The World According to Billiard
Where the Rubber meets the Road
In the companion page to this one, Life, the Universe and Everything, I presented my basic worldview in general, without attempting to apply it to the day-to-day world that we live in. That is the purpose of this page. Here I will present my positions on various subjects, including many of the issues that we face and that often trouble our society. (And at the end I move to the lighter side, offering my (sometimes humorous!) take on some non-important things.)
In addition to this page, I have put together a blog. Built using Wordpress, the content is considerably more dynamic. In addition, registered guests are free to comment (although I will edit or delete obscene posts). Feel free to visit, and sign up if you want to contribute!
I like to say that I view the world from the perspective of common sense, based on an understanding of the principles in the Word of God. So how does this work out? Let me lay some of it out for you here.
This one should be a no-brainer. Common sense is “what works”. If everyone knows that two plus two makes four, why pretend that it's three, or five? If something has never worked in the past, and there are well-established reasons why it didn't, why expect different results if you try it again? A lot of mistakes that go against common sense could be avoided if people would allow reality to trump idealism. This is not to say that all new ideas are automatically bad. Rather, new ideas should be evaluated in the light of what has worked before, and what the new ideas are based upon. If it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.
Many people ask if God exists. For me, the question is: “Since God exists and is the greatest reality in the Universe and beyond, what does that imply about how I live my life?”
God is the source of everything that exists. According to quantum mechanics, the Universe essentially consists of energy and laws to govern it (matter being a form of energy). The Bible says that God “upholds all things by His powerful word,” and that everything was formed by His uttered word. Scientists have many definitions for energy, but no one really knows what it is. I remember posting a question many years ago on a computer bulletin board (pre-Internet equivalent of a social media site) asking “What is energy?” The replies were interesting and varied, but it all amounted to defining the thing by itself. No one had a real answer.
This is where the Word of God and the world of science come together. God speaks—in whatever unimaginable language beyond our comprehension— from beyond space and time and every other dimension that may exist. What He says happens. Electrons and quarks exist and their properties do not change because their existence is sustained by the spoken will of God, independent of space and time. So-called “dark matter” exists (see The World Around Us for a discussion of possibilities raised by dark matter). Physical laws have their reality. Everything functions according to the laws of the Universe—the spoken word of God—and is given reality by the authority behind that spoken word—energy.
We are not independent. Nothing is independent; everything owes its continued existence to God. Even God-deniers have the ability to speak and spout their atheistic beliefs because God sustains their existence.
Here are some more concepts that are based on the reality, authority and power of God.
In this modern secular world, one of the most common questions is, “What is the meaning of life?” The implication is that since the Universe—and all existence—is believed to be the result of chance, there is no meaning to it other than what we can devise for ourselves. In such a universe of chance, there are no guarantees. We can't be sure that some big space rock won't come along and obliterate all life on the planet. We can't be sure that some hostile alien race won't drop by and exterminate us just for the fun of it. We can invent all the “meaning” we want, but it could all go crashing down into oblivion someday because of some chance act of an uncaring Universe.
However, if God is the greatest single reality in all of existence, then that changes the whole picture. Whatever method you choose to believe that He used to bring about life on Earth, there is no escaping that we are here because it is part of His plan. Furthermore, if we accept that the Bible is the inspired Word of God (see the topical page on Evidence), then we realize that human beings are very important in His eyes. We may not know the details about the future, but we can rest assured that in the end, God has a wonderful plan that will bring about fulfillment that we can only dream about in this life. (See What the Future Holds.)
Humans have bodies made out of flesh, just like animals. According to the unproven and unprovable theory of evolution (see the relevant comments about types of evidence on the Life, the Universe and Everything page), man is merely a mutated monkey. But if you accept that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, then we are something different. God made us physically out of the same building blocks as the rest of life on this planet so that we would fit in, i.e. be able to find sustenance from eating plants and animals, breathe the same air, drink the same water, tolerate the same temperature and gravity, etc. But humans were made “in God's image”, and as such are more important than any given plant or animal.
Additionally, this means that human beings are more than just flesh and blood. There is something more—what it is made out of, nobody knows—that will live forever. This means that it is important that we figure out what to believe regarding what happens to that part of us—the soul, if you will—when we die. For some thoughts regarding that aspect of human life, read the page about Beyond Death.
The Bible makes it clear that God is the one who sets the standards of what is right and what is wrong. This means that what is right for me is also right for you (morally speaking), and what is wrong for me is also wrong for you. We cannot change God's standards. In the end, we will be judged by His standards, not by ours.
This is a biggie, because it is directly tied to history. Although God gives man free will, there are limits. He has an overall plan, and it will be executed. The past is not an accident; God raised up Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and later on the nation of Israel for a purpose. Jesus Christ was born at a carefully pre-selected time in history. He lived, died and was resurrected according to that same overall plan. And he promised to return.
The implications of this are immense. The future is not a complete unknown. While we may not know the specific details, we know that pretty much all of the secular predictions—both serious attempts and fictional depictions—are in error. There will not be any United Federation of Planets. The human race will not be wiped out by a giant asteroid impact or any other major disaster. There will be much death and destruction, but God will preserve a remnant that will still be here when Jesus returns.
And after that, it will be like nothing we have ever imagined.
Atheism should not be confused with agnosticism. The former is a definite belief that no deity exists, whereas the latter is a belief that one cannot know whether or not deity exists. Agnostics have often been called “atheists who lack conviction”, but another way of looking at it is to say that agnostics are unbelievers who have the humility to admit that they do not know. I prefer that way of looking at it, for very simple reasons.
The Universe is vast beyond the human ability to encompass it all in our minds. We speak of numbers, of immense distances and spans of time. Yet aside from what we can clearly observe, the great majority of the Universe is still unknown. And if you read the topical page on The World Around Us, you will note that over 85% of the matter in the universe is still undetectable, except for the influence of its mass.
If we are forced to admit that the vast majority of the Universe is still unknown, how can we possibly state with any degree of authority that we know that there is nothing beyond it? Atheism is a belief system, nothing more. It is not grounded in science or any other kind of authority. Indeed, it would take more faith to be an atheist than to believe in God, since it is far more difficult to prove the non-existence of something than it is to prove its existence.
In Psalm 53, David begins by stating that the fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” That is as good a description as any. For someone to state categorically that he “knows” that God does not exist is the height of arrogance; he is claiming a knowledge of the Universe and of everything beyond that is utterly impossible for any human being.
Although agnosticism is not the way to salvation, either (see Beyond Death), it is at least intellectually honest.
Islam is considered one of the world's great religions. Speaking numerically, this is correct. It is often clumped with Judaism and Christianity as one of the three principal monotheistic faiths. This can also be considered correct. However, there are striking differences between Islam and both Judaism and Christianity. These differences are significant.
In spite of the claim that Islam is a “religion of peace”, the fact is that it is a religion of war. It was birthed in bloody conflict between Muhammad and those who opposed him and his followers. Historically, it was spread by conquest, reaching at one time to the gates of Vienna before the invading hordes were thrown back. Even today, Islam portrays Jews as “apes and pigs”. In spite of the fact that Islamic nations cover vastly more territory than Israel, the teachings of Islam are that the Jews must be “pushed into the sea” and exterminated.
Where Jesus taught that we are to love and forgive our enemies, Muslims are to conquer and/or kill their enemies. The Bible condemns lying; the Qur'an promotes lying to “infidels” (non-Muslims) if it advances Islam. The New Testament commands husbands to love their wives, while the Qur'an says that husbands should beat their wives if they do not submit. There are many more examples of the stark contrast between Islam and Christianity.
In brief, Islam is one of the most evil and dangerous philosophies existent in the world today. It is not merely a religion, but is a complete sociopolitical system as well. In Islamic countries, Islamic shariah law usually has the same force as civil law. The goal of Islam is to conquer the world and bring it into submission to Allah.
Nevertheless, it is vitally important to remember that while Islam may be considered a great danger and an implacable enemy, Muslims are human beings created in God's image. The greatest thing Christians can do regarding Muslims is to love them and to bring them the gospel of Jesus Christ. We should not treat any person as the enemy, or if we do, we must remember Jesus' command to love our enemies. By the grace of God, it is possible for any Muslim to escape this terrible deception of the devil and find freedom and life in Christ.
For a long time I believed the common interpretation that the Beast and False Prophet of Revelation would come from Europe and/or some type of revival of the ancient Roman Empire. However, in recent years I came to doubt this. As I state in the topical page on What the Future Holds, prophecy was never intended for readers to figure out the details in advance. Rather, it is meant to be recognized when the prophesied events take place.
The thing that drew me to make a connection between Islamic End-Time figures and Biblical prophecy are the striking parallels between the two eschatologies. Now I am not saying that the Bible supports the Qur'an, or that the Qur'an supports the Bible. In fact, the prophecies are 180 degrees apart regarding basic concepts such as who is the “good guy” and who is the “bad guy”, as well as which side will win in the end. But when you look at the prophecies in the book of Revelation about the first Beast (commonly referred to as the Antichrist) and the Mahdi of Islamic eschatology, plus the prophecies in Revelation about the second Beast (the False Prophet) and the Islamic view of the return of Jesus, that is where it gets interesting. Add to that the Islamic figure of evil (al Dajjal) who comes in support of the Jews and in opposition to the Mahdi and the Islamic Jesus, and it gets even more interesting.
Could the Mahdi actually be the first Beast of Revelation? And could the Islamic Jesus actually be the False Prophet? There is an interesting on-line book called Will Islam Be Our Future?, by Joel Richardson. While he does not state categorically that this view has been proven (he does present potential counter-arguments), he nevertheless makes a very good case for it. Furthermore, he points out certain similarities between al-Dajjal and the real Jesus Christ, while again reminding us that Islam calls evil what the Bible calls good, and vice-versa.
If this really is the correct understanding of the prophecy, then Islam is far more than merely a dangerous enemy. It is the very embodiment of the system from which the Antichrist will arise in the Last Days. Studying the Four Horsemen of Revelation, there is the further strong possibility that the coming of Islam was foretold via the First Horseman, or the first seal of the scroll.
If these connections are even only partially true, then it becomes clear that Islam is not the “final revelation of God to man”. Rather, it is one of Satan's principal tools to try and turn mankind away from God and drag as many down to Hell with him as possible.
Secular humanism is a belief system that developed mainly in Europe over a period of centuries. Essentially, it denies the existence of God except possibly as a “prime mover” who kicked things off billions of years ago and then went away on a celestial fishing trip, leaving things to stew in their own juices. It elevates human beings to the position of primacy normally reserved for God; hence the name. Ironically, while placing the human race in the position of deity, it does not value individual human lives.
The earliest clear manifestation of modern humanism in any society was the French Revolution. Although this revolution took place in the same historical time period as the American Revolution, the two could not be more different. Whereas the American Revolution resulted in a country based on freedom and Biblical values, the French Revolution resulted in the Reign of Terror. Fortunately, it did not last long before backlash returned France to at least some semblance of civilization.
Today, humanism is expressed in such philosophies as socialism, communism, nazism, liberalism, progressivism and similar ilk. The cost in human death and misery is unprecedented in history. While some may point to excesses committed in the name of Christianity, such as the Crusades and the Inquisition, one must remember that the perpetrators were by no means obeying the commands of Christ. The death tolls were insignificant compared with the slaughter associated with leaders such as Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Zedong and others who followed variations of the humanist manifesto, not to mention the more than 55 million Americans slaughtered in the womb through abortion. And even where humanistic ideals are kept somewhat in check by what remains of civilization based on rational principles such as the Judeo-Christian Western heritage, out-of-control crime results in countless deaths, rapes, robberies and other violence. This is because humanism refuses to recognize the basic sinful nature of man and insists on protecting the worst segments of society at the expense of law-abiding citizens.
Humanism is attractive because it makes people “feel good” about themselves and gives justification to all kinds of perverse behavior by rejecting absolute standards of right and wrong established by the Creator. It denies any accountability to a Higher Power, placing humans at the top of the pecking order, while at the same time reducing them to mere “mutated animals”, whose very existence is a result of random chance—and whose future is also left up to chance. Humanists in general do not believe in any kind of life after death; this life is all there is, so “go for the gusto.”
Again, studying the book of Revelation shows interesting parallels between secular humanism, especially that of the 20th century, and the Second Horseman, or second seal of the scroll. It may not be coincidence that the favorite color of sociopolitical philosophies derived from humanism is red—the color of the horse.
Anywhere that you have any sizable group of human beings, you will have a society. And you will have leadership, also known as government. And if there is government, there is politics. The degree to which individual citizens are involved in politics depends largely upon the degree of freedom in the society.
America was founded on what was a unique principle at the time, the idea of limited government. The federal government was created as an instrument of the states, which was where the real power over individual lives was meant to reside. This allowed for competition between the states; whichever states offered a more beneficial environment for business and living tended to attract more residents. There was no welfare system because private institutions took care of the needy. The social environment—strongly influenced by Judeo-Christian principles—encouraged work and honest living. Of course, law was still necessary because even the best human being is still a fallen sinner. But the “salt of the Earth” and “light of the world” influence of the Christian community enabled governments to keep the “meddling” to a minimum.
Sadly, that is no longer the case. Secular influences—motivated by concepts and philosophies that claim to be “scientific”, but really are just unproven belief systems—have diluted the salt and light influence of Christians to a minimum. As a result, modern society is completely self-centered, focused on individual rights while largely rejecting any corresponding responsibilities. Social leaders deny that absolute truth exists, believe that man is merely another animal, and reject the idea that Jesus Christ will ever return. The result has been social decay that affects everyone. Unbelieving leaders search for solutions, but reject those based on the Word of God. And things continue to get worse.
Many people do not perceive the true state of things because so far technological advance continues, providing new luxuries and conveniences that allow many to live a superficially better life. Historically, the American economy has been such a tremendous powerhouse that, even in its decay, people continue to enjoy a standard of living above most of the rest of the world. But the moral decay continues, as evidenced by the ever-increasing violence, declining standards of right and wrong, declining quality of education, decaying infrastructure, and more.
Just like the prophets of old kept telling the people of Israel, the only hope lies in a return to God. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Here I will discuss several topics related to the sociopolitical world.
This is not so much a topic as it is a principle. I am putting it here at the beginning of the list because I know that some people—assuming that they have even read this far—will read certain topics further down the list and immediately go ballistic because of misperceptions regarding why I said what I said. So before going any further, I want to make a point about real love—and real hate.
Let us envision a hypothetical situation. There is a road; a nice, 4-lane superhighway with pleasant scenery on either side, smooth pavement, gentle curves… and up ahead, a bridge over a river canyon that has collapsed. I am stopped by the side of the road, because I know about the bridge being out. Suddenly a car goes whizzing by, and I recognize the driver. He is obviously unaware of the missing bridge. I happen to have his cell phone number and can call him and warn him. Now I also happen to know that this person loves this kind of highway, and will be quite upset with me if I tell him that he needs to stop and turn around and find a different route.
So what do I do? Do I just let him go on his merry way until he drives off the end of the broken bridge and plunges to his death several hundred feet below? Or do I call him and try to warn him, knowing that he will probably respond by cursing me and insulting me, and that there is very little chance that he will actually listen to me and turn around?
Which of these is an act of love… and which is an act of hate?
Those of us who accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God know that there are “broken bridges” on many of the paths that our fellow human beings choose to take. The consequences of remaining on these paths could be anything from ruined relationships to wrecked health to a prison sentence—or an eternity in Hell. We know that most people will revile us for trying to warn them about what lies ahead. But please understand that, although you may not believe us or agree with us, we are not saying what we say out of hate. Just the opposite. If we remained silent, that would truly be hate.
We try to warn you because we love you, and we don't want to see you go down to destruction.
This is a topic which affects everyone. We all need to put food on the table, provide a roof over our heads and clothing for our bodies. If we can afford a few luxuries beyond the basic necessities, why, so much the better. Every society has had some form of exchange, ranging from simple barter systems up to complex economic structures complete with currency and financial institutions both private and public.
And when the system breaks down or simply does not work, everyone suffers.
Contrary to what you may have heard from either the Right or the Left, the Bible does not prescribe or endorse any particular economic system. Rather, God's laws take into account existing societal institutions and prescribe human behavior to keep things honest and to keep people from hurting one another or dishonoring God. He is more interested in human beings than in what system we use to exchange goods.
The free market system has been with us from the beginning. It springs up naturally whenever any group of people wish to exchange goods. In its simplest form, it is unregulated trade. One person has something that someone else wants, and the other person is willing to exchange goods or an exchange medium (money) to get it. Everyone comes away satisfied (or hopefully so).
Given human nature, regulation is needed. Laws are needed against cheating, stealing, violence and other types of undesirable behavior. When an exchange currency exists and is used, it needs to be kept stable and consistent so that everyone can trust it enough to use it. These were the kinds of economic-related laws found in the Old Testament.
Capitalism is not the same as the free market system. Capitalism arose from the free market as a means of growth and expansion in a more complex society. Under capitalism, money becomes an instrument of power. This in and of itself is not a bad thing. However, because of the corrupting influence of power, it must be tempered with some degree of control. But how much control? “Power corrupts,” and when special interest groups get involved, what starts off as an attempt to maintain honesty can end up crushing initiative, or in the other direction, wind up as “crony capitalism”, where corporations are in bed with government. Both situations are detrimental to the common good.
Communism is not the answer, nor is any other kind of socialistic system. When individual involvement and risk is removed, along with them go the incentive to produce and do a good job, since there is no reward involved. This observation is based on historical evidence. The original Pilgrims tried a collective approach—and nearly starved during their first winter in the New World. The Soviet Union suffered year after year of crop disasters, constant shortages of consumer goods and dreadful quality. The only time anything has ever worked under communism has been when it is enforced at the point of a gun. To try a socialistic approach again defies common sense.
As with everything else, it is the human heart that makes the difference in the end. Even the best economic system will fail when corruption and moral decay set in. When people are no longer self-governing through the influence of a philosophy of life that encourages moral uprightness, selfishness and dishonesty force the government to exert greater and greater external control. And since the governing authorities are members of the same society as the governed, if the people are abandoning godly principles, then so will the leaders. The final end will be tyranny.
Given mankind's propensity toward sin and selfishness, it comes as no surprise that the world is not one big happy family. Add the thief who comes to kill, steal and destroy (the devil) to the mix, and it's amazing that there can be any peace at all. There is always conflict of one kind or another going on in various parts of the world. Repressive societies, representing the worst aspects of the lust for power, abound all over. Ideological differences and desire to take what other nations possess spark wars and terrorism. Overall, the current world is not a “nice place”.
Does this mean that America—or any nation, for that matter—should be the “world's policeman”? By this I mean, should any nation have the right to invade another and perform “regime change” simply because the other nation is run by thugs? To be honest, I don't have an answer in general. The fact is that, while it may be considered a morally good act to remove a brutal dictator, the end result is seldom any better. There are usually reasons why the dictator arose to power in the first place, and those reasons are part of the flaws in the society of that particular nation. Until and unless one nation can literally change the soul of another—the beliefs and attitudes that make up its culture—intervention is usually a waste of time and human life.
On the other hand, a nation's leaders have a responsibility before God, whether they acknowledge it or not, to protect and defend the people that they rule. This means that there are times when it is necessary for one nation to take military action against another. Furthermore, in the current age where a lot of violence is not perpetrated directly by nation states, but by organizations whose sole purpose is to murder and destroy (terrorism), the need and responsibility for defensive action becomes even more urgent.
Some enemies of any given society simply will not be won over by any kind of words or promises. Their ideology or belief system is inherently incompatible with the society that they wish to subjugate or destroy. There is either no common ground, or else so little that it makes no difference. In such cases, a nation must maintain a strong defense against these kinds of enemies. While it may be impossible to win their hearts, history has shown that a sufficient show of force and the willingness to use it if necessary can act as a deterrent. This is a sad statement about human nature. But given our sinful and selfish nature, as I commented at the beginning of this section, it is an inevitable one.
Peace is always to be desired. Unfortunately, in the current world it is not always possible, unless some groups of people are willing to sacrifice their freedom, beliefs and more. Only when the Prince of Peace returns and rules will there truly be an end to war.
There is a saying: “The rights of individuals are the responsibility of society, and the rights of society are the responsibility of individuals.” For most of history, the rights of individuals have largely been trampled underfoot by those in authority, who never acknowledged any limits to their power beyond what they were forced to accept through natural law. The concept of civil rights is fairly new in human history. Even in ancient cultures where there were limits on the power of kings and emperors, it did not extend to granting rights to individuals. The foundations for individual freedom were laid with the British Magna Carta, and embodied for the first time in the U.S. Constitution.
One of the main problems is where to draw the line. If too much emphasis is put on individual rights, the natural selfish human tendency embodied in “give an inch, take a mile,” will ultimately result in chaos and violence, as people lacking proper restraint vie for their personal share of the pie without regard for others. On the other hand, if too much emphasis is put on law and order, the end result is usually tyranny, as equally selfish and corruptible leaders clamp down on any perceived defiance in order to maintain power. The American Constitution was an attempt to establish a balance. Unfortunately, it only works when those whom it binds recognize the limits placed upon them.
Probably the greatest concept that can lead to freedom and responsible government—especially in a constitutinoal republic such as the United States—is acknowledging that there are absolute standards of right and wrong, and that they come from God. When people recognize that they are responsible to a higher authority that holds the final judgment, they are more inclined toward behavior respectful of the rights of others as human beings. Likewise, God-fearing leaders are more inclined to respect the authority of a national founding document such as the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, as well as to recognize their responsibility for the well-being of their citizens.
The greatest thing a nation can do if its people are serious about finding a balance that works and provides both freedom and protection is to submit to God and obey His Word.
Click on the following links to read the founding documents of the United States of America. (Adobe Acrobat or other PDF reader is required to read them.)
The purpose for restricting the ownership and use of firearms is always presented as being a means of reducing crime. If guns are not available, then criminals will not use them and fewer people will die from gun violence. On the surface, it sounds noble and good. Who would be against reducing the amount of violent crime that plagues so many urban areas all over the world?
The problem is that it isn't that simple. Criminals who want to use guns are already contemplating crimes worse than owning an illegal firearm. History has long shown that forbidding the sale and ownership of a given item will not prevent those who want that item from getting it. In short, if a criminal wants a gun, he or she will get a gun, whether or not it is legal to do so. Perhaps if illegal ownership of a firearm were punishable by death by gut-shooting, for instance, it might serve as a deterrent. Of course, such a penalty would run afoul of the 8th Amendment prohibition of cruel or unusual punishment.
In the United States, the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right to possess a gun. While many argue that this was to not restrict the right to hunt or otherwise protect oneself, others point out that it may have been to make it harder for an out-of-control government to assume complete tyranny over the people. I do not pretend to be able to read the minds and intents of the framers of the Constitution, but it is worth noting that all of the worst modern tyrannical governments severely restricted the rights of their citizens to own firearms.
As with everything else, the true solution to crime and violence is a changed heart and the influence of Biblical values on a culture. But at the same time it makes no sense to follow a course that has been statistically shown to increase gun violence, which is what gun restrictions have been shown to do.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
This is a direct quote from the First Amendment to the Constitution. (If you are in doubt, follow the above link to read the entire text of the document; what comes after the ellipsis are the phrases regarding freedom of speech and the press.) Note that the text says nothing about prohibiting morality or eliminating moral guidance. The Founding Fathers knew this. They included this phrase in the First Amendment because they feared what would happen if a particular denomination gained the power that the Church of England held at the time back in Britain. The whole idea of the Establishment Clause was to protect the practice of religion, not eliminate it.
Note that the Establishment Clause applies to Congress, not to the individual citizen. In fact, it originally did not even apply to the states until the 14th Amendment came along; many of the original states had their official church. The idea was to limit the power of the federal government and keep it from meddling in affairs where it had no authority. The Free Exercise Clause is what applies whenever any individual citizen chooses to exercise his or her beliefs. This includes schoolchildren who want to sing Christmas carols. It includes the store owner who wants to display a religious symbol in his/her establishment—or to refuse service to individual customers based upon their behavior. It includes the families of soldiers who want to visit their loved one in a Veterans' Hospital. It includes you and me.
America was never intended to be a secular, atheist state. It was meant to be a nation whose social order was founded upon Biblical principles, and where everyone was free to worship—or not worship—as they pleased.
This is a much-discussed topic these days. The gay rights movement which began in the '60s has gained strength until it is today a powerful political faction. In some countries, it has actually become illegal to criticize the gay lifestyle. Fortunately, in spite of attempts to do the same in the United States, we still do have the First Amendment and can speak our mind.
The Bible is very clear on the subject in both the Old and New Testaments. Homosexual behavior is sin. God does not—and never will—approve of it. It is an abomination in His sight (Leviticus 20:13). Human opinion is irrelevant; God is the final Judge. If you are reading this and take offense, please remember that I am not the one who decided that it is wrong. God is the one. You could hunt me down and imprision me—or even kill me. You could force the removal of this web site. But in the end you will have accomplished nothing, because God is the one with the final say.
Let me also make something else clear. Except for a couple of specific sins mentioned in Scripture, namely blaspheming against the Holy Spirit or taking the Mark of the Beast, all sin is forgiveable. Just because I do not engage in homosexual behavior does not make me any better than those who do. We are all sinners in need of forgiveness. Again, please see the page on Beyond Death.
The thing that offends me is not the fact of people engaging in sin. As I just said, we are all sinners and I would be a hypocrite to hate anyone because of their particular sin. What offends me these days is the militant activism of the gay community trying to shove their lifestyle down everyone's throat. These people who demand “tolerance” are actually some of the most intolerant people in our society.
And the attempts to convert or otherwise brainwash children regarding homosexual behavior goes beyond the pale. Jesus once said that it would be better for a man to have a millstone hung around his neck and be thrown into the sea than to offend one of his little ones.
There is no evidence that “sexual orientation” is genetically inherent. In fact, studies done with identical twins have essentially debunked that myth. Homosexuality is behavior, not an unalterable characteristic. As such, it can be changed. It may be difficult, but with God, all things are possible. If you are reading this and either struggle with so-called “same sex attraction” or consider yourself gay, please seek God about it. He really can set you free—if you want to be set free.
Abortion was “legalized” in 1973 through a very questionable decision by the Supreme Court. It was not based on any actual constitutional principles, but rather, on “rights” manufactured out of thin air. The fact is that, legally, it is a matter for the individual states to decide, not the Federal government, since the Constitution does not address the issue, and the 10th amendment therefore leaves it up to the states and the people.
Abortion is murder, plain and simple. Genetically, the unborn child is fully human. David wrote in Psalms that God knew him when He formed him in the womb; the implication is that David was a person and not merely a blob of tissue. Modern medical research has shown that an unborn child very early on in pregnancy shows all of the characteristics of a human being. The child can react to stimuli. The child has brain waves. The child moves around. The only real difference between pre-birth and post-birth is feeding and respiration; before birth, nutrients and oxygen come through the umbilical cord, while after birth, the child eats and breathes on his/her own. Yet the convoluted logic of pro-abortion thinking says that it is okay to kill the child pre-birth, even if not (yet!) post-birth.
Abortion is popular basically because it is an excuse to get rid of an inconvenient result of an irresponsible act of pleasure. With the throwing out of God's moral standards, sex has become a form of recreation, rather than the consummation of love between a couple committed to one another. Because of our selfish nature, people do not want to face the consequences of such acts. And with modern philosophy teaching us that man is just a mutated monkey—an animal, if you will—then that unborn child has no value that the parents do not choose to give to him or her. (This is another reason why people want to believe in evolution.)
There is much evidence linking abortion to certain types of depression, as well as certain types of cancer. In the irrational political push to kill babies, many abortion clinics are exempted from standards that other health treatment centers must comply with, either through direct legislation or by simply ignoring the violations. God is not mocked; Jesus loved little children, and unless our society comes to its senses and ceases this abomination (the Old Testament parallel was sacrificing babies in the fire to idols), I fear that judgment cannot be too far away. What is happening with the side effects and health violations can so far be considered “built-in ‘gotchas’”; natural consequences of violating God's principles. Actual judgment will be far, far worse.
All humans share a common ancestor. Both evolutionists and believers in intelligent design acknowledge this. Thus we are all part of the same overall family. When you look at someone from a different race, if you go back far enough, you are looking at a relative. No differences in characteristics such as intelligence, morality, or anything else that makes us human are found between the races. Any member of any race can mate with a member of another race and produce children.
Paul wrote in both Galatians and Colossians that there is “neither Jew nor Gentile” in Christ. He viewed all human beings as being equal. External characteristics such as skin color or shape of eyes do not make a person either superior or inferior to other human beings.
If we truly believe that “people are people”, then there is no need for the line on an application form that asks for a person's race. There is no need for special privileges for minorities. All members of a society should be equally treated and protected under the law. When governments and special interest groups insist on identifying people by race or color, they are perpetuating the very divisions that they claim they are trying to eliminate.
Racism is ugly. But one thing many people fail to recognize is that it is not confined to any particular race. Blacks who hate whites because of the color of their skin are just as guilty as whites who hate blacks for the same reason. Favoritism in the halls of justice is just as abhorrent when it favors minorities over the majority race as when it does the opposite.
Jesus taught that we are to forgive one another. When someone offends you, you are to confront them. The next step is for them to admit the wrong and ask for forgiveness. Then the final step is for the offended party to actually forgive. Properly done, this cuts the hate-and-vengeance cycle short and allows for a new beginning, with the past put behind for both parties. The same concept can be applied to racial issues. When one race does something that offends another (slavery, for example), then representatives of the offended race should confront representatives of the offending race with the issue. The representatives of the offending race should admit the wrong and ask forgiveness. Then the members of the offended race should forgive, and put the past behind. Sadly, this cycle ends all too often with either step 1 or step 2, without ever getting to the final step. And the hate and violence continues. Altogether too often, it is reversed, coming from the offended race instead of the offending race as it originally did.
Nobody wants to live in a dirty world. Whenever I am out camping or otherwise enjoying nature, a couple of the things I appreciate most are not seeing litter or smelling car exhaust. The ugly truth is that man “fouls his own nest.” A lot of it is attitude. In order for people to make any kind of effort to live in a clean world, they must be made aware of the ugliness of trash thrown on the ground and left to rot, or the unhealthiness of breathing smog instead of air. (Given the number of people who smoke cigarettes, there is a lot of hypocrisy with respect to this last one.)
Cleanliness is an attitude. The greatest thing we can do to clean up the world is to encourage an attitude of good stewardship. God gave us this world as our home. Given man's corrupt nature, this often means that some standards must be imposed. However, common sense indicates that the standards must be reasonable. It is not possible to have a modern industrial civilization and at the same time produce no waste. While a dirty environment is unhealthy, at the same time history shows that a backwards society is even more unhealthy. Modern medicine and technology have done wonders to extend lifespans and improve the quality of life. A reasonable balance is required.
At the same time, technology continues to discover new ways to do things more cleanly and efficiently. These kinds of advances should be encouraged, though not forced through government fiat. Today, the United States is one of the cleanest industrial countries in the world. It is not perfect, but fortunately, the environment can absorb a reasonable amount of “fouling” and still recover as advances make cleaner industry possible. Understanding man's place in God's order is crucial to finding the balance needed to make things work best for everyone.
Earth is a dynamic planet. It receives energy from the sun, which heats the world, drives air and water circulation, provides light for photosynthesis, and more. It comes equipped with a magnetic field to protect us from much of the radiation that permeates space—cosmic rays, solar flares, etc. The atmosphere provides further shielding from the harsh environment beyond. Nevertheless, Earth is not isolated from all outside influences.
The sun is slightly variable. As stars go, it is pretty stable, but no star is 100% constant. In addition to the 11-year sunspot cycle—tied to the solar magnetic field—there are also other, longer-term variations. A very slight change in the solar output will affect overall global termperatures. In addition, there is evidence that cosmic ray incidence can affect clouds and rainfall, also influencing global climate.
And then there are volcanoes. Climate alarmists like to point to so-called “greenhouse gases”, such as carbon dioxide and methane, as contributing to changes in worldwide climate. They like to blame humans for emissions of these gases, and thus blame humanity for causing climate change. The truth is that one volcanic eruption spews many, many times as much of these gases as all of the human sources emit in an entire year. Man's contribution is miniscule.
Scientists like to point to Venus as an example of a runaway greenhouse effect. Some things must be noted, however. First, Venus is a third of the distance closer to the sun than Earth, and as such receives approximately 2.25 times as much solar radiation. Second, the atmosphere of Venus does not contain merely a fraction of a percent CO2 as does Earth's; the Venusian concentration is around 96% CO2. Lastly, the atmosphere of Venus contains over 90 times as much total gas as does Earth's. The fact is that by the time the carbon dioxide levels on Earth rose to the point where they could seriously affect global temperatures, the increase would have suffocated all animal and human life on the planet.
If one understands and accepts God's view of the future, it becomes clear that this is not part of His plan. It is only when one rejects God's Word and embraces the humanistic ideas that place man in God's place that it becomes possible to fear such a disaster.
Note: This is not to say that humanity's influence on climate is nonexistent. Certainly, there are local effects, such as the “heat island” effect in large cities, caused by the concentration of asphalt and metal. Deforestation can lead to erosion and changes in the amount of evaporation and rainfall. But none of these have any noticeable impact on the global climate; any effects are completely swamped by the greater effects of solar variation and other cosmic influences.
No rational person wants to see an entire species die off. (Okay, perhaps I wouldn't mind if mosquitoes were wiped out…) But there are a few facts that one must take into consideration regarding species endangerment and extinction. As with everything else, there is a need for balance. Extremism does not benefit anyone.
First of all, it is harder than one might think to totally eradicate an entire species. Creatures are amazingly resilient and adaptive to changing conditions. There was a time when people were worried about the buffalo, or the wolf, or any of a number of native American species of animal. But with a reasonable amount of protection, these species have recovered. Today, you can even buy buffalo meat in places. Wolves are once again becoming a nuisance to cattle ranchers. And so forth.
Second, the cause for extinction is not always what it is assumed to be. Take the spotted owl, for example. For years, this bird was used as an excuse to essentially shut down the logging industry in Oregon, much to the economic detriment of many of the residents. Later on, it was discovered that the reason the spotted owl population was decreasing had nothing to do with man; a different species of owl was migrating into the area and competing with the spotted variety, and the spotted variety was losing. This is a particularly ironic case because almost without exception, rabid environmentalists are committed evolutionists—and survival of the fittest is one of the primary tenets of evolution.
Another factor to consider is that while a particular sub-species of animal or plant may die off, for whatever reason, the species as a whole will not. In many cases, sub-species are merely adaptations of a given species to different environmental conditions; variations in characteristics such as coloration or size, for example.
Finally, from a Biblical worldview, human beings are simply more important than any species of plant or animal. Humans are made in God's image. Now we are expected to be good stewards of the world that He gave us, and this includes taking care of it. But we are to worship Him, not the creation itself. He can cause, allow or prevent species extinction, independent of human activity. And if we take Biblical prophecy seriously, we can have confidence that He can and will restore the world from all of the damage humans have caused, when Jesus returns. And afterward, there will be a new Earth, which I suspect will be beyond anything we can imagine.
God takes care of His own.
Bananas – When God cursed the ground He said, “Let it bring forth thorns, thistles and bananas.”
Pizza – One of the basic food groups, along with chocolate, nachos (with salsa and jalapeños, but no beans) and fresh orange juice.
Mosquitoes – The only purpose they seem to serve is to suck blood and spread disease. Why were they put here in the first place?
Smoking – If you insist on poisoning your lungs, do it where I can't smell it.
Toilet Paper – Roll it toward the front, please. Failure to do so can be considered grounds for divorce.
Beautiful Girls – If you are not beautiful inside as well as outside, it ain't worth a hill of beans.
Misspelled Words – I souport publik edakashun. And if you believe that, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you.
Night Life – God put the sun in the sky to give us light. Why sleep while it's up and then stay up all night under artificial illumination?
City Life – A self-justifying reason to prefer country life.
National Forests and Parks – Whoever came up with these ideas ought to be made a national hero.
Chipmunks – Four-legged, bushy-tailed thieves. But it is their home, so I won't get out the 12-gauge.
The Great American Road – Don't knock it. You probably won't find a better highway system on planet Earth. See Travels.
Rest Areas – One of the greatest inventions ever for drivers making long trips.
Drivers who don't use turn signals – Turn signals were invented for those of us among the human race who are not telepathic or clairvoyant. Please let us know what you intend to do at the intersection.
Drivers who tailgate – If my car were equipped with rear-mounted car-to-car missiles, you'd find out in a hurry.
Star Trek – Star Trek is great entertainment. Star Trek is not the universe. If you are one of those people who live as though it were, get a life. (Of course, if you absolutely insist, there is always www.startrek.com).
Babylon 5 – Everything Star Trek should have been, and more. See Science Fiction.
Microsoft – Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. (Unless you switch to Linux.)
Windows 7 – They finally did Windows right. Why change to Windows 8?
Windows 8 – A great reason to switch to Linux. (See Billiard and Computers.)
Linux – Absolute proof that Microsoft is not the entire world of computers.
Macintosh – More proof that Microsoft is not the entire world of computers.
Wiener Dogs – Short-legged, floppy-eared, waggy-tailed noisy licking machines. Gotta love 'em…
Copyright © 2005-2017 William R. Penning. All rights reserved.