Category Archives: The Rise of Evil

The Evolution – Creation Debate

I didn’t watch it; I don’t see the point. It doesn’t matter who “won” it.  If Mr. Nye (“Science Guy”) was seen to have lost narrowly or won big, it will be reported that he won big.  If Mr. Ham (Creation Guy) won big, it will be reported that he is a racist, sexist, homophobe, or the story will be buried.  That’s just the way these things work today.

Oh, I have a head full of thoughts on the subject in general, on the Theory of Evolution, the Big Bang Theory, the Global Warming Theory… but who cares what I think about them?

I have a head full of thoughts about these kinds of debates in general as well, and I don’t think much of them. I’m really more interested in how people respond to them, how they “spin” them, you might say.  But them this really isn’t that kind of a blog…

Still, something in the back of my head keeps saying, “Write on this!”  Could it be characterized as a still, small little voice?  Maybe.

A Question for the teacher

What am I left with?  I’m only left with a question. It is a question that I first heard in a high school biology class nearly 40 years ago, asked by a notorious pot-head, no less, a question the our teacher didn’t choose to answer.  The question was this:

“So you’re saying that we are pond scum that accidentally somehow turned into people for no reason and no purpose. What’s the point of doing anything, then?”

At the time, I thought that the guy who asked the question, Tim was his name as I recall, had fairly and accurately summed up what we were being taught, and our teacher had no answer. A class discussion ensued, but didn’t last long as our teacher, now very angry, yelled at us to “SHUT UP!”

Tim did not graduate from high school, since he died of a drug overdose in 11th grade… He was not the only one, I can assure you.

I’m not suggesting that Tim’s problems, and the problems of anybody else were caused by the Theory of Evolution.  Yet with that said, we cannot but question the implications of the theory, and wonder how much damage they have done in the minds of human beings who had little or no hope that tomorrow would be a better day.

Oh, you might just say that people like Tim were great Darwinian examples of the weak being eliminated and the strong living on to reproduce. Yeah, maybe that’s it, survival of the fittest! But if you were to say that, I’d reply that you are one sick puppy!

Well that was Tim’s question, here’s mine:

How much pure human potential has been destroyed by teaching our children that human life has no value or meaning other than SELF?

Maybe someone would “answer” the question by simply calling me names; yes, that’s the way it’s done these days.  I’ve seen quite a few of them in “atheist” blogs recently. Surely, if I pose such an indelicate question I must be “abusive, oppressive, homophobic” or simply “deluded.”  Surely guys like me, asking tough questions need to be made to appear foolish so nobody will listen; “marginalized” is what the politicians call it. Yes, “marginalized” just like Jesus Christ was marginalized by His opponents, you know who they were, the guys who wouldn’t dare answer the tough questions.

Yes, it’s funny how much of that is posted under “Bible” on WordPress!

And still, the question remains.

OK, here’s another possibility, you could go “scientific” on me and say that Tim’s question, and mine too, are examples of hysterical reactions to truthful scientific discoveries on the part of people who are victimized by fairy tales, myths and evil oppressive religious traditions.  (Oh, I like this one!)  And you could say that there is no evidence whatsoever that anything has ever happened as a result of the philosophical implications of Evolution. In fact, you might even say that philosophical implications are irrelevant, and maybe you would be right about that.  But would you dare to look at crime and social statistics for the last 50 years and tell us that nothing has been going on in our midst?

There were gangs 50 years ago; how many drive-by’s were there?  There were guns 50 years ago, how many kids shot up their schools back then? How many shot up shopping malls or movie theaters?  What was the divorce rate?  What percentage of kids dropped out of school back then? Or couldn’t read? Or who swore at the teachers? Or who had total disregard for authority? Or…? Or…? Or…? These questions could go on for quite some time, don’t you think?

What happens when we teach young, impressionable children that there is no value in human life, and that there is no purpose in their own lives; that life has no meaning, that there is no God, no authority, and that they can just do whatever feels good at the moment? Why not, we are nothing more than a cosmic mistake!

What happens?

Nothing good…. and yes, I am being judgmental: Deal with it.

Could there be hope?

Yes, there could be hope!  We aren’t called to pawn the Bible off as a scientific handbook; it isn’t one!  It is a book of hope, meaning and love.  Many in our time will say they don’t believe in God because of science, but science isn’t the point.  The point is in the Person of Jesus Christ.  Let such people see the love of Jesus Christ at work in the way you live your life.  Let them see your joy, your peace and your hopefulness.  As your relationships grow and mature into relationships of trust, you might just be surprised at who comes around, for they will see in you qualities that cannot be measured in the laboratory.  They will see the very being of Christ!

Advertisements

Is Prayer Unconstitutional in Public?

English: Detail of Preamble to Constitution of...

Yesterday’s action by the United States Supreme Court to let stand a lower court ruling barring prayer from public meetings because they were too often “Christian” sparks within anyone a series of fundamental questions that go to the very foundation of the American Nation… and which may well be a significant signal to Christians in other countries.

For the purpose of this blog, I’d like to examine one of those questions; one that I’ve heard people ask for decades when Court rulings are announced, and that is simply this:

How is it possible that a Court can make a law that affects every American and nobody gets to vote on it?

The simple answer to the question is that they can’t.  OK attorneys, they also didn’t.  They simply re-interpreted the Constitution with the effect that existing Constitutional provisions or Statutes now mean something that they didn’t mean on Monday.

In effect, however, they have made law.  A good lawyer can dance around that fact, but if I violate it, I’ll face prosecution just the same.

English: West face of the United States Suprem...

Under the Constitution that the Court has acted so carefully in this decision to interpret and protect, only the Congress can make laws.  This makes perfect sense because the Congress is an elected body; if the people are not happy with the laws they pass, they can be fired at the next election.  Thus, we can maintain a government of the people, by the people and for the people.  I think we’d all agree that this is a fundamental principle of free government.  Sadly, when the Court, which is not elected and which is an appointment for life, chooses to insert itself into the process, that fundamental principle is shaken to its very core.

The U.S. Constitution provides for its own amendment.  When it was adopted in 1787, it provided for the institution of slavery.  When the time came (thank God) that this repugnant institution was no longer acceptable, the Constitution was amended to abolish and prohibit slavery.  The Supreme Court did not just “re-interpret” the Constitution!  In fact, in those days such a thing was unthinkable.  In our time, “activist” courts have re-interpreted many things, including a ban on school prayer, legalizing abortion on demand, banning the words “under God” from the Pledge and numerous other issues, some good and some bad.  The problem with this of course, is that by the Court inserting itself into the legislative process, it has taken the core value of government by “the consent of the governed” out of the picture, and few people have any idea what they can do about it.

During this period of judicial activism, the Congress has been oddly silent, considering that it is the only body with a Constitutional remedy for the problem.  You see, the Constitution provides the legal remedy of Impeachment for Judges and Justices who abuse their offices.  Since it is the power of Congress that the Courts have encroached upon, you’d think the Congress would be willing to do its duty to put a stop to it, and yet they do not act… and they will not act until they are under sufficient pressure by the voters back home.

Life Reference is a blog about references, not a blog about political action.  This is an election year; I hope we will cast informed votes (for a change) and that is all I will say on this point.  However, being a blog about references, I will purse the frame of reference that makes all of this possible.  The reference that makes all of this possible is this: “The Constitution is a living, breathing document and its meaning changes as society changes.”  The Supreme Court decides what that meaning is as society changes. If you think about the living breathing doctrine, it kind of makes sense; the world of the 21st century is certainly different from George Washington’s world!  Of course the country’s needs and values will change with the times; shouldn’t the Constitution?

A careful reader will note at once that we’ve already covered that; the Constitution proves for amendments.  Anyone from third grade forward will quickly recognize that saying that the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press really means “abortion on demand” is utterly stupid.  But that’s what the Court ruled in Roe v. Wade in 1973.  If the people want abortion on demand, why not amend the Constitution?  Of course the answer is that it could never pass.  If we don’t want prayer in public meetings, why not amend the Constitution?  Yesterday the Court decided that “Congress shall pass no law respecting the establishment of religion” means there shall be no prayer in public meetings: What Congress cannot do, the Court did because the Constitution lives and breathes!

In short, the frame of reference that we were taught in school of a living breathing Constitution, has the result that the Court can say that the Constitution “means” something quite different from what it says.  If this is true, then the Constitution really isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

Would it surprise you to learn that the living breathing Constitution didn’t start out as a legal principle?  Well, it didn’t.  It began as a political principle, invented by theorists who were looking for a way to get around the restrictions in the Constitution that stood in the way of creating the truly “Progressive” society.  I will, in an upcoming post provide you with the historical citations to prove this statement, and the information you need to look it up for yourself.  In the meantime, as men and women of faith, we all might want to prayerfully consider if this frame of reference is one that we should continue to buy into.

The Washington Post: Court curbs Christian prayer in public meetings

Supreme Court turns away local government appeal over prayer at public meetings

By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, January 17, 9:09 AM

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a North Carolina county commission over the mostly Christian prayers offered at the beginning of its public meetings.

The justices on Tuesday left in place a federal appeals court ruling that held that the predominantly Christian prayers at the start of Forsyth County commission meetings violated the First Amendment’s prohibition on government endorsement of a particular religion.

The commission said its doors have long been open to religious leaders of many faiths. But the appeals court in Richmond, Va., found that more than three-quarters of the 33 invocations given before meetings between May 2007 and December 2008 referred to “Jesus,” ‘’Jesus Christ,” ‘’Christ” or “Savior.”

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

via Supreme Court turns away local government appeal over prayer at public meetings – The Washington Post.

Lots more to follow tomorrow!

Lessons from Evil Around Us

The other day (Thursday the 8th) I had this brilliant idea that I could re-post a series of news articles about really ugly incidents that haven’t quite made a big splash in the National or World news pages and then lead to a post on Evil in the world around us.  Within a minute, I had my first post, it was easy to find this kind of stuff.  As I continued looking, I found that there were so many to choose from that the only hard part was selecting just a few.  As luck would have it, I also had the radio playing (on a news station) and while I was looking around, several more really ugly stories broke…  Since this wasn’t intended to be a new blog, I realized that this had been a bad idea…

But a general post about Evil in our world is not a bad idea… I think…

At any rate, here are my thoughts on the subject for whatever they’re worth.

The questions that I posed on Thursday were these: Is Evil on the rise in the world? and What can Christians learn from it?

As for the first question, it is hard not to conclude from following the news that Evil is on the rise.  To be sure, Evil has always been with us, from Eden forward.  There has not been a day in all of history when it wasn’t present and busy.  As a student of history, it has always seemed to me that Evil in the world has tended to ebb and flow.  I think most Christians would agree that there have been times when things seemed to settle down a bit, and other times when the cauldron of Evil seemed to bubble over and get into everything… or was it just more visible? Maybe it’s just a case of Evil being more visible; ‘on the march’ you might say.  It seems pretty clear to me that it is ‘on the march’ these days.

So then, if this is correct, what can we learn from it?

I fully understand that many Christians will say that the end is near.  I offer no argument in opposition to this point of view, the truth is: I don’t know.  The End may be at hand and only a matter of moments or days, or months… and then again maybe it’s thousands of years hence.  I just don’t know!

However you might prefer to approach that subject, I think we can all agree on this point (when we think it through): It doesn’t matter whether or not we are approaching the End.

OK, I realize that statement might surprise you… have you thought it through…?

Jesus as far as I can discern, didn’t actually give us special instructions for the very end, other than not to listen to people who said “I am the Christ” (Matt. 24:5).  The Lord Jesus told us that we should always be ready, for He will come when we don’t expect Him; like a “thief in the night”. (Matt. 24:36-25:46)

What instructions He did give we for all of the Church, all of the time: Matthew 28:18-20, the “great Commission”

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

As far as I can tell, this command hold for all time, whether it’s the end or not

With that said, what can we do about Evil?

Here are my ideas…

First, we can examine ourselves to see what evil we might be holding on to.  We can do this by prayer and study of God’s Word; I’ve already blogged on this point… Second we can do all that we can to be His disciples, and in turn make disciples of others.  It strikes me that this is starting to sound like I’m about to re-state the Great Commission!

We can associate ourselves actively in a church family that stresses the Gospel and discipleship.  We can put our relationship with Jesus Christ as the foremost thing in our lives and serve Him in a way that advances His Commission.

You see, in the face of advancing Evil, whether it’s near the End or not, we need to stress Christian fundamentals and do the things He has commanded.  Can you think of any better way to stem the tide of Evil than by advancing the Kingdom of God? The Devil himself cannot stand against a church that is united in spreading the Gospel of Christ!

Maybe from time to time, I’ll still pop in a post or two from unusual news stories just to remind us about this.

Evil on the Rise: Another Story

I made a rash decision!  I rashly decided to find news stories that would answer the question, “Is Evil on the Rise?”  I did so when I read the story from Canada that I’ve already posted.  When you actually go out there looking for news stories about Evil, it’s simply too easy to find them.

So here’s a new story from the top of the news, and again I will pose the new question:  Is there something in all of this for a Christian to learn? (Or is all of this as old as the Scriptures…or BOTH?)

Jerry Sandusky Arrested on New Sex Abuse Charges – ABC News

By COLLEEN CURRY

Dec. 7, 2011

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested and jailed today in the wake of new sexual assault charges filed against him by a grand jury.

Sandusky was handcuffed and taken out of his home by state police and brought to an arraignment before a judge in Centre County, Pa., for the new charges, which include assaulting two boys involved in his Second Mile charity.

Sandusky was taken to Centre County Correctional Facility for processing and will remain there until bail is posted. His attorney, Joe Amendola, said he is getting paperwork together to try and post bail by Thursday morning. Bail was set at $250,000, cash, although the prosecutor had asked for $1 million. If bail is posted, Sandusky is not permitted to step onto Penn State property and will be monitored electronically.

Amendola told ABC News that he had no knowledge of the charges ahead of the arrest.

Read the Criminal Complaint Against Jerry Sandusky

“I’m very disappointed that I didn’t even get a courtesy call that new charges had been filed. I had to find out from the media,” Amendola said.

Sandusky, wearing Penn State pants at the time of his arrest, requested that the arraignment not begin until Amendola arrived at the courthouse, according to ABC affiliate WPVI.

WPVI

Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State… View Full Size

Jerry Sandusky Arrested, Two More Alleged Victims Watch Video

Penn State Scandal: Accusers to Face Sandusky Watch Video

Sandusky Angers Accusers in New Interview Watch Video

Amendola greeted Sandusky in the courtroom by saying, “Told you. We had this discussion. Some day you will listen to me,” to which Sandusky smiled, according to WPVI.

In court, Amendola asked for lower bail, arguing that his client was not a flight risk, and that he’d been subjected to heavy media coverage and confined to his home.

The new alleged victims came forward in the wake of the earlier allegations against Sandusky, including 40 counts of child molestation, for which he was charged on Nov. 5.

According to the state attorney general, both men met Sandusky through the Second Mile charity, were plied with trips to football games, and were abused by him in Sandusky’s home.

The man, now 19 and identified as Victim 9, met Sandusky at a Second Mile swimming event when the boy was 11 or 12, according to new information in the grand jury presentment. Sandusky asked for his phone number, which he then used to ask the boy’s mother if he could spend more time with the boy, and then proceeded to pick the boy up from school and take him to Sandusky’s home for sleepovers.

At the Sandusky home, the boy said he was forced to stay in the basement at all times, and was even brought his meals there by Sandusky and told not to leave. He testified that he had little contact with Dottie Sandusky, Jerry’s wife, and that she never came to the basement. Sandusky allegedly sexually assaulted the boy in the basement bedroom numerous times, including forcible rape. On one occasion, the boy screamed for help, hoping Dottie Sandusky would hear him from upstairs, but she did not come downstairs, he said.

The man testified that Sandusky would also take him to a hotel in State College and assault the boy in the pool and jacuzzi there.

The other victim identified in the new allegations, now in his mid-20s, says Sandusky met him through the Second Mile when he was 10 and invited him to his home for a Penn State football game. Sandusky then started a pattern of abuse that included wrestling with the boy and then pulling his pants off and performing oral sex on him, according to the testimony.

The man said that Sandusky also groped him in the campus swimming pool before playfully throwing him above water.

Sandusky also allegedly requested oral sex from the boy on multiple occasions, including one time in a vehicle while the two were driving somewhere. The boy refused, and terminated his relationship with Sandusky.

The new charges include involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, unlawful contact with a minor, indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children, and corruption of minors.

The new charges will be included in an already-scheduled preliminary hearing on Tuesday.

via Jerry Sandusky Arrested on New Sex Abuse Charges – ABC News.

Evil on the Rise?

Is Evil on the rise in today’s world?  In light of the news of recent years, many people might think… in the Middle East or other areas that seem remote and far away.  But how about in places closer to home? How about in place where you just don’t usually hear about terrible things happening?

Our usual frames of reference tell us that you don’t have violent anti-Jewish acts going on in Canada or the US, but they are on the rise… as are quite a few other things that might surprise you.  Here is a story of one such incident.  In coming weeks, I will post some more.  Are there lessons for Christians in all of this?

Charges pending against student for setting girl’s hair on fire, uttering slurs

Winnipeg – Charges are pending against a 15-year-old male student who allegedly uttered antisemitic slurs at a Jewish girl of the same age, then proceeding to light her hair on fire using a lighter on Nov 18.

Police are looking into the Oak Park High School hallway incident. The accused student, who is said to have possible neo-Nazi and skinhead ties, was arrested last Friday and was later released on the promise to appear in court.

According to Lawrence Lussier, Pembina Trails School Division superintendent, “There was definitely some racial comments made and some physical aggression occurred…[the] ends of [the girl’s] hair were singed [by a lighter].”

The school was made aware of the incident, when, three days after it took place, the female student came forward, telling a counsellor what occurred. The male student was then suspended, and has since withdrawn from the Charleswood-area school (where the female student continues to attend).

“We are still working with the school principal on educational efforts that will promote respect and acceptance and hopefully prevent any futures action like this. This is not something that happens regularly,” said Lussier.

Other students were present while the assault occurred, and some of the witnessing students assisted the victim afterwards.

Senior members of the Crown (due to the uniqueness of the allegations) are considering what charge is most applicable. Although a hate crime charge is possible, it is unlikely (due to such a crime’s definition), but it may be used as an aggravating sentencing factor. An assault-with-a-weapon charge is more likely.

As the accused male student is a youth, any charge he may face would be under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The quiet community of Charleswood and fellow Oak Park students are disturbed and shocked by this incident.

In B’nai Brith Canada midwest regional director Alan Yusim’s view, this occurrence “tears at the fabric of the community…. There should be zero tolerance for any hate-motivated activity in our schools…. It’s unfortunate these things happen, but they’re out there, and they must be dealt with effectively because everybody’s a victim when that sort of an incident occurs.”

As of late Monday morning, Yusim has been in an in-depth discussion with the victim’s mother.

“Between the time the incident occurred and this morning [Dec. 5], five students have been suspended over this – one of whom has been arrested and charged, and another will be arrested, charged, and taken down to the police station today,” said Yusim.

“The police can charge an individual with murder, but cannot charge an individual with a hate crime. Only the attorney general can sign on personally to add the element of hate as an aggravating or primary factor in a case like this. But at least the police have a charge they can work with, with assault or assault with a weapon.”

Yusim said such incidents are sadly not new. “They are insidious and happen everywhere.

“B’nai Brith will do everything we can to assist the victims, the school, and the school division in developing programs to take action against hate-motivated activity.

“B’nai Brith Canada is calling on the community to report all acts of antisemitism and hate-motivated activity by calling our anti-hate hotline 1-800-892-2624 or email http://www.bnaibrith.ca. Professionals are ready to assist victims 24/7.”

via Jewish Tribune – Charges pending against student for setting girl’s hair on fire, uttering slurs.

Here is a local TV Newscast about this incident:

Keep an eye out for more “Evil on the Rise” and let’s see if there are some lessons for Christians in all of this…