ContraCelsum Backup

Dear Reader: Although Google professes to have a policy of free speech, there are now disturbing examples of Google peremptorily shutting down blogs on the Blogger platform espousing views which (presumably) Google wants to censor. Therefore ContraCelsum has set up a mirror blog via WordPress (http://contracelsum.com/). We update the latter weekly. If this site should suddenly go dark, you will find ContraCelsum alive and well at the above address. You may want to bookmark it now (just in case).

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Letter From Australia (About Trotskyite Sydney University)

Orwell Would Weep at the Demonisation of Professor Barry Spurr 

Miranda Devine
The Sunday Telegraph
November 16, 2014

I MUST assume Eden Caceda is an inspired satirical creation by Sydney University students outraged at the brutalisation of poetry professor Barry Spurr. 
 
After all, the anagram of the name is “A Decadence”. That’s one way of looking at the descent into Orwellian thought-control at the nation’s finest university, which has suspended Spurr indefinitely and banned him from campus for using “offensive” language in private emails, which he said had been hacked and sent to a left-wing website.

“Eden Caceda”, an office-bearer with the university’s “Autonomous Collective Against Racism”, ho, ho, led the campaign last week against Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence’s “racist” Mexican-themed staff Christmas party.  The dress code was “Mexican Fiesta — bring your own sombreros and ponchos”.  But “Caceda” was deeply ­offended by the “culturally ­insensitive” invitation.  “My family has a poncho and it is really important to us, and these people are treating it like a costume,” he said.

Spence, who made the decision to render Professor Spurr a non-person, now finds himself hoist with his own petard.  He has been forced to send an email to staff, cancelling the Mexican dress code: “I have today asked the event organisers to amend our plans so the party has no particular theme.”

You really couldn’t make this stuff up.

Daily Devotional

On Humility

C. S. Lewis

For each of us the Baptist’s words are true: “He must increase and I decrease.” He will be infinitely merciful to our repeated failures; I know no promise that He will accept a deliberate compromise. For He has, in the last resort, nothing to give us but Himself; and He can give that only in so far as our self-affirming will retires and makes room for Him in our souls.

From The Weight of Glory
Compiled in Words to Live By
The Weight of Glory: And Other Addresses. Copyright © 1949, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1976, revised 1980 C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Complex Polymers and Human Society

Civilisation as a Thin Translucent Skin

We have argued many times that human society is "thick"--that is, it is multi-layered, complex, and variant. It is a thoroughly complex polymer.  This truth is either denied or repeatedly ignored by Unbelief.  People who seek control over the world or human society all start with an assumption that society is pretty thin and distinctly one-dimensional.  A few laws here, a bit of education there and nirvana will be upon us before lunchtime.  Or to change the metaphor, Unbelief unsheathes a sword and approaches human society as if it were a skeleton.  In so acting, Unbelief takes upon itself--whether it admits it or not--the mantle of a god. 

Ironically, one of Unbelief's more more prominent sects these days are the Greenists, who constantly remind us that the environment is a multi-layered, complex, mutually dependant entity, such that a few tweaks here can have enormous ramifications over there.  Notice, however, that when is comes to "doing something" about environmental degradation, more often than not their proposed solutions are both legalistic and one-dimensional.  Are people over-weight?  Ban fats and sugars.  Is the atmosphere over-saturated with carbon dioxide?  Ban the internal combustion engine and legislatively require battery-run cars.  The Greens very definitely regard human society as a skeleton through which they can see clearly and their sword is big enough to dismember every bone in sight.  The irony of this contradiction becomes even more acute when one considers that if the physical environment is intricately complex, human society is exponentially more so.

Human society cannot long continue as a good and blessed realm if the "mundane things" are not right.  Take for example the mundane dimension of how people regard one another.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Letter From the UK (About Racial and Religious Profiling In Adoption)

Social Worker Tried to Stop Couple Adopting Because They Were 'Too Jewish'

15 Nov 2014


A former Justice of the UK's Supreme Court has told how he had to overrule complaints that a couple were "too Jewish" to adopt. Lord Wilson told an audience this week that rules regarding the ethnicity of a child in care were discriminating against those same children they were intended to protect.

Child Protection agencies and local authorities recognise that an adoptive home is often the only viable solution for a child in care and the best opportunity they will get for a stable family home, particularly those who were taken into care because of abuse by their biological parents.

"But", said Lord Wilson, "that has lead to other problems."

Daily Devotional

Prudence

C. S. Lewis

Prudence means practical common sense, taking the trouble to think out what you are doing and what is likely to come of it.

Nowadays most people hardly think of Prudence as one of the ‘virtues’. In fact, because Christ said we could only get into His world by being like children, many Christians have the idea that, provided you are ‘good’, it does not matter being a fool. But that is a misunderstanding.

In the first place, most children show plenty of ‘prudence’ about doing the things they are really interested in, and think them out quite sensibly. In the second place, as St Paul points out, Christ never meant that we were to remain children in intelligence: on the contrary. He told us to be not only ‘as harmless as doves’, but also ‘as wise as serpents’. He wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim.

The fact that you are giving money to a charity does not mean that you need not try to find out whether that charity is a fraud or not. The fact that what you are thinking about is God Himself (for example, when you are praying) does not mean that you can be content with the same babyish ideas which you had when you were a five-year-old.

It is, of course, quite true that God will not love you any the less, or have less use for you, if you happen to have been born with a very second-rate brain. He has room for people with very little sense, but He wants every one to use what sense they have.

From Mere Christianity
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis
Mere Christianity. Copyright © 1952, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright renewed © 1980, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Copyright © 2003 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.  Sourced from BibleGateway.

Religious Establishment

Secularist Hypocrisy

One of our parochial secularist bloggers has opined on the subject of parliamentary prayers.  His "personal" view is that there should not be any official prayers in the parliament.  He writes:
I personally don’t think Parliament as an institution should have a prayer. Religious belief is a personal decision, not an institutional one. MPs who wish to offer a prayer should be able to do so as they see fit, but my preference would be that there be no official prayer led off by the Speaker as this jars with being a secular country. [Kiwiblog]
This statement is unremarkable insofar as it is typical of the hypocrisy found in almost every place in our day.  Let's see if we can de-construct the statement  to illustrate.  We are given the following justification for not having parliamentary prayers: "Religious belief is a personal decision, not an institutional one".  The question is immediately begged, "Who says so?" Or, by what standard, or rule, or principle can the assertion that religion is a "personal decision" stand? It is, after all, a claim of universal dimensions.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Taking Advantage of the Vulnerable

Worse Than Fiction

John Le Carre's novel, The Constant Gardner is a story of pharmaceutical exploitation.  Big Western drug companies distribute drugs in African countries, but the drugs are untested, dangerous, and end up killing people.  They were not approved for use in the US and other Western countries.  Since the West was smart enough not to distribute them, African countries were easy pickings.  Sound far-fetched.  Not at all.  It is actually happening, as the following article from Turtle Bay and Beyond reveals:

Daily Devotional

When I Am Anxious

. . . casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

John Piper

When I am anxious about being sick, I battle unbelief with the promise, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19). And I take the promise with trembling, “knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3–5).

When I am anxious about getting old, I battle unbelief with the promise: “Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4).

When I am anxious about dying, I battle unbelief with the promise that “none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living” (Romans 14:7–9).

When I am anxious that I may make shipwreck of faith and fall away from God, I battle unbelief with the promises, “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6); and, “He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

Let us make war, not with other people, but with our own unbelief. It is the root of anxiety, which, in turn, is the root of so many other sins.

So let us turn our eyes fixed on the precious and very great promises of God. Take up the Bible, ask the Holy Spirit for help, lay the promises up in your heart, and fight the good fight — to live by faith in future grace.

For more about John Piper's ministry and writing, see DesiringGod.org.

Myopia and Living in Denial

Send In the Clowns

A US Republican congressman recently opined that Vice-President Joe Biden was only two shoes short of a clown. The jibe was intended to remind the country why Republicans don't want to impeach the President. Were Obama to go, Joe would ascend to the Oval Office. It's a scary thought to many.
ISIL's actions represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own. Today we grieve together, yet we also recall that the indomitable spirit of goodness and perseverance that burned so brightly in Abdul-Rahman Kassig, and which binds humanity together, ultimately is the light that will prevail over the darkness of ISIL. President Obama

But the jibe was a double entendre. The irony of the second meaning refers to that which Joe Biden presently lacks (two clown feet). Obama has them in spades. He is the clown complete with two enormous feet. The only time he opens his mouth is to change them. That's why he is qualified for the top job, and Biden is a pale understudy. Uproariously funny.

Obama as the consummate clown entertained us all recently with his formal statement lamenting the sad death of an US aid worker, Peter Kassig, murdered by ISIS. Adopting the mien of a celebrated and revered Doctor of Theology, Obama emphatically assures us that Kassig's murder had nothing to do with Islam and its teaching.

It is just this kind of chutzpah and ideological drivel which makes Obama the laughing stock of most of the world. His utterance in this instance reminds us of risible afflations of Soviet disinformation at the height of the Cold War, or, more recently, out of Pyongyang, North Korea.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Letter From America (About Godless Schools)

One Nation Under Godlessness

A high school in Colorado Springs bans students from meeting outside class for prayer and fellowship.

By Michelle Malkin
November 14, 2014

Daily Devotional

Fighting Words

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10)

John Piper

When I am anxious about some risky new venture or meeting, I battle unbelief with one of my most often-used promises: Isaiah 41:10.

The day I left for three years in Germany, my father called me long distance and gave me this promise on the telephone. For three years, I must have quoted it to myself five hundred times to get me through periods of tremendous stress.

When the motor of my mind is in neutral, the hum of the gears is the sound of Isaiah 41:10.

When I am anxious about my ministry being useless and empty, I fight unbelief with the promise of Isaiah 55:11. “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

Never Another Cent to the Red Cross

Priggishness, Self-Righteousness, And Bigotry

It is the duty of every donor to complete at least basic due diligence upon groups soliciting donations.  For example, we have never given a cent to Greenpeace, not just because of its extreme Greenist stance, but because of its wilful lawbreaking.

We used to respect Amnesty International, but once it became obvious that they had morphed from a creditable and respectable organisation speaking out on behalf of political prisoners to one espousing radical left wing causes they have been banned as far as donations go.  The same can be said for Oxfam whose espousal of Leftwing causes is both nauseating dull and utterly predictable. 

To this list of ill-repute we now need to add the Red Cross.  In the United Kingdom one of their long-term volunteers has been sacked because of a terrible crime.  He happens to oppose homosexual "marriage".  Bryan Barkley had been a senior, long-serving volunteer, so experienced that he was doing sensitive specialist work helping reunite people with lost family members across borders.  But he, himself, has now crossed the border into the Darklands.  He happened to stand in public holding a sign opposing the British Government's plans to ram through homosexual "marriage" legislation.  For this inexcusable breach, he was fired from the Red Cross.  He had, he was told, done terrible things which "went against the group's values".  One would have thought that he had raped someone, or committed murder, or was guilty of some other capital crime.  But no.  He was acting lawfully at all times.

OK.  If Bryan could be fired for actions "going against the group's values" then it seems only fair that every donor at this point has an inalienable right to determine never again to donate to the Red Cross since it has adopted positions which go against the values of donors.  Seems fair.

But to get your gander up in a serious way, consider how the Red Cross has responded to the public outcry against its intolerance and bigotry.  It has reacted in high dudgeon via a statement oozing with oleaginous self-righteousness and priggishness of prodigious proportion.  BreitbartLondon records the malodorous eructation:
The Red Cross has responded, however, by accusing Mr Bickley's supporters of distracting the organisation from its work dealing with international disasters. A spokeswoman said: "The British Red Cross is working internationally tackling enormous issues like the Ebola crisis, Syria and the food crisis in South Sudan.

"Orchestrated actions like this inevitably divert us from our humanitarian mission.

"Tragically it has taken up vital staff time and resources away from our international mission and in the UK."
Apparently "enormous issues" like the Ebola crisis, Syria, and the food crisis in South Sudan pale in significance to the really vital mission of ensuring that all staff comply with the (perverted) values of the Red Cross.  Until miscreants like Bryan Bickley are purged from the organization, its "humanitarian mission" can be suspended, Ebola can whistle Dixie, Syria can cool its heels, and South Sudan can take a hike.  Ensuring that all staff are dedicated supporters of homosexual "marriage" will clearly preoccupy vital staff time and resources as top priority.  Such things are far more important than a few dying people in Africa.

This has to take the cake as the most egregious self-righteous priggery in a long, long time.

Never another cent to the Red Cross. 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter from Moscow

Betting With Real Money

Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog
November 12, 2014

I want to answer two very basic questions. Let’s all wish me luck. First I want to define marriage — what is marriage anyhow? — and I want to explain why the answer to this first question is any business of the civil magistrate. The two matters are wound tightly together, as we shall see.

I have defined marriage before in at least a couple of places.

“A common error among Christians holds that if the sexual act is completed, then the couple are married ‘in God’s sight.’ Many destructive complications occur in contemporary culture because we have adopted the idea that people can be married in God’s sight without being married. It is hard to say where this idea originated, but it has caused a lot of damage . . . Marriage is scripturally defined as a sexual relationship within the boundaries of a covenant commitment that has been formally ratified. The sexual relationship by itself does not constitute marriage” (Her Hand in Marriage, pp. 28-29).

“The first is that you must have an explicit covenant surrounding a sexual relationship. Not everyone who is sexually united is married, and not everyone who has exchanged vows is married. The covenant exists when the two elements are there together: covenant vows surrounding a covenant union” (For a Glory and a Covering, p. 33).

Thus far the assertions. Why do I believe that the two essential elements in a marriage are sexual union (of the sort that could result in pregnancy) and a publicly recognized covenant? To use the language of the philosophers, these are necessary conditions but not sufficient conditions. A necessary condition means that without it you do not have the thing in question. A sufficient condition means that with it you will have the thing in question, of necessity. Thus the presence of oxygen is a necessary condition for a blazing fire but not a sufficient condition.

You cannot have a marriage without old school heterosexual copulation and you cannot have a marriage without a covenant. Nevertheless you can have a covenant without a marriage and you can have sexual intercourse without a marriage.

Daily Devotional

Petitions Never Return Empty Handed

"Men ought always to pray."
Luke 18:1

Charles Spurgeon


If men ought always to pray and not to faint, much more Christian men. Jesus has sent his church into the world on the same errand upon which he himself came, and this mission includes intercession. What if I say that the church is the world's priest? Creation is dumb, but the church is to find a mouth for it.

It is the church's high privilege to pray with acceptance. The door of grace is always open for her petitions, and they never return empty-handed. The veil was rent for her, the blood was sprinkled upon the altar for her, God constantly invites her to ask what she wills. Will she refuse the privilege which angels might envy her? Is she not the bride of Christ? May she not go in unto her King at every hour? Shall she allow the precious privilege to be unused?

The church always has need for prayer. There are always some in her midst who are declining, or falling into open sin. There are lambs to be prayed for, that they may be carried in Christ's bosom? the strong, lest they grow presumptuous; and the weak, lest they become despairing. If we kept up prayer-meetings four-and-twenty hours in the day, all the days in the year, we might never be without a special subject for supplication.

Are we ever without the sick and the poor, the afflicted and the wavering? Are we ever without those who seek the conversion of relatives, the reclaiming of back-sliders, or the salvation of the depraved? Nay, with congregations constantly gathering, with ministers always preaching, with millions of sinners lying dead in trespasses and sins; in a world full of idols, cruelties, devilries, if the church doth not pray, how shall she excuse her base neglect of the commission of her loving Lord? Let the church be constant in supplication, let every private believer cast his mite of prayer into the treasury.

New Zealand Schools

Amongst the Worst In the OECD

The propaganda machines have been busy for the past twenty-five years assuring New Zealand that our education system amongst the best in the world.  If the criteria for determining "best" included pass rates in our parochial secondary school qualification (NCEA) or conformity with the latest post-modern pedagogical theories the propaganda may have verisimilitude.  But when objective tests about what students actually know are completed, the Potemkin Village collapses. 

The OECD runs a research programme testing the knowledge levels of fifteen year old students across its membership [OECD Programme for International Student Assessment 2012 (PISA)].  The research is conducted every three years.  In our most recent examination New Zealand fell from 13th to 22nd in the OECD maths ratings.  This, after decades of being told by the propagandists that our education system was right up there with the best in the world. 

The Ministry of Education is producing some diagnostic reports looking for causes and explanations for our systemic educational failure.  Amongst the causes of failure were:

Monday, 17 November 2014

The Gullible and the Malicious

Media Fall for 'Married Jesus' Hoax, Again

11 Nov 2014

There is a foolproof recipe for making it rich in modern pseudo-scholarship.

The recipe is:
1. Take one dusty old text in a language few people read.

2. Stirring frequently, spin the text until it makes some sensational claim “disproving” a basic tenet of Christianity.

3. Heat in gullible mainstream media oven for as long as it takes to be considered the newest “scholarly discovery.”

4. Serve warmed over.
Now, joining the ranks of the fictional works The Last Temptation of Christ and The DaVinci Code, The Lost Gospel has launched the “shocking” (if unoriginal) claim that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and had two children by her.

The UK newspaper, The Independent, stated that “Jesus married the prostitute Mary Magdalene and had children, according to a manuscript almost 1,500 years old unearthed at the British Library.”

“If true,” the Daily Mail breathlessly reported, “this would make it the greatest revelation into the life of Jesus in nearly 2,000 years.”

The Washington Post, the International Business Times, the Sunday Times, the Irish Independent, and a host of other media outlets have commented on the new book.  The only problem is the manuscript does not say anything like this. In fact, the names “Jesus” and “Mary Magdalene” do not even appear in the text.

Daily Devotional

Do Not Harden Your Heart

So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:19)

John Piper

Even though the people of Israel saw the waters of the Red Sea divide and they walked over on dry ground, the moment they got thirsty, their hearts were hard against God and they did not trust him to take care of them. They cried out against him and said that life in Egypt was better.

That is what this verse is written to prevent. O how many professing Christians make a start with God. They hear that their sins can be forgiven and that they can escape hell and go to heaven. And they say: “What have I got to lose? I'll believe.”

But then in a week or a month or a year or ten years, the test comes — a season of no water in the wilderness. A weariness with manna, and subtly a growing craving for the fleeting pleasures of Egypt, as Numbers 11:5–6 says, “We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.”

This is a terrifying condition to be in — to find yourself no longer interested in Christ and his Word and prayer and worship and missions and living for the glory of God. And to find all fleeting pleasures of this world more attractive than the things of the Spirit.

If that is your situation, I plead with you to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking in this text. Give heed to the Word of God. Do not harden your heart. Wake up to the deceitfulness of sin. Consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our great confession, and hold fast to your confidence and hope in him.

And if you have never even made a start with God, then put your hope in him. Turn from sin and from self-reliance and put your confidence in a great Savior. These things are written that you might believe and endure, and have life.

For more about John Piper's ministry and writing, see DesiringGod.org.

Catastrophism and Greenmail

The Great Irony of our Day

When C02 is released into the atmosphere, wonderful things happen.  These things are so basic and obvious that a ten year old middle schooler can grasp them (provided they attend a reactionary institute that still teaches science).  But adults long ago gave up on science and replaced it with ideological catastrophism.  There is a certain attraction to believing the world is on the verge of destruction.  It relieves the general ennui.  It makes one feel alive.  Much like the endorphin laden thrill anticipating a bungy-jump. 

Carbon dioxide, we are told, is going to destroy the planet by heating the atmosphere and baking us all to death.  Except for a couple of realities.  The first is that C02 is a "heavy" gas and one would expect that it would naturally slurp around the surface of the earth, rather than head off into the upper atmosphere.  This is good news because of another reality: large amounts of carbon dioxide are absorbed by the oceans and green growing things.  It is the latter which interests us.

The reality is that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide greens the earth.  It is the greenest gas there is.  Ideological Greenists stupidly oppose the cutting down of the world's forests and the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The latter is critical to the preservation and growth of forests.  What the left hand gives, the right hand would snatch away.  Despite the best efforts from the luddite Greenists, it turns out that the world's forests are growing much faster thanks to all the wonderful food they are getting from increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The Greening of the Earth

90 Percent of CO2 Emissions Go Towards Fuelling Rapid Forest Growth Rate

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Douglas Wilson's Letter From Moscow

Remanded to Sensitivity Camps

Douglas Wilson
Blog and Mablog
Tuesday, November 11, 2014

When two armies happen to meet, the battle is not necessarily over the terrain they are fighting on. Sometimes it is that, of course, but there are also occasions when the place where they are fighting and the place for which they are fighting are two entirely different places.

The current battle is at the place of same sex mirage. It is where we are fighting right now, and may God grant success to us here, holed up in our little gender-normal Alamo. Our God is able to deliver us, but even if He does not, be it known, o king, that we will not consent to applaud the use of a man as though he were a woman.

Homosexual vice is a bad business, one that the apostle Paul describes as the end of the ethical road. But that is simply where the battle is right now, not what the battle is over. And so, since I have raised the point, what is the battle over? The battle is over the right to define the world.

Man wants to be God, and he wants to be able to declare the way things shall be, and then have them be that way. He hates God and wants to replace Him, and wants to replace how the way things stand fast whenever God declares them. Man wants to speak the ultimate and authoritative word.

Some people have asked from time to time, usually with some petulance, why I write about same sex mirage so much. The answer is found in the disputed nouns — the marriage/mirage issue.

Daily Devotional

Prayerfulness

"And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God."
Luke 6:12

Charles Spurgeon

If ever one of woman born might have lived without prayer, it was our spotless, perfect Lord, and yet none was ever so much in supplication as he! Such was his love to his Father, that he loved much to be in communion with him: such his love for his people, that he desired to be much in intercession for them. The fact of this eminent prayerfulness of Jesus is a lesson for us--he hath given us an example that we may follow in his steps.

The time he chose was admirable, it was the hour of silence, when the crowd would not disturb him; the time of inaction, when all but himself had ceased to labour; and the season when slumber made men forget their woes, and cease their applications to him for relief. While others found rest in sleep, he refreshed himself with prayer. The place was also well selected. He was alone where none would intrude, where none could observe: thus was he free from Pharisaic ostentation and vulgar interruption.

Those dark and silent hills were a fit oratory for the Son of God.

Trans-Gender Regrets

A Life Poem Becomes A Death Chant

The Federalist recently carried a piece which is one of the saddest we have read for some time.  It concerns the bitterness and regret of people who have "transgendered".


Secularist human rights are morphing in an entirely predictable direction.  Since there is no ultimate standard, sanctioned by an ultimate Person, to which we must answer and by which we must be bound, all talk amongst secularists of human rights eventually disintegrates into letting people be whatever they want to be.  The ultimate right is self-will-worship.  Sexual ethics and sexual identity rapidly devolve to will-worship or the worship of self.

With the assistance of modern surgical techniques and chemical interventions, women can become men; men can become women; and gender types can vary across a menu of more than fifty shades of grey.  But the human cost of this folly is now emerging, and it is acutely sad.  Firstly, the post-op regrets:

Trouble In Transtopia: Murmurs Of Sex Change Regret

Transgender people who regret their sex changes typically get buried in venom rather than love.



Everyone has regrets. Some of us have big regrets. Most everyone has some place to go to get help dealing with them. Except for, say, a guy who had sex-change surgery and now would like to have his penis back. (The one God gave him.)

Our culture seems pretty much “to each his own” when it comes to elective bodily mutilation and the regret thereof. And there’s a lot of regret out there. According to a British poll, a whopping 65 percent of those who’ve had various cosmetic surgeries regret it. People who regret their tattoos, plastic surgery, or more extreme body modifications (here’s a sad Buzzfeed pictorial on the effects of ear gauges) can read up on the Internet and find an open array of remedies. Plastic surgeons make money both puttin’ it in and takin’ it out. Hollywood stars can speak openly about misgivings over their boob jobs and whatnot. Regarding her lip enhancement surgery, Courtney Love said: “I just want the mouth God gave me back.
Then, secondly, comes the ostracism, often with a tirade of abuse, inflicted upon those who subsequently regret their folly.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Letter From Europe (About the Death of Human Rights)

The Sovereignty of Depersonalised Will

When men turn away from God, the "centre" no longer holds.  There is no absolute moral code to which all men are subject and in bonds.  All that is left is the "man-as-god" volition of individuals, then, eventually, the will of the one, the uber-man, the dictator.  The West is currently in the phase of rejecting morals and championing the volition of individuals.  Eventually, the uber-individual, the One, the Dictator will emerge.

The European Court of Human Rights is now well down this track.

Gregor Puppinck, PhD, Director of the European Centre for Law and Justice explains how human rights are becoming “trans-humans rights” under the influence of individualism, skepticism and biotechnologies. Human rights courts are currently redefining the “new man” through the creation of post and trans-humans rights.

- How does trans-humanism enter into the legal field?
The rights guaranteed by the European Court of Human Rights, define man. In 1950, when the Convention was signed, these rights were defined in order to protect the inherent abilities of human beings, their nature, which distinguish man from animal and manifest his or her dignity.  At the time, man was not technological, and the existence of a human nature and dignity as the basis of rights was well established. But today, biotechnology can not only enhance our natural abilities, but also endow us with new ones.  . . .

 - How did biotechnology influence human rights?
Human rights express and set as a standard successive conceptions that society makes about man: there were ‘humanist’ rights followed by ‘personalist’ rights. It is nowadays post-human rights that are paving the way for trans-human rights.

Post-humanism is the domination of individual wills over human nature. As a result, it is replacing human rights with ‘rights of individuals’. Although the wording of the Human Rights adopted in 1950 has not changed, their individualist interpretation has altered, even revolutionised, their content. Thus, the Convention recognizes the right to life, but the individual will to die or to abort a pregnancy is prevailing over that right. Assisted suicide, euthanasia or abortion are post-human rights.

"Ridicule Them and Show Contempt"

Twenty Questions Atheists Struggle to Answer

Pete Saunders
 
For my answers to the questions below see the following links:
Questions 1-6
Questions 7-11


For others' answers see here

Earlier this week I was involved, on and off, in a wide-ranging 24 hour twitter conversation which has been storified by Dr John Cosgrove under the title ‘Creation, Evolution and Gosse’.

It covered such matters as the origin of man, the evolution of language, the dating of early civilisations and the historicity of the genealogies and the flood narrative in the book of Genesis.

As is usual most of those involved were atheists who follow me on twitter and regularly mock and ridicule my commitment to Christian faith and values.  Again, as is usual in these discussions, it was primarily atheists asking the questions and me giving answers whilst they tweeted my responses with great delight to their followers with accompanying comments such as ‘facepalm extravanganza’.

On Friday night and Saturday morning I asked in return two questions (2 & 7 in the following list) which thus far none of them has attempted to answer despite posting around sixty responses to me in the intervening period whilst I was off-line.

Daily Devotional

Do You Neglect Your Salvation?

How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? (Hebrews 2:3)

John Piper

Is there a sense of greatness in your mind about your salvation? Or do you neglect it?

Do you respond to the greatness of your salvation? Or do you treat it the way you treat your will or the title to your car or the deed on your house? You signed it once and it is in a file drawer somewhere, but it is not a really great thing. It has no daily effect on you. Basically you neglect it.

Only what is it really — this great salvation? What he's really saying is:
  • Don't neglect being loved by God.
  • Don't neglect being forgiven and accepted and protected and strengthened and guided by Almighty God.
  • Don't neglect the sacrifice of Christ's life on the cross.
  • Don't neglect the free gift of righteousness imputed by faith.
  • Don't neglect the removal of God's wrath and the reconciled smile of God.
  • Don't neglect the indwelling Holy Spirit and the fellowship and friendship of the living Christ.
  • Don't neglect the radiance of God's glory in the face of Jesus.
  • Don't neglect the free access to the throne of grace.
  • Don't neglect the inexhaustible treasure of God's promises.
This is a great salvation. Neglecting it is very evil. Don't neglect so great a salvation. Because if you do, you will perish without escape.

So being a Christian is a very serious business — not a sour business, but a serious business. We are simply blood-earnest about being happy in our great salvation.

We will not be deflected by this world into the fleeting and suicidal pleasures of sin. We will not neglect our eternal joy in God — which is what salvation is. We will gouge out our eyes rather than be lured away from eternal life.

For more about John Piper's ministry and writing, see DesiringGod.org.

The Politics of Guilt and Pity

The Double Standards of Neo-Marxism

The predominant ideological narrative amongst Western elites and its attendant Commentariat is neo-Marxism. According to this perspective, the world is divided up into "the haves" and the "have nots" whom "the haves"  exploit.  The policies of most Western governments and political discourse in general reflect this ideology in one way or another.  It is an ideology of faux-guilt and faux-pity.

A corollary of Western neo-Marxism is that non-whites are an exploited minority in most Western countries.  As such, being largely dispossessed of wealth and perpetually poor(er), they deserve more than just sympathy.  The enlightened neo-Marxist must stand with them in solidarity.  The upshot is rampant hypocrisy and double standards.  Let a white middle-class person rob or rape and the full weight of the law will justly fall.  Let a black or Hispanic person do the same, and all kinds of double standards and extenuations are likely to apply.  The latter has done wrong, to be sure, but they are oppressed and exploited, so deserve a measure of understanding and sympathy not appropriate for a member of the "exploiter class".

Domestic violence in New Zealand we are told is predominantly a Maori problem.  Maori elites and the chattering classes blame exploitation of Maori by society at large (but essentially white Europeans) for this mess.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Hurry Up and Die, Would You

The Danger of Assisted Suicide Laws

15 October 2014
Holding Hands with Elderly Patient 

CNN 14 October 2014
My heart goes out to Brittany Maynard, who is dying of brain cancer and who wrote last week about her desire for what is often referred to as “death with dignity.” Yet while I have every sympathy for her situation, it is important to remember that for every case such as this, there are hundreds — or thousands — more people who could be significantly harmed if assisted suicide is legal.

The legalization of assisted suicide always appears acceptable when the focus is solely on an individual. But it is important to remember that doing so would have repercussions across all of society, and would put many people at risk of immense harm. After all, not every terminal prognosis is correct, and not everyone has a loving husband, family or support system.
As an advocate working on behalf of disability rights for 37 years, and as someone who uses a wheelchair, I am all too familiar with the explicit and implicit pressures faced by people living with chronic or serious disability or disease. But the reality is that legalizing assisted suicide is a deadly mix with the broken, profit-driven health care system we have in the United States.

Daily Devotional

Books and the Providence of Reading

TO RHONA BODLE: On not forcing books on others; and on the providence of reading.
14 September 1953

C. S. Lewis

I have had ‘Miss Bodle’s colleague’ in my daily prayers for a long time now: is that the same young man you mention in your letter of July 3rd, or do I now say ‘colleagues’? Yes: don’t bother him with my books if an aunt (it somehow would be an aunt—though I must add that most of my aunts were delightful) has been ramming them down his throat.

You know, The Pilgrim’s Progress is not, I find (to my surprise) everyone’s book. I know several people who are both Christians and lovers of literature who can’t bear it. I doubt if they were made to read it as children. Indeed, I rather wonder whether that ‘being made to read it’ has spoiled so many books as is supposed. I suspect that all the people who tell me they were ‘put off’ Scott by having Ivanhoe as a holiday task are people who would never have liked Scott anyway.

I don’t believe anything will keep the right reader and the right book apart. But our literary loves are as diverse as our human! You couldn’t make me like Henry James or dislike Jane Austen whatever you did. By the bye did Chesterton’s Everlasting Man (I’m sure I advised you to read it) succeed or fail with you?

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume III
Compiled in Yours, Jack
The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume III: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C. S. Lewis. Copyright © 2008 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.  Sourced from BibleGateway.

Ends That Justify Dissembling

Habitual Liars

Every so often politicians or those active in legislative chambers "show and tell".  They let us know what is (or has been) really going on.  One such moment has taken place in the United States.  One of the architects of deeply unpopular Obamacare has acknowledged (to a select audience) that at a critical point the language of the bill was crafted to disguise the truth.  The truth being disguised was that Obamacare, at its heart, is an enforced application of socialised medicine, where the more wealthy pay for the healthcare of others, through a taxing mechanism.
One of the architects of Obamacare said the law was written in a deliberately “tortured” way and relied on the “stupidity of the American voter” to ensure its passage.

In a newly unearthed 2013 clip, Jonathan Gruber, the MIT health economist who helped craft parts of the Affordable Care Act, got fairly candid about the tactics used to get the Affordable Care Act passed during a panel at the Annual Health Economists’ Conference last year.  “This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure [the Congressional Budget Office] did not score the mandate as taxes,” Gruber said in one 52-second clip. “If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. OK, so it’s written to do that. In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed.”

Gruber then trumpeted the value of a “lack of transparency” — and called American voters stupid.  “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” Gruber said. “And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass.” [Emphasis, ours]
Lack of transparency--or dissembling, deceit, lying--is ever a favoured device amongst the enemy, for they are children of the Father of Lies.  Ideologues, for whom a cause justifies all means to achieve it, will ever resort to lying and duplicity to get their way. 

In New Zealand our recent history provides a classic example.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Withering on the Vine

The Demographic Time Bomb is Most Marked in Japan

The demographic time bomb – whereby the elderly population assumes a greater and greater proportion of the total population - is no more marked than in Japan.

Falling birth rates (as a result of abortion, contraception and delaying childbirth) and increasing longevity as a result of better medical care have created this situation.

If we look at the population age structure in Japan (see graph above) we can see how dramatically its shape has changed since 1950 and how much more it will change by 2050.

The same trends are spelt out numerically in the table below where different countries are compared.
Unless something is done to reverse the demographic trends, ‘economic necessity’, together with the ‘culture of death’ ideology which is becoming more openly accepted, may well mean that the generation that killed its children through abortion will in turn be killed by its own children through euthanasia.

The population pyramid of 1950 shows that Japan had a standard-shaped pyramid marked by a broad base. The shape of the pyramid, however, has changed dramatically as both the birth rate and death rate have declined.

In 1950 the population of elderly citizens (65 years and over) accounted for just 4.9% of the total population. This had risen to 21.5% by 2007 and will rise to 39.6% by 2050.

Daily Devotional

Receiving Christ Himself

"As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord."
Colossians 2:6

Charles Spurgeon

The life of faith is represented as receiving--an act which implies the very opposite of anything like merit. It is simply the acceptance of a gift. As the earth drinks in the rain, as the sea receives the streams, as night accepts light from the stars, so we, giving nothing, partake freely of the grace of God. The saints are not, by nature, wells, or streams, they are but cisterns into which the living water flows; they are empty vessels into which God pours his salvation.

The idea of receiving implies a sense of realization, making the matter a reality. One cannot very well receive a shadow; we receive that which is substantial: so is it in the life of faith, Christ becomes real to us. While we are without faith, Jesus is a mere name to us--a person who lived a long while ago, so long ago that his life is only a history to us now! By an act of faith Jesus becomes a real person in the consciousness of our heart.

But receiving also means grasping or getting possession of. The thing which I receive becomes my own: I appropriate to myself that which is given. When I receive Jesus, he becomes my Saviour, so mine that neither life nor death shall be able to rob me of him. All this is to receive Christ--to take him as God's free gift; to realize him in my heart, and to appropriate him as mine.

Salvation may be described as the blind receiving sight, the deaf receiving hearing, the dead receiving life; but we have not only received these blessings, we have received Christ Jesus himself. It is true that he gave us life from the dead. He gave us pardon of sin; he gave us imputed righteousness. These are all precious things, but we are not content with them; we have received Christ himself. The Son of God has been poured into us, and we have received him, and appropriated him.

What a heartful Jesus must be, for heaven itself cannot contain him!