Posts Tagged ‘Christian’

Going to War in Syria

August 27, 2013

It would seem that we are preparing military strikes against the Assad regime in Syria. I can’t even begin to say what an incredibly stupid idea this is. Yes, it is deplorable that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against the rebels. Yes, the current government of Syria is a vicious tyranny that has violated the human rights of the people of Syria and it deserves to be overthrown. The problem is that the rebels are Islamist fanatics that want to impose Sharia law on Syria, that are allied with al-Qaida, that they have been massacring Syria’s Christians, and that they will very likely to be as tyrannical and vicious as the Assad regime.

There are no good guys in this conflict. Both sides hate us. Both sides have links to terrorists. The last thing the Middle East needs is another Islamic state, yet that seems to be just what Obama is trying to achieve. We need to just stay out of this.

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Hobby Lobby

January 7, 2013

Here is a story that is becoming all too typical these days. I read about it at Breitbart.com.

In an authoritative and dynamic open letter written by David Green, the openly religious Christian CEO of Hobby Lobby, the arts and crafts company with 525 stores, Green indicts the Obama Administration for its war on religion and his company’s decision to file suit against the HHS mandate that discriminates against the religious.  Hobby Lobby is a remarkable company; it started as a miniature picture frames business located in Green’s garage in 1970, now has stores all across the nation, and carries no long-term debt.

English: Benito Mussolini and Fascist blackshi...

Our future?

Green, fed up with the HHS mandate that threatens the Christian way he does business, minced no words. The text of the letter follows:

When my family and I started our company 40 years ago, we were working out of a garage on a $600 bank loan, assembling miniature picture frames. Our first retail store wasn’t much bigger than most people’s living rooms, but we had faith that we would succeed if we lived and worked according to God‘s word. From there, Hobby Lobby has become one of the nation’s largest arts and crafts retailers, with more than 500 locations in 41 states. Our children grew up into fine business leaders, and today we run Hobby Lobby together, as a family.

We’re Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I’ve always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest. We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and he has blessed us and our employees. We’ve not only added jobs in a weak economy, we’ve raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage.

Our government threatens to fine job creators in a bad economy. Our government threatens to fine a company that’s raised wages four years running. Our government threatens to fine a family for running its business according to its beliefs. It’s not right. I know people will say we ought to follow the rules; that it’s the same for everybody. But that’s not true. The government has exempted thousands of companies from this mandate, for reasons of convenience or cost. But it won’t exempt them for reasons of religious belief.

So, Hobby Lobby – and my family – are forced to make a choice. With great reluctance, we filed a lawsuit today, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, asking a federal court to stop this mandate before it hurts our business. We don’t like to go running into court, but we no longer have a choice. We believe people are more important than the bottom line and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit.

My family has lived the American dream. We want to continue growing our company and providing great jobs for thousands of employees, but the government is going to make that much more difficult. The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law. I say that’s a choice no American – and no American business – should have to make.

Sincerely, David Green, CEO and Founder of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

The threats and bullying by the Obama Administration against those of religious faith continue apace. But those of us who honor faith know that we will fight back: the pendulum will surely turn.

Do you begin to see a pattern here? Businessmen who wish to run their businesses by Christian principles, whether it be Hobby Lobby, Chick-Fil-A or hospitals run by the Catholic Church, are being singled out for harassment because they hold their principles to be of greater importance than the dictates of the state. In other words, they are rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. Unfortunately, that is not good enough for our modern Caesars. They demand our sole loyalty and hate and detest anything that might come in the way; churches, businesses, families. It is bad enough that these people are entrepeneurs and do not rely on the state for direction. Now they insist on following their own conscience.

I think the following quotes will give a good idea what our Caesars are really after.

Against individualism, the Fascist conception is for the State; and it is for the individual in so far as he coincides with the State, which is the conscience and universal will of man in his historical existence. It is opposed to classical Liberalism, which arose from the necessity of reacting against absolutism, and which brought its historical purpose to an end when the State was transformed into the conscience and will of the people. Liberalism denied the State in the interests of the particular individual; Fascism reaffirms the State as the true reality of the individual. And if liberty is to be the attribute of the real man, and not of that abstract puppet envisaged by individualistic Liberalism, Fascism is for liberty. And for the only liberty which can be a real thing, the liberty of the State and of the individual within the State. Therefore, for the Fascist, everything is in the State, and nothing human or spiritual exists, much less has value,-outside the State. In this sense Fascism is totalitarian, and the Fascist State, the synthesis and unity of all values, interprets, develops and gives strength to the whole life of the people.

That was from Benito Mussolini. Here are a few from Lenin that seem appropriate for our time.

It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed.

The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.

The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency.

One man with a gun can control 100 without one.

I used to think that Obama was an incompetent fool. Now I realize that he knows exactly what he is doing.

Obama read his book

Obama read his book

 

Not So Merry Christmas For Many

December 25, 2012

I hope everyone who is reading this is having a very, merry Christmas and that you are all having a wonderful time with your families. As you celebrate this joyous holiday, keep in mind that Christmas is a time of fear for Christians in the Middle East. There are a couple of articles at Jihad Watch that I think are worth sharing.

First, Christmas in Pakistan. This article is from Deutches Wille.

Christians celebrate Christmas amid growing fear of persecution and rampant economic and social discrimination in Muslim-majority Pakistan. The year 2012 was one of the worst years for them in the country.

In many parts of the world, Christmas means a time of celebration. But for Christians in Pakistan, who live under constant fear of persecution by the state and majority Sunni Muslims, there is not much to celebrate.

Christians make up about two percent of the 180 million people living in Pakistan. Rights organizations say that like any other religious minority, they face legal and cultural discrimination in the Islamic Republic.

Blasphemy is a sensitive topic in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, where 97 percent of the population is Muslim. Controversial blasphemy laws introduced by the Islamic military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s make life for Christians more difficult. Activists say the laws have little to do with blasphemy and are often used to settle petty disputes and personal vendettas; they say the Christians are thereby often victimized.

Before the rise of Islamic extremism and religious intolerance in Pakistan, Christians celebrated Christmas with much enthusiasm. They would put stars on their houses and decorate their towns with lights and flags. But many now worry about the risk of being conspicuous.

“We are scared. We are frightened. We cannot sit together, we cannot speak loudly, we cannot celebrate openly. We receive threats,” Ashraf Masih, a street sweeper, told AFP. “If we sit together and talk, all of a sudden the Muslim owner of the house will come and ask ‘Why are you here, what are you talking about?'”

Qadri was celebrated by extremists for the murder of a governor critical of blasphemy laws

Aslam Masih, a 37-year-old gardener, told AFP in an interview that previously they used to celebrate Christmas in the town church but now it it had been closed.

Here is Robert Spencer’s piece at PJ Media on the jihad against Christmas.

Armed guards are patrolling outside churches in Nigeria. Christians in Pakistan and Indonesia are cowering in fear. Why? Because it’s Christmastime.

Many Muslims take a dim view of Christmas at best, and at worst actively menace Christians celebrating it. This is a worldwide phenomenon. Sheikh Yahya Safi, the head imam of Australia’s largest mosque, summed up an all-too-common view when he warned in a fatwa Saturday that “disbelievers are trying to draw Muslims away from the straight path,” and that “a Muslim is neither allowed to celebrate the Christmas Day nor is he allowed to congratulate them.”

Likewise the chairman of Indonesia’s top organization of Muslim clerics declared: “It’s better if they don’t say ‘Merry Christmas.’ It’s still up for debate whether it’s halal or haram, so better steer clear of it. But you can say ‘Happy New Year.’”

Muslim intimidation and violence against Christians around Christmas is only an extension of the intimidation and violence Chrisitans increasingly suffer throughout the year. Yet these incidents have received only scant attention in the mainstream media. And not only the international media, but also the human rights establishment and the United Nations continue to take virtually no notice. In their conceptual framework only Westerners can do evil and Christians cannot possibly play the role of victim. The chimera of “Islamophobia” consumes their time, attention, and resources; after being so consumed with this fiction, what can be left over for the actual persecution of Christians?

And so for the all-too-real Christian victims of Muslim fanaticism and hatred in Islamic lands, it’s yet another quiet, hushed, precarious Christmas.

And last, Christianity began in the Middle East yet the religion is close to being extinct there. Centuries of discrimination and intimidation ave decimated the oldest Christian communities in the world. Jihad Watch has an article from the Telegraph on this.

The study warns that Christians suffer greater hostility across the world than any other religious group.

And it claims politicians have been “blind” to the extent of violence faced by Christians in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The most common threat to Christians abroad is militant Islam, it says, claiming that oppression in Muslim countries is often ignored because of a fear that criticism will be seen as “racism”.

It warns that converts from Islam face being killed in Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Iran and risk severe legal penalties in other countries across the Middle East.

The report, by the think tank Civitas, says: “It is generally accepted that many faith-based groups face discrimination or persecution to some degree.

“A far less widely grasped fact is that Christians are targeted more than any other body of believers.”

It cites estimates that 200 million Christians, or 10 per cent of Christians worldwide, are “socially disadvantaged, harassed or actively oppressed for their beliefs.”

“Exposing and combating the problem ought in my view to be political priorities across large areas of the world. That this is not the case tells us much about a questionable hierarchy of victimhood,” says the author, Rupert Shortt, a journalist and visiting fellow of Blackfriars Hall, Oxford.

He adds: “The blind spot displayed by governments and other influential players is causing them to squander a broader opportunity. Religious freedom is the canary in the mine for human rights generally.”

And yet Islamophobia is supposed to be a major problem of our time. If you are not afraid of the most violent and intolerant religion in the world than you are not paying attention to what is going on.

Merry Christmas to all. Hopefully Christmas will be a time of joy for everyone sometime soon.

 

 

RIP Steve Jobs

October 6, 2011
Thanks, Steve.

Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple died yesterday. There was no cause of death specified, but he had been battling pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is probably the worst form of cancer to have as it spreads quickly and generally displays no symptoms until it has metastasized. Jobs was only 56 and I would consider that a great tragedy if he had not accomplished more in those 56 years than most of us would if we had lived two lifetimes. Now he has gone on to his eternal reward.

Speaking of which, it seems that the Westburo Baptist Church is planning to picket Steve Jobs’s funeral. I am not sure why.

It may seem like all of America is sad to hear the news of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ death at age 56, but Westboro Baptist Church can find a reason to hate anyone, and Jobs is no exception.

Margie Phelps, daughter of rogue church’s pastor Fred Phelps, tweeted their plans to picket Job’s funeral FROM HER IPHONE.

She wrote that Jobs went in hell. He served himself and not God, and he taught people to sin, Phelps said.

Phelps defended her use of Jobs’ technology, saying “Rebels mad cuz I used iPhone to tell you Steve Jobs is in hell. God created iPhone for that purpose!

Baptists usually have a congregationalist organization, meaning that each congregation is independent and not subject to any hierarchy or authority. They do organize in voluntary associations, such as the Southern Baptists, etc but many, including the Westburo Baptist Church, are completely independent. This is unfortunate because this means that no one has the authority to tell the Reverend Phelps and his church to shut up and leave people alone.

Of course, I don’t have any such authority either, but I wouldn’t consider them Christians because some of the doctrines they teach are unbiblical. God does not hate anyone. He hates our sins, but that is because He loves us and does not wish us to be harmed by our sins.

 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been fathered by God and knows God. 8 The person who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 By this the love of God is revealed in us: that God has sent his one and only Son into the world so that we may live through him. 10 In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.  11 Dear friends, if God so loved us, then we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God resides in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we reside in God and he in us: in that he has given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.  15 If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God resides in him and he in God. 16 And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has in us. God is love, and the one who resides in love resides in God, and God resides in him. 17 By this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because just as Jesus is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love. 19 We love because he loved us first.
20 If anyone says “I love God” and yet hates his fellow Christian, he is a liar, because the one who does not love his fellow Christian whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21 And the commandment we have from him is this: that the one who loves God should love his fellow Christian too. (1 John 4:7-20).

If they are not acting in a spirit of love, than they are not doing the will of God.

Did Jesus Die for Klingons?

October 5, 2011

This might seem a strange question to ask, yet they are asking it at the 100 year Starship Symposium. To be more precise in an address to the symposium Professor Christian Weideman discussed the possible implications of discovering extraterrestrial life on the world’s religions, especially Christianity. Here is the story in the Daily Mail.

A Christian professor has told a U.S. Government-backed conference on space travel that the discovery of aliens would lead to significant problems for his own religion.

In a speech entitled ‘Did Jesus die for Klingons too?’, German academic Christian Weidemann outlined the possible ramifications that the ultimate space discovery would engender.

Speaking at the 100 Year Starship Symposium in Orlando Florida, Professor Weidemann also attempted to outline how the inevitable theological conflict might be resolved.

Weidemann, a professor at the Ruhr-University Bochum, said that the death of Christ, some 2,000 years ago, was designed to save all creation.

However, the whole of creation, as defined by scientists, includes 125 billion galaxies with hundreds of billions of stars in each galaxy.

That means that if intelligent life exists on other planets, then Jesus or God would have to have visited them too, and sacrificed himself equally for Martian-kind as well as mankind.

The alternative, posits Weidemann, is that Jesus chose earthlings as the single race to save and abandoned every other life form in the galaxy.

Or, it could have been because humans were the only race who had sinned and required ‘saving’, said Weidemann, who added: ‘You can grasp the conflict.’

‘If there are extra-terrestrial intelligent beings at all, it is safe to assume that most of them are sinners too,’ he said, according to Space.com.

However, the conflict of theology would be more of a problem for Christians than it would for other religions.

Hindus believe in multiple gods, and would therefore not have an issue with Weidemann’s suggestion about multiple incarnations of God, and in the Muslim world Muhammad was not God incarnate, simple a prophet, which would also allow for the ‘multiple God theory’.

To be honest, I really don’t see why this would be a problem for Christians in particular. I have always taken it for granted that there are intelligent extraterrestrials out there. I simply cannot imagine that God would create this huge universe all for the benefit of the inhabitants of one planet.
In fact, C. S. Lewis has already explored the theological implications in his Space Trilogy. In these books, the protagonist Ransom travels to Mars and Venus. He discovers that Earth is fallen and therefore cut off from the rest of the universe, hence the “Silent Planet. Mars is inhabited by a race of angel-like creatures while Venus is still in an edenic period since its inhabitants have never fallen.
Lewis also dealt with the matter in the Chronicles of Narnia. As he explained, Aslan is not an allegory of Jesus. He is Jesus, as he might appear in a world of talking animals. In our world, he took the form of a man. In Narnia he is a lion.
So, did Jesus die for the Klingons? I really couldn’t say, having never met any Klingons. I would speculate that either other intelligent races have never fallen, and therefore be without sin, or they have fallen and God has made provision for their atonement in a manner appropriate to each race.

On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision

October 1, 2011

In these skeptical times, in which books by the so-called New Atheists make the bestseller lists, it is more important than ever for Christians to be able to explain their faith clearly and reasonably. This is necessary to not only defend the faith from attacks from the New Atheists but also to, as Peter wrote,

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Peter 3:15)

A Christian who goes out into the world without knowledge of apologetics is like a soldier going into battle unarmed.

Fortunately, William Lane Craig provides the tools you need with his book On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision.

On Guard is no less than a training manual for the defender of the faith. Craig teaches the reader good reasons to believe in Christianity and how to argue these reasons convincingly.

After the first two chapters, in which he introduces the subject of and necessity for apologetics, Craig uses the next section to explore reasons to believe in the existence of God. He does not specify the Christian God in this section, nor does he rely on revelation. Instead, Craig uses the Cosmological and Moral arguments, asking why anything at all exists, why is the universe so fine-tuned, where do our ideas on morality originate. I think that this section could be used by the believers of any of the monotheistic religions, Jews, Muslims, even Deists, with very little modification.

Chapter seven deals with the questions of suffering and evil in the face of a good, omnipotent Deity. The final three chapters deal specifically with the Christian faith, giving evidence for the historical existence of Jesus and His resurrection. I think that this final section is slightly weaker since it seems to me that Craig did not spend enough time establishing the historical reliability of the Gospels but seemed to grant their accuracy for granted.  I also think that the book could have used a chapter defining what faith is and is not. Faith is not believing in things that you have no evidence.

Despite the two minor reservations I have mentioned, On Guard is a valuable resource for any Christian interested in apologetics, or who simply wants to explore why he believes what he believes.

The Archbishop Sees the Light, Maybe

June 16, 2011

From Jihad watch. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is fairly loopy, even for a liberal protestant. In the past he has been inducted as a druid, criticized the US as the “worst” imperialists,  driven his church apart over the ordination of gay bishops, and suggested that sharia law is unavoidable in Britain. There may be some hope for him yet, however, as he has spoken out against the increasing persecution of Christians throughout the Middle East.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s The World at One, Dr Williams said he was “guardedly optimistic” that the political upheavals in the Middle East and North Africa would bring greater democracy to the region.

“In the long term, of course, a real participatory democracy in the region is bound to be in the interests of minorities because good democracies look after minorities,” he said.

But in the short term, he warned, people were using the chaos it had brought to attack Christian minorities.

“There is no doubt at all that it is a very anxious time for Christian communities. There have been extremist atrocities already, especially in Egypt,” he said.

“It is a fairly consistent pattern over a number of months. Although at leadership level in the Muslim community in Egypt there is clear condemnation of this, it’s evident that there are other forces at work which of course may not be native Egyptian,” he added.

He suggested outside elements had entered Egypt from “more traditional sites of extremism”, such as Saudi Arabia and northern Sudan, and did not rule out activity by al-Qaeda.

Dr Williams said violent extremism had made life unsustainable for Christians in northern Iraq, in a way that amounted to ethnic cleansing.

“The level of violence has been extreme,” he said.

“More and more there is the talk of an ‘enclave solution’ to the problem in Iraq – that is a sort of safe territory for Christians, which Christians and their leaders don’t particularly want, but many would think is the only practical outcome now.”

He said even in Syria, where Christians and Muslims had long lived together peacefully, tensions were building to breaking point.

Even in Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, Christians who had once been in the majority were now a “marginalised minority”, he added.

Of course he still uses the politically correct rhetoric, saying extremists are responsible, rather than even considering the idea that Islam’s sacred scriptures call for Christians and Jews to be persecuted, but one step at a time.

Over 50 U.S. Churches to hold Qur’an Readings

May 21, 2011

From Jihad Watch. The Interfaith Alliance and Human Rights First are co-sponsoring an initiative to have Christians invite Muslims to churches to read from their sacred texts this June 26. Tad Stahnke, director of policy and programs for Human Rights First, planned this initiative to counter anti-Muslim bigotry. As he put it;

We want to send a message to the world, that Americans do respect religious differences and reject religious bigotry and the demonization of Islam or any other religion.

And, the Rev. Welton Gaddy  of the Interfaith Alliance had this to say;

As a Christian minister who is a pastor in a local congregation, it is important to me for our nation and our world to know that not all Christians promote hate, attack religions different from their own and seek to desecrate the scripture of others,

I wish these people would take some time off from their ritual self-flagellation and take a look at what’s really going on around the world. The biggest examples of religious intolerance and persecution do not come from Christians attacking Muslims, but Muslims persecuting Christians, Muslims persecuting Jews, Muslims persecuting Baha’is, and Muslims persecuting anyone who isn’t Muslim. Not the mention Muslims persecuting rival sects of Islam.


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