December 29, 2010

Arrogant Atheists Again

The militant atheist wants nothing more than to spoil the believer's spiritual journey.
That's both meanspirited and radically unenlightened.
— S.E. Cupp

Buona sera. It's late, I'm tired and going to make this fast and dirty. A buddy from far away send me this link to an article by atheist S.E. Cupp on the arrogance of atheists. I thought it was interesting and wanted to share it.

Harsh Realities about Abortion

There are some intense images and strong pro-life feelings here, and I hope my pro-life friends will take a look and join the discussion in the comments area. Warning: Link goes to graphic images. Brace yourselves! I agree with the author, Rhomphaia (sometimes I call her Miss Sword) that these are not just an appeal for an emotional response, but rather, are evidence. This is worth getting into, especially since B. Hussein Obama has had his EEOC nominee confirmed, a pro-death abortion activist.

Comments on this post are disabled. I'm trying to encourage you to go to that first link.

December 28, 2010

Evil God of the Old Testament

Buona sera. My father was a pastor. He was not very fond of enthusiastic people forming Bible study groups without some form of leadership or guidance. His response was, "A pooling of ignorance". I saw later that it was true to some extent. When you have people sharing thoughts but nobody has studied the subject or had a study guide, people can arrive at completely wrong ideas through a type of democratic process. (I am not advocating the other extreme, that you cannot understand anything without approved leadership, otherwise we should all become Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses and be told what to think.) Some degree of knowledgeable leadership can help.

The same pooling of ignorance happens in atheist circles. Recently, I have been reminded of the "Old Testament God is evil" mindset. How did they get their ideas? Certainly not through researching or consulting experts, which would be imperative with such a serious claim. Referring to Richard "Daffy" Dawkins, a bad philosopher who is "woefully ill-suited for engaging in real philosophy beyond preaching to an atheist pep rally" won't help. The atheist philosophers seem to be more of a "me, too!" crowd, agreeing with each other's mockery and indulging in self-congratulations.

So, if there are readers who actually want to learn something (and do not have their minds already made up, evidence not withstanding), I have some things that intellectually honest people should examine. They are not huge amounts of reading, I do not want to scare you off with too much material. But if you really want to know the truth about the straw man argument that "the Old Testament God is evil", you should look at them, capice?


No, I do not fully endorse everything in each article. I respect people enough to at least be able to get something useful from them, however. Those ought to hold you for a while.

December 26, 2010

Does Atheism Cause Brain Damage?

For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks,
but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing to be wise, they became fools...
Therefore God gave them over...
— Paul the Apostle

Buon giorno. I hope you had a splendid Christmas.


As I had hoped (and promised later, in some instances) the CARM radio show podcast of "Faith and Reason" was released. My discussion with Rev. Matt Slick is below. We discussed if the moral deterioration of blasphemous atheists also leads to brain damage. Also, we talked about Norman (my pet troll), how modern Internet atheists are similar to Muslims, how they are vitriolic and conniving, dishonest, obstreperous, irrational, about Christians being "haters", and more. The talk (well, he talked and I listened, mostly) is about eight minutes long.



If you read Romans chapter 1, count the number of times that it says, "God gave them over". You want to blaspheme God? OK. He will not fight with you forever.

Addendum: The cowardly Twitter trolls' responses (ie, attacks), the answer to my question appears to be "YES!" These lovers of "reason" and "logic" were posting, in essence, "You're a doo doo head!" and putting words in my mouth. (No, I did not say that infants or animals are born Christian.) People are desperate to mock instead of make an intelligent response. Addendum 2: It may be the other way around, autism influence atheism!

Arrivederci!

December 21, 2010

Hurting at Christmas

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? 
And none of them doth light on the ground, without your father... 
Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
— Matthew 10.29, 31 Tyndale/Coverdale Bible (Modern Spelling)

This should prove to be one of the more unusual approaches to a "Christmas article" that you have read, I'll wager. It will have some pretty raw honesty, and I earnestly hope you'll stay with me.

There have been several teachings I have come across lately that remind us not to forget that the reason for the humble birth in the manger of Bethlehem was the cross at Calvary. I would like to go further and remind us of the glorious end of it all.

The attached video by Petra as excellent lyrics (reproduced below the video). Written while the fear of global nuclear war was still strong, it is emphasizing a point that is as relevant now as it was then: God is in control. He has plans (Revelation 21.1-8), and humans are not going to thwart them. He is the Creator of the universe, you know.

And the Creator of the universe bothered to redeem fallen mankind. Why should he even notice? Psalm 8.4, 103.14. I have heard people say that some things are too small to warrant God's attention, don't even ask. Well, in that vein, even our "big stuff" is nothing to him. But he chooses to care about us!

That's right, our Creator cares about us. He is a holy and righteous God who will punish sin (Revelation 21.8), yet has mercy on fallen, sinful humanity (John 1.12-13, 3.16). God became a man (John 1.14), died on the cross for our sins, rose the third day (1 Cor. 15.3-4, Galatians 2.6) and has big plans for the future of humanity.

Jesus defeated death (1 Cor 15.55-56), and that victory began in the manger in Bethlehem (Micah 5.2). We tend to forget, but we're indirectly acknowledging it every Christmas.

Listen, I have had plenty of sorrows the past couple of years. They have been my own as well as sorrows shared with people I care about. For those of us who have had tragedies, we need to remember that we are celebrating the birth of God in the flesh who defeated death. As I said, he has big plans for the world, but he has plans for you...and me. He loves us (Galatians 2.20), and is with his people every step of the way (Heb. 13.5-6).

Listen to the song. No, it's not "Gospel Music". It's Christian music, and this band has ministered to me many times over the years. They even played a part in my return to Christ.

"He's still got you and me in his hands..."



Words and music by Bob Hartman, from Petra's album "Back to the Street", 1986
Based on Hebrews 1:3, Matthew 20:29, 6:34

Hearts are failing left and right, children fear this planet's plight
Fatalistic fears abound and take their toll without a sound
But through the vague uncertainty - comes a bold assurity
This world is under sovereignty - divinely ordered destiny
He holds this world together with the Word of His power
Safe within His hands - 'till its own appointed hour

(Chorus)
He's still got the whole world in His hands - tonight
And only He knows where the sparrow lands - tonight
And nothing in this world can stop His plans - tonight
'Cause He's still got the whole world in His hands
In His hands tonight

Humanistic lies lament the holocaust is imminent
Doomsday prophets in the news predicting who will light the fuse
The fate of His creation isn't subject to a man
The final consummation is according to His plan

He's still got you - He's still got me in His hands tonight

December 20, 2010

A Few More Persecutions

Buon girono. As much as I dislike interrupting your Christmas festivities, I want to lay out some timely information (cause in part by listening to Crosstalk America). My Christian readers should be made aware of what is happening in the world; we should be informed, lean to deal with situations as well as pray about them. Unbelieving readers... well, I take a bit of  pleasure in showing you that, despite your desire to dismiss and disbelive these things, they are still happening nonetheless.

First, Dr. Gaskell is suing the University of Kentucky because he claims that his faith cost him a job. (You'll be surprised that my reference is the New York Times, even they seem to think that the story has merit.)

Do you want to scream, "Separation of church and state"? OK. Here is the state making it a point to suppress religious expression. The Federal Reserve ordered a bank in Oklahoma to take down crosses, Bible verses and Christmas buttons.

From the "Don't Mess with Muslims" Department:
On the lighter side, and not related to the persecution of Christians, a man in Austria was yodeling while mowing his lawn. His Muslim neighbor took offense, and the man was fined. Note that yodeling is from Austria and neighboring regions. Islam is not.

On a much darker note, yet another "honor killing". Somali girl Nurta Mohamed Farah became a Christian at age 17. Her parents tortured her, she fled and was subsequently shot to death. I hate this "honor killing" business. If someone leaves the Christian faith, sure, other Christians are ashamed or embarrassed, as well as saddened. But we do not kill people to restore our "honor". Listen, Achmed, if you need to kill to restore your honor, you do not have honor worth restoring, capice? 

And the "religion of peace" marches on.

December 16, 2010

March of the Gaystapo

Edited for clarity

Here is an edited version of a letter I received from a homosexual man:
I know you've done some stuff on this recently, and I know this goes on around the world far more than most people would admit. But can you believe this one? I find it difficult to get my head around this in a country with one of the longest Christian traditions. If lefties are looking for oppressed people to defend, Christians should be at the top of the list these days.


And I absolutely despise the type of "activists" quoted in this story. No wonder so many people think of gay people as abnormal when virtually all of the "spokespersons" spout this loony PC crap. Damn it I hate it!
...
But this bigotry against committed Christians is just too damn much. And the excuses, good grief! "If she goes to church every Sunday, it may impact on the amount of child care she can give." Idiotic. They sound like a loving family, yet they're painted as unsuitable just because of their Christianity. What next, are they going to start seizing kids out of their own natural parents' homes, if the family is Christian and the kid starts "questioning" his sexuality? There just aren't enough foster parents to go around if they start down that path. What happened with assessing the needs of a particular child and pairing him or her with a suitable family? What the hell happened to common sense?
Oh, you're surprised that this Conservative Christian has a good friend that is a homosexual? I bet the greater surprise is that he is outraged by the story in the UK that is linked above.

The point of this is that the "gay rights" agenda is
advanced more and more all the time. If Christians want to follow the Bible and say that God doesn't like it, then we are "homophobes", or "gay bashing", or — now get this bit of hysteria — causing them to commit suicide.

There are many instances where Christians are persecuted for simply following their beliefs and the homosexual lobby does not like it. How about the Hamilton Square Baptist Church? There was such a riot when gays (ironic misuse of the name, here) attacked and rioted because they did not like the church's guest speaker from the Traditional Values Coalition. People were assaulted and in fear for their lives — including the children. (Note this contrast: Christians will say that God is not pleased and preach the Gospel. However, Sharia law wants them dead. How about protesting and rioting in a mosque?)

Or how about the "demonstration" by "Bash Back" in Lansing, Michigan? An obscene banner, lesbians making out in the pulpit, condoms being flung about — yeah, that's a great way to get respect for your cause.

Back to Britain: A couple that runs a private hotel with a "married couples only" policy turned away a homosexual couple. They wanted to live up to their principles. So, they were sued.

There are stories of preachers being harassed and even beaten when they speak out at "Gay Pride Parades" (they have courage, I'll give them that). Unfortunately, I could not back up what I had heard. Oh, wait. Here's a story, again from the UK.

I have to point out something here: Catholic cardinal Gustaaf Joos said, "I am prepared to sign here in my blood that of all those who say they are lesbian or gay, at most five to 10 per cent are effectively lesbian or gay. All the rest are sexual perverts." Well...I know some homosexuals that are in committed relationships and act like everyone else. Then there are the "gay pride" parades which have actions that you certainly do not want your children to see by people in the creepiest forms of clothing. Maybe the cardinal was onto something?

In the Huffing Paint Fumes and Smoking Doobies Post, Lee Stranahan asks a very interesting question: Why is it that homosexuals are not defending polyamory? Good question. After all, we're in the process of tearing down traditional values and attacking those who hold to them, yes? What next? How about if you want to marry your dog? Hey, another question for my British readers: How do you feel about prisoners getting time off to celebrate the Lactating Sheep Festival or other pagan "holidays"? Special interests keep cropping up.

So, I am making two points here. First, that Christians are being persecuted for practicing their beliefs. Second, special interest legislation — where does it end?

December 14, 2010

Revisiting a Classic

Buon giorno. I was thinking about neurotic people on the Internet like my pet troll, Norman. (He's the one that claims almost everything I say is a lie, cannot learn from others, is always right and has tantrums when he humiliates himself or is proven wrong.) So, people like that want to mess with me, and I like to use absurdity to illustrate absurdity (to misquote Rush Limbaugh). I am a follower of Jesus. But I do not go for the modern churchianity version of Jesus or their image of Christians being peace, love and grooviness with sappy smiles and letting people constantly kick us around. (Some atheists have that concept of Christians, too.) When people act up in my "presence" online, they may very well get shown that their attacks, lies, abuse of logic &c. are not fooling anyone. When I call them on it, they get angry.

Here is an Internet classic. Some of the material is dated, so just read around it. I removed profanity and made a few tweaks. It's interesting that the author was complaining about neophytes to the Interent, but his own railing was sort of neurotic. (In the author's case, the reality was that non-geeks were getting online and the kingdom of Virgin Geek Males was crumbling to the barbarian invasion.) Note the juvenile complaint about AOL users. AOL and other online services (like Compuserve) made Internet access available and much easier to common people; no need for a Master's Degree in computer science.

Some things are dated, some are still true. If you get whiny online, you are the object of scorn and derision. The more you whine, the more heat you get. It depends on the crowd, of course. Otherwise, you simply (mercifully) get ignored until you have something worthwhile to say, learn how to "play the game" or simply find a playground that shares your interests and personality type. The Internet and Web are much bigger now than when this was written, and there is a place somewhere for just about everyone. Even the Normans of the world.
Welcome to the Internet. No one here likes you.

We're going to offend, insult, abuse, and belittle the living hell out of you. And when you rail against us with "GET LOST YOU YOU GEEK WIMP SKATER GOTH LOSER PUNK!1!!", we smile to ourselves. We laugh at you because you don't get it. Then we turn up the heat, hoping to draw more entertainment from your irrational fuming. We will judge you, and we will find you unworthy. It is a trial by fire, and we won't even think about turning down the flames until you finally understand.

Some of you are smart enough to realize that, when you go online, it's like entering a foreign country ... and you know better than to ignorantly play with the locals. You take the time to listen and think before speaking. You learn, and by learning are gladly welcomed. For some of you, it takes a while, then one day it all dawns on you - you get it, and are welcomed into the fold. Some of you give up, and we breathe a sigh of relief - we didn't want you here anyway.

And some of you just never get it. The offensively clueless have a special place in our hearts - as objects of ridicule. We don't like you, but we do love you. You will get mad. You will tell us to go to hell, and call us "nerds" and "geeks". Don't bother — we already know exactly what we are. And, much like the way rap has co-opted the word "nigger", turning an insult around on itself to become a semi-serious badge of honor, so have we done.

"How dare you! I used to beat the crap out of punks like you in high school/college!"

You may have owned the playing field because you were an athlete. You may have owned the student council because you were more popular. You may have owned the hallways and sidewalks because you were big and intimidating. Well, welcome to our world. Things like athleticism, popularity, and physical prowess mean nothing here. We place no value on them, or what car you drive, the size of your bank account, what you do for a living or where you went to school.

Allow us to introduce you to the concept of a "meritocracy" - the closest thing to a form of self-government we have. In The United Meritocratic nation-states of the Internet, those who can do, rule. Those who wish to rule, learn. Everyone else watches from the stands. You may posses everything in the offline world. We don't care. You come to the Internet penniless, lacking the only thing of real value here: knowledge.

"Who cares? The Internet isn't real anyway!"

This attitude is universally unacceptable. The Internet is real. Real people live behind those handles and screen names. Real machines allow it to exist. It's real enough to change government policy, real enough to feed the world's hungry, and even, for some of us, real enough to earn us a paycheck. Using your own definition, how "real" is your burrito? Your stock portfolio? Your political party? What is the meaning of "real", anyway?

Do I sound arrogant? Sure ... to you. Because you probably don't get it yet.

If you insist on staying, then, at the very least, follow this advice:
  1. No one, ESPECIALLY YOU, will make any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the delicious exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. 
  2. Use your brain before ever putting fingers to keys. 
  3. Do you want a nude picture of you doing unspeakable perversions getting saved to hundreds of thousands of people's hard drives? No? Then don't put your picture on the Internet. We can, will, and probably already HAVE altered it in awful ways. Expect it to show up on an equally offensive website. 
  4. Realize that you are never, EVER going to get that, or any other, offensive web page taken down. Those of us who run those sites LIVE to irritate people like you. Those of us who don't run those sites sometimes visit them just to read the hatemail from fools like you. 
  5. Oh, you say you're going to a lawyer? Be prepared for us to giggle with girlish delight, and for your lawyer to laugh in your face after he explains current copyright and parody law. 
  6. The Web is not the Internet. Stop referring to it that way. 
  7. We have already received the e-mail you are about to forward to us. Shut up. 
  8. Don't reply to spam. You are not going to be "unsubscribed". 
  9. Don't ever use the term "cyberspace". Likewise, you prove yourself a marketing-hype victim if you ever use the term "surfing". 
  10. With one or two notable exceptions, chat rooms will not get you hooked up with a babe. 
  11. It's usually a hoax, not a virus warning. 
  12. The internet is made up of thousands of computers, all connected but owned by different people. Learn how to use your computer before attempting to connect it to someone else's. 
  13. The first person who offers to help you is really just trying to mess with you for entertainment. So is the second. And the third. And me. 
  14. Never insult someone who's been active in any group longer than you have. You may as well paint a target on your back. 
  15. Never get comfortable and arrogant behind your supposed mask of anonymity. Don't be surprised when your name, address, and home phone number get thrown back in your smug face. Some of us will snail-mail you a printed satellite photograph of your house to drive the point home. Realize that you are powerless if this happens, it's all public information, and information is our stock and trade. 
  16. No one thinks you are as cool as you think you are. 
  17. You aren't going to win any argument that you start. 
  18. If you're on AOL, don't worry about anything I've said here. You're already a brining laughing stock, and there's no hope for you. 
  19. If you can't take a joke, immediately sell your computer to someone who can. RIGHT NOW. Angry? It's the TRUTH, not these words, that hurts your feelings. Don't ever even pretend like I've gone and hurt them. We don't like you. We don't want you here. We never will. Save us all the trouble and go away.  
This page is a mirror of the original, posted at Deeplight.Net. It was written by Robert "redpaw" Jung, Webmaster, managing editor, chief techmonkey of Deeplight.
My point in posting this is to remind people that no matter how much we fuss or neurotically demand that the world change its ways to please us, people are still going to do their own thing. It is much better to deal with what is instead of living in the land of should be. Sure, we change what we can when it's possible and plausible. Otherwise, acknowledge that something is instead of should be. It helps the blood pressure, and you are less likely to be consumed by your online opponents, capice? Plus, some people have no sense of humor. Too bad. It helps, really.

December 11, 2010

Persecution Question

Here is some interesting timing. I did my last article about the persecution of Christians in the US military, which was a sort of follow-up to this one. I received an interesting comment on that earlier post from Whateverman (hope you don't mind your name in lights, so to speak):

By all accounts, Christians outnumber other religious demographics in the US. If you're right, and anti-Christian discrimination gets less coverage than that of other groups, wouldn't you think this is at least part of the reason? It's difficult to cry "discrimination!" (and I'm not accusing you of doing so here) when the discriminated group is in the majority.

My response was to the effect that it's not just people who claim to be Christians that receive discrimination or forms of persecution, but those who actively live like followers of Jesus. An interesting coincidence, later today, Ray Comfort posted an article at Atheist Central that also addressed this topic; it could have been an answer instead of my own. Cool, huh? For that one, click here.

Persecution in the Military?

Yes, I am putting a question mark on the title of this one. I would like to hear from you about what I am about to relate. (If you are going to fire off anti-God or anti-Christian venom, you'll just be deleted.) I am especially interested in the opinions of military personnel, past and present.

There was a story I heard about how "the armed forces confiscated the Bibles of soldiers in Afghanistan and burned them". I hate sensationalism, so I had to check it. There is an element of truth to this, but...

In 2009, a soldier received Bibles that were printed in the two most common Afghan languages and, being evangelistically minded, was going to hand them out. Those are the Bibles that were confiscated and burned, even though the story I heard implied that the personal possessions of soldiers were taken away, and that is not the case. The reason these were taken away is that the US military did not want to give the impression that they were there to convert the Muslims. I can understand that, one soldier in an American uniform is essentially representing the military and, ultimately, the United States. 

This is a tough call for Christians. We are called to spread the Gospel (Matthew 28.18-20), but we also have to obey laws. If solders are issued a "gag order" and told that they can never speak of their faith to the Mulsims, then the verse about "obey God rather than man" could very well come into play.

But still...burning the Bibles is all right? That does add fuel to the fire (heh!) for claims of persecution. It seems rather heavy-handed as well.

Any thoughts from you in the military? Or others, of course.

December 9, 2010

Persecution Shuffle

 
Blessed are ye when men hate you, and thrust you out of their company, and rail on you, and abhor your name, as an evil thing, for the son of man's sake.
Rejoice ye then, and be glad: for behold, your reward is great in heaven.
After this manner their fathers entreated the prophets.
(Luke 6:22-23, Tyndale-Coverdale Bible, modern spelling)

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus,
must suffer persecutions.
(2 Timothy 3.12, Tyndale-Coverdale Bible, modern spelling)

Buon giorno. That's right, it's not easy to be a follower of Jesus. You want easy? Be a piece of deadwood and float with the current.

Still waiting for input on text size and colors, gang. Subscribers are stuck, they get what the service sends them. Sorry.

My subscribers, followers and regular readers know that I have been posting articles about the persecution of Christians. The instances to which I refer have been blatant "renounce Jesus" kinds of things, including torture, murder, imprisonment and other harassment. In most of the West, and here in the United States, "persecution" is relative. More often, the persecution is toned down to the level of discrimination.

Unlike what some God-haters may say, I am not one of those people that sees persecution lurking behind every tree or hiding around every corner. Unlike what some God-haters may say, the persecution of Christians does indeed exist. (Note: Other groups experience it as well, but I am doing one of the first rules of writing, and limiting my topic to the persecution of Christians.) In fact, I believe that I am going to give regular reports on this subject in the United States and the West. Just because some people do not like to admit it does not mean it does not exist, capice?

Just a moment.

Now I'm going to switch to a less emotionally-charged word and use "discrimination".

The new FCC Commissioner, Michael Copps, wants to have a test of sorts, or a kind of standard, for the "public value" of every broadcast station.

"Is that discrimination, Cowboy Bob?"

In and of itself, no. However, it is an item of concern because someone's arbitrary and subjective standards of "public value" can be used to heavily influence the airwaves. To me, it sounds like the Fairness Doctrine dug up from its grave, zombified and put into a new suit of clothes. The Fairness Doctrine was targeting Conservative radio, because it was successful and liberal radio was failing because nobody wanted to listen to it. After all, radio is a business and it is market driven.

I am concerned that if the FCC has that power, they can simply decide to shut down stations because they have no "public value", even if the public wants to hear those stations. It is one thing to have community standards (including decency), but it is quite another to have bureaucrats in charge.

Just something to think about.

Something else to think about: Just because I cite Christian sources or use Conservative news sources does not make something untrue. That kind of accusation is outrageously, deliberately stupid. It is also hateful to be slandering good people just because you don't like what is being said. I have come across people who think that if the source is Christian, it's automatically suspect. Do those people listen to themselves? We serve a holy and righteous God who does not tolerate that kind of thing, so it's ridiculous to label Christians as a whole to be habitual liars. (Imagine — we serve a holy and righteous God, so we'll be habitual liars as a group to get you to believe in a holy and righteous God. Like, duh!) If they made the same kind of remarks about an ethnic group, it would be racism. As you can see, that kind of nonsense really grinds my gears; it's an excuse to avoid facts.

Anyway. Here is another item that may or may not be outright discrimination: Touchdown! A high school football player, Ronnie Hastie, in Washington state briefly dropped to one knee and pointed skyward after making a touchdown. The referee gave a fifteen yard penalty. Now, I can understand a penalty for the showboating, gloating, "in your face", time wasting stuff that went on before. But this? Pretty heavy handed. (Want more sources for that one? OK. One, two, three, and this fourth one is from Britain. That outta hold you for a while, Gertrude.) But the player will change "for the team". Does he have the strength of his convictions? Tough call.

I picked two "iffy" examples. The first could easily be used to stifle free speech, affecting Christians and Conservatives most of all. It is not clear-cut discrimination. The second example seems more likely to be discrimination because the penalty call was absurd. Not definite, however.

At any rate, discrimination and persecution of Christians does indeed exist, whether you like it or not. Whether you believe it or not.

December 4, 2010

No Room for Evolutionary Doubters

Buon giorno. I thought I would share an article that I came across that supports my claim that there is no room for doubt when it comes to the religion of evolutionism. I was chasing leads (or "rabbit holes"): An update to a link led me to this article, where a scientist was fired because he did not believe in Papa Darwin's alleged theory. What happened to "follow where the evidence leads", as well as scientists being honest and objective? Ain't got no. Not when it threatens established orthodox evolutionism


After all, evolution is the cornerstone of the atheist religion, and it cannot be questioned. Well, I have to amend that. It's all right to debate or question how it happened, but to have doubts that it happened in the first place. Ha! Pack your bags, Buford.

December 2, 2010

Double Sneakiness

Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it.
— Gilbert K. Chesterton

Buon giorno. No, my title is not talking about sneaky Basement Cat. Instead, I'm talking about a telephone call I received from an almost-victim. Fortunately, she made the right choices and did not get burned. She related her story to me so that I can sound yet another scam warning.

And you know that I like exposing the scammers.

This one reminds me of the XP Antivirus (and similar names) scams. That one gives you a fake pop-up, telling you that you have many viruses while it is scanning your computer. (The last time I saw this, they were using animated gif files to simulate scanning.) Often, the victim downloads the malware because they were tricked into it.

In this case, the target receives a telephone call from someone claiming to represent Microsoft. The scammer (often reported to have an Indian accent) says that Microsoft has detected that the target's computer has many viruses. In this case, she was told to go to the Start button, click on "Run", and type "INF", which accesses the "INF" file. She was then told that all of those files were infected. Sneaky, huh? Nice way to display a number of files, but those belong there. In one of own secure computers, that process shows over 1,500 files. (If I had that many infected files, I would be fortunate to have my computer working at all!) In addition, she was told that their technician was looking at her files while they talked, even though access was not granted. That last trick exploits (but probably inadvertently, I don't want to give the scammers too much credit) the fear of Microsoft and it's amazing power.

From there, she was directed to a couple of sites, one was Log Me In Rescue as well as
piopcsupport.com/us. "Dot Com Slash US?" Now, I have no idea if the actual companies are into doing dishonest sales efforts, but invoking the mighty name of Microsoft would give you a red flag, because rich and powerful MS would not be using an outside site and solicitation. In fact, MS has their own denial of this trick. Here is another discussion on the scam. 

Apparently, they want to gain access to your computer. Then you know what comes next, right, class? Say it all together:


"Personal information!"

Great! Right the first time! My regular readers know that I keep on preaching about almost never giving personal information to strangers, especially when they call you unexpectedly. In this case, the double-whammy is that they called and said there are viruses (reminding me of the "XP Antivirus" trick online), and then have you "see for yourself" that you have said viruses.

It's worth repeating: Do not give out information (or access to your computer). If the call comes from your credit card company, for instance, you call them back and ask if there is a problem; do not give your credit card number to a cold caller, even if it's to a supposed charity like the Secret Policeman's Ball. Capice?

Yes, I do like writing these kinds of articles. Because they get many hits, I'm pretty certain that I'm doing some good.

Here is something ironic: I still sing the praises of the free product, Microsoft Security Essentials. Very highly rated anti-virus and spyware tool. Funny that the scammers were pretending to be from Microsoft, who gives away an excellent product that does what they were selling.

So, class, stay safe and don't be bullied. Stay out of shadows.

December 1, 2010

Picking on the Cat



OK, so the last one is a little off-color. Big deal, it's a cat. A cat that is on my bed! (Ironically, the book you can see at the top right of the picture is by Ray Comfort.) Basement Cat (also called "Pay Pay", but that is not my idea) likes to lay on her back, and is showing off after getting a haircut. Someone told me that laying on the back is a sign of trust, or contentment. I have lived with cats off and on for most of my life and never seen that behavior before this one came along.

So many of my articles come from springboards in my daily experience. Several times, I have marveled at the responsibility that pet owners are accepting. This is a living thing, and it's life is in your hands. (If you drop a domesticated creature off in the wild, so help me...) I had some rats for a while. Their lives were literally in my hands, and they were trusting me not to squeeze too hard or do some other unthinkable thing. "Gentleness" has been defined as "strength under control".

Kids do not know that having a pet is both responsibility and work; Mom and Dad should not be doing the chores that Johnny or Suzie promised to attend. Instead, the kids should be strongly encouraged to learn this responsibility and live up to their promises to "take care of it".

Wow, I went away for a while, huh?

Aside from being struck by their dependence and the responsibility of pet ownership, there is another little thing: Contentment. Sometimes, it all hits me at once when I see that trusting look or get some affection from a creature that is depending on me to meet its needs and keep it safe. It's a nice feeling. God gave us dominion (Gen. 1.26, 28) over the animals, as well as stewardship (Psalm 8.6-9). We are being held responsible to him as well as our own consciences for the care we give them.

November 26, 2010

Getting Into Some Trouble

Buona sera. I still plan on making a Weblog just for Christian material, for and about Christian concerns, but I can't wait.

Yours truly managed to get himself into trouble on "Black Friday". A bit, anyway.

I had decided that I had better take firm steps to practice what I preach. One thing that I preach is that Christians are woefully lacking in their primary purpose, that of sharing the gospel. I have been in Ray Comfort's "School of Biblical Evangelism" for a while, and it has taught me a great deal. In addition, I have learned from his audio and video. I recommend that any real Christian check those out, as well thisthis, and then examine their own convictions about the final destiny of the lost, capice?
So, about practicing what I preach. The Bible teaches that those who die without Christ are on their way to Hell. No Purgatory, no reincarnation, no second chance after death; eternity is settled. Jesus commanded Christians to spread the gospel to everyone. What can lil' ol' me do? I am not exactly cut out for open air preaching. Yet. We'll see where God leads. In the meantime, I can still pass out gospel tracts. My current favorite is the million dollar bill. This time, I selected the "Santa Million". After all, it's a great day to have many people out and about doing their Christmas shopping!

Satan does not want the truth to get out and for people to be removed from his control. I had all sorts of fearful thoughts and anxiety (as well as lazy thoughts), but I put my faith in God where it belongs and pressed on. 

Once I got started, things were going well. I met some Christians (and gave them the name of a song that they had been wondering about) as well as people who were rather rude in their refusal of the tracts. Most were pleased to have such a fun gift.

"Sir, we can't have you doing that in the mall". Two men were standing there, but only one spoke. He continued to inform me that I can put them away and shop, or I can leave. But if I persisted, "We will get the police involved". I was not argumentative in the least. After all, despite popular misconceptions, the mall is not "public property" and they were within their rights to shut me down. Jethro Gibbs Wannabe was irritated when I offered a tract to his partner and him, and said, "If you offer again, we'll put you off the property". I told them that I understood, and that I would leave. Before I left, I told him that he said it very well.

Just between you and me, I get irritated at rent-a-cops at malls that get attitudes. Jethro Gibbs Wannabe was polite enough, but I could tell he detested my very existence. (Sure, I know that's subjective, but you know that feeling, yes?) He was also smart enough (or trained enough) to know that he could not lay a hand on me, because that would be assault, and rent-a-cops do not have that authority. Also, he over-stated a bit by threatening the police. The only reason I'm saying that he over-stated is that I was being polite and co-operative. But this was not a matter of my Constitutional rights being violated, and I knew it. I was there to proclaim the gospel and please the Lord, but my timer ran out.

At any rate, I hope and pray that my politeness (despite being a bit annoyed at his demeanor, which I hid very well) and my co-operation will be a witness for the gospel.

I was disappointed that I only distributed about fifty tracts. On the other hand, I am new at taking direct action to proclaim the gospel to the lost. Better days will come. At other stores and shopping centers. Very soon. I do have Monday off...

November 23, 2010

Almost Inconceivable

Yes, I do know what that word means.

But anyway, I've been mulling over some comments by hardhearted people. One was at Atheist Central. I had made a comment about Christians being persecuted, tortured and murdered by the millions, and that it is still going on today. A loser said (paraphrasing), "Good, they deserve it because of all the wars they caused." Aside from being utterly and totally ridiculous (yes, and stupid, we did establish earlier that some people are, indeed, stupid), it was amazingly heartless. I should not be surprised at this atheist "morality", but still, the suffering and murder of innocent people should not be applauded.

Another thing that grinds my gears is the way people excuse, ignore and basically brush off the persecution of Christians: Other people are persecuted too, it's not happening here &c. Oh, please! My purpose in my articles (here and here) was to raise awareness, especially for other Christians, of what is happening in the rest of the world even today. Sure, other people get persecuted by communists (including their own people); communism is evil and should be eradicated somehow. Besides communists, the other main group that is responsible for this reprehensible activity is the Muslims.

Edit: This just in: Harassment of Christian teachers in Dearborn(istan), Michigan.

The fact is, if someone has a semblance of a heart, they will care about the persecution of Christians in the world. There is only one other group that has a longer history and knowledge of persecution, and that is the Jews.

Let me talk on a strictly secular level for a moment:
First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out   
because I was not a Jew.


Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.


Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.


Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.
— attributed to Martin Niemöller
I'm not all that thrilled with the above quote, but it does help to illustrate a point. When revolutions occurred, the "intellectuals" were imprisoned or executed (look it up yourself, I can't do all of your work for you). Many atheists utterly hate God and Christians, and want us eliminated. Guess what? Muslim extremists hate you as well as me, or anyone else who does not fit their brand of dedication to Islam. Shall I keep going, or are you with me? Good.

Just remember that Christians are standing up for human rights.

Some people say they do not believe in God, they believe in mankind. Well, "mankind" is killing other people for selfish ends. If you were truly a humanist of any kind, or a humanitarian, you would have some compassion for the Christians that are being persecuted and murdered, and not just wave it off. That is simply heartless and selfish, as well as intellectually stunted. And probably religious bigotry mixed in as well.

If any of you who agree with what I said want to link to this the next time you get a "so what" comment, feel free. Show these "humanists" that they are being inconsistent, and we should all pull together.

November 22, 2010

Stupid People

No, Nicky. I'm saying that you should go to The Organ Stop for pizza the next time you're in Mesa. The Wurlitzer organ is a classic — oh, company's here.

Buon giorno. Stupid people get on my nerves. You too, huh? That's not surprising. But — what exactly are "stupid" people?

We all know some people who do inexplicable things that a reasonable person would not say or do. "What did you do that for? That was stupid!" Some people seem to lack simple common sense. But quite often, it's not that cut and dried. Sometimes, there are reasons for what we consider "stupid" things.
  • Uninformed. If someone did not know better, it is unfair to find fault with him. "I've never seen one of those before, and didn't know that it would do that. Sorry."
  • Differences of opinion. You believe this is true, I believe that is true. Disagreement itself does not equal stupidity.
  • Fatigue, stress, medications acting up, distractions. Don't give me that smug look, you know it's happened to you, too. One of my best examples was on September 11, 2001. I was driving and missed my turn. So I went back, tried again, missed it again. Terrorist attacks two hours south of me are quite a distraction. Another thing that comes to mind is my own writing. I have re-read and almost cringed at bad wordings because I wrote at less than optimal times, giving the readers less that they deserve. So, I try to fix some of those.
  • Different understandings. Whether it is culture, upbringing, social conditioning, simple ignorance or whatever, it is often best to define our terms.
  • Just not thinking. Pay attention, Percival. Focus, Frankie.
  • Laziness. Let's face it, some people do not want to be bothered to actually think, but want others to do the work for them. We all have those times, but it should not be a lifestyle.
  • Prejudice and bias. The assumption that people of (insert persuasion here) are stupid in the first place. How can someone of (that persuasion) explain to you about Concepts B through Z, when you say flat out that his Concept A, the foundation of it all, is a lie? Not only is his listener unable to understand the rest of the points, he thinks that the speaker is stupid. The listener probably seems stupid to the speaker as well because of his refusal to try to understand.
  • Anger and hate. No, I am not going to repeat that article. But I have seen many times when people are so obsessed with hate, or become so angry, they "stupidify" themselves. Sometimes, I believe people are being deliberately stupid because they refuse to understand the point that the other person is making, believe that the other person is incapable of making a valid point, or they have their own bias and just don't like what the other person is saying. Similarly, declaring something to be true or untrue does not make it so, no matter how much you may disapprove. Something that is both sad and frustrating is when hateful, biased people agree that they are intelligent and their opponents are the stupid ones.
  • Deceived. Sometimes, it's rooted in hate and people are jumping on a bandwagon. There are some very intelligent people I know that are deceived into hating. They are not stupid, but they are not thinking for themselves.
It's easy to be judgmental because someone does not know what you're talking about. What is it that we do to sabotage our own efforts at being understood, receiving blank stares, wrong replies or just, "Huh?"

I want to add that I do not quite go along with the old adage, "There is no such thing as a stupid question." Yes, I believe that there are stupid questions — under certain conditions. If someone is simply not bothering to think, not paying attention, has already given the answer several times &c. It seems that the most productive thing to do is to make the best of that situation, and perhaps avoid wasting time with that person, or getting into that situation with that person, in the future. Capice?

So, we can mess things up ourselves: 
  • Using "lingo" that is peculiar to our knowledge, experience and occupation. "Jesus is the propitiation for our sins." "The sling lift is malfunctioning." "The trajectory compensated for the apogee of Mars." Sure, this makes sense to your associates, but other people get lost in your terminology.
  • Incompleteness. We expect people to understand us, but we did not lay a foundation for their understanding. It's like opening a book in the middle and trying to understand the story.
  • Great expectations. The dickens of this is that we can assume and expect people to know what we are saying without doing a "check point" to make sure that everyone is on the same wavelength. Bonus: You can demonstrate this yourself by saying or writing something back: "If I understand you correctly, your belief is..." when you're trying to understand someone.
  • Joe Thesaurus. Some people like to put on airs by filling up their sentences with expensive words instead of communicating plainly.
  • Consider your audience. This ties into several points above, I know. When I was in a class on speechifying, I was told to talk as if I had an audience of twelve-year-olds. This helps in many ways. There were times I had to talk to uneducated people in one part of my job, and then report to the business-oriented supervisors on the other end. Speaking plainly helped in both areas. Caution: Do not "dumb down" your words, or act like you are above people and doing them a favor. Instead of communicating, you'll be insulting. "Do you understand this, or shall I say it again slower and use one syllable words?" That example is blatant, but sometimes, we can appear that way to our hearers or readers.
  • Creating an emotional situation. Just try to talk reasonably with an angry crowd. Worse, get people worked up seven ways 'till sundown and then try to make sense to them. There's a difference between stirring up emotions and giving a motivational talk.
  • Bad timing. Sometimes, you should just clam up and wait because now is not a good time.
  • Limited understanding. You try to explain something, but someone does not have the background (and possibly the intellect) to grasp what you are doing. Are they "stupid"? Possibly, but more likely, you are being unfair by expecting too much. Then, you are on the receiving end. Even though you have the superior knowledge, you are considered stupid or even a liar because they cannot (or will not) grasp your point. For instance, God says, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways" (Isaiah 55.8-9). Also, spiritual things are not understood by unbelievers (I Cor. 2.14). So, explaining a deep biblical concept to an unbeliever is usually frustrating because he cannot receive it. Therefore, you are the stupid one for believing in something he cannot understand. Agonizing. It's a good thing that we have Jesus to explain God to us (John 1.18).
In summary, we all have stupid moments. And yes, some people really are stupid. But more often than not, they could be having a "moment", and if you knew what was going on, their "stupidity" would actually be understandable. If someone called you stupid, you would probably bristle and respond, yes? Then try this: Cut them some slack, and think about some of the ways you may have fouled up, even though you fully believe that you are not really stupid. Matthew 7.12.

November 20, 2010

Hate Mail and Comments

Buona sera. Here is something that I am stealing outright. But it's OK, I'm doing it for my critics.

Some of my hate mail (I include comments in this) is, frankly, lame. Yes, I have had a few that had a bit of life to them, and some imagination. Some have been dull, predictable and forged in the feeble minds corrupted by methamphetamine and the fungus on the walls of Mommie's basement. Others have been profane and obscene, so I simply delete them.

Matt Slick of CARM to the rescue! He has created a form letter, a Pick-Your-Insult Page:
Instead of cogent arguments refuting my alleged errors, the responses I usually get amount to nothing more than a barrage of abuses, accusations, and attacks on my character. This is all fine and dandy except that the various insults are often poorly written, not very logical, lack imagination, and are riddled with various grammatical and spelling errors. Sometimes I cringe as I read the diatribes penned in poor writing, so much so that the full impact of the insult is lessened, sometimes even lost. So, in an effort to help the offended find a particularly appropriate and well written retort and put-down, I offer these pre-developed insults for your viewing (insulting) pleasure.
Although he has an apologetics ministry and deals with more subjects than I do (which includes false religions and heresies), it is still very useful. So, I am going to steal it. Well, sort of. Click here, follow the instructions on his page, come back here and leave your insult. No, Norman, you do not e-mail him the insults intended for me, you put them in the comments of this Weblog.

November 19, 2010

Messin' with Kepler

Buona sera. Time for a silly little post after the serious stuff.

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) was a great astronomer, yes? He was also a Christian, and considered science as "thinking God's thoughts after him".

That gets me to wondering about critics. No, not the ones who are paid to give their views on cinema, the arts, books or whatever. I mean the mouthy children who live to criticize others. 

One "critic" in particular claims that his Weblog is "my thoughts". I suggest that perhaps he could take a cue from Kepler, make a rearrangement, can call it, "Thinking Bob's thoughts after him".

Yes, yes I do think I'm funny! Arrivederci.

Loaded Verbal Gun

Buon giorno. I was going to use today for an article on how to give me hate mail, but this tripped my trigger. I have to do a boatload of qualifiers and disclaimers here. This appeared on my Twitter account (a thing I seldom use beyond autoposts), and I cannot reply to it while working. So, I cannot discuss it with the commenter before writing this. If he wants to lay claim to it in the comments section, he is welcome. Otherwise, I am assuming that he wants his privacy. So, today his name is going to be Lincoln Sears. He is an atheist, and I do know his name.

I do not know exactly what Mr. Sears means by his comment, and I am not going to put words in his mouth or assume that I know what he is thinking. (It's only fair, don't you think, Norman? Are you going to say that I faked that comment?) What I am going to do is use it for a springboard.

Wow, enough with the disclaimers and stuff. On to the fun!

I should point out that I have never been able to leave a comment at Answers in Genesis. Sure, I leave one occasionally on their Facebook page, but not their Weblog. It's frustrating, I know. Maybe I'm just missing it, but I've been around Algore's Amazing Internet (thanks to Chris Plante for that term) for a while now.

What got my attention, however, was Mr. Sears' use of the phrase "reasoned response". What comes to mind is a kind of "poisoning the well" fallacy by using loaded language, because the way it is used brings a couple of things to mind. First, that "religious" people are not rational or reasonable. Second, that only atheists are rational or reasonable. Never mind that some of the greatest minds in history have been "believers", I think they would be offended by being automatically excluded from the Thinking Humans Club.

By the way, Mr. Lincoln Sears could have used something outright inflammatory, which I also consider an attempt to poison the well with loaded terms. In my last post on persecution, a jerk called a Christian radio show and said that Christians who died for their beliefs were stupid because they were not rational, and they believe in "fairy tales". Someone who uses a term like "fairy tales" is accomplishing several things: Provoking an emotional response, showing his ignorance of the Bible by dismissing the entire thing, and he is showing that he is unwilling to engage in reasonable discussion.

How about if people asked the American Humanist Association for a rational approach by dropping their provocative antics? Sounds reasonable to me.

Mr Sears, hope I did not rile you, I gave all the disclaimers that I could think of. Feel free to leave a comment, or contact me if you want to remain anonymous.

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