Thursday, April 30, 2009

Border Closing! Reaganitus on the Loose

The Obama administration refuses to close down the border with Mexico, even though a deadly swine flu coming into our country from there. A pandemic is possible. Let us think of another scenario.

A strange and menancing contagion is rapidly crossing the border from Mexico to the US. Hundreds are infected! It is called conservatism. Those infected see no nimbus around Obama's head, get no chills at his teleprompted oratory, do not accept his spin as truth, are hostile to big government, see terrorism as a real threat, want lower taxes to stimulate the economic, and lionize Ronald Reagan. Some are calling it Reaganitus.

Do you think Obama would close off the border then? I'm sure there would be an Executive Order in short order. The consevative pandemic must be stopped!

Freedom for (not from) Terrorists

The Obama administration wants to release into the US Chinese Muslims held at Gitmo. They were taken from an al-Queda training camp!

Obama does not understand terrorism, the reality of religious evil, or what a strong nation does in response to it. God help us.

If you want to understand why the Left cannot condemn terrorism, read David Horowitz, Unholy Alliance. Barack Obama is the most far-left President in the history of the Republic.

Ten Hours to Change Your Life

The Denver Seminary Philosophy of Religion Department offers a 10-hour Certificate of Completion in Christian Apologetics. Come study with us and develop your skills in defending the truth and rationality of the Christian worldview.

First Friday Art Walk in Denver

Denver sports a lively arts scene. Consider taking the First Friday Art Walk on Santa Fe from 6-0 PM. I hope to be there with two friends this Friday. Maybe I'll see you there.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Favorite Economist Explains the Economic Castrophe

The housing boom and bust, By Thomas Sowell

In the spirit of bipartisanship, my newest book -- The Housing Boom and Bust -- shows how both Democrats and Republicans ruined both the housing markets and the financial markets.

Doug Groothuis on Intelligent Design at the State University

My article in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, "Intelligent Design and the State University: Accepting the Challenge (December, 2008), is now on line. I think this serves as a good introduction to ID and its pertinence to the state university.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Standing by Principle

[Professor Mary Ann Glendon has refused to receive a pretigious award from Notre Dame, given their honoring of pro-abortion extremist, Barack Obama. I salute and honor her for this. Her letter is below.]

April 27, 2009
The Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.
PresidentUniversity of Notre Dame

Dear Father Jenkins,
When you informed me in December 2008 that I had been selected to receive Notre Dame's Laetare Medal, I was profoundly moved. I treasure the memory of receiving an honorary degree from Notre Dame in 1996, and I have always felt honored that the commencement speech I gave that year was included in the anthology of Notre Dame's most memorable commencement speeches. So I immediately began working on an acceptance speech that I hoped would be worthy of the occasion, of the honor of the medal, and of your students and faculty.

Last month, when you called to tell me that the commencement speech was to be given by President Obama, I mentioned to you that I would have to rewrite my speech. Over the ensuing weeks, the task that once seemed so delightful has been complicated by a number of factors.
First, as a longtime consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I could not help but be dismayed by the news that Notre Dame also planned to award the president an honorary degree.

This, as you must know, was in disregard of the U.S. bishops' express request of 2004 that Catholic institutions "should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles" and that such persons "should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions." That request, which in no way seeks to control or interfere with an institution's freedom to invite and engage in serious debate with whomever it wishes, seems to me so reasonable that I am at a loss to understand why a Catholic university should disrespect it.

Then I learned that "talking points" issued by Notre Dame in response to widespread criticism of its decision included two statements implying that my acceptance speech would somehow balance the event:

"President Obama won't be doing all the talking. Mary Ann Glendon, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, will be speaking as the recipient of the Laetare Medal."

"We think having the president come to Notre Dame, see our graduates, meet our leaders, and hear a talk from Mary Ann Glendon is a good thing for the president and for the causes we care about."

A commencement, however, is supposed to be a joyous day for the graduates and their families. It is not the right place, nor is a brief acceptance speech the right vehicle, for engagement with the very serious problems raised by Notre Dame's decision--in disregard of the settled position of the U.S. bishops--to honor a prominent and uncompromising opponent of the Church's position on issues involving fundamental principles of justice.

Finally, with recent news reports that other Catholic schools are similarly choosing to disregard the bishops' guidelines, I am concerned that Notre Dame's example could have an unfortunate ripple effect.

It is with great sadness, therefore, that I have concluded that I cannot accept the Laetare Medal or participate in the May 17 graduation ceremony.

In order to avoid the inevitable speculation about the reasons for my decision, I will release this letter to the press, but I do not plan to make any further comment on the matter at this time.

Yours Very Truly,
Mary Ann Glendon

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Marxism: Dead Wrong on Everything

I exhort, I implore, I enjoin you to read this cogent and incisive critique of Marxism, "What is Marxism." Line after line, he hammers home the falsity and stupidity of Marxism, the worst philosophy ever to be foisted on human beings.

"The Examined Life"--The Spectre of Nihilism

Few feature films interview philosophers. They are typically neither photogenic nor entertaining. But "The Examined Life" interviews several philosophers, who speak in various nonacademic settings, usually while they are walking around. The interviewer says little or nothing. It is usually a monologue spoken while the philosopher is moving about. I cannot give an adequate assessment of all the ideas put forth. Instead, I offer a few reflections, not covering all the philosophers.

The film begins well with a tall and hunched over Cornell West philosophizing passionately in the back seat of a car. Ironically, the most animated character in the film is cooped up in a small car talking to the driver (the producer) and camera. West is the only philosopher to appear in three different segments.

Things go south rapidly as a dour, self-important, and nonsensical philosopher (who I had never heard of and have no interest in knowing about) named Avital Ronell. She serves up mounds of recycled postmodernism: there is no objective meaning; to think so makes one a fascist, serious people have a bad conscience (unlike Bush who kills people without regret and for no reason); and so on ad infinitum, ad nauseum. What a long ten minutes that was. Of course, if there is no objective meaning, nihilism follows. If nihilism is true, then anything goes...and why not be a fascist or anything else? Next.

Michael Hardt is interviewed while rowing a boat in a large pond. He, like many of the philosophers, seems uncomfortable. He speaks of yearning for "the revolution" and wondering how it might come about in America. Hardt co-authored Empire (2001) with Antonio Negri, a domestic terrorist who was in jail in Europe when the book was released. The book made a splash until 9/11 eclipsed it. Hardt is a warmed-over Marxist who doesn't believe there is an objective human nature; it is all determined by historical, social, economic forces. As soon as I heard this I thought, "What a recipe for totalitarianism!" And so it is. If there is no normative human nature, then there is no good life to discover and encourage. Therefore, "revolutionaries" who are whimsically upset with the present order--usually through resentment--can destroy as much as they want to bring about their constructed new model of humanity (which has no determinative nature). One wonders if Mr. Hardt has learned anything from history. Over a hundred million human beings were murdered in the Twentieth Century at the hands of "revolutionaries" of like mind. Utopia has been deferred once again. Perfection awaits the Messianic Eschaton. Those who labor to create heaven on earth will, given their false and futile philosophies (see Colossians 2:8), only kindle more hell and inspire more hellions such as themselves.

Peter Singer strolls through New York's opulence explaining his idea that developed nations owe the rest of the world far more help than they ever give. He clearly explains his ideas, which were first laid out in 1971 in an essay much anthologized and which I teach in my introduction to ethics courses. This should trouble our conscience, since so many suffer needlessly. But Singer disavows any religious motivations, saying we do not need religion to be moral. True, people may do good things and have legitimate moral concerns without religious belief. However, the deeper issue is whether we can find a coherent account of any objective morality or our knowledge of it or give an adequate motivation for living the moral life apart from God as the personal-infinite source of moral and the author of human nature made in his image. Singer has repudiated not only God, but many of the moral entailments that follow from theism. Humans as a species have no special moral standing, he asserts. He supports infanticide if the infant is killed before he or she reaches a sense of self-interest. One can also lose the right not to be killed if one loses certain functions; so, he supports active euthanasia--at least in principle. He continues to support his own senile mother. Singer also tolerates bestiality (if it is consensual...). Of course, the film does not mention these items. Nor does it mention that Singer is banned from speaking in Germany, since his ideas--that there are many human lives not worthy to be lived--are all too close to Nazi ideology.

Martha Nussbaum articulates her moral, political vision while walking and talking more briskly than anyone else. She can lecture on her feet quite well. She argues that we should move beyond social contract theory--with its emphasis on individuality, power, productivity, and danger--and embrace a "capability ethic" that includes and honors all people, however much or little they "contribute to society." (She says nothing about the unvalued unborn, who are aborted at the rate of over one million a year in the United States.) Nussbaum also likes the idea of "the nanny state," since this recognizes maternal values for politics. I am not sure what all the implications of Nussbaum's view may be, but "the nanny state" does not trouble me because it is maternal, but because it is statist. The state is not the family; neither is it the church. But for many secular thinkers (libertarians notwithstanding), the state becomes the only hope for justice, fairness, and even utopia (as mentioned earlier). As such, it becomes an idol.

Judith Butler (another postmodernist who has written on gender as socially constructed) and a disabled young woman move about the streets of San Francisco for the last long segment. The young woman speaks of her orientation to life and how the non-disabled need to respect and understand the plight of those different from themselves. I enjoyed her calm and insightful comments; but I was repulsed by Butler, whose demeanor was caustic and arrogant. Butler is a lesbian who has tried to evacuate herself of anything feminine. She has nearly succeeded, if appearances are to be trusted; but the fact that she is a woman who denies being a woman is rather unnerving. Christians should be compassionate on those who are not heterosexual, but those who claim that gender is constructed and that it fits no normative structure should be criticized. Butler says that "there is no normative morphology" (concerning disability) and no normative sexual behavior: we simply do different things with our bodies. She unhappily fills in the gaps with respect to homoerotic activities. She also takes a swipe at "creationists." No wonder, since she denies any transcendent moral authority.

The fallacy of Butler's approach is that physical disability is not on same order as non-heterosexual orientations: homosexuality, bi-sexuality, or transsexuality. Yes, they are all effects of the fall, the fragmentation of creation due to human sin (see Genesis 3). But the disabled person must live within their physical and/or mental limits, such as the young woman being confined to a wheel chair. The nonheterosexual may find sexual healing through the power of God if he or she becomes a Christian. There are many happy stories to this effect, and organizations such as Exodus International exist to offer such help. But a person does not need to act out of one's disordered and wounded sexual orientation--just as one prone to addiction need not engage in behaviors that put him at risk of addiction. But postmodernists such as Butler believe that human norms are entirely contingent and constructed; there is no normative pattern for human sexuality. If so, lesbianism (and just about anything else) is permissible--and should be honored. But, of course, it should be honored only if there is some objective moral truth to that effect. But given postmodernism, there is no such objective moral truth, since truth is constructed all the way down. Therefore, sexual behavior--and any response to it--is merely conventional and circumstantial. Imperatives and virtues in any objective or binding sense are nowhere to be found. Nihilism returns.

The film ends with West crammed into a car and articulating madly about tragedy and hope. He several times refers to himself as "a Christian," but never spells out what this means. He does say that we should transcend romanticism by recognizing that even our failures may be "gifts." I wish he would have developed that idea, but he did not. If life is truly a gift, then there is a Giver, who transcends our aims, ideas, and fallibilities. If so, the nihilism that haunts this film would be overcome by theism: a worldview that offers objective meaning, value, and morality; a metaphysic that gives all humans dignity and hope for redemption; a perspective that neither promises a political utopia nor gives up on history as linear and meaningful because it ultimately fulfills the purposes of the Triune God, who invaded it and changed it forever through the Incarnation.

If we examine life more deeply, we find at its center a Cross, a Lamb, and a Lion. Nihilism is overcome by the Nazarene.

Depravity in Denver

I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it. -- Psalm 101:3.

At the showing of "The Examined Life" yesterday (a full review may be coming), I had to withstand three cases of seemingly incidental depravity. The first two were part of the trailers for upcoming films: one about a homosexual prostitute another featured nude women out of nowhere. Yes, I closed my eyes. The film itself showed a philosopher rummaging around in a dump. He comes across some pornography and says, "You call this porn?" The audience laughed. I did not.

More and more aspects of American culture are sullied by the seamy, the seedy, the salacious, the scatological. As R. J. Rushdoony said years ago, when a culture forfeits the creation mandate under God to develop creation in a godly way, it devolves into the worship of sex (see Romans 1). These episodes were not incidental, but lamentable. They should be resisted by avoidance and substitution. There is plenty of goodness left in the world and in America. As Paul said, "Hold fast to the good. Avoid every form of evil."

Earth Day

Please read John Andrews on Earth Day, which features part of the text of a never-read speech by Richard Nixon, for whom John worked near four decades ago.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Not Again

The New York Times features a long excerpt from Christopher Buckley's new book about his relationship to his famous parents, William F. Buckely and Pat Buckley, who both died recently. It seems that once again, a son reveals family secrets, uses biography to get even, and engages in gossip under the pretense of history. The Times eats it up because the younger Buckley has renounced his parents faith and their conservative principles as well.

This brings back the sad memory of Frank Schaeffer's similar effort, Crazy for God, which mostly concerned his parents, Francis and Edith. (Christopher at least had the decency to wait until both parents had died. Frank did not.) One biblical text comes quickly to mind: Honor your father and your mother. One might add: Even if not doing so might make for some nice book sales and premium excerpts in popular newspapers...

The Bible and Same-Sex Marriage

[In light of the legal revolution taking place to legitimize same-sex marriage, I am republishing an editorial by me published in The Rocky Mountain News (d. 2009) in December of 2003. It was in response to an editorial made by two clergyman. It addresses what the Bible says about marriage, but does not take on other legal and moral issues.]

Recently in “Speak Out” (Rocky Mountain News, December 1, 2003) two local clergymen, one Jewish and one Christian, argued that nothing sacred is violated by same-sex marriages. To make their case they appealed to the Book of Genesis, which is understandable given its immense influence on world history. However, their arguments from Genesis are incomplete and questionable. The rest of the story should be considered. This essay does not address all the pertinent moral, social, and legal issues raised by same-sex unions, but is specifically a response to the claim that the Genesis text offers no moral argument against same-sex marriage.

The authors argue that their belief that humans are made in “the image and likeness of God” (as Genesis, chapter one, puts it) somehow gives dignity to same-sex marriage. But one should consider chapters two and three of the Genesis creation account as well. In chapter two, after God created the woman and man in the divine image, God sanctions marriage as follows: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh” (verse 24). Anchored in this text, revered by both Judaism and Christianity, is the God-ordained institution of marriage. Marriage as such is both heterosexual and covenantal—and irrevocably so, because it is designed according to the perfect wisdom of the Creator. Given its divine origin, purpose, and meaning, marriage is not—according to the historic teachings of both the Jewish and Christian faiths—open to human amendment, reinvention, or negotiation.

The third chapter of Genesis narrates humanity’s tragic fall into rebellion against God’s authority and the sad consequences of sin’s subsequent invasion of God’s handiwork. We now dwell in a world east of Eden, where tears and pain besiege our work, families, and other relationships. It is from this estrangement from God and from one another that all our woes and weaknesses flow. While we retain the divine image and are not abandoned by the “God in search of man” (as Jewish philosopher and theologian Abraham Heschel put it), we groan in our bent world. Thus the Christian philosopher and novelist G.K. Chesterton quipped that original sin is one biblical doctrine that is empirically observable. The rest of the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament echo these fundamental declarations of Genesis. For example, Jesus ratified the teaching of Genesis when he affirmed, “At the beginning the Creator made them male and female,” and then quoted the marriage passage from Genesis, chapter two, mentioned above (see The Gospel of Matthew, chapter nineteen, verses 4-5).

The clergymen argue that because heterosexual marriages can be abusive while same-sex unions can be loving, this implies that the gender of the marriage partners is not what makes a marriage sacred; therefore, same-sex marriage may be sacred also. This conclusion does not follow. The traditional religious claim that the gender of the marriage partners (male and female) is a necessary element of a “sacred” marriage does not entail that it is sufficient to make a marriage sacred. To put it another way, the normative biblical pattern for marriage is heterosexual monogamy. This arrangement of man and woman constitutes the minimum requirements for a marriage, according to the Bible. This is the divine institution of marriage.

However, heterosexual, monogamous relationships (the only bona fide marriage, biblically speaking) may be marred by self-centeredness, which can result in all kinds of abuse, neglect, and betrayal. In fact, from the biblical perspective, all human relationships are marred by human selfishness to some degree. As the Apostle Paul put it in The Book of Romans, chapter eight, because of the effects of human rebellion against God—as first narrated in Genesis chapter three—the whole universe “groans in travail” in anticipation of its culmination at the end of history. The matter at issue here, however, is whether the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures can be said to permit same-sex marriages as intrinsically ethical. If one appeals to the foundational chapters of the Bible, one finds good reason to bring this into question

"Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant"

Dr. Fred Schwarz, one of the leading lights of the anti-Communism movement from the 1950s, passed away on January 24, of this year. He was ninety-six years old. A native of Australia and a medical doctor, Dr. Schwarz left his homeland retired from medicine to travel to the United States to treat the epidemic philosophical disease of the Twentieth Century: Communism. God only knows the death toll, but Marxist regimes in Russia, China, Cambodia and elsewhere were directly responsible for at least 100,000,000 deaths in the Twentieth Century. Marxist ideology, not religion, was the great executioner of the past century of blood. On this, read The Black Book of Communism.

Dr. Schwarz led the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade into the late 1990s (until he was in his mid-80s) and saw the fall of the Berlin Wall. His tireless teaching, debating, and writing was instrumental in West's triumph over the barbarism of Marxist totalitarianism. Ronald Reagan attended one of his seminars and was deeply impressed by his presentation, as was Phyllis Schlafly and other conservative luminaries of the past several decades. I myself began to read his monthly newsletter, books, and booklets a few years after I converted in 1976--still in the heat of the Cold War. His careful, clear, and relentlessly factual exposure of the worldwide evils of communism deeply shaped my views of foreign and domestic policy. But his work was not merely anti-communist; it was pro-Christian. He offered the gospel and a civilization built on Christian principles as the alternative to the acres of killing fields and massive gulags.

I never met Dr. Schwarz, but I did send him a paper I wrote on Lenin's doctrine of revolution for a graduate class in political philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He graciously responded with appreciation for my work. Coming from him, that was quite a compliment--and it was more significant to me than the grade I received from my (probably Marxist) professor --although that was not bad.

If you want to understand why Communism kills and why it will never succeed in any of its forms, please read Why Communism Kills. And remember that Communism is not dead; it is very much alive and killing in China, Cuba, and elsewhere. In fact, many of the core principles of Marxism are being deployed by Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress and Senate.
For more on Dr. Schwarz, read the March, 2009, issue of The Schwarz Report.

Groothuis on "Backbone Radio" (Podcast)

My appearance on "Backbone Radio" with John Andrews (from 7:00-8:00) can now be heard as a podcast. I really did not start saying much until after the first break at 7:15.

Architectural Lingua

Artist Elayne Mosely has painted a wonderful new series called, "Architectural Lingua." Please visit her on-line gallery and try to see some of these paintings in person. I have seen one face-to- canvass, Ena Polutimon Margariten (A Pearl of Great Price), and it was stunningly beautiful.

"God Did It"

This well-done Breakpoint essay on how Christianity contributes to science quotes Truth Decay.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Get Lost in the Humanities

The Arts and Letters Daily is an encylopedic assemblage of all things pertaining to the humanities, published by The Chronicle of Higher Education. One can get happily lost in its intellectual immensities. I find it much better than American On Line headlines...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Guiltless Home Theater

Here is a deep absurdity: the guiltless home theater. Go green while you rot your mind and spend thousands better spent or given elsewhere. Talk about missing the monster point right in front of your nose.

Here is novel concept: the home library.
Here is another: the home prayer room.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Kindle

One of our readers has alerted me that by 2000 book, Truth Decay, is now available on Kindle! Well, well; it has been disembodied and distributed to screens (if anyone buys it). I wonder what my royalties are on this. My publisher has not told me anything about it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Groothuis on "Backbone Radio" (Podcast)

My appearance on "Backbone Radio" (April 19, 2009) should be available as a podcast fairly soon here. I was on for the 7:00-8:00 segment, but really didn't say much until about 7:15. I addressed a biblical view of civil government.

Can He Take it With Him?

The man formerly coach of the Denver Bronco's (the erzats god of Denver) has put his house up for sale. I'll let you add the commentary. I got this clip from a friend in real estate:

Former Broncos Coach Shanahan’s house is for sale. It has an indoor golf simulator, complete with 19th hole. Click the link below to tour, and check out the indoor practice facility. It is listed for $17 Million. If you put 20% down ($3.4mm) your monthly payment is about $90,000.00 and the taxes are $47,653.00 per year.

Denver Film Society: "The Examined Life"

The film, "The Examined Life," will be shown this Friday, April 25 at the Starz Film Center, and will be followed by a panel of philosophers from University of Colorado at Denver. This film features interviews with contemporary philosophers such as Cornell West and Peter Singer --probably my least favorite contemporary philosopher, for the record. I plan to attend this event and perhaps convoke with interested souls afterward at a nearby establishment. I hope to see you there.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Doug Groothuis on "Backbone Radio"

I will appear in studio on "Backbone Radio" on Sunday, April 19, 2009, from 7:00-8:00 PM (KNUS-710 AM or , to discuss a biblical view of civil government. The program is hosted by John Andrews, formerly a State Senator in Colorado.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Franklin Jones, aka Da Free John, Adi Da, etc., is dead

I just learned that the home-grown American guru, Franklin Jones died a few months ago at age 69. He disappointed his disciples by neither resurrecting nor ceasing to decay.

During my years researching and writing on the New Age movement, I read a book or two by Jones and looked through others. The Spiritual Counterfeits Project prepared an excellent white paper about him. I remember that the prolific nondualistic author Ken Wilber (whose books I have reviewed over the years) enthusiastically endorsed Jones. Rob Bell endorses Wilber in Velvet Elvis, so one might go from Bell to Wilber to Jones, God forbid.

Why write about this nondualistic guru, a man who claimed to be greater than Jesus or Buddha, who was accused of all manner of crimes and misdemeanors? I do so because of a strange experience I had and the lesson I learned through it.

In the early 1980s while researching a book on the New Age movement,[1] I read a passage from an American guru named Da Free John (his name at the time) who claimed that those reading the book would feel his mystical presence and be lead onto his spiritual path, which was, essentially, pantheistic monism. Having been a Christian for seven years and having build up my Christian worldview philosophically during that time, I felt no pull intellectually in John’s direction. In fact, I was writing a book against that perspective. However, much to my surprise, I began to feel and kind of warmth or inner glow I had previously associated with the presence of the Holy Spirit experienced during some times of worship and group prayer.

Given the conceptual stability of my Christian worldview along with my knowledge of the deceptive experiences associated with some forms of mysticism, I rejected this phenomenon as being what John claimed it was and instead prayed with a few friends about it soon after the episode. The feelings left quickly. I did not take this experience as possessing any significant evidence for the worldview that this guru was advocating (nondualism of pantheism) because (1) the worldview itself is unconvincing and (2) an alternative nonveridical explanation for the experience was much more likely. That explanation was that the experience was likely demonically induced. As Christian, I did not have to accept this, given my standing in Christ (see 1 John 4:4; Colossians 2:14-15; Hebrews 2:14-15),

So, the death of his deceiver brings back a memory of his attempt to deceive his readers. By the grace of God, I was not one of them.

[1] Douglas Groothuis, Unmasking the New Age (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986).

Denver "Spring."

Welcome to my Nausea

Loyal CC fans (of which there are six or seven) will know that I do not watch television. (To know why, read the appendix to Truth Decay, "Television: Agent of Truth Decay.") However, some of my spies do so, and they feed me clips, which, on rare occasions, I watch. I fell off the wagon, and just did so. This is a "conversation" between Keith Oberman and some sneering, pontificating actress and "activist" named Janeane Garofalo on the tea parties held around the country on April 15.

In less than nine minutes, she spews so many wrong, illogical, and utterly arrogant and contemptuous and contemptible statements, that it is hard to know where to start. But here are a few:

1. Ad hominem. She assumes all or most of the protestors are racists. How does she know that? They are protesting high taxes. How is that a racial issue?

2. She claims that conservatives have malformed brains (and seems serious). So, we have pseudo-science dismissing protesting Americans as retarded. If so, then they are not morally accountable for their beliefs or actions and cannot be condemned morally as "racists."

3. She also condemns blacks who protested as suffering from "Stockholm Syndrome." Apparently, this is another disorder whereby blacks oddly do not hold left wing views. This, too, is some kind of pathology (for which, of course, there is no evidence); but if so, then these benighted urchens are similarly exempted from moral scrutiny, since they cannot help it. So, she cannot condemn them.

Well, I'm getting nauseous, so it is time to stop. This episode may be the apotheosis of debauched political commentary (if I may so dignify it). As an ironic comedian, Ms. Garfalo, is brilliant. But she wasn't trying to do that. She is, in fact, a parody of herself: a smug, hateful, sarcastic, contradictory ignoramus posing as someone with something worthwhile to say.

If this is what TV commentary often is, then I suggest you unplug, pick up a book or magazine, or actually talk to people you can talk back to--instead of ingesting this sad nonsense on any kind of regular basis.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Premillennialism and You!

International Conference on Historic PreMillenialism

Denver Seminary is pleased to host the International Conference on Historic PreMillennialism, April 23-25, 2009. The plenary speaker will be Dr. Craig Blomberg with sessions also provided by Dr. Sung Wook Chung, Dr. Bruce Demarest, Dr. Rick Hess, Dr. David Sang Bok Kim and Dr. Andrew Dearman. There is no charge for this conference but you must register online by April 20th. Please contact Melanie Eagar for more details -

Hiding That Religion

When Obama recently spoke at Georgetown University, an historic Roman Catholic school, he had the religious symbols of the institution hidden such that they could not be seen while he was giving his speech.

Here is more evidence that he wants to present a very secular image to the nation and the world. He will even censor the religious identity of institutions at which he speaks. Why did Georgetown invite him (the most pro-abortion president ever, and thus in fundamental violation of the Catholic religion)? Why did it hide their distinctive religious symbolism at his request?

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I earlier posted that I would attend the show of "The Examined Life" at the Starz Film Center this Friday, which includes a panel discussion of the film by philosophers from University of Colorado at Denver. But, alas, given the snow apocalypse predicted for tonight and tomorrow, I will likely not be able to drive there in rush hour. I hope to attend next Friday, however. However, if you attend and want to post your response here, please feel free.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Book Recommendations

Can any of my readers recommend a book that debates the various approaches to reforming health care and/or a book that defends a nonsocialized approach?

Monday, April 13, 2009

My Status in the Universe

As of today, this is true of me, according to

Classic Reviewer Rank: 1,654

It comes after 151 reviews of CDs, movies, and books. I have yet to weigh in on electrical appliances or protein powder.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


America on Line needs to repent. I have been trying to get entirely out of it for years. (Hint: don't send emails to me there, please). They have been specializing in celebrity gossip for years, but recently they have been relishing animals attacking humans. I have had to endure a photograph of a horrified woman being attacked by a polar bear several times today.

Why is this kind of thing wrong? Wanting to see things like this is sinful curiosity. There is no need to see it; it intrudes on a person's privacy (would you want to be seen being attacked by a wild animal?); and seeing it tends to bring out debased feelings and urges. Of course, our entire culture is seized by sinful curiosity. Of this, we should all repent and attend, rather, to the things that matter most.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things--Philippians 4:8.

Distortions of Christianity: Radio Appearance

I am slated to be on The Bible Answer Man radio program on April 13, near the beginning of the program, I believe. The topic is "Distortions of Christianity," based on my article of that name in the most recent Christian Research Journal.

The Real Thing: "The Source of All Strength"

If you need some inspiration, watch and listen to Ronald Regan's 1981 speech at Notre Dame. Please note his comments on the proper limits on the state and his faith in the free activity of unconstrained individuals and institutions. Also consider his confidence that communism would be transcended and left behind. If only our present President had such an attitude about global terrorism. Sadly, he does not.

Visit The Ronald Reagan Foundation for more materials.

"The Examined Life"

The Denver Film Society will present a film called, "The Examined Life," at the Starz Film Center at The Tivoli on the Metro State College of Denver Campus. After the showing on April 17, there will be a panel discussion with Metro State philosophy professors. I hope to see some of you there.

I doubt I will agree with much that is said in the film, given the philosophers chosen to be interviewed, but it is rare that contemporary film tackles philosophy head on at all.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Real Turkey

Obama said that the US and Turkey have much in common. I hope not. Consider the Turkish massacre of over a million Armenians early in the Twentieth Century, a genocidal apocalypse they still deny to this day.

Easter Life and the Facts of History

Easter commemorates and celebrates a historical event unlike any other: the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. But what is the significance of the resurrection? Can we know that it really happened?

The four Gospels of the New Testament all report that Jesus predicted his death, burial, and resurrection. He was born to die. All of his wondrous teachings, healings, exorcisms, and transforming relationships with all manner of people—from fishermen to tax collectors to prostitutes to revolutionaries—would be incomplete without his crucifixion and resurrection. Shortly before his death, "Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priest and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life" (Matthew 16:21). Peter resisted this grim fact, but Jesus rebuked him. There was no other way (vs. 22-23). For, as Jesus had taught, he "did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28).

And give his life he did, on an unspeakably cruel Roman cross—impaled for all to see before two common criminals. We call this day Good Friday because it was good for us; but it was dreadful for Jesus. Before I became a follower of Christ, I always associated this day with the Alaskan earthquake on Good Friday, 1964, one of the largest quakes ever in North America. I was there in Anchorage. After the death of Jesus, the earth quaked on the first Good Friday as well, heaving with a significance that far exceeds any geological upsurge in world history. As Jesus' disciple Matthew recounts: "And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split" (Matthew 27:50-51). When the guards at the crucifixion experienced the earthquake and the other extraordinary phenomena, "they were terrified, and exclaimed, 'Surely he was the Son of God!'" (v. 54). Yet another miracle was waiting, waiting—as the dead Messiah was pried off his bloody cross, embalmed, and laid in a cold, dark tomb, guarded to the hilt by Roman guards.

All seemed to be lost. The one who had boldly claimed to be "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6), the prophet who had announced that "God so loved the world that he sent his one and only son that whoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16)—this man now had died. The man who had raised the dead was dead.

On the first day of the week, two women, both named Mary, came to visit the tomb of their master. They had stayed with him as he died; now they visited his tomb in grief. Yet instead of mourning a death, they celebrated a resurrection announced by an angel, who rolled back the stone sealing the tomb and charged them to look at its empty contents. He then told them to tell Jesus' disciples of the resurrection and to go to Galilee where they would see him. As they scurried away, Jesus himself met them, greeted them, and received their surprised worship (Matthew 27:8-9). He directed them, "Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me" (v. 10).

The rest is history, and it changed history forever. The fact that women were the first witnesses to the resurrection puts the lie to the notion that the idea of Jesus' resurrection was concocted at a later point to add drama to his life. Women were not taken to be trustworthy witnesses in courts of law at that time (although Jesus always respected them). If someone had wanted to create a pious fraud, they never would have included the two Marys in their story. Moreover, all four Gospels testify to the factual reality of the resurrection. They were written by eyewitnesses (Matthew and John) or those who consulted eyewitnesses (Luke and Mark); they were people in the know, not writers of myths and legends (see Luke 1:1-4; 1 Peter 1:16).

After the resurrection, the gospel of the risen Jesus was quickly proclaimed in the very area where he was crucified. This upstart Jesus movement would have been easily refuted by someone producing the corpse of Christ, which both the Jewish establishment and the Roman government had a vested interest in doing, since this new movement threatened the religious and political status quo. But we have no historical record of any such thing having occurred. On the contrary, the Jesus movement grew and rapidly spread. Christian Jews changed the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday, in honor of Jesus' resurrection. Pious Jews would never do such a thing on their own initiative, because it would set them against their own tradition and their countrymen. Nor would they have ceased offering the prescribed sacrifices their Scriptures required had not Jesus proven himself to be the final sacrifice for sin, the lamb of God (see John 1:29 and The Book of Hebrews). The resurrection best accounts for this change in their day of worship, their manner of worship, and the transformation at the core of their lives. Moreover, the two key rituals of the earliest church—communion and the baptism—both presuppose the historicity of the resurrection and both are very difficult to explain without it.

The Apostle Paul, a man revolutionized through an encounter with the risen Christ (Acts 9), taught that "if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith" (1 Corinthians 15:14). Paul listed many witnesses of the risen Christ, some of whom were still living when he wrote (1 Corinthians 15:3-8), and confidently affirmed that "Christ has indeed been raised from the dead" (v. 20). He also proclaimed that Jesus "through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:4).

Easter is the core of Christian faith and life. Without the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is no gospel message, no future hope, and no new life in Christ. But with the resurrection at its center, Christianity stands unique and alone in the world. No other religion is based on the historical resurrection of its divine founder. When Jesus announced, "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 10:25), he meant it—and he demonstrated it. Let us, then, leave our dead ways and follow him today and into eternity.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Obama on America

Barack Obama, representing the United States of America in Turkey, declared that "we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation." Of course, he gave no qualifications or explanations for this--except to say that we are neither Jewish nor Islamic either, and that the US and Turkey are "secular nations." Such a ham-misguided, misguided statement has the effect of telling a Muslim country (which never really became secular and is now in the hands of dedicated Muslims) that Christianity does not count for much in America. He is saying, in effect, "Don't worry about us. Our religion will never intrude on your religion." This is the rhetoric of retreat and appeasement. He was clearly off teleprompter, speaking awkwardly.

First of all, who is he to render judgment on such significant things and why does he feel the need to do so? It is a posture of ignorance and weakness, not of knowledge and courage. Obama certainly does not speak for me. Second, the question, "Is America a Christian nation?" does not cater to a simple Yes or No answer. Our heritage is deeply Christian. Christianity has shaped the law and culture of America more than any other religion. There has been very large numbers of self-identified Christians in the United States since the beginning. But America has never been and will never be--despite some overheated book titles from Bush's presidency--a theocracy. The First Amendment does not allow for it, and rightly so. Unlike the French Revolution, The American Revolution was not secular overthrow of a religious establishment. As historian Perry Miller noted, revolutionary fervor was generated largely by religious concerns. Moreover, several Supreme Court rulings have stated that America is "a Christian nation." They did not mean it is a theocracy or that nonChristians are not protected by the Constitution. Rather, they affirmed that the defining ethos of America has been Christian more than it has been anything else.

Abraham Lincoln, perhaps, put it best: We are "the almost chosen nation." By this, he meant that we are uniquely placed to bless our citizens and the world, but we cannot claim immunity from divine sanctions. To put it biblically, "to whom much is given, much is required."

But Obama denies American exceptionalism, denies our substantial Christian heritage, and apologizes to the world for on behalf of America. Yet America saved the Twentieth Century from totalitarianism, not once, but twice. The United States led the defeat of the Axis powers in World War II and without decades of American pressure, the West would not have won the Cold War either. Moreover, we saved Kuwait (a Muslim county) from Saddam. One could go on...

Obama is doing no less than attempting to uproot America from history, logic, and God himself. His own Christianity is privatized (at best) and largely meaningless with respect to his worldview and guiding principles, which are thoroughly secular and socialist.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Oh, Obama

Obama nominates another pro-abortion extremist, who once equated an unplanned pregnancy that one cannot abortion with slavery. This is the kind of moral capital the Obama administration is drawing from.

A Letter to Bill O'Reilly from Jeremy Green on TM

Mr. O'Reilly

Very often, I appreciate your take on contemporary culture. More often than not, I agree with you. However, I was disappointed to see your commending Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr regarding their charity concert. Of course, raising money for education programs directed toward at-risk kids is a noble cause. Nevertheless, not all education programs are created equal.

We would not commend as "patriotic" a program developed to teach proper firearms technique to kids at risk of gang involvement. Meditation in general, and TM specifically, are more akin to the gun class than a program designed to teach kids to cope by learning better study skills, the value of hard work, and the importance of facing reality with both eyes open.

If TM does indeed help young people cope with the stressors in their lives that pull them toward viciousness, it does so only by training these young people to escape their world by ignoring it--escaping by concentrating mantras leading to meaningless thought. We are both Christians. We confess that the world is broken due to sin, and God is reconciling it to himself through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. We are called to proclaim this good news to the world by engaging it, not by escaping from it. TM is therefore incompatible with Christianity.

TM is nothing more than Hindu religious practice. TM's Vedic roots lie in pantheism--all is god. Christianity confesses that there is one unique personal God, and we proclaim this God to the world. We call the world to repentance and submission to his throne. Thus, TM and Christianity proffer contradictory positions on the nature of ultimate reality: it cannot be that both "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, revealed in the person of Jesus, is the source of a reality distinct from himself," and "god is the impersonal collective sum of all entities" are true statements. One must be false.

Given our mutual Christianity, we must follow Christ. But this is no blind faith. We have good evidence to believe that Christ was risen; thus, we have good reason to think that Christ is Lord and God. If this is so, then Vedic Hinduism is false and practicing TM is participating in the worship of a religion that has set itself up against the throne of the risen King.

One cannot be both a Christian and a practitioner of TM.

Given the truth of Christianity, one ought not to practice TM.

Therefore, one ought not support efforts to introduce TM to others.

Therefore, the extant Beatles are on the wrong side of truth.

As for coping methods: point kids toward the Prince of Peace. Show them how to face a fallen world through bearing the cross of Christ.

I hope these comments prove useful. They are intended as friendly fire.

Jeremy Green

Monday, April 06, 2009

New Word (Thanks to Jedd McFattter for this)

Here are some of the winners of this year's Washington Post's Mensa Invitational which, once again, asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition:

Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating.The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Question for Friends

Has anyone "monitzed" their blog? If so, what are your thoughts on this? Thank you.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Rookie in Chief

Thomas Sowell explains the sad facts about our rookie president. He might has also mentioned that this rookie (unlike others), given his far-left pedigree, has no potential to improve.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Review of "The Jazz Theologian"

What does jazz have to do with Christian existence? Can one find deep themes in jazz that resonate with the Christian explanation of reality and which inspire the Christian life?

Last night (March 31) I friend and I attended a performance at The Soiled Dove Underground of "The Jazz Theologian," an evening of oral vignettes, musical performance, and some projected images and words. This is the brain child of Robert Gelinas, pastor of Colorado Community Church and a graduate of Denver Seminary, who has written a unique and rewarding book called, Finding the Groove: Composing a Jazz-Shaped Faith (Zondervan, 2009).

The evening opened with several numbers by a large band called House of Soul. While it features an impressive horn section, the style was less jazz than it was soul and some gospel. The ensemble was tight and enjoyed themselves tremendously. Following this Pastor Gelinas spoke briefly but winsomely several times on key features of jazz and how they harmonize with Christianity:

1. Syncopation accents the off beat and produces swing. God is concerned with those overlooked by others and acts in surprising ways.

2. Improvisation allows one to be creative within a pattern. God has revealed his "song" but we can improvise within the chord changes. (I jazzed this one up a bit, in the spirit of the evening.)

3. Call and response means that we respond to God's initiative. He calls us to love him and live in and through Jesus Christ.

4. Jazz groups are ensembles in which the many function as one without the members losing their unique identity. Christian are united in Christ, but can express their individuality in harmony with others as part of the Body of Christ.

Robert also emphasized that jazz in rooted in the blues. The blues teaches us to embrace our pain until we smile. Jesus embraced the ultimate pain on the Cross and turned into redemption. This lesson was illustrated by the tragic but aesthetically rich life of Billie Holiday. A convincing rendition of "Strange Fruit" was performed with slides of lynched black men (whose faces were tastefully not shown). This may have been the most powerful part of the evening pedagogically.

The most impressive musical performance may have been Part I of Coltrane's "A Love Supreme," where the tenor saxophonist (the multi-instrumentalist, Chris Lang) gave an inspired interpretation while the bass drums and electric piano stayed far in the background. Robert's brief discussion of Coltrane spiritual quest was well done. His book mentions that Trane was not a Christian--something left out this evening.

The evening ended with about another half hour with House of Soul. I had to leave early, but the event certainly deserved a standing ovation. If you were there, please post something.

This performance covered the first three chapters of Finding the Grove. There will be five other performances (two each month) covering the rest of the book. It was a marvelously creative and innovative way of relating jazz and the Christian worldview and way of life. It wasn't forced, nor was it trite. Neither was the Christian message overwhelmed by the discussion of and performance of the music. I hope to attend the rest in his inspiring series.

Visit Robert's web page: Reflections of a Jazz Theologian.

William Lane Craig Web Page

The inestimable Dr. William Lane Craig has a very well done and multifaceted web page (featuring transcripts, audio, video, and answers to specific questions--called Reasonable Faith. I highly recommend this material. Dr. Craig is the best Christian debater alive on apologetics issues and a world-class philosopher.