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The Gods of Liberalism Revisited

 

The lie hasn't changed, and we still fall for it as easily as ever.  But how can we escape the snare?

 

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Gods of Liberalism Revisited


Painting from the Cistine Chapel, by Michelangelo.

A recent Dakota Voice post, The Gods of Liberalism, generated a lengthy discussion in the comments section that some readers may find interesting. But, unfortunately, the conversation strayed far from the subject of the original article.

In the original, the main points were the similarity of some socio-religious beliefs today that are strikingly similar to the ancient beliefs of Baalism: "The principal pillars of Baalism were child sacrifice, sexual immorality (both heterosexual and homosexual) and pantheism (reverence of creation over the Creator)." (Recommended reading for those who haven't read it.)

In Genesis 3:4,5 Eve is tempted by Satan in the form of a serpent, saying to the woman "You surely shall not die [for disobeying God]!" And then Satan promises the woman that by disobeying she will become "like God." Satan's promises were that 1) God will not actually do what He said, that is, God's Word is unreliable and 2) you can be a god, i.e., save yourself from death, through your own actions or works.

Readers of these posts may have read my story about coming to some kind of vague theism after studying anatomy, physiology and microbiology in medical school. Prior to that I was a committed atheist. My theistic beliefs allowed for some intelligent being behind the incredible design that is manifest in nature, but I was still a long way from accepting Jesus as Lord. It wasn't until almost 30 years later that I surrendered to His will and became a Christian. That conversion is quite a story that perhaps someday I'll tell in this forum.

Between theism and Christ I explored many different religions and theologies. I learned a little about Buddhism, Shinto, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, shamanism, and Celtic Druids to name a few. I found all of them interesting and all seemed to possess some truth that I easily accepted. Notice that I devoutly stayed clear of the three great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. I was raised a Roman Catholic and attended Mass daily through the eight years of my parochial education and less frequently for another five or six years. I thought I knew all about God and Jesus and there was no point in pursuing that any further. Besides, these exotic ancient religions were so much more esoteric and satisfying to my arrogant mind.

One day, out of boredom more than curiosity, I picked up the dusty Bible that occupied a space on my bookshelf beside the Bhagavad Gita. I began reading in Genesis with a mind to find inconsistencies and outlandish tales that would confirm my decision to reject the Bible as a source of spiritual wisdom.

In reading the passages mentioned above something struck me as novel and interesting. What Satan was saying is basically the same thing that all religions hold true, save Christianity and Judaism. In some fashion or another every other religion denies God and His Word, alleging that the Bible is just a collection of occasionally wise sayings written by men of the ancient past; implicitly claiming that God, Yahweh, is not true to His Word. Secondly, all the other religions promise eternal life (or nirvana, filial piety, or whatever) as a reward for deeds done in this life. From human sacrifice to one’s Easter Duty, they all depend upon self actualization and the reward is to become “like gods.”

Satan’s lie in the garden had taken root in man once man willingly disobeyed God, and lives with us even today. Even atheism embraces this paradigm. By denying any Supreme Being (and, of course, God’s Word), that makes man the Supreme Being; all gods within the cosmic consciousness. Humanism and New Age theology state this explicitly.

Satan continues to deceive man with the same lie that he told in the Garden. And most of the world continues to believe it.


Outrage Follows Christmas Address by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad


Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post


By Aaron J. Leichman
Christian Post Reporter
Sat, Dec. 27 2008 09:28 AM EST

The holiday message delivered by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Britain's Channel 4 television station drew a wide range of critics this week.

Although each year Channel 4 features an often controversial counterpoint to Queen Elizabeth II's traditional annual message, many disagreed with the network’s selection of Ahmadinejad, who denies the Holocaust, advocates the destruction of the sovereign state of Israel, and executes children.

"Outrage doesn't begin to explain it,” commented Ron Prosor, the Israeli ambassador to London.
In Ahmadinejad’s message Thursday, the Iranian head of state didn’t refer to rival nations or leaders by name but said Jesus Christ would undoubtedly “stand with the people in opposition to bullying, ill-tempered and expansionist powers.”

"If Christ were on earth today, undoubtedly He would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose warmongers, occupiers, terrorists and bullies the world over,” he said, according to the English translation of the Farsi-language speech.

"If Christ were on earth today, undoubtedly He would fight against the tyrannical policies of prevailing global economic and political systems, as He did in His lifetime," he added.

Following the broadcast, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which represents the Jewish community in the United Kingdom, expressed how offensive the Christmas Day message was.

"To invite him to deliver a Christmas message, even a so-called alternative one, fills me with disgust," the group's president, Henry Grunwald, told The Associated Press.

Channel 4 was "aiding and abetting a tyrant," added British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

"This is the equivalent of giving [Zimbabwean ruler] Robert Mugabe a prime-time television slot to promote his propaganda," he said.

In response to the outcry against Ahmadinejad’s inclusion in this year’s broadcast, Dorothy Byrne, Channel 4's head of news and current affairs, said the Iranian president was picked because he is “enormously influential” as the leader of one of the most powerful states in the Middle East.

“As we approach a critical time in international relations, we are offering our viewers an insight into an alternative world view," Byrne told the press.

Since 1993, Channel 4 has broadcast an "Alternative Christmas message" featuring a contemporary celebrity delivering a message in the manner of Britain’s queen. Past message presenters include activist the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a Scottish male comedian playing Princess Diana (less than a year before her death), a celebrity chef, and Marge Simpson from The Simpsons cartoon series.

Byrne said Ahmadinejad’s message Thursday continued "a long tradition of offering a different perspective on the world around us."

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Focus on the Family Pulls Interview with Glenn Beck over Theological Conflicts

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Eric Young
Christian Post Reporter
Sat, Dec. 27 2008 09:11 AM EST

Conservative ministry Focus on the Family has removed from its website an article about the latest book by former CNN host Glenn Beck in response to complaints over his Mormon ties.

“Mr. Beck is a member of the Mormon church, and … we did not make mention of this fact in our interview with him,” reads a statement prepared for the ministry’s receptionists, according to Joel Campbell, the Mormon media observer for the MormonTimes.

“We do recognize the deep theological difference between evangelical theology and Mormon theology, and it would have been prudent for us at least to have pointed out these differences,” receptionists are instructed to say to those who call in about the missing article on the ministry’s CitizenLink website. “Because of the confusion, we have removed the interview from CitizenLink."

Since last week, Beck’s interview had been featured on CitizenLink and claimed that Beck “is hoping to spread a more eternal sort of gospel through his new book, The Christmas Sweater.”

“I just want the people to understand that the message is true,” Beck said in the interview, which CitizenLink noted as being the product of a freelance reporter in Colorado Springs and not the ministry.

“Sometimes redemption has been made into a word that people don’t understand. They need to know it’s true, it’s real. It’s not a word, it’s a life-changing force,” the author continued. “It’s transformed my life, who I was to the very core of my being. If it wasn’t for me accepting the gift that the Lord gave to me, I’d be dead today.”

Since the interview was published, Christians throughout the blogosphere have raised flags and sounded alarms, concerned that Focus on the Family was compromising central doctrinal truths to win the culture war.

“They use Mr. Beck's story as a way to show that hope can be found in God, which is true enough; the problem is that Mr. Beck's god is not the Triune God of the Bible nor is his Jesus the Jesus of the Bible,” commented Dustin S. Seger, pastor of Shepherd’s Fellowship of Greensboro, N.C.

“I strongly discourage you from giving money to any religious organization that is so committed to a social agenda that they are willing to ignore the vast difference between biblical Christianity and the cult of Mormonism,” he wrote to readers of the co-authored blog “Grace in the Triad” earlier this week.

Though Beck’s social views are regarded as mostly compatible with many Christian views, his beliefs in Mormonism have been distinguished as not.

Aside from rejecting the Trinity and their belief in many gods, Mormons believe their prophet, Joseph Smith, was “the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam,” according to the Mormons’ History of the Church.

“Every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, Junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are," claimed Brigham Young, a 19th century president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Clearly, Mormonism is a cult,” the ministry Underground Apologetics expressed in a statement opposing Focus on the Family’s promotion of Beck.

“Through the years, Focus on the Family has done great things to help the family and has brought attention to the many social ills that are attacking the family,” the ministry stated.

“However, to promote a Mormon as a Christian is not helpful to the cause of Jesus Christ,” it added. “For Christians to influence society, Christians should be promoting the central issues of the faith properly without opening the door to false religions.”

Since the debut of Beck’s The Christmas Sweater six weeks ago, the 284-page hardcover has not only hit the New York Times Best-Sellers List but has also climbed up to No. 1 multiple times.

In addition, a “living play” of the book also debuted in 420 movie theaters nationwide last week featuring theatrical animation, specially-created projections and a Christmas musical score from a 10-piece orchestra and Broadway gospel singer.

Based on a personal true story, The Christmas Sweater is a narrative of a boy named Eddie who embarks on a dark and painful journey on the road to manhood.

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


The Cosmos Erected Out of Harmonies

American Minute from William J. Federer

An attack of smallpox when he was four-years-old left him with crippled hands and poor eyesight. Overcoming those handicaps, he studied Copernicus' works and at age 23 became a professor of astronomy. His name was Johannes Kepler, born DECEMBER 27, 1571.

His laws of planetary motion, known as Kepler's Laws, helped Newton formulate the theory of gravity.

In his work, "The Harmonies of the World," book five, Kepler stated: "O, Almighty God, I am thinking Thy thoughts after Thee!...The book is written, to be read either now or by posterity, I care not which. It may be well to wait a century for a reader, as God has waited six thousand years for an observer."

In comparing celestial orbits of the planets with polyphonic harmonies in music, Kepler wrote: "Holy Father, keep us safe in the concord of our love for one another, that we may be one just as Thou art with Thy Son, Our Lord, and with the Holy Ghost, and just as through the sweetest bonds of harmonies Thou hast made all Thy works one,"

Kepler continued: "and that from the bringing of Thy people into concord, the body of Thy Church may be built up in the Earth, as Thou didst erect the heavens themselves out of harmonies."

William J. Federer is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and president of Amerisearch, Inc, which is dedicated to researching our American heritage. The American Minute radio feature looks back at events in American history on the dates they occurred, is broadcast daily across the country and read by thousand on the internet.


The awkward co-dependence of blacks, liberal Democrats

BY STAR PARKER
FOUNDER & PRESIDENT
COALITION ON URBAN RENEWAL & EDUCATION

What does Caroline Kennedy have in common with black America? If your answer is not much, I'd tend to agree with you.

When I think of Caroline, I think of Manhattan and Park Avenue, not the Bronx and Brooklyn. I think of Brentwood and Beverly Hills, not Watts and South Central Los Angeles.

But there is something that Caroline and black America do have in common: The Democratic Party.

Whether or not Kennedy succeeds to slide into Hillary Clinton's soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat will have little to do with her Democratic Party bona fides. Per her policy positions ticked off the other day, she is in perfect and predictable liberal alignment with party boilerplate. If she fails, it will be for reasons other than her views.

So what exactly is the common political ground that Kennedy blue bloods share with the 90 percent of America's blacks who vote for Democrats?

A careful look shows the deep internal contradictions of the Democratic Party and the complexity of the political psyche of black Americans.

Ironically, despite Democratic Party rhetoric about economic inequities and wealth and income gaps in America, those gaps are more pronounced inside the Democratic tent than in the Republican one.

According to exit polls from November's election, Barack Obama captured the vote of America's richest and America's poorest. Fifty-two percent of those with incomes over $200,000 voted for Sen. Obama, and more than 60 percent of those earning less than $30,000 did as well.

Our wealthiest senator, John Kerry, is a Democrat, as is our wealthiest House member, Jane Harman.

The nation's two wealthiest men, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are both, by all indication, Democrats.

What political aspirations can black Americans, whose median income lags the nation's, share with these multimillionaires and billionaires?

There is little common ground regarding values.

Church attendance correlates reliably over time with party affiliation, and this remained true in this last election. Those who attend church frequently vote Republican. Those who don't vote Democratic – except blacks.

Blacks, in fact, have the highest church attendance in the country. Seventy-six percent of black Democrats attend church at least monthly. Sixty-seven percent of Republicans do and 50 percent of white Democrats do.

A recent Gallup poll shows blacks more aligned with Republicans than Democrats on social issues – moral acceptability of homosexuality, abortion and sexual promiscuity.

On energy and environmental issues, blacks poll more closely with conservatives than with liberals. It's because these are pocketbook issues. Working blacks have little interest in paying the higher taxes and bearing the higher costs that will result from chasing global warming windmills and displacing cheap hydrocarbon energy with exotic government subsidized alternatives. Lower energy costs also put blacks on the side of offshore drilling for oil and gas.

How about education? Wealthy liberals, despite having their own kids in private schools, oppose school choice. When blacks are given the opportunity to pull their child out of a failing public school and send him or her to a church school or another alternative they are grateful.

So where's the common ground? Income redistribution. A recent Zogby poll shows 80 percent of Democrats, 90 percent of liberals, and 76 percent of blacks support taxing the wealthy to give money to low-income Americans.

Despite everything else, blacks vote to stay on the liberal plantation. Pop psychologists would call the relationship between wealthy liberals and blacks co-dependence.

Republicans are wrong if they think they'll win blacks on social issues alone. They need to help blacks understand that limited government provides the economic mobility and opportunity they need and that the welfare, redistribution state does the opposite. They must help blacks gain self-confidence so that they can enjoy the benefits that can only come from freedom.

So far Republicans have failed to do this – which is another reason why they now sit on the outside looking in.

Star Parker is president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal & Education and author of the new book White Ghetto: How Middle Class America Reflects Inner City Decay.

Prior to her involvement in social activism, Star Parker was a single welfare mother in Los Angeles, California. After receiving Christ, Star returned to college, received a BS degree in marketing and launched an urban Christian magazine. The 1992 Los Angeles riots destroyed her business, yet served as a springboard for her focus on faith and market-based alternatives to empower the lives of the poor.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Michael Woodring at Red County

Michael Woodring of the Constant Conservative has joined me as a Red County blogger. His premier post, "Little Among the States" is now available at the Pennington County site.


Though Michael doesn't live in Pennington County, since South Dakota is a relatively sparsely populated state, for now the Red County editors plan to have all South Dakota Red County bloggers post on the Pennington County page. There may be other bloggers from South Dakota joining us in the future.

Michael's posts at Constant Conservative are consistently among the highest quality available in the South Dakota blogosphere, and I'm sure Constant Conservative will grow immensely in exposure and stature in 2009.

It's an honor represent South Dakota with Michael at Red County.


The Conspicuous Hand of Providence

American Minute from William J. Federer

The first six months of the Revolution saw the Continental Army chased from New York, New Jersey and into Pennsylvania. Ranks dwindled from 20,000 to 2,000 exhausted soldiers- most leaving at year's end when their six-month enlistment was up.

Expecting British invasion, the Continental Congress fled Philadelphia and sent the word "until Congress shall otherwise order, General Washington be possessed of full power to order and direct all things."

In an operation with the password "Victory or Death," Washington's troops crossed the ice-filled Delaware River at midnight Christmas Day.

Trudging in a blinding blizzard, one soldier freezing to death, they attacked the feared Hessian troops at daybreak DECEMBER 26, 1776, capturing nearly a thousand in just over an hour. A few Americans were shot, including James Monroe, the future 5th President.

Washington wrote August 20, 1778: "The Hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this-the course of the war-that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more wicked that has not gratitude to acknowledge his obligations; but it will be time enough for me to turn Preacher when my present appointment ceases."

William J. Federer is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and president of Amerisearch, Inc, which is dedicated to researching our American heritage. The American Minute radio feature looks back at events in American history on the dates they occurred, is broadcast daily across the country and read by thousand on the internet.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Still More Popular Than Happy Holidays


Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post



By Jennifer Riley
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Dec. 24 2008 09:49 AM EST


A vast majority of Americans still say “Merry Christmas” instead of the more politically correct greeting “Happy Holidays,” a recent poll shows.

More than three out of four Americans (77 percent) say they greet with “Merry Christmas,” according to a Fox News poll taken Dec. 9-10. And 21 percent say they feel obligated to say “Happy Holidays,” a more inclusive greeting that can also apply to Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and other celebrations.

“I feel better when someone greets me in a store with ‘Merry Christmas’ because Christmas is about the birth of our Savior Jesus,” said Steve Krotoski, who leads Pray Daily America – a ministry that prays for the country everyday.

“Without Jesus, people have no hope and are dead in sin,” he added. “The true meaning of Christmas is important.”

Regular churchgoers (82 percent), rural Americans (83 percent), and Republicans (87 percent) are the most likely to say “Merry Christmas,” the poll found.

The groups most likely to say they feel pressured to use a generic “Happy Holidays” greeting are Democrats (28 percent), urbanites (28 percent) and Northeasterns (25 percent).

Results from the Fox news poll are comparable to a survey by The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press in 2005.

In the Pew survey, most Americans (60 percent) said they prefer that stores and businesses greet customers by saying “Merry Christmas.” Only one-in-four (23 percent) preferred the use of terms such as “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings,” while 17 percent of respondents said they do not care which greeting is used.

The Pew survey also found that a large majority of Americans (83 percent) said displays of Christmas symbols should be allowed in public places. But less than half (44 percent) said they approve of Christmas symbols being displayed alone, without Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other holiday symbols.

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Christmas: A Time to Open Our Hearts

American Minute from William J. Federer

President Hoover wrote in 1932: "Your CHRISTMAS Service held each year at the foot of a living tree which was alive at the time of the birth of Christ...should be continued as a further symbol of the unbroken chain of life leading back to this great moment in the spiritual life of mankind."

President Eisenhower remarked in 1960: "Through the ages men have felt the uplift of the spirit of CHRISTMAS. We commemorate the birth of the Christ Child by...giving expression to our gratitude for the great things that His coming has brought about in the world."

President Carter commented in 1977: "CHRISTMAS has a special meaning for those of us who are Christians, those of us who believe in Christ, those of us who know that almost 2,000 years ago, the Son of Peace was born."

President Reagan stated in 1983: "CHRISTMAS is a time...to open our hearts to...millions forbidden the freedom to worship a God who so loved the world that He gave us the birth of the Christ Child so that we might learn to love."

Reagan continued: "The message of Jesus is one of hope and joy. I know there are those who recognize CHRISTMAS DAY as the birthday of a wise teacher...then there are others of us who believe that he was the Son of God, that he was divine."

William J. Federer is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and president of Amerisearch, Inc, which is dedicated to researching our American heritage. The American Minute radio feature looks back at events in American history on the dates they occurred, is broadcast daily across the country and read by thousand on the internet.


Merry and Blessed Christmas

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.

2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)

3And everyone went to his own town to register.

4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.

5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,

7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord.

12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

(Luke 2:1-14)


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Muslim Giving a Christmas Message on British TV

This seems like something out of a George Orwell novel...or a Monty Python movie...or an Airplane sequel...or some such weird thing.

The president of Iran giving a Christmas message on British TV.

No, Matilda; you're not dreaming. It's just modern suicidal "multiculturalism."

(But that's not the only wacko stuff on the Grapevine--wait until you hear the "global warming" segment)



Evolution Theory Is Not Scientific

Calvin Smith has a good piece at Creation Ministries International on whether evolution theory measures up to the definition of "science" as defined by evolutionists themselves.

So is evolution "scientific?"

Smith made a short list of the elements of criteria laid out by the pro-evolution National Science Education Standards (NSES):

1-Observational data

2-Accurate predictions

3-Logical

4-Open to criticism

5-Accurate information

6-No presuppositions

Sounds reasonable, right? So how does evolution theory measure up?

Smith cites vociferous evolutionist Richard Dawkins to indict evolution theory in the area of observational data:
After being chided recently by a creationist on a UK TV program about his comment; ‘Evolution has been observed. It’s just that it hasn’t been observed while it’s happening’, Dawkins attempted to parry with a prepared comment:

‘The refusal to believe in anything you can’t see yourself is absurd. Think about it, I never saw Napoleon with my own eyes, but that doesn’t mean Napoleon didn’t exist.’

And Bible believers everywhere said, Amen! However, I’d reckon atheists were figuratively banging their heads against their TV sets because of Dawkins ‘letting the cat out of the bag’. The existence of Napoleon or Jesus Christ can only be known through historical records, not operational science. So the scientific method cannot be invoked.

Once again the world’s most vocal champion of evolution and the outgoing Oxford University Chair for the Public Understanding of Science has revealed that evolution hasn’t been observed! So according to the NSES, (‘ … all scientific ideas depend on experimental and observational confirmation … ’) evolution fails their first criteria as being scientific.

But apostles of the religion of evolution can make "accurate prediction" and thus fulfill criteria #2, right? Well, not really.

The fossil record has never panned out as Charles Darwin hoped it would. Smith cites a recent National Geographic article which admits:
‘Illuminating but spotty, the fossil record is like a film of evolution from which 999 out of 1,000 frames have been lost.'

Wow. That's a lot to build a sound theory upon, isn't it? One frame out of 1,000? Uh huh.

Speculation about vestigial organs has proven to be all wet, too. Hmm. Maybe evolution can't make the predictions we thought.

But hey, at least it meets criteria #3 and is perfectly logical, right? Well....
Imagine you open your front door and see a robot walking on two legs along the street carrying a package on its shoulder. The package is marked with an address, that the robot has followed and arrived at.

Glancing at your neighbour you say ‘Who do you think made the robot?’ To which he says ‘I don’t think anyone made it, I think it made itself!’ With even a lay person’s knowledge of basic engineering, would this be a logical conclusion?

Okay, but evolution theory and evolutionists meet #4, being totally open to criticism. After all, they have all the facts on their side. They have nothing to fear. This issue was settled a long time ago, so criticisms are no problem, right? Well...
The newly released documentary Expelled blows the whistle on what many evolutionists have been doing for decades, which is brooking no opposition to anything that challenges Darwinian dogma.

The movie reveals that even Darwinists themselves, when attempting to be open-minded, are often removed from their positions for daring to allow other points of view. A recent example is evolutionary Prof. Michael Reiss, the Royal Society’s former director of education, who resigned within a couple of days after suggesting that creationism and ID should be discussed in classrooms.

Hmmm. Okay, so evolution theory has miserably failed four out of the six criteria, so far. But it can still pull in the big win with the last two, right? After all, what we know and teach about evolution relies on completely accurate information, right? At the risk of sounding repetitive, "Well...."
Those that have been around the creation/evolution debate are usually familiar with hoaxes like Piltdown Man, Archaeoraptor (the Piltdown Bird!), Nebraska man and the Staged photos of peppered moths, all fraudulent ‘evidences’ used to promote the theory of evolution.

One such fraud refuses to die it seems. I was shocked days ago when flipping through my daughter’s science text book to find Haeckel’s forged embryo drawings! I knew these had still been used in textbooks up to a short while ago but couldn’t believe my eyes to see it used in 2008 science curricula. This false ‘evidence’ was created in the 1860’s

Alright, but hey: at least it isn't full of presuppositions like creation science and intelligent design theory is. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeellllllll...
In order to be truly neutral (hold no presuppositions) regarding the theory of origins, one would have to be open to the view that life could have arisen completely naturalistically, while simultaneously accepting that it may have been intelligently designed. You would then conduct investigations to see which hypothesis is better supported. But many evolutionists are atheists or were taught by atheists. By definition an atheist is;

A person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.13
So how can an atheist be unbiased or hold no presuppositions when their world view pre-supposes ‘no-God’?

Smith also cites this admission of bias from evolutionist Richard Lewontin:
‘It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.’

Author Aldous Huxley, grandson of "Darwin's bulldog" T.H. Huxley, admitted the license of Godlessness was central to his acceptance of this worldview:
‘I had motive for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves. … For myself, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.’

Smith's article also mentions a very interesting 1983 quote from the Official Journal-American Humanist Association
‘I am convinced that the battle for humankind’s future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly view their role as the proselytizers of a new faith … The classroom must and will become an arena of conflict between the old and the new; the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent evils and misery, and the new faith of Humanism …

Notice that this humanist at least had the intellectual integrity to admit that humanism is a faith, a religion?

Well, it looks like evolution theory fares no better than creation science or intelligent design in these six criteria put forth by the NSES.

So if both evolution theory and creation science can now start on a level playing field of consideration, the next step is to examine the theories and contentions of both and see how well they fit the evidence.

Interestingly, evolution does pitifully here, too. I won't take time to go into the details (which can be found easily across the internet) and make this post any longer, but the elementary implications alone are enough to doom evolution theory before it gets off the launch pad.

There are a great number of hinge-pins required to make materialism/naturalism/evolution a workable theory. They include a universe that sprang from absolutely nothing (in violation of scientific principles) with no cause (in violation of scientific principles), and required stars and other planetary bodies to form (in violation of scientific principles), and life to spring from lifeless matter (in violation of scientific principles).

And since evolutionists make an a priori insistence that there cannot be supernatural intervention or causation, they are left with events which must happen without supernatural help...yet are impossible according to the laws of nature.

Creation, on the other hand, assumes an infinite, all-powerful creator who spoke a universe into being, and had it completely ordered and fully functional--including human life--in six days.

The science of such a feat definitely inspires curiosity and wonder. Yet if one can believe Genesis 1:1, then every other truth-claim in the Bible is very easy to accept.

To put it simply, the claims of creation science are entirely possible within its own framework.

The claims of evolution, however, are impossible within its own framework.

Evolution comes up woefully short in the "scientific" department.


What Passed You By While You Were Sleeping?

Dakota Voice contributor Paul E. Scates emailed me with links to this material this morning.

It's a powerful song from Casting Crowns called "While You Were Sleeping".

An excerpt from the story behind the song:

’While You Were Sleeping’ took me nine years to finish. The year was 1996. I was trying to come up with something new to sing to the Lord for Christmas. I wanted to compose a new arrangement to the famous hymn "O Little Town of Bethlehem." I set out to use the hymn’s original lyrics but to spin them into my own version with different chords. I didn’t even make it to the second verse. I was playing with some chords and realized halfway through the first verse that I was 27 years old and had been singing the song since I was a kid without grasping its meaning. Halfway through the first verse, the whole point of the song hit me: They missed it! Bethlehem missed it. They never knew what happened. They had no idea their Messiah, the Savior of the world, had fulfilled the prophecy of Micah 5:2 and was sleeping in a feeding trough in their very village. They slept through the whole thing...

I thought, 'We’re doing the same thing. We’re missing it. We’re missing the Answer. We’re missing the Savior.' Instantly the second verse took the song in a radically different direction...

It is amazing and sad what wonders and opportunities can slip past us while we're unaware and sleeping.

This Christmas, don't let the ultimate opportunity slip past while you are sleeping...
Just wanted to share a Christmas video I created in 2005 for Casting Crown's "While You Were Sleeping". Think about all the things we let slip by while we have become so complacent in our lives.

In His Service,
Brian


Comments Down for the Holidays

I'm shutting comments down at Dakota Voice for the next day and a half.

Family is already arriving for Christmas, and I don't have time for comment moderation, nor do I have time to argue with the obstinate. Dakota Voice is not a platform to spread liberal lies, and comments promoting them will not be published here without challenge; the "mainstream" media provides more than enough unchallenged liberal lies to our society.

Only blog authors will be able to comment during this time.

In the meantime, let's all take the time to slow down, do some reflection, and ponder the meaning and significance of Christmas.

It's not about Santa Claus, Christmas trees and Christmas lights.

It's the time when we celebrate the incarnation of the Living God in human form. It's the time when we celebrate the birth of the Savior of the human race, when God took human form to live among us but without sin, to give his life to save us from the punishment our sins deserved.

Short of the cross and the resurrection, it's the most significant event in human history. Let us afford it the consideration and reverence it is due.

Merry Chrismas!


Pope: Non-Heterosexual Behavior Destroys God's Work

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Jennifer Gold
Christian Today Reporter
Tue, Dec. 23 2008 04:06 PM EST

Saving mankind from homosexual and transsexual behavior is just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction, said Pope Benedict on Monday.

In an end-of-year address to Vatican officials, the Pope said the Catholic Church “should also protect man from the destruction of himself.”

A “sort of ecology of man is needed,” he said.

The Catholic Church strongly opposes homosexual relationships and same-sex unions.

“The tropical forests do deserve our protection. But man, as a creature, does not deserve any less,” he said in the address, which was later released to the media.

In an attack on transsexuals, the Pope said, “It is not man who decides who is a man or woman but God.”

Non-heterosexual behavior was “a destruction of God’s work,” he said, adding that humanity needed to “listen to the language of creation” to properly define the roles of man and woman.

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


America Has Demonstrated the Fundamental Unity of Christianity and Democracy

American Minute from William J. Federer

On Christmas eve, DECEMBER 24, 1492, Columbus' ship, the Santa Maria, ran aground on the island of Haiti. Columbus left 40 men and named the settlement la Navidad, promising to return the next year.

He wrote that day to Spain's King and Queen: "In all the world there can be no better or gentler people. Your Highnesses should feel great joy, because presently they will be Christians, and instructed in the good manners of your realms."

On DECEMBER 24, 1946, lighting the National Christmas Tree, President Truman said: "Our...hopes of future years turn to a little town in the hills of Judea where on a winter's night two thousand years ago the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled. Shepherds keeping watch by night over their flock heard the glad tidings of great joy from the angels of the Lord singing, 'Glory to God in the Highest and on Earth, peace, good will toward men.'"

President Truman continued: "If we will accept it, the star of faith will guide us into the place of peace as it did the shepherds on that day of Christ's birth long ago...Through all the centuries, history has vindicated His teaching."

Truman concluded: "In this great country of ours has been demonstrated the fundamental unity of Christianity and democracy."

William J. Federer is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and president of Amerisearch, Inc, which is dedicated to researching our American heritage. The American Minute radio feature looks back at events in American history on the dates they occurred, is broadcast daily across the country and read by thousand on the internet.


Some Consider the Stark Realities Behind Christmas

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post


By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Tue, Dec. 23 2008 12:19 PM EST

Stages are set, sermons are ready, and tickets are nearly all reserved for the thousands of seats in megachurches across the country as they begin numerous Christmas services this week.

But while everyone anticipates a joyous and grand Christmas observance, many preachers are rejecting the hoopla around the season and pointing people to a moment in history that's far humbler and darker than people typically hear about.

"Christmas time is all about the announcement," said Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in Charlotte, N.C. "There's this triumphant 'joy to the world, the Lord has come.' Christmas is about the greatest announcement ever made."

"But there's something not often said about the Christmas story," the pastor of one of the fastest growing churches in the country told congregants Sunday.

That includes the situation of the virgin Mary.

"When God finally spoke out of 400 years of silence to Mary, He didn't drop the messiah out of the sky on the wings of an angel ... He chose a virgin girl in a hick town and He said 'I'm about to bring the Son of God into the earth,'" Furtick explained.

But it wasn't necessarily good news to Mary, who is believed to have been a teenager at that time and was engaged to Joseph.

"How do you think it went over with Mary?" the pastor posed. "You think she wore the scarlet letter?"

"This is about the most devastating news that a teenage girl can get," but Mary still responded with faith and obedience.

Over in Birmingham, Ala., at another fast-growing megachurch, Pastor Chris Hodges also called congregants to look beyond the celebrations and deeper into the Christmas story.

"The whole story centers around a time that was incredibly dark," said Hodges of Church of the Highlands on Sunday. "If there was ever a time of hopelessness, it was during that time."

"God intentionally sends His son during a time of hopelessness because I think it's one of the major messages of Christmas," he added.

The Birmingham megachurch already held on Monday two of its seven Christmas services. And like the past 25 years, Hodges is making sure this year's Christmas worship experience is all about Jesus.

Evangelist and Pastor Greg Laurie at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., is making a similar effort to help believers see past the commercial Christmas and know the real message.

On Sunday, Laurie officially canceled "Christmas" – at least the hyped version that many people "buy into" today.

"The very word 'Christmas' has been pirated, emptied of its meaning," Laurie told thousands at his megachurch Sunday. "Some prefer to use the more politically correct terminology (i.e. Happy Holidays)."

"But I actually think those things are not as bad as those people who say 'Merry Christmas' and not know what it means," he said.

"I suggest we cancel Christmas and instead celebrate the birth of Christ."

The primary Christmas message is that "God came to us," said Laurie. "That's a staggering thought."

And while other religions call followers to follow a creed or do certain works to find peace or reach heaven, Christianity says "it's done ... for you at the cross," Laurie reminded congregants.

"The message of Christmas is ... God is not only with us but God comes in us. Being a Christian is not merely following a creed, but having Christ himself live in you."

Also recognizing the challenges many face today during hard economic times, the pastor encouraged Christians that even if the holiday does not deliver the harmony or peace or even gifts that people expect during this season, what this "sin-sick world" needs is only Jesus.

"We don't need good will, we need the messiah. We don't need presents, we need His presence," he said.

Many churches are observing Christmas on Dec. 24 with special services, with some of the larger churches holding additional worship times in the days leading up to Christmas Eve to accommodate bigger crowds.

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Financial Collapse Compared to Fall of the Berlin Wall

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Jenna Lyle
Christian Today Reporter
Tue, Dec. 23 2008 09:45 AM EST


The collapse of major banks and financial institutions may have as great an impact on the world as the fall of the Berlin Wall, says the Bishop of Gibraltar.

Bishop Geoffrey Rowell was speaking in an address during the installation of the new dean of Gibraltar’s Holy Trinity Cathedral, the Rev. Dr. John Paddock.

Reflecting on the present economic downturn, he said the dean had a role to play in speaking into the challenges of the day.

“Jeremiah was assured that the Lord had put his words into his mouth – there was a gift of speaking to the collapsing world of the Jewish people in Jeremiah’s own day,” he said.

"Our world today is a world of collapsing confidence, where a recession has come with the suddenness of a tsunami caused by the shaking of foundations beneath the sea.”

He predicted that the impact of the financial crisis would be far-reaching.

“The fall of Wall Street may be as significant as the fall of the Berlin Wall in changing the world, the Europe, in which we live,” he said. “The financial situation will certainly have an impact on the many to whom we minister in the diocese and therefore on the diocese itself.”

Paddock’s installation in the cathedral in Gibraltar was attended by representatives of the diocese and the community of Gibraltar, as well as the Governor of Gibraltar, who read a lesson, and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Gibraltar.

Rowell said that the dean, as senior priest in the diocese, had to be a voice of support as well as challenge for the diocese, and offer encouragement and care to the cathedral's congregation.

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pastor Rick Warren Clarifies Position on Homosexuals, Marriage

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Lillian Kwon
Christian Post Reporter
Tue, Dec. 23 2008 08:39 PM EST


Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren believes America is being destroyed by "the demonization of differences" and the media is to blame.

"[T]he media often fans controversy and conflict to create a story and we start yelling at each other so much, nobody listens to each other anymore," Warren said in a lengthy video message, posted Monday, addressed to members of Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif.

As the media creates or fuels conflict, it's creating more polarization and causing people to be more rude and inflamed, the renowned pastor said.

Warren also blamed bloggers for contributing to the polarization of the country and said one of his three life goals is to restore civility to civilization.

The evangelical pastor posted his comments on his "News & Views" blog page to address concerns and questions raised by his congregants.

In recent weeks, Warren has been inundated with criticism from evangelicals as well as gay-rights groups after he accepted the invitation to deliver the invocation at President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration in January. Obama has also been blasted for his selection of the evangelical pastor for such a significant role.

But while countless reports have covered the controversy around homosexuality – Warren supported Proposition 8, protecting the traditional definition of marriage – the Saddleback pastor says the media has totally missed the real story.

"The fact that an evangelical pastor believes in keeping the historic definition of marriage – that's not news ... it's a non-story. And the fact that the gay community would disagree with me, that's not news either," he said in the video.

"What's the real story?" he posed.

"The real story is that a couple of different American leaders have chosen to model civility for the rest of the nation and that Barack Obama and Rick Warren have decided to try to create a new politic that says 'we can disagree without being disagreeable; we can walk hand in hand without seeing eye to eye; we can have unity in our nation without uniformity; and we can have collaboration for the best of America.'"

Although both Warren and Obama are receiving flak, they're both "willing to be criticized in order to try to bring America into a new day of civil discourse and to create a new model that says 'you don't have to agree only with your side on everything; you can reach out in the middle and try to figure out to have a way that we can make America a better place without having to agree on everything," Warren stressed.

"See, that's the story that the media's missing. It's the story of risk-taking."

In the video message, Warren also clarified what he really believes about gay marriage as he responded to questions raised by his congregants.

"My views have not changed in 30 years ... I have been accused of equating gay partnerships with incest and pedophilia. Now, of course, as members of Saddleback Church, you know I believe no such thing. I never have," he said, as he cleared up false accusations and clarified comments he made in a recent interview with Beliefnet.com.

"...I'm not opposed to gays having their partnerships. I'm opposed to gays using the term 'marriage' for their relationship and I'm opposed to any redefinition of the definition of marriage – the definition of marriage that's been universally accepted since the beginning of man," he said.
He also stated, "Now gay partnerships are typically between consenting adults. And while I believe that the gay view of sexuality is contrary to God's word, I do believe that God gives us free choice and He gives us the choice to obey His word or to disobey it.

"Because of that, I believe I must give everybody else that same freedom of choice. I'm opposed in forcing people to act the way I believe that I ought to act. That's not what it's about. It's what I believe God wants me to act and it's the way I believe God wants other people to act but God has given me the choice."

He continued, "Now I believe that God says I must love everybody. You've heard me say that a thousand times. I have to love everybody regardless of the choice they make. In fact, I am never ever free to hate any person."

"Not only God, but America gives us this great freedom to make choices," Warren added. "And so I simply believe that while we're all free to make choices, I think gays should use another term for their consenting adult relationship and partnership. I oppose the redefinition of the meaning of marriage. I hope that's clear."

And in terms how he will deal with the incessant verbal attacks, false accusations and hateful slander, Warren said, "We return good for evil. We return love for hate. We overcome evil with good. We will love and ... we will pray."

On the Web: Rick Warren video message

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Relax, Your SUV Didn't Do It

This article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says global warming started 5,000 years ago (when, incidentally, there were no SUVs or coal-fired power plants, and no evil American or Western civilization to make them).

Global warming didn't start with the industrial revolution, but began 5,000 to 8,000 years ago with large-scale agriculture in Asia and extensive deforestation in Europe, according to new research by University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists.

Using powerful supercomputers and advanced climate models, the researchers concluded that methane and carbon dioxide - the building blocks of global warming - began rising with the introduction of rice cultivation and large-scale tree removal.

So don't worry about it! Drive your Hummer or Expedition with pride!

That, or advocate we kill off 90% or more of the human race so we can allow our planet-goddess to go back to the au naturale. Maybe we can get the environmentalist wackos to jump to the head of the line to show their love for the goddess. Ya think?

There is a silver lining, though. The article says this warming probably averted another ice age. I'm sure Floridians would love the 4 degree weather I have outside my house right now.

On a semi-related topic, Daily Tech reports Princeton physicist Dr. Will Happer called fears over global warming "mistaken".
"I have spent a long research career studying physics that is closely related to the greenhouse effect", said Happer. "Fears about man-made global warming are unwarranted and are not based on good science."

Well, there goes that consensus thing! So much for "settled science."
Happer's latest remarks were made yesterday, as he asked to be included in a Senate Environment and Public Works report of scientists disputing global warming alarmism. Happer joins 650 other scientists on the list, many of whom have been interviewed previously by DailyTech.

"Computer models used to generate frightening scenarios from increasing levels of carbon dioxide have scant credibility," Happer concluded.

Anthropogenic global warming makes for thrilling science fiction and good fodder for socialist to peddle more government authoritarianism, but doesn't make for good science. It's based on a grain of science and a bucket of conjecture.


Merry Christmas to the Capitol


From our friends at Americans for Limited Government.


Worst Examples of 2008 Media Bias

The Fox News video below features an interview with Brent Bozell of the Media Research center, on the worst Left-wing bias of 2008 from the "mainstream" media.

We have the "thrill up the leg" from Chris Matthews, "Obama's like Jesus the Messiah, only better" from Nancy Gibbs of Time, Chris Matthews "Palin is an igloo," PBS's Sally Quinn's "racist, anti-American Jeremiah Wright is a victim," and David Wright of Nightline's "adopted son of Camelot." Many others, too; read them here.

It's so wonderful that we have an objective, unbiased news media so we can get the straight, unfiltered information about public officials, isn't it?



Joe Biden: Lowering Expectations and an Obfuscation

The Politico reports Vice President-elect Joe Biden is working on lowering expectations of the Obama administration:

“I have been contacted by so many world leaders. Their expectation for Barack’s presidency is overwhelming,” Biden said. “They are so hungry to have an American leader who they think has a policy that reflects our stated values as well as one they can talk to.”

The lady who figured Barack Obama for her sugar-daddy, so she wouldn't have to worry about putting gas in her car or paying her mortgage, will not be the only one disappointed in the Obama administration.

A lot of folks are going to find out that the Obamessiah is a pretender, that he really isn't "The One." Just as many false messiahs preceded Jesus in the ancient world, so Obama is a false messiah now.

Taxpayers, prepare! We may be shelling out more of our hard-earned dollars to pay for therapy for Obamaniacs who get slapped by reality in the next year or so. It may be too difficult for them to accept that, yes, even with a Marxist like Obama in the White House, there will still be a few things they will actually have to do for themselves.

On a different note, I think Biden made one of those verbal mistakes he's famous for when he made the statement I quoted above. I believe this is what he meant to say:
“I have been contacted by so many world leaders. Their expectation for Barack’s presidency is overwhelming,” Biden said. “They are so hungry to have an American leader who they think has a policy that reflects their stated values as well as one they can get to go along with their ambitions.”

From what we've heard out of Obama, and what we've seen of the amoral leadership in the world community, this is almost certainly a more accurate statement.


Pope Benedict On Marriage

In line with at least 6000 years of human history, Pope Benedict confirms God’s plan for men and women, vis-à-vis sex and marriage.

VATICAN CITY [Reuters]: Pope Benedict said Monday that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.

The Church "should also protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man is needed," the pontiff said in a holiday address to the Curia, the Vatican's central administration.

"The tropical forests do deserve our protection. But man, as a creature, does not deserve any less."

The Catholic Church teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are. It opposes gay marriage and, in October, a leading Vatican official called homosexuality "a deviation, an irregularity, a wound."

The pope said humanity needed to "listen to the language of creation" to understand the intended roles of man and woman. He compared behavior beyond traditional heterosexual relations as "a destruction of God's work."



(More...)


These are the times that try men's souls

American Minute from William J. Federer

After the Continental Army was driven out of New Jersey, an article titled "The American Crisis" was published in the Pennsylvania Journal, DECEMBER 23, 1776.

Written by an aide-de-camp to General Nathanael Greene named Thomas Paine, General Washington ordered it read to the troops: "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country...Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."

Thomas Paine continued: "What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly....Heaven knows how to put a price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated...God Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction...who have so earnestly...sought to avoid the calamities of war."

Paine concluded: "The whole English army, after ravaging the kingdom of France, was driven back...by a few broken forces headed by a woman, Joan of Arc. Would that heaven might inspire some Jersey maid to spirit up her countrymen...'Show your faith by your works,' that God may bless you...I thank God, that I fear not."

William J. Federer is a nationally recognized author, speaker, and president of Amerisearch, Inc, which is dedicated to researching our American heritage. The American Minute radio feature looks back at events in American history on the dates they occurred, is broadcast daily across the country and read by thousand on the internet.


Monday, December 22, 2008

White House Blasts NYT Selective Memory

The "mainstream" New York Times certainly has a selective memory in placing sole blame for the mortgage meltdown at the feet of President Bush.

In doing so, they have to step over the reality that Democrats pushed to give Fannie and Freddie--government creations--a free-wheeling hand while Republicans pushed for more oversight of these government lenders backed by taxpayer money.

Blaming "deregulation" sounds good to shallow ears, but as usual the "mainstream" liberal press has bad aim.

Deregulation of private industry is usually a good thing; private industry tends to thrive with minimal government interference and is usually checked from recklessness by the knowledge that they'll have to live wit the consequences.

Oversight is needed--demanded--for government institutions which should be accountable to the taxpayers (after all, Americanism dictates the government exists to serve the people, not that the people exist to serve government). Giving cronies a free-wheeling hand at Freddie and Fannie as Democrats have demanded for their buddies has been largely responsible for this mess.

As usual, liberals place blind trust in government institutions while viewing private industry with suspicion and knee-jerk assumptions of guilt.

No wonder socialist societies are destined for mediocrity.


Helping With Recession during the Christmas Season

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post


By Ethan Cole
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Dec. 22 2008 10:29 AM EST


The holiday season is in full swing and along with the joy often times comes unwanted stress, especially this year with the economic recession.

A ministry working to support needy children and families around the world offers five pieces of advice to Americans on alternatives to gift giving when money is tighter than ever.

For shoppers looking for easy, affordable and meaningful ways to give gifts to friends and families this year, World Vision suggests that the best way to do so is to select a charitable organization that one would like to support and make a donation online.

Donating to charities in the names of friends and family is meaningful and also avoids the chaos at malls around Christmas season.

The second best way to give affordable, meaningful gifts is to consider a do-it-yourself gift that you can make with your children.

Other ways to cope with the holiday recession include helping a neighbor shut-in by snow by shoveling their sidewalk or delivering hot chocolate to neighbors; giving the gift of time to volunteer as a family at a local charity; and buying gift certificates for friends to do family-friendly activities like going to the movies or ice-skating.

“The holiday season can be a stressful time of year,” says World Vision’s Devin Hermanson, in a statement. “There are gifts to purchase and wrap, cookies to bake, and family to visit but as the economy struggles, let’s remember our friends and neighbors in need.”

According to a recent World Vision gift-giving survey, four out of five U.S. adults prefer to receive a meaningful gift this holiday season. More than seven out of ten Americans plan to spend less on gifts but almost half of those surveyed say that given the current economic climate, they’re now more likely to give a “charitable gift,” something that helps other people instead of a traditional gift like clothing or home electronics.

World Vision has a Gift Catalog where givers can purchase in the name of a friend, family member, or business associate. The catalog includes a goat or cow for a needy family in Africa, and contributing to building a well in Africa, among other charitable gifts. World Vision sends special cards to those individuals, describing the gifts and their impact.

Last year, the ministry’s Gift Catalog raised $21 million and provided assistance to more than 500,000 people worldwide.

The Gift Catalog launched in 1996 and the goat ($75) has been the ministry’s number one seller, although there are many affordable items for less than $35.

World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty.

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Churches Becoming Less Formal, Styles Changing

Reprinted by permission of The Christian Post

By Jennifer Riley
Christian Post Reporter
Mon, Dec. 22 2008 09:08 AM EST


American churches have a more informal worship style and ethnically diverse congregation than ten years ago, found a recent study on religious congregation trends.

More worship services include drums, jumping and shouting or dancing, raising hands in praise, calling out "amen," visual projection equipment, applause, and speaking by people other than leaders compared to 1998, the National Congregations Study shows.

Fewer churches feature traditional choirs during services.

Most of the informal service changes occur in Protestant and Catholic churches that are increasingly using visual projection equipment and drums. The increase in jumping, shouting and dancing occur most frequently in black churches.

Lead researcher Mark Chaves, a sociology professor at Duke University School of Divinity, noted that the study’s findings are especially noteworthy because “religious traditions and organizations are widely considered to be remarkably resistant to change,” according to USA Today.

But the numbers for some features have remained about the same, including a sermon or speech, singing, greeting time, silent prayer or meditation, reading or reciting Scripture time, and speaking in tongues during service.

Besides becoming more informal, churches in America have also changed to be more ethnically diverse.

Noting that recent immigration has “clearly” played a role in congregations’ social composition, the study observed that predominantly white and non-Hispanic congregations are more ethnically diverse than they were in 1998.

The number of people in congregations with no Latinos decreased from 43 percent in 1998 to 36 percent in 2006-07. Meanwhile, the number of congregations with no Asians decreased from 59 percent to 50 percent, according to the study.

Congregations that reported no recent immigrants dropped from 61 percent in 1998 to 49 percent in 2006-07.

Another way of looking at the data is the number of people in completely white and non-Hispanic congregations decreased from 20 percent to 14 percent in the nine-year period.

But the diversity occurred mostly among white churches; the majority of black churches still remain predominantly racially homogeneous.

Diversity is also seen among clergy, mainly in Catholic churches. The head clergy has become increasingly minority, with 13 percent of Catholic churches now led by black or Hispanic priests, compared to only 1 percent in 1998.

Along with the diversity, however, leaders of congregations are older, on average, than they were in 1998. The median age of the head clergy has increased from 49 in 1998 to 53 in 2006. Furthermore, congregations across the religious spectrum have fewer younger leaders. Today, only 39 percent of congregations are led by someone 50 years old or younger, a drop from 48 percent in 1998.

Catholic and liberal/mainline congregations are more likely to have older clergy compared to other churches.

The biggest change seen in congregations over the past decade was in the area of computer technology.

In 1998, the number of congregations with Web sites was only 17 percent. The number has since risen to 44 percent in 2006-07. In other words, since 1998 another 10,000 congregations created Web sites and now 74 percent of service attendees are in congregations with Web sites.

Meanwhile, the number of those using email to communicate with members increased from 21 percent to 59 percent during this time period. Nearly 80 percent of attendees as of 2006-07 are in congregations that communicate with members via email.

Copyright 2008 The Christian Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


The Gods of Liberalism are Ancient

J. Matt Barber's column today at CNS News points out a spiritual truth about liberalism.

He mentions a sermon he heard a few weeks ago at Rivermont Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Lynchburg, VA by Pastor John Mabray:

In his sermon, Pastor Mabray illustrated that, although they've now assumed a more contemporary flair, the fundamentals of Baal worship remain alive and well today. The principal pillars of Baalism were child sacrifice, sexual immorality (both heterosexual and homosexual) and pantheism (reverence of creation over the Creator).

Ritualistic Baal worship, in sum, looked a little like this: Adults would gather around the altar of Baal. Infants would then be burned alive as a sacrificial offering to the deity.

Amid horrific screams and the stench of charred human flesh, congregants – men and women alike – would engage in bisexual orgies. The ritual of convenience was intended to produce economic prosperity by prompting Baal to bring rain for the fertility of "mother earth."

To revisit the key point I bold-typed above, modern liberalism and ancient paganism are strikingly similar in their practice of child sacrifice, sexual license and reverence of creation over the Creator.

These are some points I know Pastor Steve Hickey at Voices Carry has preached and taught on before.

And, as Barber points out, the ancient gods are in ascension in America right now:
Nonetheless, the aforementioned pillars of postmodern Baalism – abortion, sexual relativism and radical environmentalism – will almost certainly make rapid headway over the next four to eight years, with or without help from the Christian left. The gods of liberalism have a new high priest in Barack Obama, and enjoy many devout followers in the Democratic-controlled Congress, liberal media and halls of academia.

There is indeed nothing new under the sun. The human race keeps doing the same old stupid thing and repeating the same old sins.

Which points out another area where liberalism is dead wrong: we aren't evolving up morally any more than we are evolving up biologically.


The Powerful Humility of Christmas

By Marie Jon'

The Christmas season is like no other time of the year. In spite of the freezing weather people have to contend with, most folks reveal a certain happy sparkle in their eyes. Maybe it's because the season brings with it optimism about the future. For those within the Christian faith, there is an understanding that there is more to come. We hold fast and trust in God's faithful promise of the "blessed assurance" (John 10:28).

Yes, it's true that Christians especially have reason to feel merrier. This is the season that points to the First Advent of the Savior's entrance into the universe that He created. And with confidence and anticipation, we await the Savior's Second Advent, known to many as the Second Coming of Christ.

The message of Christ has had a positive impact on the entire world. Christ willingly became like us so that we may one day experience the glories of heaven with Him.

One of the many things my family enjoys at Christmastime is to take turns reading out loud the story of Christ's birth. It brings us together. As we read line upon line from the Word of God, we reflect upon its magnificent beauty.

Because we are in the midst of the holiday season, I believe the Christmas story should be shared. It begins with a special announcement that went forth from Caesar Augustus. The decree proclaimed that the entire kingdom would have to be registered. The very first census took place while Cyrenius was governing Syria. Everyone had to return to their home city and register their names.

Joseph, a carpenter by trade, went up from Galilee and out of the city of Nazareth into Judea to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem. Joseph was of the house and lineage of David. He took with him his wife Mary, who was with child. They were a blessed couple whose marriage would be remembered throughout the ages.

While in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to her first-born son. She lovingly wrapped the baby in swaddling clothes and bedded Him in a manger because there was no room at the inn.

At that time, shepherds were living in the open fields, keeping watch over their flocks at night. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord stood before them. The shepherds became frightened. The glory of the Lord shone all about them. They had no idea of what was to take place within a matter of hours, and its great importance.

The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day, in the city of David, a Savior which is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you. You will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger" (Luke 2:10-12).

"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:13-14).

In the book of Luke, Chapter Two, we read that all the world was being taxed at the time that Christ was born. If we had been living back then, we might have seen it on the front page of the Jerusalem Times. However, the biggest story then (and now) had nothing to do with government or Caesar and his big tax-and-spend programs. It was about a little baby boy who was both God and man.

The Christmas story reminds unbelieving skeptics that there is a God to whom the whole world eventually will have to account. The Almighty has already fulfilled His part to save all humankind by the way of the Cross. All that we need do is respond to God's love and live our lives as Christians. Others will follow and believe in Emanuel — God with us.

It's amazing and incomprehensibly awesome that God actually came to this world in human flesh and dwelt amongst us. Yet, in today's society we pick up the newspapers to find articles about some poor lost souls who can't stand the idea of a Nativity scene being displayed in the public arena, while the ACLU steps in with a lawsuit to curtail the free expression of religion.

President Ulysses S. Grant set aside Dec 25th as a federal holiday during a time when our nation had been severely divided by a civil war. He believed that a Christmas holiday would help unite the country. Unfortunately, there is an extremely vocal, small-minded minority who are against any religious aspects to this celebration. With the help of the liberal media, they are bound and determined to change things. They continually try to subvert America's Judeo-Christian beliefs. Every Christian needs to become seriously pro-active against those who try to undermine and attack the faith of America's founding fathers.

The Good News is "For this is how God loved the world: He gave his unique Son so that everyone who believes in Him might not be lost, but have eternal life" (John 3:16). The angels in heaven rejoice over the miraculous love of God.

History was made on that night in the town of Bethlehem, while most of the people were sleeping. They were not aware that God Himself had just stepped into their midst, and that thousands of years of prophetic promises had just come to fruition.

The arrival of Jesus Christ would surprise the Hebrew theologians of that time. They would find themselves confused concerning the prophecies of their Messiah's first and Second Coming. For, you see, the citizenry and their religious leaders were expecting a great political leader who was capable of and willing to remove the heavy yoke of the Roman Empire, and set the nation of Israel free. They were looking for a man with a higher education and one who could easily take his place in society with the great Sanhedrin. However, that was not who God sent us, because that is not what we needed.

Years ago, an unknown author wrote some amazing words: "If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist. If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer. But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior."

If there were such a thing as a time machine, we could step back in time and space where we could behold Jesus, lying asleep in a manger as helpless as any other child. What a wondrous and glorious sight that would be!

We would find Wise Men who came from afar to bring their gifts to a baby child. This Christmas season, give a gift to the one who loves you so much that He died just for you. Give your heart to Jesus without hesitation.

The Word of God says that the whole reason God came was to "seek and to save that which was lost." He humbled Himself especially for you.

While many will enjoy the Christmas tree and the sumptuous holiday dinner, how many will take a moment to ask: Why was Jesus born? When people envision Christ in a manger, the truth will become as clear as the driven snow. The Lord was thinking about them while in the courts of heaven.

Is there a single good reason to say "No" to an everlasting kind of love? Christ knows you better than anyone else. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

This Christmas season is when families gather together all across this great and beautiful country of ours. Take time to remember our heavenly Father's love.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Rejoice!

Song: Star Of Wonder

Marie Jon' is a political/religious-based writer and founder of www.DrawingClose.org and www.PeoplePoliticallyRight.com — sister websites to RenewAmerica. Marie extends her hand of welcome; visit DrawingClose and receive your free gift of salvation by taking an online Bible study.

Marie's writings have appeared on many sites, including The New Media Journal, ChronWatch, and ABCNews, to name a few. Marie brings a refreshing and spirited point of view that is reflected in her writings. Marie is a nurse, a lay student of the Bible, and a patriot. She is an advocate for American troops serving abroad, as well as the Blue and Gold Star Mothers of America and their families. Marie enjoys Townhall.com radio, Rush Limbaugh, Bruce Elliott Saturdays 5AM-9AM EST and her friend Larry Elder.


 
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