Integrated apologetics

I’m a big fan of apologetics (the defense of the Christian faith), but I don’t think we should always treat it as a separate enterprise.  It is good to have whole sessions on apologetics, especially because it is so often ignored in churches, and I’m a huge fan of sites like Apologetics315 and people like the Wintery Knight.  But I prefer to integrate it into most of my lessons so people can grasp the basics and see that it is part of the fabric of our message.

We may not all have the job of evangelist, but as 1 Peter 3:15-16 notes, all Christians are to be apologists.

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

But that doesn’t mean apologetics can’t be a regular part of our lessons and sermons.  For example, when teaching anything in church, or even in general conversations as appropriate, I aim to reflexively weave in basic apologetic themes.

  • The minimal facts: “Virtually all historians agree on key facts about Jesus and his followers, such as Jesus death on a Roman cross, his followers’ belief that He rose from the dead, and Paul’s conversion and his authorship of key books attributed to him such as Romans.  We have good reasons to infer that Jesus rising from the dead is the best explanation for these facts.”
  • Distinctions about biblical faith: We don’t have blind faith; we have a faith grounded in evidence.  See how the Gospel was shared in the book of Acts.  Over and over it was based on references to Jesus’ resurrection, not appeals to believe without evidence or reason.”
  • The robust transmission process of the texts: “Even atheist textual critics will concede that we know what the original writings of the Bible said to 99%+ accuracy, and 100% on major doctrines.”
  • Our simple claim: “The original writings of the Bible turned out exactly the way God and the writers wanted them to.  Yes, men can make mistakes, but they don’t always make mistakes.  Our biblical claim is that God directed the process.”  You can go on at length about the Bible being inerrant, infallible and inspired — and I agree with all of those — but I’ve found that the simple summation gets people to realize that if God can do anything He can surely communicate his original texts to us the way He wanted to.

Note how simple and brief those are.  They can lead to deeper conversations, but those alone can help change people from the errant “blind faith” mindset and get them to think more carefully about apologetics.

I do the same thing with the basic Gospel message.  No matter what I’m teaching, I try to note how we are saved by grace, through faith, and not by works.  This needs to be a constant reminder.

I urge you to weave these simple apologetic and Gospel concepts into your lessons and conversations.  Even if it doesn’t lead the hearers to deeper apologetics studies, at least they will have clear reminders of the basics and will hopefully keep them from saying incorrect things.

What simple themes do you seek to work into lessons and conversations?

Where do they get these things?

A theological liberal made the following comment on this massive thread:

As to the documents, I prefer the oldest and assumed to be the most authentic of the 4 gospels, Mark, from which the others drew a lot of material. It was placed second in order behind Matthew, however, by the patriarchs, in hopes that it would be less often read, and it has worked out that way. Because as you know, it ends with the execution of Jesus for threatening the state with his teachings–there is no resurrection. That part was added at a later time.

I responded with the following points.

1. Christians know that all the Gospels are authentic.

2. If the early church was trying to hide the Gospel of Mark, they would have left it out, not “hidden” it behind Matthew.

3. The resurrection is in the earliest manuscripts of Mark. The potentially late additions are verses 9-20 (just check your footnotes).

And He didn’t threaten the Roman state with his teachings.  He was brought to the Romans by the Jewish leaders.

Regarding Paul, she said:

To his credit, he never even claimed to have known Jesus, only to have had visions about him during his mysterious spasms.

Where does she get her biblical information?  Does she have documentation for her claim that the patriarchs were trying to hide Mark, or is that just groundless speculation?

It is sad that she has been so wildly misinformed. I encourage her and others to actually read what the Bible says instead of just repeating sound bites from their “pastors.”

Governor stops abortions in Oregon, calls system ‘compromised and inequitable’

Oh, wait, he did that with executions, not abortions.  Never mind.

See Gov. John Kitzhaber stops executions in Oregon, calls system ‘compromised and inequitable’

But just imagine if the headlines read, “Gov. John Kitzhaber stops abortions in Oregon, calls system ‘compromised and inequitable’” instead.  The Left would go wild.

Or what if President Bush had pre-emptively not enforced Roe v Wade in the same way that President Obama decided not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act?

After all, the rate of abortions in the black community is 3x that of whites, so the system must be racist. And the Roe v Wade opinion noted that if we knew when life began then it would matter (even though they should have erred on the side of life!).

Well, all the scientific texts tell us that a new human being is created at conception, so the Governor (or even the President) would be well served to start saving innocent lives today.

Did your media inform you of these stories?

microphone.jpgIf not, you should consider expanding your horizons.

One of the best time-savers when discussing politics with Liberals is to ask what conservative media they consume.  Typical answer: [Crickets chirping].  Then you politely note that you consume plenty of media from both sides and then form your opinions.  That isn’t what makes you right (well, it makes you Right but not necessarily correct), but it does mean you have examined the issues from both sides while they probably haven’t.  (Yes, they could pose the same question to you, but I don’t know anyone who can only consume conservative media.  The Leftist mainstream media is very, very hard to avoid.)

This week’s examples

1. Have you heard how racist the OWS movement is?

African Americans, who are 12.6 percent of the U.S. population, make up only 1.6 percent of Occupy Wall Street.

Why isn’t the media up in arms over the “obvious” racism in OWS? After all, that was their conclusion with the seemingly low % of blacks in the Tea Party movement (please ignore the great popularity of Herman Cain — it hurts their racist meme!).

And the OWS movement has already tried to do some “affirmative action” and they still have a rate that low.

I’m not saying the OWS is racist, just that the theological liberals are racist for playing the race card against Tea Partiers while ignoring the elephant in the room for the OWS.

2. Climategate 2.0: New E-Mails Rock The Global Warming Debate – this is as big as Climategate 1.0.  This is the same trustworthy establishment that brings you Darwinian evolution.

Three themes are emerging from the newly released emails: (1) prominent scientists central to the global warming debate are taking measures to conceal rather than disseminate underlying data and discussions; (2) these scientists view global warming as a political “cause” rather than a balanced scientific inquiry and (3) many of these scientists frankly admit to each other that much of the science is weak and dependent on deliberate manipulation of facts and data.

3. The European Media Describes the Occupy Movement as “Anti-Capitalist,” Why Doesn’t the US Media?  Free markets have reduced more poverty than any government program ever has.

4. Leftist ABA rates record number of Obama judicial appointees “not qualified” – Appointing judges is one of the most important things a President does, yet most campaigning and media coverage address things that mean little.  We saw this coming: Obama said he would appoint “empathetic” judges and McCain said he appoint them based on the ability to understand the law.  An 8th grade student could see which view was accurate and Presidential.

President Obama’s quest to transform federal courts by appointing unqualified leftist ideologues is worse than previously imagined, according to a mainstream newspaper that reports the notoriously liberal American Bar Association (ABA) has rejected a “significant number” of potential judicial nominees, most of them minorities and women.

This is hardly earth-shattering news considering Obama’s judicial appointments so far. However, the ABA rebuff sheds light into the magnitude of the president’s crusade to stockpile the federal court system, where judges get lifetime appointments, with like-minded activists. In fact, Obama has made it an official policy to “diversify” the federal bench when it comes to gender, race and even life experiences.

The Isle of Deserta exercise, or how a bunch of 7th graders are better at setting up a society than our politicians

For 12 years, I taught Junior Achievement classes to nearly every grade from K-12, but the Junior High classes were my favorites (I was as surprised as you are).  They weren’t too cool to take part and had a lot of energy.  They were quick to pick up business concepts such as supply and demand and even the elasticity of supply and demand (e.g., insulin has inelastic demand because no matter how low the price goes non-diabetics won’t buy it, but iPods have elastic demand because the lower the price the more people will buy).  Even the non-egghead kids understood the concepts and actively participated in the lessons.

One of my favorite exercises was the Isle of Deserta.  The kids pretended that they had won a trip to an exotic vacation paradise and would describe what they would pack.  Once they got there they discovered that the island was deserted and they had to figure out how to survive (the exercise predated the Survivor TV show but had a similar concept).

They always created a consistently logical and workable society, but with the proper controls to ensure that it was sustainable.  They realized that it was better to split up jobs to those most qualified and interested, such as some doing the fishing / gathering and others doing cooking and cleaning, as opposed to having everyone fend for themselves.

When asked what they would do for those who could work but refused to, the immediate reaction was something like “Make them shark bait!”  But what about an injured person who couldn’t help?  “We’ll take care of them and give them food anyway.”  What if the person gets better but doesn’t want to work? “Shark bait!”

They intuitively knew that a society should care for the weak and needy, but that it couldn’t survive if able-bodied people shared in the benefits but not the workload.

Even the Bible notes that, although the false teachers pretend this verse isn’t there or isn’t from God:

2 Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.

One of my favorite moments was when a girl went against her peers and insisted that everyone should get the same food and benefits regardless of how hard he or she worked.  She was most adamant about this point, so I let her share her minority view.

But at the end of the lesson when I went to pass out some candy for their overall good behavior (Jolly Ranchers, the official candy of Junior Achievement), she pleaded for extras because she had participated more than the others.  At first I thought she was kidding, but she didn’t catch the irony of her request.  I didn’t want to embarrass her, but it was a teachable moment to point out that she was now proposing a system that was the opposite of her previous submission.  I hope the lesson wasn’t lost on her, and that I cured her of her liberal inconsistencies!

The 7th graders intuitively understood the basics of human nature, especially when the situations were stripped of politics and sound bites.  It is noble and right to help the truly weak, such as widows, orphans and the disabled, but a system without controls and accountability is doomed to fail.  And a system full of entitlements, political payoffs and incentives not to do your best is doomed to fail more quickly.

I say with all seriousness that our country would be much better off if everyone, including every elected official, had to take Junior High level Junior Achievement classes.

False teacher follow up

As I noted in The Westar Wolves broke my irony meter, false teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie used the Huffington Post to market the false teachers at the Jesus Seminar in The Bible Seminar: Rescuing the Text.  I made a comment that actually got through the far-Left leaning editors there.  I was merely pointing out that Chuck’s group believes the opposite of what authentic Christians do:

Just check out what Wikipedia says about these “Christian­” Jesus Seminar scholars: They deny the resurrecti­on, the deity of Christ, the exclusivit­y of Christ for salvation (even though the Bible teaches over 100 times that Jesus is the only way to salvation)­, the inspiratio­n of the Bible (they claim it is just written by men, though it claims to speak for God over 3,000 times), and more.

They are welcome to their views, of course. I respect religious freedom and wouldn’t want anyone to stifle that. But I find it completely dishonest for Chuck and the Jesus Seminar to claim to be Christian when they disagree with so many essentials of the faith.

And then there is the hypocrisy: Their politics-d­isguised-a­s-religion is the same thing they claim to oppose. They twist the Bible to say that Jesus is fine with abortion, same-sex marriage, having the government take from neighbor A by force to “give” to neighbor B and calling it charity on your part, etc.

Usually Chuck knows enough to ignore me, because he can never back up his points and can only resort to personal attacks.  But he slipped and actually responded to me.

Note how he completely ignored my assertions and just resorted to personal attacks.  (BTW, I know that he probably thinks I attack him, but if you read carefully you’ll see that I always point to his content and errors and I back up my claims.  I don’t just say, “Chuck is ignorant.”  If I say he lied, I show where and how he lied.  If I say he got a Bible verse wrong again, I show what he got wrong.)

Perhaps the biggest symbol of ignorance is using Wikipedia as a source of informatio­n on theology. There is a reason middle school and high school teachers won’t let students use it as a source for papers.

But I’m not surprised this reference showed up here. It happens all the time. We need more than a third grade theologica­l education to debate these important issues and that is what is clearly missing in theologica­l debates over the meaning of the Bible.

You’ve illustrate­d the point that Biblical literacy is important.

- Rev. Chuck Currie

That was sweet of him.  Note how he implied that Wikipedia was wrong and used the entire comment to just attack me.  Here’s my response:

Chuck,

I appreciate you taking the time to respond, but I’m puzzled by the content.  I’m familiar with the limitations of Wikipedia, as most people are (including the fact that it leans Left), but I wouldn’t personally attack someone who referred to it as being the “biggest symbol of ignorance” and implying that he is biblically illiterate.  I would tend to dig deeper before making such claims.

Since you are an Associate Director at Westar, I figured you would be interested in what Wikipedia said about your organization and would want it to be accurate.

I think most readers will see that you implied that the Wikipedia information was incorrect.  Therefore, perhaps you can clarify a few things for us:

Does the Jesus Seminar affirm the physical resurrecti­on of Jesus?

Does the Jesus Seminar affirm the deity of Christ?

Does the Jesus Seminar affirm the exclusivit­y of Christ for salvation?   (Note: It is public record that Chuck directly denies it.  He did a whole sermon on why Jesus is not the only way to salvation, even though the Bible teaches over 100 times that Jesus is the only way to salvation­.  I’m sure he’d be glad to link to the sermon here.)

Does the Jesus Seminar affirm the divine inspiratio­n of the original texts of the Bible, just as the writers claim?

If you can confirm that the Jesus Seminar affirms all those things and point to documentation of it, I will gladly retract my reference to Wikipedia.

This is a great opportunity for you to clear up some confusion.  After all, if all the Wikipedia claims are in error, as you implied, and if Westar is all about increasing biblical literacy, wouldn’t you relish the opportunity to set the record straight about Jesus being divine, the only way to salvation, etc.?  I know the Bible teaches those things to be true.  I’m encouraged that your response implies that you do as well.

After a day he hadn’t responded, even though he was very active on an Oregon Live thread (so I know he was at his PC).  So I left this comment:

Chuck, are you going to respond? As a Westar Associate Director on a mission to “rescue the text” of the Bible I figured you’d welcome the opportunity to clear things up.

To recap, you implied that Wikipedia was incorrect about the Jesus Seminar beliefs. Wouldn’t this be a great place to clarify those?

You ignored my comment and insisted that I was ignorant for daring to refer to Wikipedia. Of course, I just used that reference out of convenience, because it mirrored everything I have ever heard from the Jesus Seminar.

So I ask again:

Does the Jesus Seminar affirm the physical resurrecti­­on of Jesus?

Does the Jesus Seminar affirm the deity of Christ?

Does the Jesus Seminar affirm the exclusivit­­y of Christ for salvation, even though you preach the opposite?

Does the Jesus Seminar affirm the divine inspiratio­­n of the original texts of the Bible, just as the Bible writers claimed?

If you can confirm that the Jesus Seminar affirms all those things and point to documentat­ion of it, I will gladly retract my reference to Wikipedia. You’ll want to set them straight as well. That’s how Wikipedia works.

Three days and still no reply from Chuck.

Kudos to HuffPo for not censoring my comments.  Yet.

Do you wonder how many studies aren’t published because they didn’t give the “right” answers?

Or, the “Left” answers, to be more specific.  See the video at James O’ Keefe Investigation: Rutgers Education Professor in Pay-for-Play | MRCTV to see how a Rutgers education professor agrees not to make a deal until the research shows what he wants it to be.

We know how wildly biased media and education can be, but I’ve never given much thought to how many things the Left can hide in academia.  Think of the studies that allegedly show how well kids turn out in gay/lesbian households.  But what makes you think they wouldn’t hide a study that showed otherwise?

For example:

However, a new in-depth review of 59 studies on gay parenting has concluded that such “strong assertions” about gay parenting are “not empirically warranted.”

Most of the 59 gay-parenting studies involve children of high-income white lesbian mothers or tended to use very small samples; studied children but not teens; and either had no comparison families or compared lesbian-led homes with single-mother-led homes, wrote Louisiana State University family science professor Loren Marks.

These and other weaknesses cannot support broad statements that there are “no significant differences” between being raised in same-sex versus mother-father homes, wrote Mr. Marks, whose analysis was included in the Oct. 15 briefs filed by the House of Representatives in its defense of DOMA in Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management.

The Westar Wolves broke my irony meter

Wolf

The Westar Institute is home of the Jesus Seminar, the group of fake Christians who literally voted on which things Jesus “really” said in the New Testament and which He did not. Not surprisingly, the “Jesus” they ended up with looked remarkably like contemporary liberal culture — in other words, just like them.  They deny his divinity, his miracles, his resurrection and more in making him out to be an early Occupy Wall Street-type rebel.  In other words, no one holding their views should claim to be Christian.  They may have degrees but they speak nonsense, such as what Jesus Seminar member Marcus Borg said here.

Now here’s some news from their new employee Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” CurrieThe Bible Seminar Set To Increase Biblical Literacy – Just In Time.

It is hard to imagine a more ironic title.  These “Christians” can’t go three sentences without creating a god in their own image but they think they are going to increase biblical literacy?  Sure.  Just like their spokesman did a whole sermon explaining why Jesus isn’t the only way to salvation because he insisted that John 14:6 didn’t belong in the Bible but that the Gospel of Thomas did (yeah, what did the early church know, anyway?!).  And he didn’t even realize there were 100+ additional verses to rationalize away to make his point!  He insisted that the Gospel of John was written after 130 A.D., even though atheist textual critics like Bart Ehrman and others place it at 90-95 A.D.  (I think it was written before 70 A.D., but that is another topic.)

The Westar Institute – home of the Jesus Seminar and Polebridge Press – will be launching a new initiative called the Bible Seminar this month to promote Biblical literacy and the timing couldn’t be better.

I agree that biblical illiteracy is rampant.  But looking to the Westar Wolves for assistance is like asking Jerry Sandusky to fight pedophilia.  I mean, he appears to know a lot about it, but there is a difference between a cause and a cure.

You have to feel bad for White House Press Secretary Jay Carney who made the unfortunate mistake recently of attributing the phrase “the Lord helps those who help themselves” to the Bible.  It’s a common mistake.  In fact, pollster George Barna has found that 75% of Americans believe this phrase, most likely from Benjamin Franklin, comes from Scripture.

Again, let’s remember that Chuck distorts every verse he touches.  How can someone get a seminary degree and not know that the New Testament claims countless times that Jesus is the only way to salvation and that Jesus is divine?  That isn’t what makes those true, of course, but they are obviously positions every authentic Christian should hold.

Carney’s mistake isn’t very worrisome.  What is truly concerning are how many Americans, for example, would claim that Jesus is opposed to gay marriage.  Jesus never uttered a word about homosexuality as far as we know – for or against – but people will claim that he did.

Predictable.  Of course Chuck hasn’t read where Jesus reiterated who God made marriage for: One man and one woman (Mark 10).  And yes, that statement was in response to the issue of divorce, but it still indicates God’s plan for marriage.  You can’t get away from it.

And Chuck offers no evidence and uses the “what Jesus didn’t say” argument from silence, which fails on many levels: Arguing from silence is a logical fallacy, Jesus inspired all scripture, He supported the Old Testament law to the last letter, the “red letters” weren’t silent on this topic in the sense that they reiterated what marriage is, He emphasized many other important issues that these liberal theologians completely ignore (Hell, his divinity, his exclusivity, etc.), He was equally “silent” on issues that these folks treat as having the utmost importance (capital punishment, war, welfare, universal health care, etc.), His failure to mention bestiality, child abuse and other obvious sins wouldn’t justify them, and homosexual behavior simply wasn’t a hot topic for 1st century Jews.  Other than that, it is a great argument.

More importantly, note how this false teacher tips his hand by saying Jesus never addressed homosexuality.  Remember, the clear claim of scripture and an essential of the Christian faith is that Jesus is part of the Trinity.  Jesus is God, the Bible is the word of God, therefore the Bible is the word of Jesus.  The original writings turned out exactly the way He wanted them to.  Therefore, all the verses about human sexuality turned out exactly the way Jesus wanted:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.
Also, Chuck is implying that Romans and other writings addressing homosexuality aren’t the word of God.  That’s a peculiar thing for a Christian to say.
There are three types of pro-gay theologians, and Chuck and the Jesus Seminar are in the most explicitly anti-Christian group, the one that believes that the Bible is either not the Word of God, or that most parts of it aren’t.

Our level of Biblical literacy is low in the United States.

Twenty five years ago, The Westar Institute started the Jesus Seminar to bring Biblical scholars out of classrooms and into the public square to discuss the life and ministry of Jesus in new ways.  The project largely focused then on the historical Jesus and sought to set Jesus within his own historical context and to explore the meaning of his life and death free from dogmatic constraints that had for centuries limited our understanding of who Jesus was.  For many Christians the work of the Jesus Seminar was liberating – for the Religious Right is was blasphemous.

Not just the religious right thinks it is blasphemous.  Chuck & Co. are so comfortable in their little Western Liberal religious cocoon that they don’t know what real Christians have believed for 2,000 years and around the world.  I know lots of Christians outside the U.S., and I assure you that Chuck and Westar do not speak for them.

Dr. Stephen Patterson, director of The Westar Institute and George H. Atkinson Professor of Religious and Ethical Studies at Willamette University in Salem, Ore., notes that the mission of Westar is to “facilitate collaborative, critical scholarship and bring it before the public for the common good.  Lately, however, we have not been heard.  Our evangelical friends are well-organized and well-funded and consequently can raise their voice above all others.  Our new project, The Bible Seminar, is our attempt to re-ignite the fires of the Jesus Seminar and raise once again the voice of critical scholarship in a conversation that has veered far to the right.”

I can’t wait to see their content!

Groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council and figures like Albert Mohler use Scripture to justify all kinds of conservative causes:  oppression of women, opposition to environmental protections, support for U.S. military intervention in places like Iraq, opposition to marriage equality, etc.  But are these Biblical positions? Plenty of scholars who study the Bible would say no and argue that these are political position cloaked in religious language.

Eek!  Bible-believing Christians!  Wait . . . what do they mean by “oppression of women?”  Oh, if you are opposed to crushing and dismembering innocent but unwanted human beings in the womb then you want to oppress women . . . even though gender selection abortions are used almost exclusively to kill females for the sole reason that they are female.

“Marriage equality” = tired sound bite.  “Same-sex marriage” is not, and never will be, equal to real marriage as outlined in the Bible.

The Bible Seminar will help equip those scholars to better engage in public debate and enter into discussion and dialogue with clergy and lay Christians (and non-believers as well) to liberate the Bible from those who would misuse it for their own partisan political purposes.

Yeah, because people would never misuse the Bible to rationalize the government taking by force from neighbor A to “give” to neighbor B and calling it “Christianity,” and they would never use it to justify abortion and teaching 5 yr. olds how “normal” LGBTQ behavior is.

Like the Jesus Seminar before it, the Bible Seminar won’t answer all the questions.  What this project will do, however, is allow the questions to be asked and in the process solicit diverse voices that often aren’t even invited to the table to be part of the discussion.  We can expect the work to be controversial but always exciting.

I used to feel sorry for people taken in by fakes like Chuck Currie and the Jesus Seminar.  Now I tend to think that they get what they deserve: a false god to worship.

Westar is a poster child for Leopard Theology, where they claim that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots, as well as Advanced Leopard Theology, where God is also changing spots and adding/removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling Western theological liberals and progressives.

Jesus warned us many times of false teachers, and He was right.  My guess is that those passages were the first ones jettisoned by the Westar Wolves.

Please note how their “biblical literacy” campaign immediately self-destructs with respect to their anti-Christ mission. Their main point in the past has been dismissing the verses they don’t like as not being of Jesus, or dismissing whole books of the Bible as not belonging.  But they can’t deny what is actually in the Bible.

For example, Chuck can try and deny that Jesus spoke the words of John 14:6, but he can’t deny that it is in the book.  So if they want to debate what the Bible really says — whether they think Jesus said it or not — they are going to lose badly.  They used to cheat by pulling out verses that opposed their made up religion, but if they are going to point to what is in the whole book then they can’t play that game any longer.  

This will be fun.  

Global warming will cause more hurricanes. No, the same number, but more severe. No, wait, there will be less.

Yet another reminder of the Kevin Nealon skits on Saturday Night Live where he’d catch himself in an error and say, “What I really meant to say was . . .”  But the experts are really sure this time!  So you should still radically change your lifestyle, even though the AGW leaders don’t change their lifestyles, and accept an unprecedented and permanent governmental power grab over your life.

First they said that anthropogenic global warming would cause more hurricanes. Then, after that didn’t work out, they said they wouldn’t necessarily increase in amount, but, they would be stronger. And, now that that didn’t work out, we find out, via C3 Headlines

A team of NOAA researchers has recently completed a new analysis and have now conceived a new “consensus” science: global warming will cause less storms to strike the U.S.

As C3 points out, there has been no major (cat 3) strike on the US mainland since 2005 (Wilma). I’ve pointed that out, as well. There’s been no US landfalling hurricanes since 2008 (Ike hit Texas on Sept 13, 2008). Hurricane Irene (2011) was not a hurricane when it came ashore either in North Carolina nor New Jersey.

Going six years with no major strikes is unprecedented. Three years with no landfalling hurricanes hasn’t happened since the 1860’s. So, the Warmists have to rewrite the “science” to match their unhinged alarmism. This is not science, it’s cult members attempting to match things that have happened to their cultish beliefs.

Remember, these are the same type of experts who insist that you are a dolt for even considering that the exquisitely intricate machinery of the universe and life were created by an Intelligent Designer.

Ah, now that’s Communism!

Seriously, it is another great example of how Communism and unions really work.  The leaders make big $$ and live in luxury while the little guys live in squalor.

Via OWS Money Man Spent Night Before “Day of Action” in Five-Star Hotel:

The $700-per-night W Hotel Downtown last week hosted both Peter Dutro, one of a select few OWS members on the powerful finance committee…Dutro, 35, one of only a handful of OWS leaders in charge of the movement’s $500,000 in donations, checked in on Wednesday, the night after police emptied Zuccotti Park.

While hundreds of his rebel brethren scrambled to find shelter in church basements, Dutro chose the five-star, 58-story hotel, with its lush rooms and 350-count Egyptian cotton sheets. He lives only a short taxi ride away in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

“I knew everything was going to be a clusterf–k in the morning,” he told The Post, alluding to Occupy’s own disruption plans. “How would I get over the bridge when they were shutting it down?”

The tattoo artist-turned-Occupy money man took the elevator up to the fifth-floor welcome desk, where a disc jockey spins tunes and guests enjoy a vista of the growing freedom tower.

He said he spent $500 of his own money to get the room because he wanted a good night’s rest ahead of the cause’s two-month ceremony the next day and raucous post-raid protests.

How many people think he was really going to spend his own money on that hotel?

What could go wrong with forgiving student loans?

Lots.  Via Gillespie On Forgiving Student Loan Debt:

Bailout are a bad idea.  Letting individuals keep all their gains while spreading losses to the rest of society works as well in business as it would in Las Vegas.

If you force lenders to forgive loans they will not have the incentive to make more loans and/or will jack up the rates.

This is a transparent vote-buying scheme.  Guess who the recipients of the bailouts will want to vote for?  The problem is that eventually someone has to pay the bills.

The government should not have been involved with this to begin with, because their loan programs just drive up the cost of tuition for everyone.  And they shouldn’t be involved with the solution.

Hope Companions

One of our favorite ministries in Kenya is Hope Companions.  The program helps AIDS orphans not only survive but thrive by giving them skills and helping them start small businesses — sort of a “Junior Achievement finds Jesus” program.  We saw this first hand during our last to trips to Kenya and were so inspired.  These orphans not only become able to provide for themselves but they help their siblings and even other orphans.

Here are some stories about orphans who have benefited from this program as told by Jerri Savuto, a missionary in Kenya.

I do want to share about my two days with Halima and Reegan of the Hope Companions Program.  Whenever we have the opportunity to be with the staff and teens of Hope Companions we are filled with hope for their lives, their communities and this nation.  The Hope Companions Program is the way to help the poor to grow and bloom and not become dependent.  Their successes speak so loudly of the love of God, the incredible work of Reegan, Halima and their staff, what hard work and commitment can do in the lives of the poor and how much hope there is for this world.  Thank you Rev. Greg Jenks for your vision, amazing ability to raise funds and ministry to the glory of God.

On Tuesday November 1st, I joined Halima and Josephine, Hope Companion staff, to visit some of the teens and attend a meeting of two groups, Imani Kagwiria and Imani Kaithe.  I was so impressed with the relationship between Halima and Josephine and the teens and between the teens themselves.  We first visited two homes to take pictures of the youth with animals as requested by Rev.  Jenks.  We visited Doris, whose land is so small she must keep her goats at the home of her Hope Companions mentor, Monica Mauta.  Her goat had recently given birth to twins for which everyone was thankful as Doris will give the baby goats, when weaned, to two other Hope Companion families.  She has a goat because she received it through the Hope Companions Program.  Doris is a successful farmer and raises the goats for milk.  Her joy was infectious and I felt like singing I was so thankful.

We then visited Doreen.  She and her siblings have been living with her grandmother in a tiny, mud house. Recently her grandmother had decided the children would move.  Doreen has been working to fortify the old house she and her siblings will be moving to and building a new, small kitchen.  She had bought many goats and like Doris, one of her goats had just had twins and thus would benefit two other Hope Companion families.  Their first animals came from the program.

After the group meeting we visited Anita and took a picture of her with one of the rabbits she grows to sell.  It was exciting to see these teens being so successful in raising goats, rabbits, chickens and/or cattle.  God’s goodness never fails!

The meeting with the two groups was held in a church up the most horrendous, amazing road I think I have been on in Kenya and that is saying something.  There were at least 25 youth and their mentors at the meeting.  They had been meeting before we arrived and then Halima shared with them and gave me the opportunity to meet them and share with them.  Halima was so gracious and loving and so incredibly encouraging.  One of the groups has educated 11 of their 20 group members this year.  That is astounding but they have a very hard working mentor who is known both in their community and in Maua and was thus able to negotiate with the trainers/mentors of the youth to take an additional youth for a small amount of money.  One of the young men who shared with us was trained to be a mechanic and for just $10 additional he was taught to drive and has his license.  As we left I was filled to the brim with new hope for the future of Kenya and for the future of these young people who are being empowered to work hard and take care of their families.

On Wednesday, November 8th, I accompanied Reegan and Josephine to Tharaka North to visit 5 Hope Companion teens and their families.  We were only able to visit 4 teens as the road was so muddy in one area we had to turn around and come home. What a day we had with those 4 families.

When we arrived in the area we met Peter, the Social Worker employed by Hope Companions to work in the Tharaka area.  Tharaka is about 2 hours from Maua.  The first household we visited was headed by 17 year old Ronald who is a total orphan.  When his parents died he was left with two young sisters, Mariam and Mercy, and an ailing grandmother.  Though he had to drop out of school immediately to support his family he is a wonderful farmer and has taught himself to fix mobile phones and radios.  He shared that he makes about 300 Ksh daily ($2. 75 – $3.00) fixing the phones and radios which supports his sisters in school and his grandmother.  He proudly took us to his farm and showed us how he is growing green grams, cassava, maize and beans.  When asked what his goals were he immediately answered that he intended to provide support and education to his sisters until they were able to care for themselves and to provide food and medicine for his sick grandmother.

Ronald is growing green grams between the maize and he said that if the rain continued the green grams would be ready the end of this month.  He felt he could pick 2 bags (90 kilograms each) of green grams and each bag would sell for 30,000 Ksh ($275 – $300).  As we were ready to leave a boy of about 9 or 10 years old appeared asking for his food.  When we asked Ronald who he was, he told us he was a complete orphan who was mentally challenged and lived with a very old grandmother who could not care for him.  Thus he comes daily to eat a meal with Ronald and his family.  They shared what they had with this young, very needy boy.  It is so amazing to see others give out of their poverty while we give out of our affluence.

Ronald and all the Hope Companions we visited shared that members of their group came and helped them plant, weed and harvest the crops.  Ronald had been at a member’s shamba (farm) the day before helping her.  The groups become family and help each other in so many ways along with becoming the teens’ supportive community.

Our next stop was to visit 18 year old Mercy.  She, too, is a total orphan and the oldest of 3 children – she has a brother 17 and one 13.  When her parents died she and her brother’s lived with her elderly grandmother but there was not enough food for the four of them.  Though Mercy was only about 9 years old she went to live with a family and become a house helper.  She shared that she believed it would be better than the current situation she was in and she could send her brothers and grandmother either her earnings or some extra food weekly.  However, she was mistreated by the family she went to work for and found the situation intolerable and was forced to return to her grandmother’s home after many months.  She then pleaded with her uncle and was allowed to come and stay on the compound in a tiny, dilapidated home.  While living there she joined a Hope Companions Group and was helped in many ways.  She was given some chickens to raise and she now has many.  She planted a kitchen garden to provide fresh vegetables for her uncle and her grandmother and brothers.  She was even able to rent land and has planted crops on the land.  She is clearly a hard worker and it was so wonderful to see how proud she was of the work she did.  We walked quite a distance in deep mud to reach her rented shamba and see all that she is growing.

When asked how things were living with her uncle and family, she lowered her head and stated something to the effect that she is surviving.  When asked about her Hope Companions group she lifted her head and with a huge smile shared that they are her family and supporters and they work together for the better of each other.  When asked if she was thinking of getting married she firmly stated she would not marry until both her brothers had completed school and were on their own.

The third person we visited was Caroline.  We found her working in her shamba, weeding and what a lot of work she had done that day.  She too is a total orphan and has two sisters to support.  A young widowed aunt came to live with her and she supports her also.  Along with growing crops, Caroline has cows.  She received a calf from the Hope Companions and from that has earned money to buy a second and third cow and seed for crops.  I found Caroline so alive and thankful I didn’t want to leave her presence.  These young people are not afraid to work very hard and are literally thankful for every opportunity, everything that comes into their lives.  We all have so much to learn from them.

Our final visit of the day was to Godfrey, a 19 year old with two younger sisters, Mercy and Mariam, and an elderly grandmother.  Godfrey was clearly a hard worker who has a cow, goats, chickens and a pig.  Godfrey received a calf from the Hope Companions and has slowly but surely added the goats, chickens and pig as he has made money from the cow, then the other animals and his crops.  The seeds for planting originally came from the Hope Companions group.  He is sending both his sisters to school and when he talked about his grandmother I was so impressed.  He stated that his grandmother was so important to his family because she had such wonderful stories she told them at night.  None of these homes have electricity or running water so after working in the shamba all day and feeding the animals, being able to sit and hear stories was a great joy to Godfrey and his sisters.  When he talked about his grandmother she looked so proud and happy.

With each family or Hope Companion teen we talked together, prayed together and marveled at their joy, their smiles, the pride they had in their work and their ability to care for their siblings, grandmothers and other family members.   Each teen’s goal was to see that their siblings are educated beyond what they were and have a good start in life.  It is amazing how selfless they are – not like typical Kenyan or US teens.

Donation information here (item 7).

Atheist group tips hands with another self-refuting billboard

In what has become an annual self-parody for atheist groups, they throw tantrums via billboards to spread their beliefs.  In the past they claimed that “you can be good without God,” which of course ignores that they have no grounding for the word “good” if there is no God.

Here’s the 2011 version:

Via Atheist Group to Sponsor Anti-Christmas Billboards Featuring Jesus, Santa & Satan:

“American Atheists announced Monday on their “No God Blog” a new billboard campaign in their continued effort in “laboring for the civil liberties of atheists,” but in reality just upsetting those who disagree with their theological stance. A press release for the American Atheists’ new holiday season billboard campaign reads:

“American Atheists announced today that their new billboard is going up in several locations nationwide, including the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel: the same location as last year’s famous ‘You KNOW it’s a MYTH’ billboard. The new billboard will also be going up in Ohio and Florida.

This year’s holiday season billboard features pictures of Neptune, Jesus, Santa Claus, and the Devil and says, ‘37 Million Americans know MYTHS when they see them. What do you see?’”

Anticipating the inevitability that their billboard will offend others, Dave Silverman, the president of American Atheists, said, “When you question someone’s long-held beliefs and doctrine they are going to be immediately offended and be on the defensive: it’s a known psychological phenomenon.”

Yes, it is a known psychological phenomenon that atheists go nuts when they see a manger scene or a cross, so they have the ACLU sue on their behalf to make them go away.

But here’s the amusing part: Even secular historians are wildly in agreement that Jesus really lived and then died on a Roman cross.  They may not believe that He was divine and rose from the dead, but they believe He really lived.  The atheists are as bad at history as they are at science (where they tend to be pro-abortion and pro-Darwinian evolution) if they believe otherwise.  

Speaking of history, if the atheists are so brave in countering myths why don’t they publicly mock Mohammad’s alleged revelations in a cave, 500+ years after Jesus died on the cross, claiming that it wasn’t Jesus at all? (Koran, Sura 4:157-158)  That might get them the attention that they crave, and would at least put them on the side of accurate history.

Or how about if they did billboards highlighting the myth that gays are “born that way,”  or that they are 10% of the population, etc.?

It is easy to spot a bully: They pick on those they know won’t hurt them back.

My advice to Christians is to treat the billboards the way we treated our daughters when they threw tantrums as very small children: Don’t give them the attention that they crave.  It worked really well for us.  Just narrate to others what the atheists are doing and how illogical their statements are.  After all, if Darwinian evolution was true it would be 100.00% responsible for my faith in the evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.  So why would they want to criticize their pet theory?

Two easy pictures: How the welfare state begins and ends

It is disappointing to see how people think the Greece situation is some sort of anomaly that could never happen here. But it is only a matter of time. Look at the reactions in Wisconsin and Occupy Wall Street when the entitlement crowd was asked to give up a small part of their higher-than-market-rate benefits.

See Two Pictures that Perfectly Capture the Rise and Fall of the Welfare State:

These images are remarkably accurate. The welfare state starts with small programs targeted at a handful of genuinely needy people. But as  politicians figure out the electoral benefits of expanding programs and people figure out the that they can let others work on their behalf, the ratio of producers to consumers begins to worsen.

Eventually, even though the moochers and looters should realize that it is not in their interest to over-burden the people pulling the wagon, the entire system breaks down.

Then things get really interesting. Small nations such as Greece can rely on permanent bailouts from bigger countries and the IMF, but sooner or later, as larger nations begin to go bankrupt, that approach won’t be feasible.

Here are some lessons from the European crisis that would help us, if only the voters would come to their senses and elect some leaders with the courage to carry them out, instead of continually electing people who fail at basic economics:

1. Higher taxes lead to higher spending, not lower deficits. Miss Morandotti looks at the evidence from Europe and shows that politicians almost always claim that higher taxes will be used to reduce red ink, but the inevitable result is bigger government. This is a lesson that gullible Republicans need to learn – especially since some of them want to acquiesce to a tax hike as part of the “Supercommitee” negotiations.

2. A value-added tax would be a disaster. This was music to my ears sinceI have repeatedly warned that the statists won’t be able to impose a European-style welfare state in the United States without first imposing this European-style money machine for big government.

3. A welfare state cripples the human spirit. This was the point eloquently made by Hadley Heath of the Independent Women’s Forum in a recent video.

4. Nations reach a point of no return when the number of people mooching off government exceeds the number of people producing. Indeed, Miss Morandotti drew these two cartoons showing how the welfare state inevitably leads to fiscal collapse.

5. Bailouts don’t work. This also was a powerful lesson. Imagine howmuch better things would be in Europe if Greece never received an initial bailout. Much less money would have been flushed down the toilet and this tough-love approach would have sent a very positive message to nations such as Portugal, Italy, and Spain about the danger of continued excessive spending.

On bullying: Why are products of Darwinian evolution surprised that products of Darwinian evolution behave like products of Darwinian evolution?

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Sorry for the less-than-pithy title, but I spelled it out to emphasize the multiple inconsistencies of the Leftist/Darwinian crowd that poses as part of the anti-bullying movement.

First, I want to be clear that I oppose all bullying.*  For example, I know many gay/lesbian people, and I would defend them if they were bullied just as I would defend other sinners who were getting bullied.  I’m just predisposed to protect the weak and defenseless, such as the unborn.

OK, back to whaling on the Leftist Darwinists: For starters, they don’t mind bullying as long as they are the bullies.  See the Expelled! movie, for example.  They are so “confident” in their views that they delight in using their power to silence opposing views, end careers, etc.  Academic bullying is still bullying.  The root of bullying is cowardice and fear, and they display it regularly.

And if they really believed what they claim they’d concede that there is no grounding to criticize bullying.  Oh, we all know it is wrong, but in a molecules-to-man worldview you can write volumes trying to rationalize objective morality (and they do try!) but you always end up losing.  It turns out to be “truth is relative” morality that they have no logical grounds to expect others to follow unless forced to.

And of course, if there is no God and we are purely the result of the Darwinian mechanism, then it is to “blame” for bullying.  How could you hold the bullies accountable? They were born that way.

Finally, wouldn’t bullying be a positive in the Darwinian worldview?  You know, survival of the fittest, the strong preying on the weak and all that.  Why do they get squeamish and give up a core principle of their cherished worldview?

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* My official, one-size-fits-all anti-bullying policy, offered here for the public domain and available for use by all school districts, free of charge:

If you physically or verbally harass other students on or off school grounds, including the Internet, you will have swift and serious consequences. It doesn’t matter if you are bullying because they are gay/straight/fat/thin/smart/dumb/pretty/ugly/etc., or if it is just because you are a mean jerk.

Training over. You don’t need LGBTQ sex clubs in schools to prevent bullying.  That is just a Trojan Horse.