Tag Archives: christian

Saudi king urges UN action against religious insults

Saudi king urges UN action against religious insults

AFP – Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz on Saturday demanded a UN resolution condemning insults on monotheistic religions after a low-budget film produced in the US sparked deadly protests last month.

“I demand a UN resolution that condemns any country or group that insults religions and prophets,” he said during a meeting at his palace with religious figures and heads of hajj delegations in the Mina valley where pilgrims were performing final rituals of hajj.

“It is our duty and that of every Muslim to protect Islam and defend the prophets.”

A low-budget film produced in the US, Innocence of Muslims, triggered a wave of deadly anti-American violence last month across the Muslim world targeting US symbols ranging from embassies and schools to fast food chains.

Saudi Arabia had threatened to block YouTube in the kingdom if Google did not respond to a request to deny access to the video footage of the film. YouTube then extended its restrictions on the video to Saudi Arabia.

The king also called on Saturday for the “unity of the Islamic nation (and) rejecting division to face the nation’s enemies” as he urged for dialogue among Muslims.

“Dialogue strengthens moderation and ends reasons of conflict and extremism,” he said.

“The interconfessional dialogue centre which we had announced in Mecca does not necessarily mean reaching agreements on the matters of belief, but it aims at reaching solutions to divisions and implementing co-existance among sects,” he added.

The Saudi monarch proposed in August setting up a centre for dialogue between Muslim confessions in RiyadhSOURCE.

Why I Left Atheism

Why I Left Atheism

Of all the lessons that I present concerning the existence of God and of all the material that I try to make available to people to learn about God’s existence, the present lesson, “Why I Left Atheism,” is the lesson in the series that I frankly do not like to present. I guess none of us like to look back in our lives to a time when we made poor judgments and foolish mistakes–when we took rather really idiotic positions–and admit this, especially to people we are not well acquainted with. I present this lesson, however, because it is my fervent hope and prayer that perhaps by exposing my mistakes and by pointing out the things that were a part of my early life, some who might be following the same paths (to a greater or lesser extent) might not make those same mistakes. Someone once said that nobody is totally useless; if we cannot do anything else, we can at least serve as a bad example. That is sort of my situation. I am hoping that by presenting these materials and telling you something about my early life, some of you may be able to recognize the lack of wisdom and perhaps the poor judgment that is involved in rejecting God and living a life that demonstrates such a rejection.

Most of the time when I speak to religious groups or to people who believe in God, someone will ask me somewhat incredulously, “Well, were you really an atheist? Did you really not believe in God?” I want to start by asserting that the answer to that question is a very affirmative “Yes.” At one time in my life, I was totally and firmly convicted that there was no such thing as God and that anybody who believed in God was silly, superstitious, ignorant, and had simply not looked at the evidence. I felt that believers in God were uneducated and were just following traditions, superstitions, and things that really made no sense to a person who was aware of what was going on around them. Of course, that kind of life and conviction led me to do and say things and to be something that was really very unpleasant. I lived a life that was immoral and which reflected a lack of belief in God. I lived in a way that was very self-centered and that satisfied my own pleasures and desires regardless of whether or not other people were hurt in the process of what I was doing. In the process of doing this, I did a lot of things that affected me through my whole life. It is because of this that I present these materials hoping that perhaps some of you will not make the mistakes and suffer the consequences that I have suffered. I cannot clearly remember all of the events that took place or the proper sequence of events because I was not taking notes. I never expected that I would be trying to recall these things, much less tell someone else about them. Still, I can recall in a general way much of what happened, and I am very sure of the concepts. The concepts are what will be most useful to you.

I guess the reason that I was an atheist is the same reason that many of you are believers in God if you are. That was because I had been indoctrinated in that particular persuasion. My background, the variables that were exposed to me as a child, led me very strongly in that direction. Just as many of you believe in God because your parents believe in God and because they instilled this belief in you, I also questioned, challenged, and rejected God because that was the kind of indoctrination that I received as a child. I can remember my mother saying to me as a child something like, “Do you really believe there is an old man, floating around in the sky, blasting things into existence here upon the earth? Do you really believe that crummy looking structure on the corner could be something beautiful called ‘the church?’ Do you really believe that there is a hole in the ground that I am going to be thrown into and burned eternally if I do not live just the way some preacher thinks I ought to?” Of course, I could not conceive of these things as a child and did not know enough to realize they are not what the Bible teaches. Consequently, I came to believe that anybody who believed in God was just silly, superstitious, ignorant, and unlearned. You may wonder how it would be possible for a person coming out of this type of background and kind of learning situation to become a strong believer in God today, devoting his life to trying to help people to understand that there is a God in heaven and that the Bible is His literal and verbally inspired Word. It is the purpose of this booklet to try and point out at least some of the things that entered into my acceptance of God, Jesus Christ, and the Bible as God’s Word.

My high school career was one in which I grew quite rapidly academically. I enjoyed science and decided that I wanted to be a scientist of some kind. I entered Indiana University majoring in the field of physical science. It was actually at this point that one of the great changes that occurred in my life took place. I enrolled in a course in astronomy at the feet of one of the great astronomers of our day. In that particular course, we were studying the problem of origins–the creation of matter from nothing. As we discussed this particular subject, we went into all those theories that are in that particular material. We talked about the big-bang theory, the quasistatal theory, the continuous generation theory, the planetessimal theory, etc.

When we got to the conclusion of that discussion, I asked the professor which of the particular theories was the one that is most acceptable and that satisfactorily explains the creation of matter from nothing. He leaned over the desk and looked me straight in the eye and said, “Young man, you need to learn to ask intelligent questions.” That rather upset me. I did not appreciate that and I said, “Well, what do you mean?” He said, “This is not a question that a scientist tries to answer. This is a question for the philosopher or theologian, but this is not something that falls into the realm of science.” In today’s discussions of black holes and parallel universes, things have not changed. The basic question of the creation of matter/energy from absolutely nothing is not an area that can be scientifically explored. I was very disturbed by that answer. I had always felt that science could ultimately answer all the questions that man had–that there was nothing that science could not eventually take care of as far as what man might challenge and want to know about. Yet this learned man, an expert in his field, said that this was an area that the scientist should not even try to answer–that it was totally beyond the capacity of science to explain and explore.

Not too long after that, I enrolled in a course in biology at the feet of one of the great primitive life scientists in the country. As we discussed the initial beginning of life upon the earth in that class, we talked about the synthesis of various primitive chemical materials such as deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). As we discussed this, I once again asked a question related to the one that I had asked previously. I asked this professor what the process was by which the original life–the original living cells upon the earth–came into existence. How did the structure or generation of DNA occur? Once again, this man said, “Young man, that is not a question that falls within the realm of science.” In today’s world we understand more about biochemical processes, but we cannot answer how in the environment of the primitive earth these processes came into operation. I guess what was happening to me was the same thing that Lord Kelvin, a very famous British scientist, described in his writings when he made the statement, “If you study science deep enough and long enough it will force you to believe in God.” That is what happened to me. I began to realize that science had its limitations–that science, in fact, strongly pointed to other explanations than natural ones to certain questions.

It was about this time when another thing happened in my life and that was that a woman entered it. A lot of things begin with women (some things end with them, too). In this particular case, this young lady was by all means the most bull-headed, stubborn, cast-iron willed individual I had ever met in all my life. I can make those statements because some six years later I married her. This was the first girl I ever met that I felt I could respect. Sometimes you will hear preachers, who know absolutely nothing about what they are talking about from the role of experience, make statements such as, “If you hold on to your virtues and maintain your moral standards, a man will respect you more.” Let me tell you, as one who has lived on the other side of the fence and has thought as one who is alienated from how God thinks, that statement is true. I will guarantee you that I never thought seriously about marrying anyone until I met this girl whom I could respect–who really stood for something. Not only did she stand for something morally, she believed in God and read her Bible. Though she could not answer all my questions, she kept going back to the Bible. I also learned quickly not to let her know what I was really like morally. I knew if she really knew that, she would have nothing to do with me. I did not seem to be able to break her faith as I had been able to do with other people and the thing that happened was that as a result of her stubbornness and refusal to reject the Bible, she forced me to read the Bible.

I read the Bible through from cover to cover four times during my sophomore year in college for the explicit purpose of finding scientific contradictions in it. By that, I mean statements in the Bible that were false that I could throw back at her to show her how ridiculous it was to believe in God. I had even decided to write a book called All the Stupidity of the Bible. Something amazing happened as I did this. As I considered and thought about these things, I found that I could not find a contradiction–to find some kind of scientific inaccuracy in the Bible. I just simply was not able to do it. I gave up writing the book because of lack of material! It is amazing to me that as I talk to people, I find many who claim to be Christians and who perhaps claim to have been Christians for many years who have not read the Bible through cover to cover once. I find it hard to believe that they believe in God very much if they do not even want to know what He has to say.

As I read the Bible through again and again, I began to realize that not all of the things I had been told about God and religion were what the Bible said. They may have been what organized religion said or what some men taught, but not what the Bible itself said. For example, the Bible did not say that God was an old man floating around in the sky, blasting things into existence here upon the earth. The Bible said, “God is a spirit:…” (John 4:24) and that God is not flesh and blood. Jesus made the statement, “…for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17). There are many people today who do not understand this. A Russian astronaut once made the statement, “See, I told you there was no God; I didn’t see him when I was in orbit.” The question might be, “What was he looking for?” I began to recognize that God was not an old man in the sky. I had an anthropology professor who made the statement in all dead seriousness, “We all know what God is; He is an old man with a long white beard and big flowing robes.” I am sure that this was his concept of “God.” I began to recognize that this was not the biblical concept of God.

I began to recognize that the Christian life was not an altruistic life. I had been told by several people as a child that if you ever become a Christian, you cannot ever be happy, you cannot ever own anything, and you have to walk around with a long sad face and your chin dragging on the ground. Yet when I read the Bible, I read statements like, “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it,…” (Ephesians 5:28-29). I read about the Ethiopian eunuch who went on his way rejoicing because he had found Jesus Christ and the happiness that went with that acceptance of Jesus in his life. I have had many problems come into my life, but all I have to do is to look back at how miserable life was without Christ and I can realize that life, as it is now with Jesus, is beautiful in comparison.

I began to recognize that the Church was not a building. I can remember that when we lived in Alabama, there was a meeting place of some religious group just down the street from us. My mother used to point to that as we drove or walked by and say, “Look at that. How could anybody believe in God when the Church looks like that.” I realized that the Bible did not teach that the Church is such a structure. First Corinthians 3:16 makes the statement, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God….” As an atheist, I recognized that you could meet on the moon, in a submarine, out in the desert, or any place else and still be the Church. The Church was not a building. What a tragedy it is that so many today have invested enormous amounts of money in edifices and buildings, while other human beings have gone hungry nearby.

I began to recognize that hypocrisy was not confined to religion. I had the idea that every hypocrite in the world sat in a pew on Sunday morning, and thus that everybody who was not sitting in a pew was not a hypocrite. I remember the lesson I learned on this. There was a young man who would sit elbow to elbow with me arguing against the religionist from time-to-time. He was in the hospital once with a very serious ailment. I went up to visit him and as I opened the hospital door, I saw him down on his knees praying to God. I stood at the door of that hospital room screaming at him, “You hypocrite–you dirty hypocrite!” until I was escorted out of the hospital. It slowly began to dawn on me that hypocrisy is a function of humanity, not religion. You deal with hypocrites at the grocery store, at the filling station, on the job, at school, and at the golf course (maybe more there than anywhere else). You do not quit buying groceries because the grocer says one thing and does another. You do not quit your job because your employer tells you to do something that he himself would not touch with a ten-foot pole. You do not deprive yourself or your child of a good education because a teacher teaches one thing and lives something else. You do not quit playing golf because your buddy takes a stroke in the rough and does not count it when he thinks you did not see it. Sure there is hypo-crisy in the Church, because there are human beings in the Church, and as long as you deal with human beings, you are going to deal with hypocrisy. Do you want to get away from hypocrisy? Dig a 20-foot hole in your back yard, jump in, let someone cover you with dirt, and even then you are going to be sitting down there in the bottom of that hole with one hypocrite. There is not a one of us breathing air that is as consistent as we ought to be, but the person who says, “I’m not going to be a Christian! I’m not going to serve God! I’m not going to get involved in the work of the Church because there are hypocrites in the Church,” is just logically inconsistent! We do not use that kind of thinking anywhere else in our lives. How can we do it in our relationship to God? There were many, many misconceptions that I had to get rid of to understand truly what the Bible really teaches.

Another thing that I think needs to be mentioned here as we discuss some of the things that led me to believe in God were things that had to do with my happiness. I remember that as a young person, I had what would be an ideal home by worldly standards. My parents were marvelous people; there was no divorce, unfaithfulness, or neglect in my family. We did things as a family. We enjoyed each other, yet I ran away from home. I was rebellious and antagonistic. As I look back at God’s Word today, I can see why these things happened. In Colossians 3:20, for example, the Bible says, “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well-pleasing unto the Lord.” Obedience was not a characteristic of John Clayton as a young man. Living in Bloomington, Indiana, Indianapolis was known as the party town, and if I wanted to go to Indianapolis, I went. When my mother said she did not want me to go, I disconnected the speedometer and went. I did anything and everything I wanted to do. After all, there was no God. All my parents were doing was restricting my fun and enjoyment in life; why should I obey them? I lived a life that was totally antagonistic to everything that my parents stood for. It is amazing to me today that some parents, who do not believe in God and demonstrate this lack of belief to their children by what they say or the way they live, wonder why their children will not obey them. Why should they? They have removed the only source of authority that they have, and no child is going to obey a parent who has destroyed that source of authority. I am convinced that much of our law and order problems center around this very question.

Years ago I was talking to a young man in Michigan who had been a participant in some of the riots at the University of Michigan. He made the statement to me that he had done these things and I asked him why he had not obeyed the law. He said, “What law?” and I said, “The law of the land–the law that God has instituted.” He looked at me and laughed and said, “Man, I don’t believe in God.” I do not believe we can have law and order when we remove the source of the authority to that law and order. Certainly, my rebelliousness and failure to obey my parents brought a great deal of unpleasantness and misery not only into my life, but into theirs as well. The very next verse, Colossians 3:21, contains another statement that I think had a great deal to do with my unhappiness and rebelliousness as a child. The statement is made, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” My parents had a tradition when I was a young man–a tradition they called the cocktail hour. I have never seen my parents drunk, but they would drink a few martinis and my mother would ask me questions that ordinarily she would not have asked. I remember, for instance, she would sometimes ask, “What did you do with the girl you took out last night?” That was the last thing I was going to tell my mother, so I learned to look her right straight in the eye and lie. I could lie to her or anybody else without batting an eyelash. I conditioned myself to do things that were wrong. I conditioned myself to steal. I remember the first time that I stole something. It was a box of raisins from the IGA store. I felt so badly that I took it back and apologized. Sometime later, I stole a comic book from a drug store; I took it back, but I did not apologize. Six months later, I was stealing almost anything I could get my hands on, not because I needed it, but because it was fun–it was a challenge. I even went so far as to be caught stealing money from my parents. That brings me to the next point, which is certainly another thing that had to do with my happiness.

When I read passages in the Bible like Psalm 53, for instance, I sometimes feel like God is describing John Clayton some years ago. Psalm 53:1-3 says:

The fool hath said in his heart, “There is no God.” Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Another statement, made by Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:2-3, 14, says:

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?…I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

I have tried almost everything you can imagine to find pleasure and happiness. I will not try to tell you that I did not find pleasure using my own system of following my own desires, but I can guarantee you that I did not find happiness. I tried every conceivable thing you can think of. I tried all kinds of things–things that were immoral, that were wrong, that hurt other people, and things that I would not even want to describe. I did those things because I was trying to find pleasure and happiness and, as I say, I found pleasure sometimes. However, I never went to bed at night satisfied or happy with my life and enjoying my living. I never got up in the morning looking forward to a new day. Life was just one long chain of misery.

Judge Roy Moore of Lawton, Oklahoma, who deals with the legal problems precipitated by the presence of Fort Sill in that area, once made the statement to me, “I’ve never seen a young man on drugs live more than seven years without taking his life.” You may not be able to understand that, but I have sat on the edge of my bed with a .22-caliber rifle between my legs, trying to have enough guts to pull the trigger. I bottomed out that low; I got that emotionally disturbed and upset with my desire and attempt to find happiness. Please listen to me and profit by what I am saying. You can try every conceivable thing that this world has to offer. You can try sex, drugs, alcohol, stealing, and all kinds of things in a desperate attempt to find happiness. I can testify from experience that you may find pleasure, but you will not find happiness. I can go back to Bloomington today and meet people who refuse to believe that I have changed my life–people that I hurt and who knew the kind of life I lived. The reason that I think many things happen with young people today is because they try to find happiness living their own way. It simply does not work. Have you ever wondered why it is that when a person gets clean from drugs, gets rid of the problem of alcohol, or conquers some of the problems like the ones I had, that the person always seems to get involved in some religious cause, halfway house, or something like that? Why is that? I can tell you from my own experience that we have learned that the only place you find happiness is in using God’s system–in following God’s way. Perhaps people that have lived without God appreciate so much more than people that have grown up in religious structures–what you have in the Church. You do not find happiness living your own system, but only in living God’s way and in being a part of God’s system.

As perhaps you are beginning to realize as we get into this discussion more thoroughly, there were a variety of things that led me to believe in God. One other thing that I think ought to be mentioned is the fact that I entered a period of military service about this time. For the first time in my life, I came in contact with death. I began to think about the reasonableness of death as I Iooked at it as an atheist. Perhaps a more accurate way to describe this was the way that I had to look at life because of death. As an atheist, I realized that I had to look at life with all of its problems, difficulties, and terrible things that I experienced as the best thing that I could ever look forward to. Yet I realized that as a Christian, I would be able to look at life with all of its joys, beauties, and wonderful things that we all enjoy as the absolute worst that I was ever going to have to experience. Yet from a philosophical point, I began to realize that Christianity offered a great deal in this particular area. I did not get scared into believing in God, but I think this area together with all these other things helped me to realize that there really was quite a change in my understanding of what Christianity and God are all about. I began to recognize that perhaps there were some things about the Church and what it had to offer that were important to me.

About this time in my life, I decided that other religious systems might be as good as the Bible. To check them out, I began reading the Vedas, Koran, Sayings of Buddha, writings of Bahaullah and Zoroaster and found that other religions taught many things I could not accept. There were teachings in their writings concerning what life was like after this life that were unrewarding and unrealistic and there were descriptions of God that were illogical and inconsistent. There were also many scientific inaccuracies in their works. There were many teachings about life and how to live it that were not workable. This included the role and position of women in the Koran, the Holy War concept of Mohammed, the pantheism of nearly all other systems, reincarnation, idol worship, polygamy, and a myriad of ideas which I had expected to find in the Bible, but did not. I began to realize that nothing matched the Bible’s system of life. Only in the Bible could I see statements which would stand in the face of the scientific facts that I knew to be true and only the Bible offered a system of life that I felt was reasonable and consistent. I decided that if I ever came to believe in God, it would be a belief based upon the Bible.

The next question was that if I ever became a believer in God, which of all the religious organizations claiming to be Christianity would be the correct one. I recognized that I did not want to be a part of all these traditional religious bodies that taught the error that I had been taught and had believed in my early years, so I started visiting the various religious organizations in southern Indiana at that time. I visited almost every religious organization that I could get into, to try and see what they taught, to see if they followed the Bible and if they understood what the Bible had to say or if they followed men’s theologies. My experience was that as I went from one to another, each of them taught something that was not in the Bible. They honored some men above other men, they taught that unreligious writings were equivalent to the Bible and they did not follow the Bible literally and verbally. I had had enough of religious confusion and error. I did not want any more of that sort of thing, so I continued looking. In a real sense, I guess you could say I am still looking–I am still trying to find that true Church. I did find the religious group that seemed to me to follow the Bible very closely. In Bloomington, there was a group of people who met on the corner of 4th and Lincoln streets. They were called the Church of Christ. These people still did not totally follow what I understood to be the biblical system. My challenge today to young people who are Christians would be to do a job of totally restoring New Testament Christianity. This group did have the doctrine of Christianity pretty well restored as I understood it. I recognized that passages like 1 Peter 3:21 (“The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us….”) had to be interpreted as meaning what it said, and this group did interpret that in a way that I felt was consistent with that passage. This group did interpret Acts 2:38 (“…be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,…”) in a way that I felt was consistent and they did reject men as their source of authority.

As a matter of fact, I remember hearing one of the first lessons that I ever heard in that building preached by a man named Raymond Muncy. Mr. Muncy said, “Now, don’t you ever listen to anything any preacher says,” and I said amen to that. He went on and talked about how we should not rely upon man and I want to tell you here an now that you should never believe anything any preacher says. Do not ever listen to any preacher, under any circumstance, unless you can find for yourself in the Bible that what that man says is consistent with God’s Word. This is, in essence, what Mr. Muncy was saying and I was very impressed by it, but that group of people did not give as they were prospered. Yes, they worshipped according to God’s format, but they did not give as they were prospered. They were not involved in teaching their neighbors about Jesus Christ. There was a very small percentage who were active in the work and they certainly did not manifest the kind of love and appreciation for each other that I understood the Bible to teach. The generation before you has restored the doctrine of Christianity–I believe that. However, they have yet to restore the spirit of New Testament Christianity and that is your challenge. Restore the spirit of New Testament Christianity–the love and the concern for the souls of others that the early Church had. I recognized that the Church of Christ was the closest thing that I had seen to what the Bible taught. I determined that if I ever became a Christian, I would become a member of this group–a group that was trying to follow the Bible literally and verbally, that would not accept the teachings of men and would not try to be influenced by the traditions of the past.

I guess the real straw that broke the camel’s back occurred some six months later. I was enrolled in my first geology course at Indiana University. The professor was a brilliant, well-known atheist. On the first day of class, in response to a discussion, he made a statement something like, “I’m going to show you that the Bible is a bunch of garbage,” and I thought, “Now this is going to be great,” because I was getting concerned. I was still saying that I was an atheist to those who knew me well. I was still rejecting God and holding on tenaciously to my lack of belief. It is hard to change a life that has gone a certain direction for years and all of a sudden make it go another direction, I was not ready for that. I thought this man was going to be able to provide me with some arguments that would finally defeat this girl that I had been dating all these years. She was a Christian–although perhaps not as strong as she might have been. I was going to show her that this religion stuff was really a lot of bunk and I was even convinced that I might even be able to show Ray Muncy that belief in God was not realistic. Mr. Muncy was a man who had great patience and knowledge, but he had not been given much of an opportunity to convince or teach me much of anything.

The professor started the class out by showing us the various methods of dating rocks and other parts of the creation. He then asserted that everyone knew that the Bible said the earth was 6,000 years old. I asked where it said that. He replied that he believed it was in Genesis the 52nd chapter. I started looking, not knowing much about the Bible, to Genesis 40, Genesis 49, Genesis 50, Exodus 1–I said, “Wait a minute; Genesis only has 50 chapters.” He sputtered around a few minutes, but he never did find that passage. Of course, the Bible does not say the earth is 6,000 years old. The Bible is totally silent on the age of the earth and I realized that. This man made the statement that the Bible says that God created two cocker spaniels, two English terriers, and two German shepherds. We all had a good laugh when we figured out how big the Ark would have to be to hold the 20 million groupings of this kind. Once again, I asked where the word kind was defined in that way. It did not seem to me that the word kind meant that. We looked at it and he finally said he guessed that maybe it did not. First Corinthians 15:39 is the only definition of the word kind and that is a very broad definition (“All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another fishes, and another of birds.”). Genesis 1 uses the same terminology and the same break-down as 1 Corinthians 15. To make a very, very long story fairly short, when I turned in my final exam the last day of class, I said to this learned professor, “Sir, you have not really shown me any contradiction between what we have studied in this course and in what the Bible has to teach.” He jerked my paper away from me and said, “Well, I guess if you really study it, there is no contradiction.” I was shocked! I was appalled! Here was a man who had a Ph.D. and was a leading atheist, yet he could not answer the silly questions from an ignorant college junior who was on his side. I remember that February day very clearly. I walked back to my room in the dormitory in a state of shock. I could not believe what had happened. I got to my room about 11:00 and sat on my bed thinking what a stupid, ignorant fool I had been. I had rejected God; I had been dishonest. I had actually been stupid in my response to the evidence available to me. I did not like people who refuse to look at the evidence and draw intelligent conclusions. I did not like people who could not break free of their parents’ thinking and do their own thinking. I had always accused the religionists of doing this, yet I recognized that I had been guilty of the same thing. I had refused to be honest–to look at the evidence. I had refused to make comparative choices based upon what was available to me. I was miserable.

Supper time came and I was sitting there. My roommate came in and said, “Are you ready to eat?” I said, “No, I’m not hungry.” He said, “Are you sick?” I said, “Yes, I’m sick of me!!! I’m sick of being selfish, I’m sick of using people, I’m sick of being dishonest, I’m sick….” I was still telling him what I was sick about as he left for supper. At the time, I did not understand what was happening, but I do now! That is what repentance is all about–to get sick of a selfish, egotistical, destructive life and turn to God’s way–to turn to a life that has value, meaning, and direction. My roommate went on to eat and I just sat there determined that I had to do something. I could no longer sit back and be dishonest and continue to refuse to accept the obvious evidence that was available to me. About 6:30, I got up and started walking toward the building where the Church of Christ met on Wednesday nights. The invitation was extended at the Church of Christ that evening for anyone who wished to accept Christ and come forward. I went forward, understanding that I now believed totally and completely in God. I recognized that I needed to start a new life and be willing to tell people that I accepted the existence of God and believed that Jesus is His Son. I also realized that I was totally and completely lost in my sins and that I needed to be baptized to have forgiveness (as the Bible commanded). I started down the aisle that night and Raymond Muncy went into a mild state of shock. I remember the expression on his face. I do not think he believed that the power of God could ever reach a man as divorced as I was from anything good, decent, and godly. I was baptized into Christ that evening for the remission of my sins, as I understood the Bible to teach. To show you how far I was from God, I called this girl, I had been dating for some six years at that time. I said, “Phyllis, I’ve become a Christian!” She said, “I don’t believe you. You quit lying to me.” I had to have the preacher’s wife talk to her to convince her that I had, in fact, become a Christian. There are people today who still do not believe it–that the power of God could change a man that was as divorced and alienated from God as I was–but I want to tell you that in many respects, this is just the beginning of this story. God promised His help to those who are His followers. Having a close personal relationship to God and to other followers enable us to conquer enormous problems and do things we could not possibly do on our own (see Philippians 4:13).

I had a lot to overcome. I could not talk without swearing. You could not go to the preacher’s house and say pass the @$#%& potatoes. I had to learn a new way of talking, a new way of living, a new set of values, and a new morality, because I had lived in opposition to God. I asked God’s help in these things and I found I was able to overcome things I had never been able to overcome before. I have a whole new set of problems–a whole new set of things that I have to work on–but the problems I have today are nothing like the problems I had in the past. If anyone had told me twenty years ago that I would be openly using my limited abilities to publicly convict disbelievers of God’s reality, I would have thought they were insane. Nonetheless, God has blessed my feeble efforts in spectacular ways–totally beyond anything I could have ever done.

I want to close this lesson by asking you a very simple question–a question that you need to answer for yourself and that each person needs to answer I suppose nearly every day. Are you an atheist (not perhaps as man would define it, but as God defines it)? Are you an atheist? Oh, I realize you may not be the kind of atheist that I was. Perhaps you are not immoral or hurting people or dishonest or doing the kinds of things that I did. I am thankful that you are not, but do you realize the way Jesus views an atheist? Matthew 12:30 says, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” What is He saying? He is saying that you are either for God or you are against God. You are either an atheist or a Christian; you cannot be both. I can understand how a man can be an atheist. I have been an atheist a good part of my life. As an atheist, I believed (and still believe) that my life was consistent, reasonable, and defendable.

For a few years now, I have been trying to live what I understand to be the Christian way of life. Once again, I believe my life is consistent, reasonable, and defendable with what I believe, but I will never understand (and if you understand, I wish you would explain it to me) how a man or a woman or a boy or a girl can say, “Yes, I believe in God. Yes, I understand that the Bible is God’s Word,” and then not do everything and anything within their power to make sure their lives conform to what that God teaches. That is not consistent, not reasonable, and not defendable, yet I am sure there are many people who know that their life is not consistent with God’s way of living. Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Are you for Christ? Are you working for Christ? Is your life radiating the kind of living that Jesus taught? Are you really a Christian or are you an atheist? There is no middle ground. It is my hope that by revealing to you the kind of person I have been and the mistakes I have made, you have realized that God is the only way. It is my prayer that you have realized that there is nothing that can be a part of your life that God cannot help you overcome and that you also realize that there is no better time than right now to begin the Christian way of living. Will you not give yourself to God and live Christ’s Way? If you do not know a person or group of people in your community following the Lord, write me and I will try to help you.

John N. Clayton
1555 Echo Valley Dr.
Niles, MI 49120-8738

SOURCE

Christians Have as Many Abortions as Everyone Else, Catholics Have More

Christians Have as Many Abortions as Everyone Else, Catholics Have More

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Edward T. Babinski

San Francisco, Calif. — With over one million abortions being performed in the US each year, this issue has dominated the political landscape. In recent years the rhetoric has escalated, with the pro-life movement becoming a flagship for Christian morality and ethics. The prevailing Christian doctrine–that abortion is murder–has polarized the issue, firmly placing the vast majority of Christians on the pro-life side of the debate.

Incendiary comments by some of the more outspoken Christian figureheads have sought to portray abortion as an “evil” perpetrated by the non-Christian left. In response to this, The Center For Reason, a private research group, undertook a study to test the premise: “Christians have fewer abortions than non-Christians”. The results disproved the premise.

The study, available as a downloadable report, reveals that Christians have just as many abortions as non-Christians. Data analyzed for all fifty states show that the rate of abortion is the same in the most-Christian segments of the population as it is in the least-Christian. The most-Catholic segments, on the other hand, showed significantly higher abortion rates.

All data sources used in the study are publicly available, and are referenced in the report. All raw data and calculated values are tabulated in the report, to allow full verification of the results.

This research was undertaken to test the premise: “Christians have fewer abortions than non-Christians”. This topic was chosen in response to the very-public stance of certain far-right Christian groups, who assert that abortion is an evil perpetrated by the non-Christian left.

The results disproved the premise. It transpires that Christians have just as many abortions as their non-Christian counterparts. The study concludes that in the year 2000, Christians had approximately 570,000 abortions. Within the Christian segment, Catholics were found to have abortion rates significantly higher than the national average.

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SOURCE

A Uniting of World Religions

Pope to promote peace in talks with world religious leaders

Posted by AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

VATICAN CITY,– Pope Benedict XVI has invited 300 religious leaders to a meeting in Assisi in Italy to repudiate “violence in the name of God” amid growing tensions fuelled by fundamentalists across the world.

The day of interreligious council, which will be held on Thursday in St. Francis of Assisi’s birthplace, is intended to be a “journey of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world,” the Vatican said.

Over 50 Islamic representatives are expected to attend the talks from several countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iran.

They will be joined by Rabbis, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, a Zoroastrian, a Bahai and representatives of Taoism and Confucianism as well as of other traditional religions from Africa and America.

For the first time, four atheists will also attend the meeting, which is traditionally organised so as not to coincide with the Muslim day of prayer on Friday, the Jewish one on Saturday or the Christian one on Sunday.

However, the Imam from the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, a heavyweight authority on Sunnism, will not be coming, having fallen out with the pope after he urged Egypt to protect Christians from attacks by radical Islamists.

The meeting is being criticised by Catholic fundamentalists who are strongly against the idea of dialogue with other religions. French fundamentalist Regis de Cacqueray said 1,000 masses would be needed to be said in reparation.

The event marks the 25th anniversary of the first interreligious meeting in Assisi, organised by John Paul II in 1986 as a “day of prayer” inspired by the United Nation’s proclamation of an International Year of the Peace.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, chose not to attend because of concerns shared by traditionalists that it risked mixing religions into a vague common belief.

While guests attending this year’s encounter — the third in Assisi — will in principle follow a “common course”, those who wish to pray will do so separately, according to their beliefs, the Holy See has said.

Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who helped organise the first Assisi day in 1986, said John Paul II had been careful to avoid mixing beliefs, and Benedict XVI was no different.

“Interreligious dialogue has spread” over the last 25 years, and the pope sees it “as a common, irrevocable heritage of Christian sensibility,” he said.

The pope’s main aim is for participants to agree to “a common commitment to reject the instrumentalism of religion and the use of violence in the name of God,” said a Vatican insider.

Number two of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Pier Luigi Celata, said the problems that particularly concern religions are immigration, cultural diversity, religious liberty and the defence of the family.

“These issues oblige faithful people from different religions to look for common solutions,”
he said.

At the end of the day of talks, the main participants will renew their commitment to peace in the square in front of St. Francis’ Basilica.

A burning torch will be symbolically presented to the delegations in the hope that they will take the message back with them to their communities.

The Unconstitutionality of Christ

Jesus’ name ruled ‘unconstitutional’

By Drew Zahn
© 2011

A board of county commissioners in North Carolina is asking the Supreme Court for help: Its members don’t believe they should have to forbid volunteers from mentioning the name of Jesus in prayers offered before their meetings.

But the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for Separation of Church and State are standing by their victory in a U.S. circuit court decision that states even “a solitary reference to Jesus Christ” in invocations before the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners’ meetings could do “violence to the pluralistic and inclusive values that are a defining feature of American public life.

Furthermore, wrote Judge James Harvie Wilkinson III in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals majority opinion, legislative invocations offered in Jesus’ name are inherently “sectarian” and thus should be censored lest they make some attendees feel “uncomfortable, unwelcome and unwilling to participate in … public affairs.”

But the board disagrees, and with the help of the Alliance Defense Fund is asking the Supreme Court to trump Wilkinson’s ruling.

“America’s founders opened public meetings with prayer; this county simply wants to allow its citizens to do the same,”
said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman in a statement. “We trust the U.S. Supreme Court will want to review this case because of the long history in America of offering prayers before public meetings. Public officials shouldn’t be coerced into censoring the prayers of those invited to offer them just because secularist groups don’t like people praying according to their own conscience.”

For years, the board has extended an open invitation to religious leaders from the community to volunteer a prayer before its twice-monthly meetings, asking only that the invocations “not be exploited as an effort to convert others … nor to disparage any faith or belief.”

But a pair of local citizens, Janet Joyner and Constance Lynn Blackmon, attended the meetings regularly and were bothered by the frequent mentions of Jesus in the prayers. After the pair sat through yet another Christian prayer, this one including references to “the Cross of Calvary” and the “Virgin Birth,” they sued the board of commissioners with help from the ACLU and Americans United lawyers.

After a pair of appeals, Judge Wilkinson handed down a majority opinion Americans United called “a major win for church-state separation.”

“While legislative prayer has the capacity to solemnize the weighty task of governance … it also has the potential to generate sectarian strife,” Wilkinson reasoned. “Such conflict rends communities and does violence to the pluralistic and inclusive values that are a defining feature of American public life.”

“It is not enough to contend, as the dissent does, that the policy was ‘neutral and proactively inclusive,‘” the ruling continues. “Take-all-comers policies that do not discourage sectarian prayer will inevitably favor the majoritarian faith in the community at the expense of religious minorities living therein. This effect creates real burdens on citizens – particularly those who attend meetings only sporadically – for they will have to listen to someone professing religious beliefs that they do not themselves hold.”

The Forsyth Board’s invocations, the court determined, “made at least two citizens feel uncomfortable, unwelcome and unwilling to participate in the public affairs of Forsyth County. To be sure, citizens in a robust democracy should expect to hear all manner of things that they do not like. But the First Amendment teaches that religious faith stands on a different footing from other forms of speech and observance.”

Judge Wilkinson concluded, “In order to survive constitutional scrutiny, invocations must consist of the type of nonsectarian prayers that solemnize the legislative task and seek to unite rather than divide.”

But does a volunteer’s prayer that merely mentions Jesus necessarily “divide”?

The court referenced one of its prior decisions in which it ruled a town council’s prayers “clearly ‘advance[d]’ one faith, Christianity, in preference to others … because they ended with a solitary reference to Jesus Christ.”

The ruling further projected, “As our nation becomes more diverse, so also will our faiths. To plant sectarian prayers at the heart of local government is a prescription for religious discord. … In their public pursuits, Americans respect the manifold beliefs of fellow citizens by abjuring sectarianism and embracing more inclusive themes.”

Judge Paul Niemeyer, however, dissented from the two majority judges in the three-judge panel that heard the case, arguing that the court is, in application, “regulating” public prayer.

“When offering legislative prayers in which the Divine Being is publicly asked for guidance and a blessing of the legislators, religious leaders will hereafter have to refrain from referencing the Divine Being with the inspired or revealed name,
” Niemeyer wrote. “The majority has dared to step in and regulate the language of prayer – the sacred dialogue between humankind and God. Such a decision treats prayer agnostically; reduces it to civil nicety.

“Most frightfully,” he continued, “it will require secular legislative and judicial bodies to evaluate and parse particular religious prayers.”

Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Brett Harvey agrees.

“The decision is troubling on many fronts,” Harvey wrote in a blog post. “It is out of step with many other federal courts that have considered the validity of public invocations, including the United States Supreme Court. It ignores the religious heritage and history of our nation. But more troubling is the impact of the court’s decision on prayer itself. … It requires the government to censor private prayers and engage in comparative theology.”

He concludes, “The Constitution prohibits the government from deciding which religious words are acceptable and which are not, even if the goal is to make people feel more comfortable.”

SOURCE

European children being forced to bow down to Islam…literally

European children being forced to bow down to Islam…literally

Islamization of the West

European children are being brainwashed into ‘respecting’ Islam with school-organized mosque visits and syllabuses that give undue prominence to a mythical Islamic ‘Golden Age.’

The picture below is from La Roche in France. The newspaper headline says “School pupils immerse themselves in Islam at La Roche mosque.”

Islam vs Europe
Here’s an excerpt from the British government website that provides information on the national curriculum. It describes a programme of lessons called “The Achievement of Muhammad (pbuh)” and discusses how to grade the childrens’ essays, quoting a few examples:

Over a number of lessons, the pupils had read and discussed texts about Muhammad’s (pbuh) life, covering his family’s reaction to his claims, as well as the reaction of people in Mecca and Medina. The pupils debated Muhammad’s (pbuh) achievements in groups and as a class.

As homework the teacher asked the pupils to answer the following assessment questions: Discuss the main events in Muhammad’s (pbuh) life that led others to believe he was a prophet from Allah (attainment target 1 beliefs, teachings and sources). What do you think Muhammad (pbuh) achieved in his life? (attainment target 2 meaning, purpose and truth).

Here are some excerpts from the children’s essays:

JOHN: I think the main events in Muhammad’s life which led others to believe he was a prophet were when he had a vision from Gabriel in a cave outside Mecca. Some may think that he could have made it up but I think he was telling the truth because he was so convinced and honest that it could well have happened. Also he has so much to back him up and he couldn’t have just made it all up. Personally I think Muhammad was a great man and he had much strength and courage to do what he did and he has only God to thank for that.”

ALEX: Muhammad achieved an extremely big thing in his life. Creating a religion is very hard but creating a religion that is the second biggest in the world is even harder.

LAURA: Muhammad left his country and moved to Medina. During his time there he saw how much hatred there was, so he took it upon himself to do something about it. He brought the Medinian and Meccan Muslims together, and got them working alongside each other. …He preached to people who believed in many gods ad whose lives were full of sin and united religions and differences… I believe spreading the news of what you believe in, and totally changing a country from bad to good is a great achievement in anyone’s life.

Here’s a photo from of a trip to a mosque where British female students are forced to bow down to Allah:

[Message to American parents from BNI: Your children may be subjected to the same kind of Islamic brainswashing in their schools. Make sure you know what/if they are teaching them about Islam and raise Hell with the school board at any hints of Islamic indoctrination. It has already happened in some US public schools and American parents have succeeded in getting it eliminated from the curriculum]

SOURCE

Mutually Assured Destruction

Will the President and the Congress Send a Message to Turkey and Egypt That An Attack Upon Israel Will Be Viewed As An Attack Upon the U.S.?

By Ed Koch

Israel is now surrounded by Arab and other Muslim nations who believe this is the moment when they can finally destroy the Jewish state. They tried and failed to conquer Israel in five different wars since 1948. They are still trying.

Since the “Arab Spring” revolts in the Arab heartland of Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria, opinion-makers in the Western world have sought to glamorize those revolutions by comparing them to those by which eastern European countries freed themselves from Communist regimes imposed on them by the Soviet Union.

So when the uprisings took place against the existing repressive Arab governments, the media labeled the various revolutions the “Arab Spring.” That title was intended to convey that finally, the Arabs, heretofore stuck in medieval times, had come out of those dark ages and were now to be applauded and welcomed to the western world.

Some observers, including myself, have voiced great concern about the blind support in the west, particularly in our government, for the Arab revolutionary movements everywhere. In my view, it was harmful to our own – the U.S. – national security needs to throw the President of Egypt Hosni Mubarak under the bus by demanding his removal as President Obama did. Yes, he was a despot, described as an authoritarian in a world of Muslim dictatorships, but he believed in keeping good relations with the U.S. and keeping the peace with Israel established back in 1978 by Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin at Camp David. Those who overthrew him have made clear that their intention is to end that peace. The forces that are dominant in Egypt today are the military, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. The goal of the military is to preserve their special niche as the principal governing power. The Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist factions are the strongest politically and most organized of all the civilian groups vying for power in the next presidential election.

As a result of the recent occupation and sacking of the Israeli embassy in Cairo while Egyptian police and army stood by, we know that the current interim Egyptian government has decided to cast aside peace with Israel and go with the Islamists. The Times of September 11th reported, “Egyptian military and security police officers largely stood by without interfering with the demolition. Instead, they clustered at the entrance to the embassy to keep protesters out. The security forces had pulled back from Tahrir Square and other areas before the start of the day to avoid clashes with the protesters, although the military had issued a stern warning on its Facebook page against property destruction.” The Israeli ambassador, his family and other Israeli officials were forced to flee the embassy in fear of their lives. Because of the entreaties of President Obama to the Egyptian government, they were saved from violence and permitted to board Israeli jets to go home to Israel.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider “must-reading”. HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It’s free. Just click here.

And what of the situation with Turkey? Once a friend of Israel, it now has an Islamist government led by its prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has issued a statement tantamount to a declaration of war. The Times reported on September 10th, “The prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, told Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab network, that he would use his warships to prevent Israeli commandos from again boarding a Gaza-bound ship as they did last year, killing nine passengers, and from letting Israel exploit natural gas resources at sea.”

While the United Nations, not normally a defender of Israel, recently issued a report that Israel had a right to blockade Gaza so as to prevent weapons from being brought into the Gaza Strip, now governed by Hamas, Turkey has rejected the report, and expelled the Israeli ambassador. Hamas has declared that it is at war with Israel, and that if it is ever in a position to do so, it will expel every Jew living in Israel who came to Palestine after 1917, and will use violence to achieve its goals. It has intentionally killed innocent civilians, sending thousands of rockets into southern Israel or allowing other terrorist groups to do so.

In addition to Hamas on its southern border, Israel is now facing an increasingly hostile Egypt, with an army of nearly one million and a population of 81 million. To Israel’s north is not only hostile Lebanon and Syria, but now Turkey with an army of one million and a population of 73 million.

It is also disturbing that there is a rising tide of Jew-hatred in Great Britain and in France. In Great Britain, that hatred was recently demonstrated by those who called themselves artists, who disrupted a concert by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Zubin Mehta in London on September 1st. The police arrested no one who for a time prevented the audience of 5,000 from enjoying the evening. No speaker supporting Israel is permitted to speak at British universities. They are not invited or hooted down if invited.

France is working with the Palestinians to achieve their admission to the United Nations General Assembly. Israel’s only apparent defender on the European continent is Germany because of the continuous ongoing support of Israel by Chancellor Angela Merkel. I met and heard Chancellor Merkel in 2004 when I attended in Berlin the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) conference on rising anti-Semitism, when I served as chairman of the U.S. delegation. I was impressed by the depths of her sincerity in denouncing anti-Semitism and recognizing the depravity of the German nation under Hitler in its efforts to exterminate world Jewry.

The Muslim nations are undoubtedly licking their chops at what they would do if they were ever to be successful in defeating Israel on the battlefield or at the U.N. which is prepared to serve as the site of today’s Munich. If Assad of Syria is willing to kill innocent men, women and children in the streets and cities in Syria, what do you think he would do if his soldiers patrolled Tel Aviv?

The Arab countries’ threats to destroy Israel, a nation with a total population of 7.7 million, including 1.2 million Muslims, is not receiving front page coverage or denunciations from NATO nation leaders. The revolutionaries making up the “Arab Spring” are lauded by the opinion-makers here in the U.S. and even more so in Europe.

This past Sunday, we commemorated in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania the deaths of more than 3,000 innocent civilians on 9/11, committed by Islamic terrorists whose supporters run into the millions and are now located in at least 62 countries. Our NATO allies never supported the U.S. to the extent they promised when we invaded Afghanistan to punish the Afghan government for providing a refuge for al-Qaeda, which perpetrated the 9/11 atrocities and many others. In my judgment, as harsh as it sounds, many of those NATO countries, including Britain and France, would deliver the Jewish nation into the hands of their putative murderers if it gave them “peace in our time,” just as Chamberlain gave Czechoslovakia to the Nazis. Are we willing here in the U.S. to continue to fight for our precious liberties and support countries like Israel having the same moral and cultural values?

We in America, led by President Obama and Congress, must make it absolutely clear to the Islamist terrorists that we will never surrender. We will hunt them down as we did their leader, Osama bin Laden, and kill them.

The U.S. is Israel’s only friend and ally. It is not foolish or premature to ask what will the U.S. do when and if the Muslim nations surrounding Israel, this time led by Egypt and Turkey, supported by others, assault the Jewish nation? Will the President and the Congress come to its aid? Shouldn’t Israel know now? Shouldn’t the Muslim nations know?

I urge the President and the Congress to do for Israel what President Kennedy did during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. President Kennedy said “It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack by the Soviet Union on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.”

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ACLU Okay with Prayer in Public Schools (Muslim prayer that is)

ACLU Okay with Prayer in Public Schools (Muslim prayer that is)

by Ann-Marie Murrell

Carver Elementary school in San Diego is possibly going to allow Muslim students to pray in school.

Would someone please explain to me why the ACLU, who has fought all-things Christian for decades, is not only okay with this but is calling everyone who doesn’t agree ‘intolerant’?

According to Kevin Keenan, spokesperson for the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, “Performing these prayers is widely—if not universally—recognized as one of the five essential ‘pillars’ of Islam. One of these prayer times will always fall during the school day at Carver when students are required by law to be at school.”

Um, Mr. Keenan, the Quran tells Muslims to do a LOT of things we don’t want them doing here in America. It isn’t a religion to them, it is a law.

Oh and also, Mr. Keenan, prayer for Christians is also a widely—if not universally—recognized essential of Christianity.

“Some ideological groups, who seem to prefer culture wars more than honoring constitutional standards for freedom of religion, are excitedly writing direct mail pieces to promote sectarian religious agendas,”
Keenan wrote in a statement on the ACLU website. “It is important that the public be aware of some of the deep ironies and biases in some of their arguments.”

If you want to talk ‘ironies’ and ‘biases’, this is the same ACLU that has been fighting freedom of religion in public schools for decades by banning prayer in schools completely. This is the same ACLU that has (wrongly) asserted that it is unconstitutional to allow any type of prayer and/or religion in schools.

Yet they’re perfectly okay with children following whatever the violent Quran tells them to do?

Of course, the ACLU is doing their usual progressive thing by calling opposition to this issue “inflammatory rhetoric” and that people are using “prejudiced assertions” instead of stepping back and thinking, “Hey ACLU people, are we maybe being a tad hypocritical here?”

The ACLU—founded in 1920 by an anarchist/Socialist/Communist-leaning man named Roger Nash Baldwin—has been the end-all-be-all in public schools for decades. For whatever strange reasons, they seem to have the power to determine ‘right and wrong’ in public schools.

So ACLU people out there, if you determine it is okay for Muslims to pray in schools are you going to change your stance on Christian prayer as well?

But no, of course the ACLU isn’t looking at the irony in claiming everyone in the US is prejudice if they don’t think it’s fair for one “religious” group to be allowed to pray in public schools while other (real) religious groups may not. Of course they’re going to try to divert attention away from the actual subject. Of course they’re going to follow the rules of Progressivism 101 and lie, cheat and scam Americans into believing right is wrong, wrong is right, black is white, white is black…

And of course, the San Diego chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations supports the Carver program. Sigh.

SOURCE

“O” ….NO…!!!


O no! USA Today challenges Oprah on Jesus Christ
‘Absolutely contrary to the true teaching of Scripture and historic Christianity’

Posted: May 25, 2011

By Joe Kovacs
© 2011 WND

As Oprah Winfrey’s television show comes to a conclusion this week, USA Today is challenging the queen of daytime TV’s spirituality, quoting authors who say Oprah’s beliefs are “absolutely contrary to the true teaching of Scripture and historic Christianity.”

The report by Cathy Lynn Grossman opens by asking to whom will Oprah turn now that she’s leaving the TV talk circuit.

God?” the report asks. “Not likely. Many Americans no longer believe in a mighty judge who sets the rules for life now and forever. Instead, many of us sing Oprah’s song of self-redemption.”

Oprah told Piers Morgan on the CNN host’s opening show: “I am the messenger to deliver the message of hope and redemption.”

USA Today says to a vast extent, American culture has bought the message: We’re all good, we should not judge each other and morality is relative.

It quotes Rice University sociologist Michael Lindsay who said Oprah draws on multiple religious traditions to “create a hodgepodge personalized faith.”

USA Today explains: “This is, of course, a message that horrifies traditional believers who decry it, like Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett in their book, “‘O’ God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality.”

In the book, the authors state: “The danger is that while appearing to use Christian and inclusive language that at first seems similar to that of Christianity, Oprah teaches a message that is radically different and absolutely contrary to the true teaching of Scripture and historic Christianity.”

On “Good Morning America” on the day of her final show, Oprah noted, “I often say, ‘Nobody but Jesus could have made this happen for me. I had no stylist, I had no publicist, I [was not] marketing-savvy, I was the most naive in terms of how the business operated.

Though brought up as a Baptist, Oprah has since embraced and promoted a New Age-style philosophy promoted by Eckhart Tolle of “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth.”

She explained how she reconciled her Christian roots with Tolle’s let-go-and-breathe counseling on peace through silence and stillness: “What I believe is that Jesus came to show us Christ consciousness. That Jesus came to show us the way of the heart and that what Jesus was saying that to show us the higher consciousness that we’re all talking about here … .”

Winfrey’s television and print empire was stained in October 2009 by the tragic deaths of three people who were following the spiritual teaching of one of Winfrey’s celebrated and promoted self-help gurus, James Arthur Ray.

Winfrey’s philosophy of spirituality is embraced by many in her audience, especially those, like the TV host, who have grown disillusioned with organized religion and traditional Christianity.

But after 19 people were hospitalized and three killed during one of Ray’s “Spiritual Warrior” seminars at a sweat lodge near Sedona, Ariz., some are questioning whether Winfrey’s brand of spiritual wisdom is leading people closer to or further from the truth.

Best-selling author and Christian apologist Josh McDowell and fellow apologist Dave Sterrett of Probe Ministries released a new book – “‘O’ God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality” – asking that very question just two days before the sweat-lodge tragedy.

“[Oprah’s] popularity is so huge,”
says Sterrett in a videotaped discussion about his new book, “that when people are getting turned off by organized religion and they think the church is full of hypocrites, they’re turning to Oprah; and we need to respond in love and truth.”

The danger is that while appearing to use Christian and inclusive language that at first seems similar to that of Christianity,” the authors explain, “Oprah teaches a message that is radically different and absolutely contrary to the true teaching of Scripture and historic Christianity.”

Video of the authors discussing their book can be seen below:

A statement from the authors describes the unusual, dialogue style of “‘O’ God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality” this way:

O” God follows conversations of two girlfriends representing the multitudes of Oprah fans, who unwittingly place their faith in the hodgepodge of spirituality embedded in her popular TV talk show, magazine and webinars. In the end, a life-altering crisis helps crystallize the truth from counterfeit teachings. Like classic Christian author C.S. Lewis, McDowell and Sterrett decided to employ fictional narrative to disarm and entertain readers, while refusing to shy away from biblical truths, and expose Oprah’s errant teachings.

“What we want to do is to get people thinking about what they’re saying and what they’re believing, and I mean Christians,”
McDowell explains in the video discussion. “I would say the average Christian would not be able to answer the basic issues that Oprah brings up. What they could is be dogmatic and quote Scripture, and that’s it.”

He continues, “I pray with this book there’s going to be more, informed Christians who are able to think through what they believe and how to make it relevant in their culture and society.”

As WND reported, in addition to being an occasional guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Ray appeared in a DVD version of “The Secret,” a New Age book authored by Rhonda Byrne that was heavily promoted by Winfrey.

Ray’s website advertises that now is the perfect time to “once and for all enjoy total abundance and true wealth: financial, relationally, mentally, physically and spiritually.”

The site proclaims, “You really do have the power within you (regardless of what everyone else does) to create the life you desire and deserve.”

Following the sweat-lodge deaths, Ray has faced potential criminal investigation and vowed to hire his own investigative team to look into the tragedy.

“This is the most difficult time I’ve ever faced,”
he told about 200 people at a subsequent seminar. “I don’t know how to deal with it really.”

SOURCE

Burn a Koran make top story. Burn a Christian…?

Christian Church Burnings Are Happening All Over The World And The U.S. Media Is Deadly Silent About It

Did you know that hundreds of church burnings have taken place all over the globe in 2011? For a large percentage, this is the first that you have heard of it. And do you want to know why? News stories about church burnings and the persecution of Christians around the world are not “politically correct“. Have you ever noticed that an overwhelming number of news stories about Christianity in the media are negative? There seems to be an unspoken rule that you should never report on anything that would portray the Christian faith in a positive light – even if it is reporting on how churches are being mercilessly burned to the ground. Others fear that reporting on church burnings would somehow justify the endless wars in the Middle East. But the truth is that many of the regimes that the U.S. government has put in place or is propping up are actively involved in the persecution of Christians. Whatever religion you belong to, and whatever your political philosophy is, we should all be able to agree that church burnings are evil.

In the United States, our founding fathers established “freedom of religion” as one of our fundamental rights. Many of our founding fathers had escaped horrific religious persecution in Europe and many of them knew firsthand how insidious it can be.

Today, hundreds of churches around the world are being torched. I am a Christian and I am not going to be ashamed to shed light on these great crimes. If you don’t like that, then maybe you should ask yourself why that is the case.

The following are just a few examples of the widespread church burnings that we have seen so far this year….

Egypt

In the aftermath of the U.S.-backed “Egyptian revolution“, church burnings have become a regular thing all over Egypt. The recent burning of a Coptic church right in the middle of Cairo has plunged the provisional government in Egypt into crisis mode as a recent article in The Telegraph noted….

Egypt’s caretaker government has held crisis talks after attacks by Muslim mobs on Coptic Christian churches in Cairo left at least 12 people dead and drove the country’s growing religious tensions to the brink.

HINDUS HARASSED

Can everyone agree that this is wrong?

I hope so.

Unfortunately, this is not just an isolated incident. Christians in Egypt now must watch out for attacks every single day. This latest round of violence against Christians really got going back on New Year’s Eve when 21 people were killed and 43 people were injured when a massive bomb went off outside a Coptic church in the city of Alexandria, Egypt.

That attack was so horrific that it actually did get a little bit of attention in the U.S. press.

Egypt is spinning out of control and the horrific persecution of the Coptic Christian minority (about 10 percent of the Egyptian population) is rising to frightening levels.

Earlier this year there was an attack during which an estimated 4,000 Muslims violently assaulted Christian homes and burned a church in the Egyptian town of Soul which is about 18 miles from Cairo.

What would you do if there was a mob of 4,000 people rampaging down your street looking for Christian homes to burn?

Egypt used to be a fairly stable place, but unfortunately that is now no longer true.

Pakistan

It has become incredibly difficult to be a Christian in the nation of Pakistan. Church burnings and physical attacks on Christians have become commonplace.

The following is how an article posted on Asia News described the recent problems in one particular province….

Tensions are running high in Gujranwala, a town in the Pakistani province of Punjab, recent scene of repeated attacks by Muslim extremists against the Christian minority. Yesterday, a mob attacked Christian homes and places of worship, setting fire to a number of churches. Only the action of police prevented any loss of life and injuries.

For some Christians in Pakistan, the persecution goes far beyond just having a church burned down.

For example, one Pakistani Christian named Arshed Masih died after radical Muslim leaders, backed by police, burned him alive for refusing to convert to Islam while his wife was raped by police officers. This incident, which took place on March 19th, 2010 is just another example of how horrible things have become for Christians in Pakistan.

SUDANESE CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION


Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, dozens of churches are being burned. The international media is reporting that 69 churches in a single Ethiopian city were burned just in the month of March alone.

How would you like it if an angry horde came into your town and burned down all the churches?

The following is how Radio Netherlands describes what has been going on in Ethiopia ….

Evangelical churches and homes of Christians in Asendabo, about 300 kilometers southwest of capital Addis Ababa, and other towns in the Jimma region were torched earlier this month. Thousands of them have fled their hometowns to safer areas.

More than 46 churches belonging to the Pentecostal Kale Hiwot (Word of Life) Church and 23 belonging to other Christian groups have been burnt down, says Temesgen Wolde, coordinator of the Kale Hiwot department in Jimma City. His church shelters eighty refugee Christians in a tent.

Nigeria

In Nigeria, hundreds of church burnings have been reported so far this year. Many of them took place after the Christian candidate for president defeated the Islamic candidate for president back in April. Thousands of Christian homes and businesses were destroyed and nobody is sure how many Christians were actually slaughtered. The following is how an article posted on FRONTPAGEMAG describes what went down….

Angry that Christian President Goodluck Jonathan defeated Muslim candidate Muhammadu Buhari, Islamists in the Shariah-ruled north began rioting on Monday, April 18, 2011, after preliminary results of the April 16 election were announced. Soon newspapers featured grisly photos of charred bodies lining the streets. Hundreds of churches were burned and thousands of Christian-owned businesses destroyed, according to the Christian human rights group, Open Doors. And International Christian Concern reported that the Kaduna-based Civil Rights Congress was still “discovering more details of massacres that have been carried out in the hinterland.” Upwards of 40,000 Christians have been displaced in the past few weeks.

But did you hear about any of this in the U.S. media?

Perhaps there was a “blip” or two about the “election violence”.

Instead of focusing on real issues, our media at the time was absolutely obsessed with promoting U.S. military action in Libya.

The truth is that the U.S. government and the U.S. media have never really shown much concern for the good people living in places like Nigeria, Ethiopia and Sudan. For years and years, countless thousands of Christians in Sudan were being slaughtered by government-backed forces and countless thousands of Christians were actually being sold into slavery, and yet our government did nothing.

But then a handful of people died in a revolt against the government in Libya and our government “was forced” to act for “humanitarian” reasons.

What a joke.

The U.S. government does not really care for the people of Africa but the truth is that those people are just as valuable as anyone else.

When we see churches around the world being burned down we should care just as much as if churches in the United States were being burned down.

And you know what?

Persecution of Christians in the United States is growing too.

In California, one high school student named Kenneth Dominguez was suspended for talking about Jesus Christ with his fellow students. According to The Christian Post, Dominguez “didn’t shout or preach out loud and he limited his talk to lunch breaks and the hallways, and not the classroom.”

Not only that, there is no record of anyone ever complaining about it.

But he got suspended anyway.

You see, the truth is that the word “Jesus” has become a dirty word in the United States today.

Just try saying it (not as a curse word) at school, at work or at a public event some time.

One U.S. Navy chaplain even had to face a court-martial for standing up for the right to pray “in Jesus name” in the U.S. Navy.

So, no, this is not a “politically-correct” article.

But you know what? Since the founding of this nation a whole host of our countrymen have bled and died to protect our basic freedoms.

One of those freedoms is the freedom of religion.

When there is an attack on the freedom of religion we should all be alarmed because it is an attack on all of us.

If you say that you love liberty and freedom, you should be against the persecution of Christians wherever it is found around the world.

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/christian-church-burnings-are-happening-all-over-the-world-and-the-u-s-media-is-deadly-silent-about-it

Is this Obama’s next target after Libya?

Is this Obama’s next target after Libya?
Arab League chief on board that created doctrine used to bomb nation

Posted: April 11, 2011
8:22 pm Eastern

By Aaron Klein
© 2011 WorldNetDaily

TEL AVIV – Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa served on the committee that invented the military doctrine used by President Obama as the main justification for U.S. and international airstrikes against Libya, WND has learned.

The discovery is particularly pertinent because on Sunday Moussa announced during a special meeting in Cairo that the Arab League plans to press the U.N. to impose a no-fly zone over the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip similar to the one imposed now on Libya.

Moussa said he plans to present the proposal to the U.N. Security Council.

The call comes as Hamas has fired over 140 rockets into Jewish civilian population zones, prompting Israel to carry out anti-terror operations in Gaza aimed at diminishing Hamas’ rocketing capabilities.

As WND was first to report, billionaire philanthropist George Soros is a primary funder and key proponent of the Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect, the world’s leading organization pushing the military doctrine. Several of the doctrine’s main founders sit on multiple boards with Soros.

The doctrine and its founders, as WND reported, have been deeply tied to Obama aide Samantha Power, who reportedly heavily influenced Obama in consultations leading to the decision to bomb Libya. Power is the National Security Council special adviser to Obama on human rights.

Now it has emerged that Moussa served on the advisory board of the 2001 commission that originally founded Responsibility to Protect.

That commission is called the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. It invented the term “Responsibility to Protect,” while defining its guidelines.

On the 2001 commission board with Moussa, as WND first revealed, was Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi, a staunch denier of the Holocaust who long served as the deputy of late PLO leader Yasser Arafat.

Also on the commission board was the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, which was founded by White House aid Samantha Power.

Power was Carr’s founding executive director and headed the institute at the time it advised in the founding of Responsibility to Protect. She is the National Security Council special adviser to Obama on human rights.

She reportedly heavily influenced Obama in consultations leading to the decision to bomb Libya.

With Power, Moussa and Ashrawi on its advisory board, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty first defined the Responsibility to Protect doctrine.

In his address to the nation two weeks ago, Obama cited the military doctrine as the main justification for U.S. and international airstrikes against Libya.

Indeed, the Libya bombings have been widely regarded as a test of Responsibility to Protect.

Responsibility to Protect, or Responsibility to Act as cited by Obama, is a set of principles, now backed by the United Nations, based on the idea that sovereignty is not a privilege but a responsibility that can be revoked if a country is accused of “war crimes,” “genocide,” “crimes against humanity” or “ethnic cleansing.”

The term “war crimes” has at times been indiscriminately used by various U.N.-backed international bodies, including the International Criminal Court, or ICC, which applied it to Israeli anti-terror operations in the Gaza Strip. There has been fear the ICC could be used to prosecute U.S. troops.

The Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect is the world’s leading champion of the military doctrine.

Two of global group’s advisory board members, Ramesh Thakur and Gareth Evans, are the original founders of the “responsibility” doctrine, with the duo even coining the term “responsibility to protect.”

As WND reported Soros’ Open Society Institute is a primary funder and key proponent of the Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect. Also, Thakur and Evans sit on multiple boards with Soros.

Soros’ Open Society is one of only three nongovernmental funders of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. Government sponsors include Australia, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Rwanda and the U.K.

Board members of the group include former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former Ireland President Mary Robinson and South African activist Desmond Tutu. Robinson and Tutu have recently made solidarity visits to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip as members of a group called The Elders, which includes former President Jimmy Carter.

Annan once famously stated, “State sovereignty, in its most basic sense, is being redefined – not least by the forces of globalization and international co-operation. States are … instruments at the service of their peoples and not vice versa.”

Obama cited doctrine many times

Aside from his direct citation of the “responsibility” doctrine in his address explaining why the U.S. is acting against Libya, Obama alluded to the doctrine four more times in his speech.

The following are relevant excerpts from his address:

In this effort, the United States has not acted alone. Instead, we have been joined by a strong and growing coalition. This includes our closest allies – nations like the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Turkey – all of whom have fought by our side for decades. And it includes Arab partners like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, who have chosen to meet their responsibility to defend the Libyan people.

Last night, NATO decided to take on the additional responsibility of protecting Libyan civilians.

To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and – more profoundly – our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are.

The task that I assigned our forces – to protect the Libyan people from immediate danger, and to establish a No Fly Zone – carries with it a U.N. mandate and international support. So would the costs, and our share of the responsibility for what comes next.

Soros: Right to ‘penetrate nation-states’ borders’

Soros himself outlined the fundamentals of Responsibility to Protect in a 2004 Foreign Policy magazine article entitled “The People’s Sovereignty: How a New Twist on an Old Idea Can Protect the World’s Most Vulnerable Populations.

In the article, Soros said “true sovereignty belongs to the people, who in turn delegate it to their governments.”

“If governments abuse the authority entrusted to them and citizens have no opportunity to correct such abuses, outside interference is justified,” Soros wrote. “By specifying that sovereignty is based on the people, the international community can penetrate nation-states’ borders to protect the rights of citizens.

“In particular, the principle of the people’s sovereignty can help solve two modern challenges: the obstacles to delivering aid effectively to sovereign states, and the obstacles to global collective action dealing with states experiencing internal conflict.”

More Soros ties

Responsibility” founders Evans and Thakur served as co-chair, with Gregorian on the advisory board of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, which invented the term “responsibility to protect.”

In his capacity as co-chair, Evans also played a pivotal role in initiating the fundamental shift from sovereignty as a right to “sovereignty as responsibility.”

Evans presented Responsibility to Protect at the July 23, 2009, United Nations General Assembly, which was convened to consider the principle.

Evans sits on multiple boards with Soros, including the Clinton Global Initiative.

Thakur, is a fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, which is in partnership with an economic institute founded by philanthropist billionaire George Soros.

Soros is on the executive board of the International Crisis Group, a “crisis management organization” for which Evans serves as president-emeritus.

WND previously reported how the group has been petitioning for the U.S. to normalize ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition in Egypt, where longtime U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak was recently toppled.

Aside from Evans and Soros, the group includes on its board Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei, as well as other personalities who champion dialogue with Hamas, a violent offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.

WND also reported the crisis group has also petitioned for the Algerian government to cease “excessive” military activities against al-Qaida-linked groups and to allow organizations seeking to create an Islamic state to participate in the Algerian government.

Soros’ own Open Society Institute has funded opposition groups across the Middle East and North Africa, including organizations involved in the current chaos.

‘One World Order’

WND reported yesterday that doctrine founder Thakur recently advocated for a “global rebalancing” and “international redistribution” to create a “New World Order.

In a piece last March in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper, “Toward a new world order,” Thakur wrote, “Westerners must change lifestyles and support international redistribution.”

He was referring there to a United Nations-brokered international climate treaty in which he argued, “Developing countries must reorient growth in cleaner and greener directions.

In the opinion piece, Thakur then discussed recent military engagements and how the financial crisis has impacted the U.S.

“The West’s bullying approach to developing nations won’t work anymore – global power is shifting to Asia,” he wrote.

“A much-needed global moral rebalancing is in train,” he added.

Thakur continued: “Westerners have lost their previous capacity to set standards and rules of behavior for the world. Unless they recognize this reality, there is little prospect of making significant progress in deadlocked international negotiations.

Thakur contended “the demonstration of the limits to U.S. and NATO power in Iraq and Afghanistan has left many less fearful of ‘superior’ western power.”

Power pushes doctrine

Doctrine founder Evans, meanwhile, is closely tied to Obama aide Samantha Power.

Evans and Power have been joint keynote speakers at events in which they have championed the Responsibility to Protect principle together, such as the 2008 Global Philanthropy Forum, also attended by Tutu.

In November, at the International Symposium on Preventing Genocide and Mass Atrocities, Power, attending as a representative of the White House, argued for the use of Responsibility to Protect alongside Evans.

With research by Chris Elliott

Read more: Is this Obama’s next target after Libya? http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=286093#ixzz1JKPVzRo2