Friday, January 30, 2009

A New Approach to Christian Apologetics

I had the distinct pleasure of hearing the author, conservative thinker, and Christian apologist Dinesh D'Souza at a breakfast seminar this morning. As a result of hearing this outstanding presentation, I highly recommend the purchase of his new book, "What's So Great about Christianity?"

Among other topics D'Souza covered was his approach to Christian apologetics. Understand that "apologetics" does not mean saying we're sorry, as we have no reason to do so. The word simply means "defense of the faith."

Dinesh D'Souza is a very practical man. He has a unique ability to dismiss personal predjudices and cultural bias in considering an issue. Thus he is able to penetrate to the heart of a problem and see it for what it is. In the case of defending the faith, he has perceived that the reason so many Christians are ineffective in successfully presenting the gospel is that we automatically default to Scripture to explain and promote our message. Atheists and those who subscribe to other religions, notably Islam, dismiss the Christian gospel message out of hand because they grant no credibility to the Bible.

It's as if (and this is my analogy, not D'Souza's, so please be charitable if it's clumsy) a science fiction writer said "In the universe I have imagined, the sky is green, trees grow roots up and leaves in the soil, and birds have three wings and fly backwards. Now allow me to explain the meaning of life to you in the context of this universe." Of course we would respond that his imagination is no basis for a cogent discussion of meaning.

Similarly, we may wish to put the Bible aside when initially presenting the Christian gospel message and approach the unbeliever on common ground. One of the best ways to do this is to ask "Do you agree that this world can be dangerous, uncomfortable, infuriating, and even deadly?" Few would answer in the negative, so we can then ask "Do you believe there is a higher plane of existence, be it more moral or more peaceful or more desirable, which is well above that of ordinary human existence?" Virtually everyone has a concept of heaven or whatever name they wish to give it. A follow-up question is "Is this plane so much higher than ordinary life that it cannot be reached except by extraordinary effort?" Again, most will agree: one's view of heaven generally greatly transcends the toil and travail of earthly life.

At this point, you point out that various religions have unique views about the means of attaining this higher level:
* Hindus believe that the reason we wallow in the mess of this life and do not ascend to the higher plane is because of "I." The self, the ego, the I/me get in the way of purity. Therefore it is necessary to deny the "I" by sitting cross-legged and staring open-eyed at the sun or other such maneuvers.
* In Shintoism, the major religion of Japan, the concept includes more than three million gods, each with a different purpose, personality, and sphere of operation. To appease these gods and obtain their favor, one must perform prescribed rituals for each god.
* Jews believe that observance of the Law and faithful adherence to kosher rituals will earn a ticket to the higher plane.
* Muslims live in fear that Allah, or his accountant, will find that the number of good deeds they have done in Allah's name may not outnumber the number of transgressions they have committed. Islamofascists have expanded upon this theme, declaring that a Muslim who commits suicide on the field of battle (which they define as anywhere the infidel is present) will have performed such a magnificent service that it will cancel out all transgressions--and earn an immediate trip to the higher plane, complete with 72 virgins and the eternal slavery of the infidels one killed in the act. Clever psychology, that.
* Cults such as Mormons and Jehovah's Witness and the like all require prescribed acts of service to gain sufficient "points" for entry into the higher plane.

The problem with all of these, and with virtually every human religious construct, is that the higher plane is in fact so high that works cannot attain it. D'Souza compares it to the necessity to swim from Los Angeles to Hawaii in order to qualify. In this scenario, one swims lesser or further depending upon one's righteousness as defined by acceptable works. The John Pipers, Billy Grahams, and Bill Brights of the world will swim perhaps five miles, even up to ten, while sinners like me will barely wade into the water before the waves will overcome us. Eventually the sea wins, all swimmers tire, and all sink beneath the surface, never to achieve the goal. Moreover, in all religions, the god one seeks couldn't care less who swims and who sinks. He or it is totally non-involved, uncaring, remote, and unapproachable.

So how can one actually get to the higher plane if all human effort is doomed to failure?

The answer is what separates Christianity from all other forms of theology. Christianity is not a religion per se, in that it does not dictate a works-based formula for qualification to the higher plane. In fact, it is completely the opposite. The Christian God Himself descends to the level of human existence because He so loves the beings whom He has created in His own spiritual image and likeness. Unlike the small-d dieties of religions, the Christian God becomes the very ladder which ordinary humans can climb to reach the higher plane. All that is necessary is that one believe that the ladder exists and accept it as the God-given way to live and to move up after this earthly life is over.

It is not necessary in this construct to explain that one does not actually climb the ladder called Jesus Christ to reach heaven, and that it is more of an instantaneous transference of spirit at the moment of justification. All of that can be detailed with a biblical discourse after the light of understanding dawns.

My Christian friends, if you're like me, you ache to one degree or another for everyone you meet whom you know is not saved, knowing that their soul will live forever in a place so unimaginably horrible that to fully dwell upon it for any length of time is to approach insanity. This approach that Dinesh D'Souza postulates appears to be a highly effective means of presenting the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ in an inoffensive and even intriguing manner.

Thank you, Dinesh, and may God bless you and everyone who employs your strategy to help the lost to see the light of truth.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Obama's True Colors

Well, now we know the color palette of the Obama administration: yellow and black.

He's yellow because his first two presidential acts were to:
1. Cave in to the Code Pinks and MoveOn.orgs and other screaming liberal peaceniks by issuing an executive order to close the terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
2. Cave in to Planned Parenthood, National Abortion Rights League, and other smug and bloodthirsty baby-murdering apologists by reversing President Bush's sane, merciful, and sensible "Mexico City policy" which prevented American tax dollars from going to foreign countries for the purpose of aiding and abetting abortion.

And that last move makes him black, friends. I'm not referring to the color of his skin but the color of his heart. Anyone who has seen or is even aware of photographs detailing the horrendous, painful, soul-sapping death of a baby in his or her mother's womb and then approves of more of this crime is dead, black, and evil.

The sin of abortion speaks for itself. There is no defense for this unthinkably satanic practice. And now you get to pay for it in Mexico, China, Albania, and Argentina. And Brazil. And Ruwanda. And...

The Gitmo closing is nearly as reprehensible a decision as the Mexico City reversal. It's as if President Bush had said "Okay, there's a substantial demand for open borders, so we're just going to close all the customs stations and fire all the border patrol agents. Jose, c'mon in!"

With that move, Obama has signaled to the world that America will not be strong in the face of the implacable Islamic vow to bring down the Great Satan. That's us, friends. That's Cleveland, Des Moines, Cheyenne, and San Francisco. It's whereever else they can destroy for the satisfaction of their twisted, psycopathic vision of a 13th-century caliphate on this land. Gitmo is just the first of the undoing of the safeguards that President Bush put into place to protect this nation. Obama is still in hock to the other demands of the peace-love-hug crowd, including warrantless wiretapping, surveillance of banking records of terrorist supporters, and forceful interrogation. Obama the Yellow will soon declare all those to be "inappropriate" for his vision of an America that remakes the world in the image of tree-hugging peace lovers.

He's naive, misled, and easily manipulated. He is the product of his soaring socialist ideals and the Marxist crowd with whom he surrounds himself. Either he does not have the capability to think through the consequences of his decisions or he just couldn't be bothered.

Oh, please! you say. It can't be that bad!

Really? Well, consider that the day before the smiling hope-and-change artist took office, British newspapers reported the death of up to forty terrorists in Algeria. A group named al-Queda in the land of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the largest al-Queda group outside the Middle East, has a deadly terrorism record and a declared intention to attack the Great Satan. From all indications, it appears these forty terrorists died most horrible deaths from a disease enhanced in AQIM laboratories: pneumonic plague.

This is a truly dangerous bacterium. Unlike the bubonic plague, which requires penetration into open skin from rat or flea bites, pneumonic plague is spread through the air by the exhalation of infected persons. Those who have the bacterium may have no symptoms for a week or more. Suddenly, they will begin to break out into boils in the neck, armpits, and groin. The disease proceeds to eat the brain of the victim until he or she falls down and dies.

Now imagine two hundred and fifty newly liberated Gitmo prisoners who have never lost their bloodlust to die for Allah (and the seventy-two virgins, of course. Musn't forget that little perk). They've spent up to seven years in Gitmo, away from their brothers in arms, captive to infidels whom they consider to be the equivalent of pigs and apes. They're itching to get onto the battlefield or to strap on explosives. They're greeted by the higher-ups in al-Queda (none of whom ever seem to be anxious to wear the bomb, oddly enough) and told that there is a brand- new, highly effective, most delicious way to meet Allah and the ladies. All they have to do is visit the AQIM camp in Algeria, get infected, and walk into America--which isn't too difficult under the Obama administration. For as many days as they can remain alive, they ride the New York and Boston and Chicago subways, breathing out as hard and fast as they can. They go to the bus stations in Washington, Detroit, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Houston, where they breathe and cough on as many people as possible. They walk the Mall of America in Minnesota, where thousands of people visit each day.

Do the math. Before America wakes up to the situation, thousands will have been directly affected by the terrorists, and they in turn will each have infected dozens or hundreds or thousands more.

There is an immunization for pneumonic plague, but obviously it must be taken before the onset of the disease. The discovery of a nice boil on your neck means it's just a little late to see your favorite doctor. Antibiotics also work, if administered in concentration early in the progress of the disease, but are there sufficient supplies to deal with ten million cases arising in a span of two or three weeks?

Obama the Yellow obviously didn't take this possibility into account. Nor has he given any thought to other ways in which highly-motivated Gitmo terrorists might take revenge upon their captors. But that's not inconsistent with his stance toward Islam. In his inaugural speech, he said "To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interests and mutual respect." The problem with that little nicety is that there is no mutual interest: they want us dead or subject to Islam. You can't negotiate with that. Obama and his ilk pooh-pooh that notion, but the Islamofascists have never said anything different. Sooner or later you have to take them at their word.

Obama also asked the apostate pseudo-Christian pastor Rick Warren to spread the message. Warren mixed Jewish, Christian, and Muslim scriptures in an all-inclusive prayer, ending with the Lord's Prayer in the name of Isa (Arabic for Jesus). But Isa is the Muslim Jesus, whom Islam believes is not the Son of God, was not crucified, and did not die for the sins of mankind. They also count on Isa to lead Islam against the hated Jews in the latter days.

The real Jesus Christ, the true Son of God, said in Matthew 24:4 "Take heed that no one deceive you..." Obama the Yellow, he of the black heart, and his minions like Rick Warren are attempting to do just that.

There is now little that we can do, friends, other than that which is so natural and so perfectly sensible that we often don't stop to think of it: pray. Only the mighty hand of God can change the course of rivers and the hearts of kings. Pray that He will change hearts and minds so that a mighty wave of revulsion against abortion rises up in this land and politicians are forced to change laws permitting it. Pray that God will keep our nation safe. And pray for our black and yellow President, that he may begin to see the awesome responsibility he has in representing ALL the people, not just those to whom he owes favors.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Simple to Understand, Hard to Accept

To me, the election of Obama is simple to understand. Please note the use of that word "simple" elsewhere in this column.

Since the 60's, our once-worthy country has experienced:

1. The destruction of the Judeo-Christian ethic in which the Founding Fathers trusted, knowing that it was the best governor of human behavior for the common good. It has been replaced by moral relativism, which in essence says "Do what you want if it pleases you." This mode of non-thinking has resulted in nearly 50 million children murdered in the womb since 1973, cheating and stealing on the part of students and hedge fund honchos with nary a thought toward morality, abberant and destructive lifestyles, previously unknown sexual diseases, rampant drug abuse, prisons filled to capacity, and massive floods of illegal aliens whom the new administration will soon label "welcomed citizens."

2. A Democratic Party that operates by three rules:
a. Get into power. Whatever lies you must tell, whomever you must slander, libel, or ruin, whatever votes you must steal, get into power. Democrats at the highest levels of politics are invariably atheists, even though some (Hillary, Al Gore, Obama, et al) will trot out a Bible every now and then for p.r. purposes. As such, they subscribe to the worldview that this life is all there is, so you get as much as you can while the getting's good. Government is power.
b. Stay in power. See a. above.
c. While in power, take the system for everything you can. See Lyndon Johnson, the Clintons, Franklin Raines (he who rigged the books at Fannie Mae to gain millions in bonuses) et al. No doubt Obama will be worth millions when his four or eight years are up.

3. Special interest groups that have no thought for anyone but themselves. They describe themselves as victims and latch onto their favorite Democratic congressman or woman, shrieking bloody murder at the polls if the legislator doesn't get them the goodies. The Dems listen. In fact, they prefer an amalgam of special interest groups. because they can move from one to the other, pacifying them as they go, without any responsibility for what's best for the national interests.

4. A mainstream media (all but talk radio and the Internet) that is composed of 60's radicals in ties and nice pantsuits. They're jumped up and well paid, but they retain the same sophomoric viewpoint that spewed from their unbrushed teeth in college. That perspective is manifested in their witchhunts for every possible wrongdoing that any conservative anywhere might conceivably have committed while overlooking the most egregious acts and comments of liberals. Since the Clinton years, they have so poisoned the electorate with vitriolic bias that conservative ideals which the Founding Fathers espoused and today's conservatives champion seem like so much ludicrous and old-fashioned trollop.

5. Political action groups, specifically, that are so demented and so Marxist and so anti-God that anyone whom they target is subjected to a jaw-dropping onslaught of hatred, smears, distortions, and outright lies. Witness what they did to a magnificent American, Sarah Palin. She's everything the liberals love: a strong character who took on powerful males and won, a mother who holds down an important job, and highly attractive. But she suffers from the unforgivable sins of deliberately choosing to give birth to a Downs baby rather than murdering him in the womb and holding conservative viewpoints. Thus, according to the MoveOn terrorists, she must be utterly destroyed as a lesson to any woman who might have the temerity to wander off the plantation of pure liberal thought.

6. A simple, God bless them, electorate with the evident brainpower of a flashlight battery. They don't read, unless it's People Magazine or TV Guide, they don't think unless Oprah authorizes it, and they don't bother to analyze the written or spoken word. Instead, conditioned by the media, the Democrats, and to believe that President Bush screwed up the country, they stand slack-jawed and glassy-eyed as Obama blathered code words with absolutely no meaning whatsoever. In their hearts, they heard "hope" and "change" as anything they wanted it to mean--and Obama knew that would happen. He is the master at saying nothing in 10,000 words, and the simple sheeple lapped it up.

7. A pathetic old man running as the Republican candidate who is as far from what Republicans used to be and ought to be as Al Gore is. John Kennedy was more of a Republican than John McCain is. Though conservatives feared Obama, preferring any alternative (even, yawn, McCain), they couldn't be excited enough by the pablum the Republican primaries served up to get out and vote. Only Sarah Palin added any pride to the collective Republican heart, and she spent most of her time fighting off the Katie Courics and other socialist media.

8. A very badly timed financial crisis which McCain handled about as poorly as it could be handled. Rather than espouse personal responsibility and consequences for poor decision-making, a formula that would have taken us out of this mess and taught us a lesson, he joined the chorus for bailing out the "woe is me" crowd with your money and mine. Thus he was just a pseudo-Democrat, and the sheeple ignored him in the voting booth.

The result of this perfect storm of swamp water was more than predictable. I'm surprised McCain received as many votes as he did.

Now come the barbarians.