Our National Scorecard

Nations rise and fall. The fall is inevitable because people build nations, and, broken human nature always breaks out of whatever society has built to contain it.

Here in America we tried something new. We tried letting each individual build his own cage for his own sin. We assumed he would accomplish this with the assistance of Almighty God, so it seemed doable. We also built a cage for government, knowing that it, also being built of humans with tragic flaws, would need containing.

Only one other nation ever came close to a governmental arrangement that worked – ancient Israel. Instead of the Constitution, Israel had the Mosaic Law in which is contained the Ten Commandments – a list of behaviors that will make or break a nation. These were not, as many think, rules to follow in order to get into heaven, but rules each citizen needed to live by to make the new nation function. When the Hebrews followed those laws, they prospered and they had no need of a king.

In spite of what our president, and leftist college professors claim, America was founded with those same laws in mind, those laws and the clear understanding that a nation of people who followed them willingly would need very little government. This was true of ancient Israel; for nearly 400 years they were kingless.

We in America have been at this for only 239 years and it seems many Americans already want a king. This is frightening at many levels. In less than a hundred years after the 3rd Israeli king – Solomon – there was a civil war that split the country. Only 200 years after that the Northern Kingdom was destroyed by Assyria and after another 200 years the Babylonians decimated Judah.

The Law, it seems, was an experiment of sorts – a way God could demonstrate humanity’s need for salvation. A perfect law given to a brand new perfect nation should have lasted forever, right? Wrong.

Then, roughly 1800 years later another new nation comes on the scene, a new nation with a fresh way to apply those commandments – a way to allow men to follow their biblically informed consciences, their divine gifts. This new nation attempted to head off at the pass the mistakes Israel made; there would be no king, but only if the nation can continue with the Law God had provided over 3,000 years before and chief amongst those laws was the first, “You shall have no other gods before me.”

How are we doing on that one? A quick perusal of the other nine commandments is not real reassuring – we worship another god – our government, and we rely on it;  a third of us depend on it for our very existence. We swear on the name of God without even giving it a thought, without even believing that He exists. We no longer honor our parents. We kill – even our babies and then part them out like they’re stolen cars. We commit adultery and fornication and even honor it in our drama, our “literature,” our music. We steal, cheat and lie, thinking that the end justifies these spurious means. We covet --  hate the successful, and envy the rich. We’re not doing well. It feels, in human terms, like we’re about to lose the game. Let’s take score:

Iran is out to kill us and we just arranged a treaty that allows them to do that. ISIS is also after us. Ditto the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and the Palestinians..  Just this week another jihadi stormed through Chattanooga killing 5 military men and no official will say that act is connected to militant Islam. We can’t even name our enemies, let alone confront them. Add to that the Genesis 12 promise to Abraham “I will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you” and the fact that it has been carried out over and over for the last 4500 years. And we have a president that has kicked Israel in the shins for the last 5 and half years. This whole mess earns us a -500 points.

We are trying to operate a democratic nation filled with two generations that have been badly educated by parents, schools and churches. Relatively few people in this country are biblically literate. Very few know anything accurate about the past, rendering them incapable of thinking intelligently about the future. And way too many of us had to raise ourselves, and neither know nor care how a decent person should behave. Another -500 points.

Connected to the latter is the condition we’re in morally. Even the Supreme Court plays fast and loose with age-old moral prohibitions, mandating gay marriage (a 1st class oxymoron). The acceptance of the inherently promiscuous homosexuality removes all other sexual mores and without those there is no family and without family, no society. The willingness of mothers to sacrifice their children to the god of sex is not much different from the ancient phallic cult practices. We’ve lost nearly 60 million babies this way since we okayed abortion in 1973.  That alone has to be worth another -500 points.

How are we doing financially? Our national debt equals our gross national product. Over a third of the population is out of work, 49 million on food stamps, even more people underemployed, and the Fed has been manipulating the stock market by filling it full of phony dollars. No one in Congress seems particularly interested in stopping the bleeding and the executive branch keeps poking new holes. Another -500.

This is to say nothing about the Constitution being in tatters, the military and police being under constant attack, and Christians becoming targets of lawsuits and general vilification, not to mention the other divisions in this country – poor vs. rich, black vs. white, left vs. right. Our president never stops stirring up divisive crises, nor will he even consider closing our borders. We have borders?  Who knew?  Another -500 on the chart.

So, are we dead? No. Not yet. We have a lot going for us. The Constitution still exists; it just needs dusting off. The Israelites at one point had annual public readings of the Law; maybe we should do that with the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. +500. We still have Bibles and most of us can read them, if we will. +500.

We could disband many of the federal agencies and the millions of regulations those agencies have used to tangle business and stifle the economy, and all sorts of amazing things would happen. Business would thrive, people would have jobs, get off welfare, pay taxes with which we would pay off the debt. +500

This would inspire the astounding ability of Americans to produce more and more innovations, which would bring in even more profit and therefore taxes. And, thanks to fracking, we have enough energy to accomplish anything we want to do. +500

How do we solve the education problem? We get government out of the school business and we get rid of the unions. If we open up school choice, educational problems will solve themselves through innovation and competition. Science is helping now, too. More and more, science is discovering the validity of the biblical worldview. Science no longer playing for the other side. +500

We finally have methods of spreading truth – now, when truth is being badly maligned, we can fight back. Radio and television have proved their ability to disseminate valid information. We can all take part via the Internet. Christians are even making inroads on Hollywood turf.  We wouldn’t be under attack if we weren’t making a difference. +500.

But what about our moral morass and our divisiveness? What about our families? What about our lame churches? That goes to the heart of it all. “Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.” Jeremiah (26:13) said this to the Israelites 39 years before the Babylonians descended upon Jerusalem and hauled the Jews back to Babylon. During part of this time Judah was under the reign of Josiah, who instituted many reforms and attempted to bring Israel back to God and His Law, but it didn’t last, didn’t “take.”

The question is, is America another one of God’s national demonstrations? Are we going to prove again that man cannot choose the right way even when he’s been given everything needed to succeed? Or, are we going to heed His warning, revive our faith and climb out of this hole?

America has been through several very effective revivals – the Great Awakening in the mid-1700’s, the Second Awakening in the early 1800’s, and another right before the Civil War. Each time the nation took a huge surge forward. It can happen again. We are neck-and-neck down this stretch of history. God has provided the people, the energy, the ideas, the Bibles, -- everything we need to make America greater than it has ever been. But our attitude toward Almighty God is the key factor; either we change our national mind about God, and about Christ, or we go the way of every nation that has ever fallen – we won’t be a cut above; we’ll be exactly where Assyria is today, where Babylon is, where Rome has been and soon will be again.

We listen to the news and despair, but we need not. “Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matt 19:26) And the writer of Chronicles records God saying, “If my people, who are called by my name, humble themselves and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)



Reality and Faith

In the beginning...

In the beginning...

The Navy has a useful slogan, “Never assume a God-damned thing.” It’s hard to imagine how efficiently things would run if we all followed that motto, how little confusion would beset us, yet we habitually take off half-cocked on assumptions we barely examine. What if the world were really a much different thing? What if what we think we see here is really that pair of silhouetted faces and not a vase at all? That isn’t just a question for 10-year-olds to play with. Trust me for a few minutes here ---

First we must examine how it is that we learn things. Go back in your memory to some of the first knowledge you acquired. How did you know that the furry critter ripping the upholstery off the couch was a cat? How did you learn that 7 came right after 6, or that B always followed A? Did you run an experiment? Did you ask the cat what she was? No. Your mother told you – right? And what did you do? You believed her. You had faith in the veracity of the information she provided.

You see, a human brain assimilates information in 3 ways:
    Empiricism – we run experiments, we observe, we rerun the experiments, we observe some more – science claims empiricism as its modus operandi.
    Rationalism – we add 2 and 2 together; we use logic to combine several pieces of information in order to arrive at a new conclusion – philosophers and mathematicians are experts at this.
    Faith – someone tells us something is true and we believe it. We’re all good at that.

But, faith has been taking a beating for the last 150 years, as if nothing we truly know about our universe could possibly be handed down to us from the past, as if we can only gain knowledge from science and science is never wrong, as if faith were some exercise of wild imagination, and not the simple, solid, reliable method of learning that it is. If every single thing we know must first be scientifically proven or sanctioned by the philosophy department of an Ivy League school then we’ll be mentally paralyzed. In fact that paralysis has already come to pass.

I have long ago chosen to believe, and admit I believe. I can’t believe everything, of course, and sometimes I fail to recognize fabrications, so, I, too, look for evidence, look for rational arguments, but I start with the acknowledgement that my senses can’t cover it all, that my brain can’t, on its own, reach the power beyond the stars.

Our five senses, the basis for empirical thinking, are extremely limited. All around, and in us, events occur which we can neither see, feel, hear, smell, nor taste.  I can’t on my own watch the astounding little machines that chug away in my cells. I can’t smell much of anything compared to what my dachshund can smell. Only part of the color spectrum is visible, and a very limited range of sound registers in my brain, which also fails to acknowledge that we are hurling through space, spinning round and round at alarming speed.

How then are we to be the arbiters of what is and is not possible? How is it then that we demand “proof” of the supernatural? How is it that we can even know what is supernatural? What can men in lab coats prove that will explain the “ghost in the machine?”

Science is finally outpacing Darwin’s brief, though destructive, spasm of assumptions. We can now “see” that our cells are not just blobs of protoplasm, but complex, orderly, highly active, miniature cities. They are made up carefully sequenced, precisely folded proteins, each with its own designated function – not the random mush of molecules Darwin imagined. We can witness the breathtaking design of a hummingbird tongue, or a butterfly’s metamorphosis – and we still can’t figure out how that works, but it certainly couldn’t have come about accidently.

Quantum physics is now questioning the very solidity of existence, so perhaps our assumption that matter is impermeable, that we can’t walk through walls, is just another conclusion we’ve jumped to.

I have chosen to believe because to do so leaves me more open to possibilities. To believe is to no longer be limited by our inadequate senses. But then, you might ask, what do you use as nonsense filters? Surely there’s some standard you use to determine reality, to discern between what is and what is merely imagined…

Yes, thank God, there is. At some point in time we all come up against a Bible, an audacious book, which claims to be the very words of God, the Creator of the Universe, the Setter of All Standards. And when it presents itself to us, we must choose whether or not to believe what it says, just as we have always chosen whether or not to believe what is presented to us.

The Book is a challenge – it presents all sorts of disturbing stories, disturbing because the characters do such outlandish and disquieting things, and because such shocking things are done to them. What’s with poor Jonah being swallowed by a whale? Or Lot’s daughters seducing their father? Or Jesus of Nazareth, a generally harmless man, being crucified? Some of the events seem pretty extreme – the plagues in Egypt, the walls of Jericho, the slaughter of the priests of Baal. It also presents us with astonishingly un-scientific occurrences – a talking, burning bush, a sea that opens to let people pass, a rock that spouts water on command, a man who rises from a horrid death.

It introduces us to astounding beings of light – angels, who are terrifying in their size and brilliance, to demons (angels gone awry) who seem to have a whole hideous hierarchy of their own. The Book weaves through thousands of years of history, sometimes lining up with what mere mortals think they know about the past, and sometimes not. Though, more and more, science is finding itself in line with these ancient scriptures, those same writings still bring us face-to-face with talking donkeys and stars we can’t account for.

So why believe it? Because it nails human nature. Because it explains far more than it confuses. Because we all crave purpose, appear to be designed to need a reason for our existence, and this Book answers that eternal question, most importantly, it does so in concrete terms, not in vague New Age fluff.

I don’t believe the Bible in the sense of some mystical, touch-it-and-I’ll-be-holy way. I don’t believe it in a completely literal sense either; some phrases are clearly figurative. Jesus is not literally a lamb, but He is the embodiment of the Jewish sacrificial lambs who were, in their own time, symbols of the Messiah and the crucifixion to come. But I do believe that if we treat the Book as the miracle it is, as more real than what our feeble senses appear to be telling us, as filled with more reliable information than our pop culture and questionable college degrees provide us, we can become wise.

We modern, 21st century humans think we have it figured out. We think we know that the climate is warming; we think we know that God is not real; we think we know far more than all our ancestors combined. We assume, since Codex Darwinius is the doctrine du jour, that we have now arrived as superior beings who no longer need morality or justice or truth. It never occurs to us that we might have that upside down. We have arrived at arrogance, that’s all, we have evolved a system of suppositions and un-provable hypotheses based on what we assume is knowledge – but notice how often what we thought we knew has been turned inside out.

We need all three methods of knowing to become even slightly informed, to have even a glimmer of what is going on here. We can’t afford to cut out one of them, and especially not faith, for there is reality.


Rainbows and Demons

detail from The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, 15th century Dutch painter.

detail from The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, 15th century Dutch painter.

Ever pick up a rock and find its underside crawling with creepy things? I’m afraid I have. It would be nice to just put the rock back where I found it, but I can’t. It’s too much in the news these days; it was the Supreme Court’s decision about gay marriage that prompted me to turn it over – that decision and a statement one of my colleagues made decades ago.

Having been concerned about the contents of a paper he’d written, I was discussing a student with his counselor; the essay hinted at suicidal temptations and contained some disturbing occult references. No high school student should ever be in the dark and lonely place he was in when he wrote that paper; I was frightened for him. I have no recollection of how the situation resolved itself, but I can still hear his counselor’s offhand remark that in her experience occult interests seemed to go hand-in-hand with homosexual activity (The student was gay.). It was an odd remark – she wasn’t a Bible-thumper like me, and she meant no condemnation of either activity. She just noted their connection. Her statement has been haunting me ever since.

The whole homosexual fuss in the last decade or so has had me on edge. I’ve had both gay friends and gay students of whom I’ve been very fond, but about the time I start to soften my biblical point of view on the subject, pictures of gay pride parades pop into my head and the revulsion I feel is visceral. How do we resolve this? Can we condemn people because they’re breaking a 4,000-year-old prohibition – one they claim no longer applies?  After all, no one is perfect. So, I’ve been doing some historical research – how has this situation worked out in the past?

We all know about Sodom and Gomorrah – I include it because we need to be wondering about the outcome there. God blew those two cities to smithereens because of the “abominations” (Hebrew – toebah) being done there. God sends two angels (We should note that in the Bible angels -- both elect and fallen -- seem to be always male.) to warn Abraham’s nephew Lot to get out of Sodom. The men of the town try to rape these angels. Once Lot and his family escape, the town goes up in smoke. Note that both towns were slated for destruction before the rape attempt happens. If homosexuality is normal, harmless, not a problem, why did those towns have to be vaporized? Homosexual behavior is unhealthy, and doesn’t assist in reproduction, but it hardly seems a vaporizable offence. Yet, this divine attitude toward sexual deviance is still there a thousand years later when Moses passes His Law on to the Israelites:

“Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molek, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.
“Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.
“Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.
“Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. 25 Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. Leviticus 18

The entire chapter covers sinful sexual behavior – every possible permutation of sexual immorality, including child sacrifice. (The worshippers of Molek included in their worship rituals sex “enhanced” by the screams of children who were thrown into the fire built in the belly of the idol.) That reference immediately precedes the prohibition of homosexual and bestial behavior. Is there a connection?

The key word in all of this is idol. Throughout the Bible, idol worship (i.e. demonism) is connected with sexual perversions.  Look at the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans:
“So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen, “vs. 21-24.

What did God create? The entire universe, including angels, both the good ones and the ones that eventually turned on Him – angels we now call demons, angels who have historically been worshiped as idols, angels who cohabited with human women in Genesis 6. It was that sexual deviance that brought about the Flood and the rainbow that has now been co-opted by more sexual deviance.

Let’s move ahead in history to the Knights Templar, the quasi-religious brotherhood that began as a military answer to the attacks of the Seljuk Turks against Christian pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem in the late 11th century. Much has been written about this mysterious organization, so much that the truth is a muddle, but it appears that their long years in the Middle East (over 2 centuries) wrought some remarkable changes; they not only became fabulously wealthy, but they adopted some most un-Christian habits – a fondness for the god Baphomet and the ritual homosexual practices associated with this half-goat/half-human, half-male/half-female idol. These “sex magic” practices are said to have been petitions to demons for power and wealth. The transgender movement is making a little more sense. Androgyny seems always to be present in demonic environs and today’s postmodern deconstructionist mindset is the perfect backdrop for the blurring of all distinctions, male/female, good/bad, evil/divine.

Now jump almost a thousand years to the 20th century and pre-Nazi Germany. The Nazi party began in a gay bar in Munich. In fact, according to The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Ernst Roehm, Hitler’s close associate at the beginning, and the leader of the Storm Troops, was a homosexual, as were “so many of the early Nazis.” Hitler’s Brown Shirts, the Storm Troops were almost always homosexual – “manly” homosexuals, not effeminate men; the androgynous were often executed.

It isn’t hard to connect the Nazis to horrendous homosexual and pederastic acts, but where’s the connection to the occult? Both Heinrich Himmler and Hitler himself were so involved that they eventually erased Christian holidays and replaced them with holidays connected to ancient German idolatry.

Now go find a picture of the last gay pride parade. It is my contention that we are not homophobic in our revulsion; we are demono-phobic; we are afraid, and rightfully so, of the demonic influence apparent in those demonstrations. Could the vile orgies of Molek and Baal have looked much different? So far no children have been burned alive, but soon many will be sacrificed to the pedophiles working their way into public acceptance. Tell me that such a thought isn’t demonic.

According to CatholicCulture.com exorcists are seeing quite a rise in demonism. Dr. Valter Cascioli, a spokesman for the International Association of Exorcists, said, “…the number of disturbances of extraordinary demonic activity is on the rise.” The situation, he said, is “becoming a pastoral emergency.”  Just recently the clergy in Mexico held a national exorcism to fight the growing instances of demonic behaviors. It is interesting here to note that the Greek word for drug abuse is the same as the word for witchcraft—pharmekaia. These things are all tangled together – sorcery/demonism/drugs/sexual deviance.

This is why we’re horrified. This is why the Supreme Court decision and the White House sanctioning of that decision scares so many of us. Demonism and sexual perversion are two sides of the same coin, and the name of that coin is “Hate God.” I can still hear the attendees at the last Democratic presidential convention booing the creator – not once, but three times. Is America quickly becoming a nation that God will “vomit out?” We have good reason to be afraid for “[w]e struggle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places…” Ephesians 6:12.