Banned From Church – WSJ.com

The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a new trend in evangelical churches: reviving the practice of kicking out disobedient members.

On a quiet Sunday morning in June, as worshippers settled into the pews at Allen Baptist Church in southwestern Michigan, Pastor Jason Burrick grabbed his cellphone and dialed 911. When a dispatcher answered, the preacher said a former congregant was in the sanctuary. “And we need to, um, have her out A.S.A.P.”

[Shun] Half an hour later, 71-year-old Karolyn Caskey, a church member for nearly 50 years who had taught Sunday school and regularly donated 10% of her pension, was led out by a state trooper and a county sheriff’s officer. One held her purse and Bible. The other put her in handcuffs.

What a great idea! It’s especially telling that Caskey’s “offense” consisted of questioning the pastor’s authority. Christianity is for gullible people, and it’s nice to seem some churches honestly enforcing this policy. Now if we could just get them to kick out all the sinners…

 
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Christian Apologetics Ministries and Straw Atheists

Anthony Horvath is at it again, inventing imaginary atheists he can use as straw men to ridicule. The occasion this time is the discovery of an ancient Hebrew temple seal, as documented by the Jerusalem Post. According to Mr. Horvath, this just goes to show that atheists are all wrong about the Bible.

This is just one more example out of dozens if not hundreds of such corroborations but it you perused the atheistic sites that are out there you’d find that they confidently and smugly assert that there is no truthfulness to the Christian Scriptures at all.

He then backs up this claim by linking to a skeptical discussion forum that includes comments such as these:

“That there was a first temple, that there was a Babilonian exile and that there was a return to Jerusalem, are well accepted historical facts.”

“Archaeologists have uncovered Troy. Troy was mentioned in The Iliad. The Iliad contains Zeus and other Greek gods. Why, then, don’t you believe the Greek gods exist?”

Mr. Horvath doesn’t really have a good answer for such comments, especially since his own claim (that atheist assert that everything mentioned in the Bible is false) is so patently ridiculous. So he contents himself with a snide, and substanceless dismissal, saying “This is what passes as rationality from out of the skeptic’s camp.”

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Christian president lies his way into an unprovoked war

I realize this is old news, but it’s finally been documented at least: a new study by an independent group of journalists has found that “False statements preceded war.”

The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.

The Bush administration, not surprisingly, is trying to pass the buck, and to claim that other intelligence agencies made the same “mistakes.” (They don’t mention, of course, their own role in inducing those agencies to commit those “errors.”) But that’s rather beside the point. The responsible course of action would have been to investigate these suspicions more thoroughly, and uncover their inconsistencies and fallacies before diving headfirst into the quagmire–a course of action that the administration specifically forbade, on the grounds that we “can’t afford to wait for Chicago to disappear under a mushroom cloud.”

What I find interesting is that George W. Bush was elected by a Christian majority (i.e. most of his supporters have been conservative Christians), who assumed that a Christian president would be better than a non-Christian president because he would have the benefit of God’s blessing, guidance, and wisdom. And yet, throughout this whole, long, predictable Iraq fiasco, it has been the Christians in general and Bush in particular who have been the very last to acknowledge the facts and who have made the least contribution to trying to stop screwing things up, let alone trying to recover a reasonable sense of order and stability.

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The Bible and abortion

The Associated Press has a report on the annual so-called “March For Life,” protesting the 35th anniversary of the historic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

Thousands of abortion opponents marched from the National Mall to the Supreme Court on Tuesday in their annual remembrance of the court’s Roe v. Wade decision.

A smaller crowd of several dozen abortion-rights supporters held their own rally later, marking the 35th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court ruling that established the nationwide right to abortion.

I also happened to listen to “Focus on the Family” last night, on my way home from work, and caught the tail end of James Dobson’s interview with a former abortionist, now an evangelical pro-lifer. They were talking about the sanctity of human life, and how evil it is that our society “cheapens” human life by condoning abortion, euthanasia, and assisted suicide. (They completely omitted even the most tangential reference to capital punishment, however.)

In honor of the occasion, I thought it might be interesting to look at what the Bible has to say about abortion.

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Dinesh D’Souza denies the Gospel

Never one to let a simple fact go unspun, Dinesh D’Souza gleefully pounces on an article by David Sloan Wilson attacking Dawkins’ The God Delusion as being “deeply misinformed” and a “diatribe against religion.”

Wilson examines Dawkins’ central claim that religion is an obvious “delusion.” On the contrary, Wilson writes, religion is in general more adaptive for human communities than atheism. “On average, religious believers are more prosocial than non-believers, feel better about themselves, use their time more constructively, and engage in long-term planning, rather than gratifying their impulsive desires…They report being more happy, active, sociable, involved and excited.”

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The Duke and the Dauphin

It’s been years (decades, in fact) since I read Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, so forgive me if I get some of the details muddled. But there was a story in Huck that I’m reminded of from time to time when looking at how people cling to their faith in spite of everything, and that’s the story of the Duke and the Dauphin. The Duke and the Dauphin were a couple of ne’er-do-wells that Huck and Jim had the misfortune to get entangled with. Despite their grandiose airs, they were simple con-men out to make a quick buck out of people’s gullibility. But one of their schemes went awry.

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WorldNetDaily: America’s Immune Deficiency Syndrome

Joseph Farah at the WorldNutDaily has his panties in a bunch over MRSA, a non-venereal disease which is becoming an increasing problem outside the hospital.

According to a study done at the University of California, San Francisco, homosexual men are 13 times more likely to contract the disease, which is documented to spread in skin-to-skin contact.

That means it could easily spread to the general population. When it does, the results could be cataclysmic.

“Once this reaches the general population, it will be truly unstoppable,” explains Binh Diep, the researcher who led the study.

Holy paranoid exaggeration, Batman!  It’s true that MRSA (the evolved form of Staph. Aureus) is a significant concern, and that we need to monitor the situation closely. MRSA, however, has been showing up on high school football fields for years, among other places. The spread to “the general population” has already happened. Farah’s remedy? This has to be seen to be believed.

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WorldNetDaily: If God is everywhere, why do so few people find Him?

A fellow by the name of David Kupelian has an interesting sermon posted over at WorldNetDaily. It opens with a couple of excellent questions.

If God is everywhere, why do so few people seem to be able to find Him?

By “find Him,” I don’t mean just clinging to a vague notion that God exists, but rather, experiencing an intimate, moment-to-moment flow of understanding, guidance, and the special energy called “grace,” coming directly from Him to us.

After all, not only is God omnipresent, but we’re told His greatest desire is to have a personal relationship with each of us, whom He created in His image – to direct our paths and become our ultimate destiny. In other words, to be our God.

Why then are so many of us so lost?

Why indeed? Assuming that any of us even are “lost,” of course. Kupelian has hit on the key contradiction of the Christian gospel. If God’s “greatest desire” is to have a personal relationship with each of us, and to lead us, and to guide us, then why doesn’t He show up do take part in any of that?

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Christianity and the threat of secularism

Writing for townhall.com, Chuck Colson tries to make a case linking “extreme secularism” with Islamic fundamentalism. His argument claims that liberal Christians are too soft on Islamic intolerance and too hard on their own faith (an argument which might have a grain of truth in it), but I’m particularly intrigued by his opening line.

In my new just-released book, The Faith, I argue that the two greatest challenges to the Christian worldview come from radical Islam and extreme secularism.

Again, there may be a grain of truth in that statement, but I have to ask: why exactly is Christianity so threatened by secularism? In a word, because their God is not part of secular reality, and that really bugs them.

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XFiles: Life, the Universe and Almost Everything

(Book: I Don’t Have Enough FAITH to Be an ATHEIST, by Geisler and Turek, chapter 5)

Having amazed us with their grasp of science in Chapter 4 (and incidently proving along the way that they’re not too clear on the difference between a constant and a variable), Geisler and Turek are now ready to dazzle us with their insight into a biological problem that even the most experienced and intelligent of researchers have found to be a tough nut to crack: the origin of life. Let’s see how many factual errors they can commit in a single paragraph. Ready?

One needs to be playing with only half a deck or be willfully blind to suggest that messages like “Take out the garbage—Mom” and “Mary loves Scott” are the work of natural laws. Yet these conclusions are perfectly consistent with principles taught in most high school and college biology classes today. That’s where naturalistic biologists dogmatically assert that messages far more complicated are the mindless products of natural laws. They make this claim in trying to explain the origin of life.

How many false claims did you find? I’ll list the ones I found, below the fold.

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Posted in IDHEFTBA, Unapologetics, XFiles. 1 Comment »