Friday, August 29, 2014
Thursday, August 28, 2014
But what if an individual can find a church of comparable teaching that is a better subjective or existential fit?
Why should someone in the name of an outdated understanding of ecclesiastical identity renounce other components of overall well being that could increase one's comprehensive quality of life such as companionship and opportunity?
Many of these rinkydink congregations rank among the same ones that would bash an individual for going to another church for “selfish” reasons and then turn around and slug even harder with the other rhetorical fist these same souls not married by the age of 25 despite there being no one appealing in the congregation or if the person does nothing more than fill a pew in a church where there is only one Sunday school class that the pastor sits in on to shout down anyone that might raise a sincere question or differing perspective still within the parameters of Biblical acceptability.
In this sermon on church membership and separation, Pastor Dykstra insisted that the Christian is obligated to hold formalized membership in a local congregation.
He then proceeded to argue that church membership should be viewed like marriage.
However, nowhere in Scripture is one obligated to be yoked to a human spouse.
If anything, the Bible lists both the glories and downfalls of both the single and married states, allowing the individual to select for themselves the path that they believe will minimize the inevitable miseries of this life while attempting to maximize its fleeting pleasures.
In continuing the marriage analogy, Rev. Dykstra suggested that the ability to pick up and leave a church is a moral outrage comparable to no fault divorce.
Would pastors holding to such an ecclesiology prefer the dissatisfied and disenchanted just remain in the congregation and drag the whole vibe down?
Even more disturbing is the insinuation that one cannot leave without deliberate or explicit fault being assigned.
So if these ecclesiastical potentates had their way, would they smear you with some kind of mark akin to Hawthorne's scarlet letter where no other church would ever take you in?
So be it.
What is to prevent the clerically dispossessed from banding together to establish their own churches?
And what if these loose associations began bearing spiritual fruit?
In the idealized theocracy or theonomy, would establishmentarian denominations use the weight of law and the use of force commonly referred to as violence inherent to the enforcement of such to destroy these fellowships?
If so, what makes those holding to such a position any better than the worst of the Medieval papalists that those of the extreme Reformist perspective spend an inordinate amount of time railing against?
In the sermon, Pastor Dykstra mentioned a sect from the time of the Reformation known as the Nicodemites, a reference to the influential Pharisee that came to Jesus who, though sincerely curious, came to Jesus in the middle of the night so as not to endanger his status and position as a member of the Sanhedrin.
This label was used to describe those drawn to the claims of the Reformed message but who were reluctant to embrace this interpretation of the Gospel for fear of leaving behind the modalities of worship and religious expression they had known their entire lives.
The term was intended to be applied condescendingly.
However, as conveyed in the Gospel of John, chapter 3, one does not get the impression that Jesus was irritated with Nicodemus for coming to Him secretively indicating potential ambivalence to the implications embracing the Messianic claims would have in the life of such a foremost Jewish voice.
Rev. Dykstra claims the label accurately describes those that waffle as to what congregation it is that they actually want to be a part of.
He goes on to assert that, when one leaves a particular church, what you are saying is that you no longer want to fellowship with the saints there.
It says nothing of the sort.
What about those that stay in the church and get their rearends so high up on their shoulders that they will no longer have anything to do with those that could have their spiritual needs better fulfilled elsewhere?
You don't need the pastor's permission to remain someone's friend.
If you are afraid that remaining friends with someone that has left the church but otherwise still walking in the faith will set minister off, other than a cordial but distance greeting each Sunday, DON'T TELL THE MINISTER THAT YOU ARE STILL THEIR FRIEND.
The world is in a profound state of turmoil and decline.
Instead of complaining about how often a particular visitor is or is not there and whether or not they have agreed to a commitment sufficiently arduous to placate the rigors of the professional religionist, perhaps it might be more prudent to convey the basics of salvation and moral living in the brief time that any particular soul might be brought into contact with a specific congregation.
By Frederick Meekin
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Now would that be a punishment or a reward to be forced off this sinking denominational ship?
The bishop justifies such a hardline position because, “It is an affront to those who have worked hard, studying many years in seminary, spending much money, making many personal sacrifices when others, maybe unknowingly, seek ordinations in an easy, anonymous way.”
One will note that no where in the explanation is God or Christ even mentioned.
That is because, other than the basic criteria listed in Scripture, He leaves it up to the individual to follow the path that is best suited to their own particular calling.
The United Methodist Church is only one expression of the broader Bride of Christ.
Those employed by a United Methodist Church or seeking a career in such might have to abide by the rules that the denomination establishes to determine who it allows to minister as part of its brand.
However, their exists a Christan world beyond this one principality within the larger kingdom.
So long as someone holding one of these alternative ordinations does not try to seize control of a United Methodist Church, they should use the credential to minister in any way possible that is open to them.
The average member is only in church between one and maybe three hours per week.
If someone in the remaining hours of the week wants to fill that time going about their Father's work and they for the most part profess the same basic theological and philosophical worldview as you do, it is the epitome of arrogance for you to punish them simply because they don't hold a certificate with your seal of approval emblazoned upon it.
Any church that seeks to control those not on the official payroll or those that have not agreed to the parameters of ministry within a specific denomination has come dangerously close to elevating the organizational structure above the Christ that it claims to worship.
About the best thing that could possibly happen to someone that looses their membership over such a petty and minuscule offense for simply feeling a call to ministry that ecclesiastical elites fail to recognize is to set up some kind of Methodist or Wesleyan-style church of their own.
It might not be what they have been accustomed to, however, given that these are generic theological labels or categories, should you decide to apply them along with a few distinct modifiers to create a somewhat unique variation on the given theme, there really isn't much that religious power brokers can do to stop you
By Frederick Meekins
Monday, August 18, 2014
In this contentious debate, ghouls in lab coats give those wracked with the most horrible of afflictions the impression that the only alternatives available are a life of agony or an end hastened by an IV drip. However, those in the middle of this debate who relish neither the prospects of drawn out pain nor speeding up death as an end in itself can provide a bit of solace in light of life’s most intense existential crisis for their loved ones and colleagues.
Many times if these cases are looked at more closely, one does not find someone that is all that eager to embrace death as they are to ease overwhelming physical and emotional suffering. The goal in such situations ought not be to prolong life beyond what was intended but rather to allow the person’s existential voyage to reach its conclusion at a natural pace in a more serene manner.
Therefore, the best course of treatment to counsel the terminally ill consists of the various options to control the pain. Rae points out that, though there are cases where pain cannot be controlled, these instances are rare and should not be precedent-setting examples upon which a comprehensive policy is based (188). It is Rae’s assertion that most cases can be controlled through a high-enough amount of medication.
Under the principle known as “the law of double effect”, medical personnel could be permitted to administer a sufficient quantity of drugs to alleviate the pain even if one of the possible side effects of the treatment is death (188). To some, this may sound little different than euthanasia; however, the distinction of motive is critical as the patient and medical professionals are not deliberately seeking to end life but rather to alleviate suffering aware of the knowledge that death might be an potential outcome. When you come down to it, this would not be all that more ethically ambiguous than any other risky but necessary medical procedure.
In his lectures for the Trinity Theological Seminary courses in Apologetics, John Warwick Montgomery astutely observed that each of us is more preoccupied about our own deaths and those of loved ones than we are willing to admit. Even for Christians, that appointment none will be able to avoid other than through Christ’s Second Coming might not spark as much apprehension if we had better assurances from the medical community that everything within its power was being done to make the transition into the next realm as comfortable as possible.
In regards to the issue of physician-assisted suicide, its proponents often attempt to turn the tables on their Christian opponents with the following argument: “Since Christians should show mercy and compassion, they should therefore approve of physician assisted suicide.” While this may be difficult to counter initially in light of the immense pain the terminally ill often suffer from, upon closer reflection one will realize that mercy and compassion are not as intrinsically linked with this disputed medical practice as we have been led to believe.
For starters, often the terminally ill are not so eager for a headlong rush into death as they are terrified of becoming a burden or facing the cessation of life in this world alone. Thus, in such circumstances, mercy and compassion would manifest themselves not in a desire to let the dieing do themselves in but rather by standing alongside them as an advocate against maltreatment or to stand beside them as a companion, holding the hand of the ailing letting them know they are still loved despite their failing bodies and that they will be missed each day until we ourselves will be resurrected with them in eternity where we will no more endure the sorrow of death.
If the advocates of euthanasia point out that while such efforts might diminish psychological anguish they do little to ease overwhelming pain, the Christian can respond that the goal ought not to be so much hastening death but rather directing research efforts towards addressing this physical trauma. As Rae points out, the cases where pain cannot be managed are increasingly rare; and in especially challenging cases under the principle known as “the law of double effect”, physicians are justified in increasing the patient’s level of medication to levels nullifying the pain even if one of the potential side effects is death. In such a scenario, death is not the intended result but rather an unintended consequence.
In these debates, it is often considered impolite to call someone’s motives into question. However, since the advocates of physician-assisted suicide have already insinuated that Christians leery of this practice rank up there with the Marquis De Sade for allowing suffering to continue, it would be a fair question to ask whether euthanasia’s enthusiasts are really all that concerned about the comforts of the critically ailing or simply hide behind such a seemingly humanitarian posture out of more materialistic motivations.
For despite hiding behind a cloak of compassion, many calling for physician-assisted suicide are just concerned about the bottom line, claiming that limited resources would be better directed towards salvageable human capital. As former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm said, “We have a duty to die”, no doubt emphasizing this obligation for the common man rather than his own loved ones.
By Frederick Meekins
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
As an illustration, consider the following. A young mother with two small children has an accident one morning that does not kill her but leaves her in a coma. She is taken to the trauma center where she is placed on life support. Her husband informs the medical staff that his wife stated that she desired no treatment should she ever find herself in such a condition. Since her temperature is rising significantly, her physician believes she should be treated for an infection. Her husband does not approve.
To decide whose wishes should prevail (either her husband’s or the doctor’s), any bioethics committee called in to make a determination would first have to consider a number of factors. For starters, a bioethics committee would need to distinguish between extraordinary and ordinary means of treatment.
According to Rae, ordinary means are those courses of treatment for a disease that offer a reasonable hope of benefit to the patient without being excessively burdensome; extraordinary means are those that do not offer such hope and place undue burdens on the patient (185). In other words, extraordinary means would include things such as respirators that temporarily extend a life that would come to an end without the intervention of such a device. Ordinary means would consist of those things that ordinarily sustain or improve the normal processes of life such as food and water. Antibiotics could be considered an ordinary means of treatment since these substances are administered to curb an infection threatening life and health rather than prolonging life that is beginning to fade away.
Second, the bioethics committee should look into the quality of the of relationship between husband and wife. While such a suggestion might seem nosy, in light of certain disturbing aspects of the Terri Schiavo case, it would be helpful to know whether the spouse is sincerely seeking to fulfill the wishes of their mate in these grim matters or merely looking for an easy way out to make their way on to their next victim, I mean partner.
This case is not that difficult for objective observers with a traditional Judeo-Christian worldview. Administering antibiotics to fight off the infection in order to bide more time to ascertain more fully God’s future plans for this woman would be a moral obligation.
More extensive life support measures would be a decision best left to the family. The most difficult task might be educating the husband as to the distinctions between ordinary and extraordinary means. Though some might consider it presumptuous to speak on someone else’s behalf, at the time his wife made the statement about not wanting treatment if she ever found herself in such a situation, she was probably not referring to treatments such as food, water, and regular medicines but rather to things more like breathing tubes and respirators. For example, one could argue that, if the “no treatment” criteria was to be upheld as an inviolable absolute, the administration of painkillers would have to be withheld as well since these are also a form of treatment.
Furthermore, the medical professional must make it clear that it is not over until it’s over. The antibiotics do not interfere with the chain of events set into motion by the accident, the outcome of which no mortal can know for certain. Rather, these substances prevent an otherwise preventable or treatable secondary matter from overtaking the body and weakening it further. By administering the antibiotics, the family can better prepare themselves for the ultimate will of God in the life of their loved one, which could consist of any number of possible outcomes such as death, healing, or life-long disability.
Even though a number of these states may be far from what we would consider ideal and we might even question them sometimes as mere human beings, it is not our place to be the direct cause of the conclusion of the process known as life. It is rather the duty of the family and authorized caregivers to make the loved one as comfortable as possible and this is most likely what a person means when they say they do not want to be subject to all kinds of extraordinary treatments.
By Frederick Meekins
Monday, August 11, 2014
For the most part, the minister condemned those such as Donald Trump as well as a number of Christians that questioned the wisdom of bringing into the United States a number of missionaries that have contracted the pestilence but not yet succumbed to the ravages.
According to the Pastor, politeness and compassion are more paramount than health and survival.
It probably won't be long if one does not want to be excommunicated that the sincere believer will be expected to sip from the same communion chalice as the souls with this particular affliction.
Those such as Rev. Kellett justify their position with appeals to passages admonishing mercy for the suffering and the examples set by these missionaries that fell ill as a result of their ministerial outreach to the less fortunate.
But what about verses and teaching that counsel the protection of one's own family as one's highest earthly priority?
Human empathy and spiritual sensitivity prompt the believer to hope and pray that these servants of God make a full recovery.
However, these missionaries made their own respective choice about subjecting themselves to these dangers.
That choice is not one being extended to the average American, whom this pastor is telling those that do not agree with flinging the doors wide open to the most horrifying of diseases, to sit down and shut up.
These average Americans (not the elites implementing these transformational policies who will be whisked away to lavish underground resorts in a time of crisis) who will be gunned down in the streets by FEMA purification squads or forced to languish in hemorrhagic agony in quarantine death camps.
For decades, the average Christian has sat quietly in the pews enduring many an outlandish claim and denunciations of the American way of life by these missionaries that expect the harangued to bankroll their pietistic wanderlust.
We should at the very least be granted the courtesy of being allowed to voice our concerns when these adventures abroad result in the most vile forms of Third World death being brought to the hallowed shores.
By Frederick Meekins
Monday, August 4, 2014
A blurb accompanying the lead editorial of the 8/6/2014 issue of the Christian Century admonishes “The children crossing the border are refugees, not criminals.”
Unless an instantaneous background check is conducted, how can that conclusion be made for certain?
Is one to conclude that the migrants with the facial tattoos are simply expressing their childhood enthusiasm for the Mexican equivalent of Bozo the Clown or Ronald McDonald?
Liberal academics and clergy often berate the American public for what such relativists consider the impropriety of applying our own standards to other cultures.
Thus, why are we to assume youngsters crossing at the border are sweet and innocent?
Years ago, a 15 year old and a 13 year old threatened to murder me for not assuming a sufficiently docile posture upon crossing their path.
That is well within the age range that the Obama administration and the immigrant concessions racket insist we are to refrain from scrutinizing with our critical faculties.
Even if those violating the border were of a character that would make the Virgin Mary seem like Jezebel or Delilah in comparison, that is not the issue.
The United States can only allow admittance to a select number in an orderly manner to be determined by the American people or it will eventually cease to be a viable nation-state altogether.
By Frederick Meekins
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
It is further cautioned “County fairs have proved good places for creationists to reach captive audiences”.
But aren't these venues less captive than those in which evolutionists purvey their own propaganda?
For example, no one is forced to attend the county fair.
However, unless a child's parents are able to scrimp together the tuition necessary to finance private education or are talented enough to educate their own children through homeschool, the vast majority of students will be bombarded by public school indoctrination where the science curriculum exudes doctrinaire Darwinism.
Secondly, if you attend the county fair and an offensive both grabs your attention, you are free to speed by.
However, if a child wants to successfully complete school, he must remain subjected to this teaching no matter how much it might ridicule the child's most deeply held beliefs.
Thirdly, organizations must pay for the use of county fair booths.
However, educators are paid from public funds to ply the naturalistic perspective. County fairs are held in part in celebration of rural culture and values.
As such, as areas characterized by deep religious faith, creation science ministries and organizations should be encouraged to highlight this particular aspect of the American philosophical landscape.
By Frederick Meekins
Monday, July 28, 2014
Futurists have estimated that nearly 90% of the knowledge today has been discovered within the past decade. This is especially true of scientifically complex fields such as biology and medicine.
Ethics is the branch of philosophy concerned with determining what is right and wrong. Bioethics attempts to apply these principles to issues relating to matters of life, its quality, and preservation. As such, it is a relatively new field of inquiry coming to prominence since the 1980’s.
As a new discipline, overall bioethics is underdeveloped with Christian involvement scantier than it ought to be. With its frontier flavor however, bioethics is not confined solely to those with doctorates in esoteric subjects. Rather it is a field needing input from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives if mankind is to chart a balanced course into what was before now unexplored territory.
For example, many couples unable to have children on their own have turned to a number of fertilization techniques where egg and sperm are brought together outside the body for implantation inside the womb. While the practice has become quite commonplace, it is in fact fraught with a number of ethical dilemmas that need to be addressed by the church.
For starters, the reader will note that nowhere above is it spelled out that the sperm and the egg belong to the husband and the wife of the couple seeking to have a child. Sometimes these are donated --- often bought and sold like farm produce --- from total strangers, undermining the sanctity of the marriage covenant and no doubt unsettling the identity of the child should the offspring ever learn of his true parentage.
Yet of even greater concern in these procedures is when more eggs are fertilized than are needed. Since it can be concluded from Matthew 1:20 that fertilized eggs posses life, quite a dilemma develops over what to do with the leftover embryos.
If these individuals are disposed of, it becomes an act of murder. They can be placed into storage for up to seven years if the couple would like to have an additional baby in the future; but what happens if the couple divorces?
These conundrums and many others just like it are the result of the underlying worldview upon which much of contemporary culture rests. For since the days of the Renaissance, up through the Enlightenment and French Revolution and no doubt accelerated by Darwinism, no longer is God and His Word seen as the ultimate source of moral authority. Rather, the moral focus has switched to human autonomy in either the form of the individual or the state.
In the Book of Genesis, the student of Scripture learns that man is created in the image of God. As such, upholding this ideal preempts individual happiness when personal satisfaction comes into conflict with innocent human life.
Unfortunately, in this day the preservation of innocent human life often takes a backseat to “I want” and “me, me, me”. Such anxiety can drive the longing soul inward to concentrate on one’s own existential despair rather than outward towards those with even greater needs.
For example, a couple unable to have children on their own biologically wanting to have one --- often pressured into it by members of the congregation and clergy thinking they know more about the will of God for other people than the people themselves --- often turn to artificial fertilization these days rather than other ways to satisfy an otherwise humanitarian impulse such as adoption or other charitable pursuits.
Likewise, at the other end of the continuum of selfishness are those that, rather than coveting life so much that they would dishonor it by an illegitimate attempt to grasp at and possess it on their own terms rather than through God’s providence, that view life needing care beyond the ordinary in order to be maintained such as that at the beginning or end of temporal existence as an inconvenience to be done away with as soon as possible.
Those holding to the Biblical position of respecting the image of God within each individual irrespective of the physical frame’s condition would do what was within their power to defend the young under their responsibility and lend comfort to those passing out of this life on God’s timetable rather than according to some arbitrary definition of quality.
Furthermore, if those in their declining years were treated as human beings created in the image of God rather than as beasts of burden that have outlived their usefulness, senior saints might enjoy a better quality of life irrespective of their bodily circumstances.
By Frederick Meekins
Friday, July 25, 2014
Sarcastically I joked that eventually Coast Guard or Naval transports would probably ferry the border violators across.
It now seems that the Obama Administration may go above and beyond that level of accommodative outrageousness.
According to the New York Times, a proposal is being considered to transport young Hondurans 21 years of age and younger directly into the United States.
This is so they can avoid the journey through Mexico.
Instead, their energies can be reserved for carousing, looting, and other generalized forms of criminality once they reach not only the shores of the United States but apparently now the innermost destinations of the country as well.
Given that most Americans graduate around 18 years of age and can enlist in the military or qualify for most forms of employment at that age as well, it seems a sizable percentage of these trespassers aren’t the tiny helpless children the American people have been duped to believe.
By Frederick Meekins
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Technically, if this is taking advantage of a loophole or provision of of the legal code, is it really un-American?
To many of this perspective, the issue is not so much about exhibiting a love of country as it is about statists wanting to bleed victims dry financially like a vampire with a tapeworm.
For example, golfer Phil Mickelson was about condemned for treason for hinting that he was considering a move from California to Florida in part for tax reasons.
And mind you, that geographic change would have been within the boundaries of the United States.
In a constitutional republic, it is not the business of the centralized authorities as to why an individual decides to move within the system to localities more in accord with that individual's philosophical vision.
Would these same leftwing centralizers have been outraged if Mickelson announced if he was moving from a jurisdiction opposed to gay marriage to one more accepting of that particular lifestyle arrangement?
Multiculturalists and tolerancemongers enjoy nothing more than to look down their noses and snap how out of sync what the United States is doing from that of the rest of the world.
Interesting how one seldom hears of the benefits that might result should America decide to lower tax rates on both individuals and corporations alike.
By Frederick Meekins
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
According to the 7/23/14 Christian Century review of the book “Slow Church: Cultivating Community In The Patient Way Of Jesus”, these authors contend that the individual should stay in only one church.
This is because, “Every time we move from one church to another, we lose a little bit of our patience for all things religious.”
But what if the church is so small that the less desirable regions of the Afterlife will cover over with glaciers before the average person will be able to participate through means of other emptying pockets into the collection plate?
But more importantly, this perspective could easily lead to the fostering of an atmosphere where the victims (oh, I mean members and attenders of the congregation) will put up with increasingly shocking forms of abuse and levels of generalized mistreatment for fear of endangering their immortal souls.
Even if that is not what the authors originally intended, that is most likely what will result in a world characterized by Jonestown, Waco, and the epidemic of sex scandals blackening the eyes of both the Roman Catholic and Protestant branches of Christendom.
According to the authors of a manifesto on the Slow Church Movement, one is to remain in the same church more or less no matter what.
The authors clearly look like Emergent Church beatniks.
One of them is even a Quaker.
That means he does not view doctrine formulated upon the foundation of His unchanging word as the primary way that God conveys His intentions to mankind.
Rather, we are to fumble about being leading by what is assumed to be the Holy Spirit.
But with that given a higher status than the Bible, we don’t really have any proof that the message we are receiving is from the indwelling presence of the Triune Godhead or rather from demonic entities kicked out of the gates of Heaven.
In the end, this Slow Church mindset will no doubt be used to denigrate the character of those that get up and walk out once the gay weddings or the wife swappings commence and be used to applaud as spiritually awakened those willing to go along with such abhorrent practices.
by Frederick Meekins
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Often, the pamphlet contains interesting information regarding the state's geography and natural resources.
Some of the content, however, is outright environmental propaganda.
For example, there is one activity consisting of a maze titled “Scoop The Poop”.
The text admonishes that, by scooping the poop of the 1.3 million dogs estimated to reside in the state, residents of the New Order are playing their role in removing harmful nutrients and bacteria from entering local waterways.
While picking up after Fido might make things more healthy and pleasant for human beings, such an activity can't possibly do as much to restore the Chesapeake as this dinky tractate leads one to believe..
A proverbial aphorism questions “Does a bear take a you-know-what in the woods?”
The title of a book boldly proclaims “Everybody Poops”.
Are these activists going to insist that the digestive effluent of these particular creatures is appreciably different than what is grunted out of the backside of the average household canine?
Unlike most dogs, fish living in the bay just let it rip right there in the bay.
Some of these animals, not unlike many a Redneck, probably consider roadkill fine dining.
One of the goals of bay restoration is to increase the number of animal species depleted by man (especially Whites aspiring to live a lifestyle above that of prancing through the woods 3/4's naked in a loin cloth procuring whatever nuts and berries one can happen to scrounge).
But if increasing the number of animals that live in, around, and above the Bay also increases the amount of #1 and #2 flowing into these sacred waters, then why doesn't it become our obligation to exterminate these creatures as quickly and as thoroughly as possible?
By Frederick Meekins
Sunday, July 6, 2014
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
That famous catchphrase is itself non-scientific at best and pseudoscientific at worst.
Even if one grants that the universe is billions and billions of years old (to employ rhetoric of nearly that many parodies of Sagan), on what grounds can one state such an absolute conclusion from the basis of observational science?
For example, in the worldview espoused by Cosmos, it is held that the cosmos began at the moment of the Big Bang.
Thus, if one cannot peek back beyond that point, on what grounds apart from a faith as deeply held by the most adamant of theist does one conjecture that something else did not exist to bring the something into existence?
One can make the case of the cosmos being all there is all one wants.
But if the triumvirate of space, time and matter is all you are going to appeal to, on what grounds do you lodge a complaint should those not wanting such a gospel of nihilistic hopelessness to infect the minds of their children want to blow your brains out?
The last segment of Sagan's trademark mantra dogmatically asserted that the cosmos is all that will ever be.
If we are to exist in an epistemological framework where nothing is certain and there is no purposeful supreme intelligence superintending so that everything continues on a routine path, how do we know some manner of quantum cascade won't take place tonight where one subatomic particle is so knocked off course that all of reality disintegrates back into nothingness?
For did not even the great skeptics such as David Hume concede that, just because the sun rose from time immemorial, that was no guarantee that it would do so tomorrow?
Interestingly, the proponents of the Cosmos invocation might insist that they are providing viewers insight into whatever was or ever will be.
However, what these propagandists are conveniently leaving out are those aspects of the totality they happen to disagree with or cannot flippantly gloss over.
For example, in the premiere episode, an inordinate amount of time was spent badmouthing the adherents of a supposedly non-existent God in the case of Giodarno Bruno who was persecuted for believing that an infinite God could have created additional inhabited planets.
If nothing is to be concealed in the name of approaching a comprehension of the universe as it is rather than how we would like it to be, at any point in this documentary's presentation did Neil deGrasse Tyson --- himself an avowed atheistic humanist --- give an as lengthy presentation about the liberties infringed and abridged by assorted forms of atheism such as Communism in the attempt to maintain a stranglehold on power by preventing the dissemination of not only competing perspectives but as well as facts deemed inconvenient to adherents of that particular ideology?
Thus, if the hallmark of what distinguishes the modern era as supposedly superior to that of the medieval is that by the definition of these terms that we know better and are more enlightened, doesn't that make the atrocities of Communism far greater having been committed by the self-professed adherents of science?
In another episode, Tyson became emotionally discombobulated that if we as a species did not repent of our carbon combusting, global warming ways, we could very well cease to exist.
However, once again, if the only thing that exists is the material totality of the universe and there is no noncontingent intelligence or personality sustaining these complex systems, who is to say existence is superior to nonexistence?
Science writer George Johnson suggested that the tendency to view the universe as designed is an evolutionary holdover that humanity ought to progress beyond.
Then why not this desire for continued existence beyond that of our immediate selves?
For is this for the most part a trait and bias of the human plague infesting the planet?
Swarms of grass hoppers defoliating an area don't reflect if there will be enough to go around decades down the road.
One truism is that any resident of this realm will be subject to some kind of ultimate authority.
One can either settle for that of other flawed human beings that will in the end lead to disappointment and eventually destruction.
Or, one can look to God as the foundation and utilize a number of the tools that He provides such as His word foremostly followed by reason contemplating upon principles derived from that revelation and their operation through the handiwork of His creation.
By Frederick Meekins
Friday, June 20, 2014
As a police officer, Bruce Abramksi was allowed a discount on a firearm that his uncle is reported to have wanted.
As upstanding citizens, Bruce and his uncle facilitated the transaction through a licensed firearms dealer.
All of the involved parties were legally permitted to handle the weapon in question.
Enemies of the Second Amendment herald this ruling where it is illegal to acquire a firearm without disclosing the intent to resell the defensive implement in question as some manner of criminal fraud.
It is argued that this measure will save lives and keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
But, as in the case of many other firearms regulations, this law and now judicial precedent won't save a single person.
For if Abramski's intentions were nefarious, would he have bothered to get a licensed firearms dealer involved?
Abramski's great sin was in thinking that the system could be used in such a way as to benefit the individual rather than to crush the person's spirit under the bureaucracy's ever-tightening grip.
The government is probably more concerned and outraged that Abramski might have ended up with $400 in his pocket without the Beast being rendered its sacrificial oblation.
If the government has concocted yet another excuse to interfere in the otherwise legal transactions of those residing within its borders who do not disclose an ancillary economic intent, could one someday end up going to jail should someone employed at a retailer purchase an item on behalf of a family member through an employee discount program?
Today this mentality elevates profit and trade to the status of a moral evil considered in certain ways worse than outright violence.
What is to prevent these out of control agencies from demanding similar revelations regarding internal motivations regarding porcelain dolls and vintage knickknacks purchased at estate sales for resale on Ebay?
By Frederick Meekins
Monday, June 16, 2014
There indeed are movies and television programs that attempt to lure the viewer into embracing the occult.
However, Maleficent did not really seem to be one of them.
Rather, the magical and mythological elements served more as a backdrop against which to consider more mundane themes and human truths.
Though certainly not a traditional rendition of the classic Sleeping Beauty tale, a number of Christian analysts and cultural critics have done a less than complete job in considering the story as presented.
Before condemning the version of Maleficent in this interpretation of the story, shouldn't it be considered what drove her over the edge?
To gain the throne, someone that she once did have feelings for did slip her a roofie and amputated her wings.
In the story, wasn't that sort of an allegorical depiction of being raped?
Furthermore, you can't just expect Princess Aurora to automatically take her father's side in the dispute as she didn't even know that the crazed king was her father until the time she turned 16. She had never really met the man.
However, though mistaken about her original motives, the Princess had considered Maleficent a presence in the background at least throughout her life.
As much as the legalists oppose dating and displays of casual affection, you'd think the movie would get bonus points for making a fuss that the kiss of the prince hadn't had time to develop from infatuation into true love by the time of their second encounter.
Instead of a kneejerk reaction to classical fantasy motifs, perhaps the viewer informed by a Christian worldview should also take the time to consider the message as depicted in the lives of both Maleficent and King Stephan of how the hurts and temptations of life in this fallen world can eventually warp one's soul to the point where the individual is a distorted version of what they use to be.
By Frederick Meekins
Monday, May 26, 2014
The caption beneath the illustration reads, “The Intelligent Design God is something of an underachiever.” He apparently also has a high tolerance for guff as very few have poked as much fun at the venerated spokesman of a particular world religion with a fetish for explosives and flying jetliners into skyscrapers.
In all seriousness, the cartoon is a jab directed at the work of biochemist Michael Behe who popularized the flagellum in “Darwin's Black Box”. It was the likes of the Darwinists and the naturalists who first categorized the single cell and assorted microscopic organisms as “simple” in comparison to other biological, geological, and astronomical phenomena considered to be complex.
With the concept of irreducible complexity, pioneers of the Intelligent Design movement such as Michael Behe and Phillip Johnson popularized the concept how these simple cells and organisms were anything but with their entire systems breaking down unless all of the components work in tandem and likely worthless without the others. Likewise, these functions are of a magnitude so beyond the sum total of the constituted parts that it is unlikely that they would have arisen on their own over time through the minuscule accumulation of random genetic modifications.
It is not that the proponents of Intelligent Design have totally ignored these other scientific curiosities such as stars, galaxies, and other mind boggling wonders of the physical universe. In fact, a number of these are presented in a marvelous manner that can be appreciated by the scientist and understood by the enthusiastic non-technician alike in “I Don't Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist” by Frank Turek and Norman Geisler.
Adherents of the worldviews of naturalism and scientism often stand behind their lecterns before their blackboards clicking their tongues how religious faith and its corollaries of intelligent design or some kind of creation theory cannot be categorized as true science because it is doubtful that the faithful believer would ever renounce their preferred theology no matter how overwhelming the evidence arrayed against traditional revelation and dogma. However, the subtitle of the organization's own newsletter is “Defending The Teaching Of Evolution And Climate Science”.
Just what evidence will adherents of these perspectives accept before themselves surrendering to the epistemological or paradigmatic inevitable?
For example, the newsletter's Dec 2013 cover might spoof the Intelligent Design movement's flagellum fetish. But haven't the Darwinists been harping their finches, fruit flies, and peppered moths even longer?
At the end of the day, no matter how much these creatures might change over the generations, they pretty much remain fruit flies, finches, or peppered moths begetting other fruit flies, finches, or peppered moths respectively not that dramatically different on the genetic or molecular level where it counts from the original. So should geneticists dig deep enough that it is discovered that, despite the considerable material similarities between the species, it is impossible for a chimp to make the leap to human being, will multitudes of academics come forward to renounce many of Physical Anthropology's cherished foundations?
The second area of focus in the mission statement is defending the teaching of climate science. There is hardly a Christian out there walking free this side of the funny farm fence that condemns meteorological forecasting. Even if they don't catch the segment on the 11 PM news or fiddle around with Doppler radar and satellite imagery, even the Amish probably consult their own methods to get some kind of idea what the weather will be like the next day.
The National Center For Science might go out of its way to position itself as one of Feurbach's cultured despisers of religion. However, what this organization really means by the term “climate science” is instead the faith of global warming and environmental extremeism.
And as in the case of the most diehard adherent of traditional theism, there will be nothing to dissuade these zealots that man (especially of the White industrialized variety) isn't the cause of climate change.
Had a warmer than usual winter? It's global warming's fault.
Had a colder than normal winter? That's global warming's fault also.
Had a summer or winter where the weather was for the most part within the range of what one should expect for that particular season? Surely, it was the fault of global warming.
Like any good revivalist, the goal of the ideologues at the National Center for Science Education is not so much to dispassionately impart a set of objective facts for the recipient to then make up their own minds as to whether they will accept them into their existential epistemic framework and then determine how these should be applied to life and policy. For example, it is doubtful the newsletter publishes articles detailing how the world really hasn't warmed for over a decade and how, when changes take place, they are more the fault of solar activity than the failure of the American people to willingly embrace a lifestyle virtually indistinguishable from that of Third World squalor.
One of the greatest gifts parents and educators can bestow upon a child is to cultivate an awareness of the assorted charlatans that will attempt to take advantage of the weak-willed and simpleminded. A considerable number will appear wearing the cloaks of a great many religions. However, just as dangerous are those wearing lab coasts that instead attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the unsuspecting by rattling off numbers presented as statistics and obtuse obscure verbal formulations masquerading as facts.
By Frederick Meekins
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
What about it?
A blurb for the book reads, “A Biblically grounded presentation of the value migrants, immigrants, and refugees bring to all of us.”
Does the text also emphasize the Scripture that also urges rendering to Caesar what is Caesars and to obey those earthly laws that do not violate those of God?
As such, the author shouldn't have a problem with a legitimately constituted government determining by a set of standards agreed upon by the CITIZENS of the particular country in question whom might be granted entrance into that particular country and what reasonable documents authenticate membership in that particular nation-state.
If immigrants are to glom themselves onto the Christian narrative, it should be pointed out that Mary and Joseph went dutifully to pay their taxes.
The couple did not rampage through the streets of Nazareth demanding they be granted a hardship exemption.
By insisting that “Jesus was a migrant”, the attempt is made to imbue this sociological and legal category with the sinlessness and perfection of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
However, as much as I have heard these people carouse and booze late into the night, I assure you they most definitely have not yet reached such a state of flawless sanctification.
By Frederick Meekins
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
What college sports really needs instead are more sex and drug scandals.
As evidence of its claim, the atheist front group is citing the inordinate number of players on the team attending VOLUNTARY Bible studies.
Perhaps even worse, the coach subjects those under his leadership to non-sectarian Scriptural admonitions such as a paraphrase of I Corinthians 9:24-25 reading “Run your race to win, don't just run the race.”
Perhaps, in these times of hypertolerance and multiculturalism, a more Hindu or Buddhist perspective is preferred with athletes adopting an attitude that the race does not matter or doesn't exist anywhere but in the minds of the participants.
Perhaps these subversives would also like to expunge the remainder of the Judeo-Christian patrimony from the remainder of the curriculum.
That is the ultimate goal of these agitators, after all, as epitomized by the infamous slogan “Hey Hey, Hey Ho, Western Civ Has Got To Go.”
If nothing else, at least then we'd no longer be subject to the throwaway snide remark about being one's brother's keeper being elevated to the level of justification for income confiscation and redistribution.
Since the Freedom From Religion Foundation gets such a rush from being all bent of shape, when do they intend to get around to taxpayer funds going to provide prayer rooms and footwashing facilities set aside exclusively adherents of that form of sectarian totalitarianism?
By Frederick Meekins
Friday, April 18, 2014
Provided he is not on welfare, is that really anyone's business?
The parents are pretty much screwed over any way they turn.
Let your kid run wild, and you'll get slapped with abuse allegations.
Not yet your kid play with matches and stick utensils in electric sockets?
You will liable get slapped with a stiffer penalty for stifling exploration and expression.
Let your child, especially the male ones, roughhouse as they please and verbalize whatever comes to mind, and they will be branded as “predators” and “harassers”, ending up on offender registries forcing them to live in tent cities deep in the woods.
Given that numerous parents have no doubt lost their health insurance as a result of Obamacare or have to pay deductibles through the roof so Sandra Fluke can live on her back with her thighs flayed open are those advocating childhoods of feral adventure going to pick up the emergency room tab?
Or are we suppose to gaze upon these injuries simply as a way of thinning the herd?
by Frederick Meekins
Monday, April 14, 2014
Those of a more bookish or scholarly inclination got to enjoy a similar kind of excitement just a few days later when they could pick sides as evangelist Ken Ham faced off against Bill Nye the Science Guy.
The issue at hand was whether evolution is sufficient to account for the existence of life.
Ken Ham, on the one hand, believes that, without appealing to a literal understanding of the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis, all of the foundations upon which intellectual comprehension and a just social order rest begin to break down.
As an avowed Humanist (having been recognized as the 2010 Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association), Bill Nye believes that the processes of the material universe are comprehensive enough in themselves to account for the complexity of the reality in which we find ourselves.
Granted, there are a number of assorted positions between these two poles. Salvation is not determined by disbelief in Charles Darwin's theories but rather in one's belief in the finished work of Christ upon the cross of Calvary. After all, it can be argued that God has a special place in His heart for the dimwitted.
Interestingly, some of the most scathing criticisms directed towards Ken Ham did not necessarily come from the raving village atheists but more from those that would consider themselves Ham's fellow believers. Foremost among them was none other than Pat Robertson.
Instead of commending Ham for the courage to take a principled Christian stand on one of the foremost issues facing the faith in the contemporary era, Robertson counseled, “Let's not make a joke of ourselves.” Apparently he comes down on the side of the debate holding to some kind of theistic evolution or progressive creationism.
It would not be gentlemanly to deny the validity of the faith in Christ of those holding to such a position. However, the perspective holds that God is not powerful enough or is too stupid to create the world in seven literal standard “Earth days” as detailed in the Book of Genesis.
Put that aside for now. But “Let's not make a joke out of ourselves” is a ship that sailed from Robertson's Virginia Beach compound years and even decades ago. But then again, maybe it flew off in a jet taking off from Robertson's private airplane runway or road off on one of this thoroughbred horses all the while Robertson insists global warming is the result of we mere common folks having too much such as automobiles powered by internal combustion engines.
One would think that Pat Robertson might show a little more compassion or understanding to those that say controversial things but which contain considerable truth after they have been reflected upon. After all, was not Robertson the one that pointed out that the true danger of leftwing feminism was that it would encourage woman to kill their babies, take up witchcraft, and become lesbians?
Robertson's whacked out remarks go beyond any of Ham's claims no matter how ludicrous the assertions of the Australian evangelist sound to those building their epistemological house foremostly upon man's reason.
For example, Robertson claims that, if it weren't for the prayers offered by his ministry, the Tidewater area of Virginia would have already been destroyed as a result of an oncoming hurricane. And this was one of Robertson's less shocking flubs, with others going so far beyond Scriptural propriety to actually violate divine mandates.
For example, Robertson suggested that a spouse ought to go ahead and divorce a partner suffering from Alzheimer's. The suggestion was made not as some strategy to secure additional insurance or social welfare in a broken system that penalizes loving couples trying to live properly. Rather, Robertson made the comment so that the healthy spouse could dump the ailing partner in order to find someone else to frolic in the boudoir with.
The Bible establishes that marriage is intended to be a life long arrangement to dissolve upon the death of one of the involved parties. That is why in the marriage vows that the promises are for better or for worse, and in sickness and in health until death do they part.
Who wouldn't rather spend one's declining years (often euphemistically referred to as “golden”) puttering around a Florida retirement community in a golf cart. However, shouldn't one strive to stand by the promise made years ago? It's not like the mate with dementia set out intentionally to lose a lifetime of memories and to complete life as a proverbial vegetable.
Yet these claims made by Robertson on different occasions regarding difficult questions over which sincere believers trying to decipher God's will can disagree are not necessarily the worst of Robertson's shenanigans.
On many Christian television programs, prayer is a regular featured element. In most Christian traditions, prayer occurs when the believer directs communication --- either spontaneous or fabricated --- directly to the triune Godhead.
If most Christian leaders are sincere, they will admit that this communication usually flows in one direction in the audible sense. If some want to insist that the communication or communion can be felt by the parties at either end of this direct line into the noumenal, those that should be spared additional psychological evaluation will admit that what they experience is more akin to a sense of peace and well being that may come over them as they reflect upon the grandeur and power of the Heavenly Father in comparison to what ever burden they are bringing to Him to lay at the foot of the Cross.
If some public religious figure tells you that God TOLD this leader to pursue a particular course of action, the best thing to do is to RUN away as soon as possible. For eventually, the thing that such figures usually insist the Almighty is telling them to do is either sleep with YOUR spouse or to force you to drink the funny-smelling Kool Aid.
Robertson takes his own version of the divine dialog over the boundaries of acceptability in its own particular fashion. The televangelist insists he receives direct replies back from God.
Referring to this beatific telepathy as a “word of faith”, Robertson insists that the Holy Spirit is conveying back to him and a few select minions what amount to press releases regarding these movings in mysterious ways. Usually these are healings that are supposedly taking place at the time the ritual is conducted.
The thing of it is is that these revelations seldom ever happen to be very specific in terms of names and locations. Robertson and his minions insist they see somewhere out in the viewing audience someone being healed of a non-descriptive back pain or stomach ailment.
One would think that if the Holy Spirit deemed it important enough to inform Robertson of these miraculous interventions, the third person of the Trinity would also provide the address of the person being healed. After all, if this was all on the up and up, you think that might be good in terms of professions of faith, ratings, and (of course) the bottom line.
Such a scatterbrained approach no doubt helps Robertson cover his backside. By keeping these claims of precognition or telepathy intentionally vague, the likelihood is increased that at least occasionally some individual will step forward claiming that they were the one that Robertson was talking about.
Ken Ham, on the other hand, is more on the up and up. Even if one does not agree with his conclusions, at least the claims of creationist theory are made on the basis of a logical or evidential methodology that the skeptical can attempt to disprove or refute.
About all we have from Robertson is the claim that God blows in his ear. That isn't really all that much different than what Jim Jones and David Koresh use to say.
Scripture declares that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But in comparing their overall ministries, the antics of Pat Robertson have brought far greater embarrassment to the cause of Christ than the labors of Ken Ham ever have or likely ever will.
By Frederick Meekins
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
The evidence provided was that this particular expositor did not believe that there are horses in Heaven.
Unless the speaker can provide irrefutable proof that they have been to Heaven, on what grounds do they have to make such an absolute categorical statement?
Granted, the horse is not likely one that has already trod this Earth before such as Trigger, Mr. Ed, or Flicka.
However, it could be a horse that hails entirely from the celestial realm.
If horses existing in Heaven are beyond credibility, why should we believe other passages regarding what is suppose to be the ultimate home of the Christian?
Perhaps the Pearly Gates aren’t so pearly since a pearl is essentially ossified oyster spit.
If it is beyond the realm of possibility for a non-human or non-angelic life form to exist in the beatific realm, why should we believe that there is a tree there that bears seven kinds of fruit for the healing of the nations?
The point is made that often the Bible employs metaphorical language to convey concepts that the human mind would not otherwise be able to grasp.
However, if the Savior riding into history on a white steed is not to be taken all that seriously, why should we accept promises of His return at all or claims that He entered into the world the first time through the womb of a holy virgin, or that He rose from the dead so that those that believe in Him might have eternal life?
by Frederick Meekins
Monday, March 31, 2014
As a religious sect adhering to a legalistic view of salvation, the Jehovah Witnesses believe that it is a matter of eternal importance to avoid blood transfusions at all costs, even at the price of health and life itself. It is generally accepted that parents have the right to raise their children in compliance with the beliefs of the respective family’s faith. To adherents of the Watchtower Society, this means they ought to be able to refuse medical treatment for their children requiring blood transfusions. However, as the institution charged with overseeing the physical well being of those residing within its boundaries (especially for those unable to do so for themselves), the state might have other priorities as to whether or not an ailing child receives a blood transfusion.
What makes such an example so compelling is the variety of ethical issues of the most visceral variety involved. Foremost among these is the freedom of religion.
Here in the United States, citizens are allowed to believe what they want and pretty much permitted to live according to these principles so long as they do not infringe upon the well being and liberties of others from an activist standpoint. Relatedly, it is believed parents have the right to raise their children in accord with these principles and overall children are better off under the care of parents that genuinely love them than under detached bureaucracies. That said, the state has the obligation to protect the physical well-being of those that cannot do so for themselves. Unfortunately, this may often include small children unable to defend themselves against parents that do not have their priorities in order.
Fundamental to the American conception of human rights is the phrase contained in the Declaration of Independence of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Without life, the other two are essentially meaningless.
As such, in most instances life must take precedence, especially in cases where the individual for whom the decision is being made is unable to make an informed one on their own. If the Jehovah Witness child was a teenager or an intelligent adolescent that refused medical treatment with the consent of the parents, the state should mind its own business and refrain from interference. It is generally considered improper to force treatment upon someone that does not want it since is their own life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness that is at stake. However, two year olds are unable to make such decisions on their own and it would not be right for parents on their own to deny liberty and the pursuit of happiness to a child whose life is in need of direct emergency medical intervention.
While the state has the imperative and obligation to protect the lives of its most innocent members, that does not mean its agents should eagerly rush in to break up families as is the mindset of many in so-called “child protective services” in a manner akin to Janet Reno bursting in with guns blazing into the Branch Davidian compound. Rather, the notion that one may lure more flies with sugar than vinegar may be a more appropriate strategy.
First, hospital officials should assure the parents that everything is being done to treat the child initially with procedures that do not necessarily involve a blood transfusion. Secondly, in discussions of this kind of case, Roe notes that in certain circumstances an appeal to Watchtower officials might be able to persuade them to permit the transfusion even though it is not in compliance with the sect’s normal policy (120).
Such an instance might also be better handled by the hospital chaplain or Christian acquaintances since it might make the parents even more defensive if confronted by hospital personnel or child protection bureaucrats that hand down edicts with all the compassion of the IRS or DMV. As fellow theists though of a considerably different persuasion, the chaplain or Christian friend could discuss the passages from which the prohibitions against blood transfusions are drawn and explain in a kind and understanding manner how they do not necessarily apply and how God forgives those that ask and that no deed other than the failure to believe in the death and resurrection of Christ for our sins is beyond redemption by His blood.
The bond between parent and child is strong. Under normal circumstances, a loving parent is not going to allow harm to come to that child without taking action.
However, in rare instances where the child is in danger of imminent loss of life and is not competent as to consent to their own medical treatment and parents forbid intervention on the part of physicians, authorities from the various spheres overseeing medical services may be required to use their assorted forms of influence to persuade the parents that it is in the best interests of the child to allow treatment. At first, this should be done in a friendly and conversational manner. However, if they do not relent, higher authorities such as the courts and social services may need to be consulted in a judicious manner that preserves the physical well being of the child as well as inflict minimal damage to the integrity of the parent/child relationship.
By Frederick Meekins
Monday, March 10, 2014
If children are that young and impressionable to the point of being so easily traumatized, what are they doing on Facebook in the first place?
In a USA Today article covering the announcement, the chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns said, “On the same site that people are sharing birthday parties and family reunions, there are photos of AK-47's.”
There are probably just as many photographs of teens getting drunk if one digs deep enough and accounts are notorious of errant spouses utilizing this revolutionary communications technology to abet adultery.
There are valid arguments made from both positions as to the propriety of gun sales facilitated over social networks.
But what is the big fuss over a gun picture?
Online, those guns are probably about as real as the bosoms of the scantily clad models attempting to entice you to click on links for a wide variety of products and services.
Perhaps the most appropriate advice is adapted from the moral libertines any time a parent or even a concerned citizen raises a reservation about the amount of exposed flesh or non-marital boudoir frolicking depicted in the contemporary media.
If you don't like to look at pictures of guns, don't look at them.
By Frederick Meekins