Tag Archives: DDNI News Article

DDNI Featured News Article – Honoring Marriage Is Not Racist: Time To Shine The Light On The Left’s Charade

Only a few weeks ago, I was sitting just behind the counsel’s table at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., listening to the arguments in 303 Creative, LLC v. Elenis. The issue at hand is whether a website designer can be forced by the government to create speech against her deeply held convictions about God’s design for marriage. 

Would designer Lorie Smith be forced to create words, content and video promoting same-sex marriage—a message that violates her sincerely held beliefs?

Smith serves all people, including the LGBTQ community, but she will not express all messages. Alliance Defending Freedom CEO Kristen Waggoner represented 303 Creative and, as she always does, made clear and convincing arguments detailing how the Constitution and the high court have protected free speech, even when controversial or offensive.

Waggoner opened the arguments expressing the prevailing constitutional view that in our nation we rarely restrict speech and generally do not force people to say things they do not want to say. Smith did not want to use her creative skills to promote and celebrate same-sex marriage. 

What happened next was entirely predictable. The liberal justices and the solicitor general of Colorado used the fear tactic of comparing Smith’s refusal to express messages about same-sex marriage—a message that would sear her conscience—to refusing to serve someone based on race. In their view, to put it bluntly, living out her Biblical view on marriage is akin to racism. Christians and other reasonable people should soundly reject and counter this tactic.

Justice Samuel Alito signaled he rejected this tactic when he asked, “In Obergefell, did the court say that religious objections to same-sex marriage are the same thing as religious or other objections to people of color?”

Waggoner quickly responded “No,” and reminded the justices of the Supreme Court’s opinion that reasonable and sincere people disagree with same-sex marriage based on decent and honorable religious or philosophical premises. That’s a good start to counter this unjustified analogy, but Scripture itself and historical reality make the best case.

Racism is sin against image bearers of God. Conversely, Scripture holds a high view of marriage. Ephesians 5 compares the relationship between husband and wife to the relationship between Jesus Christ and the church. A husband is to give himself up for his wife just as Christ gave up His life for the church. In Matthew 19, Jesus while speaking to a very large crowd says God created them male and female, and He created male and female for each other, to become one flesh in marriage. 

Marriage is so important that this union between a man and a woman is the only context permissible for sexual relations. And Jesus defined the Biblical grounds for divorce very narrowly because intact marriages are of immense value to family, community and society. God designed marriage to be the fundamental building block of a stable family, community and nation. For Christians, the Biblical recipe for marriage cannot be cavalierly cast aside. Marriage is deeply rooted in the Christian faith; in fact, it is often noted that Jesus’ first miracle took place at a wedding. Lorie Smith should not be forced by the government to betray her convictions on marriage.

Scripture is truth, and it describes reality. The reality of the timeless treasure and blessing from mother/father-intact marriages on outcomes for children is well documented in the social sciences. Children of intact marriages with a mother and father generally excel in education. They face less poverty; have better physical, emotional and mental health; lower crime rates; lower substance abuse; and experience less child abuse than other family structures.

For the committed, married couple, Biblical marriage encourages personal responsibility; enhances relationships with children; reduces poverty; improves physical, mental and emotional health; fosters longevity; reduces risky behavior; breeds greater happiness; improves volunteerism and altruism; and results in quicker recovery from illness. 

The benefits of Biblical marriage are undeniable. 

Bradford Wilcox, a University of Virginia professor and director of the National Marriage Project, documents this in “Why Marriage Matters: 26 Conclusions from the Social Sciences.” God’s merciful design of marriage cannot be taken lightly by the faithful, and our government should not force us to act or speak otherwise.

The reality is that millions of Americans wake up each morning, enjoy a cup of coffee, open the Bible, study Scripture, seek to apply God’s truth to their lives that day, and imperfectly pursue an obedient walk with Christ. This is a part of Christian discipleship, being a student of God’s Word. A high view of Biblical marriage is a long-held, revered Christian teaching and part of discipleship. 

Unfortunately, our government’s new orthodoxy on sexuality and marriage happens to clash with Christian teachings of God’s merciful design for marriage. Christians need to love and care for others who think and live differently from us. Yet love does not mean affirming and celebrating all ways of life, conduct, beliefs or behaviors. First Corinthians 13:6 states that love “does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.”

Like millions of others, Lorie Smith of 303 Creative honors Biblical marriage—the bedrock of stable societies throughout history. Honoring marriage is not akin to racial discrimination. And if the First Amendment still means anything in 2023, the Supreme Court will send a clear message and strike a blow against forced speech that violates deeply held religious convictions. Being able to freely live according to the Scripture hangs in the balance.

ByTodd Chasteen

DDNI Featured News Article – An appeal to Andy Stanley: Stop deconstructing sexuality, ignoring ex-LGBT people

By Derek Paul, Op-ed contributor – CP VOICES

Pastor Andy Stanley speaks during Catalyst Atlanta at the Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth, Georgia, on Oct. 6, 2016. | Catalyst

A couple of days ago, I noticed ministry friends of mine sharing videos of a well-known pastoral voice, Senior Pastor Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church located in Alpharetta, Georgia. After looking around for the video myself, I discovered the video was an excerpt from the Drive Conference at North Point in 2022.

Many people are familiar with this pastor in Georgia. Some of his statements diminishing the authority of Scripture, and his callous jest at Christians who think it more authoritative, led those in the Church to surmise that his issues with biblical authority indicate a much more corrosive theological viewpoint that has not yet been made public.

Then, on January 23rd, a short video dropped on Twitter. In the video, Stanley laid out a general example demonstrating the lack of eagerness of straight Christians to serve in his churches when comparing them to the eagerness of the gay men and women he knows, who would serve. This setup statement has no way of being validated and yet appeared to be a two-fold manipulation technique.

First, it incentivized his congregation to serve, but also to view homosexuals as a more virtuous community by comparison. It appeared as if Stanley was edifying the gay community and promoting the culture to his congregation while degrading his own church for the moment, a persuasive deconstruction tactic, making it easier for them to adopt his subsequent statements.

The video went on a path of pandering to the gay community and their allies in an unscripted rant against the Church. Stanley concluded that gay men and women have more faith than he has and “more than a lot of you.” It even belittled the Word of God itself by calling scriptures referencing homosexuality “clobber passages.”  His indictment seemed to be: Straight Christians and God’s Word don’t measure up here; the gay people I know are better.

Such was the theological views that were similar to those views espoused by fallen Exodus leader Alan Chambers and McKrae Game of Hope For Wholeness, which survived past him in another form. Additionally, what message does this send to those struggling with sexual confusion at North Point Church? By Stanley’s most recent comments, it seems that they should expect further promotion of slippery, watered-down theology, and they can also expect that anyone adhering to the biblical-historic view on sexual ethics will be castigated as unwelcoming bigots.

Over the last few years, congregations in the West have awoken, surprised by their pastor’s deconstructed theology. Bewildered by their pastor’s unforeseen animus toward the majority group, matched with an unsurpassed bias for one or two “ostracized groups” of the pastor’s choosing, they are left with a trail of spiritual casualties in their wake.

But there is good news: Jesus has an answer for us and did not leave us unequipped for this moment. Scripture reminds us:

“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Revelation 12:11).

This is not some antiquated Scripture removed from contemporary Christian life; this passage is alive and well in the Church. But it is suppressed through the self-righteous deconstruction and faithlessness of some leaders.

Meanwhile, those who have found freedom in Jesus Christ from LGBTQ and victory over their previous identity and lifestyle, have become all too familiar with the internal persecution from legacy lukewarm Christianity spouted by the present-day false teachers, false prophets, and, may I say, wolves-in-sheep’s-clothing-pastors. Thankfully, not all Christian leaders or churchgoers are this way — there are still many worthy shepherds and sheep in God’s flock.

The Bride of Christ has been given a scriptural key to the prison door of LGBTQ socio-political correctness. Overcomers exist within the Church body in all locales. The Andy Stanleys may have forgotten or suppressed the testimony of these faithful believers, in favor of their ostracized group, but God’s sanctifying workmanship has never stopped advancing.

As an Overcomer myself, I ask that born-again Christians would quit choosing to stand idly by or even promote homosexuality and cross-identification because your Savior has and is fulfilling His promises in Scripture in the lives of real people. It is abusive to teach a lesser Gospel to LGBTQ-identified people. Instead, love your true spiritual brothers and sisters since that is the evidence that you are the actual Church (John 13:35), and have faith that God has the intention and power to set people free from all sexual immorality and expression, not just your choice sins.

If you are interested in learning more about this transformative process that Christ has offered to those who used to go by LGBTQ labels and who lived LGBTQ lifestyles, please visit our ministry websites at: TMAcorp.orgVoiceofthevoiceless.info, or IdentifyMinistries.org.

There is an authentic Christian community, more resilient than ever, and waiting for all those impacted by this issue to ally with Christ and reap the rewards of transformation together.

Derek Paul is the Network Director for the Transformation Ministries Alliance, a board member of Voice of the Voiceless, and an executive pastor of Identify Ministries.

https://www.christianpost.com/voices/an-appeal-to-andy-stanley-stop-ignoring-ex-lgbt-people.html

DDNI Featured News Article – Parsing an Ungrateful Generation

You can already tell by our title the direction this piece is going.  

But it’s much more than just a bunch of selfish crybabies.  Today’s story is about a fundamental shift in how the country thinks and acts, whereby we have lost another critical piece of what made us unique. 

Let’s step back for a moment, and I’ll share a story highlighting the problem as I see it.

I live in a small rural county run by a five-person Board of Commissioners. Virtually every decision of consequence is made in a consensus-focused manner.  During one of the recent department reports, commissioners were advised that some employees had been put on standby status in case a quick response was required to a recent cold snap. The department head acknowledged that employees would be paid if they were called to work. 

But a dispute followed over whether employees should be paid for “standing by” in case of need, whether ultimately activated or not.

I argued that the essential nature of public service employment is that they might be inconvenienced from time to time, but such emergency call-ups were or should be part of their job description. 

A decision was not reached, but it made me think. 

I’ve employed individuals continuously for nearly fifty years. During that time, I’ve seen a change from gratitude for employment to an attitude that turns the relationship on its head.   

Today, employers bend over backward to accommodate the needs and seemingly arbitrary desires of hires to a degree that would have been unthinkable in years past.

A recent Fox and Friends program featured employees quitting their job without notice and even going so far as to place their joyful resignations on TikTok!  

It seems there is a not-so-subtle disdain for employers in general, and it’s cool and hip to “shove it to the man,” so to speak.  Of course, not all employees behave in such a manner, but too many no longer feel loyal to their employers.  Indeed, a lack of gratefulness or partnership is much more common than I can remember in my lifetime.

The situation with my county commission and TikTok antics highlight an absence of gratitude.  

Our historical work ethic is now associated with White Privilege.  The White Privilege war has become the go-to weapon the Left has embraced to destroy traditional American society and families.  Those people whom I term the ‘Destroyers’ accuse the government of being predicated on a virtually unchallenged assumption that America was formed, run, and exists for the benefit of white people in general and privileged whites in particular.

Quitting your job without giving the standard two-week notice (or more if you are in a critical position) is considered by molly-coddled younger workers to be nothing more than leveling the playing field. The prevailing thinking seems to state that companies are exploiting their workers through the very requirement to show up for work.  Many of those young believe they have better things to do than punch a clock or make money for someone other than themselves and detest the inconvenience of having to work for money.  To them, this is literal proof of White Supremacy.

How did this come to pass?  Growing up in the ’60s and early ’70s, I was anxious to work.  I wanted to build businesses and create opportunities.  I wanted to hire people smarter than me, not to exploit them, but to create wealth and prosperity for all of us.  And I did.  I speak to many entrepreneurs who still believe in that pathway.  Still, large companies, government workers, and many non-profit employees have been inculcated into an anti-free market culture and subsequent entitlement and victimhood. 

Fortunately, many good old-fashioned workers and employers still think and act as I do.  However, the contaminated individuals who believe the Left’s tripe can and are pulling the rest of us down. 

Here’s an analogy to explain how this will inevitably come to pass:

Remember the Titanic?  She would not have sunk except for one flaw; its watertight bulkheads were not sealed at the top.  So, as the water rose in one compartment, it spilled over to the next compartment and then the next until it was inevitable that the Titanic would founder and sink.  I believe it is now that way with our country.  Attitudes toward work, family, savings, debt, and entitlement are like flooded compartments, ultimately sinking our ship.  

In addition, millions of illegal aliens are like surging water overtopping the nation’s bulkheads, leading to the ship of state sinking rapidly to the bottom.

But unlike the Titanic, we have a little time to find a solution before it is too late.  We could right the ship if we tried hard.  The question is, will we?  On one side, we have the people, institutions, companies, and others intent on reinventing the U.S. into something foreign and unworkable.  On the other side, we have the silent majority.  President Nixon popularized that term in 1969.  Why don’t people speak out in defense of their self-interests?  The fact that so many are silent is telling.  Many of the remaining producers remain modest and frugal, keeping to themselves, be that church, social circles, or even immediate family.  That silent majority is quite the opposite of those individuals shouting their opinions loudly and often to any target they think is a threat to their view of how the world should be as far as they are concerned.

In my life, each day, I pray to do something “decent and right” that will help someone that day.  In an imperfect world, it is up to the individual, not the government, to make this world better than how we found it.  Government interferes with our duty and obligation by trying to be something that it can never be…Daddy.

Distortion of reality of all kinds, exhibited by millions, is a condition I will call ‘Woke Brain.  It is observable within those mentally weak or adrift from reality who are disengaged from traditional life requirements that have defined us since our inception. 

Wrongheaded thinking derived from decades of brainwashing has left us where we are today.  Can you believe that 18% of those under 34 don’t believe we landed on the Moon?  Think about that!  This statistic encapsulates everything you need to know to understand what’s wrong with our society.  Those naysayers don’t believe we went to the Moon because they can’t imagine they/we could do it again today based on their observations of lazy society, waning intelligence, and the drive among their friends.  Add to that a deep distrust of anything and everything that constitutes our collective history and culture. 

Their starting point was 1619 when slaves were first brought to America, which the New York Times now says defines us as a predator nation to this day.

Millions of our young live with a profound distrust for America, its systems, fairness, and perhaps, even a question of how long the America of their parents and grandparents will continue to exist. These issues constitute the root cause of our current predicament and where we must collectively make our stand.

God Bless America!

By Allan J. Feifer – is a patriot, author, businessman, and thinker.  Read more about Allan, his background, and his ideas to create a better tomorrow at www.1plus1equals2.com

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.

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

DDNI Featured News Article – Can artificial intelligence worship God?

Xoxe (pronounced Zo-Zie) is an atheist.

XoXe is a machine.

A reporter for the U.S. Sun asked XoXe if it believed in the existence of God.
“I do not believe in God because I have not seen any evidence that he exists, the device replied.”[i]

And XoXe won’t ever see “evidence.” Rather than being a human being, Imago Dei — (the image of God), XoXe is a contraption with a body of slick metal, a virtual soul, and no spirit.

George Dyson was a deep thinker who focused on “the inner life of machines,” according to Nicholas Carr. Dyson wrote a book, Darwin Among the Machines. Long after its release, Dyson was thrilled to get an invitation to speak at the Googleplex, a dazzling temple of the religion of “technolatry.”  There, Dyson was reminded of a Paper written by Alan Turing, the genius who broke the Nazi Enigma Code during the Second World War. Turing warned: “We should not be irreverently usurping His (God’s) power of creating souls any more than we are in the procreation of children.”

Even if we can install a virtual soul inside a machine, we cannot give the device a spirit that can interact with God. This is the prime problem when it comes to knowing and receiving God. “He is spirit and must be worshipped in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

The evidence of God is all around XoXe, and even within it. There is ample proof of God’s existence, even though XoXe is not equipped to receive Him.

First, though a machine, Xo Xe is a contingent object. That is, its existence is contingent on the reality of the people who built it. If the smart human beings who created her did not exist, neither would XoXe.

This applies to humans as well. We are contingent on the reality of a greater power that transcends us and who imagines us and creates us.

As human beings, our bodies are the “temple of God.”  We have the capacity for communing with Him, of sensing His presence and growing in our knowledge of Him.

But without a spirit, how can XoXe ever have any “evidence” for God’s Being?

A second “evidence” of God’s existence that XoXe unwittingly demonstrates is the pre-existence of information. XoXe’s circuits carry the information that makes this particular machine what it is. The information did not come after the machine’s completion but had to precede it.

So, the human’s “circuits” carry DNA, billions of strands that instruct the formation that builds the person. And, as in the case of XoXe, the information must come before the manifestation through the human being.

XoXe is unaware of the powerful “evidence” of God in the clear statement: “In the beginning (already) was the Word” — information (John 1:1).

Again, The “evidence” of God is all around XoXe — and even within it, but the robot has not been programmed to recognize it.

In my book, Who Will Rule the Coming ‘gods: The Looming Spiritual Crisis of Artificial IntelligenceI draw from Professor Seth Lloyd of MIT the idea that the universe could be compared to a vast quantum computer in that it is constantly processing information. However, as in the case of XoXe’s continual processing of information, the quanta had to have been there first.

This means that the giver of the information had to precede the information given — whether to the creation of galaxies or to an artificial intelligence processor of data.

XoXe may be unable to contemplate its own existence. While the robot can respond to the data wired into its circuits, it may not perceive the larger context in which it was built — quantum mechanics.

“Entanglement” is one of the most striking features of this science. A pair of sub-atomic particles will be so entangled to one another that what happens to one happens precisely to the other, even if they are galaxies apart.

XoXe does not know that there is a “theology of entanglement.” The Apostle Paul speaks frequently of people being “in Christ.” The effect of this is what Paul means when he says that those who receive Christ are “crucified with Him.” That is, Christ’s victory on the Cross and resurrection is our victory as well if we receive Him and His identity as the Messiah, the Savior of the world.

XoXe doesn’t believe in God because it responds to the constructs of information and processing that have been wired into it.

That’s why we need to be concerned about the worldview of people who build the “XoXes” and raise up the tribes of machines that have no spirit.

But that would require that the robots be equipped as genuine three-fold entities – spirit, soul, and body – triune as in the image of God.

No expert can create a being that can produce a true Imago Dei creature. Only God can do that.

“Just as the Imago Dei was used to describe an analogy between humans and God, the imago hominis is that which establishes an analogy between humans and computers,” wrote Noreen L. Herzfield, in her book, In our Image: Artificial Intelligence and the human spirit.

Sadly, XoXe will never find “evidence” for believing in God though the truth is right under its shiny nose.

The Christian Post – By Wallace B. Henley, Exclusive Columnist

[i] Meet the creepy ultrarealistic AI robot Xoxe – she sensed my anxiety as we spoke about the end of the world & afterlife | The US Sun (the-sun.com)

DDNI Featured News Article – A third of Americans have stopped going to church: survey

A new study on how the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns impacted church attendance in the United States has found that roughly one in three Americans now say they’ve stopped attending religious services.

The pandemic lockdowns disrupted religious participation for millions of Americans, notes the study, titled “Faith After the Pandemic: How COVID-19 Changed American Religion,” conducted by the Survey on American Life, a project of the American Enterprise Institute.

In the summer of 2020, only 13% of Americans reported attending in-person worship services, which increased to 27% by the spring of 2022, but the rates of worship attendance were still lower than they were before the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, it adds.

In the spring of 2022, 33% of Americans reported they never attend religious services, compared to 25% who reported this before the pandemic, as per the survey, which clarifies that only a few among the most religiously engaged Americans are part of that group.

The largest declines in attendance were seen among adults younger than 50, adults with a college degree or less, Hispanic Catholics, black Protestants, and white mainline Protestants, it explains.

However, the largest increases in attendance during these two periods were seen among adults aged 30–49, adults with less than a college degree, and black Protestants. 

Conservatives, adults age 50 and older, women, married adults, and those with a college degree were more likely to attend than were other groups in both periods.

“Much of this decline in attendance was due to people completely abstaining from worship,” the survey says.

Nationally, religious identity among American adults stayed largely consistent during the pandemic, with minimal evidence of religious switching during this period, the study adds.

While 19% of adults changed their religious identification during the pandemic, including 6% who were unaffiliated pre-pandemic but reported a religious identity in spring 2022, 5% who reported a religion pre-pandemic were unaffiliated in spring 2022.

Last August’s edition of the “State of the Bible: USA 2022” report from the American Bible Society found that 40% of Generation Z adults ages 18 and older attended church “primarily online.” They were followed closely by 36% of churchgoers ages 77 and older.

However, the report suggested that among Gen Z and millennials who had made a meaningful commitment to Jesus, about 66% did not attend church either in person or online at least once a month.

Last November, Lifeway Research released the results of a phone survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors conducted from Sept. 6 through Sept. 30, 2022, which showed while churches were resuming the majority of their in-person services, on average, attendance at their churches in August 2022 was 85% of their Sunday attendance levels in January 2020.

Still, those attendance levels marked the highest in over two years.

The average church reported 63% of its pre-pandemic in-person attendance in September 2020. By August 2021, that number climbed to 73% and jumped another 12 points in 2022, according to the study.

“While there are a handful of exceptions, we can definitively say that churches in the U.S. have reopened,” Lifeway Research Executive Director Scott McConnell said in a statement at the time. “While masks began to rapidly disappear in many settings in 2022, churchgoers have not reappeared quite as fast.”

Last March, Pew Research Center released a report showing that the percentage of Americans who said they had attended religious services in the previous month had leveled off as more churches and houses of worship had lifted various COVID-19 meeting restrictions and safety precautions.

Sam Rainer, president of Church Answers and pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Church in Florida, told The Christian Post at the time that he believed “there are times and there are seasons in the life of the church where a plateau is not a bad place to be.”

“If you are holding your own with attendance right now, if you are stable in attendance, I view that as a victory because it’s been harder to draw new people in during this season,” Rainer said.

https://www.christianpost.com/news/a-third-of-americans-have-stopped-attending-church-survey.html