Monday, December 28, 2015

Stop Sexual Attacks In 2016; It’s On Us


            In 2013, World Health Organization deemed violence against women as a “significant public health” issue.

            It’s been a year since the White House launched the “It’s On Us” campaign to battle sexual assault in schools, colleges and universities. This initiative, although relevant to USA, should be actively considered by all and sundry because sexual assault is plaguing all countries. UK, USA, India, Sweden and South Africa are among the top countries listing rape crimes.

            Sexual assault trended recently in India because a juvenile convict, who heinously raped and murdered a 23 year old physiotherapy student in a moving bus, was recently released from prison1 and assigned to an NGO. Cause for such horrendous evil is known; Satan imprisons depraved humans to carry out such heinous crimes.

            The statistics on sexual assault is terribly high. “UN Women” research declares that 35% of women have experienced sexual assault by a non-partner and 70% of women have experienced sexual assault from an intimate partner.2 A 2012 study at New Delhi reported that 92% of women experienced sexual assault in public domain and 88% have experienced sexual assaults of the verbal nature.3 The plague of sexual assault is prevalent and will continue to be prevalent if we remain silent or ignorant.

            What’s the impact of sexual assault?

            The impact is severe, for sexual assault adversely impacts both the physical and the mental health of the survivors. Victims of sexual assault are quite likely to have sexually transmitted infections, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, sleeplessness, high cholesterol, hypertension and obesity.4 They could suffer emotionally from depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders, and could be suicidal.5

            Therefore, it’s on us to pledge to stop sexual assault.           

            What can we do to stop sexual assaults? The victims of sexual assault could be unknown to us but by no means are we immune to such gory violence.

            “It’s on us” campaign offers useful tips to prevent sexual assaults:  

            “1. Talk to your friends honestly and openly about sexual assault.

            2. Don't just be a bystander -- if you see something, intervene in any way you can.

            3. Trust your gut. If something looks like it might be a bad situation, it probably is.

            4. Be direct. Ask someone who looks like they may need help if they're ok.

            5. Get someone to help you if you see something -- enlist a friend, RA, bartender, or host to help step in.

            6. Keep an eye on someone who has had too much to drink.

            7. If you see someone who is too intoxicated to consent, enlist their friends to help them leave safely.

            8. Recognize the potential danger of someone who talks about planning to target another person at a party.

            9. Be aware if someone is deliberately trying to intoxicate, isolate, or corner someone else.

            10. Get in the way by creating a distraction, drawing attention to the situation, or separating them.

            11. Understand that if someone does not or cannot consent to sex, it's rape.

            12. Never blame the victim.” 6

            While these tips are pertinent to both Christians and non-Christians, how should the Christian community, especially the churches, respond to sexual assault? In other words, what have the churches done so far to prevent sexual assault?

            The Christian social justice organization, Sojourners, report a disappointing response by the churches, “If you made a short list of the issues the American church doesn’t talk about from the pulpit, you’d probably find sexual and domestic violence topping out the list.” 7

                How often do pastors preach about sexual assault? Is there a dedicated ministry in the local church to prevent sexual assaults and heal the survivors? If your answer is in the negative to both these questions, then your church joins the list of the majority of churches that ignore sexual assault.

            Should the Christian community be concerned about sexual assault? Yes! Active churchgoers are being sexually assaulted.8 Hence, it is a given that the church should actively minister to prevent and heal the survivors of sexual assault.

            Why do majority of local churches not actively minister to prevent and heal the sexually assaulted? The June 2014 IMA World Health Survey “Broken Silence: A Call for Churches to Speak Out” 9 reported that awareness among the church leaders to deal with sexual assault is low. But on a positive note the report declares that the leaders would do more if they possess proper tools and resources.

            What could the local church do to help the survivors of sexual assault? Churches could learn from “Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environment” (GRACE), which engages six damaging entailments from sexual abuse (denial, identity, shame, guilt, anger and despair) to minister to the survivors of sexual assault.10

            The local church should educate its members so to help prevent sexual assaults and to minister to those who have been assaulted sexually. Resources for pastors and leaders interested in preventing and healing the sexually assaulted are available at Sojourners, www.wewillspeakout.us, www.interfaithpartners.org, www.theraveproject.com, www.saiv.org and www.faithtrustinstitute.org.11

            If your church does not have a ministry to help prevent and to minister to the sexually assaulted, probably you could be a catalyst to launch this ministry. It’s on you!  

            Sexual predators are lurking. Innocent people are being victimized. The pain experienced by the survivors is immense. The need is critical.

            It’s on us to help prevent and heal. Yes, it’s on us.

Endnotes:

Websites referenced were last accessed on 28th December 2015

1 http://mic.com/articles/22727/jyoti-singh-pandey-gang-rape-victim-dying-declaration-to-doom-perpetrators#.BYRNLcGiq

2 http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/facts-and-figures

3 Ibid.

4 https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sexual_assault_report_1-21-14.pdf

5 Ibid.

6 https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/09/19/president-obama-launches-its-us-campaign-end-sexual-assault-campus

7 https://sojo.net/articles/broken-silence-poll-shows-lack-conversation-domestic-sexual-violence-churches#sthash.yjUJI72X.dpuf

8 http://www.imaworldhealth.org/images/stories/technical-publications/PastorsSurveyReport_final.pdf

9 Ibid.

10 http://www.netgrace.org/resources/2015/4/9/6-devastating-effects-of-sexual-assaultand-how-the-gospel-answers-them


11 http://www.imaworldhealth.org/images/stories/technical-publications/PastorsSurveyReport_final.pdf

Monday, December 21, 2015

Black, Blacker & Blackest Christmas (Every Christmas Is Black)



            The first Christmas was a black Christmas. Lamentation, weeping and great mourning accompanied Christ’s birth; children aged two years and under were ruthlessly massacred by King Herod.

            Today, Christmas is a joyful celebration. Churches and homes are colorfully decorated, joyful carols are sung and nativity scenes are enacted. Businesses enjoy the fruit of their labor; Christmas season fetches increased revenue. Christmas is all about goodness - good cheer, good food, and good company.

            The darkness that clouded the first Christmas has been successfully erased. Is Christmas trending in the right direction?

            Those asserting that Christmas is trending right would cite Christ as the greatest gift for the salvation of those who believe in HIM. Quite rightly so!

            For if God had not sent Christ into this world to save us, perhaps we would have been doomed to doing good works to earn our salvation. But doing good works can never be an option if God, a perfect being, is involved in the equation.

            Sin, an entailment of freewill, is innate in every human. So doing good works cannot be done to perfection. If good works cannot be done to perfection, salvation would perennially be uncertain.

            A maximally great being is perfect. An imperfect being cannot be maximally great. Completeness is innate in perfection, for perfection cannot be incomplete. In other words, corruption of any magnitude cannot partake in perfection.

            From a salvific perspective, God, the only perfect being, should demand existential perfection from HIS creation for coexistence in eternity. But humans cannot be existentially perfect because of our sinfulness. So our good works can never be perfect to meet God’s perfect standards. Therefore, God ought to make a way to enable sinful humans attain perfection.

            Salvation entails eternal coexistence. Heaven, the eternal abode for God and Christians, is perfect, for God can only exist in a perfect abode. But a perfect being cannot coexist, face to face (so to speak) with imperfect beings in a perfect abode. God can only coexist, face to face, with perfect beings in the perfect heaven.

            Perfection in an imperfect being could only be achieved by an uncaused perfect being, who is, in essence, a wholly perfect being (and there cannot be more than one uncaused wholly perfect being).

            Hence, God sent HIS son, the second person of the blessed Trinity, the Lord Jesus Christ to be a perfect one-time sacrifice for the salvation of all mankind. Therefore, Christians, who believe in Christ as God and remain in HIM, will attain perfect glorious bodies after their death. This is a matter of great celebration. No doubts! So celebration during Christmas cannot be invalidated.

            But is Christmas trending in the right direction?

            While celebrating joyfully with our families and friends, are we ignoring the more important aspects of life? Although Christmas celebration cannot be faulted altogether, is our Christmas celebration qualitatively meeting God’s expectations?

            What does God expect of our Christmas celebration? What does the Bible teach us?

            The Bible mandates love. Love is the common denominator between God and man – God loved us while we were sinners to offer us salvation through Christ, and man should love God for who HE is and what HE has done.

            But that’s not it! True love for God is discerned in our love for our neighbors.

            So what would Christ want us to do during Christmas season? Very minimally, preach the gospel and help those in need.

            If our celebrations do not, in greater part, involve those in pain and need, then their Christmas would continue to be a black Christmas. If people around us remain in pain and suffering, then our celebrations would remain duplicitous.

            Christmas 2015 will be a black Christmas for many people around us. Their pain and suffering renders this Christmas black. Can we reduce the intensity of their pain and suffering through our love?

            Unless our neighbor’s suffering is predicated on money, it would be impossible to erase their suffering. God alone can erase suffering predicated on emotional turmoil and illness.

            But it is well within our means to erase our neighbor’s need for money. Some of us are charitable in nature and could well be helping those in financial need. But are we giving from our abundance or poverty?!

            In other words, are we giving till it hurts? Do we practice the “grace of giving” (cf. 2 Corinthians 8: 1-7)? While striving to alleviate poverty around us, unless we personally experience the pain of poverty, even to the slightest measure, through our giving, our giving would not meet God’s expectations. Unless our financial giving hurts us or unless we give beyond our ability, may we never be satisfied with our giving.

            This Christmas would be a blacker Christmas for those staggering under emotional turmoil. Many life situations cause emotional turmoil e.g. death of a loved one, conflict, failure etc.

            What could be done to alleviate their pain? Genuine and godly words and deeds of comfort and encouragement would offer our brothers and sisters much needed satisfaction that there are people who genuinely care for them.

            The blackest of black Christmas is reserved to those staggering under the effects of evil, pain and suffering in their lives but convinced with the intellectual answer to the question “Where is God when it hurts?” However, no amount of intellectual knowledge or consent to reasonable answers heals the deep wounds caused by evil; such is evil’s gory.

            Healing would only occur when evil in its crushing glory is eliminated from life and blessings are outpoured. Job’s life was a good example.

            But what if there is no healing in this life?

            So isn’t there a merry Christmas at all?                     

            Every Christmas is black
            Evil and suffering do not lack
            God mysteriously comes along
            Shows us HIS nail pierced hands which should have been ours all along
            I AM Immanuel, I AM with you, HE says
            Patience, strength and wisdom HE gives us to slay
            The darkness in Christmas
            When we pray HE floods us
            With peace amid pain, this Christmas
            For HE is Immanuel, God with us. 


Monday, December 14, 2015

How To Live By Absolute Faith In Christ?


            Romans 1:17 says that the righteous will live by faith. If we are in Christ, we would be righteous in HIS presence. Righteousness entails a life lived by faith in Christ. But what does it mean to live by faith and how do we live by faith?

            First, what does it mean to live by faith?

            To live by faith is to be utterly dependent upon Christ. A life utterly dependent upon Christ trusts Christ be it in good times or bad. Life in faith is to constantly carry the cross of Christ. Even if everything were to go south - wrong and ugly - in our lives, our faith in Christ cannot deteriorate. Therefore, to live by faith is not to expect only happiness and wellness in life.

            To live by faith is to boast about our weakness, for when we are weak we are strong. A life utterly dependent upon Christ enables us to be strong in Christ even in our weakness.

            Easier said than done! How do we live by faith?

            As a case in point, consider tentmaking 1 and fulltime 2 ministry in Christendom. The dichotomy of tentmaker and a fulltime worker is based on the premise that the time available to these workers to disseminate the gospel of Christ is largely different.

            The fulltime worker has more available time to serve Christ than the tentmaker. The tentmaker ought to spend a considerable portion of his time towards his tentmaking vocation, which deprives him of time in comparison with the fulltime worker.

            Before proceeding further, certain misconceptions about fulltime workers and tentmakers ought to be resolved. So permit me to digress. There are two naïve misconceptions about tentmaking ministry.

            The first argues that only some Christians are called to serve Christ and that the other Christians serving in the secular domain are not called to serve Christ. The second misconception argues that those called to serve Christ fulltime ought to be a tentmaker i.e. he earns his own livelihood without depending on any Christian entity for his livelihood.

            First, fulltime workers do not serve a “higher calling” in comparison to Christians serving in secular field (e.g. factory workers, teachers, doctors, engineers etc.). Every Christian is called to be a disciple and to make disciples of all nations. Every Christian, in whatever capacity he works, is called to serve the Lord from his/her workplace. The workplace is a means to sharing the gospel of Christ.

            The second misconception argues that every Christian who serves the Lord fulltime ought to be a tentmaker. Here the term “tentmaker” assumes the notion that the fulltime worker should be employed either in a Christian organization or secular.

            Now think this through, how does a Christian mission organization (or church) meet its expenses? Christian organizations depend on fellow Christians to fund its operations. The finances received are then apportioned to its employees as salary.

            Although the fulltime Christian worker earns his salary as a tentmaker from the Christian organization that he serves, his organization depends on fellow Christians for its finances. It is then evident that the tentmaking Christian is indirectly dependant on finances from Christians.

            Therefore, fulltime workers without a tentmaking jobs are an existential reality in Christendom. Examples for this category include pastors who serve independent churches or evangelists who serve the Lord independently using their spiritual gifts.

            The pastor of an independent church is dependent on the offerings from his church for his living. The evangelist depends on financial contributions from gracious Christians.

            There could be a situation wherein pastors of independent churches (or evangelists) do not receive adequate funds. What do they do? Should they take up a secular job to care for their family and be tentmakers with reduced time to serve in Christ’s kingdom? If they work in a secular job, would not their calling to fulltime ministry be compromised and their time to serve Christ reduced?

            Alternatively, fulltime pastors and evangelists should trust God for their living, for Christ taught that God would provide their needs, “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Matthew 6:30-34a, NIV).

            Imagine the life of a fulltime worker, who has been called into fulltime work by God. If the fulltime worker depends only on God and not on his friends for his living needs, then is he not living a life in faith?

            Such a fulltime worker surely lives a life in faith. He trusts God for his living needs. While trusting God, he remains faithful to God to the best of his abilities. He diligently carries out his duty in serving Christ and in caring for his family. Because God’s words are living and active, God who promised to take care of those who trust in HIM, would never fail or forsake those who trust in HIM.

            How could a tentmaker NOT live a life of absolute faith? The tentmaker’s job pays him every month. When the tentmaker trusts his abilities and his job for his living needs (more than he trusts God), his life would expose reduced faith in God.

            God enables our abilities so that we work well. God is the source of an organization’s sustenance. Every moment lived out successfully in our workplace is a testimony to God’s goodness and grace.

            A chief obstacle to trusting in God is to trust in self or to trust in other men. The obstacle of trusting ourselves or trusting fellow humans should be absolutely broken if we are to absolutely trust in God. The first and the greatest commandment is to love God. If we truly love God the most, then we would trust HIM the most – more than we trust our neighbors.

            This is not to say that we should intentionally distrust ourselves and our neighbors. No! If we are to live in peace with our neighbors, then we should trust them. Moreover, if we do not trust in our own abilities, we will suffer from low self-esteem.

            Therefore, a life that absolutely or utterly trusts Christ…

            …will not expect only health, wealth and happiness in life.

            …will trust Christ be it in good times or bad.

            …will not trust self or the neighbors to the point where our trust in humans overshadows our trust in God.

            We will grow into trusting Christ absolutely when we diligently offer ourselves to Christ through the studying of HIS Word (i.e. Bible study) and through constant communication with HIM (prayer).

            May God enable us to live a life that absolutely trusts HIM and HIM alone.

Endnotes:

1 Tentmakers are committed to serve the Lord in various ways by performing other jobs to provide for their living.

Tentmaking ministry is relevant in Christian evangelism, where missionaries have little or no dependence upon any Christian entities for their living expenses while preaching the gospel of Christ. Apostle Paul is the most widely cited source for tentmaking ministry (Acts 18:1-5, 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-8; Acts 20:31-35; 1 Corinthians 4:12; 9:6).

Apostle Paul was a tentmaker because of his three missionary journeys. During these missionary journeys, Paul worked to support himself in Galatia, Corinth, Thessalonica, and Ephesus.


2 Evangelists, missionaries, pastors, itinerant speakers and the likes are fulltime workers.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Church of Satan Proves Atheism Is Evil


            Atheism is a dangerous worldview. Obviously, atheists will vehemently deny this claim. No sane human will agree that their worldview is evil. But a proponent of atheism reveals atheism as an evil worldview. 

            To say that atheism has an innate propensity to perpetrate evil is not to assert that religion is a peaceful worldview. Killers do represent religion. There are rank evil people professing to some religion or the other.

            Reality also reveals many morally upright atheists. What makes an atheist a good person?

            Christians claim that atheists could be good because God’s law is written in their hearts (Romans 2: 15). Contrarily, atheists believe that the rules of sociology, psychology, and neurophysiology enable their good behavior [1].

            A Christian will be a good person if he loves and obeys the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ did not teach us to hate each other rather love each other.  

            What makes a religionist an evil person?

            From within a Christian perspective, if a Christian remains a namesake Christian without any love for the Lord and the knowledge of God’s Word – the Bible, then he would most likely be an evil person. Such a Christian would have succumbed to the deception of the Satan.

            Evil Christians are not Christians to begin with. Those who have succumbed to Satan’s deceptions to perpetrate evil are Satan’s disciples, not Christ’s disciples.

            Other than denying God, what is innately wrong with the atheistic worldview that it motivates atheists to be evil? (Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot are famous atheists who ruthlessly murdered millions of people.)

            If atheists believe that rules of sociology, psychology, and neurophysiology enable their good behavior, then it’s reasonable to deduce that corruption in sociology, psychology, and neurophysiology would entail evil. (How would an atheist explain the corruption that enters sociology, psychology, and neurophysiology to motivate evil from its adherents? What is the nature and source of that corruption? Let’s not enter that metaphysical domain now!)

            Say hello to the Church of Satan!

            Do not be surprised by the rules of existence of the “Church of Satan,” which is published in their website, “When walking in open territory, bother no one. If someone bothers you, ask him to stop. If he does not stop, destroy him.” “If a guest in your lair annoys you, treat him cruelly and without mercy (Emphases Mine) [2].

            “If he does not stop, destroy him” ????

            “… treat him cruelly and without mercy” ????

            How does the Church of Satan justify destroying people? This is their justification, “Satan represents vengeance instead of turning the other cheek!” [3]. The Church of Satan does not believe in the biblical version of Satan i.e. Satan is a living spiritual being.

            Satanists or the members of Church of Satan are self-centered atheists, Satanists are atheists. We see the universe as being indifferent to us, and so all morals and values are subjective human constructions.

            Our position is to be self-centered, with ourselves being the most important person (the “God”) of our subjective universe, so we are sometimes said to worship ourselves. Our current High Priest Gilmore calls this the step moving from being an atheist to being an “I-Theist.”

            Satan to us is a symbol of pride, liberty and individualism, and it serves as an external metaphorical projection of our highest personal potential. We do not believe in Satan as a being or person” (Emphasis Mine) [4]. The fundamental belief of the Church of Satan exposes atheism in all its glory.

            When atheists deny God, they affirm man. (They do not have another option!)

            When atheists deny [the sovereignty of] God, they affirm the sovereignty of man. The Church of Satan blatantly declares that man is sovereign, “Our position is to be self-centered, with ourselves being the most important person (the “God”) of our subjective universe, so we are sometimes said to worship ourselves” [5].

            When sovereignty of man is affirmed, then as an entailment, subjectivity invades their domain. The Church of Satan affirms subjectivity, “We see the universe as being indifferent to us, and so all morals and values are subjective human constructions[6].  

            By affirming and subscribing to subjectivity, the Church of Satan offers itself absolute freedom to determine its own rules and policies. In fact, the Church of Satan plays God by offering itself absolute freedom via its justification of man’s sovereignty.

            If man declares himself as sovereign, he gives himself the powers to kill and to destroy. This is the source of ruthless dictatorship or ruthless man. Atheism is capable of gross ruthlessness.

            Lack of a common belief system, an entailment of negating objective truth, is another reason why atheism could be a dangerous killer, “The only common thread that ties all atheists together is a lack of belief in gods and supernatural beings. Some of the best debates we have ever had have been with fellow atheists. This is because atheists do not have a common belief system, sacred scripture or atheist Pope. This means atheists often disagree on many issues and ideas. Atheists come in a variety of shapes, colors, beliefs, convictions, and backgrounds. We are as unique as our fingerprints”[7].

            When atheism negates objectivity and upholds man’s sovereignty, subjectivity or relativism is a natural entailment. “Every man for himself” is their motto.

            Thanks to Richard Dawkins, every man is free to dance to the music of his DNA. Every man is free to hypothesize and establish the rules of his sociology, psychology, and neurophysiology. Sociology, psychology, and neurophysiology become prisoners of atheists.

            Within the atheistic worldview, what seems evil to one atheist could be conceived as the greater good of another atheist. On what grounds would you argue with those who perpetrate evil under the assumption that their contentious act is essentially not an evil act?

            Consider child sex abuse as a case in point.

            Thankfully the Church of Satan believes in not harming children, “Do not harm little children” [8]. The American Psychological Association (APA) also considers sexual abuse of children as a harmful practice, “sexual relations between children and adults are abusive, exploitive, reprehensible and properly punishable by law” [9].

            But NAMBLA (North American Man Boy Love Association) believes that consensual sexual relationship between a man and a boy is beneficial to the boy [10]! Significantly, the American Psychological Association does not refer to consensual sex between man and a boy as being beneficial to the boy. Whether consensual or not, sexual relations between boy and a man is an abuse and a disorder – an evil deed.

            But this is my point; what’s evil to APA is not evil to NAMBLA. How would you resolve this situation under an atheistic worldview that subscribes to man’s sovereignty and subjective moral laws? At best, these organizations could debate this matter endlessly. Even if one deems the other as evil, the other could find justification from within the atheistic worldview to justify the evil.

            The scope for evil’s rule is much greater if atheism prevails. If Christianity as a religion perpetrates evil, then it is a gross misrepresentation of Christianity. Evil is not inherent in Christianity. But evil is a natural entailment of atheism.

            Christianity cannot, by any means, justify evil. But atheism, through the portrayed instances of the Church of Satan and NAMBLA, can justify evil.

Endnotes:

[1] http://atheists.org/activism/resources/ethics

[2] http://www.churchofsatan.com/eleven-rules-of-earth.php

[3] http://www.churchofsatan.com/nine-satanic-statements.php

[4] http://www.churchofsatan.com/faq-fundamental-beliefs.php

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] https://atheists.org/activism/resources/what-is-atheism

[8] http://www.churchofsatan.com/eleven-rules-of-earth.php

[9] http://www.apa.org/about/policy/sexual-abuse.aspx


[10] http://nambla.org/data.html

Monday, November 30, 2015

Are Transgenders Like Terrible Nuclear Weapons?


            Some Christians slam the door in the face of transgenders. Apparently, Pope Francis compared transgenders to nuclear weapons because they do not recognize God’s order of creation [1].

            “Transgender” is an umbrella term for a man who considers himself a woman or a woman who thinks of herself as a man. They consider themselves as trapped in a wrong body.

            Former Olympic champion and pop celebrity Bruce Jenner, a man by birth, recently underwent sex reassignment to become a woman. Some Christian leaders deemed this gender transition as a sin against God. Some ultra-conservatives even hustle transgenders to hell.

            Intriguingly, the Bible is silent about transgenders. There is not a single reference that deems transgenderism as sinful.

            Why do some Christians consider transgenderism as sinful?

            God assigns our gender during our creation (cf. Genesis 1:27). Since our genders are assigned by our creator, any sex change endeavor is a violation against God’s creational intent.

            God’s design of mankind as male and female is consistently attacked by Satan. People with gender confusions succumb towards sex reassignment. Satan causes this gender confusion and the popular western culture endorses it, “We see the profound tension between God’s design and Satan’s attacks on this design. The Lord created man and woman and gives them specific roles to play for His glory; Satan targets man and woman and induces them to upend God’s design. God orders and structures; Satan tears down. God brings life; Satan destroys it. These tragic patterns are as old as the earth. They are not new, but they do morph with the times. Western culture is making good on this rebellion. It denies the distinctness of divine creation; it tears down the uniqueness of the sexes; and it rebels against the lordship of Jesus Christ. The wisdom and design of God is rejected, and the Word of God, in sum, is reviled”[2].

            When we succumb to Satan’s schemes, we sin against God.

            God does not make mistakes. Transgenders often develop “gender dysphoria” - a form of depression, during which they accuse God in anger and frustration for having trapped them in a wrong body. Dissatisfied transgenders ask, “how can I be a man yet feel like a woman?”

            Some consider man’s feelings as a cause of this problem than his body, “Traditionally, if a man felt like a woman yet inhabited a male body, his feelings, not his body, were viewed as the problem. They were considered something to be resisted, modified if possible, and contrary to what was” [3].

            Consider a similar instance where a person may feel worthless. A feeling of being worthless is not a valid thought because all mankind are made in the image of God. Hence every man and woman is precious in God’s sight. If we are precious in God’s sight, we cannot consider ourselves worthless.

            In both instances, our feeling is deceptive. God, a perfect being, cannot and would not commit mistakes. It is man who makes mistakes. Therefore, man’s negative thought that he/she is trapped in a wrong body ought to be dealt with and changed.

            Sex change does not provide satisfaction to transgenders. Let us, for a moment, assume the legitimacy of transgenders’ negative emotion - that they are indeed trapped in a wrong body. If transgenders are legitimate in their anger and frustration of being trapped in a wrong body, then a sex reassignment should offer them peace and satisfaction, isn’t it? 

            On the contrary, in many instances, sex reassignment failed to provide transgenders with the peace and satisfaction that they so desired for before sex reassignment. A study of 324 sex-reassigned persons (191 male-to-females, 133 female-to-males) in 2003 concluded that “Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behaviour, and psychiatric morbidity [diseased state] than the general population. Our findings suggest that sex reassignment, although alleviating gender dysphoria, may not suffice as treatment for transsexualism”[4].

            If sex reassignment does not alleviate the pain of transgenders, then their frustration, anger and negative emotion of being trapped in a wrong body is invalid.

            Can we endorse or justify transgenderism since Bible remains explicitly silent on this subject?

            Any act that violates God is a sin even if Bible is silent about that very act. Consider pornography as a case in point.

            Pornography cannot be justified because of a lack of direct reference to pornography as a sin in Bible. But various passages in the Bible implicitly deems pornography as sinful (e.g. Matthew 5:27-28; 1 Corinthians 6:18; Colossians 3:5).

            In the same manner, the consideration that transgenderism is a sinful act is indeed credible, for transgenderism violates God’s creational intent.  

            Would practicing transgenders go to hell?

            By virtue of our repentance and belief in Christ, we are washed clean of all our sins by the blood of our crucified and risen Savior. Hence, transgenders, who consider themselves as sinful humans but washed clean by the blood of the Savior through their faith in Christ, will not go to hell.

            But if a transgender considers the act of sex reassignment as not sinful, then there is a certain danger, for there is sufficient evidence that transgenderism violates God’s creational intent.

            However, I believe that it is not for us to determine who goes to hell especially when the Bible is silent on that very matter.

            How then should a repented transgender live?

            Consider a man, who underwent a sex reassignment surgery to become a woman. If this person genuinely repented, he would live as a man and not as a woman i.e. he would live in his birth-gender. 

            How should Christians respond to transgenders?

            Love them unconditionally. This is essential. Insults and ridicule should be avoided.

            If a transgender considers the act of sex reassignment as not sinful, then we ought to graciously point them towards reality. The reality is that transgenderism violates God’s creational intent, hence it is sinful. Any sinful act would be forgiven upon repentance.

            How should Christians respond to transgenders considering sex reassignment?

            Explain why transgenderism is a sin against God. Inform them that sex reassignment does not actually change a person’s gender, for their birth gender DNA remains absolutely intact, despite the sex change surgery.

            Sex reassignment may make one feel like a man or a woman but in reality they are not that gender into which they have surgically transitioned into, “The only thing the surgeon can change is the medical record, birth records and the perception that a change took place on the operating table. A DNA test would prove no sex change took place. Sex change regret may come years later when you understand the surgery did not make you a female or change your DNA gender/sex” [5].

            Significantly, depression in the individual before the sex change surgery could remain intact after the surgery. Moreover, their actual gender does not change with the surgery for their birth DNA remains absolute. Therefore, transgenders ought to look to Christ for their inner healing. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can set us free.

Endnotes:

Websites referenced here were last accessed on 30th November 2015.

Please read this article for more valuable information on Transgenderism:

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/9-things-you-should-know-about-transgenderism

[1] http://www.news.com.au/world/europe/pope-francis-transgender-people-are-like-nuclear-weapons/news-story/82ac600853b4bc8647843bdc211bdb51

[2] https://answersingenesis.org/family/gender/transgender-identity-wishing-away-gods-design/

[3] http://www.equip.org/article/the-transsexual-dilemma/

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21364939


[5] http://www.sexchangeregret.com/Things-Ive-Learned

Monday, November 23, 2015

If NASA Fakes Rapture & Second Coming of Christ, What Do We Do? (Project Blue Beam)


            When a giant floating city appeared over the skies of Chinese city Foshan, the grapevine was abuzz with NASA’s secret plan to fake rapture and Christ’s second coming. Canadian journalist Serge Monast, in 1994, alluded to “Project Blue Beam” as NASA’s brainchild to technologically simulate rapture and Christ’s second coming to establish a “New World Order” with Antichrist at its head.

            How would NASA fake rapture and the second coming of Christ? News.com provides excerpts from Serge Monast’s book “Project Blue Beam” detailing the four steps [1]:

            “STEP 1: The breakdown of all archaeological knowledge…NASA would aim to discredit all existing religions through the breakdown of all archaeological knowledge. “[Step 1] deals with the setup of earthquakes at certain precise locations of the planet where supposedly new discoveries will…falsify the teachings of all major religions, people will be more likely to accept the New Age religion when it is formed.

            STEP 2: A gigantic space with 3D holographic laser projections…the second stage in creating a new world order would be using a gigantic space show with 3D holographic images, lasers and sounds to seduce people into believing in the new god. “The show will consist of laser projection of multiple holographic images to different parts of the world, each receiving a different message according to predominating regional/national religious faith,” he said. “From the depths of space, astonished followers of the various creeds will witness their own returned messiah in spectacularly convincing lifelike realness…This one god will in fact be the anti-Christ…”

            STEP 3: Telepathic two-way communication… It is believed NASA will use low frequency radio waves to telepathically communicate with humans in an attempt to shape their beliefs to match those taught by the New Age religion…the telepathic communication would be used as a form of mind control to trick people into thinking their god is delivering them messages directly. “[The message will be sent from a] device that can deliver audible signals directly to an individual while they remain undetectable by anyone else,” he said. “The microwave beam generated by the device is moderated at audio frequencies and can broadcast voices directly into the brain.”

            STEP 4: Universal supernatural manifestations using electronic means…The final step of Project Blue Beam is to create chaotic event that will leave people willing or desperate enough to accept the new world order…this could occur with up to three different orientations. “One is to make mankind belief that an alien invasion is about to strike down on each major city of the earth,” he said. “The second is to make the Christians believe to a major rapture with the supposedly divine intervention of an alleged good alien force coming to save the people from a brutal satanic attack. “The third orientation in the fourth step is a mixture of electronic and supernatural forces … the goal of this one deals with global Satanic ghosts all around the world in order to push all population on the edge to drown into a wave of suicide, killing and permanent psychological disorder.””

            Evidences validating these steps are not scarce. Many strong earthquakes in the recent years have puzzled seismologists and the recent discovery of Talpiot tomb, which ineffectively attempts to refute Christ’s resurrection gives credence to step #1.  Hologram sightings in the sky that includes Jesus’ crucifix [2], a floating city over the African village Dulali [3] etc. offers evidence to step #2.

            Pentagon’s mad science division DARPA’s project “Silent Talk” lends credibility to step #3. The objective of “Silent Talk” is to “allow user-to-user communication on the battlefield without the use of vocalized speech through analysis of neural signals” [4]. Step #4 lacks significant evidence but cannot be utterly ruled out.

            Currently, Project Blue Beam remains a conspiracy theory due to the absence of concrete facts. What then is the purpose of this article?

            Why did I write this and why are you even reading?

            Technology could facilitate simulations of Christ’s second coming and Rapture. The Bible provides adequate information about these events, so these simulations could adhere to the biblical narrative.

            It is possible to provide eyewitness accounts and extensive media coverage for these simulations. So a well planned and executed simulation of end time events could deceive Christians.  

            This then is the purpose of this article, “How could Christians identify and protect themselves against fake rapture and second coming of Christ?”

            Deception is a given. In fact, Bible mandates us to watch out and not be deceived (Matthew 24: 4). Although we should watch out, we ought to know our weakness, which is that we are capable of being deceived (cf. 2 Corinthians 11: 3-4). Hence, we should remain in Christ through the reading and studying of HIS Word and passionate prayer.

            Project Blue Beam, if it is a reality, would frighten Christians away from Christianity. Anything that turns us away from Christ is not from God. We ought to trust in God and in HIS Word - the Bible that you and I have. The Bible, inerrantly and infallibly, reveals God’s plans.

            Standing firm in our belief is crucial to not yield to messages that contradict Christianity. Focusing on teachings that guard us in historic Christianity is equally vital for us to stand firm in Christ.

            Know the Antichrist – “the man of lawlessness.” “He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God,” says the Bible (2 Thessalonians 2: 4, NIV). Anyone who proclaims himself to be God is not God. Do not believe such a person.

            Do not get carried away by signs and wonders. The Bible reveals that antichrist will perform signs and wonders, “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing…” (2 Thessalonians 2: 9-10a, NIV). Antichrist will perform signs and wonders, and we should not be deceived by those signs and wonders.  

            Persecution leading to the death of believers is a sure sign of end times. Any individual or an entity that coerces Christians to abandon their faith in return for their lives is either the antichrist or his entity. We would rather die than live in rejection of Christ, “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8-9, NIV).

            Equip the young people to remain in Christ. Living in the future would be more difficult than the present. So it is imperative that our next generation be equipped so that they remain in Christ despite all odds and dangers. This is our responsibility. 

            Project Blue Beam could be a hoax. But antichrist and Christ’s second coming are not hoaxes. These events will happen in the future.

            Simulating rapture and Christ’s second coming is not totally out of the realms of reality. Let us be watchful so to not be deceived by Satan and his deceptive entourage.

Endnotes:

[1] http://www.news.com.au/technology/project-blue-beam-conspiracy-theory-suggests-nasa-has-secret-plans-to-create-new-world-order/news-story/25266f2c57e89e139f0fa9daddeb0953

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxkngzG41ZE

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoUMZOMavB8


[4] http://www.wired.com/2009/05/pentagon-preps-soldier-telepathy-push/

Monday, November 16, 2015

UFOs Are Demons?


            UFO aficionados’ joy over the floating city video from China that went viral a few weeks ago was momentary. This was a fake or fata morgana (mirage) [1].

            Reports of UFOs captivate everyone. We love to hear strange fascinating phenomena bordering on the miraculous.

            It is valid to probe UFOs from a Christian perspective, since there is a religious nuance to the UFOs. It is believed that aliens abduct humans to transmit religious messages to mankind.   

            Kenneth Samples, coauthor of “Lights in the Sky and Little Green Men: A Rational Christian Look at UFOs and Extraterrestrials,” describes “Residual UFOs” (RUFOs). RUFOs are the real UFO sightings because they defy naturalistic explanations [2].  Although RUFOs are a minority (5-10% of all UFO sightings), they number in tens of thousands of unexplained UFO sightings.

            Consider the three hypotheses that explain RUFOs [3]:

            1. Misidentified Hypothesis (MIH) posits UFO occurrences as natural phenomena. So, a majority of UFOs become IFOs (Identified Flying Objects), which are either man-made or explained in a naturalistic perspective e.g. floating city video.

            2. Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH) proposes UFOs as alien spacecrafts. But serious scientific, technological and logical problems motivate the most credible ufologists to reject this theory.

            3. Interdimensional Hypothesis (IDH) asserts that UFOs are real but belong to another dimension of reality. Some Christian ufologists posit certain UFO reports as demonic.

            To reiterate, 90-95% of UFO sightings are IFOs; they are grouped under the misidentified category. But a minority of UFO sighting is authentic.

            While concrete evidences for extraterrestrials visiting earth are yet to be substantiated beyond doubt, the notion that UFOs are demons trying to mess around with human beings could be considered for its credibility.

            Secular scientists consider the possibility of UFOs being demonic. Dr. Carl Sagan, Arthur C. Clark, Preston Dennit, and Dr. Jacques Vallee, among others, have expressed views that UFOs could be demonic manifestations [4].

            The Bible accentuates the angelic power to transform / masquerade / disguise to deceive humans (cf. Genesis 2:1; Deuteronomy 4:19; Ephesians 6:12; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 4:3-4; 2 Corinthians 11:14-15) [5]. So the possibility of evil angels a.k.a. demons manifesting as UFOs is real.

            Christian ufologists emphasize the demonic deceptions of UFOs for it influences people away from the worship one true and living God, “The emphasis here is that many people groups throughout history have turned from worship of the true God to created things – including the “hosts of heaven” in the historical Biblical sense, but more recently, to accepting the teachings of modern “aliens” that THEY are humanity’s creators, and saviours…Our hope in posting this information, as always, is that people will learn from the Word of God that the “aliens” reported today are deceptive entities, wicked hosts and false gods who wish only to destroy those they come in contact with. (Yes, even the tall blonde Nordics – “made to look like mortal man… and reptiles” from the scripture above. They’re playing “good cop, bad cop” people, and we’re being had.)” [6].

            In this context, the phenomenon of “alien abduction” requires consideration. The 1991 Roper poll claimed approximately 4 million people in the USA experienced alien abduction [7].

            Typically, in an alien abduction, people claim to be paralyzed by an unknown force, transported to an unknown location, examined and probed (with a special focus on genitals and rectum) by unknown creatures, but returned to their original and known location in a state of amnesia – without any memories of the abduction encounter. But, when placed under hypnosis, these people narrate their alien abduction experiences.

            The CE4 Research Group [8], researching into alien abduction for many years, posits the “Demonic Hypothesis” to explain alien abduction:

            A. The experience of “Alien Abductions” can be terminated or stopped in the name and authority of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

            B. The abilities of fallen angels, described in the Bible, match the experiences from alien abductions. Paradox Brown, the author of “The Bible, Physics, and the Abilities of Fallen Angels” says, “…the Bible teaches that fallen angels can victimize people with their ability to cause dreams and Visions, using these to scare and terrify, even to the point of severe traumatization from them… fallen angels can also cause False Dreams and False Visions to communicate a lying or deceptive message, false information, to a person with the intent that the person might become a false prophet, who shares the false message as truth… after looking at several “alien abduction” cases it seems that the abilities of Fallen angels to cause False Visions (and all that entails) and terrifying dreams, as well as elements of Physical manifestation, are sufficient to explain what abductees experience”[9].

            C. Those abducted by aliens, report of anti-biblical messages from the aliens, which is the character of the fallen angels.

            The CE4 research conclusions are credible since it has worked with over 400 people with alien abduction experience. Thus it is a reasonable conclusion that alien experiences are demonic.

            Similarly, when aliens are compared to angels in the Bible, the aliens match the description of the fallen angels, “True biblical angels would help, not harm, an individual, but aliens are notorious for leaving people physically injured, confused, scared, and paranoid…“Aliens” are indeed angels, but they are not the good angels which scripture tells of. Their actions, abilities and doctrines most resemble that of the fallen angels who have deceived and spiritually enslaved mankind at different points all throughout history – who work against the purposes of God, and the interests of all humanity.” [10]

            To conclude, the following information is in our domain:

            1. Some secular scientists consider UFOs as demonic.

            2. Having studied 400+ alien abduction experiences, CE4 research posits alien abduction experiences as demonic.

            3. Aliens match the description of fallen angels.

            4. Extraterrestrial hypothesis faces serious scientific, technological and logical problems.

            5. Therefore, it is highly reasonable and responsible to consider UFOs and aliens as demonic. Alternatively, we cannot discard the notion that UFOs are demons.

            The Bible and Christian research posits UFOs as demonic. Therefore, serious dabbling in UFOs could lead people away from Christ. Kenneth Samples implies this notion, “…we should stress that historic Christianity provides powerful and livable answers to life’s ultimate questions, and those answers are more convincing than anything UFO religions can provide” [11].

Endnotes:

Websites referenced here were last accessed on 16th November 2015.

[1] http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/20/world/china-floating-city-video-feat/ 
&
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/10/151020-city-sky-china-mirage-fata-morgana-weather-atmosphere/

[2] http://www.reasons.org/blogs/reflections/ufo-interview-with-biola-magazine

[3] http://www.reasons.org/articles/ufos-three-general-explanatory-hypotheses

[4] http://www.alienresistance.org/ufo-alien-deception/ufology-research/

[5] http://www.alienresistance.org/ufos-the-bible/

[6] Ibid.

[7] http://www.csicop.org/si/show/abduction_by_aliens_or_sleep_paralysis

[8] http://www.alienresistance.org/ce4.htm

[9] http://www.alienresistance.org/ufo-alien-deception/christian-ufology-research-overview/

[10] http://www.alienresistance.org/ufos-the-bible/comparison-of-angels-and-aliens/


[11] http://www.reasons.org/blogs/reflections/ufo-interview-with-biola-magazine