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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Our Book in WORLD Magazine!

We've been subscribers to the Christian news publication WORLD magazine for years now. WORLD's mission is "To report, interpret, and illustrate the news in a timely, accurate, enjoyable, and arresting fashion from a perspective committed to the Bible as the inerrant Word of God."

We used to subscribe to the kids version of WORLD, God's World News, as well. However, our children have recently started to prefer the regular edition. This is especially the case with our two oldest children, Caleb (13 years-old), and Jesse (11 years-old). They have been reading the regular version of World for a couple of years now. They love it.

My wife Michelle and I both enjoy WORLD as well. Before going to bed a few nights ago, I read Marvin Olasky's--WORLD's editor-in-chief--piece on Christian education. Given our involvement in education, before I left for work the next morning, I asked Caleb to make sure that he showed Michelle the column.

However, though we've had the September edition of WORLD for several days now, and though several of us have flipped through the magazine many times, it seems that we all missed something significant (at least from our perspective).

WORLD has a recurring section called "Notable Books" where, usually, several books are featured and reviewed. Our book Debt-Free Living in a Debt-Filled World was reviewed in the "Notable Books" section in the September edition of WORLD.

Here is the review (click on the image to make it larger):

Additionally, prior to reviewing our book and six others, the "Notable Books" section began,
"During the past year, WORLD received more than 100 self-published books for possible review. This past May we had our 14 students at the 2015 World Journalism Institute each choose the books that most appealed to them—and from those to choose one to review. For the WJI students, that’s useful experience for future work in publishing or book reviewing. For the authors who sent their books, thank you. Although some of you will be disappointed not to find your book reviewed here, you have helped in the training of these budding journalists."

We had no idea this had happened. Thank you WORLD! And thank you to our friend Christy Mihalick for alerting us to this!

Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Everybody Wants to Rule Their World

When one abandons eternal truth, there is virtually no limit to the extremeness and no end to the amount of folly that will follow. Modern liberalism again demonstrates this well.

Because of his commitment to liberalism, which makes him unable to call the public display of women’s breasts that is occurring in Times Square what it really is (offensive, absurd, gross, and yes, wicked and sinful), New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has decided to wield one of the favorite tools of modern liberals: the dreaded “multiagency task force.”

According to CBS, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo “has said he believes the women posing for the photos are breaking the law and undermining efforts to keep the tourist area family friendly.” Imagine that: a liberal complaining that liberal values on full display for the world to see is an affront to a “family friendly” atmosphere. Cuomo likely wouldn’t recognize what is truly “family friendly” even if it mugged him on the subway.

Caitlyn Lewis said, “It is a quality of life issue, and the worst case scenario is that people don’t want to come to Times Square.” In spite of a mountain of evidence to the contrary, liberals don’t seem to be concerned about any “quality of life” issues when it comes to homosexuality or same sex “marriage.” And liberals certainly aren’t concerned with “quality of life” when it comes to life in the womb.

Again, as is the case with the supposed “campus rape culture,” liberals bemoan what they’ve helped to create. Anybody want to give me odds on the voting records of the topless twits plaguing New York? What do you think their position is on abortion, same-sex “marriage,” the welfare state, and climate change? These bare-breasted bimbos are simply more rotten fruit of liberalism.

About the topless women, de Blasio also said, “It’s wrong, it’s wrong.” Someone should ask him, “Why?” Upon what moral standard does his conclusion rest? After all, toplessness is not illegal in New York. And if it’s legal, then it must be moral, right libs? (In other words, shouldn’t the debate be over?)

As the topless women took their act to Austin, Texas, one political observer asked the protestors to “explain reasons why women should be topless.” The number one reason given: “It frees oneself from guilt and sin.”

This sounds a lot like the pro-abortion Satanists recently documented at National Review. As the author David French notes, “The Satanists adhere to such edifying statements of principle as ‘Satan represents indulgence instead of abstinence!’ and ‘Satan represents all of the so-called sins, as they all lead to physical, mental, or emotional gratification!’”

As Mr. French also points out, though most pro-abortionists (and liberals in general) are not Satanists (nor favor the “right” to parade around topless in public), “prominent Satanist involvement in the abortion debate does have a clarifying effect.” Of course, this “clarifying effect” is also present with liberals who clamor for their “right” to be topless in public.

As French concludes,
A person who is willing to kill another person for the sake of preserving their own prosperity or emotional health is declaring that their life is supreme — their existence is at the center of all things. This is the core of Satanist theology. So when Satanists declare their creeds, they strike uncomfortably close to the rotten core of the abortion-rights regime.
Writing for Patheos, author and philosopher Michael Novak makes note of this “theology of self” when he writes of a two decades-old study on abortion that he only recently encountered. “Two main findings of the study startled me,” Novak writes,
but they are also fairly obvious once one sees them from the point of view of the young women in the study…To such women, having an unplanned child represents a threat so great to modern women that it is perceived as the equivalent to a ‘death of self.’
Such a theology is not exclusive to Satanists. Even the U.S. Supreme Court has embraced this theology. Nearly a quarter of a century ago, ruling in favor of the “right” to kill children in the womb (Planned Parenthood v. Casey), Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” (Thus, no one should have been surprised at his infamous conclusion on marriage.)

In fact, the desire to make oneself “the center of all things,” or, as it is stated in Genesis chapter 3, to make oneself to “be like God” is almost as old as humanity itself. C.S. Lewis called it “The Great Sin.” The Great Sin, the utmost evil, Lewis wrote, is Pride. “Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison. It was through Pride that the devil became the devil. Pride leads to every other vice. It is the complete anti-God state of mind.” It was an appeal to the pride of Adam and Eve which introduced sin into God’s perfect creation.

“The Christians are right,” Lewis continues, “it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began.” The only cure for the disease of Pride, as the life and words of Jesus reveal, is the “death of self,” and a rebirth as a new creature.

Of course, this is not easy. As Lewis also notes,
The terrible thing, the almost impossible thing, is to hand over your whole self – all your wishes and precautions – to Christ. But it is far easier than what we are all trying to do instead. For what we are trying to do is to remain what we call ‘ourselves’, to keep personal happiness as our great aim in life, and yet at the same time be ‘good.’ We are all trying to let our mind and heart go their own way – centered on money or pleasure or ambition – and hoping, in spite of this to behave honestly and chastely and humbly. And that is exactly what Christ warned us you could not do. As He said, a thistle cannot produce figs. If I am a field that contains nothing but grass-seed, I cannot produce wheat. Cutting the grass may keep it short: but I shall still produce grass and no wheat. If I want to produce wheat, the change must go deeper than the surface. I must be ploughed up and re-sown.
There is only one way to “free oneself from guilt and sin.” We cannot find this freedom in the redefining of sin, in the election of one politician over another, in the ruling of a judge, or in uninhibited acts of hedonism. The only way to such freedom is the Way of the Cross.

Copyright 2015, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Josh Duggar is Not Our Standard

If you’re looking to discredit Christianity, you’re going to have to do a lot better than point to the failings of the followers of Christ. Josh Duggar, of 19 Kids and Counting fame, who was recently outed as a user of the adultery promoting website Ashley Madison, is simply the latest in a long line of public Christians caught failing to “practice what he preached.”

Christianity isn’t about what Josh Duggar, Jimmy Swaggart, Billy Graham, James Dobson, myself, or anyone else did or will do. It isn’t about what we’ve said or will say. Christianity is in the words and deeds of one man alone: Jesus Christ.

Christ is our standard. He is The Standard. And we’ve ALL fallen short.

However, the failings of the followers of Jesus do not undo one single eternal truth spoken by God. In spite of the desire of many on the left to use the sin of Mr. Duggar (and other such incidents, the next of which will also soon be plastered all over the liberal media) as an opportunity to disparage Christianity and Christian conservative values (all the while furthering the perverse agenda of liberalism), whether marriage, money, sex, creation, life in the womb, and the like—God has the final say on these and all such matters.

Tellingly, after the hack attack, Ashley Madison said: “This event is not an act of hacktivism, it is an act of criminality. It is an illegal action against the individual members of AshleyMadison.com, as well as any freethinking people who choose to engage in fully lawful online activities.

“The criminal, or criminals, involved in this act have appointed themselves as the moral judge, juror and executioner, seeing fit to impose a personal notion of virtue on all of society. We will not sit idly by and allow these thieves to force their personal ideology on citizens around the world.”

It seems that the moralizers at Ashley Madison have appointed themselves “moral judge, juror, and executioner” when it comes to thieves. In other words, at AshleyMadison.com “thievery” is bad, but adultery by “freethinking people” is okay. So again we see the self-contradictory attempts by liberals at raising their own system of “values.”

Further demonstrating this self-contradictory thinking—along with demonstrating why psychology is more witchcraft than science—Laurie Essig at Psychology Today just doesn’t understand why the hackers “would need to attack a site that is fairly honest about what's going on as opposed to every other dating site where people are lying through their teeth.”

“More importantly,” she adds, “this sort of sexual prudery should not pass for some sort of activism when there are some serious liars on the interwebs.” (“Interwebs?” I have to admit, Ms. Essig’s lame attempt at humor was, at first, lost on me.) She ends her piece by concluding that the Ashley Madison hackers are “the least heroic…hactiprudes who released the personal data of 37,000,000 people just trying to get laid without lying.”

Because of course, everyone using the Ashley Madison site as a means to commit adultery was completely honest with all of their intentions and information. (What a dolt!) So along with thievery, “lying through their teeth” is also completely unacceptable to the adultery apologists.

Again, as C.S. Lewis put it, “There never has been, and never will be, a radically new judgment of value in the history of the world. What purport to be new systems or (as they now call them) ‘ideologies,’ all consist of fragments from [Natural Law] itself, arbitrarily wrenched from their context in the whole and then swollen to madness in their isolation, yet still owing to [Natural Law] and to it alone such validity as they possess.”

In other words, it is folly to lament the actions of liars and thieves all the while promoting and profiting from adultery. The same Law Giver who reveals that theft and lying is wrong also tells us that fornication and adultery are wrong.

Make no mistake about it, if you are a Christian living out your faith in any meaningful way at all, you have made yourself a target. The spiritual forces of evil who seek to “kill, steal, and destroy” are anxious for your demise. In the hyper-sexed culture in which we live, this often means attacks in the sexual realm. (In his public confession, Mr. Duggar also admitted to an addiction to “interweb” pornography.)

With so many eager to harm the cause of Christ, be sure that your sin will find you out. (And will enthusiastically be used against you.) Whether our sins are public or not, God knows it all. As Franklin Graham said to the Ashley Madison users, “I have news for all those worried cheaters out there wringing their hands — God already knew! His holy Word says, ‘Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account’ (Hebrews 4:13). Times may have changed, but God's laws and standards never change — all sin has a price.”

Thank God someone paid the price for us all.

Copyright 2015, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Get’cha Honey for Nothin’, Get’cha Chips for Free
(I want my, I want my, I want my E-B-T!)

The quickest and surest way to make things more expensive for most of us is for someone in our government to attempt to make such things “free” for some.

As I noted earlier this year, the largest “charity” in the U.S. is government (which, of course, brags about it!). Americans gave a total of approximately $3.4 billion (about $2.4 billion from individuals) to private charities in 2013. In the same year, Americans received over $600 billion from means-tested (recipients required to be below a certain income level) government programs (housing, food stamps, WIC, Medicaid, and the like). When non means-tested programs (Social Security, Medicare, unemployment, and so on) are included, the total is a shocking and staggering $2 trillion dollars.

In case you missed it, for over four consecutive years now, the number of Americans receiving food stamps (transactions are now down with an EBT card) surpassed 45 million. About 20 percent of U.S. children receive food stamps. Thus nearly one-fifth of our future electorate is being conditioned to the idea that it is government’s responsibility to make sure they are fed.

Of course, with the current size and role the government plays in our everyday lives, people have come to expect much more than food from their Uncle Sam. And liberals are intent on growing these expectations.

Given the life-changing financial decision Michelle and I made 17 years ago, anytime I see a headline containing the phrase “debt free,” my attention is drawn. This is especially the case whenever the headline is a reference to a plan or scheme devised by a liberal. Most liberals’ ideas of “debt free” involves either printing massive amounts of money or heavily taxing those who tend not to vote for democrats (or at least have no lobbyist to create tax loopholes).

As her campaign falters, Hillary Clinton recently announced her plan to do more of what liberals do best: give away other people’s money. In an effort to politically capitalize on the massive $1.2 trillion in student loan debt that is held by tens-of-millions of Americans, Clinton proposed “to make public colleges debt-free for students, to cut interest rates for people struggling with debt from loans taken out to pay for college, and to expand some existing aid programs to cover more people.”

Her campaign says that the new program would cost $350 billion over ten years, which means that it will probably cost at least twice that much. Liberals are almost as bad at predicting the future costs of federal programs as they are at climate change predictions. (The interesting thing to ponder is which bad prediction will end up costing us more.) Of course, as is almost always the case with these things, Clinton’s plan will not make college less expensive, but more so.

Clinton isn’t alone in her plan to further expand the role of the federal government in education. According to Alex Simindinger, writing in Real Clear Politics, “Affordable, debt-free college is now an economic policy plank for all the Democratic presidential candidates, who believe it resonates across political parties, across economic strata, and with young people as well as with their parents and grandparents.”

In other words, liberals have examined the political landscape and found the next new way—much to Benjamin Franklin’s dismay—to give the electorate the opportunity to vote themselves money. And “affordable?!” Social Security, the oldest, and arguably the most popular federal social welfare program, is, according to Andrew Briggs of the American Enterprise Institute, “the Titanic headed for the iceberg.” And there is virtually no political will in Washington, D.C. to do anything about it.

In 2014 Medicare—which is as popular as Social Security—cost the U.S. government $600 billion, which was just short of defense spending. This spending was nearly double Medicare’s receipts ($342 billion) for 2014. Put another way, Medicare brings in about 11% of federal tax revenue, while amounting to nearly 17% of federal spending. As John Graham of the National Center for Policy Analysis implies, “Medicare devours the federal government.”

In other words, with over $18 trillion in total federal debt, and an annual federal budget deficit of nearly $500 billion, virtually no Big Government social program is “affordable.” Of course, this includes Obamacare.

In spite of the oft-parroted notion that Obamacare is “working,” the law is much more expensive than promised ($2 trillion instead of $900 billion—Democrats will just make this up out of petty cash), fewer people are covered than promised, premiums are rising faster than promised (“23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota), fewer doctors are available than promised (“42 percent fewer oncology and cardiology specialists; 32 percent fewer mental health and primary care providers; and 24 percent fewer hospitals”), and so on.

As is often the case with these programs, Obamacare was sold on a mountain of lies. Because of the desire of many Americans to receive “free” stuff from the government, and because of the refusal of far too many Americans to recognize that such things are never free, we are now saddled with another massive government program that we may never be rid of.

The idea that Americans are getting things “free” from the government may be the lie of the century. A billboard near my home illustrates well this lie:

According to its website, “Peach State provides all of the medical services covered by Medicaid and PeachCare for Kids.” In other words, Peach State is government healthcare in Georgia. PeachCare is Georgia’s version of CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program). As a result of the failed efforts of “Hillarycare,” but in order to get at least some expansion of the role of government in healthcare, SCHIP (as it was formerly known) was created in 1997 as a shared federal-state health insurance program for children and pregnant mothers in families whose incomes were too high for Medicaid.

Take note of the advertisement of “Free Dental & Vision Coverage” on the billboard. Such deception is replete when it comes to these Big Government programs. To quote Mattie Ross from True Grit, “You must pay for everything in this world in one way or another. There is nothing free except the grace of God.” If only more Americans were as eager for God’s grace as they were for Obama’s stash.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2015, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Liberalism is ALWAYS Ugly

Mark Twain wrote, “All religions issue Bibles against Satan, and say the most injurious things against him, but we never get to hear his side.” It’s seems that Mr. Twain, at least prior to penning the previous quote, never encountered a liberal.

Of course, not all liberals espouse Satanism, however ANY unedited, unbiased examination of liberalism is going to reveal plenty of dark, ugly truths. Whether Planned Parenthood (which I will now refer to as “Designed-to-Exterminate-and-Abuse-The-Hood”—or D.E.A.T.H.), Kermit Gosnell, Ferguson, Baltimore (and most other major U.S. metropolitan areas), Islam, political investigations, immigration, climate change (no matter the costs, the Warmists will get it to “change” one way or another), healthcare, rape, the war on women and blacks, socialism, marriage, parenting, parenting, “husbands and wives,” fatherhood, homosexuality, transgenderism, pornography, the sexual revolution, economics, the minimum wage, Uber, bravery, pronouns, “blackness,” virtually all things hailed or assaulted by modern liberals reveal the corruption of modern liberalism.

As the dearth of information at the links above reveals, the recent videos of D.E.A.T.H. tell only a small part of the story when it comes to liberalism. What do you think undercover videos into the offices of the Obama-led EPA, IRS, or INS would reveal? Have you ever seen significant video or photographic footage of a homosexual-pride parade? Most every voting-age American saw some image of unrestrained liberalism on display in Ferguson and Baltimore.

And speaking of death, forget footage of the loose-lipped lackeys of D.E.A.T.H., why not just video the actual procedures where the “fetal tissue” is procured? If there is really nothing to hide, if it is—like the abortion apologists tell us, akin to watching “open heart surgery” or (more apropos), “an autopsy”—then let the light of truth shine on it for all the world to see.

In the name of transparency, surely there are plenty of eager feminists out there—some who’ve already taken us along as they exercised their “super-great” choice to kill their unborn child—who would gladly allow a video camera to record what really happens when an abortionist slips his instruments of death inside a uterus.

Perhaps a D.E.A.T.H. agent could give a play-by-play on what techniques are best—you know, whether to “crush above” or “crush below”—when trying to obtain “intact hearts,” livers, or lungs. Perhaps, like the QVC network, D.E.A.T.H. could also indicate the price of baby parts and organs as they are ripped from their mother’s womb—of course, with the “highest ethical and legal standards” always on display.

Consider the deception—both the effort and the endurance—that has been, and continues to be, employed in order to convince hundreds-of-millions of Americans—over multiple decades—that what exists in the human womb is not really human, and it’s quite alarming that some don’t even consider the abortion lie our greatest scientific fraud.

John Casey, a former space program advisor to the White House, president of the Space and Science Research Corporation—a leading independent climate research company—and one of the most successful climate researchers and climate prediction experts in America, considers the current Climate Change agenda of today’s left the “greatest scientific fraud in history.”

When one considers the hundreds-of-billions of dollars at stake and the number of lives impacted by the left’s war on fossil fuels—the fuel that literally built America—one can easily see Casey’s point. He’s certainly not trumpeting mere hyperbole. Who knows? The left may be just as adept at killing humans through climate regulations as they have been in the abortion clinics.

Perhaps we need hidden cameras at the next secret climate regulation meeting (or at least a look at the emails exchanged). Maybe someone slipped a tape recorder into Obama’s secret climate change meetings with the Chinese. Whatever the case, as with the unborn, liberals want to keep as many in the dark on the climate as possible. (Remember “Hide the Decline?”)

Abortion and man-made climate change have long been replete with leftist propaganda; however, no fraud of the modern left has been around longer than the foolish idea that human beings came into being purely as the result of naturalistic forces. In other words, no lie of the left is more entrenched than that of Darwinian evolution.

Darwinian evolution is the foundation of liberal orthodoxy. The de-humanization of the unborn is why we’ve seen nearly 60 million abortions in the U.S. The de-humanization of humanity in general is how we end up with environmental wackos telling us it’s time to “phase out the human race.” (And people like these are advising the Obama administration on our energy policy!)

And nothing is as de-humanizing as the notion that all life magically sprang from some single-celled source, that humans share ancestors with both apes and apricots, and that humans came into being through the bloody and godless efforts of “survival of the fittest.” Why not kill humans if we are simply highly evolved animals? Why not kill humans—to “save the planet” or to avoid the work of having to parent a child—if we are nothing more than “amoral parasites?”

Thus, instead of looking at creation and looking for the Creator, Darwinian evolution points people to “science.” For far too many liberals, science is their god. To them, religion, especially Christianity, is a crutch—something for the weak minded, and thus never to be taken seriously. Right and wrong, good and evil are arbitrary and cultural—products of human progress. Such a worldview leaves absolutely no room for the supernatural, and thus, no room for God. Therefore, along with championing “social justice,” for decades liberals have also fought vociferously to expel God from our culture.

And of course, when God is shunned, the results are always ugly.

Copyright 2015, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor and his wife Michelle are the authors of: Debt Free Living in a Debt Filled World