Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Challenge of a Changing World

"God's Word does not change.  God's world, however, changes in every generation. These changes, in addition to new findings by scholars and a new variety of challenges to the gospel message, call for the church in each generation to interpret and apply God's Word for God's people." The Editors of The New American Commentary: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs

Similar things are said in N.T. Wright's foreword to "The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited." 

Wright says that "[p]art of the genius of genuine Christianity is that each generation has to think it through afresh. Precisely because (so Christians believe) God wants every single Christian to grow up in understanding as well as trust, the Christian faith has never been something that one generation can sort out in such a way as to leave their successors with no work to do."

He continued: "Like a young man inheriting a vast fortune, such a legacy could just make you lazy. All you'd have to do would be to look up things in the book, or to remember how it was when your favourite pastor used to do it, and that would be it. No room for character. No room for full human maturity--never mind full Christian maturity."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Lupe Fiasco Lists his Top Lyricists in 2014

In June, Lupe Fiasco appeared on Hot 97 to discuss But when asked who he thought were the best lyricists in the rap world, he listed 5 MCs.

1. MF Doom
2. King Los
3. Logic (over Kendrick)
4. Cassidy
5. Hollow Da Don

He also mentioned that he was feeling Young Thug and Big K.R.I.T.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Reason I Voted Third Party in 2008 and Independent in 2012

The reason I voted third party for president in 2008, and voted independent for president in 2012 was I expected another grueling recession--a recession that doesn't have to end. For example, Japan was in a recession for 20 years and is now in a recession again.

I repeat, it doesn't have to end, in the same way that police violence doesn't have to end if nothing changes.

Deleterious, recession-exacerbating policies aren't automatically obliterated once a new president has been sworn in; and hardly are they repealed by that president. 

In fact, the next guy--in the name of saving the economy--can implement something worse and keep us down for many years.

For those reasons I couldn't vote for Obama, Romney, or McCain. Where were the differences in terms of economics and foreign policy? Civil liberties? The differences were marginal.

Libertarian economists long have believed that the worst has yet to come.

But we need the right person to alleviate the worst that has yet to come and to implement policies that will actually engender recovery -- versus someone like Obama who merely provided the illusion of saving the economy and bringing about a real recovery.

Senator Rand Paul might be that guy, and by definition he would be on the big ticket if he became the GOP nominee, so there would be less of a need to vote third party, if any. But he needs to tweak a few things; he's not as an easy pick for President as his father was. 

But that is a later post.

So is the reason why I expected "another grueling recession." But that can be summed up in a few words: "raising interest rates."

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Greg Bahnsen Lectures (MP3s)

My X-mas list:

  1. Critical Thinking Course $28.50
  2. The Philosophy of Christianity $34.50 
  3. Evangelize or Fossilize (Parts 1-4) $1.50 each
  4. Is Evolution Scientific (Parts 1-2) $1.50 each
  5. The Place of Evidence in Apologetics (Parts 1-3) $1.50 each
  6. Michael Martin Under the Microscope $18.00
  7. The Place of Logic and Emotion (Part 1-2) $1.50 each
  8. The Problem of Evil (Parts 1-3) $1.50 each

Michael Jordan is a Reformed Calvinist

I typed that headline jokingly. I don't know what he believes in. But he is quoted as saying the following in "How To Be Like Mike" by Pat Williams:

""I don't believe in 'if,'" Jordan said. "I think there has always been a plan for my life and that I don't have any control over it. Everything that happens was determined in advance.

...I read the Bible a lot. I see that whatever happens, happens for a reason."

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fyodor Dostoevsky on men who believe their own lies

"A man who lies to himself and believes his own lies becomes unable to recognize truth, either in himself or anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself and others. When he has no respect for anyone, he can no longer love, and in order to divert himself, having no love in him, he yields to his impulses, indulging in the lowest form of pleasure, and behaves, in the end, like an animal, in satisfying his vices. It all comes from lying ... lying to others and lying to yourself."

~Fyodor Dostoevsky, "The Brothers Karamazov"

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Benjamin Netanyahu Going Overboard by destroying terrorist homes

While a non-interventionist, I don't believe the attack in Jerusalem yesterday had anything to do with (foreign policy-related) blowback.  I do, however, think it might have been a revenge killing, which is also unjustified.

However, rightly shooting the two terrorists on the spot was a "harsh" enough response. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is going overboard, as he vowed a "harsh response," according to the BBC, and ordered the homes of the terrorists to be destroyed.


They received the justice they were due. Why does the state have to poke its chest out and destroy property? Why can't someone else live in it?

Let's put it this way: Why can't the state be a little more creative and turn the place where these thugs breathed and dreamt hate and turn it to something good? Unless you think someone just as hateful will occupy that residence next, then I don't see any justification for destroying it (and even then, I don't see justification for destroying property). But that's a pressumption I'm not ready to make.

Or maybe the most fiscally responsible thing to do is leave their houses alone, except for maybe a possible investigation of the premises.

Bombing potential evidence seems to be careless.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

On being an autodidact and listening to the Holy Spirit

I recently said something about being self-taught, or an autodidact. I do have one Person that has been guiding me this entire time: The Holy Spirit.

He has been my greatest teacher. I didn't put those books in my hands. And it has been a blessing seeing all of these things come together.

It ain't all about me. I'm sorry for making it about me sometimes. 

Reading is Fundamental, but ...

"Reading is fundamental, but misreading is fundamentalism." @TweetofGod

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Ghost Protégé

One of the top Christian libertarian writers in the world has now written two articles prompted by and mentioning me – seven and a half pages on a Word Document, single-spaced, and about 3,613 words.

This is ghost apprenticeship, as they were written to guide my professional and entrepreneurial endeavors, and I am the ghost. Or maybe I should call it “distance apprenticeship.” Think letters to a Young….self-taught economist, self-taught philosophical theologian, writer, and Reformed Christian, wrapped all in one – and through a computer.

He said of my Maryland-based project, which will remain unnamed, that it “is a very good project.” Elsewhere, he wrote that he hopes I have something to say.

For this I am thankful.


The Ghost Protégé

Sunday, October 26, 2014

John Owen on bringing the body into subjection

"A man can have leanness of body and leanness of soul together." ~John Owen 

Sermon Notes: Functional Atheism -- not atheism proper -- is what Psalm 53 is all about

The sermon's text Psalm 53:1-6 (NRSV).
Fools say in their hearts, “There is no God.”
 They are corrupt, they commit abominable acts;
 there is no one who does good.

God looks down from heaven on humankind
 to see if there are any who are wise,
 who seek after God.

They have all fallen away, they are all alike perverse;
 there is no one who does good,
 no, not one.

Have they no knowledge, those evildoers,
 who eat up my people as they eat bread,
 and do not call upon God?

There they shall be in great terror,
 in terror such as has not been.
 For God will scatter the bones of the ungodly; they will be put to shame, for God has rejected them.

O that deliverance for Israel would come from Zion!
 When God restores the fortunes of his people,
 Jacob will rejoice; Israel will be glad.
  • This text is not about atheism proper i.e. what Richard Dawkins spends time thinking about and what Christian apologists think about refuting; rather, it is about functional atheism.
  • Functional atheism says "omniscience [God] does not see sin."
  • Every sin presupposes a functional atheism.
  • Paul quotes Psalm 53 in his indictment of the whole human race. Paul's point was that Jews and Gentiles are estranged from God.
  • "Not the village atheist, and not the village priest" does good (Psalm 53:1).
  • Functional atheists end up hating the people of God (Psalm 53:4). 
  • "Atheists devour ex-atheists," that is, atheists in the functional sense, which would include atheists proper.
  • Atheists proper are very tiny in proportion to functional atheists.
  • Living in sin is living with functional atheism.
  • Sins happens in the presence of God.
  • Sin is always personal with God.
  • The atheist -- the unrepentant sinner -- would kill God if he could. The incarnation, when God took on human flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, made that possible.
  • This [our murder of him] revealed our nature, and it revealed God's loving nature.
  • "Salvation Grace is shaped like God." 
  • Yes, there should be a difference in the lives of believers and non-believers, functional atheists and functional believers, but the difference is in knowing what God is like.
  • We should confess our sins because we messed up our relationship God -- not because we messed up our slate of good deeds that we wanted to perfectly present to God on the Day of Judgment.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Onion gets the 2014 elections -- and all elections -- right

The Onion gets the 2014 elections -- and all elections -- right:
WASHINGTON—Expressing dissatisfaction with the current course the country is taking, voters across the nation told reporters Monday that they are eager to use next month’s midterm elections to help put the United States back on a different wrong track. “We’ve been going down the wrong path for the past few years, and now it’s time to get some new people in there who can lead our country astray in a different direction,” said North Carolina voter Lisa Berkland, adding that Washington D.C. needed an influx of new misguided politicians with their own terrible visions for the country to change the manner in which the nation is veering off course. “It will take a lot of work to turn the country around and ensure a different type of horrible future, but I believe there are candidates out there who have the awful principles and ideologies to march into Washington and do it.” According to recent polls, the majority of Americans believe they can have the biggest influence over changing the wrong direction of the country by not voting.
Voters Excited To Use Midterms To Put Country Back On Different Wrong Track 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Where I went wrong in my last post

"He knows better than that."

I do.

So I'll make a correction. The U.S. got out of the Great Depression by drastically cutting spending; so implementing that very Christian policy brought relatively prosperous times. We eventually had the #1 economy.  But it was temporary.

Christian Policy? Yes.

Christians are urged not to get into debt and the government is prohibited from stealing property--money in this case--for their own uses. Cutting spending is the economic equivalent of the King stealing less property and allowing it's citizens to freely do business.  As Douglas Wilson once put it, "Free markets are the economic expression of the apostolic teaching that we are to serve one another in love."

Even if you couldn't find any exegetical wiggle room to interpret the commandment as applying to the government, thou shalt not covet would still apply to the individual; therefore, and individual king (president) could not covet it's constituents properties.

Imitation of Christians -- a form of behavior modification that doesn't get to the root cause of social ills -- even when secularists don't realize they are imitating Christians, in political policy or personal ethics, will only bring a temporary fix. But it will be a fix.

Lasting prosperity will come when there is a sustained spiritual revival combined with a return to God's law in economic policy. Imitations of it will be temporary. But at least it will work for a while.

That's the part I missed out in my last post. So if you wanted to poke the ultimate hole in my last post, you could easily have pointed out that there was no spiritual revival, I think, or at least another "Great Awakening" in the mid-1940s in the United States.

How President Obama Can Be Elected a Third Time

President Obama can be elected a third time in one sense: if enough people who promote his deleterious agenda -- both his maintenance and expansion of the Keynesian status quo in economic policy and the Bush foreign policy -- are elected, then the current president will "in effect" be re-elected.

In other words, George W. Bush could be elected a fifth time if not much changes in the upcoming elections in this year and the years ahead.

But now that I think about it, this might actually be encouragement to the wrong people.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Ultimate Problem in the World and Why I Was Part of the Problem

The Ultimate Problem in the World

Sure. I'll drop a political status now and then. But I withdrew from making them because I knew that the ultimate problem in our society is neither a politician nor a system of thought (say, Socialism).

The problem is sin; and public enemy #1 is Satan himself (1 Peter 5:8), who keeps us in his grip (his kingdom) by sin itself.

We live in a society that loves sin and brags about it (Romans 1:32).

All those things that bring us down--antinomianism (lawlessness), to sum up the countless other "isms" that arise from that like liberalism, conservatism, relativism, libertarianism, socialism, secularism, etc. -- spring from the human heart. It's going to take a lot of people recognizing the seriousness of sin, and a lot of regeneration of human hearts by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, for nations to collectively prosper again (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Editor's Note: I make a correction in a later post to note that a return to God's law in economics is necessary. See here.

Why I'm Part of the Problem

I take blame because I served sin and was not in a position to follow Jesus Christ. Jesus says that anyone who commits sin becomes a slave to it (John 8:34). But that's not the case for me anymore.  No, sir. And it's so liberating turning your life over to Jesus Christ, having faith in resurrection, and being justified by his blood (Romans 5:9).

And the thing is, even if you are doing great in all other areas of your life, and obeying God in all other areas of your life, but denying him and rebelling against him in one, like I did; when you are allowing a "little yeast" to "leaven the whole batch of dough" (1 Cor 5:6); you are violating the whole law (James 2:10), giving up potential conquest of kingdom territory, and allowing territory to remain in the Enemy's hands. 

So when I didn't obey God years ago, in that one area of life, it slowly grew into all areas of my life.  I gave off the veneer of being righteous; when really I was pretending. Because my hypocrisy moved through the whole batch of dough slowly, I came off as a very righteous person for a while.

And so what goes for the layman (myself) also goes for politicians. 

When we deny God's law in one area, say, sexual ethics, we end up denying him in another, say, monetary policy.

I remember during the Michael Brown-Harry Knox debate a few years back when Knox (a gay Christian), once blurted out something to the effect of "why don't you spend your time criticizing all those people who are ruining the economy?"

Ahh, but if Knox doesn't stand on the Word of God in his sexual ethics, why should the financial manglers stand on the Word of God in their finances?

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil."

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Monday, September 29, 2014

My favorite verse on Lecrae's "Anomaly"

In high school
we tried to act all tough
I remember a couple times
I couldn't back that up
Like when I ran from them vatos, scuffing up my zapatos
Scared of losing my hide
I was so embarrassed inside
If I could go back in time
I would stand and say something like
I ain't never scared, 
never scared, never scared
I'm lying, I'm scared of these thoughts in my head
I'm scared of possibly pushing people right over the ledge
When I say I pledge allegiance to the struggle
Then, I turn around and buckle
Under stress and under pressure
Bible on my dresser that can teach my pain a lesson
But I rather not address it
Address that's in depression
I'm scared if I confess it
That you gon' look at me like I'm something less
And I'm such a mess

"Fear" by Lecrae, from the "Anomaly" album

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My favorite Ceelo verse

Struggling's just a part of my day
Many obstacles been placed in my way
I know the only reason that I make it through
Is because I never stop believing in you
Some people wonder why we're here in the 1st place
They can't believe because they ain't never seen your face
But even when you pray, the next day you gotta try
Can it wait for nobody to come down out the sky
You've got to realize that the world's a test
You can only do your best and let him do the rest
You've got your life, you've got your health
So quit procrastinating and push it yourself
You've got to realize that the world's a test
You can only do your best and let him do the rest
You've got your life, you've got your health
So quit procrastinating

~Ceelo, From Outkast's "In Due Time" 1997

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lecrae's "Anomaly" remains just that despite contemporary influences

Albums exist in the idiom of their times.

Lecrae's new album, "Anomaly," is no different. It is very Outkast-ish on a few tracks, Ludacris-like on one song, Drake-ish on the hook of one song, parts of one song has a 2pac/West coast feel, and towards the end of the album it's gets pretty contemporary Christian; but to mention all of those is highly misleading. 

"Anomaly" remains very original even in those few--I stress the word "few"--times the beats, hooks, bridges (or whatever you call them) remind you of something off Aquemini or someone contemporary.  Lecrae's delivery sounds like his own for most of the time, except when he's interacting with a popular song, or at least using something modern to accomplish his own purposes. Overall, the album was more cohesive and polished than "Gravity." Still less theological than "Rebel" and not as raw. But it is a job well done. 

I'd give it an 8.5/10 at best, and reluctantly give it a 7.9/10 at worst. Reluctantly. 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

John Owen on the Mortification of Sin

"Mortification from a self-strength, carried on by ways of self-invention, to the end of a self-righteousness, is the soul and substance of all false religion in the world." ~John Owen, The Mortification of Sin

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Foreign Policy: It's time to give up Washington Wizardry

Just two weeks ago, President Obama didn't have a plan for fighting the terrorist group ISIL. Now this evening at 9 P.M., on TV screens and live streams everywhere, he will be giving us a plan for how the U.S. Military will be involved for 3 more years in the Middle East.

This means that since last week the best and brightest witches, warlocks and wizards in the Cabinet have steadily been adding all sorts of ingredients to the White House kitchen cauldron, all of which have been in the White House fridge since the Bush years.

"Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble." ~Macbeth, Act 4, Scene 1

But the lesson from the Obama presidency should be that politicians can't plan the outcomes of war anymore than they can plan the outcomes in the economy. The only person with intelligence that great is God.

Central planning, both in the realm of foreign policy and domestic policy, has evidently failed before our eyes these last 14 years. What hasn't been tried is freedom.

It's time to give Washington wonkery up.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The empire ain't loyal: The U.S. switch on ISIS

America is an empire in decline.

George Carlin was somewhat right when he said, "We like war, because we are good at it." Actually, we're only good at bombing random targets, as of late. We didn't win Iraq, for it's being taken over. We won't win in Syria. We won't win in Iran or any other country. We won't win against ISIS in whatever country they are in, at least not through the Empire's usual methods. And just think, ISIS was our partner just last year in the fight against Assad. One can only wonder when we are done with ISIS if we are going to then turn the gun on our potential partner Assad?

These bureaucrats ain't loyal.

To me Assad seems like another Saddam Hussein: if the U.S. Government ever decides to oust him again, which they did just last year, then something worse will come and fill the vacuum; and then soon we will be tempted to fight whatever comes to fill the vacuum -- just like we are tempted to fight ISIS in Syria now.

What seems to be occurring are modified versions of Bastiat's "Broken Window Fallacy," also referred to as the fallacy of the "seen and the unseen."

We see, for example, the bombs deployed, the targets in Israel hit, Osama Bin Laden killed, etc. That is, we fall victim to "the persistency of a given policy, or it's effects only on a special group, and neglect to inquire what the long-run effects of that policy will be not only on that special group but on all groups. It is the fallacy of overlooking secondary consequences." 

But what we don't see are the those long-run effects: more hatred of America, more potential blowback, more leverage for the recruitment of Jihadists, all of which will be used to bomb more people and accelerate the cycle of violence.

And all of this attests to one thing: whether it's economic policy or foreign policy, which the economics should always be considered, the big wigs in Washington still have absolutely no clue what they're doing. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Calvin Knox Cummings on the Separation of Church and State

"The state is not to govern the church; Christ governs the church through the leaders he chooses. The church is not to rule the state; it is to instruct the state to encourage and protect righteousness (1 Peter 2:14; Proverbs 14:34; Deuteronomy 18:28,19)." Calvin Knox Cummings, "Confessing Christ"

Sunday, August 17, 2014

How I beat Amazon and bought nine books for $6.00 at the Library

Libraries can be a great resource for finding books at dirt cheap prices.

I went to the library this past Saturday with no intention on buying books. In fact, it didn't even cross my mind that I could buy books there. I haven't bought a book from a library since 2010 -- and that was in South Carolina, not a Maryland library (I did buy some used books from my university in Pennsylvania  that year and they did have to collect money via cashier. I discuss the drop box vs. cashier factor below.). All I wanted was a place to conduct quiet study, but then I noticed there was a book store within the library.

The books I picked up were written by some of the best authors of all time (of course, with time, all "all-time greatests" lists keep growing with the number of books that come out.)

My local library had a 3 paperbacks for $1.00 sale. And sold each paperback for $0.50. Each hardcover book was a dollar each.

Here is what I picked up:

$1.00 each

-Three Trillion Dollar War: The True Cost of the Iraq Conflict by Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes

-Selected Poetry and Prose by Percy Bysshe Shelley

-Collected Poems: 1909-1935 by T.S. Eliot

-Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens

3 Paperbacks for $1.00

-Eight Tales of Terror by Edgar Allen Poe

-The Last Battle (Book #7 of the Chronicles of Narnia Series) by C.S. Lewis

-Foundation (from the Foundation Series) by Isaac Asimov


-Perelandra (Book #2 in the Space Trilogy) by C.S. Lewis

-The Nature of Greek Myths by G.S. Kirk

The total amount spent was $6.00.

One of the benefits of spending an extra 10 minutes perusing through the used book shelves was that I found a book that I always wanted to read that was at a much higher price when it first came out or at was least closer to the original publication date. That book was Trillion Dollar War.

There are three ways this sale beat Amazon. 

First, there was no shipping and handling. Even though there is a copy of Trillion Dollar War for $0.01 in the used book section on right now, the $3.99 shipping and handling would have pushed up the total amount spent.

Second, I can preview the inside of a used book. If I didn't like it, if it had too many markings that would have distracted me from my personal study and note-taking process, then I could have put it down. You can not do this with Amazon purchases. Rather, you are left to put faith in the description of the product. For example, the penny book mentioned above, which would have no longer been a penny once shipping and handling kicked in, has the following description on Amazon: "Used may contain ex-library marking, notes or highlighting, may no longer have it a dust jacket." (I didn't correct the grammar.) In other words, you wouldn't know what condition it came in. I've never tried it, although I have thought about it, but perhaps you can ask an Amazon dealer what exactly is in the book. Again, I never tried that route. But that could potentially take forever.

But then comes the price factor: the library book would still be cheaper and you would have it immediately. Literally, at this library in Maryland and the library in South Carolina there were money drop boxes next to the used books shelves. You would virtually walk away from the book shelf with your book. And please, don't steal (Exodus 20:15). In both of my experiences there were no receipts, cash registers, or cashiers involved.

Third, there is no shipping and handling for all books combined. This is important because Amazon (or the dealer through Amazon) charges $3.99 per book, even if the books are coming from the same seller. I could be mistaken, but I have yet to see an exception to this. So nine books at $0.01 each would still be $35.91 in shipping alone through Amazon. When you add the nine pennies (the price of the books combined) that's $36.00.

In other words, I paid $6.00 in the library for what could have costed me $36.00 online.

Just a side note: I recently attempted to purchase a "New" or Used but "Like New" book on Amazon from a dealer and it never came after 20 days. I purchased it July 15. Amazon told me it would arrive on August 5. I waited and complained maybe a day or two later. I didn't even get a shipping notice there entire time. The dealer was new. I canceled and they never deposited my money anyway. Amazon was very fast investigating my claim.

Other benefits of buying from the library include being able to find books from famous authors that you never heard of before. Everyone has heard of Charles Dickens' David Copperfield (I think), but I had never heard of Martin Chuzzlewit (perhaps I'm showing my -- lack of -- Dickens knowledge here). Granted, that seems to be the oldest book from above stack. It certainly smells old. But that's the price I paid. All of the other books were in great shape. All but one of the books had markings in them (and the mind chap had the courtesy to write in pencil). And all except one of them had that "old book" smell. But even after I opened it up a few times, the smell went away. 

I now have books from some of the greatest authors ever, for cheap.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Why can't we all just get along?

Why can't we all just get along?

Because we all have worldviews that necessarily conflict.

And if a worldview is true, and something within that worldview requires its holders to spread and impose that worldview, then it must.

I have I no objection to that...

...because I have no objection to truth.

So if the violent Christian-beheading Muslims within the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS) want to impose their view through the sword -- or the gun -- I have no objective objection to that outside of the objective truth of Christianity, for I would only have my subjective opinion.

But it's precisely and only because I am a Christian that I can condemn tyranny. It is on those grounds that I can say that ISIS is departing from "The Way," that they are sinning.

The person who believes that no one should believe in conquest himself believes in conquest; it's just conquest by another name: secularism.

If secularists were really consistent then they would have been the secular version of what I was for three years: a libertarian anarchist. They can't simultaneously oppose theocratic imposition of values through the government, but then turn around and want to impose their own. (Of course, on secular terms it's really impossible to be consistent about anything)

But look at the alternative view of Christianity. Jesus advocated conquest, too. But it was a conquest by discipleship, love, Kingship, and stewardship -- all of which starts with God regenerating the individual through the Holy Spirit.

But isn't Christianity a matter of subjective opinion to the Christian as much as Islam is a subjective opinion to the Muslim?

No. Because the God of the Bible is the true one. His and only his opinion is objective in any meaningful sense of the word. Only one God is the author for external reality.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Video: C-SPAN hosts Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth for 40 minutes

I never thought I would see this on C-Span. 

But C-SPAN gave 40 minutes to Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth founder to explain why he (and many) thinks that it was highly unlikely that Building 7 of the World Trade Center collapsed because of an office fire -- the official explanation for the collapse of the only building that didn't get hit by an airplane on September 11, 2001 -- and floated the idea that it was destroyed by controlled demolition. He definitely wants an additional investigation and reports that people that have looked into it already believe that the 9/11 Commission report of the early 2000s was rigged to fail.

His group has 2,000+ architects and engineers across the world that dissent from the official story. (Reminds me of the Dissent from Darwin crowd)

The fact that a major respectable publication such as C-SPAN is giving them a voice is HUGE.

And let's not forget that -- as Gage himself points out -- we started the longest war in American history because of this event.

I think that's it's an important issue but it's down the priority list if I was POTUS in 2016. The economy and the debt is always first. But I think that it should be pursued.

There are several very smart people that don't believe the official story. In fact, it was Paul Craig Roberts, a former official of the Reagan Administration, that tipped me off to the video in an August 3, 2014 blog post.

Gary North also thinks that the whole thing is fishy.

I'm recently discovering this within the last 10 minutes but Roberts wrote a column reviewing David Ray Griffin's book "Debunking 9/11 Debunking." The column is well worth a read either before or after watching the above video. There is a least one website that sets out to "Debunk" 9/11 truthers, the people who don't believe the official story they were told about 9/11. Griffin's book indirectly addresses them, I assume.

Read Roberts' review first. Then watch the video. Then read North's column.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Notes about Geoffrey Chaucer from a Literary Conference in Alexandria, Va.

I recently attended a literary conference in Alexandria, Va.

Most of the people there knew much more about fiction and poetry than I did. That's not a very hard thing to accomplish. In fact, my whole purpose for attending the conference was to learn from them -- to be a sponge.

Let me wring out that sponge a little bit: According to the main speaker, Geoffrey Chaucer seems to be having a lot of fun when he is writing the Canterbury Tales. He was being very playful with his readers and it is fun reading him.

"No shame in making a farce in himself," my notes read. I think I meant "of himself" but you know how clumsy fast note-taking can be.

There's some illegible stuff in my notes, but the rest of the next sentence in question says "… yet charming, narrator based on himself."

I like the fact that this speaker pointed out that his "writing reflects his skill as a reader," according to my notes. He was very "intertexual"; that is, he "brings multiple stories together and sees them talking." He takes different authors -- perhaps before him and contemporary with him -- and makes them talk in his stories.

Then some time in history there was a "vowel shift" in the English language (I guess). My notes aren't very detailed on that point. However, apparently people were taught how to read Chaucer after this vowel shift. Maybe not. There's also a note about someone paying "lip service to Chaucer, more marginal," whatever that means.

Also, Chaucer influenced Shakespeare. The speaker also said that Edmund Spenser was an influence to Shakespeare; and I might add, this influence was contemporary, too, as Spenser is only 12 years older than Shakespeare.

In fact, Spenser was what Shakespeare wanted and tried to be, according to the speaker; and Spencer wanted to be Chaucer, who lived two centuries before both of them.

Picture: Relic from the Ron Paul 2012 Campaign

Definitely one of the most exciting campaigns in recent history -- a game-changer in terms of shifting public opinion towards a freedom-oriented philosophy. Two years passed and one thing is for sure: the Paulian influence on public policy is here to stay.

Click the picture to see one of the most brilliant economic plans in history for the United States of America from Dr. Ron Paul.

Senator Rand Paul has issued his own budget each year. Click here to see the latest one.

It is inferior to his father's plan on many levels (Ron's plan balances the budget in 3 years. Rand's plan balances the budget in 5 years. Ron eliminates and lowers taxes. Rand's introduces a new tax, the flat tax, a regressive tax that will raise taxes on the poor (bad) and lower taxes for the wealthier (good).

But since Ron's plan is politically irrelevant -- unless Rand will in the unlikely event ditches his own and embraces his father's -- there are many good things to say about the Rand Paul.

According to a FreedomWorks analysis of Rand's 2013 plan and a few others' plans, the public debt will be $12.0 trillion in ten years from the plans implementation, which almost takes us back to the Bush II years-size debt.

Picture: Answer Coalition Flier on Iran

I must have gotten this from some rally that I attended years ago. It's in the trash as of a few minutes ago, but I thought I'd take a picture for memory's sake. Click each pic to see the facts.

Check out the Answer Coalition here

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Most Christian President in History -- and what his politics looked like

The last self-consciously Christian President was Presbyterian Grover Cleveland, who favored a gold standard, low taxes, free trade, and who vetoed more bills in two terms than any other President in history. (He had been known as the "veto mayor" of Buffalo, New York.) He served two terms, 1885-89 and 1893-97. From that point on, Christian politics slid down the road toward modern statism.
Gary North, Honest Money (p.133)

Those are his principles. Wikipedia has this nice summary:
Cleveland was the leader of the pro-business Bourbon Democrats who opposed high tariffs, Free Silver, inflation, imperialism, and subsidies to business, farmers, or veterans. His crusade for political reform and fiscal conservatism made him an icon for American conservatives of the era.[1] Cleveland won praise for his honesty, self-reliance, integrity, and commitment to the principles of classical liberalism.[2] He relentlessly fought political corruption, patronage and bossism. Indeed, as a reformer his prestige was so strong that the like-minded wing of the Republican Party, called "Mugwumps", largely bolted the GOP presidential ticket and swung to his support in the 1884 election.[3]
Libertarians tend to acknowledge Cleveland as one of the better U.S. president in American history when asked who is the best president. Mr. Libertarian himself, Murray Rothbard, the founder of modern Libertarian, thought that Martin Van Buren was the "best" (least bad) U.S. He briefly mentions Grover Cleveland and his major screw-up: the interstate commerce commission.

For more reading, check out the links below:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Douglas Wilson on False Teachers

False teachers do not knock on your door with a brief case full of literature, and say, “Hello, I am here from the devil, and I have come to lead you into eternal torments.” That kind of stuff never makes it into the brochures.
The Mind of A Free Man | Douglas Wilson 

Gun Control Advocates' Ignorance of Russia, Mexico, and Brazil's Higher Murder Rates

Gun control zealots' choice of Britain for comparison with the United States has been wholly tendentious, not only because it ignored the history of the two countries, but also because it ignored other countries with stronger gun control laws than the United States, such as Russia, Brazil and Mexico. All of these countries have higher murder rates than the United States.
Thomas Sowell, Invincible Ignorance 

The government-approved King James Bible

King James disapproved of the Geneva Bible because of its Calvinistic leanings. He also frowned on what he considered to be seditious marginal notes on key political texts. A marginal note for Exodus 1:9 indicated that the Hebrew midwives were correct in disobeying the Egyptian king's orders, and a note for 2 Chronicles 15:16 said that King Asa should have had his mother executed and not merely deposed for the crime of worshipping an idol. The King James Version of the Bible grew out of the king's distaste for these brief but potent doctrinal commentaries. He considered the marginal notes to be a political threat to his kingdom.
The Geneva Bible: The Forgotten Translation, Gary DeMar

Douglas Wilson on "Apologetics and the Heart"

Good reasons, good defenses come from good hearts. If I am only prepared intellectually, I am not prepared intellectually. ~Douglas Wilson
If a man won't obey God in how he treats his wife, then why would he obey God in how he thinks? Rebellion tolerated anywhere will spread everywhere. ~Douglas Wilson
Douglas Wilson's essay "Apologetics and the Heart" is the kind of essay that you should already know the conclusion to but you read it anyway for the edification -- and to see how the author reasons (or exegetes) to the conclusion.

Read it here.

Comment if you have problems with the link.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Lucy" perpetuates the "10 percent of your brain" myth

Scarlett Johansson's new movie "Lucy" is unfortunately is based upon the myth that humans only use 10 percent of their brain.

A quick Wikipedia search turns up evidence against the idea. My personal favorite is this one:
Studies of brain damage: If 90% of the brain is normally unused, then damage to these areas should not impair performance. Instead, there is almost no area of the brain that can be damaged without loss of abilities. Even slight damage to small areas of the brain can have profound effects. [Editor's note: It seems like a no-brainer, doesn't it?]
For more refutations of this myth, go here, here, and here.
Screenshot of Scarlet Johansson in the "Lucy" trailer
This is a myth so important to me that many years back I set my intellectual goals based upon this myth, goals that I still have today (see the last picture and you can infer what my goals are).

And yet, I didn't find out until this year that this wasn't true.

I am not, however, embarrassed by my ignorance. It's easy to believe that was the case because of what I was reading because of this myth, or at least with this myth in mind (Buzan's book below being the most influential).

Coupled with my readings of Jesus' teaching of the greatest commandment to "Love The Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and" -- especially this next one -- "with all thy mind," a teaching which itself was a reiteration of Deuteronomy 6:5, this myth propelled me into the pursuit of Christian intellectualism.

 Or at least, it gave it some new steam.

But at this point the details of my college years when all this began becomes murky.

My Religion Shelf
That is I do not remember what came first, my discovery of this myth, or my discovery of this Bible verse being interpreted in that way, but I think can make some pretty good deductions (Without a doubt I read that bible verse many times before).

As for the myth itself, I think someone told it to me in college.

I was spending a lot of time on the ChristianLogic website in 2008 and 2009, which emphasized Christians use of logic. 

I ordered the "God Delusion Debate DVD" featuring John Lennox and Richard Dawkins from a creationist online store in 2008 and no later than 2009 (I think it was 2008 because my campus ministry had a discussion based on this DVD and I think that was in the fall semester). It was either in that DVD or in the "Science and the God Question" DVD that Lennox emphasized that Jesus told us to love God with our whole mind (or maybe it was an internet video with him). And I checked out the above book "Habits of the Mind: Intellectual Life as a Christian Calling" by James W. Sire on an interlibrary loan in 2009 (some other college in Pennsylvania had it), although I don't think I completed it until the summer of 2010 (different copy).

A few years back in South Carolina, definitely before 2011, I purchased Tony Buzan's Memory Boot Camp from the Barnes and Noble near Northwoods Mall in North Charleston, South Carolina. I remember it like it was yesterday. The book was in the very front of the store before you walked in. After purchasing it, I started reading the book but then put it down (I usually preview all my books this way).

Buzan's Memory Improvement Book and one of the earliest Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Books
It was Buzan's book that I think did the most to reinforce this myth unintentionally (I don't recall -- no pun intended -- Buzan reciting this myth in the book). For example he writes, "Each of your brain cells is more powerful than a standard personal computer" (p.15). In a true or false quiz, he says that it is false that "the world's best computers are now better than the human brain in their basic potential."

He does write "we use our brains all the time" (p.8) which is line with "we use 100% of our brains." I haven't finished the book but so far he doesn't seem to go as far to say that we use "all of our brain." And the memory expert also says that it is false that "the great geniuses in history such as Leonardo da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Marie Curie, and Albert Einstein probably reached their maximum potential (p. 9). In the answer key, he writes: "False -- the potential of the human brain is limitless."

See, the human brain is limitless (ha! That movie "Limitless" which plays on the same idea of not using all of your brain, was the first thing I was reminded of when the "Lucy"preview came out). Lucy has been vindicated, right? No. Because potential is not the same as function. As a matter of function we use all of our brain. It is active all the time.

But it does serve as a personal case study of when pseudoscience mixes with religion, and in this case the Christian religion. It is no knock on Christianity to have believed in this. As as finite creatures with God's gift of eternal life yet-not-redeemed (not resurrected) there is always potential to know God more intimately than the day before, and to glorify your creator in the exercising of your mind.

It is a knock on popular culture, the media outlets that repeated this claim, and perhaps the scientific establishment for letting the claim proliferate (granted, brain science probably had to catch up).

Am I better off because of this myth? Yes, because it motivated me to stuff my brain with all sorts of interesting things and exercise my brain in new kinds of ways.

Do we need a little myth in our life to all be better off as a society? No. 

I mean, it's not like people still debate in 2014 whether we should lie to improve society or promote ideas right?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Harvey Bluedorn's Excellent Insights on Christian Apologetics

From his pamphlet titled "Logical Defense of the Faith":
"To be properly prepared to defend the faith is really to be properly prepared to believe the faith. This is not just an appendix attached to the Christian religion. This is part of the essential Christian life. We should know — or at least be learning — how to defend our faith against all opposition, such that when we are done, our opposition has nothing to say — they are reduced to the assertions of their own imaginations. They will either admit we are speaking the truth, or they will try to shout us down and drown us out, or worse, they will try to put us away. That is the kind of faith in action which drives away the darkness and turns the world around." ~Harvey Bluedorn
"God has so ordained that one of the main components of our argument must be us." ~Harvey Bluedorn
"We can try to diagnose the problem, we can assign the blame, and we can ring our hands all we want about the moral and intellectual decline of American culture, but the fact remains that American Culture is in decline precisely because American Christians have been in retreat." ~Harvey Bluedorn
Everybody has a belief system. They ultimately believe in something. Those beliefs also have consequences.  For he says, "It is an inescapable concept. If we do not believe that we believe anything — then that is what we believe. We have to use our belief in order to deny our belief, and that is what I mean by an inescapable concept."

Lecrae put it this way: "Somebody told me there was no such thing as truth / I said if that's the case then why should I believe you?"
More quotes:
"Only one system of belief, or worldview, can be consistent with reality." ~Harvey Bluedorn

"The unbeliever always borrows from the truth in order to build his system. It is like the man who denied the existence of air — all the way up to his last dying breath!" ~Harvey Bluedorn
Simple questions usually provide enough heat to shine light into the darkness. Questions such as "but isn't that your philosophy" when a man says "we should not live by philosophy" exposes the fact that the man is in fact sharing his philosophy, albeit an embarrassing one.

Other quotes:

"The inductive scientific method can never arrive at truth." ~Harvey Bluedorn

"We do not have to know all of the truth in order to stand on what truth we do know," ~Harvey Bluedorn

WCF Chapter One "Of Holy Scripture" Sunday School (Sept.-Oct. 2021)

Our text for Sunday School (also "The Confession of Faith and Catechisms") Biblical Theology Bites What is "Biblical Theology...