where religion and politics meet

Everyone has a worldview. A worldview is what one believes about life: what is true, what is false, what is right, what is wrong, what are the rules, are there any rules, what is the meaning of life, what is important, what is not.

If a worldview includes a god/God, it is called a religion. If a bunch of people have the same religion, they give it a name.

Countries also have a worldview, a way of looking at life that directs government policies and laws and that contributes significantly to the culture. Ours used to be Christianity. Now it is secularism, which is practical atheism.

Some of us are trying to engage the government, the culture, and the people who live here to see life again from a Christian perspective and to show how secularism is both inadequate and just plain wrong.

A religion is not a culture, though it creates one. It is not what you prefer, like your taste in music or your favorite movie. It is what you believe to be true. Because it deals with things like God, much of its contents is not subject to the scientific method, but the reasons why one chooses to believe in God or a particular religion certainly demand serious investigation and critical thinking.

Every human being has the duty to search for and learn the truth about life. Education and science used to be valuable tools in this search, but science has chosen to answer the foundational questions without accepting the possibility of any supernatural causes, and education no longer considers the search to be necessary or worthwhile.

poligion: 1) the proper synthesis of religion and politics 2) the realization, belief, or position that politics and religion cannot be separated or compartmentalized, that a person’s religion invariably affects one’s political decisions and that political decisions invariably stem from one’s worldview, which is what a religion is.

Visit my other websites theimportanceofhealing blogspot.com where I talk about healing and my book of the same name and LarrysBibleStudies.blogspot.com where I am posting all my other Bible studies.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A note to visitors of this site

I have a health care crisis at my house.  (Not me.)  I will not be doing as much writing and I won't be following up on comments at this time.  I am already very, very tired, and it’s only been a day.  I have maybe 60-70 comments from this and some other sites that I was hoping to response to, but these are all going to have to wait as well.  I will keep them in my inbox, but I don’t know when I will be able to get to them.  I am very sorry.  This could be a while.

Please be sure to look at the older posts as well.  I  think there is  a lot of good stuff there as well.

Thank you.

The nine impossible miracles of evolution

Before I talk about the nine impossible miracles of evolution, I need to explain a few things first.
The first is what I mean by an impossible miracle. 
We use the word ‘impossible’ in several different ways.  We can use it to describer something that just isn’t going to happen, like the Cubs winning the World Series.  Or often we talk of something being physically impossible, like lifting a car over your head or being able to jump over a house.
But with regard to evolution, we run into something else.  Say I flip a coin.  I can get heads, I can get tails.  The odds are 50/50, or 1 in 2.  But if I flip it again, the odds of getting the same thing is half, or 1 in 4.  If I try for 3 heads in a row, the odds become 1 in 8. 
But what if I wanted to get heads, say, a thousand times in a row.  The calculator I used just used the word infinity.  That would be like painting a grain of sand black, dropping it on a beach anywhere in the world and asking a blind man to pick it up on the first try.
But every time I flip that coin, the odds of getting a heads or a tail is always 50/50, so theoretically it is possible to get heads a thousand times in a row.
Now evolution does something just like this. 
Evolution, or science, assumes that everything that exists came about through natural causes.  It then tries to figure out what would need to happen for the world and life as we know it to happen.  And then they conclude that it happened just as they said, because, well, we are here, the world is here, and that’s the only way it could have happened.   
So evolution depends on millions of chance events to take place in a certain order on the order of getting heads a thousand times in a row.  Don’t forget, evolution doesn’t work with a blank screen.  It doesn’t get to erase mistakes.  They stay there.

But, again, they assume from the start that all these events happened on their own, without the action of a God, so their account of what happened is considered proven true, because there is no other way that they would acknowledge that it did happen.

The second matter that I need to mention is that I do something here that evolutionists strongly object to.  They make a distinction between the origin of life and the development of life after that.  I have considered them together under the word ‘evolution’ for two reasons. 

One, I am not sure there is a consensus on what the minimum criteria are for what constitutes life.  So I believe what some scientists call an origin of life issue, another would consider as evolution.  And, secondly, I believe that any non-scientist would see both issues as really one: did a God create and shape all of life, or did it all just happen on its own.

So I ask any evolutionist to bear with me as I try to look at the bigger picture of how we got to where we are.

The first impossible miracle is how life started in the first place.  The human body, for example, is made up of things like carbon, water, which is hydrogen and oxygen, (put the three together and you get sugar), nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, chlorine, sodium, and magnesium.  The simplest life forms would need at least the carbon and the water. 
Carbon is perhaps the easiest atom to bind with other atoms, but the carbon molecules found in living cells are really unusual, actually unique.  They are joined together in ways that they would not join if left to themselves.  It’s like somebody made them fit. 

Frankly, I don’t see how life could have formed by itself in the first place.  How did carbon and water and whatever else join together to form life?  And is life just certain molecular formations?  What would animate carbon and water molecules to move and reproduce itself?

But let’s suppose lightning struck a piece of wet dirt, and it came to life (the first miracle).   There would need to be a second miracle immediately after.  Unless this living thing were able to metabolize energy, it would die within seconds.  So this lighting would have to strike again immediately and form a metabolic system.

But another miracle is needed very soon after.  Unless this thing could replicate itself, it would disappear from history, and life would end.  We know today that this requires things like DNA or RNA, a written code that makes up the blueprint for the current and future life forms.  We know that these things are not as simple as flipping a switch. 

According to the principles of evolution, these would have to evolve through random, small changes, but you need a complete reproductive system very, very quickly.  How long

The models I have read of what these earliest life forms must have been like just don’t seem like actual living things.  They divide like raindrops and acquire bulk by osmosis rather than assimilation. 

The fourth miracle is again DNA.  The third miracle is the fact of having DNA developing so quickly, but think for a minute what DNA actually is. 

First it is like an artist’s rendering describing what this living thing is going to look like.  Then it is like the blueprints of your house, giving the dimensions of every room and the location and sizes of all the doors and windows.  And thirdly, DNA is like the instruction manual telling you to first insert part A into part B, guiding the entire growth process so everything takes place in the right order at the right time.   Like a general contractor who who builds the frame of the house before he calls in the electricians and plumbers.

And this was all supposed to have happened without outside intervention, strictly on its own.

There is another impossible miracle with regard to reproduction.  You can go anywhere in the world and this reproduction system works with any other human being.  The existence of races shows how long these different branches of humans developed separately from each other, yet they have all ‘developed’ like they were all from the same playbook.

Then the sixth impossible miracle, which to me is the ‘most impossible.’  Sex.  Up to this point, every living thing could reproduce itself by itself.  Now we are asked to believe that these living things, strictly by accident, random mutations, essentially divided themselves into two camps, each developing a complementary reproductive system over maybe a million years, a system that was not needed, and which eventually replaced the system of self-reproduction. 

So which is it?  Did all the living things in the world through random mutations develop these complementary reproductive systems or was it just one line of them, like an Adam and Eve of evolution, two individual organisms that randomly developed these systems.

And think what these systems had to encompass.  Not only were these physically complementary systems, they had to divide up the reproductive functions, creating eggs and sperm that would unite to form the DNA of the new being.  Not only that, after these organisms developed these complementary systems over thousands, millions of years, they had to create something that would prompt these separate organisms to join together to create new life.

When the time came for all this to take place, these organisms had to be in close enough proximity to each other to engage in a new act, and, again, all the necessary codes of information to an offspring were written, again separately yet forming one coherent new code when joined.  Again, by chance, random actions.

The seventh impossible miracle is the human body.  The human body is the most complex, sophisticated thing in the world, and we are supposed to believe that this is the result of random, chance changes.  We are supposed to believe that eyes, brains, a neurological system are all the products of mindless events, which is contrary to everything we know about life.  If you went to the moon and found a computer there, or even something as simple as a table and chair, you would say that someone had been there.  You would not say that these things evolved by chance over millions of years.  Yet this is the essential premise of evolution.  Like finding a Michaelangelo painting in the ground and asserting that this formed naturally by nature without any human involvement.

I can understand the idea of design with regard to the world not being evident to everyone, so I suggest intelligence as the more fitting word.   

Scientists who have been studying DNA have been paying attention to these mutations.  Most mutations are either neutral or harmful, harmful enough that the accumulation of them has enabled scientists to determine an upper limit on how long the human species could have been in existence.  And it is a lot shorter than the time frame commonly accepted by evolutionists.

Evolution is about the survival of the fittest.  Those organisms or attributes that are best suited to the environment survive, while those less fit do not.  Yet evolution says that organisms spend millions (?) of years developing organs and things they didn’t need, like eyes, brains, hearts, lungs.  These wouldn’t have spontaneously appeared in a generation but would have taken thousands of generations to gradually form, yet these would all have been useless features until they were fully developed, so why would these traits have survived until they were?

The eighth impossible miracle.  As evolution would have it, it would seem to me that humans are a product of chemical reactions, and these would govern the actions of the being.  But humans have thoughts.  Are thoughts just a response to a chemical reaction?  How would my thoughts in response to your thoughts be caused by chemicals?  There is no physical interaction.  I hear or see words, and my mind chooses how to respond.  It is not instinctive; it’s deliberate.  It can go either way.  I can choose how to respond. 
There is a self that can think and choose a course of action based on reason and not on chemical impulses, and this is separate from any physical processes.  So a human being is not simply the sum of all the chemical parts.  There is something more that nature can neither explain nor provide: a soul.

The ninth impossible miracle of evolution is that after millions of years and billions of people, animals (is there a difference?), everything looks like it’s done.  You don’t evolve hearts and brains and lungs in one generation through one mutation.  It takes thousands of mutations over thousands of generations, yet you look around the world and every thing looks finished.  You don’t see any living thing in the middle of developing a new organ or limb or body part. 

Evolution is based on the idea that there is nobody overlooking this process.  Change happens by accident, and those organisms that live long enough to reproduce reproduce what they have. 

Evolutionists act as if every living thing is living in some small room, so that the gene pool keeps mixing evenly.  But that’s not what we see in the world.  You have life on different continents that would be on separate evolutionary programs, yet you can go to the remotest parts of the world and find human beings with the exact features, abilities and compatible reproduction.  Sure, people have always traveled, but there is not and never has been the kind of interaction that would put everybody in the world on the same page evolutionally.

If you want to believe in evolution, go ahead, but please, just don’t call it science.  It may be science as science is commonly understood by scientists, but that is not the way everybody else thinks of it. 
Everybody else thinks that when you say science says something, that means that it has been proven.  But you didn’t prove evolution.  You assumed it.

You assumed it because you didn’t like the alternative.

Either God created the world and life as we know it, or everything came about on its own.  You didn’t want to think that God created all this, so you chose to believe it all happened on its own.  You figured out a step by step process that would have achieved the same results, and then you say that is what happened, because that is the only way it could have happened, apart from a God which you reject.

So because of these nine impossible miracles, I cannot accept the idea that all of life and the world as we know it is the result of mindless, random events.  There is a God who made all this. 
Evolution is about a lot more than just trying to explain how we all got here.   It figures a lot in the question of whether there is a God. Our society has been trying to act like God is unimportant or just trying to keep everybody busy enough that they don’t even think to ask the question.
But if evolution is based less on fact and more on wishing it were true, then people are confronted with the idea that there might really be a God, and that would change everything.
When I realized that I believed in God, I realized also that the most important thing in life is to know this God and to serve Him.  Everything else is just temporary.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

President Obama and ISIS

A reader (Sept. 11) can’t wait to watch Republicans as they respond to President Obama’s plans with regard to ISIS.  I am only a Republican by default (Most elections are rigged against third party candidates.), but perhaps I can give this reader some amusement with my response to Obama’s actions.
1)         First of all, he is about two months too late.  The best time to have confronted ISIS was when they were expanding their area of conquest.  Then they were on the move in large groups away from any civilians.  Now they are embedded in civilian populations where you would need ground troops to combat them with very high casualties, both on our side and civilians.
2)         The land that ISIS now controls in Iraq is territory that our troops spent months securing at a very high cost.  We watched and did nothing while ISIS went from town to town taking control.
3)         The President is going to rely on troops from other countries to do the hard work, countries that don’t feel the threat as greatly as we do.  Will they stick it out when their casualties mount?  Will we compel them to use the same rules of engagement that we did that cost our troops so many lives and wounded?
4)         The President is relying on training soldiers of another country to fight a war we are not really sure they want to fight.  It didn’t work in Viet Nam; it didn’t work in Afghanistan, and it didn’t work before in Iraq.  Why should we expect a different or better result now?
5)         Why in the world would the President announce to the world that he is going to bomb ISIS targets in Syria?  He should have had a major onslaught like we had at the beginning of the war in Iraq, and then tell us what he did.  Never tell your enemy what you are planning to do.  Do it, and then tell everybody what you did.  Be sure that many targets will now be off limits as civilians are moved closer to the people we want to eliminate.
6)         Have you seen the videos of the bomb strikes against ISIS?  A hundred and 51 air strikes probably killing a total of 200 militants.  I get the impression he is more interested in looking like he is doing something rather than actually doing something.
7)         Now that everybody knows our plans, watch for any ground troops sent into ISIS territory to encounter IEDs and booby traps, just like our troops did, at very great cost.  In war, you don’t want to give your enemy time to prepare for what you are going to do. 
8)         Speaking of enemy, I would like to see Congress declare war for once.  They haven’t done that since World War 2.  What’s the difference?  Simply, we will try harder if it is a real war and not just counterterrorism tactics.
9)         The President is catching a lot of heat apparently because he said that ISIS is not Islamic.  If ISIS is simply a group of radicals who hijacked a peaceful religion, why are there so many other groups of radicals all across the world doing the same thing?  What is it that makes so many people and groups of people think that this is the way it is supposed to be?  Is there any Muslim country in the world that became Muslim without the use of force? 
We are now seeing millions of Muslims moving into Europe thanks to an open door immigration policy.  Interestingly, as their numbers grow, so does the tension between them and the native Europeans as they seek to make Europe more Muslim.  A moderate Muslim is a Muslim who is a very small minority in a non-Muslim country.  While those individual moderates may not become militant as the number of Muslims increases, the presence of militants will increase.  There is no way to differentiate between them when they immigrate.  It may be generous to say that one in ten Muslims is a radical, but when we have 3 million Muslims in our country, that is 300,000 radicals.  
10)        Attacking ISIS when they were on the move could have decimated them.  Now he is expecting and planning on a war that will last longer than his presidency.  There will be groups of Islamists that will need to be faced constantly in the years ahead.  He talks resolve, but I think he was more accurate when he spoke of trying to make them “a manageable problem.”

Illegal immigration and American jobs

Facebook post re: the question of whether illegal immigrants are taking American jobs

We have the highest unemployment in our country since probably the Great Depression.  The government numbers don’t count the people who gave up looking for a job.  If anything, we need a moratorium on almost all immigration, unless a person has skills for jobs that are hard to fill.
Our country is 18 trillion dollars in debt, most of it is due to government assistance programs where now I think more people receive money from the government than people who actually work fulltime.  Now is not the time to qualify millions more people to receive government assistance.
I have worked in retail my whole life.  The work force has changed from 99% white to 60-70% Hispanic.  These are union jobs.  Years ago, you could stock grocery shelves fulltime and support your family.  Now you can’t.  Why?  The presence of companies and people who will work without unions and for less money and benefits.  All the stores used to be union, now maybe have.  The non-union competition forces the union jobs to constantly lower pay and benefits.

Americans expect jobs with benefits like health insurance.  They know it’s too expensive buying it separately.  Jobs used to provide insurance.  If people will work without them, companies won’t offer it.  If they can’t get workers, what happens?  Workers become more valuable to them, and they pay more or use benefits to attract the best workers.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Solving Public Problems with Government Programs

I agree with your editorial that our country has a lot of serious problems.  But I believe there is an elephant in the room that we have been told over and over again to ignore.
And because we ignore the elephant, we rely more and more on programs and government spending to solve problems which the elephant is quite good at solving without all the public expense, which by the way we can no longer afford.
The elephant is the two parent family, fathers and mothers raising their children together.  80% of black children are born to single parents, and single parenthood is the single most important factor in a child growing up in poverty.  Children in single parent households get in trouble more often and do worse in school more often as well.
We see the value of mentoring programs, but that is just substitute fathering.
All the answers that people put forward to solving race problems, school problems, crime problems, poverty problems involve spending money.  The city is broke; the state is broke; the federal government is broke.

We have tried to run our country without the benefit of religion, and what we end up with are the same problems, more of them, and a bankrupt country along with them.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Why the residents of Illinois should be outraged

The Sun-Times ran an article Thursday (August 21) which should outrage every person living in Illinois, not so much for what it said but what it means.

Very briefly, the article told of criminal and other legal but still wrong actions with the intent of eliminating any other candidates in the governor’s race but Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner. 

As an Illinois resident, the powers that be only want you to have two choices for governor.  You don’t like Pat Quinn, a member of the political party that has bankrupted the state, then vote for Bruce Rauner, a newcomer that most people wish they knew more about.  You don’t trust Rauner or don’t like him, because he is super-rich, then you have Pat Quinn, who we all know very well.  And we all know that he will continue to drive the state deeper into insolvency.  He has already promised new government programs that we can’t afford but that we ‘really need’ like universal preschool.

The problem with most elections in Illinois is that the more people who run for an office, the less votes a person needs to win the election.  If there were a third party candidate for governor, the winner would only need 34% of the vote, or just a bit more than one out of three.  No one should win an election who doesn’t get a majority of the votes.  The Presidential election is an obvious exception, because it is the states who elect the President and not individuals, but the principle should apply to each of the states.  A third party candidate should not split the vote in a state and allow somebody to win who didn’t receive a majority of the vote.

Our lawmakers are supposed to look out for the people, but this system was clearly allowed or introduced, because a third party candidate was seen as only taking votes from one party so that the other party would have an easy win, thus robbing the people, you and me, of a true democracy.

The fact is we should have more than two choices for governor and any other office in the state.  If any one candidate doesn’t receive a majority of the vote, then we need a runoff election.  That’s expensive, so then we need to be able to vote in a way that allows second choices to be tabulated the first time, like having first and second choices on our ballots.

Not only is our political system broken, but the way we are supposed to fix the system (elections) is broken as well.

The irony of Jackie Robinson West

I don’t know how many Sun-Times readers saw the irony in Sunday’s (August 24) paper.  On the left side of the open paper was an editorial about a black inner city Little League team competing for the world championship.  On the right side of this open paper was a lengthy letter strongly advocating that we let everybody know that Chicago Public School minority students cannot and should not be expected to compete for jobs in the real world.  They need and should have government assistance in getting a job.  And the mayor of Chicago is a big proponent of this.
Perhaps we should have insisted that Jackie Robinson West be spotted runs in their games, because we shouldn’t expect that inner city minority kids can compete on equal footing with everybody else.
We condemn political hiring, because we insist that these are not the best people for the jobs, yet we are to embrace the city hiring less qualified minority applicants because it is for a good cause.  If I were a politician, I think hiring an out-of-work relative is a good cause, and this is essentially the same thing.
We need to hire the best people for the job, any job, and stop paying so much attention to a person’s skin color.  We say we are helping them, but we are demeaning them.

We do a disservice to people when we tell them they can’t get a good job without the government helping them, and it doesn’t inspire confidence in the people who are hired when it is perceived that they only got the job because of their minority status.