Tag Archives: culture

Moral and intellectual bankruptcy

First, a note to my readers. A revised manuscript of Living Right in a World of Woe has been submitted and processed by the publisher. It corrects some citing errors that got past the proofers. Also, the price of the eBook version has been dropped to 99 cents in an effort to get more people to read it.

It has been about eight months since my last post. It is not because I have been idle; it is because I have been involved. We traveled back to Florida this past November to spend two months at the missionary homes where we have stayed when in the States for about twenty years. The same day we arrived the announcement was made that the homes had already been sold and were closing down. However, they were honoring the reservations already booked so we were able to stay there for one last time.

To make a real long story much shorter, it did not seem right to us that the 55 homes and eight acres of land that had been donated for missionary housing should be sold before any indication was given by the President or Board that this was going to happen. I fell back on to my old CPA skills and started investigating. After about three months of investigating, I found out that the President and Executive Director of this ministry made false statements to its supporters and missionary beneficiaries; they colluded with Pinellas County, Florida to sell the property to the county in secret and in apparent violation of the Florida Sunshine Laws; and they apparently violated the Charitable Trust Doctrine by selling the houses which were donated for specific charitable purposes.

A formal complaint with documented evidence was filed with the Florida Attorney General, Pam Bondi. The Florida Attorney General has declined to act on behalf of this Florida Charitable Trust. On June 7,  my AP news app had an article about Pam Bondi. She personally solicited a political contribution from Donald Trump at the same time her office was considering investigating alleged fraud at Trump University. She received a $25,000 donation and her office decided not to pursue the investigation.

The President of the missionary homes ministry is a well-known Florida attorney who claims to be a Christian but apparently doesn’t read the Bible the way I do. Just last month a judge disqualified him from a sex-abuse case for trying to represent both sides.

There was a time when this type of self-serving behavior by public servants and ministry leaders would not be tolerated. If prison was not sentenced, at least they would lose their position. But as my previous blog post stated: “The Times They Are A-Changin’”. The societal changes that began in the 1960’s have resulted in the absence of moral judgments. About the only Bible command society wants to obey is, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Illegal and immoral behavior is practiced with impunity.

I want to deal briefly in this blog with an article that appeared on the Business Insider website. The site provides and analyzes business news as well as other articles of interest to the editors. The CEO and Editor-in-Chief is Henry Blodget. He worked on Wall Street until he was charged with securities fraud. He agreed to a permanent ban from the securities industry and payments of $4 million in fines and disgorgement, but no prison. Not a problem – this man is now giving business advice to millions of people from a web-based company that last year sold 88% of its stock to a German publisher for a reported $343 million.

Now to the Business Insider article at hand. It shows, I believe, that not only is society morally bankrupt, it is intellectually bankrupt as well. You would think that Harvard University would be a hotbed of intellectuals, and that physicists might lead the pack. However, after reading the article posted on November 14, 2015 about the book, Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs written by Lisa Randall, a theoretical physicist at Harvard, I am sure that is not the case.

In that book she puts forth the theory that the extinction of the dinosaurs was necessary for the emergence of humans on the planet and the whole process was brought about by dark matter. What, in the name of what is, is dark matter you may ask. Randall describes it as “a dark, pancake-shaped patty of densely packed dark matter within our galaxy” which she says exerts gravitational influence.

OK, she has propounded a theory on the existence of dark matter and like a good scientist she must test it. Right? Not anymore. She goes on to say, “Dark matter has never been directly detected. However, there is enough evidence for its immense gravitational influence on our universe that the vast majority of the scientific community agrees that dark matter is a form of mysterious matter that we can neither see or touch, but that nevertheless must permeate the cosmos.”

The article goes on to state, “We have a dozen or so functioning detectors underground, on Earth’s surface, and in space – and none of them has yet managed to sniff out a dark-matter particle.” There you have it. The testing that can be done does not prove the theory, but that does not stop Harvard University from teaching the theory and it did not stop her from finding a publisher.

So, what does all this have to do with society being intellectually bankrupt? Going back to Randall’s statement: “dark matter is a form of mysterious matter that we can neither see or touch, but that nevertheless must permeate the cosmos”, we see a basic assumption (must permeate the cosmos) that is not really a product of intellect but of ignorance. Nothing is said of how gravitational influence brought about the existence of humans that, because of gravity, walk on the earth, but did not influence the development of birds and bees that defy gravity. Even that is not the ignorance I am talking about.

The assumption is made that dark matter “must” exist because at present there is no other scientific explanation for the existence of humans in the universe even though there is no evidence for dark matter’s existence. If an assumption is going to be made, why not make an intelligent assumption. In all of intellectual science’s theories and assumptions, the intellectuals have never been able to explain the existence of order in the universe or how a single human cell operates the way it does with its irreducible biochemical complexity, or the origin of the material universe. There are only unproven theories that do not account for everything that is or account for why things are the way they are. Only ignorance would hang its hat on these theories.

The alternative, and I believe the intelligent assumption, is to believe what the original scientists believed. They believed in the existence of a God who created the universe with intelligent order and with certain natural laws functioning within the universe. They believed the job of the scientist is to discover those natural laws. The list of scientists who believed in God include Copernicus, Bacon, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Boyle, Faraday, Mendel, Kelvin, Planck and Einstein. Einstein recognized the impossibility of a non-created universe. These men were the intellectuals of their day, and unlike the intellectuals of today, their theories have not been disproved.

Here is an excerpt from the Introduction to the Apologetics volume of my School of Christianity which is waiting to be published:

Evidence, Proof, and Certainty

As we begin this section some definitions are in order. Evidence is anything which provides grounds for belief or disbelief of a proposition. Evidence appeals to the mind. Proof is evidence that establishes the truth of a proposition beyond any doubt. Certainty is the mental state of being positive and confident about an event or the truth of a proposition. Since certainty is a state of the mind it is possible to have certainty even without absolute proof. But you can have neither certainty nor proof without evidence. Christian Apologetics seeks to provide evidences for the Christian faith that will lead to certainty, but not proof, of its truths. We can take propositions about Christianity to be certain when we have no doubt about their truth. When the absence of doubt is justifiable we can be certain, and evidences justify the absence of doubt.

Contrary to popular opinion, proof is not available in science, and certainly not in religion. The scientific process consists of observation of some natural phenomenon (occurrence); the formulation of a theory based on that observation; testing of the theory by repeating the phenomenon a number of times; and based upon the test results, rejecting the theory or accepting it as a scientific fact. However, it is not fact, it remains a theory with a high probability of being fact. Science deals with measurements and averages since the same occurrence of an event cannot be repeated. Only a similar event can be made to happen and the similar event cannot be the exact duplicate of the original because, if nothing else, the time has changed. So measurements are taken and those measurements are averaged to get a result. They do not produce facts or proof of the original theory, only the probability (it may be very high) that the theory is correct. Proof is limited to mathematics (3 eggs times 4 equals 12 eggs and the eggs can be counted to prove it), and logic (If A equals B in all respects, and B equals C in all respects, then A equals C in all respects, and A and C can be compared to prove it).

We live in a world in which much of what we believe and do is based upon probability rather than proof. You normally do not sit in a chair full of anxiety that it may break at any time. You cannot be certain that it will not break, but you can sit with a high degree of probability that it will not break. You only have proof that the chair will not break after you have finished with the chair and gotten up. It did what you, by faith, trusted it to do and it proved itself to be true to your expectations.

I am willing to go with probabilities. You can do your own research, but I find the most frequent scientific estimate of the probability of life formed by natural process to be around 1 chance in 10 to the 40,000 power, that is 1 with 40,000 zeros after it. The atheistic  scientist would say that no matter how small the probability is, life exists. That is like looking at a man on top of a 10-story building and saying, “No matter how small the probabilities are that he jumped up there from the ground, he is up there, so he must have jumped.” The conclusion does not take into account other possible and more likely (or more probable) explanations of what is. More on this subject in the next post.

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Every July there is a two-week international guitar festival here in Córdoba. I think that is because Córdoba claims some credit for the first classical guitar being made here in the sixteenth century. And every year they seem to make a point of inviting some aged rock and roll star to put on a concert. This year it was Bob Dylan. Ol’ Bob was born in May 1941, so that means he was 74 years old when he came here. He still dressed like he did when he became popular in the 1960s. He still wore his hair like he did then. He still sang the same songs he did then. So, what is a-changin’ for ol’ Bob?

Dylan and his fellow pop singers in the 60s were catalysts for change in Western society. Their lyrics were rebellious and disparaging of the status quo of that era. They cried out for change and they eventually got what they asked for. I think these lyrics from Dylan’s song with the above title will show what I mean:

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your wall
For the times they are a-changin’

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’

Even though ol’ Bob hasn’t changed much from the 60s, for sure we are living in changing times. Before you can adjust to one change it changes. The most rapid change is coming in the area of morality. The 60s generation wanted a new one and the twenty-first century has chucked morality all together. Issues of right and wrong have become issues of rights—one’s right to do what they want morally. According to God the right to do wrong brings judgment and woe. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of my Living Right in a World of Woe which has just been released by Antioch Press:

From the beginning of the world God has given instructions in the form of commandments and laws informing His people how they are to live in this world. These commandments and laws are the basis of God’s relationship with people. He is God; we are His creation. He commands; we obey. Our obedience to His laws brings blessings. Our disobedience to His laws brings curses and woe. God does not change and God’s laws do not change. What God says is right will never be wrong. What God says is wrong will never be right.

We are now living in a time when some civil laws of the land are in opposition to the laws of God. What is evil in God’s sight is now called good. Obedience to those laws that oppose God’s laws will bring woe to individuals and nations. What is a Christian to do when ungodliness is the law of the land? The answer is simple: we are to obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29). At this time when legal and societal pressure will be on Christians to conform to the laws of the world, it will be good to take a fresh look at how God requires his people to live right in this world and its coming woe. We must see right, be right and do right in order to live right in a world of woe.

God pronounced woe to the enemies of Israel. God pronounced woe to Israel. The psalmist pronounced woe to himself. The prophets pronounced woe to themselves. Jesus pronounced woe to cities. Jesus pronounced woe to the teachers of the law and Pharisees. Jesus pronounced woe to the rich. In Matthew 18:7 Jesus pronounced woe to the world. What is woe? Where does woe come from? Why does woe come? Why is this world a world of woe?

Woe has several different meanings as used in the Bible. None of them are good. Woe can mean an exclamation that brings a curse of condemnation or judgment. It can mean deep sorrow, grief or affliction. It can mean ruinous trouble and calamity. An exclamation of woe can apply to the one expressing it as in the case of the psalmist and the prophets. It can apply to individual people, cities and nations when pronounced by God.

With the psalmists and the prophets, woe comes from what they observed going on around them. The wicked prosper. God’s people suffer. But the greatest woe came to the prophets because they observed God’s people sinning and enjoying it. Woe comes to the sinners as a natural outcome of their sin.

Romans 1 gives us a list of things that go wrong when people do not acknowledge God: their thinking becomes futile and their hearts are darkened; thinking they are wise, they become fools; and, God gives them over to the sinful desires of their hearts, to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. Sin brings woe to the sinners. This woe is the one that means a curse or condemnation. This woe comes from God.

Isaiah 5:20–24 gives us a concise explanation of why woe comes and why the world today is a world of woe. The prophet spoke words that apply to all ages when he said:

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.

22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks,

23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent.

24 Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the Lord  Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.

After describing the world we live in, the prophet succinctly put the reason woe comes in these words, “they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.”

Living Right in a World of Woe

LRWW eBook coverWoe is inevitable when ungodliness is the law of the land. This book will help Christians live in an ungodly world that brings woe upon itself and woe upon Christians for not conforming to it. Helpful guidance is given for understanding this present world and how to overcome it by living like Jesus Christ.

CHAPTER TITLES:
Why a World of Woe?
See Right to Live Right
God’s will is Right
The World Started Right but Went Wrong
The World That is Wrong
Be Right to Live Right
Doing Right is Living Right
Living Right in a World of Woe

Living right requires seeing the world in the right way from a biblical worldview. Living right in this world of woe requires knowing God’s will as He guides us through these perilous times. The history of the world is traced from the biblical origin of the world’s culture to how philosophy and science has lead the West away from God.  A description of today’s Western culture that brings on the woe is presented. Finally, the Sermon on the Mount is used as a guide for being right and doing right in the home and in society as we live right in a world of woe.

Paperback: 134 pages
Publisher: Antioch Publications (October 2015)
Language: English
ISBNs:
978-0-9967929-0-5 Print
978-0-9967929-1-2 Mobi
978-0-9967929-2-9 ePub

You can find this book at major booksellers including:
Amazon USA
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million

Feelings trump truth

“The truth hurts” is an old saying that describes telling someone the truth when the truth is perceived as negative and makes the recipient feel bad. The meaning behind the saying is the truth may hurt, but it does not harm, and it should spur the recipient on to be better or do better so that the truth will no longer hurt. The saying was popular when people wanted to hear the truth. Not so today! Why? Because people do not want to feel bad. Why? Because life is feelings brought on by experiences. People, especially young people, do not want to experience anything that makes them feel bad. They are willing to sacrifice truth and knowledge in order to avoid feeling bad.

An article in the September 2015 issue of The Atlantic magazine titled “The Coddling of the American Mind” shows the extent that young people today want to avoid feeling bad. The article begins: “Something strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense.” The movement is fueled by the “emotional well-being” of the individual. Of course, like so much in the world where bad is called good, the movement to avoid negative feelings in the name of emotional well-being will have the opposite effect. A person who cannot deal responsibly with negative feelings will never have emotional well-being.

The article gives the example of a law professor at Harvard who was asked by law students to not to teach rape law or to use the word “violate” (as in “that violates the law”) fearing that it would cause some students distress. Who knows? Maybe some student might think that they had been violated in some way in the past. That is absurd enough and the article gives some examples that are more absurd.

Mental reasoning has been replaced by emotional reasoning. Emotional reasoning assumes that your negative feelings necessarily reflect the way things really are: “I feel it, therefore it must be true!” Lord help us! when feelings are the sole basis for interpreting reality. Is this generation being coddled or what? And to think that these young people will someday  be adult babies and will run the institutions of our society. It will indeed be a world of woe.

Here is an excerpt from my book Living Right in a World of Woe which will be released soon:

We have moved from the belief that everyone has an equal right to their own opinions, to the belief that everyone’s opinion is equally right. Everyone determines what is right for them. Everyone is their own god. Everyone is a fool (Ps. 14:1). Evil has become good.

Fifteen years ago we talked in terms of “floating anchors.” The things that held society together and that anchored one’s life to his history and identity were no longer secured to anything. Today the anchor rope has been cut at the boat. There are no anchors wanted. Society is adrift with no destination in mind.

The folly of this twenty-first century culture is that there is no foundation to one’s life. There is only an emotional freefall. There is no family, no love, not even a faithful friend to land on before you reach the total despair of suicide. When the music stops there is silence—nothingness, hopelessness, despair, death. With no music the body has no life because the human spirit has already been killed. It died when God died.

In thirty years the youth of today will be middle-aged. They will have no choice but to continue on with the culture they created and with what they have been doing. They have no traditional family, traditional religion, or traditional culture to return to. The modern church has let them down. Instead of converting youth to be like Jesus Christ, the church is converting Christianity to be like the youth.

I have tried to describe the world we live in here in the twenty-first century, the world that Christians are in but not of; the world and things in it that we are not to love. It is impossible to predict what the world will be like at the end of the twenty-first century, if the Lord tarries. Current culture has no trajectory. What has been described will not apply to, or be the culture of, the small minority who still hold to the Judeo-Christian worldview and who live in obedience to the truths of the Bible. Christians must be prepared to live like a remnant in a culture that has repudiated the foundations of our faith. Living right in a world gone wrong will not be easy.