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-Don’t Support Same-Sex Marriage- Lose Your Career?

by Dr. D ~ October 17th, 2017

US Air Force logo

We have seen it happen several times now. Some Christians who support traditional marriage are now getting in trouble and finding their careers in jeopardy. The latest is a decorated officer in the US Air Force. From Townhall:

Col. Leland Bohannon, who was on the verge of being promoted to a one-star general, was suspended from command and orders were handed down recommending he not be promoted.  …

Last May the colonel declined to sign a certificate of spouse appreciation for a retiring master sergeant’s same-sex spouse.

He was unable to do so because it would have caused him to affirm a definition of marriage contrary to his sincerely held religious beliefs.

<Read the whole article>

Response: We have seen it before and expect it to increase in the future. Christians have been fined and lost their businesses, a fire chief lost his job, a physician his new public position, a TV show dropped and more.  Some, like Sen. Bernie Sanders, are now saying that conservative Christians are no longer qualified for public service despite the Constitution. Plus, legal groups supporting the rights of Christians and religious liberty are now being labeled as ‘hate groups’ by some on the left and even in the media.

Same-sex marriage is now the ‘law of the land’ and Christians who do not support it could find themselves subjected to career oblivion, loss of employment, and discrimination in the future. Well the future is now here for this Air Force Colonel.                  *Top

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-“Origin”

by Dr. D ~ October 10th, 2017

By Dan Brown (New York: Doubleday, 2017, 480 pages)

Dan Brown Origin

Dan Brown continued his assault on religion and particularly on Christianity in a major way in ‘Origin.’ In fact the first half of the book is full of one attack after another on religion. Also according to first impressions, all of the bad characters seem to be religious while the ‘good’ folks are all atheists and agnostics.  At least that is what it seemed like in the beginning.

There are two major issues that the entire story revolves around:

1. Where did we come from?

2. Where are we going?

All of the answers to those questions coming out of religion are discounted. Particularly those coming from what Brown calls the ‘dark religions’ (like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) who insist that the answers are contained within ancient scriptures like the Bible.

Science is presented as having the ultimate answers to our origin and to where we are going. If not now then in the near future. At least this time, Brown actually researched these issues well (unlike Da Vinci Code which was full of historical mistakes) even if it’s rather one sided and far to ‘preachy.’

The philosophical conclusion given in this book is that all religions will eventually fade away. But Brown’s protagonist Professor Langdon is not so sure. He still see a role for religion in helping science deal with ethical and moral issues. Then there is the question of first cause and origin of order. Supposedly Brown’s atheist/techno-scientist is killed because he is going to present scientific answers to where we came from and where we are going that will do away with religion once and for all. But his ballyhooed presentation is actually far from conclusive or even satisfying.

A third issue comes up in the midst of the story. What about humanity’s relationship with technology and how will the evolution of AI affect our future? And finally, will some kind of controls and checks need to be placed upon Artificial Intelligence?

Dan Brown is known for turning out novels with frantic paced non-stop action that readers have a hard time putting down. ‘Origin’ continues that tradition for the first 3/4 or so then it slows down and becomes rather anti-climatic. There are major twists and turns at the finish line and some of the characters are really not at all like they seemed to be at the beginning but by then I really didn’t care all that much.

I did find the Catalonian/Spanish locations, including the art and government references, as fascinating. I looked up all of the museums, churches, and buildings referenced in the book. Then I read articles on the Spanish government, the history of the Franco era, along with reports on the current Catalonian independence controversy. All of which added a new dimension to the story for me.

I have read all of Dan Brown’s books and this one is far from being his best. Nevertheless, it will be another best seller and I fear that the one-sided observations on religion and science will be accepted and go unchallenged by many of the readers.

*Top

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-Plans for Christian Retreat Rejected Due to LGBT Opposition

by Dr. D ~ October 6th, 2017

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Christian evangelist Morris Cerullo planned to build a Christian retreat center on 18 acres in Mission Valley of San Diego but those plans were rejected by the city council after a great deal of pressure was applied by LGBT community activists. Here’s the story from the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Morris Cerullo to transform an aging Mission Valley hotel into a $160 million religious-themed retreat and conference center failed Monday to win support from the San Diego City Council after some members raised concerns about the potential for increased traffic congestion.

Although city planners pointed out that the 18-acre project would add little more traffic to the area than what exists today…

Members of San Diego’s LGBT community spoke out against the project at Monday’s hearing but focused exclusively on traffic issues…

Councilwoman Lorie Zapf questioned the traffic concerns raised by project critics, suggesting it was the religious nature of the development that was in fact fueling opposition. …

“The comments I heard were clearly religious-based, and that is not a reason in this country to not have a faith-based project,” Zapf said.

<Read the whole article>

Response: The traffic issue was just an excuse and everyone knows it. Morris Cerullo and his Christian organization are known to be supporters of traditional marriage and traditional teaching of the Bible when it comes to homosexuality. The LGBT community in San Diego has a great deal of political power which was demonstrated by the votes of 5 council members all Democrats.

The Christian community in San Diego is probably larger and even more influential but rarely unified and sectarian divisions really do apply in this case. The Christian leaders really need to think about how they should respond to LGBT opposition in the future. This is a case of outright LGBT led discrimination against a Christian organization. The same thing could happen to any conservative church group that wants to build a new church or school or even expand on what they now have in the future.

This is happening in San Diego CA but look for similar LGBT opposition to rise up against conservative Christian projects all around America. Yes, we do still have the First Amendment that allows us to follow traditional Biblical teachings but LGBT and progressive politicians will look for ways to punish conservative Christian groups that do not cave on LGBT issues in the future. In this case traffic was the excuse but the real issue was Cerullo’s conservative Christian positions on same-sex marriage and LGBT issues. Your church or organization could be next.                *Top

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-The Gospel of Thomas and the Historical Jesus

by Dr. D ~ October 6th, 2017

The Gospel of Thomas?

 

(From our Apologetica page):

Much has been written about so-called ‘lost Christianities’ in the last decade or so. The Gospel of Thomas is always among the early books mentioned that supposedly demonstrate a possible variety of understanding and teaching in early Christianity.

First of all, there are a number of sayings contained within the ‘Gospel’ that are comparable to passages in the NT gospels and the collection of scholars that made up the Jesus Seminar actually named a few as authentic. However, there are many other sayings in Thomas which obviously contradict teaching in the canonical gospels. Plus there is no actual narrative or story to provide context.

Then there is the question of dating and authorship. Several of my old professors in seminary (Claremont) supported a first century dating. Nevertheless, most scholars opt for an early second century completion. Then there is the question of authorship. Few entertain the idea that the ‘doubting apostle’ had any kind of hand in it.

But the real question is this: Does it really have anything to tell us about the historical Jesus and his actual teaching?

Here’s an excellent article by Dr. Ben Witherington dealing with that question:

Doubting Thomas: The Relevance of the Gospel of Thomas for Historical Jesus Studies

 

The following is a quote from the conclusion of the article:

There were actual boundaries of belief and behavior even in the first century A.D., boundaries beyond which Jesus’ followers knew they should not go, and Thomas and the even later Gnostic documents clearly had long since crossed those boundaries in various ways. As it turns out the lost Christianities so often touted today were not so much lost as abandoned for good reasons. They were not suppressed because they offered an alternative, earlier, and more true version of Christian origins. They were tried and found wanting in the 2nd through fourth centuries because they betrayed the essentially Jewish monotheistic, eschatological character of Jesus and his movement.

<Read the whole article>

*Top

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-Google Bias Against Conservative Websites?

by Dr. D ~ October 4th, 2017

330px-Google_2015_logo.svg

There have been a number of recent articles claiming that Google is biased against conservative websites causing loss of traffic and income while actually artificially promoting those on the left.  Here’s the most poignant report that I have found on this subject. From PJ Media:

A new research paper from Leo Goldstein claims to have quantified Google’s bias against leading conservative sites—…

"Google Search is found to be biased in favor of left/liberal domains and against conservative domains with a confidence of 95%," Goldstein found. "Further, certain hard-Left domains have such a high [percentage of domain traffic, referred by Google Search, net of brand searches] that their standing raises suspicions that they have been hand-picked for prominent placement," he says, adding that "certain respected conservative domains are blacklisted."

In an email to PJ Media Goldstein warned that a number of conservatives sites, including PJM, could be the victims of Google bias:

Dear Editors,

You might be interestted to learn, that your websites have been almost  blacklisted by Google. "Almost blacklisted" means that Google search artificially downranks results from your websites to such extent that  you lose 55% – 75% of possible visitors traffic from Google. This  sitution is probably aggravated by secondary effects, because many users and webmasters see Google ranking as a signal of trust.  …

<Read the whole article>

Here’s another article claiming that Google’s YouTube is also involved discriminating against conservative video’s:

Since YouTube enacted a new advertiser-friendly strategy in March that gives more control to brands over where their ads show up on the online video sharing platform, alarms have been sounded that YouTube may be unfairly demonetizing videos posted by Trump supporters, conservatives and Christians.  …

Dr. Michael Brown, a conservative radio host whose ministry operates the "AskDrBrown" YouTube account, wrote an op-ed in August, explaining that YouTube demonetized most of the account’s videos and that the ministries’ advertising revenue from YouTube has dropped by over 65 percent because of the demonetization.

<Read the whole article>

Also see the following from the Blaze: “Report: Google is biased against conservative websites

Response: I have been putting off writing this article for some time. Complaining about Google is tantamount to challenging the IRS to inspect your personal finances with a fine tooth comb. Nothing good can really come of it and a whole lot of potential harm. Google in fact controls a large part of traffic on the Internet and if your website is purposely ignored by their search engine then you pretty much disappear.

At this point I actually have nothing left to lose. This website has been going since 2006 and has seen an increase in readers every year until 2017. A little over a year ago the traffic on this site put it among the top 5% of faith based websites but now we have nearly disappeared. A year ago if I ‘googled’ the titles of one of my articles it would show up usually on page one in a search but now it doesn’t show at all. Two other major websites feature and republish our articles and they do still show up but no direct link to an article on this website domain any longer.

First we came under a leftist POS attack which took out our host servers three times and then the traffic referrals from Google began to dry up after that. My articles are still getting referrals from Bing and some others but very little now from Google. The internet experts from my hosting company explained away the loss as an unfortunate result of the POS attacks claiming that Google’s trust in a site decreases exponentially when a server is taken down and their referral links are broken.

I accepted that explanation until I started reading about other conservative sites going through similar problems with loss of traffic from Google. The loss claimed for some conservative sites in the article above of 55%-75% is no joke. The loss of traffic on this site is closer to 80%.

Then a few months ago Google AdSense suspended the ads on this site for 30 days with a warning that we somehow violated their use provisions. Never did get a full explanation of what we actually did. This was a serious blow since the Google advertising pays for a large percentage of our hosting bill. They are up again but since the traffic is way down so is the revenue.

This is causing me to evaluate what I am going to do with this site in the future and how much time I’m going to actually continue to devote to it. I have always considered this to be part of my ministry. But from the view point of being a minister it is like going from preaching to thousands in a mega church to a handful in a struggling country congregation all in one year. I still have several hundred devoted readers and subscribers that I am thankful for and the site still receives international traffic from all around the world but where can I best put the little time I have to reach the most folks for Christ?

I even thought about starting over with a new website and domain since I am confident that within a month I could beat the traffic this site is now receiving. But I still have a lot of visitors on my Bible Q & A and Bible Study pages so I’m not going to abandon the Answers For The Faith domain. In fact the Q & A page now receives twice the numbers of visitors than the main site. I haven’t really put anything new up on that page for quite awhile but Google still links to the articles there and the traffic has been maintained.

Even my Apologetica website has held up well as has the traffic on Charismatica where I write occasional articles about revival targeting the Charismatic and Pentecostal Christian community. Since it is the main Answers For The Faith page where I write about culture and religion that is having the traffic decline, I can only conclude that it is the topics themselves which have caused the problem.

After much prayer I have decided to continue putting up posts on religion and culture and current issues on the main page but spend more time on Bible Study and Bible Q & A articles than I have been. Bible Q & A and Bible study articles use to be published on the main page until I rolled them off to a separate page. In the future they will receive a link and referral on the main page like Apologetica articles usually do.

So we will keep on keeping on and hope for your continued support and prayers in the Process.               *Top

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-Students Respond to Prayer Ban with Prayer

by Dr. D ~ September 29th, 2017

It was traditional for a student to lead attendees before football games at Smiths Station High School in prayer. An atheist activist group complained and the student lead prayer over the loudspeaker was banned. But the story doesn’t end there, students responded to the ban by praying the Lord’s Prayer together on both sides of the field anyway. Here’s the story from The Blaze:

A complaint letter from the Freedom from Religion Foundation — an atheist activist group — led to a ban on student-led prayer over the loudspeaker before football games at Alabama’s Smiths Station High School.

So, deprived of amplification before the Central High School game last Friday night, defiant students from both sides of the field raised their voices the old-fashioned way — and together recited the Lord’s Prayer during a moment of silence…

<Read the whole article>

Response: There is absolutely no way that students can be stopped from praying whenever they want to at public schools regardless of any ban or any demand from administrators, teachers, or judges .

Here the loudspeaker was taken away but students prayed together in unison anyway. If administrators ruled against verbal prayers students could still link their hands and bow together in silent prayer. If bowing together was outlawed then students could individually still close their eyes and pray anytime regardless. If bowing one’s head in silent prayer was banned, students could still close their eyes and pray. If students were not allowed to close their eyes together, they could still look straight ahead and silently pray.

There is no way that prayer can really be stopped regardless of any official statement or ruling.                  *Top

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