Thursday, December 31, 2015

Book Review: Know Why You Believe by Paul E. Little

This review was originally posted on Goodreads.

Image Credit: Amazon. I actually read this 1968 version.

I read this book because it was on a "most influential books on evangelicals" list. I can see why it rightly was on that list. First, I'll briefly go over some positives; and then, some negatives.

"Are Miracles Possible?" was filled with tons of information that was new to me -- and the book is over 40 years old. This attests to either the author's creativity or to this reader's ignorance: I'd like to think it is the former.

The political scientists and analysts at the libertarian think-tank The Cato Institute often talk about the states (all 50 of them in the U.S.) as being "laboratories of democracy." Maryland has high taxes; Florida doesn't. New York has ridiculous rent control laws; other states don't. Through these legislative experiments we can see the effect on people. Some people move away from the states with high taxes, and so on.

In a passage Little briefly recalls atheist philosopher John Stuart Mill's view of divine justice via a quote from Hugh Evan Hopkins. If God were just, or if there was a thing as divine justice, then that justice would look like everyone getting their just reward according to their good deeds and bad deeds.

Little then says the most interesting thing to me in the book: "To see the logical consequences of Mill's "exact reward" concept of God in his dealings with man, we need only turn to Hinduism."

And by turning to Hinduism, and the lands effected by Hinduism, we are looking at "laboratories of theology." What are the results of this "exact reward" atheological experiment when the people believe that the god of the universe creates a system based on the thought of John Stuart Mill?

He continues: "The law of Karma says that all of the actions of life today are the result of the actions of a previous life. Blindness, poverty, hunger, physical deformity, outcastness, and other social agonies are all the outworking of punishment for evil deeds in a previous existence. It would follow that any attempt to alleviate such pain and misery would be an interference with the just ways of God. This concept is one reason why the Hindus did so little for so long for their unfortunates."

Then he presses in even more: "Some enlightened Hindus today are talking about and working toward social progress and change, but they have not yet reconciled this new concept with the clear, ancient doctrine of Karma, which is basic to Hindu thought and life."

In short, modern Hindus speak of reform.

But like with reforming Islam, to reform Hinduism its adherents would have to ignore their scripture.

At one point, in the lands given up this to religion, where one doesn't interfere with another person's karma, we saw people in poverty. Moreover, we also saw these countries taking a lot of time to catch up in wealth to Western countries. In contrast, in Christian U.S.A. we see all of the above social agonies being alleviated rapidly, because the Christian worldview allows for charity and entrepreneurship.

"Do Science and Scripture Conflict?" was golden, but it was not flawless. Little mentions certain presuppositions are necessary to science. This is good. However, the doesn't clamp down on the fact that only under the Christian worldview does science work.

Second, the chapter on archaeology and the Bible was a snooze. But I don't think I should be so crass as to say it was a worthless effort. There are people who attempt to discredit the Bible with archaeology, so it is only right that archaeology be covered.

To have written a book on apologetics 40+ years ago and still have insights that are fresh to a seasoned apologetics consumer (meaning I've watched a lot of debates and read a lot of articles on the subject) is an accomplishment.

Stylistically, this book was immensely quotable: I wanted to tweet every other paragraph. The book also simply ends. There is no final review of the cumulative case for Christianity or a concluding chapter.

I'd keep this book on the influential books list.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

In the past 30 years, the U.S. Federal Government Seized $51 Trillion from its citizens

The U.S. Federal government has taken in $51 Trillion (or $51,000,000,000,000) from its citizens over the past 30 years, official White House numbers show.

According to "Table 1.1—Summary of Receipts, Outlays, and Surpluses or Deficits (-): 1789–2020" on the White House's Office of Budget and Management website, from the years 1985, when Ronald Reagan was president, to 2014, under our current President Obama, the Federal government took in $51,784,162,000,000 -- to be exact.

In other words, five presidents -- President Reagan (Republican), one-term President George H.W. Bush (Republican), two-term President Bill Clinton (Democrat), two-term President George W. Bush (Republican), and two-term President Barack Obama (Democrat) -- presided over the biggest private-to-public wealth transfer in American history.

Nearly every year federal spending went up.

In total, from 1985 to 2014, the U.S. Federal Government outspent more than they took in, spending $62,039,599,000,000 over the 30 year span.

This blog post comes at a time where a constantly resurfacing blog post (true or not) about black Christian churches voluntarily receiving hundreds of billions of dollars over a similar 30 year time span keeps grabbing people's attention on social media.

This blog post attempts to put that in context, if not set it straight altogether.

Despite multiple websites such as AllChristianNews and Urban Intellectuals posting the article, the original source of both posts is a 2009 blog post by HarlemWorldMagazine. The current link is broken. But the original post was archived thanks to the Wayback Machine.

Such blog posts talk about a so-called "return on investment" that black communities are receiving from their churches...

...but one has to wonder what is the real return on "investment" -- because we all know taxes are for investments -- that the black communities are receiving from the U.S. Federal Government.

So black churches have received $420 billion over 30 years (on average $14.3 billion per year) according to the 2009 blog post.  The government took $420 billion over seven times in 2014, or 7.194016 to be more precise.

Over seven times.

Does anyone care?

In fact, the last time the Federal Government took less than $420 billion in a year from its citizens (and remember, this is still by force; non-compliant citizens will go to jail) was 1978.

The HarlemWorldMagazine blog post notes:

“The church has gotten caught up in materialism and greed, a lifestyle. Many ministers today want to live like celebrities and they want to be treated like celebrities. In other words, instead of the church standing with the community, the church has become self-serving. It has strayed away from its mission” according to Dr.Love Henry Whelchel, professor of church history at The Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta.
Ahh yes, materialism....greed...things the Federal government is not guilty of.

It goes on:
LiveSteez’s investigative series will take a forensic editorial approach to quantifying the return to Black America for the $350 billion in tax-favored donations it has given to the Black Church, examining the arguments on both sides of the pulpit. In this series we will seek answers and advisory to the following questions:

- How often and how much do church leaders take advantage of the faith of poor black people?

-We will investigate and indentify (sic) the churches they are showing a strong return on investment that goes beyond inspiration.

- What does the black community have to show for the $350 billion in tax free dollars?

- Expert analysis on what could potentially be done with such a huge amount of money and how it could improve the state of our communities.
- Why do some church leaders refuse to participate in the Grassley congressional Investigation, which requested the financial records of several mega-churches.
And as a counter investigation, the Goins Report will investigate the return of "investment" to all of the United States for prying $51 trillion out of the hands of its citizenry.

We will ask the following questions:
A) How often and how much do politicians take advantage of the faith of poor black people?

B)We will investigate and identify the communities that are showing a strong return on investment that goes beyond inspiration.

C) What does the black community have to show for the $51 trillion in private wealth stolen from them and their fellow non-black citizens?

D) Expert analysis on what could potentially be done with such a huge amount of money and how it could improve the state of our communities.
E) Why do some political institutions, such as the Department of Defense and the U.S. Federal Reserve, refuse to participate in an audit?
Answer Key:

A) All the time.
B) Washington DC and the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs, according to a 2013 report. According to a 2011 report,  Washington DC was the Richest city in the country. Could that be because there is a buzzing bureaucratic state surrounded by tons of lobbyists and workers in the defense and security industries? 
C) Twice as much unemployment as whites.
D) The African-American community would be so rich that they could spend their money on their own education, food, healthcare, etc. 
E) The Fed would claim that an audit interferes with their allegedly politically independent nature. But Rand Paul provides a better answer. And I don't know where to start with the Pentagon, but there is trans-partisan support for an "Audit the Pentagon" bill. Rand Paul supports that too.
 In the end, all of the hysteria over churches is about comparatively nothing. Comparatively.

The author still has serious exegetical problems (scriptural interpretations) of the prosperity preaching. But however "fruitful" misguided prosperity preaching is in convincing people to voluntarily give their income to religious institutions, it pales in comparison to the against the sophistry and use of force by the Federal Government to take money from its citizens.

Not a single person went to jail for not paying their tithes.

But try not paying your taxes and watch what happens.

Secondly, look at how much of a stretch the biased anti-Christian blog posts have to take. They have to go back 30 years to make the Black Church try to resemble anything that looks bad.

On a year-by-year basis, the Black Church on average voluntarily received $14.3 billion, or 14,333,333,333.33 per year.

But one only has to look back to last quarter to make the government look monstrous. In fact, the more you look back at how much the government spends, the more you question. The more you put the church numbers in perspective, the less you feel bad about it.

Religion, in this case, is a red herring -- a distraction -- from the larger issue of state power. In fact, if you want to keep religion involved, then I would say it is the false religion of the state that is at issue here; not true religion; not Christianity.

LiveSteez, by the way, is defunct.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

More Breast Cancer and Flaxseed Resources

Editor's Note: While I am not familiar with the below doctor's work, I am posting his video here because he says what my trusted resources say directly.

Ground Flaxseed and its Role in Breast Cancer Prevention

Takeaways from "Ground Flaxseed and its Role in Breast Cancer Prevention":
    1. Take two tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily. Why not whole flaxseed? Whole flaxseed won't deliver all the nutrients packed in the seed. In seed form, most of the nutrients will pass right through you. There are 800x more flaxseed in any other food that could be mentioned. This is what was said in the video.
    2. As a result, your body will make Phytoestrogens, which is a weak estrogen.These are going to compete with your more dangerous estrogens so that your rate of cell division will slow. 
    3. If the rate of cell multiplication is slower, then it is less likely that genetic mistakes that lead to cancer will occur.
    4. This works! Fibrocystic breast disease patients were given flaxseed and it reversed the condition in a high percentage of women. I actually read a testimony from a Youtube commenter under the previous "Can Flax Seeds Help Prevent Breast Cancer?" videos saying she started a plant-based diet and she reversed her condition (not your most scientific source, of course). Because the flaxseed slowed the rate of cell division, "it shrunk many of the lesions in the breast that were very painful."
    5. Ground flax seed blocks the formation of dangerous estrogrens in the body, including estrogen that's formed in fat cells.
    Sugar Can Increase the Risk of Breast Cancer

    Takeaways from "Sugar Can Increase the Risk of Breast Cancer":

    • Too much fat in the abdominal area produces insulin resistance. Harder for your body to clear blood sugar from your system. Too many starchy food, blood sugar rises.
    • Insulin levels go up when blood sugar goes up. It's the insulin that tells your breast cancer cells to divide more rapidly. 
    • More cancerous mutations are likely to develop when this happens.
    • Once breast cancer cells are formed, they "almost exclusively" rely on blood sugar to thrive. Lots of fuel to spread across entire body.
    • 90ml/decileter best blood sugar
    • exercise
    • endurance exercise
    • Stay away from refined sugars
    • stay away from carbs

    Flaxseed: It's Role in Breast Cancer Prevention

    Editor's Note: The goal is to create an environment in your body where cancer cells can't thrive.

    You may be bummed to see which foods create pro-cancer environments...

    Watch in this order

    Flaxseeds and Breast Cancer Prevention

    Takeaways from "Flaxseeds and Breast Cancer Prevention":

      1. 25 years ago we knew that plant-based dieters had lower cancer rates
      2. They had 3x level of lignans in body
      3. Seeds, vegetables, whole grains, berries responsible for reduction in breast cancer risk
      4. In Petri dish, Lignans do suppress cancer growth but only after plant lignan converted to human lignan by bacteria in the gut
      5. Antibiotics dropped ability to make anti-cancer compounds and weeks to recover that ability.
    Study Completed
    • On women who had pre-cancer or already had cancer, carcinoma in situ
    • Gave teaspoon of ground flax seed for a year
    • KI-67 expression: a proliferation marker that indicates cancer
    • 9/45 women it went up
    • 80% went down
    • less cellular deterioration in breast tissue
    • fewer precancerous changes

    Flaxseeds and Breast Cancer Survival: Epidemiological Evidence

    Takeaways from "Flaxseeds and Breast Cancer Survival: Epidemiological Evidence":
    • Lignans
      • have anti-cancer properties
    • NY Study
      • Found reduced risks of breast cancer mortality
    • Italy Study
      • At surgery, tumors removed
    • Germany study
      • Postmenopausal women
      • High serum lignan levels have better survival
      • Most lignans lived the longest and the longest disease-free
    • Conclusion
      • Robust clinical evidence needed
      • Not based on lab and population alone

    Flaxseeds and Breast Cancer Survival: Clinical Evidence

    Takeaways from "Flaxseeds and Breast Cancer Survival: Clinical Evidence":
    • Review: Population results referenced in the previous video were promising
    • Begins to feed women flax seeds
    • Tamoxifen – a breast cancer treatment drug
      • 6 weeks, endostatin levels in breasts go up
      • Endostatin levels going up is a good thing because it stops tumors from hooking up with the blood supply
      • Same thing happens when you add little under a quarter cup of ground flax seed to daily diet
      • Flax seed didn’t seem as powerful as the chemo
    • Second study: Flaxseed muffin 25g/placebo
      • Flax seed: richest source of lignans 800x higher than five dozen other plant foods
      • Study had tumor biopsy before study started
      • 5 weeks after flax tumor sample
      • Tumor cell proliferation go down
      • Cancer cell death goes down
      • c-erbB2 score: indicator of cancer aggressiveness , indicates potential for cancer metastasis
      • c-erbB2 score goes down
    • Conclusion
      • Quote: “Dietary flaxseed has the potential to reduce tumor growth in patients with breast cancer.”
      • FURTHER: They said that if the study was sustained flaxseed may be an alternative or used with breast cancer drugs.
      • Term: Microdialysis – stick needle in breast to “suck out fluid bathing the breast cells”

    Can Flax Seeds Help Prevent Breast Cancer?

    Takeaways from "Can Flax Seeds Help Prevent Breast Cancer?":
    • Lignans
      • have anti-cancer properties
      • Lignans in general have direct anti-cancer spreading powers. The technical term is "anti-proliferative."
      • Prevents migration of breast cancer cells
      • Study Quote: "If the therapeutic index seen in this short-term study can be sustained over a long-term period, flaxseed, which is inexpensive and readily available, may be a potential dietary alternative or adjunct to currently used breast cancer drugs."
      • Another study: Women who had a teaspoon a day had on average a drop in pre-cancerous changes.
      • Yet another NEW STUDY: "Consumption of flaxseed, and of flax bread, was associated with statistically significant 20-30% reductions in breast cancer risk."
      • Yet another study, this one called "Flax and Breast Cancer: A systematic review" showed that flax intake led to lower breast cancer mortality among breast cancer patients
      • This latest study also showed better mental health and decreased risk of breast cancer in the first place.
    • IL-1, a most dangerous property
      • IL-1 helps feed cancer, spread cancer, and assist in the invasion of cancer cells.
      • However, the body produces it's biological archenemy (and friend to you) IL-1Ra which blocks the actions of IL-1.
      • Tamoxifen or eating flax seed can increase your body's ability to create the protective inhibitor IL-1Ra.
      • In other words, eating more flax seeds will create little anti-cancer blockers that your body naturally produces.
      • Unlike the study from the first video, "Flaxseeds and Breast Cancer Prevention,"where the women only took one teaspoon for a year, in a new study, "a few spoonfuls" were given to women and it counteracted the IL-1 (the cancer protagonists).
      • After a month of taking two tablespoons of flaxseed, the women's anti-cancer blockers known as IL-1Ra increased by 50%.
      • Study Quote: "The IL-1Ra levels in breast tissue increased by over 50% after flaxseed ingestion, which was the same range and even slightly higher than in women after tamoxifen therapy where IL-1Ra increased by appoximately 40%.
      • In other words, you get 10% higher levels of anti-cancer properties in your body by using the natural method of eating flaxseed.
      • Removing ovaries would reduce breast cancer risk by 60% but has major side effects.
      • Tamoxifen reduces breast cancer risk by 40% but may have severe side effects such as endometrial cancer (uterus cancer) and thromboembolism (obstruction of blood vessel by blood clots).
      • Study says lignans are not a "magic bullet."

    Bringing it all together

    While the study referenced in the video "Flaxseed and Cancer Prevention" noted that women were given a teaspoon to women with breast cancer, you're going to need a lot more of it. 

    Instead, take two tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily -- not whole flaxseed, which will simply will pass through your body.

    As mentioned in the last video, flaxseed "may be a potential dietary alternative or adjunct to currently used breast cancer drugs." I would never recommend you to stop using whatever your doctor prescribed to you. 

    But why not eat healthily on top of what you are taking as medicine? 

    So even if you have to get surgery to get the tumor removed, you dramatically decrease your chances of the cancer coming back with flaxseed as a regular part of your diet.

    There are a few more things that I must mention even if I must go into detail in another blog post or two.
    Read Chapter 24 of The Hallelujah Diet "In Love With Food All Over Again" for alternative recipes.

    The entire article should be read, but a certain statistic from the "Dangers of Refined Sugar" article also linked above is so important that it must be highlighted here:
    “Six teaspoons of sugar (the amount of sugar in a single candy bar) reduces the ability of these white blood cells to destroy unfriendly bacteria by 25%; 12 teaspoons (the amount of sugar in a single can of soda pop) reduces the ability of these white blood cells to destroy unfriendly bacteria by 60%; and 24 teaspoons (just half the average daily intake of refined sugar), reduces the ability of these white blood cells to destroy unfriendly bacteria by 92%.”
    Simply put, the more refined sugar you ingest, the less able your body will be to kill unfriendly bacteria.

    With the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons coming up, there will be a huge temptation to eat lots of food with refined sugars and of course meat. Simply put, these are Thanksgiving staples.

    But as explained in the "How Tumors Use Meat To Grow" video, meat has compounds in it that are co-opted by the cancer cells. The cancer cells then trick the body into creating an environment that creates more cancer cells.

    In The China Study the Campbell men say that animal-products increase female hormone levels. Additionally, they say that risk for breast cancer increases precisely "when a woman has high levels of female hormones in the blood."

    Additionally, given that estrogen makes many breast cancer cells grow, the more you get out of your system (and there is only one way food leaves the body) at once, the more excess estrogen leaves your body and the bloodstream.

    So when you're eating things that exacerbate these pro-cancer environments, then take drugs to prevent the pro-cancer environment, then you are going around circles that most likely isn't going to end well.

    If you're a coffee person, then you probably are going to want to immediately put that to a halt. I get this from a chapter near the end of The Hallelujah Diet:
    Let me suggest that you go through your pantry, cupboards, and refrigerator; and get rid of all food items that are harmful to your body and that will hinder you from reaching your goal of health. Use the chart of Foods to Avoid on page 144 of Chapter Ten, and be unmerciful. After all, these foods haven't done you any favors, have they? This food evacuation would include getting rid of:
    • all animal products (meat, dairy, eggs);
    • all products containing refined sugar (pastries, candy, soda, etc.);
    • all bleached white flour and all products containing bleached white flour;
    • all caffeine products (coffee, tea, and chocolate);
    • I would also get rid of the salt and black pepper shakers.
    The items listed are the cause, or are a contributing cause, of most of the physical problems people experience.
    Watch this last video to see how the Vegan diet is eight times better at fighting cancer. Watch it all the way to the end.

    Choose life! (Deuteronomy 30:19)

    Wednesday, November 11, 2015

    Reason #2 Why I want to see Rand Paul Vs. Bernie Sanders

    Picture Courtesy of POLITICO
    My second reason for wanting Senator Rand Paul and Senator Bernie Sanders to win their parties' respective presidential nominations is also defensive.

    Hillary Clinton, the only other person to have a chance at winning the Democratic presidential nomination, will advance the Bush/Obama march toward war in the Middle East. PCR says Clinton will ignite nuclear war.

    She is way too dangerous.

    Trump ought not win because as much as I like his non-interventionist foreign policy -- he believes Muslim countries should take care of ISIS -- he is a buffoon when it comes to both domestic and international economics. He touts protectionist economic claptrap that has been refuted centuries ago.

    He will aid in the destruction of our economy.

    The latter criticism -- foreign policy and all -- applies to Sanders, too. But socialism was only refuted fairly recently in 1991. Democratic socialism, which Sanders advocates, clearly hasn't been refuted in the eyes of the public.

    Reason #1 Why I want to see Rand Paul vs. Bernie Sanders

    Rand Paul vs. Bernie Sanders.

    That is who I want to see going head to head against each other on the Republican and Democratic sides.

    Both are the strongest candidates on each side. And, because I'm no coward, I want nothing less than the best to go against each other.

    Paul is the candidate for peace and an economic recovery.

    Sanders is the candidate for peace and exacerbated economic depression.

    One out of two isn't good enough.

    We deserve so much better than what we are getting.

    Rand Paul's Best Debate?!?

    The always reliable American Conservative says that the fourth Republican Presidential debate was Senator Rand Paul's best.

    This is great news. I missed the debate last night.

    Just a few weeks ago I was ready to tell him to quit and save his Senate seat. I provided the above video as a rebuttal to the views of Kasich, Cruz, Rubio, et al.

    On Paul:
    Overall, this was Paul’s best debate by far, and he was finally playing the role that many people thought he could play in these debates by opposing some of the more ludicrous and reckless foreign policy statements from the other candidates. He pushed back on the hawks’ endorsement of a “no-fly zone” in Syria (though he erred a bit in later statements by saying Iraq when he meant to say Syria), and corrected Trump on the TPP. He had a crowd-pleasing line about that we shouldn’t “arm our enemies,” but if you didn’t already know that U.S. arms sent into Syria and provided to the Iraqi government have ended up in the hands of ISIS and the Nusra front it might not have made much sense. There was still not enough scrutiny of the hawkish candidates’ statements on their support for “no-fly” and safe zones in Syria, and none of them was pressed to answer who would be defending these safe zones on the ground. They were permitted to propose much more aggressive policies without being called out on it with the exception of Paul’s criticisms.

    On the neoconservative Rubio:
    Rubio showed off his reflexive interventionist side much more last night than he has in previous debates, and resorted to using the dishonest, misleading label of “isolationist” when he asserted that Paul was a “committed isolationist.” Besides being untrue, it confirmed how shallow his arguments against realist and non-interventionist Republicans have always been. As he usually does, he framed other states’ actions in terms of U.S. “weakness,” because he apparently can’t grasp that other states have interests unrelated to our action or inaction and will pursue them for their own reasons. He mentioned that ISIS has a foothold in Libya, but neglected to mention that he was a supporter of the war for regime change that helped make that happen.
    Regrettably, the audience at the debate responded well to a lot of his rhetoric, but he makes it very easy for people to see him as a neoconservative factional candidate and nothing more. 
    On Bush:
    Bush repeated his line that the U.S. won’t be the “world’s policeman,” but that it will be the “world’s leader,” which for all practical purposes amounts to the same thing. 
    He assumes that the U.S. has to respond to every crisis and conflict, and that if it doesn’t it creates an unacceptable “vacuum.”

    On Fiorina:
    Fiorina advocated once again for her program of needless provocation of Russia. Her position on a “no-fly zone” in Syria implied that she thought the airspace of all countries in the world rightly belongs to the U.S.: “We must have a no fly zone in Syria because Russia cannot tell the United States of America where and when to fly our planes.” 

    On Kasich:
    Kasich manically listed all of his bad and questionable foreign policy views at one point that included endorsing a Syria “no-fly zone,” embracing the Sisi dictatorship in Egypt, and praising the Saudis as “fundamentally our friends.” The first position is obviously dangerous, the second is misguided, and the third is delusional. Kasich also predictably said that the U.S. has “no better ally” in the world than Israel, which will come as news to all of the actual treaty allies that the U.S. has around the world.

    Poem of the Day: Veterans of the Seventies

    The description in this poem is lovely. Here is a partial republication of the poem.

    Poem of the Day: Veterans of the Seventies

    His army jacket bore the white rectangle  
    of one who has torn off his name.  He sat mute  
    at the round table where the trip-wire veterans  
    ate breakfast.  They were foxhole buddies  
    who went stateside without leaving the war.  
    They had the look of men who held their breath  
    and now their tongues.  What is to say
    beyond that said by the fathers who bent lower  
    and lower as the war went on...

    Tuesday, November 10, 2015

    Audio: Sanctification and the Fight - J.I. Packer

    One of the best books to help me with sexual sin.
    Another helpful lecture from J.I. Packer on God's way to holiness.

    Relying on the works of John Owen and the Puritans, Packer explains what sanctification is and what it isn't.

    He clears up many misconceptions, including misconceptions that I had before listening. I am better off because of it.

    This is lecture 2 of 3.

    You also should pick up "The Mortification of Sin" by John Owen after listening to this.

    Monday, November 9, 2015

    Audio: What is Sanctification? J.I. Packer

    I highly recommend this book.
    A most helpful lecture from J.I. Packer on God's way to holiness.

    Relying on the works of John Owen, Packer explains what sanctification is and what it isn't. He clears up many misconceptions, including misconceptions that I had before listening.

    I am better off because of it.

    Wednesday, November 4, 2015

    Steve Jobs on Human Nature: Right or Wrong?

    I can't source this quote, but someone attributes it to the deceased Apple CEO Steve Jobs:
    "Technology is nothing.  What is important is that you have faith in people that are basically good and smart.  And you should give them the tools.  They'll do wonderful things with them."  
    Whether Steve Jobs actually said this is of little importance. I hope no one goes around making memes of this quote (it came from a trustworthy source). But what is important is the content.

    How can Steve Jobs say such things -- that people are basically good and smart -- when the U.S. government during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations have, through its use of technology, it's military technology, destabilized the Middle East?

    The United States has used all kinds of technological advancements to bomb, shoot, snipe, kill it's alleged enemies in the Middle East. Not only that, but that same technology has ended up in one of the hands of the worst terrorist organizations in the world, ISIS. They aren't using it as farming equipment.

    Note that Jobs didn't limit it to computer technology. He said "technology." But even if he did limit the meaning to computer technology, the U.S. military is in the business of using that too.

    One can't exempt non-government employees from these implications.

    One can not say that only they -- the U.S. government -- is evil but the rest of us are "basically good and smart."

    No, we are all fallen (Romans 3:23).

    And this is evidenced not only on the daily but by the fact that we vote the people that make these decisions into office.

    Gospel people don't put in power people who believe in the gospel of nation-building or salvation through bombing other nations.

    ...or any other gospel.

    But that kind of politics aside...

    ...our fallen nature is showcased in our ability to use technology in Planned Parenthood clinics to tear babies apart ISIS-style

    And of aborted babies that aren't killed in that way, their organs can potentially be sold.

    Sometimes, the eyeballs of these aborted children fall into the laps of their murderers, and then they coldly laugh at it.

    "Basically good and smart" people use internet technology to visit websites like Ashley Madison to arrange affairs, so they can discretely commit adultery on their spouses.

    We use medical technology to mutilate our God-given organs. And if that's not enough, we use another kind of medical technology, or medical advancement (hormone pills), to "help" the same people "transition" away from their God-given gender.

    We drug young boys who are perfectly fine or misdiagnose them and call their "condition" ADHD,

    And how could I forget, we use the power of the computer to create digits in bank accounts and create money that have no corresponding token or bills in the real world. Modern central banking is nothing more than ancient coin-clipping. It is counterfeiting writ large. It is theft.

    And in many of these cases, we are in agreement with them.

    We rationalize them.

    We intellectualize.

    We philosophize.

    "...They'll do wonderful things with them" we are told.

    Yes, the possibilities are endless.

    How many of these instances of "giving them tools" have to be listed before we lose faith in the assertion that "people are basically good and smart"?

    We have technology, and we have shown that we are barbaric.

    The cure to the barbarism expressed in our human nature is our ongoing sanctification and salvation in Jesus Christ.

    The insufficiency of Sunday-only worship and schooling

    In his "State of the Church 2014" sermon, Douglas Wilson said "If you have sermonettes, you will have Christianettes." That is, if all you are getting is a 20 minute sermon a week, 20+ minutes of worship, you aren't really becoming a Christian. You're becoming a "Christianette."

    In the same sermon, he praised his church for being people who strive to be bible people -- a congregation that knows their bible. It's pleasing to a pastor when a pastor can dig deeper into the scriptures, Wilson said, rather than going over the elementary parts of the faith all over again.

    It's a great point.

    Back in 2010, Gary Demar noted something similar. He noted that humanists are happy that many Christians are only spending just a little bit of time in church and more time in secular public schools.

    He starts off the article like this:
    Many Christians claim a form of factual neutrality where some subjects (e.g., science, medicine, technology, geography, politics, mathematics) can be taught without any regard to religious presuppositions since “facts speak for themselves.” This is most evident in education where a self-conscious sacred-secular divide is maintained and supported by Christians. Ninety percent of Christian parents send their children to government schools. Since these parents believe that math is math and history is history, the religious stuff can be made up at church. But one hour of Sunday school and an hour at Youth Meeting each week and maybe a mission trip in the summer can’t make up for five days a week, six hours each day, 10 months of the year, 12+ years of a government-developed curriculum that is humanistic to the core.
    He then quotes a humanist publication from the 1930s to drive home the point. Demar writes:
    The humanists understand the importance of education in creating worldview shifts and control, so why don’t Christians? Charles Francis Potter, who founded the First Humanist Society of New York in 1929 and signed the first Humanist Manifesto in 1933, made no secret of the purpose of the American public schools:
    Education is thus a most powerful ally of Humanism, and every American public school is a school of Humanism. What can the theistic Sunday-school, meeting for an hour once a week, and teaching only a fraction of the children, do to stem the tide of a five-day program of humanistic teaching.

    Monday, November 2, 2015

    Michael Ward: We are Poetic Beings

    From Michael Wards Youtube discussion on C.S. Lewis, Science and Religion.

    Servant Poetry: The New-yeeres Gift

    The New-yeeres Gift

    Let others look for Pearle and Gold,
    Tissues, or Tabbies manifold:
    One onely lock of that sweet Hay
    Whereon the blessed Babie lay,
    Or one poore Swadling-clout, shall be
    The richest New-yeeres Gift to me.

    Robert Herrick (1591–1674)

    *I did not find this on purpose, and I wasn't even looking for poetry, and I came across this here.

    Thoughts and notes on Occupy Peace

    On September 20, 2015, the Occupy Peace movement was underway in Kingston, NY. The Occupy Peace movement is an anti-war movement started by trends forecaster Gerald Celente.

    There were a lot of good spoken gems.

    I will not distinguish between speakers, but here are a few excerpts from an Occupy Peace article:

    "Where do you start occupying peace? You have to start in your heart and soul. Even those bad guys who bomb and do horrible things  they're just unhappy and frustrated and confused . . . they're misguided and so they continue doing bad stuff."

    "We should not be like them. We shouldn't hate them. We can be angry with them and forcefully oppose them, but not with hatred in our hearts."
    "We should not be like them. We shouldn't hate them. We can be angry with them and forcefully oppose them, but not with hatred in our hearts."
    One of the most dangerous positions a person can find themselves in is in a hospital bed, he said.
    "The number one cause of death in America is American medicine," he said. Between 560,000 and 700,000 people die every year of preventable illnesses and conditions. Ten million more a year are injured.
    The trouble is, anti-war sentiment and activities have become partisan.
    Sheehan said she'd been "harassed" and criticized by a fellow leftist for attending the Occupy Peace rally and somehow undermining the anti-war movement "by consorting with libertarians and with Ron Paul people." 
    "First of all, I told this guy "what anti-war movement are you talking about?"
    I'll go anywhere, I'll speak to anybody, as long as they are saying crush the empire." 
    She, like Null, was critical of liberal Democrats in power:
    "I can guarantee you, if Romney had won, if McCain had won, and they were doing what Obama is doing, there would be millions of people in the streets."
    She said she agreed with Gerald Celente that the country needs a peace movement "with teeth," but one that remains non-violent. 
    "It's been really lonely since Obama became president," she said. "It's because the anti-war movement is mostly partisan. They make excuses for their leaders instead of demands. So they're not comfortable with me, because I make the same demands on the Obama regime that I made on the Bush regime. And I'll do the same to the next regime until people of good conscience, revolutionaries like us, take over our communities."
    "Less than one percent can turn this country around," he said. It was a point he made repeatedly throughout his hour-long presentation.
    When it comes to modern weaponry, Nader said "enough is never enough" for the country's major armaments contractors.
    He gave as an example a single Trident submarine, armed with multiple warhead missiles, could vaporize within 35 minutes 200 cities in a nuclear strike.
    And when it comes to fighting terrorism, the U. S. is recruiting more converts to the Taliban and ISIS than they can convert themselves. What started off as a handful of men in Northeastern Afghanistan has grown to tens of thousands of fighters after the U.S.'s relentless insistence on bombing suspected terrorists, which have included thousands of innocent civilians.
    "They call it 'blowback," Nader said. 
    Nader urged the crowd to follow up on the rally by doing what earlier war resisters did  gather in living rooms and talk about what could be done.
    Read the rest here

    Judging from the footage, what was lacking from this crowd was youth. Not one speaker was young.

    Yet this is supposed to gain ground as a national movement.

    Judging by the photos and video, a lot of grey hairs were in attendance. This is concerning because a long-lasting movement usually has a lot of youth involved. The people in attendance at this rally don't have that many years. They are going to have to pass on their values to their adult children or else the movement suffers. In contrast, Black Lives Matters is filled with the youth. It will be around for a long time; at least as long as it needs to exist to accomplish its goal.

    Luckily for Occupy Peace, people are more anti-war than ever before.

    Let's call it, "social empiricism." Or "foreign policy empiricism."

    We've seen war presented as a solution before and it doesn't work. The high mark of this anti-war sentiment was the Obama election, which was an outright rejection of the Bush presidency, foreign policy, and all. Apparently, this turned out to be only a rejection of Republican foreign policy, as evidenced by Obama supporters silence on the president's current agitations overseas.

    However, because Americans loved him, and trusted him, Barack Obama successfully furthered the Bush agenda in many ways, and did what George Bush could not do on the foreign policy front. But he also did at least one thing that I couldn't imagine the neoconservatives let happen under a Bush Presidency: Obama made the Iran Deal. But now he is putting  "boots on the ground" in Syria to fight ISIS.

    I see no crowds in the streets.

    So for the most part, at the time, the same people who opposed the Iraq War are largely the same people who supported Barack Obama -- and he pacified their anti-war sentiments.

    I hope that the election of a Democrat won't do the same next time around.

    We know that the election of any Republican minus Rand Paul would continue to Bush foreign policy, even if having an improved economic policy.

    So as Celente plans on having Occupy Peace chapters in each state, or something to that effect, then maybe we will see more youth join, because people are generally desire peace now (there's a poll on waiting to be cited and inserted here).

    I would like to see some Christian speakers at these rallies. Someone with some Christian bona fides. Someone mainstream opposing the American Empire. But a large number of conservative Christian twenty and thirty somethings would do the trick as well. It ought not be just one person. But an exegetical case against the war will have to be made.  The ultimate authority for the Christian is God's word, and it ought to be shown that 21st century foreign policy has been godless.

    If this happens, if someone from the Christian right -- because conservative Christians are generally known to have a high view of scripture -- makes a solid case against war, then perhaps the Christian right, as awful as it is to write those words, should reach out to the Christian left, which certainly still exists. Whether the Christian left grabs the right's hand is of concern, but what would matter more is that the Christian right are on the right side of history.

    Christians could become chapter leaders. The doors are wide open.

    My only concern would be Occupy Peace's plank to give troops jobs to rebuild America's infrastructure.

    But I guess this is beating something (jobs abroad fighting unnecessary wars) with something (jobs at home), versus nothing (no jobs at all for troops).

    Fine, but I hope this is isn't too costly (lol).

    Christians could just start their own anti-unbiblical war movement if Occupy Peace planks cause too much friction.

    But J. Gresham Machen was once asked what the Church should do about the Great Depression.

    His response: Preach the Gospel.

    Perhaps if he lived long enough to be asked the question of the what the Church should do about World War II, he would have answered the same.

    New Horizons quotes Machen:
    This, then, is the answer that I give to the question before us. The responsibility of the church in the new age is the same as its responsibility in every age. It is to testify that this world is lost in sin; that the span of human life—nay, all the length of human history—is an infinitesimal island in the awful depths of eternity; that there is a mysterious, holy, living God, Creator of all, Upholder of all, infinitely beyond all; that He has revealed Himself to us in His Word and offered us communion with Himself through Jesus Christ the Lord; that there is no other salvation, for individuals or for nations, save this, but that this salvation is full and free, and that whosoever possesses it has for himself and for all others to whom he may be the instrument of bringing it a treasure compared with which all the kingdoms of the earth—nay, all the wonders of the starry heavens—are as the dust of the street.
    An unpopular message it is—an impractical message, we are told. But it is the message of the Christian church. Neglect it, and you will have destruction; heed it, and you will have life.
    The only person to come close to this kind of response in the Occupy Peace movement is the Buddhist scholar. Something deeper is at work here that the Buddhist scholar can't touch. And the solution is something that Buddha can't provide. It's the hearts of men that are out of whack. It's the gospel that brings peace. Christian nations don't place in power people who hate peace. Gospel people don't place in power people who believe the gospel of nation-building. It's just another form of collectivism.

    So in light of Machen's comments, perhaps Christians should stay away from Celente's movement. I think they should.

    As of right now, judging my Mr. Celente's flippant and religiously irreverent closing remarks, he doesn't care about who Jesus, Muhammad, and Buddha are. But who they are certainly matters to the movement. Nothing -- not war, not the presidency, not science, not race, not peace -- is out of the scope of true religion.

    Christianity is cosmic.

    Video: How Come We're So Rich? | Gary North

    Interesting thesis.

    Economic historian Gary North proposes a thesis to answer the question of what happened that caused economic growth to compound in the 1800s.

    He cites the work of Deirdre McCloskey and says that her thesis of a shift in rhetoric is wrong.

    Rather, he believes a change in the vision of the future and the theological acceptance of prosperity was the key.

    Denmark President says his country is a "market economy" not "socialist"

    [Editor's Note: Reality Check: Denmark's economy is a mixed economy -- a mix of government intervention and free-markets -- that has a single-payer health care system, while the U.S. has a heavily interventionist and highly regulated health care system.]

    Vox reports Denmark's prime minister attempt to set Bernie Sanders straight on what kind of economy his country is:
    "I know that some people in the US associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism," he said, "therefore I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy."
    In Rasmussen's view, "the Nordic model is an expanded welfare state which provides a high level of security to its citizens, but it is also a successful market economy with much freedom to pursue your dreams and live your life as you wish."
    Matthew Yglesias goes on to say that the Denmark official's comments aren't substantially different from Bernie Sanders. He says that Denmark has a single-payer healthcare system, which is what Sanders advocates.

    Tom Wood's new book "Bernie Sanders is Wrong" offers an interesting corrective on this point. In the second chapter on Denmark, and in the first chapter on Sweden, there is detail about how these socialist countries actually started out with more laissez faire economies than there are now.

    Read in detail. Click the link below.

    Click the link. Direct link!!!

    Get a free E-book on Bernie Sanders here.

    Wednesday, October 28, 2015

    Good read: There’s More to Money than Hyperinflation

    Picture Taken from the Mises Institute's Instagram

    The thing is, we don’t need Weimar-style money printing to redistribute wealth and encourage bubbles: even small credit expansions produce inequalities and malinvestments, whether hyperinflation eventually happens or not. Mises and other Austrians have been arguing this point for decades.
    The problems run deeper than the threat of total disaster. In fact, that’s the whole point: if bad monetary policies always produced immediate catastrophe, people would long ago have seen the failings of central banks and done something to replace them. But because the distortions caused by monetary expansion seep slowly and discontinuously through the economy, their true origins remain unseen, even when the bubbles they create become obvious to the world.

    There’s More to Money than Hyperinflation || Mises Institute 

    Tuesday, October 27, 2015

    Monday, October 19, 2015

    In Case of Dollar Collapse, Have this

    In times of economic instability, you are going to have to do things with your money you have never thought of before. You will need this. Call it the "In-Case-Of-Bernie-Sanders" kit. It also comes in "Nuclear Hillary," "Protectionist Trump."

    Have this item ready in case of a steep U.S. Dollar decline. It's only $12.99 at BJ's Wholesale Club.

    Turn your dollars into Koi Fish.

    Comes with a nice shiny black sleeve.

    And cover...

    Catch the culprits! Snap a photo of the Janet Yellen, Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, et al. with this dollar origami camera.

    Or make a crab out of that worthless money.

    Make a Koi fish in 63 steps.

    Thursday, October 15, 2015

    Eight Presentations You Will Never Hear From Bernie Sanders, Clinton, Et al.

    Many financial experts believe that a financial downturn is coming. All agree a recession is guaranteed. Some go as far to say that we in the United States are going to experience a depression.

    Some call it a "Great Reset" or "Great Default." Others believe we will experience a "credit crisis." Some believe we are going to believe to experience a deflationary depression.

    The Bible teaches that "Without consultation, plans are frustrated, But with many counselors they succeed." (Proverbs 15:22).

    These are your multiple counselors.

    They all agree on the central premise that the Federal Reserve's money printing policies and artificially low interest rates have done serious damage to the economy.

    They paint slightly different scenarios of how their scenarios come to be.

    How will all of this come about?

    Watch these videos to find out.

    David Stockman-Debt Markets Unstable and Tottering

    The Great Deformation | David Stockman

    Bill Bonner: Cash Shortage to Hit U.S.

    Jim Rickards: Coming Economic Depression

    Exclusive Interview: Jim Rickards and Peter Schiff Discuss Global Gold Mar...

    Ron Paul - From Stansberry Research

    Economic Collapse Coming - Rep. Ron Paul [Mirrored]

    David Stockman The Global Economy Has Entered The Crack Up Phase

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

    Video: The Fallacies of Bernie Sanders

    Get a free E-book on Bernie Sanders here.

    Video: John Givez - Get a Bar of Tha Side (@JohnGivez @KingsDreamEnt)

    Currently Reading: Bernie Sanders is Wrong

    Get a free E-book on Bernie Sanders here.

    Get your free copy here. Note: Scroll to the bottom of the linked Tom Woods web page.

    Emilia Clarke on her time in "Game of Thrones"

    Screenshot of UK Yahoo Article
    If there is any evidence that pop culture dehumanizes people this is it:

    She worked multiple jobs while living with friends before "Game of Thrones" changed her life when it began airing in 2011.
    Clarke recalled some difficulties on the show early on. She was just 23. There was full frontal nudity, lots of sex, even a rape scene. She tells Markovits how she suffered along with her character.
    "Once, I had to take a little time out," she said. "I said I needed a cup of tea, had a bit of a cry, and was ready for the next scene."
    Granted, I didn't read the Esquire article, and the quoted article is a summary of it.

    It reminds me of watching testimony of former porn stars time in the industry. I don't remember which one. It was years back.  Perhaps it was Shelley Lubben; or maybe it was the African-american one who  was interviewed by a Pastor then-affiliated with P4CM on Youtube years ago.

    Matt Walsh challenges the editorial decisions to put rape scenes and pornography in the show.
    Even without the rape, there are still important questions we should ask ourselves about this show and so many others like it, such as: should sex be turned into a circus for our viewing pleasure? Is there anything redemptive about pornography just because it’s featured on a premium cable series rather than someone’s webcam? If I watch five seasons worth of it, will I come away somehow more enlightened? Is this honing my moral compass? Is this drawing me closer to Truth? Am I proud of myself for watching this?
    Answers: No. And today, surprisingly, even some progressives appear to agree.

    Monday, October 12, 2015

    The Extraordinary Productivity of G.K. Chesterton

    G.K. Chesterton was a highly productive writer.

    It's not necessary for a writer to write as many books as G.K. Chesterton did; but to actually be as productive and have high quality writing like Chesterton's is laudable and will earn you the respect of your writing peers.

    I have had a few teachers who have written only one book, or a handful of books, not twenty handfuls.

    G.K. Chesterton wrote over 100 books, could say that he contributed to twice as many, could say that he wrote more than 4,000 essays. In other words, if a beat reporter wrote one news article per day, it would take 76.923 years of straight news reporting to write as much as G.K. Chesterton did.

    This still doesn't take into account his 200 short stories or his novels.

    C.S. Lewis on Effort

    Tweet taken from Bible Gateway's C.S. Lewis Daily Devotional.

    Libertarianism leads to anarchy

    Libertarianism leads to anarchy. When I was a libertarian anarchist, a self-described "Christian Rothbardian," I thought that was a good thing.

    I caught myself being contradictory

    I caught myself being contradictory, so I deleted the following sentence out of a blog-in-process:
    But being pro-peace means being anti-violence; and that includes violence from the state against individuals. You can't have a fully-orbed pro-peace philosophy if you are pro-violence somewhere down the line in your thinking.
    This means I can never be fully libertarian in the Rothbardian sense of the word.

    The truth is that I do believe in government force, but only where it is legitimate.

    As one high-level person in the Libertarian Party once told me, under the Libertarian Party, 90 percent of government would shrink at all levels.

    That's pretty much what biblical law would do as well.

    Tuesday, October 6, 2015

    Sermon: Three Chains #4: Deliverance (Romans 8:1-6)

    The difference between sinners and educated proud saints is that the former realizes that they have a problem (they are separated from God) and the latter grades on a curve ("Oh, I'm better than most people."

    Very insightful sermon.

    Video Sermon: Three Chains #2: Guilt (Romans 3:19)

    The solution to false guilt is to repent of the false standard that has been set up in the place of the law of God. The solution to false guilt is real guilt and real repentance. ~Douglas Wilson

    Saturday, October 3, 2015

    Video Sermon: Idols And Tyranny (Judges 6:25-32)

    If Jesus is Lord then the porn-ification of America is not.
    If Jesus is Lord, then drone strikes are not.
    ~Douglas Wilson

    Amen, Pastor Wilson!

    Monday, September 28, 2015

    Audio: What Really Causes Global Depressions?

    Austrian this, Keynesian that. Why should one embrace one over the other?

    Kevin Swanson doesn't get into that, but he does say that our practical atheism is the reason why America is doing so badly nowadays.

    Listen below.

    It's true that Austrian economics is more in line with the biblical worldview, but what authority do Austrian economists stand on?

    Mises and Rothbard.

    In other words, men.

    In the same vein, we have also embraced man's erroneous views of laws and economics -- that is why we will be in a depression.

    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...