Religion

re·li·gion: a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conductof human affairs. Posts in this category pertain to religious matters and issues.

Worship 101

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity

On the cusp of my church's launch of Revolution School, my Wednesday-night Life Group (The Listening Lifestyle) was given an assignment to pray about and listen to God's direction concerning this nascent school of worship. I found myself unable to get past one specific passage:

Therefore I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, which is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing, and perfect will.

Romans 12:1,2 (NIV)

Interestingly, today I came across a recent Mark D. Roberts sermon on the same topic.

Clueless

Filed in Politics, Religion

Hello, Liberal Idiot, this is the Real World; have we met before?

As if the Krugman koolaid-drinking isn't evidence enough, we get this gem with respect to why liberals tend toward "academia" and conservatives tend toward "corporations":

To generalize: liberals like studying and discussing and learning; conservatives like making money, and sometimes stealing money.

So close, yet so far away. TO quote someone much wiser than either LeftCoastBlog or me:

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work withy your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

I Thessalonians 4:11,12 (NIV)

and again:

For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."

II Thessalonians 3:10 (NIV)

Perhaps it is that conservatives tend toward gainful vocations through which they can provide for themselves and their families, and contribute to the good of society. (Those evil "corporations" pay the majority of taxes, provide jobs for the majority of working Americans, and provide the grants that allow high-and-mighty liberals like LeftBankBlog to sit around on their duffs all day, consdescending the utterly inferior conservatives in their midst.) Liberals may like "studying and discussing and learning", but those alone, unless put into action, contribute nothing to society. Nice jab, by the way, with this statement:

Meanwhile, the conservative students are all eagerely working on their economics or business majors in preparation to go off and be the next Ken Lay's and Bernard Ebbers' of the world.

Yet another shining example of liberal tolerance and open-mindedness.

Next we come to this little gem (the one Conservative Dialysis referenced, which led me to the original:

Let's face it- Liberals are smarter and therefore more likely to have the PhD qualifications needed to teach at universities. I know it sounds arrogant, but there's some truth to it.

So, which is it? Is the fact that liberals are smarter than conservatives so ubiquitous that the statement needs not be defended with evidence, and we should just "face it", or is the generalization so incongruous as to have only "some truth to it", and to sound "arrogant"? Apparently, LeftBankBlog believes the latter, and uses the former - an incredibly pathetic logical fallacy to bolster such an indefensible claim.

He then goes on to quote from a recenk Krugman screed in which, among other things, Krugman states the folowing:

Mr. Baxley says that he is taking on "leftists" struggling against "mainstream society," professors who act as "dictators" and turn the classroom into a "totalitarian niche." His prime example of academic totalitarianism? When professors say that evolution is a fact.

Now, since our liberal friend admits his areas of study are "Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies [and] History" (which, should he ever decide to leave the Ivory Tower, will inevitably be followed by, "Would you like fries with that?"), I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he does not understand the basic concepts of the Scientific Method, which Wikipedia defines as follows:

The scientific method or process is considered fundamental to the scientific investigation and acquisition of new knowledge based upon physical evidence. Scientists propose new assertions about our world in the form of theories: observations, hypotheses, and deductions. Predictions from these theories are tested by experiment. If a prediction turns out to be correct, the theory survives. Any theory which is cogent enough to make predictions can then be tested reproducibly in this way. The method is commonly taken as the underlying logic of scientific practice. The scientific method is essentially an extremely cautious means of building a supportable, evidenced understanding of our world.

The Scientific Method is a process involving four basic steps: Characterization, Hypothesis, Prediction, Experiment. The problem with macro-evolution (that is, speciation) is that it has never been 1) observable, or 2) reproducible. These criteria are the burden of proof necessary to consider a hypothesis as scientific "fact." I have no problem at all with presenting evolutionary theory, as long as it is rightfully presented as theory. To the contrary of evolutionary theory, the more we learn about our universe and the intricacy of the physical laws that govern our existence, the more the application of Occam's Razor points to intelligent design as the explanation of Origin in preference to chance and random selection.

Of course, liberals, in their own tolerant and inclusive way, insist that such viewpoints merit no discussion, and instead stifle that discussion in the name of "tolerance."

But then, what would I know? I'm just another intolerant, religious-right, Republican scientist.

Christian Carnival LXIV

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity

Wish I would have found this 64 weeks ago:

Proverbs Daily is a blog that ventures to, amongst many other things, take a biblical proverb every day and apply its wisdom to today's world. In keeping with that theme, this week's Christian Carnival is grouped by topic using the proverbs as subjects. I hope you enjoy the posts as much as I did.

I think this is going to increase my blog-monitoring time significantly...

Slimming Down the Body of Christ

Filed in Religion, Social IssuesTags: Health/Nutrition

Christianity Today writes about the ever-expanding waistline of the body of Christ. I totally agree with preaching the Biblical principle that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and that Christians should be setting an example with respect to physical fitness; however, those with expertise on Biblical matters regarding the body and nutrition should not try to speak as experts on matters of secular nutrition. For instance:

From Atkins to South Beach, fast and easy weight-loss programs tend to be the goal of most people seeking a new diet. But virtually every health expert agrees that the path to true wellness lies not in the latest diet craze but in a permanent lifestyle change.

Now, the irony here is that both of the weight-loss plans mentioned are designed precisely and explicitly as lifetime ways-of-eating. Both are written with an emphasis on diet/nutrition as a component of overall weight management, including exercise, and a focus on long-term success, not quick weight-loss.

I applaud the effort to integrate Biblical principles into our daily lives, but we get in trouble when we don't discern between Biblical principle and our own knowledge or beliefs. For example:

"The healthy diet," Dr. Enriquez says, "is what we find in the Bible—the fruits and vegetables in Genesis 1:29. God added meat in Genesis 9:3, but we're not supposed to let go of the carbohydrates [as the Atkins craze would suggest], because we need them for our energy. But we need the right carbohydrates, not the simple ones you find in white bread or white pasta or white rice. They give us calories, but they have no nutrients. We need more complex carbohydrates in the form of fruits and vegetables."

Again, Dr. Enriquez is apparently speaking from a position in which he as just about no knowledge of the tenets of the Atkins Diet. Fruits and vegetables are exactly the carbohydrates that are included in the Atkins Diet. But that is beside my point. First, what kind of twisted theology is it that says that we eat fruits and vegetables in priority over meat because God gave them to us earlier than he did meat? Does that mean also that I should prefer to dress myself with fig leaves because Adam used them before God clothed he and Eve in animal skins? (Thankfully for those of you who would have to be around me, the answer to that question is "no".) Second, Dr. Enriquez then takes that faulty premise as a basis for stating that the human body "needs" carbohydrates for energy - an assumption that has been proven resoundingly untrue again and again.

I don't so much have a problem with espousing nutritional beliefs that differ from my own; I do, however, have a problem with trying to use the Bible to back up those views. So, stick to using the Bible to preach Biblical principles: The body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, we are to honor God with our bodies, self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit borne in the life of one living by the Spirit, gluttony and drunkenness are listed among the sins of the flesh - while at the same time allowing and encouraging Christians to study and learn sound nutritional principles and other matters of specifics on which the Bible remains silent on their own.

Rest In Peace

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity

Vatican Says Pope John Paul II Dies at 84:

Pope John Paul II, the Polish pontiff who led the Roman Catholic Church for more than a quarter century and became history's most-traveled pope, died Saturday night in his Vatican apartment. He was 84.

I'm a Christian, but not Catholic. I don't understand or agree with everything regarding the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church, but I mourn the loss of a courageous and Godly man.

To my brothers in sisters in Christ who are of the Catholic faith, I pray that the Holy Spirit will minister to and guide you with His grace and peace from God the Father, in this time of great loss. Pope John Paul II was truly a man who ran the race God set out for him, and now God has called him heavenward, to claim the prize for which He has called him.

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace...

Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Acts 20:24, 32 (NIV)

Koran Scholar: US Will Cease to Exist in 2007

Filed in Religion

This Jerusalem Post article reports on the Koran's purported prediction of the Great Satan's impending doom:

A thorough analysis of the Koran reveals that the US will cease to exist in the year 2007, according to research published by Palestinian scholar Ziad Silwadi.

The study, which has caught the attention of millions of Muslims worldwide, is based on in-depth interpretations of various verses in the Koran. It predicts that the US will be hit by a tsunami larger than that which recently struck southeast Asia.

Basically, a crackpot Koran "scholar" uses some especially laughable numerology (remember Bill Gates is Satan?) to come to the conclusion that the US is term-limited to 231 years. Oh, yes, and the US is a parallel of Pharaoh:

Drawing parallels between Pharaoh and the US, who share the same "sin" of arrogance and excessive pride, Silwadi noted that the Koran mentions at least 12 times the fact that Pharaoh was punished by drowning for his evil deeds.

So, naturally, we all have a bi-coastal tsunami to look forward in 2 short years.

Of course, if the Koran hadn't been written from the hallucenogenic rantings of a murderous, raving lunatic, I might be worried. (Hat Tip: Horsefeathers)

From Jesus to Christ

Filed in ReligionTags: Christianity, Media Bias

Newsweek's Religion Editor Jon Meacham spews more liberal heresy questioning Jesus as the Christ:

How did a Jewish prophet come to be seen as the Christian savior? The epic story of the empty tomb, the early battles and the making of a great faith.

Coincidentally, Jesus of Nazareth never claimed to be a prophet. He claimed to be the Son of God - the Messiah sent to redeem mankind from the curse of death due to sin. He was, knew He was, acted as, and claimed to be God in human flesh. Of course, then there's that whole issue of his death and resurrection. The empty tomb is still a stumbling block today to heretics like Jon Meacham as it was to first century Jews. The resurrection sets Christianity apart from every other world religion. The resurrection confirmed that Jesus is indeed the Christ, and completed God's plan to rescue humanity from sin and bring us back into a full and right relationship with Him - something the Twelve Apostles all believed, and that the authors of the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament wrote about. In fact, something they all believed so deeply and passionately that they gave their lives defending that belief. Somehow I don't think Peter would have allowed himself to be crucified upside down because of his profession of his belief in Jesus as the Christ, if he did not in fact believe with every part of his being that Jesus is the Christ - ditto the rest of the Apostles martyred for their beliefs.

American Thinker does a fantastic job dissecting this garbage.