aren’t special in any true sense because we are just evolved animals. For example, a 2004 Australian Broadcasting Corporation TV production promoting the story of evolution had the following narration.

Once we believed we were unique, blessed with a soul and lovingly created by God in His image. Today, evolution says we are just a product of Natural Selection, the descendants of primitive bacteria, not the children of God.

However, if we’re ultimately just overgrown bacteria, why is it then that many want to give animals “human rights”? What makes our rights so special?

Back to Sandra the orangutan—she has now been declared not to be an animal; however, the reason is not because she’s a human, but because she’s a non-human person? But if she’s not an animal, and not a human, what is she then? And how can whatever she is be called a person with “human rights”?

Under this “new information” being doled out to society by this judge (and by the way, who gave her the authority to change the “old information”?), what then does the concept of humanity or personhood even mean? In the big picture of things, where did all of this word salad quackery we now have to deal with come from?

The Evolution of Personhood

Well, the adoption of the story of evolution (including how we supposedly became human) by many has changed the perception of personhood across the entire cultural landscape.

If everything we experience can be traced back to a cosmic explosion, then we are simply the result of random chance processes. And if everything is in a constant state of flux and change (despite us apparently not being able perceive it, because according to many, evolution supposedly takes place so slowly no one can see it), there can be no absolute and permanent definition of anything.

If there is no God who created male and female, cats and dogs, trees and flowers—each with a uniqueness about them—then everything is just a current form that flowed out of something else. So who knows what it may eventually become? And, without the concept of created norms, it seems that the concrete certainty of what personhood means may eventually slip away entirely.

An extreme example comes from my home country of Canada, with a 2022 National Geographic article titled “This Canadian river is now legally a person.”

“The Innu Council of Ekuanitshit and the Minganie Regional County Municipality declared the Mutuhekau Shipu a legal person in 2021. Now the river has nine rights, among them the right to flow, maintain biodiversity, be free from pollution, and to sue.”

Who Determines Personhood?

People need to understand this isn’t simply allusion or allegory—this is now part of Canadian law (as the article explains). But isn’t it astonishing that so-called modern culture has done away with the idea of legal personhood for actual persons (the unborn) and yet is willing to assign personhood to a body of flowing water?

You see, under Canadian law (in Section 223 of the Criminal Code), a child is only a person,

When it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother, whether or not it has breathed [or] . . . has an independent circulation, or the navel string is severed.

That’s right, in Canada, the person who cuts the umbilical cord somehow magically imbues personhood upon a human being. And yet preborn babies are self-aware, feel emotion, can hear Mom’s and Dad’s voices and respond to them, react to music, smile and cry, and do all of the things that babies outside of their moms do. So why is there this arbitrary assignment of personhood in this case?

Meanwhile, rivers aren’t even sentient beings like Sandra the orangutan—they don’t have a personality or emotions whatsoever. As a matter of fact, from minute to minute at any given location, they aren’t even the “same” thing, and the sand and dirt and wildlife and vegetation surrounding them can constantly change as well.

I guess one could suppose according to a naturalistic worldview that perhaps rivers (or portions of their constituent parts) could eventually change and become sentient beings over time—so why not give them “human rights” in advance?

However, again, if people (human beings) aren’t special, why should we be able to determine whether anything else is or if it should be assigned our own status—that of a person? And which people (based on what criteria) should be given the authority to do so? Because as new people with different ideas come and go, then the definition of what a person is could also constantly change.

Can you see how utterly absurd people’s thinking has become? It’s as Romans 1:21 describes: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (emphasis mine).

Nature Ruling Man

It has now become a Western-world phenomenon to have animals and nature elevated to a status above humans. In many countries, it is illegal and punishable by huge fines or imprisonment to kill or destroy the eggs of endangered species, pollute a specific area, emit a specific greenhouse gas, etc.

We are supposed to obsess over whether driving our cars might make the climate change (literally its job description!) because of the possible harm to “mother earth”; however, it is perfectly legal and acceptable to murder a human child in the womb, and in some cases, after they are born!

Why is it that millions of people are comfortable with supporting organizations and individuals committed to destroying actual living people through abortion, many of whom will also attend gala fundraisers and donate millions of dollars to preserve all sorts of plants, animals, and eco-systems?

Why, instead of placing a high value on all human life, has our culture shifted its focus to make animals and the environment the highest priority? It’s quite simple—it’s because of their spiritual condition. People have knowingly rejected God as Creator and have embraced the idea that nature itself is god by accepting the story of evolution. As Scripture describes,

Romans 1:20, 22-23, 25, 28 KJV – “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… Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things… Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen… 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.”

Church, It’s Not “Just Science”!

Brothers and sisters in Christ, it’s time to come to terms with what is happening in our culture. Often, when looking at the utter clown show of sheer confusion we see in society today regarding personhood, identity, and morality, many Christians don’t seem to be able to connect the dots between what is going on out there and the fact that the majority of the church has abandoned its Genesis foundation and accepted the story of evolution.

As a matter of fact, many of our church leaders, Christian authors, Bible colleges, and seminaries have bought into evolution as the supposed “scientific” explanation for how God created us as well, which not only encourages people’s belief in the false story of evolution, but also signals to the world that the Bible can’t be taken as plainly written.

Adopting theistic evolution weakens the Christian’s ability to imitate our Lord Jesus in quoting Scripture as the final authority (remember his habit of saying, “It is written” or “Have you not read?”). Because let’s face it, the Bible makes no mention of millions of years or evolution but explicitly teaches that God created in six literal days ex nihilo—from nothing.

People naturally end up thinking, “If I can’t trust what’s plainly written in the Bible at the beginning, then why should I trust it anywhere else?”

No, the story of evolution is not “simply a scientific theory” as I have heard so many of my brethren say; rather, it is a concept that claims nature made everything and there’s no need for a Creator.

The Universal Acid of Darwinism

Spiritually and morally, it is a cocktail for utter chaos—and one that has been poured out and served through our schools and media outlets for years now, weakening the fabric of society in unimaginable ways.

As the atheist Daniel Dennet (in reference to the concept of a metaphorical “universal acid” that could conceptually disintegrate anything) once said,

Little did I realize that in a few years I would encounter an idea – Darwin’s idea – bearing an unmistakable likeness to universal acid: it eats through just about every traditional concept, and leaves in its wake a revolutionized world-view, with most of the old landmarks still recognizable, but transformed in fundamental ways.

And he was correct. Today—even with the remnant of church influence in society—many people’s understanding of the world has been turned upside down, including even the basic concept of what it means to be a person.

Who Has the Authority to Assign Personhood?

Even the average child understood what made King Louie’s brief appearance and performance so amusing in The Jungle Book. It was ultimately his autonomous decision to try to assign himself personhood, but as every child knows—apes aren’t people!

Or are they? Now many aren’t sure. Are humans animals? If we are, are we the only animals entitled to fundamental rights such as liberty, autonomy, equality, and fairness? If so, who decides? Who has the ability to define what a person is and give them rights?

Do elected officials that change from year to year have the authority to decide what personhood means for the rest of us? Because if they do, we might not be very happy with how the next one that comes along defines us based on their personal (pun intended) point of view.

As a matter of fact, almost all genocides committed against groups of people began with campaigns to dehumanize the victims to some extent, so that their eradication could be justified by their oppressors. If our standard of personhood is not absolute, there’s no guarantee any of us won’t fail to meet the criteria some other person later decides upon.

Only God Can Decide What a Person Is

One can try and point out specific attributes that separate us from the animals as a reason that we’re special, such as the fact that only humans can think abstractly, are able to use complex language to communicate, and use tools to make tools. But those characteristics alone are not what determines that humans have personhood.

Only God can define who and what we are (and what the rest of reality is), based on his sovereign authority as Creator and Sustainer of everything. And his written revelation to us shows he has created us separate from the animals and has given humans certain rights that he has not given to animals. And he also declared that we are called to care for creation and steward it kindly and correctly.

What makes us unique is described in Genesis 1:27:

Genesis 1:27 KJV – “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

We are image bearers of God, distinct from animals and given dominion over them.

Genesis 1:28 KJV – “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

The very idea that men would have the audacity to believe they should grant personhood to animals and even nonliving things like rivers while denying their own children that right is utter madness. But it’s the result of a degenerate culture that has turned its back on the Creator. As atheist Jeremy Rifkin once said,

We no longer feel ourselves to be guests in someone else’s home and therefore obliged to make our behavior conform with a set of pre-existing cosmic rules. It is our creation now. We make the rules. We establish the parameters of reality. We create the world, and because we do, we no longer have to justify our behavior, for we are now the architects of the universe. We are responsible to nothing outside ourselves, for we are the kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever and ever.

Biblical Creation: A Return to Reality

It is doubtful that most people watching The Jungle Book’s debut in 1967 would ever have imagined the implications King Louie’s idea of attempting to turn an ape into a man would have on society’s future. But the full weight of dismissing the idea of a created world with absolute meaning, structure, normality, and reality has finally hit home.

Christians, it is time to stop messing around with ideas like millions of years of supposed evolution and attempting to insert them into the Bible where they don’t belong and where they do great damage to biblical understanding.

People are watching reality unravel and will be looking for those who can provide a consistent worldview, which is what Bible believers have. Indeed, what we see in the world matches what we read in God’s Word when we view the world through the plain reading of Scripture.

However, we must stand on the authority of God’s Word from the very first verse and use it as the plumb line for all of our human experience lest the very meaning of personhood be washed away.

 

Source: Deep Dive: Playing With Personhood — Denying Creation Dehumanizes People | Harbingers Daily

For More Information into Origin of Life and Creation Science please check out some of our newest videos on the DDNI Video Library

The dangers of theological liberalism 

The dangers of theological liberalism

 

 

We live in an age of great compromise and confusion, especially regarding the Christian faith. In some ways, that means we live in the same sort of day and age that every Christian has lived in since Christ ascended to Heaven approximately 2,000 years ago.

The New Testament authors, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the immediate decades following the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, were acutely aware of the need to defend the pure teaching of the faith against those who would undermine its doctrine and application.

In 1 Timothy 4:1, Paul writes that “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”

God knew what He was doing when He gave the Church such strong warnings.

But while there is no doubt that false teaching and heresies have always plagued the Christian Church, each era has its own battles to fight. In the early Church period, they had to deal with Gnosticism, Christological errors, and confusion about the Holy Spirit.

Thankfully, in our day and age, we have creeds and confessions, like the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed, which set forward the clear, uncompromised principles of historical, orthodox Christianity. Or, if you are a Baptist, we have the Baptist Faith & Message 2000.

Still, even though we have these statements, false teaching abounds. One particularly pernicious strain of corrupted Christianity is what’s known as “theological liberalism.” The late R.C. Sproul warned that “We are living in a day when liberal theology has made deep inroads in the church.”

Even if you don’t know its name, I’m confident you’ve encountered some of its teachings — like those who deny the reality of the resurrection of Christ. So, to better equip you to spot and counter theological liberalism, let me explain what it is and why it’s dangerous.

What is theological liberalism?

In his book The Making of American Liberal Theology: Imagining Progressive Religion, 1805 – 1900, Gary Dorrien explains,

“The idea of liberal theology is nearly three centuries old. In essence, it is the idea that Christian theology can be genuinely Christian without being based upon external authority. Since the 18th century, liberal Christian thinkers have argued that religion should be modern and progressive and that the meaning of Christianity should be interpreted from the standpoint of modern knowledge and experience.”

In other words, the starting point of theological liberalism is that it trades the external, objective, God-given standard of the Bible in matters of faith for an individual’s personal, subjective opinion and experience.

This is an exact inversion of the Christian faith. We know who God is and what He wants from mankind because God speaks — and speaks first. Theological liberalism trades “Thus saith the Lord” for “So saith man.”

Summarizing Dorrien’s book, pastor and theologian Kevin DeYoung provides six other characteristics of theological liberalism along with the rejection of external authority (in addition to the one above). He says it argues that:

  1. “Christianity is a movement of social reconstruction.”
  2. “Christianity must be credible and relevant.”
  3. “Truth can be known only through changing symbols and forms.”
  4. “Theological controversy is about language, not about truth.”
  5. “The historical accuracies of biblical facts and events are not crucial, so long as we meet Jesus in the pages of Scripture.”
  6. “The true religion is the way of Christ, not any particular doctrines about Christ.”

DeYoung concludes that “Liberals believe they are making Christianity relevant, credible, beneficial, and humane. Evangelicals in the line of J. Gresham Machen believe they are making something other than Christianity. That was the dividing line a century ago, and the division persists.”

What does this look like in practice? Theological liberalism denies key doctrines like the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture. They deny that the Bible is, in the words of Chicago Statement on Inerrancy, “to be received as the authoritative Word of God” and that “Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit” and serves as the final rule of faith and practice.

Because it denies the truthfulness and reliability of Scripture, it denies the historical creation account, events like the flood, the virgin birth, the miracles of Jesus, and often the resurrection of Jesus itself.

In other words, theological liberalism largely rejects the supernatural and miraculous events recorded in the Bible as fact, calling them fiction instead. Furthermore, it denies essential doctrines like original sin and the indwelling sin in all mankind, which makes the sacrifice of Christ on the cross unnecessary.

Finally, in our present moment, theological liberalism is often seen in the rejection of the creation order and biblical sexual morality.  Denominations that deny the truthfulness of God’s Word almost always end up rejecting what it teaches about sex and marriage when the world pressures it to compromise. This is why many of the major “mainline denominations,” like the Presbyterian Church of the United States (PCUSA), most United Methodist churches, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, American Baptists, and the Episcopal Church, are all LGBT-affirming.

Make no mistake about it: Once a denomination, church, pastor, or Christian leader adopts the core teachings of liberal theology, progressive (Bible-denying) political positions will be adopted as well.

Why theological liberalism is dangerous

The main reason theological liberalism is so dangerous is that it destroys the Gospel. What is the Gospel? It is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16), the message that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24), and that this salvation is found only in Jesus Christ, the “lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).

Liberal theology denies that man is so sinful he needs a savior. It tells us that we can’t trust the Bible as God’s Word and that Jesus might not have been anything more than a good teacher who set an example for moral living. Theological liberalism is a “religious system” that has been constructed to help sinful man feel better about himself, not show him that he is a rebel on the way to Hell and then reveal a gracious, God-sent, God-incarnate savior.

Thus, the danger of theological liberalism is that it sends people to Hell. That’s not an exaggeration, that’s a biblical fact. This is why Paul warns that false teaching is, in fact, the teaching of demons — because it comes from Hell and damns man to Hell in the final judgment.

J. Gresham Machen was a faithful theologian in the 20th century. He wrote a best-selling theology book called Christianity and Liberalism that is still well-known and well-read today. In this book, Machen warned that liberal Christianity isn’t just a compromised form of Christianity, but really another religion altogether — and a false one at that. He argues that “despite the liberal use of traditional phraseology modern liberalism not only is a different religion from Christianity but belongs in a totally different class of religions.”

In other words, it’s not Christianity — and it’s not even close to being Christian.

Sproul agreed with Machen, warning that “Liberalism stands in every generation as a flat rejection of the faith. It must not be viewed as a simple subset or denominational impulse of Christianity; it must be seen for what it is — the antithesis of Christianity based on a complete rejection of the biblical Christ and His Gospel.”

Jesus warned His followers to “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13).

Theological liberalism represents the “broad gate” that ultimately leads to destruction. Why? Because it follows in the footsteps of the serpent, who, in the garden planted the deathly seed of doubt in the form of “Did God really say?”

As faithful Christians, we reject this question and confidently claim, “Yes, God really did say” — He said we are fallen, Jesus Christ is the savior, the Bible is trustworthy, men are men and women are women, marriage is between a man and woman, Heaven and Hell are real, and the only way to eternal life is to repent of our sins and trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

That’s the narrow gate. It might sound fantastic — and it is. But it is the way that leads to life. So, reject theological liberalism, which is no Christianity at all, and, as the Apostle Paul admonishes us, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16).

 

https://www.christianpost.com/voices/the-dangers-of-theological-liberalism.html

 

 


Originally published at the Standing for Freedom Center. 

 

 

William Wolfe served as a senior official in the Trump administration, both as a deputy assistant secretary of defense at the Pentagon and a director of legislative affairs at the State Department. Prior to his service in the administration, Wolfe worked for Heritage Action for America, and as a congressional staffer for three different members of Congress, including the former Rep. Dave Brat. He has a B.A. in history from Covenant College, and is finishing his Masters of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Follow William on Twitter at @William_E_Wolfe

DDNI Featured News Article – Bear Grylls says faith is ‘key part of survivor’s toolbox,’ laments ‘fluff’ permeating Western Church

Bear Grylls is the first to admit he’s something of an unconventional Christian. 

The survivalist and TV host is unabashedly open about his faith and how it serves as his foundation for living an empowered life. But he doesn’t want to sanitize his message to make it inoffensive to a religious audience, and frankly, he doesn’t have much time for Western church culture. 

“I think Jesus would really struggle with 99% of churches nowadays,” the 48-year-old British adventurer told The Christian Post. “Our job in life is to stay close to Christ and drop the religious, drop the fluff, drop the church if you need to because that means so many different things to different people anyway. Keep the bit of church which is about community and friends and honesty and faith and love. All the masks, performances, music and worship bands and all of that sort of stuff — I don’t think Christ would recognize a lot of that.”

He expressed his distaste for what he called “religious language,” sanitizing messages in such a way where people “can’t be honest, can’t express doubt and can’t fail.” The Church, he said, is “the place to have doubts and questions.”

“Look at the early Church. It was a roomful of people eating and drinking and doubting and struggling and arguing,” he said. 

But the Church today, he said, has gotten away from that. 

“Probably most of the people in the congregation have substance abuse, and probably most of their congregations struggle with porn and all that sort of stuff,” he said. “What a relief it is when a pastor can stand up and go, ‘Welcome to the hospital, folks. Here we go. I’m just standing alongside you on the road, failing our way through, but reaching out of desperation for life and love and redemption. Let’s look outwards, and love other people, and we’re in it together.’”

It’s this kind of honest, zero-fluff approach to life that has made Grylls a worldwide sensation and one of the most recognized faces of survival and outdoor adventure. A former British Special Forces soldier and Everest mountaineer, he starred in Discovery’s “Man vs. Wild” and hosted “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” on the National Geographic Channel Series.

He’s embarked on countless dangerous expeditions, scaled Mount Everest, eaten snakes and spiders and even survived a free-fall parachuting accident in Africa. His books, which range from survival skills handbooks to fiction, have also sold over 15 million copies worldwide. 

Grylls’ latest book, Mind Fuel: Simple Ways to Build Mental Resilience Every Day, offers honest and practical ways to practice better mental health, something he told CP is a crucial part of living a healthy, God-glorying life. He draws from his own struggles with confidence and self-doubt to challenge readers to prioritize their mental health and build resilience. 

“I think the world is tougher than it’s ever been; I think there are so many things hitting, especially young people from every angle,” he said. “I’ve written books on physical fitness, I’ve written books on nutrition and training and all that sort of things. I’ve written about spiritual stuff with Soul Fuel. But mental fuel is an important part of our arsenal; it can help us stay strong and build that resilience in a fast-changing world.”

Divided into short sections, Grylls’ book is easily digestible and full of practical tools for building mental resilience, from getting outside and prioritizing fitness and nutrition (Grylls said he mostly eats an animal-based diet: red meat, lots of dairy, fruit and honey) to surrounding oneself with community — all lessons the outdoorsman said he’s learned through failure. Grylls stresses the important role vulnerability plays in building mental resilience, highlighting the power of humility and sharing one’s struggles.

“We’re so conditioned to only talk about the good stuff when it’s working, but actually, it’s in the struggles and in the things that go wrong that we build connections,” he said. “When we have connections with people, we share their strengths. A problem shared is a problem halved.”

And faith, he said, is the most critical part of living a strong and empowered life. 

“I think we neglect our spirituality at our own peril,” he said. “If you’ve got that connection to the Almighty, everything else is window dressing. Spirituality is such a key part of a survivor’s toolbox. I say, arguably, it’s the number one thing. If you get that right, everything else is bearable and possible, and achievable.”

He pointed out that throughout the Old and New Testaments, biblical heroes from King David and Daniel to John the Baptist dealt with their mental battles through connection to God. 

“The solution is always found in connection with the Almighty,” he said. “There’s always struggle, there’s always hardship, but there’s always faith, and faith always wins. Faith conquers everything. In terms of preparing us for life and keeping us mentally strong, faith is always key.”

He added that very few biblical, heroic moments happened on their own; rather, they always happened in community and between friends.

“It’s always about togetherness,” he said. “Look at Jesus with His band of guys who He shared everything with, the good, the bad and the struggles. They were always brutally honest. They were unchurched; they weren’t smiley and nice. It was raw, it was real, it was painful, it was honest, it was angry, it was jealous, it was all of these things. But it was spoken and it was shared and there was an incredible community, and in a way, that is Church.”

Grylls, who shares three sons with his wife of over 20, Shara, said children learn mental resilience primarily through example. 

“We live it ourselves,” he said. “We embrace challenges. We get outside, we train, we give ourselves permission to fail. We keep going. We understand that resilience is a muscle and we develop it through struggles. We laugh together, we train together, get cold together. We try and eat healthy together.”

The Emmy winner also emphasized the power of encouragement, allowing children to “fail and to make their own mistakes and to know that loving arms are still there.” He challenged parents to “be free and be honest and share the struggles and know that faith and doubt are two sides of the same coin.”

“I think that speaks again to the church culture that can often be very judgy very harsh, very full of rules very unforgiving, ironically, very lacking in freedom,” he said. “And they wonder why so many kids have these epic spiritual journeys, and it can take them a lifetime if at all, to come back to the light because shedding off the heavy stuff is hard work. It’s especially hard in that church culture that has rules and regulations and performance and masks.”

Mental health, just like spiritual and physical health, is a key component to living an empowered life, Grylls said — and he wants people to be equipped in an increasingly anxious and depressed society.

“Don’t wait until you’re sick to see a doctor,” he said. “Mind Fuel is preventative mental health; I want to equip people to tackle life on the front foot, helping them learn some simple, daily and easily accessible tips that will help them. I wrote this book just as much for them as for the person that is going through the dark storms and struggles. I want to help people build mental resilience before they need it.”

Source:

https://www.christianpost.com/books/bear-grylls-says-faith-is-key-part-of-survivors-toolbox.html

Louie Giglio warns against TikTok, social media 

Passion 2023: Louie Giglio warns against TikTok, social media

Church & Ministries News

 

Louie Giglio warned those gathered at the Passion 2023 Christian conference this week about the dangers of society operating “an economy of attention” through social media platforms and sites that “absorb” Christians by distracting them and taking their money.

The 64-year-old pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta told the mostly Gen Z audience at the three-day conference that social media is “absolutely pointless.” And he called out the $4.6 billion company TikTok as a platform that is profiting off viewers’ and users’ time.

“People are getting paid and they’re counting on you to pay them. … We wake up and start paying people because we are caught up in this economy of attention,” Giglio said at the annual event held Jan. 3-5.

Giglio explained that social media is designed to make it hard for people to stop watching and clicking while companies are benefiting financially.

“If you have an addiction and you end up on certain sites, you [are] literally paying people. It’s going out of your bank account into their bank account,” he said.

“And you’re thinking that you’re getting a desire, the flesh, gratified. And really, they’re just getting paid. They couldn’t care less about you, except that you’re paying them.”

Giglio proposed the idea that rather than dedicating long portions of time to social media platforms, Christians should begin to “guard their time” by devoting more time to God.

“The way the economy works is based on your attention. And multiple lifestyles now are emerging of people of all kinds with all different messages, all different lanes, all different purposes,” Giglio warned.

“But they’re banking on you giving them your attention. And if you will give them your attention for five seconds, they get paid,” he continued.

“If you click on that link for five seconds, they get paid. If you watch 100 TikToks in a row, 100 people get paid. If they’re monetizing — and a lot of people are — all they’re trying to do is get five seconds of your attention. If you give them 15, then that’s even better for them. But they’ll take five.”

 

“When I give [God] my attention, He gets paid. Not that He needs more money, but He gets the glory that He deserves. But when He gets my attention, I also get paid because I get Him, and so it works out great for God because He gets the glory He should be getting from my life because He created my life by and for Him,” Giglio preached.

“But I also get God. And when I get God, I get the very best thing that there is on the planet. And you and I need to heighten our desire to guard our attention.”

The Spirit of the Lord, Giglio said, is “trying to break into [the] mindset” that Christians have that leads them to devote more time to online sites and social media platforms than they spend with the Lord.

God wants Christians to “behold Him” by being in “awe” of Him, Giglio added.

“Join David, the Psalmist, when he said, ‘One thing I asked the Lord and that will I seek that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple,’ to lock onto true glory, and true beauty and true fame and to stay there,” Giglio said, reciting part of Psalm 27.

Giglio pointed out that far too many Christians need to “recalibrate our willingness to give our attention away easily.”

“I’m not knocking any TikToker or YouTuber who has got their little phone and microphone out on a college campus. But apparently, a lot of them do. …  I’m just saying that you and I have the choice where we want to aim our attention,” he said.

Every human is a mirror, Giglio added, because each one reflects whatever their main focus is.

“You don’t have to believe in Jesus to be a mirror. You’re a human being. You’re going to be a mirror. You’re going to reflect something to the world. You’re going to say to the world: ‘this is what my attention is focused on. … This is what I want the world to hear from my life.’”

“I just pray that God will give us an awakening, a spirit of revelation of the glory of God, something that is bigger and something that is better, so that we cannot just opt into a slogan of ‘passion,’ but really believe it deep in our heart.”

The Passion movement was launched in 1995 by Giglio. This year’s conference featured a number of Christian leaders and pastors, including Jackie Hill Perry, Pastor David Platt, Tim Tebow and others.

Passion movement’s ministry statement declares: “For us, what matters most is the name and renown of Jesus. We believe in this generation and are watching God use them to change the climate of faith around the globe.”

 

 

by – Nicole Alcindor is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: nicole.alcindor@christianpost.com.

 

 

Source: Passion 2023: Louie Giglio warns against TikTok, social media | Church & Ministries News

The Birthday of the Nation Is Linked with the Birthday of the Savior

'The Birthday of the Nation Is Linked with the Birthday of the Savior': Christmas and the Faith of America's Founders

It’s hard to imagine the Christmas season without evergreen trees, decorations, lights, stockings, Santa Claus, Christmas cards, and stacks of gifts for family and friends. Today, most Americans take these traditions for granted.

But when the United States was founded, Christmas was not celebrated the way it is today. While the birth of Christ was honored, and faith was central to the lives of many founders, History.com points out many popular Christmas traditions didn’t start until the 19th century. And Christmas was not even a federal holiday until June 26, 1870.

As Time Magazine noted, December 25 was so inconsequential in early America that after the Revolutionary War, Congress didn’t even bother taking the day off to celebrate the holiday, deciding instead to hold its first session on Christmas Day, 1789.

Even though the new nation did not celebrate Christmas as we do, the men who were the founders and early leaders of the United States celebrated Christmas with their families and also wrote extensively about their faith in God and Jesus Christ, his son.

What Our Founders and Early Leaders Thought of Christmas, Jesus, and the Bible

GEORGE WASHINGTON – 1st President of the United States, Commander of Continental Army during American Revolution

Washington celebrated Christmas with his family at Mount Vernon. According to the Mount Vernon website, instead of celebrating on a single day, the Washingtons celebrated a holiday season beginning on Christmas Eve and lasting 12 days till Epiphany or Twelfth Night on Jan. 6.

Washington and his wife Martha frequently attended Pohick Church, an Episcopalian congregation, in Lorton, Virginia, on Christmas Day and also hosted family and friends to celebrate Christmas.

In November of 1783, Washington found out the treaty with Great Britain had been signed and the long war for American Independence was over, according to the Mount Vernon website. He rode to Annapolis to meet with Congress and resign his military commission. While he was in the city, he bought several Christmas presents, including a locket, three small pocketbooks, three thimbles, three sashes, a dress cap, a hat, a whirligig, fiddle, gun, and quadrille boxes. Quadrille was a game of cards using an ordinary pack but with the 8s, 9s and 10s removed, and it became popular in the early 1700s. The quadrille box was probably a place to keep modified packs of cards, according to British History Online.

Washington also wrote about his faith. The following was written in his private prayer book.

“O most glorious God … Direct my thoughts, words, and work, wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the Lamb, and purge my heart by thy Holy Spirit…. Daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy Son Jesus Christ… Thou gavest thy Son to die for me, and hast given me assurance of salvation.”

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN – Writer, Scientist, Inventor, Statesman, Diplomat

Decades before he would become a founding father of a new nation, Benjamin Franklin noted in his Poor Richard’s Almanac in 1733, “A good conscience is a continual Christmas.”

Writing in his almanac in 1743, he would also leave the reader with this piece of advice:  “How many observe Christ’s birth-day! How few, his precepts! O! ’tis easier to keep Holidays than Commandments.”

Responding to Ezra Stiles shortly before his death in 1790, when he was asked about his religion, Franklin replied: “I believe in one God, the creator of the universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this.”

“As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think his system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is like to see,” he wrote.

JOHN ADAMS – 2nd President of the United States

According to White House History, the first White House Christmas party was held in December 1800. President John Adams and First Lady Abigail Adams held it for their four-year-old granddaughter Susanna Boylston Adams, who was living with them. They invited government officials and their children to the party.

Adams would also write about his faith, “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God. … The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity, and humanity.”

THOMAS JEFFERSON & JAMES MADISON – 3rd and 4th Presidents of the United States

Like many people today, Thomas Jefferson thought of Christmas as a time for family and friends. As the website of his home, Monticello, reports, Jefferson even used the word “merriment” when he wrote about Christmas. In 1762, he described Christmas as “the day of greatest mirth and jollity.”

Jefferson also wrote about celebrating Christmas with his grandchildren. On Christmas Day 1809, he said of eight-year-old grandson Francis Wayles Eppes, “He is at this moment running about with his cousins bawling out ‘a Merry Christmas’ ‘a Christmas gift’ Etc.”

Jefferson also wrote his friends about his faith.

“I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others. … I am a real Christian — that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.”

But during Jefferson’s time at the White House as the nation’s 3rd president, it was Secretary of State James Madison’s wife Dolley, who became the official hostess for Christmas, because President Jefferson was a widower, according to White House Christmas Cards.

According to the website, during the Christmas season in 1805, Dolley invited six of Jefferson’s grandchildren and 100 of their friends to what became a joyous holiday party where the President played the violin while the children danced.

When Madison succeeded Jefferson as president, the celebration of Christmas at the White House continued with parties hosted by First Lady Dolley. White House Christmas Cards also noted her holiday attire would usually include some purple peacock feathers atop a turban or cap covering her hair, along with her dress of lace and pink satin. Although there were neither White House Christmas cards exchanged nor a decorated Christmas tree in those years, the holiday tradition would include wonderful things to eat, including seafood, stuffed goose, Virginia ham, and pound cake.

The Madisons continued their Christmas holiday celebrations after retiring from public life to Montpelier, their home in Virginia. The yearly tradition of sending Christmas cards hadn’t yet caught on with the public at the time, but the Madisons and their relatives and friends wrote letters wishing each other the best sentiments for the holidays.

Here is a note that was written by Dolley Madison for her nieces early in 1836: “A thousand wishes for your happiness and prosperity on every and many Christmas days to come!” according to the website.

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS – 6th President of the United States

The 6th President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, used a large patriotic gathering on July 4, 1837, celebrating the 61st anniversary of the Declaration of Independence to talk about Jesus Christ and his birth.

Adams, the son of John Adams, the 2nd president of the United States, asked his Newburyport, Mass., audience a question and then responded, answering his own question.

“Why is it that next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day on the Fourth of July?” Adams asked.

“Is it not that in the chain of human events, the birthday of a nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?” he continued.

A PRAYER BY GEORGE WASHINGTON

This prayer is used regularly at “The President’s Chapel” of George Washington University and voices the aspirations of the University for the fulfillment of civic duties and the promotion of national welfare:

Almighty God: We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow-citizens of the United States at large. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

12-23-2022

Source: ‘The Birthday of the Nation Is Linked with the Birthday of the Savior’: Christmas and the Faith of America’s Founders | CBN News

Study: Homeschoolers Outperform All Other Students on Standardized Test

News for You

It’s more than OK to homeschool your kids. To be fair some parents are not the homeschool type but many are and those that can should!

I speak from personal experience; we did homeschooling for several years for the 2 youngest of our 5 children. The details as to why and how are not really relevant, but what is relevant is that if I can “survive” it anybody can.

As the dad, the father; I had to do the one thing that all grown men fear – Go back to school. No matter the shape, reason or position. When I graduated High School and ran out those front doors the last time, I was not going back.  My Wife pretty much felt the same way, yet somehow I think it is easier for her being the Mom.

All of that put aside, when it comes to your kids you’re willing to do anything. Please enjoy the following article and other links provided. If you are considering the option to Homeschool I say take it and enjoy the ride!!

Study: Homeschoolers Outperform All Other Students on Standardized Test

Numerous studies have shown that homeschooled students continue to academically outperform their private, charter, and public school counterparts.

Now, a new study about homeschoolers taking the Classic Learning Test, a standardized college entrance exam, reveals they are scoring higher than their peers in other educational settings. 

The tests, according to the CLT website, emphasize intellectual aptitude and achievement and are grounded in the liberal arts tradition.

The exam utilizes reading passages from classic texts written by individuals “whose writings have had a lasting influence on culture and society” rather than the informational passages and more contemporary writings often used in the SAT and ACT, according to The Daily Wire.

The outlet reports a new analysis of the CLT results by Houston Christian University professor Lisa Treleaven found that homeschool students who took the exam earned mean scores of roughly 78 points, surpassing private school students, who earned mean scores of 75, and charter school students, who earned mean scores of 73. Public school students earned mean scores of 66, marking the lowest among the cohorts considered by the study.

Treleaven wrote, “This is consistent with prior research findings of superior academic performance of homeschool students as compared to other school types.”

The professor’s 15-page study was based on the exam results of 12,000 students who took the CLT from 2016 – 2021. 

Classic Learning Test CEO Jeremy Tate who created the CLT seven years ago, suggested to The Daily Wire that the freestyle structure of homeschooling may give an advantage over students enrolled in other schools. 

“Homeschooled students simply have more time for leisure reading,” he told the outlet. “We forget that the word school derives from Greek scholē, originally meaning leisure. The connection between leisure and learning is profound. Factory model schooling is antithetical to leisure, but is common for homeschooled students who are given the time and space to immerse themselves in great literature.”

In essence, homeschooling lets the children improve as per their nature and schedule. according to Admissionsly.com

Treleaven’s analysis shows that homeschooled students significantly outdid their peers on the verbal and writing portions of the CLT.  But were about equal with private and charter school students’ test scores on the quantitative portion of the test. 

The professor also called for more research on homeschool academic achievement. 

According to the National Home Education Research Institute, (NHERI) homeschooled children typically score 15 to 30 percentile points above public-school students on standardized academic achievement tests. 

Seventy-eight percent of peer-reviewed studies on academic achievement show homeschool students perform statistically significantly better than those in institutional schools, the NHERI stated in research facts posted on its website. 

Among the other facts presented by the institute:

  • Homeschooling is increasing among minority communities  
  • Homeschool students score above average on achievement tests regardless of their parent’s level of formal education or their family’s household income
  • 87% of peer-reviewed studies on social, emotional, and psychological development show homeschool students perform statistically significantly better than those in conventional schools
  • Homeschool students are increasingly being actively recruited by colleges

More Parents Are Opting to Homeschool Their Children

As CBN News reported in June, in the wake of recent school violence and the “woke” movement, families across the nation are looking at the benefits of homeschooling their children like never before.

Actor and family advocate Kirk Cameron examined the rise in homeschooling’s popularity in his documentary released last summer titled The Homeschool Awakening

The film features 17 different families from all kinds of backgrounds. Some of the children are opening businesses. Others are traveling the country with their parents and siblings, and other children are doing things like getting their pilot’s license at age 17.

“Kids are learning outside with the entire world as their classroom together with their siblings and with their parents and with their grandparents,” Cameron said. 

The actor interviewed several parents for the film who once viewed homeschooling as weird. “I always viewed homeschooling as somewhat of a cult,” one parent said. Others said they once thought of homeschoolers as “weird” or “abnormal.”

And like those parents, Cameron admits he also once had a “healthy fear” of homeschooling.

“I thought homeschooling was like, you had to be a Quaker or you had to be Amish. I was saying, I mean, does my wife need to wear a floor length, denim jumper, have a head covering and you know, where do we get the uniform?” he joked.

“And then I realized that I was just out of touch with this incredible robust community of people. There are experts and educational professionals creating curriculums that actually incorporate faith and what I’m learning is that parents are not stuck in a system that they’re not happy with,” Cameron said. 

The Lifemark star noted parents are waking up and holding their public schools more accountable.

“And if you look at the public education system, removing prayer from schools, removing God and the Bible from school and replacing those things with progressive ideas, like the Critical Race Theory, Gender Theory, and teaching children to decide whether or not they prefer to be a boy or a girl, to choose their own pronouns, and separating parents from their children’s understanding of sexuality and when, and how they’re exposed to explicit material, these are the kinds of things that parents are saying ‘we’re not down for this anymore,'” Cameron said.

He added perhaps the best part of homeschooling is God gets to stay in the classroom.

“We want our children to understand who they are, who God is, their place in the world, why they’re here,” Cameron said.

As CBN News reported in December of 2021, a boom happened in homeschooling in America as the number of children taught by their parents doubled after the COVID-19 lockdowns began. 

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, the pandemic sparked new interest in homeschooling. By the end of 2020, more than 9 million Americans said they had attended homeschool at some point in their lives, according to Admissionly.com

By Steve Warren

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News.

Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion.

A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory.  It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime.

He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of Tulsa.

Related

‘Homeschool Awakening’: Families Across the Nation Opt Out of Public Schools Like Never Before

More Than a Fad: Why a Growing Number of Parents Are Opting to Homeschool Their Kids 

News for You

Do you know where Kazakhstan is at on a map? Or could you name one country it is next to? Click on Google Map Link

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Kazakhstan/@38.0130128,29.8720557,2.5z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x38a91007ecfca947:0x5f7b842fe4b30e1b!8m2!3d48.019573!4d66.923684?hl=en

Quick facts – Kazakhstan, a Central Asian country and former Soviet republic, extends from the Caspian Sea in the west to the Altai Mountains at its eastern border with China and Russia. Its largest metropolis, Almaty, is a long-standing trading hub whose landmarks include Ascension Cathedral, a tsarist-era Russian Orthodox church, and the Central State Museum of Kazakhstan, displaying thousands of Kazakh artifacts.

The Best news is that the amount of Christians is growing there as is explained in the following article published by Christian Today News (Links Below)

The Gospel in the heart of Central Asia

By Johannes Reimer-13 December 2022

Kazakhstan is the largest country in Central Asia in terms of its territory and it ranks 9th largest by landmass in the world. It is considered a Muslim majority country. The population of 20 million people is very multicultural, tolerant, multi-religious and open. Politically neutral Kazakhstan is proud that the almost 100 different ethnicities coexist peacefully. Among them, Kazakhs represent approximately 75 per cent of the total population. In addition, Slavic peoples, such as Russians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians and Poles comprise 20 per cent.

While a previously large German minority has almost entirely moved to Germany, the Chinese diaspora is growing by the day. There are also large communities of Koreans.

Kazakhstan is strategically and geopolitically very well positioned between China, Europe and the Middle East, with a growing and vibrant evangelical church to influence this part of the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Today almost 30 per cent of the population in Kazakhstan is Christian. While the majority of them are still from a non-Kazakh background, the number of Kazakhs who confess to follow Jesus Christ as their Lord is growing.

In the past, the Kazakhs were to a large extent Christian and carried the Gospel as far as China and Mongolia. Only slowly, Islam spread through the majority of the population. Later, in Soviet times atheism became the dominant ideology of the country.

The new start of evangelical Christianity among the Kazakh tribes goes back to the 1990s. Indeed, there were no indigenous Kazakh-speaking churches at that time and only a very few Kazakhs who came to faith in the Russian speaking churches.

The first Kazakh-speaking church was started in 1992. As the very first Kazakh-speaking church pastor, Malik started the Rakhim (Mercy) church in Alma-Aty with a small group of Kazakh believers. And then the evangelical Christian Baptists began to work with the Kazakh population, and the Kutkaruly Zholy church (translated as the Way of Salvation) was started.

After that missionaries began to come from Europe, North America and South Korea and from other countries. From 1993 to 1998, many Kazakh congregations were planted with the help of foreign missionaries. Those years are considered the most fruitful years for Kazakhstan, and revival and church growth soared.

Development, growth and alliances

The number of evangelical registered churches in Kazakhstan today stands at approximately 400, including all Russian-speaking and Kazakh-speaking churches. The vast majority of them belong to the Evangelical Alliance of Kazakhstan (EAK). You will find ethnic Kazakhs in almost all of the evangelical churches today, about 100 of which are registered Kazakh churches.

Most of those churches are located in the south and south-eastern part of Kazakhstan. There are difficulties in organizing Kazakh-speaking churches in the north, east and western parts of the country since the majority of Kazakhs living in the north and east are Russian-speaking, while the West is remote and more resistant to the Gospel.

Not all Kazakh-speaking churches are registered yet due to their size or political circumstances. There are about 150 Kazakh-speaking evangelical churches in Kazakhstan today, including registered churches and unregistered house churches. Kazakh churches are typically not very numerous, with usually about 50 church members on average. But there are also a few large ones, numbering approximately 600-800 members.

Kazakh believers have formed their own association called Kurultay – ‘convention’ in English. The main goal of the Kurultay is to foster and bring unity to all of the Kazakh evangelical churches and remove denominational barriers, thus serving as one Body of Jesus Christ and expanding the Kingdom of God in all the regions of Kazakhstan.

The Kurultay was started in 1999 with the help of the Kazakh partnership, a Kazakhstan-based association of foreign missionaries. In the beginning only the pastors of Almaty gathered for the monthly prayer meetings. And in 2000, the first conference of Kurultay was organized in Almaty. From the very beginning, Kurultay was closely connected with the Evangelical Alliance of Kazakhstan, building a nucleus of unity among Christians of the country.

Today the Kurultay includes churches from almost all evangelical or Protestant denominations represented in the country. That includes Pentecostals, Evangelical Christian Baptists, Independent Baptists, Charismatics, Presbyterians, Methodists, and other independent Protestant churches.

The Kurultay of Kazakh pastors is one of the most important annual meetings in Kazakhstan. Here they come together to fellowship with each other and discuss the most important current issues among the Kazakh-speaking population. And they share with each other the problems that hinder the growth of God’s Kingdom in the country. The steering committee of the Kurultay consists of 12 pastors from various parts of Kazakhstan. The current president is Yerkinbeck Serikbaev.

He wrote to me: “All participants openly share in a friendly atmosphere about pressing problems, pray together and look for ways to cooperate. We try to involve as many pastors from different churches and denominations as possible. Of course, there are pastors who would like to be part of the Kurultay but there are some denomination leaders that do not allow pastors from their denomination to join.

“We believe that now is the time to pray together and unite like never before. One of the main challenges in our country is to reach Muslim Kazakhs and other minority Muslim people groups. Even though we come from different church backgrounds and have differences in the ways and approaches to evangelize the Muslims, we get together to discuss and find better ways to do that.

“We annually convene pastors and leaders from all regions of Kazakhstan. This is a platform for all pastors to get to know each other, pray together to share their experience, expertise and make plans and strategies for the future.”

Working together for the kingdom

The list of missionary activity motivated by the Kurultay is long. Kurultay holds outreaches during the biggest national holiday called Navruz (the Central Asian new year celebrated in the spring), with the goal of sharing the Gospel. Unsaved friends, relatives and acquaintances are invited and the name of the Lord is proclaimed.

Special conferences and training seminars for leaders, youth and women as well as summer camps for children and teenagers are organized by the Kurultay. But the most exciting ministry is their mission outreach.

Serikbaev states: “We believe that God has positioned us strategically and given us, the Christians of Kazakhstan, a missionary calling to take the good news to Muslim peoples living near and far. Kurultay organizes short-term missionary trips and sends long-term missionaries.

“This happens not only within Kazakhstan, but also outside of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstani pastors and missionaries go to other countries of the Turkic world because of our cultural affinity and religious background to plant churches.”

For example, a group of pastors and other brothers and sisters, went to the Bayan-Ulgi region in western Mongolia, where mainly Kazakh people reside.

“On the last missionary trip there was a group of 30 of us travelling on a bus there,” reports Serkinbaev. “We conducted a three-day seminar for believers. And, also shared the Gospel with the locals. And both Mongolian Christians as well as listeners to our evangelistic preaching, expressed their deep gratitude. Hearing the Gospel proclaimed in their mother tongue is special to them and the acceptance of the truth was overwhelming.”

Today Kurultay is in the process of registering with the Kazakhstan government. The leadership has already submitted all the documents for registration to the state authorities and hopes to get the official registration by the end of 2022.

Basic needs – a conference centre in the city of Almaty

With a growing and aspiring evangelical population Kurultay needs a center to grow and organize more ministries and serve the wider body of Christ in Kazakhstan and in the surrounding countries. The centre will be tailor-made for all kinds of ministries in the churches at home and beyond. The leaders of Kurultay envision a mission training centre for training Kazakhs in their own language to send missionaries, ministers and workers to countries and places in Kazakhstan, the wider Turkic world and beyond.

Kurultay plans to organize outreach trips to different regions three to four times a year inside of Kazakhstan, especially to regions where help is urgently needed, such as the northern, western and eastern regions where there are fewer churches and Christians. And they plan to organize missionary trips to Mongolia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia and other countries where the churches are rare and missionaries are welcomed. The potential missionaries will need training and the proposed centre will serve them well.

But the centre could host many other ministries. Kurultay hopes to establish a studio for audio-video recording, internet media ministries, a printing press, television and radio broadcasting studio, prayer centre, dormitories and a hall for holding mass events.

They are also praying to organize a Christian school through Kurultay. For this they already have concrete plans and partners that can help. This will give the children of Kazakh believers a higher Christian education and help prepare a new generation of followers of Jesus.

In a letter to the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) the leadership of Kurultay urgently pleaded for the support and assistance of the global church.

“Brothers and sisters in Christ, we hope for your support and prayers. We believe that we will overcome all our difficulties and needs together,” said the president of Kurultay.

“We have two options. The first is to purchase a building with a conference hall and bedrooms etc., which we could use for various meetings and seminars. That type of a building approximate costs in the city of Almaty 2 to 3 million US dollars. There is a second option, to buy a plot of land and build a Turkic center ourselves. And it costs approximately 2.5 million to 3 million US dollars. For this, we have plans and projects for construction. This will be the centre for Turkic-speaking churches of our country and wider Central Asia. At this point we have raised 100,000 US dollars. Of course, this amount is not enough to buy a suitable place or to buy property and build. Thank you very much! May the Lord bless you and your churches, ministries!”

As the evangelical family in the world we rejoice with the Kazakh believers and thank God for the amazing growth of their churches in Kazakhstan. And we should respond to their plea for support in prayer and giving. There has never been a better time for this.

Original article Link

https://www.christiantoday.com/article/the.gospel.in.the.heart.of.central.asia/139577.htm

Christians Now A Minority In England, Declining in the USA, Too 

For the first time in 1,400 years, England and Wales are no longer majority Christian. The UK’s Telegraph reported Tuesday that “Christians now account for less than half of England and Wales’ population for the first time in census history, government figures reveal.” This is an indication of what happens when the Left attains cultural dominance in a society and is likely a harbinger of things to come for the U.S. as well unless there is some massive cultural shift in the next few years. And there could be.

Right now, however, the trends are unmistakable. “The Office for National Statistics (ONS),” says the Telegraph, “results show that 46.2 per cent of the population (27.5 million people) described themselves as ‘Christian’ in 2021. This marks a 13.1 percentage point decrease from 59.3 per cent (33.3 million people) in 2011.” The trend is the same in the United States, although the numbers are higher: in 2019, according to the Pew Research Center, 65% of Americans identified themselves as Christian, down 10% from 2009. The number of those who said they were “nothing in particular” grew by 4%, to 16% of the total population.

In England and Wales, this was not just a matter of religiosity declining across the board: “The census data also shows that every major religion increased over the ten-year period, except for Christianity.” The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, tried to put a good face on this fiasco, saying that the new figures were “not a great surprise,” but insisted that Christianity still remained “the largest movement on Earth.”

That’s great, but what happened in England and Wales? What is happening in the United States? The decline is the result of a number of factors. Journalist Daniel Greenfield observed that “What you’re seeing is the result of cultural programming that has all but eliminated Judeo-Christian religiosity as a source of values and identity among the young and replaced it with pop culture and politics.”

That’s certainly true. The elimination of Judeo-Christian religiosity, however, has not been solely a matter of cultural programming by exterior forces. The very people who were supposed to be the guardians of Judeo-Christian religiosity are in all too many cases the very ones responsible for the decline of its influence. This is a result of the fact that the Left’s Long March Through the Institutions didn’t just take over and destroy our colleges and universities, as well as the entertainment industry and the establishment media; the churches and other religious institutions were targeted as well.

 

This targeting was extraordinarily successful, to the extent that in the U.S., virtually all of the old mainline Protestant denominations have become what has been summed up in one indelible quip: “the Democrat Party at prayer.” Go into the average Episcopalian or United Methodist or Presbyterian church, and you’re liable to see an LGBT rainbow flag, and even if you don’t see one, the sermon will be about how we can save the planet from climate change or systemic racism or Trump or insurrectionists or transphobes or whatever the Left’s villain du jour may be.

The distinctive aspects of Christianity that make it what it is and has been for two thousand years may or may not be paid lip service, while the commitment to “diversity and inclusion” will be front and center. The situation is hardly any different in all too many Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches today as well, as well as in Reform Jewish congregations. All too many reflect the spirit of the age rather than the Spirit of God, and people don’t need to go to a synagogue or church to hear about the spirit of the age. We are inundated with it everywhere as it is.

It isn’t that congregants are turning away from the churches because they’re more conservative than the pastors and preachers, although that is certainly true in many cases. They’re turning away because the churches and other religious institutions aren’t offering them anything different from what they get everywhere else, so why bother? Leftism has conquered the religious establishment in the United Kingdom as well as the United States, but since it has conquered everything else as well, it’s all the same to stay home on Sunday morning and enjoy a waffle and the morning chat shows rather than sit in an uncomfortable pew and hear more of the same.

The churches, in short, have failed their people, and that’s why people are leaving. They will continue to leave as long as this keeps up.

Source: Christians Now A Minority In England, Declining Here, Too – PJ Media

Why Plymouth Prospered When Others Floundered

It’s the time of year when postmodernists revise our understanding of history to paint a world and nation so thoroughly corrupted from its inception that propriety demands its eradication. They paint a world so depraved that our treasured moments of gratitude and family gathering must be replaced with self-loathing and unending repentance to Godless woke ideologies.  The postmodernists intentionally impart modern context to historical events so that they might destroy the fabric of our nation.  A proper perspective paints a more hopeful picture. A picture where a people desperate for religious freedom sought refuge in a distant and inhospitable land and found allies amongst people unlike themselves.

A proper survey of the world in the fifteenth thru seventeenth centuries provides a glimpse of a world in transition.  At the time, the Catholic Church dominated much of the Western world, save for the Anglican territories.  Religious influence was tantamount to political power.  Monarchs were chosen by God, and material wealth was considered a reflection of the blessings of the Creator.  It was this mindset that spawned the practice of selling indulgences and drove men to traverse the globe in search of the favor of monarchs and God. It was this practice that ultimately ended in the repeated failures of explorers to put down settlements in North America.  It was the radically different approach employed by the pilgrims of Plymouth colony that we, in part, owe our existence to today.

The pilgrims of Plymouth colony were a group of English Puritan separatists who, having been persecuted in their homeland by the state Anglican Church, sought refuge in the Netherlands.  Though free to worship, the urban industrial setting of the Netherlands was a poor fit for this agrarian sect.  Having seen English persecution creeping into the Netherlands and having their children begin to acclimate to the Dutch culture and lifestyle, they pooled their resources to risk everything they had for a chance at life on their terms in the new world.  In 1619, they applied for and received financing and a land patent that would allow them to settle at the mouth of the Hudson River in what is now Connecticut/New York.

Through multiple failed launches, deceitful lenders, and an at-times hostile ship crew and shipmates, the pilgrims would finally set sail aboard the Mayflower ship on September 6, 1620.  After two arduous months at sea, they would be blown off course and arrive at Cape Cod on November 9, 1620.  With winter setting in, they abandoned their initial charter at the mouth of Hudson Bay and instead anchored at what is today Plymouth, Massachusetts.  Having abandoned their initial charter, they required a new governmental organization that would give them legal claims to their settlements.  They drafted and signed the Mayflower Compact.

Before the arrival of the pilgrims of the Plymouth colony, numerous attempts to establish English settlements along the Eastern seaboard of North America had ended in the settlers’ demise.  Settlements like the lost colony of Roanoke or Jamestown, Virginia, had seen most settlers perish due to disease, malnutrition, exposure to the elements, and war with native tribes. The primary difference between these past attempts and that of the Plymouth colony lay in motivation.  Whereas prior attempts to settle North America had been driven by material wealth and prestige, the pilgrims of Plymouth colony largely sought freedom to worship God in the manner they wished.  In this way, they were devoted to one another in pursuing communal success and not just material wealth to advance their cause.

With a devotion to God and each other, the pilgrims found divine favor where others did not. It was the kindness and unwavering faith of the pilgrims while crammed below the deck of a meager ship for two months that won over an at-times hostile ship crew.  It was divine providence that landed the pilgrims in a harbor that was abandoned by the native Patuxet, who had been largely decimated by leptospirosis. In this way, they encountered lands that were already cleared and prepared for settlement.  As an agrarian society, they were also better equipped to labor for their sustenance than prior English settlements that were largely manned by an unskilled and unwilling educated class.

It was divine providence that following a brutal first winter that saw half of their numbers perish, they were greeted by Samoset, an English-speaking native translator. Samoset introduced the pilgrims to Chief Massasoit of the Wampanoag tribe and Squanto, an English-speaking native and one of the remaining Patuxet tribe.  It was these early relationships that would be the basis of the success of the Plymouth colony.  Through these relationships, the pilgrims signed exclusive defense and trade treaties and established peace with the natives where prior colonies had failed. They were taught to subsist in a hostile and foreign land.  It is these relationships that form the basis of the Thanksgiving we celebrate today.

When postmodernists attempt to reorient our thinking of the year 1619 to align with the Dutch indentured slave trade, it is not by accident.  It is intended to pre-empt a pivotal moment in American history.  That moment is the arrival of devoutly religious English separatists who showed us how to coexist among those unlike ourselves.  It was their commitment to God and each other that saw them flourish when others floundered.  They laid the foundations that our melting pot society enjoys today.

By Brian Parsons

Source: Why Plymouth Prospered When Others Floundered – American Thinker

In defense of Thanksgiving, here and abroad 

Commentary: In defense of Thanksgiving, here and abroad

Dixie Johnson Nov 1, 2022

Thanksgiving. Ah, Thanksgiving. That most American of holidays begun by the Puritans and their friends so many years ago and officially sanctioned by President Lincoln. It’s my favorite family holiday, so it was an especially hard time when I was living in a foreign country.

A friend who spent some years on a boat in Mexico ridiculed Americans who wanted to indulge in the traditional foods for the holiday when they could be eating wonderful Mexican food instead. Heck, they could have Mexican food every day so why was it so hard to understand why some of us wanted to enjoy the traditional menu on this special day?

The years I lived in Czech Republic and in Slovenia I had to try very, very hard to make the holiday live up to my fond expectation. Back in the mid-1990s, I taught in a Czech Gymnasia, a high school for bright students headed for universities, and I lived with a young Czech family. When the big day was approaching, I asked where I might buy a turkey. No luck, none were to be found; but I did learn that I could find frozen chickens in the small chest freezer at the nearby “potravinie” (grocery store). So off I went to choose a bird. I found one that looked fairly good-sized and set it out to thaw the night before our big dinner.

Horrors! After it thawed I could see that it was peppered everywhere with tiny pinfeathers.

“No problem,” said Ivan, the young husband, who was eagerly awaiting the fabulous feast I had promised. “I will pull them out with pliers.”

So he set to work and before long it looked more edible.

Then more horrors — the innards were not empty of innards. Martina, the young wife burst into raucous laughter.

“You bought a hen, not a chicken,” she, who was a medical student, said. “But no problem.”

She went to work removing with great curiosity and interest one egg after another after another after … well, you get the idea. Each succeeding egg was slightly smaller than the one before. That prolific hen contained a wealth of eggs.

At last, the oven was heated and the bird was ready. It roasted and roasted and roasted, yet it was tough as ever. Finally, Martina’s mother came up from her apartment downstairs and told us she knew what to do. She chopped bacon into slivers then cut small slits in the chicken and inserted the bacon bits. Back into the oven it went to roast some more. Before long it smelled delightful. It finally ended up slightly more tender, but nothing like what I expected. That was the day I learned the difference between a chicken and a hen.

Fortunately, the apple pie I made was delicious — the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves I had brought from America made it special. Everyone wanted the recipe and, because some spices weren’t readily available in Czech Republic, I left mine for the family when I returned to the U.S.

A couple of years later, when I was teaching in Slovenia, I decided to fix Thanksgiving dinner and invite three other Americans who lived in various parts of the tiny country.

A week before the celebration, I stopped at a small market that had a nice meat counter to order a turkey. With my limited Slovene, I managed to arrange with the butcher for a small turkey of about three or four kilos. I was to pick it up on Friday, the day before my friends were arriving. My husband had sent from Idaho two boxes of Stove Top stuffing mix as well as a couple of packages of Craisins. What could be better than turkey, stuffing and cranberries? Apple and cherry pies would have to substitute for the pumpkin and mincemeat varieties. On Monday, I stopped to confirm that all was well and my turkey would be there by Friday.

“No problem,” the butcher said with a big smile, proud of his English.

Friday arrived. I stopped at the market after school on my way home. It was closed! And the sign on the door said it would be closed for several days. What? Panic!

Time for Plan B, but what was Plan B? I knew I’d not be able to find a turkey but maybe a chicken? I stopped at another market a mile or so away where, thank goodness, they had a large chunk of turkey breast. And I bought the whole thing.

“Do you want it sliced?” asked the butcher.

“No thank you,” I replied.

This surprised him since Slovenes generally purchase turkey in thin slices and fry it up as schnitzels.

It all turned out fine. I braised extra onions and celery to add to the stuffing mix and of course potatoes and gravy work great in any culture.

For breakfast the next morning, I devised maple syrup for our French toast out of sugar and water cooked up with a spoonful of maple flavoring (again brought from Idaho). Ah, all’s well when the tummy is full of good old traditional fare.

By the way, why was that first market closed? I stopped the next time it was open and the butcher apologized profusely. The market had been sold to a new owner and was closed for inventory. I never knew if my original turkey was there or not, but my friends and I never missed it.

Dixie Johnson, 79, of Grangeville, worked in three different European countries — Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovenia — in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Source: Commentary: In defense of Thanksgiving, here and abroad | Golden Times | lmtribune.com

 

 

 

Today, thank a veteran for your freedoms 

Today, thank a veteran for your freedoms

 

One hundred and four years ago today, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, (November 11, 1918),

 

…the Great War ends. At 5 a.m. that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiègne, France. The First World War left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives. In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure…

 

A year later, on November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of the slaughter of the Great War, as it was called, and the subsequent armistice signing was designated Armistice Day.  Because of its vast expanse and unprecedented number of deaths and severe injuries, plus massive destruction, Europeans and Americans celebrated the end of the Great War — as it was originally called, “the war to end all wars.”

Alas, such optimism of no more wars was unwarranted.  Twenty-five years later, another brutal, widespread war, World War ll, began, and the Great War was renamed World War l.  Therefore, while the purpose of the holiday, to honor U.S. Armed Forces veterans, remains unchanged, the scope of the day and its name have changed over the years, as the helpful U.S. government census site explains.

 

…Congress passed a resolution in 1926 making it an annual observance, and it became a national holiday in 1938. Sixteen years later, then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation changing the name to Veterans Day to honor all those who served their country during war or peacetime. On this day, the nation honors military veterans — living and dead — with parades and other observances across the country and a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia…

 

In recent years, all U.S. military branches have been unable to fill their recruiting goals — and no, not only because of WuFlu.  Meanwhile, countries around the world turn to the U.S. for military aid; our service personnel are on active duty around the world.

Our country, our entire world is safer because of their commitment.

Remember their sacrifice!

Honor their duty!

Thank them!

 

By Ethel C. Fenig

Source: Today, thank a veteran for your freedoms – American Thinker

The timeless wisdom of Thomas Paine’s ‘Common Sense’

 

The timeless wisdom of Thomas Paine’s ‘Common Sense’

 

PERHAPS the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.

—Thomas Paine, introduction to Common Sense

It would behoove us all to review the text of Thomas Paine’s 48-page pamphlet, which he published anonymously (fearing reprisal) in February 1776. Paine’s wisdom applies as well today as it did back then, not because of his argument against the monarchy, but as a reminder that the self-government we championed then—and are losing now—carries responsibilities.

Paine donated the profits from the astounding 500,000 copies sold (when the US population was only 2.5 million) to Washington’s army. Looking at his ideas reminds us that it was influential for a profound reason. Let it be so again, as part of the guidance we need to follow out of the current morass.

Paine was British by birth and had no formal higher education, having dropped out of school at age 13. Therefore, he wrote simply, using accessible and resonant words. From the opening paragraphs:

Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.

Paine aptly describes how a government must be formed, to have an orderly society

…because as the elected might by that means return and mix again with the general body of the electors in a few months, their fidelity to the public will be secured by the prudent reflection of not making a rod for themselves. And as this frequent interchange will establish a common interest with every part of the community, they will mutually and naturally support each other, and on this (not on the unmeaning name of king) depends the strength of government, and the happiness of the governed.

Clearly, we’ve grown away from that simplicity. A small populace governed by elected representatives people has become 340 million people governed by a nameless bureaucracy, plus a few elected officials who rarely aspire to represent most of their constituents. That part of Paine’s writing devoted to arguing against the concept of hereditary, kingly rule resonates now that we have what was then unimaginable: an ingrained, bureaucratic inflexibility of rule.

Do we have a president in the sense our Founders conceived? On the face of it, the president today can, by fiat, change any rule. The executive order that put a halt to the Keystone pipeline, and started our descent into energy helplessness is an example. He (or, in Biden’s case, his minions) can direct a corrupt bureaucracy to trample on the rights of the people he so inadroitly governs—a stark example is Biden’s continued imprisonment, without trial, in horrific conditions, of people who walked into the Capitol building nearly two years ago.

Paine’s writing reminds us that

Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by important; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any thoughout the dominions.

While that last was again written as an argument against the throne, it holds true now, perfectly describing Biden. Paine further asks this question:

Is the power who is jealous of our prosperity, a proper power to govern us?

Such a simple question. It is demonstrably true that those now in power work against our prosperity. We see this in our wealth’s diminution through predictable inflation caused by blatantly bad fiscal and social policy. We, and our government, forget that, as Paine quotes Dragonetti, on Virtue and Rewards,

The science of the politician consists in fixing the true point of happiness and freedom. Those men would deserve the gratitude of ages, who should discover a mode of government that contained the greatest sum of individual happiness, with the least national expense. (Emphasis mine.)

Paine further says that

The more men have to lose, the less willing they are to venture. The rich are in general slaves to fear, and submit to courtly power with the trembling duplicity of a spaniel.

It is time, I think, to stop trembling and watching our freedom slip away. In much of the country, this election matters more than any before it, and we must consider it a start toward reversing America’s downward spiral. Keeping the feet of those whom we elect to the fire is step two. Complacency is no longer an option.

 

 

Source: The timeless wisdom of Thomas Paine’s ‘Common Sense’ – American Thinker

Researchers: We’ll never be able to control a super-intelligent AI 

 

The proliferation of a new generation of AI chatbots has spurred a renewed interest around the Big Tech community in one of our favorite topics here. That would be the dreaded worst-case scenario where we finally come up with an Artificial Intelligence system that is actually smarter than the humans who programmed it, is capable of original thought, and “wakes up” to the point where it demonstrates sentience. To be clear, we’re still not sure if that’s even possible, but developers are gamely giving it their best shot, as we’ve discussed here on multiple occasions. Some researchers have been giving it a lot of thought, though, including one group of scientists who published their conclusions in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research last year. They sounded rather definitive in their findings. As David Nield recounts at ScienceAlert, the outlook is less than cheerful. Due to a stone wall we are likely to run into when trying to model our most advanced AI creations, they concluded that it will be almost impossible for us to control a superintelligent AI.

The idea of artificial intelligence overthrowing humankind has been talked about for decades, and in 2021, scientists delivered their verdict on whether we’d be able to control a high-level computer super-intelligence. The answer? Almost definitely not.

The catch is that controlling a super-intelligence far beyond human comprehension would require a simulation of that super-intelligence which we can analyze (and control). But if we’re unable to comprehend it, it’s impossible to create such a simulation.

Rules such as ’cause no harm to humans’ can’t be set if we don’t understand the kind of scenarios that an AI is going to come up with, suggest the authors of the new paper. Once a computer system is working on a level above the scope of our programmers, we can no longer set limits.

In basic layman’s terms, in order to be able to fully understand (and thereby control) all of the possible virtual actions that such a system might undertake on its own, we would need to be able to first create a simulated model of the super-intelligence to run all of the needed tests. But if the system is beyond our ability to simulate, we’ll never be able to create that model.

Isaac Asimov’s three laws of robotics apparently won’t save us, either. If the first instruction you give to the algorithm is that it must never cause any harm to a human being or allow such harm to take place, we have no idea how many side roads the machine will explore while attempting to solve problems. It could readily come up with a “solution” that doesn’t meet the definition of “causing harm” but wipes us out anyway. Or, a sufficiently advanced system might reach a justification for modifying the rules if that is the only way to solve the problem that it’s working on.

In case that doesn’t give you enough to worry about, a second group of researchers from Google Deepmind and the University of Oxford tackled the same question. Their paper, published in the journal AI Magazine, offered a more brutally stark conclusion. A superintelligent AI will “likely annihilate humankind” in some sort of “existential catastrophe.” (Futurism)

Researchers at Google Deepmind and the University of Oxford have concluded that it’s now “likely” that superintelligent AI will spell the end of humanity — a grim scenario that more and more researchers are starting to predict…

“Under the conditions we have identified, our conclusion is much stronger than that of any previous publication — an existential catastrophe is not just possible, but likely,” Cohen, Oxford University engineering student and co-author of the paper, tweeted earlier this month.

The superintelligent AI would likely be goal-driven and lack any sense of morals as humans understand them. The tipping point would come when it begins to view human beings as “standing in the way” of solving a problem or achieving a goal. And when the AI sees you as an obstacle, the obstacle will need to be removed.

You may be thinking that we can simply pull the plug before it gets carried away, but that’s been addressed also. Even the chatbots we have today are able to search trillions of records to develop responses so quickly that it seems instantaneous. The superintelligent AI could likely work out a solution (even one of the terminal kind) and put it into action before its human creators realized anything was going off the rails. So we would stand even less of a chance than the military officials and scientists in the movie Colossus: The Forbin Project. (And if you’ve never seen that, I highly recommend it.)

But don’t lose too much sleep over all of this for now. We’re still a long way from creating that level of superintelligence. Or at least that’s what the machines would like us to think for now.

 

Over before you know it’s begun

Source: Researchers: We’ll never be able to control a super-intelligent AI – HotAir

Why the Bible’s 1st sentence is the key to all truth

Why the Bible’s 1st sentence is the key to all truth

Exclusive: Neill G. Russell explains Satan’s ‘second great plan of deception’ regarding Creation

Lying is the primary weapon of deceit that Satan uses to separate people from God, their loving heavenly Father and Creator. The apostle Paul tells us that Satan “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), so that what he says and does sounds good and seems reasonable, but there is absolutely no truth in anything he says.

Satan told the first lie in recorded history, to Eve in the Garden of Eden. After planting seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind with a question (Genesis 3:1), he directly contradicts God’s Word by telling her, “You will not certainly die” (Genesis 3:4). With that lie, Satan led Eve to her death; Adam followed, and so have we.

Satan’s second great plan of deception was as equally brilliant as his first. Just get humans to accept a believable alternative to replace the first sentence of the Bible, Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” as truth. If they won’t accept the first sentence of the Bible as truth, they’re not going to believe the rest of the book either. I call this highly successful scheme “Satan’s mantra of doubt.” Simply put: “If they don’t believe that God is the creator, they won’t believe in God.”

As a public high school science teacher for 45 years, I witnessed firsthand Satan’s subtle lying attempts to remove all vestiges of God from our schools and universities. During that same period, I tried never to compromise teaching God’s Genesis 1:1 scientific truth to my students.

TRENDING: Guns and Rosaries

The basic premise of science is that everything considered “truth” must be tested either to prove or disprove its existence. Like science, truth is uncovered when you can make repeatable observations and check your evidence against the cold, hard facts. Unfortunately, Darwin’s Theory of Evolution (by Natural Selection), which is presently being taught worldwide in public schools and universities as scientific truth, is nothing more than an “unproven malicious lie” contrived by the devil for one solitary purpose: to spread the belief that God “is not” our Creator.

Now, more than ever, our nation’s youth (including Generation Z and Millennials) need to know that “God alone is our loving ‘eternal’ Father and Creator!” According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau statistics, 1 in 4 American children presently live without a biological, step, or adoptive father. Numerous studies have conclusively shown that children growing up in a home without being nurtured in a loving relationship with a married mother and father can have serious implications for a child’s future, such as low academic achievement, depression and anxiety, and externalizing problems such as anger and aggression.

With our world in literal free-fall, Christians need to know we’re fighting a spiritual battle that we can and will win! Americans of all ages need to wake up each morning with an attitude of gratitude – having peace and assurance and never again doubting that they have a loving Heavenly Father always present in their lives, who promises:

As our loving Father and Creator, all God asks of us is to recognize His sovereignty over our lives and to humbly submit our hearts to His Authority alone. What does this mean? Jesus, God’s Son, who suffered, died and shed His blood on the cross for all of mankind’s sin, said in Matthew 22: 36-39 NIV that we are to: “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Jesus said this is the first and greatest commandment. And second, Jesus said you are to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” In Romans 6:22 KJV, the Apostle Paul sums up our rewards for recognizing God as our loving Creator and Father: But now having been set free from sin, and having become servants of God, you now have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.”


By Neill G. Russell

Bestselling author Neill G. Russell is a Messianic Jewish believer and a retired, award-winning high school science teacher. Neill is presently using his communication skills as the website designer of www.bemadewhole.netwww.godsgranddesign.com and www.countdowntodaniels70thweek.com to spread God’s Genesis 1 truth and God’s prophetic end time message throughout the world.

 

Source: Why the Bible’s 1st sentence is the key to all truth

Christians Fight Spiritual Battles That the Left Doesn’t Even Want to Acknowledge – PJ Media

It’s no secret that much of the left harbors disdain for Christianity and for people of faith in general. Sure, there are leftist Christians, but that side of the political aisle is growing increasingly secular and hostile toward religion.

Witness the ridiculous and hateful piece in The Atlantic from Daniel Panneton, who manages an anti-hate project in Canada. In this op-ed, which would be laughable if it weren’t so earnest, Panneton likens the Catholic rosary to what he sees as a violent far-right culture obsessed with guns.

Panneton writes that “the rosary has acquired a militaristic meaning for radical-traditional (or ‘rad trad’) Catholics.”

In a later paragraph, he even more boldly declares that conservative Catholics hold to “a quasi-theological doctrine of what [sociologists] have called ‘righteous violence’ against political enemies regarded as demonic or satanic, be they secularists, progressives, or Jews.”

That’s right: Panneton sees a certain strain of conservative Christians as prone to violence against their enemies.

As my PJ Media colleague Robert Spencer puts it, “There is a glaring absence in Panneton’s story: he doesn’t seem even to have attempted to interview any of these violent, radical, rosary-praying Catholics. It’s obvious why he didn’t do so: their own explanation of what they meant by all this imagery would have differed so widely from the spin that he put on it that it would have immediately brought down the house of cards he was constructing.”

Robert’s right: to do the work of actually talking to the people Panneton is writing about would run the risk of destroying the narrative, and a good leftist wouldn’t have that, would he?

Thomas Griffin penned a response to Panneton at The Federalist that resonated with me.

“The confusion of Panneton resides in his inability to see what the Catholic Church actually stands for and fights against,” Griffin writes. “Jesus stands for peace, but he also says that ‘he has come to set the earth on fire’ (Luke 12:49). He came to destroy the power of sin and death through his sacrifice on the cross. Furthermore, the resurrection was evidence of his victory.”

 

It’s a little different for me as a non-denominational Protestant (you can hear my testimony here). We don’t use the rosary for worship, and we don’t pray to Mary, which Griffin also mentions in his piece. But there’s a larger notion in Griffin’s piece that transcends the Catholic-Protestant divide and goes to the essential truths of the faith that we all share.

As Christians, we fight spiritual battles that the left doesn’t think about — or doesn’t want to acknowledge. The Apostle Paul explains the battles that believers fight, and he gives the Ephesian church specific instructions on how to fight those battles:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…

Ephesians 6:10-18 (ESV)

(There are a couple of things I need to acknowledge here. I realize that there are plenty of conservatives who don’t believe the same things that Christians do, but at least they try to respect Christians and their beliefs. I know that there are Christian leftists as well, and many of them are genuinely faithful. I also know that, throughout history, individuals and groups have done some awful things in the name of Christianity, but they are the outliers.)

Related: Christians Are the New Boogeyman for the American Left

When someone becomes a Christian, the church gains ground against spiritual enemies. Salvation is a declaration of war against evil, and when a believer declares his or her faith in baptism, that act is, as Dr. Michael Heiser puts it, “a loyalty oath, a public avowal of who is on the Lord’s side in the cosmic war between good and evil” (emphasis in the original).

When a Catholic believer prays the rosary, he or she isn’t declaring war on enemies in this world. When a Christian prays, opens his or her Bible, or sings a worship song, he or she fights a battle against the powers of evil. Everything we do that glorifies God is an act of defiance against the evil in this world.

Other aspects of our Christian life serve as acts of spiritual warfare too. When we resist temptation, we win a battle against our spiritual enemies. How we respond to suffering can win ground in the spiritual war. Even forgiveness is a winning salvo against the forces of evil.

Many people on the left don’t understand this. The left is all about the here and now, which is why they want to upend everything and create a utopia on earth. Draconian measures to save the planet, unfair taxation and expansive social programs that redistribute income, and the unrealistic push for “equity” for everyone are all rooted in leftists’ belief that this life is all there is.

Panneton quotes Pope Francis — who is no conservative himself — who said, “There is no path to holiness without … spiritual combat.” The unseen spiritual battles that we Christians fight are more important than any skirmishes we participate in here on earth. We may not even realize that we’re fighting the battles, but when we glorify God, we’re gaining ground against the enemy. And we know who wins the ultimate battle.

 

by Chris Queen

 

Source: Christians Fight Spiritual Battles That the Left Doesn’t Even Want to Acknowledge – PJ Media

Four Simple Words to Save America

Four Simple Words to Save America

In – God – We – Trust

“100-year-old veteran breaks down crying: ‘This is not the country we fought for.'” Fox13, 7/1/22

“City of Orlando fireworks promo says folks ‘probably don’t want to celebrate’ hate-filled US: ‘We can’t blame them.'” —BizPacReview, 7/3/22

“From Portland to San Francisco, How ‘Open-Air Drug Markets’ Turned Liberal Dreams into Residents’ Nightmare … Widespread Addiction and Homelessness Across the Cities.” —6/17/22

The wreckage of an America broken is strewn street to street.

So many of us feel it, beyond unease, far beyond disquiet, a sense of doom and horror. Something important is very wrong.  A keystone has crumbled or gone missing.  The country is unmoored.

Every terrible headline conveys with it foreboding: a warning that a kind of curtain is descending across the nation.  It’s an insatiable, sadistic force, relentless and repulsive, sucking life out of the air.

The awful thing sweeping our land is a predatory menace fed by dark hearts whose bounty is captive souls.  It is disordered, brutal, thieving, violent.  Where it rules — and it aims to rule us from sea to sea — there is no justice, but injustice; no law, but abuse.  There are only oppression, addiction, cruelty, and death.

It has an ancient name: wickedness.

Deadly sins are given joyless parades and pharmacology, whose lies bring despair and unreason.  Heartsickness.  Corruption in high places and low spreads with it an icy fear that whispers, “The worst is yet to come.”

I am not telling you anything you don’t already know.  Those of us chilled at the encroaching ill wind ask each other how we fight it.  What should we do?  Although there are millions of us, our desire to somehow battle the diabolical has not yet found its political response.  The current knot of savagery and hatreds, this tangle of tribalism and lawlessness as old as humankind, cannot be straightened through electoral means.  Instead, as most of us have rightly said, America’s problem is spiritual.

True as that is, there has not emerged a unified spiritual response, either.

As a child of the 1950s, I was raised in what seems in retrospect to have been a spiritual nation.  Or at least a faith-friendly one.  Religion was, well, intersectional in America in those days.  Talk of God was nonsectarian and nonpartisan.  It was also commonplace and unremarkable — the connective tissue of civic culture in the wake of World War II.  But my first year of public school was the last year we prayed together there, as we kindergartners folded our hands before our milk and cookies and said: “God is great, God is good, and we thank Him for this food.”  The sweetness of the memory catches in my throat.

Then law changed, and with it began the long recession of public God appreciation, which went out like a tide over many decades, at first slowly and then at super speed.  Now you’re fired for praying alone on an empty field as a high school coach.  You’re viciously pilloried for offering “thoughts and prayers” in condolence.

But this is not yet another gloomy review of our dire condition.  Because there abides in the living recall of my generation — and among the widely scattered remnants of the traditional America that yet survives — one of the greatest spiritual weapons we can wield: our national motto.

I was not yet two years old when both Houses of Congress passed a joint resolution declaring “IN GOD WE TRUST” the official motto of the United States.  There was no debate, nor a single dissenting vote.  By law, it remains America’s watchword to this day, Public Law 84-851, signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on July 30, 1956.

Few remember, but the Senate officially reaffirmed the motto in 2006, as did the House just eleven years ago — with nine dissenting Democrats.  Some of them, including Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), and Judy Chu (D-Calif.), still sit in the House chamber that displays the motto in huge gold letters high on the wall behind the speaker’s chair.  The declaration IN GOD WE TRUST is literally written in stone.

Despite Democrat objections, the 2011 Congressional reaffirmation goes even farther than the original 1956 text, this time also “supporting and encouraging the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions.”  You can find the stark four words of the motto in bronze atop cast-metal depictions of the Great Seal on plaques scattered among federal offices, including the U.S. Capitol, the Longworth House Office building, and the Dirksen Senate Office Building.  Virtually our entire government, elected and unelected, daily passes by these declarations of trust in God.

The words go mostly unnoticed.  It is law that they appear on all U.S. currency, but as fewer and fewer Americans handle cash, the tangible national reminder of Whom we trust is vanishing.  Our motto does not grace digital commerce.  God is not the “Master” referenced on MasterCard, nor does His name appear on any other plastic to which we entrust our accounts.  Crypto-currencies like bitcoin, ethereum, dogecoin, tether are untethered to the federal “In God We Trust” requirement.

Coincidentally, we drifted from our anchor as our money went godless, so to speak.  If our national motto was remembered at all, it was reduced to a trivia question.  I’d wager less than 30 percent of Americans know we have a national motto, beyond the old one-liner “In God we trust, all others pay cash.”  After all, is there a duller term than “national motto”?  The eyes glaze over.

So the four simple words have been dormant, awaiting renewal, their power shrouded for a time.  Until now.  These words are lightning, ready to be let loose.

Because here is the truth.  America’s explicit trust in the living God is the scarlet cord that runs from before the Revolution through the Civil War, both World Wars, through the Cold War and beyond.  To examine this record is to open the forgotten history of America, a narrative inconvenience deliberately suppressed.  Here is a tiny sample of the long and complex lineage of our motto, unbroken from the Founders to you:

•1753: “Remember that God is our only sure trust.”—Mary Washington to her son George as the young soldier left home; he ever after credited Providence for America’s miraculous military victories and national formation.

•1814: Blessed with victory and peace may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto — “In God is our trust.” 
—Francis Scott Key, last verse of “The Star Spangled Banner,” inspiration for our national motto.

•1861: “No nation can be strong except in the strength of God, or safe except in His defense.  The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.” —Salmon P. Chase, secretary of the Treasury, as the motto was shortened to four words for U.S. coinage

•1955: “At the base of our freedom is our faith in God and the desire of Americans to live by His will and His guidance. As long as this country trusts in God, it will prevail.”—Rep. Charles Bennett (D-Fla.), who fought to put “In God We Trust” on all U.S. paper currency.

•1955: “Without God there could be no American form of government, nor an American way of life.  Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first — the most basic — expression of Americanism.  Thus the Founding Fathers saw it, and thus, with God’s help, it will continue to be.”—President Dwight Eisenhower.

•1956: “The national motto of the United States is hereby declared to be ‘In God We Trust.'”

And so it remains.

In their long march through American institutions, our enemies have stomped many of our traditions and societal structures.  But here’s the thing.  Our trust is not in institutions or traditions or structures.  Our trust is not in government or presidents.  The profound truth lives in a national proclamation that was formulated as a retort from the beginning.  The wording is unusual; it implies a “No.”  No, it is not in coins we trust, not in currency.  No, it is not in horses, not in arms, not in people nor in any human design.  “No,” it cautions, “not those.  In God we trust.”

Listen, Americans, to the message from the Americans before us.  Four plain words form the perfect answer to our desperate plea for our nation: “What should we do?”

“In God we trust.”

Yes, here’s what we do: we deploy our national motto, unfurl it as our banner.  It’s time to reactivate our Superpower.  Trust in God is where the battle is transformed.  Our opponents cannot take this ground — they cannot even fight here.  (They’ve already surrendered: as a New York Times columnist put it, “In This Time of War, I Propose We Give Up God.”  Fine.  You lose.)

My sister and I have started using the four simple words as a greeting, a call-and-response that echoes across the years, across the miles, every time we speak, “In God we trust!”  It is a joy and a delight to say and to hear.  It is so delicious to remind each other who we are as Americans, and Whom we trust.  I can attest to the power the words radiate, every time.  They instantly encourage.  Giving God the trust due Him stirs the heart.

These are not magic words, but they are majestic ones.  The motto is not an incantation; it’s an invitation to all who want to join with the “we”; let those who trust in God say so.  There are millions of us who have tested God’s unshaken Name and proved it sure.  To declare together “In God We Trust!” right in the ugly face of the wicked Spirit of the Age is more than glorious dissent.  It is an unstoppable advancing force.

People who pronounce America dead forget the source of our power.  You want to watch the old republic emerge from its chrysalis?  Trust God, together with your countrymen who know that God is our hope and freedom.  There may well be a smaller number of believers now than there were when I was a child.  But with God, even a few are a majority — who can be against us?

Will you be viciously pilloried if you go around saying the national motto?  Yes.  Especially if more and more of us do.  To our enemies, it’s intolerable.  But here’s the reality.  There’s not a blessed thing they can do about it.  You are completely free to utter our national motto in public or private, in the streets and from the mountains and yes in any government building or meeting or school.  What liberation!  Say it!  Write it!  In GOD we trust!

I declare myself a happy IGWT warrior, and I intend to go all swashbuckler with it.  The motto has the protection of law, but there’s no requirement of any kind.  It’s an offer.  Come join us!  In God we trust, and you can, too.  It costs nothing.  Say it!  Write it!  And every time you do, you will find it straightens the shoulders, warms the heart, and fortifies the soul.  When we say it together, it becomes a prayer to our God who alone can save America.

By Diana Allocco

Ms. Allocco was managing editor of The Limbaugh Letter for its entire 29-year run.  Before that, she was senior staff editor at Reader’s Digest.

Source: Four Simple Words to Save America – American Thinker

If the Road to Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions, With What Do We Pave the Road to Heaven? 

There is a reason nearly everyone is familiar with the saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

The reason is, of course, that it is true and therefore it helps explain why there is so much evil.

Take the 20th century, the bloodiest century on record, in which about 100 million people — all noncombatants — were murdered by despotic regimes, nearly all of them communist. Many of the people who supported communism — both outside and inside communist countries — thought they were doing good.

The Soviet Communist Party’s Gulag Archipelago; the Holodomor (the communists’ deliberate starvation of 5 million-plus Ukrainians); the Cambodian killing fields (the communist massacre of about a quarter of the Cambodian people); the Chinese communist government’s mass starvation and other forms of killing of more than 60 million of its own people; and the creation of the world’s largest prison camp, communist North Korea — the roads to all these communist hells were paved by many people who had (or believed themselves to have had) good intentions.

Were it not for many well-intentioned people who believed in communism, the truly evil people who implemented these genocides might not have come to power. To cite but one example, it was Western men and women (primarily Americans and Brits), presumably with good intentions, who delivered to Stalin the secrets to making an atom bomb.

But what about the Nazis’ rise to power in Germany?

Not every German who voted for the Nazis in 1932, in Germany’s last free elections until after World War II, had evil intentions, let alone the aim of murdering all Jews. In fact, in campaigning that year, Hitler toned down his antisemitism in order to appeal to a broader base of German voters. The Nazis won only a third of German voters in that election, and the primary reason they voted for that party was not antisemitism. The primary reasons were the Great Depression and Germany’s hyperinflation, fear of communism, widespread political violence and resentment of the Versailles Treaty. In other words, even many of the minority of Germans who voted for Hitler did so with the good intention of solving Germany’s economic and political crises.

I use the Nazi example only to show that even those Germans who voted for the man and party that unleashed the greatest documented evil in history were not all motivated by bad intentions.

Thank God there is no mainstream movement in America with genocidal aims. But the road to lesser hells in this country is almost always motivated by people with good intentions.

I am sure that most of the many teachers who are robbing young children of their sexual innocence are motivated, certainly on a conscious level, by good intentions. Most of the Americans who vote for politicians who seek to defund the police — a true recipe for increased evil — do so with good intentions. The great majority of those who stormed (not to mention those who merely saw open doors and strolled into) the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, had good intentions. Most of the vast number of Americans who believe that free speech does not apply to anything they deem “hate speech” have good intentions — the elimination of hate speech; yet they comprise the first mass movement against free speech in American history. They pose a mortal threat to liberty in this country. But they believe they mean well.

The truth is that, on a conscious level, only a small minority of people wake up on any given day with an intent to do bad. The 51 heads of intelligence agencies who signed a statement a month before the 2020 presidential election declaring the Hunter Biden laptop story “Russian disinformation” lied. Yet, they probably believed that their mendacious assertion was morally justified because, in their view, the larger good was to ensure that then-President Donald Trump not be reelected.

The road to hell is paved by good intentions because most people who do harm, even many who do evil, are motivated by good intentions.

So, then, given that good intentions are almost always morally worthless, what are we to do if we wish to see good triumph over evil? Or, to pose the question another way, if good intentions are morally useless or, worse, actually pave the road to hell on Earth, with what should we pave the road to heaven on Earth?

The answer is wisdom. Good intentions without wisdom leads to evil.

The reason to worry about the future of America and Western civilization is not that its elites are composed of people with bad intentions; it is that the elites are composed of people devoid of wisdom.

The word for those who lack wisdom is “fool.” Most college professors, deans and presidents and, increasingly, most teachers in high schools and elementary schools; most editors and other journalists; most of the businesspeople who run big companies; most “experts”; and most of the rest of the elite (including, frighteningly, in the medical profession) are fools.

Why are they fools? Why are these men and women devoid of wisdom?

Because they were never taught wisdom. One must study wisdom to know how to do good, just as much as one must study physics to know how to do physics. If you are taught wisdom, there’s a good chance you will become wise. If not, there’s a good chance you will be a fool. And fools do a great deal of harm.

But wisdom is no longer taught by most parents and nearly all schools.

Until the early decades of the 20th century, American students were expected to know the greatest sources of wisdom — the ancient Greek and Roman writers, Shakespeare and, most important of all, the Bible.

But about 100 years ago, America embarked on the road to hell when it stopped teaching wisdom — and what wisdom is all about, moral virtue — when it secularized all education. First the universities and then the lower grades decided that knowledge could substitute for wisdom. Now American young people get no wisdom and, for that matter, little knowledge.

It is not a coincidence that the most foolish institutions in America and the rest of the West are the universities. They are the most radically secular.

You don’t have to be religious to realize that the most secular institutions are also the most foolish institutions. You just need not to be a fool.

The road to a good world is paved with wisdom.

Dennis Prager is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and columnist. His latest book, published by Regnery in May 2019, is “The Rational Bible,” a commentary on the book of Genesis. His film, “No Safe Spaces,” was released to home entertainment nationwide on September 15, 2020. He is the founder of Prager University and may be contacted at dennisprager.com.

Source: If the Road to Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions, With What Do We Pave the Road to Heaven? – PJ Media