Author: smcintos

Is Jesus a Communist?: Join the […] revolution

Was Jesus a Communist? Some people believe that he was. You might have heard about “Liberation Theology” which was popular, and very powerful in Latin America, about fifty years ago. It existed mostly in the Roman Catholic Church, although the ideas spread to other Protestant groups. Liberation Christians tried to merge the ideas of Marxist Communism with what the Bible says about Jesus. Technically, it is impossible to call Jesus a Communist, or a political leftist. Karl Marx, who created Communism, was born in 1818, into a Jewish family that had recently converted to Christianity. He lived many centuries after the time of Jesus, and he never seemed to promote Jesus. He promoted his new idea, atheistic Communism. There is no clear connection between Jesus and Karl Marx, or the Communists who followed him. A Communist is an Atheist. Before the Communists were the French revolutionaries, who met in a National Assembly, apparently on a tennis court, around the year 1789. When the Speaker of the Assembly looked out over the members, it was clear …

Modern Morals: Yes, they are coming for the children

Are you angry? I can make you angry. Some opinions are extreme these days, and it is easy to be offended. One of the hottest new topics is the indoctrination of children to new moral standards. Our church had a summer VBS, a Vacation Bible School when I was a boy. We mostly had fun, and someone was very generous with the prizes for memorizing Bible verses. I remember large chocolate bars, that I had never even seen before. My brother told me to memorize, and memorize more, and I could have an amazing prize. I was diligent, I worked hard at memorizing, and just before I reached the pay-out day, a story broke in our city newspaper. The church was accused of bribing and indoctrinating children with unreasonable amounts of candy. In those days, that kind of influence over children was forbidden. The church immediately canceled the reward program. The issue was settled quickly, but there was one casualty of that war. One boy did not get the obscene amounts of chocolate, that he …

Should women stay home and raise children? Are you outraged by the question?

I did not know, but I have learned, recently, that there is an argument about women these days. The argument that surprised me is whether women should work in careers, out of the home, or if they should stay at home and raise children. Apparently, this is a fierce argument, for some people. Who knew?: So, what are the best answers? a) No b) Yes c) How dare you ask the question? No: Feminists struggled for decades to liberate women, and they should be free to work in careers and to make money, just like men. I think we know the rest of the story … Yes: A woman should build a family, with her husband. Families work better when the best nurturing partner stays home to raise the next generation. I think we know that old story … What?: How can I write about this topic, in this year? Haven’t we progressed past these old arguments? What is my best answer? We need to see our sickness. We have a bigger problem: our need …

Repent of your white privilege: Is racism the original sin?

You have probably heard of “whiteness” the offense of being part of the dominant majority, that discriminates against minorities with different skin colors. If we consider the whole world, light-skinned people, whose ancestors came from Europe, including people who still live in Europe, form a large minority. In the world community, Asia and Africa have huge populations. I remember learning in school, about the explorers who sailed from Europe and conquered and settled North and South America, and Australia and New Zealand. The new nations that grew from this prospered and sometimes dominated the world. In the southern United States and Brazil, and the Caribbean, large slave populations were imported from Africa. From that division of society, Europeans and Africans, racism tends to be defined by skin color. The United States had a violent civil war, and many civil-rights protest movements. “Whiteness” and “White Privilege” were ideas that fuelled academic discussions. Now, with protest groups like “Black Lives Matter” that protest against “Whiteness” and try to change it, the argument has gone public, and onto …

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard: What happened to kindness?

We have all heard some news about legal problems between two famous movie stars, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Before I continue, I have a disclaimer: I don’t want to criticize anyone who is involved in this trial. I feel sorry for them, and I hope they find a better way, when it’s all over. Those two movie stars have a problem that we all have, but their argument has become world news. I’m talking about the place where they find themselves because we can all go there. And the problem is; kindness is a weakness, you have to be cruel to survive in an adversarial battle. Sometimes, offense is the best defense. The lawsuits, between two rich people, have claims for millions of dollars, many millions. Also, if either career is damaged, the financial losses could be huge. The public, like you and me, won’t pay money to watch movie stars we don’t like. The stakes are high. Two people are in a legal battle where they must discredit the other. A few years …

Gaslighting: Are you being manipulated?

You have probably heard the word ‘gaslighting’ but most of us are not clear about what it means. I walked to a mall this morning, to get a haircut. On this busy day, the lady who usually cuts my hair, let me in without an appointment. That was nice. In the chair, I listened as she talked about a problem in her life, and I could relate. We all have the same issue, sometimes. She was being gaslighted. She and her husband are divorced, I think, recently. I don’t know the reasons, but he has accused her of many things and blamed the marriage breakdown on her. It gets worse when he drinks. It’s all her fault. She is sure that she did not do the things he accuses her of, but he has spread the stories to all their friends. Now, she is avoiding people because she is tired of defending herself. If she proves that she is not guilty of something, he can easily make a new story. I don’t want to take …

Should Christians be Vegan Vegetarians?

Do you believe in Something? You have probably noticed that we are surrounded by sincere believers, and some of them are angry. We have religions, and vegetarians, and their polar opposites, carnivores. We also have climate change activists, and for a while we had activists for and against COVID restrictions. We believe. When I buy groceries, there is always a section for vegetarian food, in the grocery store. Also, fast food places like to advertise their not-meat that tastes and looks just like meat, but it isn’t. Most of us are not interested; we can order a baked potato anytime, and we get the truth in the packaging. It can be complicated. Vegan Vegetarianism is not just a choice, it’s a sincere belief. The most devout believers think the whole world should be like them. Some are working to change the whole world, and they believe they will succeed. We will all be vegetarians, someday; they believe. Vegan beliefs probably started in India, three or four thousand years ago, and that means the first Vegans …

Religion is changing in Brazil: Where are we now?

Education is history. Most of the things that we learn are things that happened, and now we can look back and analyze them. That usually works, but some experts claim that the world population today is equal to all the people who lived before, all the way back to the Stone Age. We can’t prove that, but we are living in history, and it’s good to know how the world is changing around us. Whatever we think about religion, the old stories are being replaced by new ones. Religion, in the world, is nothing like what we saw in history. Modern people want something new now, and religion cannot be controlled. One example is China, governed by a Communist Party. In modern times, religion in China is supposed to be mostly for old people. The younger generation is supposed to be modern and secular, and mostly Atheist. It’s not easy to track religion in an officially Atheist country, but experts estimate that about eighty percent of the population practices some religion, and about seventy-five percent …

Prove to me that God Exists … or not

Can you prove that God exists? Did you ever have that argument, on either side? I am writing as a Christian, but I think some of the arguments miss the point. Most people in the world believe in God, or gods. Most of us are religious. Imagine an Atheist challenging anyone, in any religion with this demand “Prove to me that God exists!” Is there an answer? Anywhere? This is critically important. It’s the foundation of who we are, and we should not base our lives on something with no foundation. Some people argue that God does not exist, and they also argue that God could not possibly exist. Here is an example. Other people argue that God does exist, such as we see here: READ: Does God Exist? So, when we are challenged, what do we say? For me, “we” is mostly Christians, but anyone who believes in any god, or gods, should think about this. Why do we bother? How do we answer the challenge? Some people need to build a better foundation. …

Have you ever won a religious argument? Brace yourself.

So, have you won a religious argument lately? I have not. I grew up in a rough neighborhood and I have an aversion to strife. There are probably times when I should speak up, but I just don’t want the consequences. We live in contentious times, with issues like Climate Change, COVID, war in places like Ukraine, and what did I leave out? … maybe religion and evolution, or sexual orientation. If you are religious, you believe something. I am a Christian, and what I am, includes many things that I am not. What I believe includes things that I don’t believe. If I am everything, I am nothing. The old joke for young church women in a church to say “We don’t smoke, and we don’t chew, and we don’t date the boys who do!” That is a very old joke. If you want to see a political argument mixed with religion, here is a good example: I don’t know the political topic, but the speaker is very articulate. It is easy to disagree …

Preachers and Truckers: Have you been persecuted yet?

So, have you been persecuted, recently? Persecution is “the act or practice of persecuting especially those who differ in origin, religion, or social outlook.” READ: Persecution (Merriam-Webster Dictionary) I recently read a news story about a Christian pastor in India who was arrested and charged, something about not respecting other religions. He talked about Christian things in his Christian service, and the police arrested him; in India! I tried to find the story again, and I couldn’t. There were too many stories like it: Where I live, some people who opposed COVID restrictions claim that they were persecuted for their beliefs. Whatever we think about COVID protests, we can see the mechanism of persecution. People with ideas that threaten power can be punished and silenced. Imagine telling the authorities to slash vehicle tires. You don’t have to imagine that: READ: Free speech becomes roadkill in the crackdown on Canadian truckers And here is another crackdown: So, peaceful democratic countries have the potential to persecute people. Persecution is a normal part of life, in most places. …

Creation? Are we still talking about that?

Are you a Creationist? Do you believe that God made this world? Or do you believe that it all evolved? And what about Noah and his ark? The opening words of the Bible are “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) We don’t have many options. Science is on the side of evolution, and religion is on the side of God and creation. It is hard to be on both sides at once, and the Bible falls apart if we remove the part where God started it all. I am a Christian, and I know that this topic divides people. I am concerned about the stressful times we are in, now, with a COVID Pandemic, and a war in Ukraine, and who knows what is coming next. I believe we should pray and ask God for help and direction. That God is the one who created the Universe. I also believe we need to get back to the God who made us, and we should read the owners’ manual. But, …

Critical Race Theory: What should we think?

Are you oppressed? Do you feel like a victim, or does your family have some sad stories in its history? Or, do you see yourself as privileged? Are you and others like you better off than other groups of people? For most of us, the answer to the first question is ‘yes.’ We can find some story of how our family went through hard times, and struggled. The answer to the second question is probably ‘no’ for most of us. We don’t feel privileged in our modern, stressed-out times. You have probably heard of “CRT” or “Critical Race Theory.” This is an extension of Critical Theory, which is, in my opinion, the best description of Leftist or Progressive thinking. Critical Theory forms the basis for Marxism, also known as Communism. Communists often had violent revolutions because of their core belief that the problems of the world need to be fixed with radical change. “Change” might be a violent revolution, or an election victory, but it brings a revolution, things change. If we believe that there …

Follow the science: Does religion interfere with progress?

Does religion get in the way? Is progress mostly from people with no religion? Should we just follow the science? Here is a quiz. See how many of these expressions you can understand without looking in a dictionary: Devotions Mark of the beast Spirit filled Back slider Born again Pentecost Charismatic Sanctified Resurrection New testament How did you do? Your score out of ten can show how religious you are, in traditional religion. If you scored eight or more, you are probably a regular and long-time church-goer. A low score probably means you are modern; people don’t know much about old-time religion these days. So, are we losing our religion? Is God disappearing from this world? Are we following science more, and superstition less? Yes, maybe, and no. Researchers looked at Americans and their religion, and they found a division. We are not all travelling together anymore. What we all think is not a question now. Religious people have hardly changed, and they would probably score high on the quiz. People who are not religious …

What? There is no unity in Unity … (Saskatchewan)?

What is the world coming to? There is a town in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, named Unity. I was there once. I remember a nice hotel, and we stayed overnight. There is a local salt mine, and I also learned, in a previous career, that the mine is used to store small amounts of radioactive waste. When we visited, it seemed like a nice place, and the name “Unity” does not usually get mentioned in the news. Now there is a news story about Unity. According to some people, Unity is divided. There is no unity in Unity. The problem seems to be stress about COVID restrictions and vaccines. One angry statement was posted online about the unvaccinated in Unity; they should “go out there and get sick and die.” So, a group of residents has asked the town council to pass a bylaw against discrimination, including prejudice because of personal medical decisions. That usually means a person is not vaccinated against COVID. Some people in Unity want the discrimination and harassment to stop: …

Do you believe, really? How does God fit into our modern world?

How does religion make any sense? With no scientific proof, how do we know that any of that God-talk is true? How can we believe? I am writing as a Christian. I heard a preacher on the radio, recently, and he talked about the power of God. He made a good point; God is more than an argument. If we have some intellectual belief that we can discuss, we have nothing, and we will probably lose most of the arguments. God must have power in our lives. The Bible uses strong language. If the power does not save us from death “our preaching is useless and so is your faith … [and] we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15: 13 and 18) Without the power of God, we are world-class fools. If you want to see an intellectual argument against believing: Christopher Hitchens was a Marxist who argued against all religions. We can see his skills in the video. Believers cannot win enough of those arguments. If we only have …

The Antichrist, 666, and … the Truck-Apocalypse

Are we at the end of the world? Did COVID and vaccine mandates start the beginning of the end? Are those Canadian truckers part of the new wave? Maybe. You have probably heard about the truck drivers in Canada who are protesting against government restrictions. The government claims that they are a small fringe group, and most of the population does not agree with them; they are a fringe minority expressing unacceptable views do not represent the majority. That is the common position for most of the media, and politicians. A recent opinion survey asked people in Canada what they thought about the protest convoy, and almost eighty percent claimed to support it. We have some trucks with flags and loud horns, where I live, and I saw some people on an overpass bridge with flags and signs, waiting for a local convoy to pass. There are reports, in some places, that the convoys stretched for miles. This is too big to ignore. READ: Trucker convoy: Blaring horns, cheers as hundreds descend on Parliament I …

So much COVID: Do you still believe in God?

How was your life in early January? We had severe cold weather and something like a blizzard. Cars didn’t like to start, and I spend part of my working days outside. Yes, it was cold. My required COVID mask made my breath vent up to my forehead, and the moisture froze to my hair. I had the strange problem of combing ice out of my hair, all day. And yes, I had to wear a mask to protect from COVID, outside, at minus thirty, with only one other person in the area. That other person also had to wear a mask. It gets ridiculous, and we have been warned by the medical authorities that we will all be infected with the Omicron variant of COVID; we just don’t know when that will happen. Where I live, we are no longer told that vaccines will prevent COVID. The new motivator is that vaccines may reduce the severity of symptoms when we do get sick, and we will get sick. The goalposts are shifting. I could rant …

Lies and Deception: Are you a fact-checker?

You probably have a phone like mine. I get news that I didn’t ask for, and it comes to me all day, every day. Some are information, some are manipulation, and some are advertising for things I could buy. I also can learn about the lives of movie stars. We also have polarized truth. The vegans believe they have found the truth and the truth is meat-free, but the carnivores think they have the truth, and it is vegan-free. We also have political arguments, and polarized news about our health, and what did I miss? We are divided. I used to try to read it all, but I have learned, there are news sites that I can go to any time. I can just pick a favourite, and it will give me a summary of just about everything I should know. If a site seems biased and slanted, I can change to a new one with just a click. Since I learned that, I start my day by scrolling to the bottom of the “news” …

New Paganism: Are you ready for the new-old way?

Do you believe in Science? That is a popular new idea, especially in the fight against COVID. Do you believe in Shamanism? Or are you interested in Wiccan beliefs? Have you heard of the rise of New Paganism? The calls to believe are growing. Science: Some people talk about Science as a religion, something to believe in. In arguments about COVID and vaccinations, for example, someone might say “I believe in Science.” If they are talking to you, that probably means you are wrong. The problem with believing in science is that the Scientific Method, that directs scientific research, is a method of working and not a system to believe in. It was never meant to be the source of answers. A real scientist is a doubting skeptic who questions everything, including the commonly accepted answers to problems. Constant, restless searching leads to new ideas. In High School, I was one of the nerdy members of the science club, and this method was taught to us by our science teachers. We were supposed to always …

A New Year’s Resolution: What if I want to start over?

I am writing this on January 1, 2022. That means we have a new year in front of us, and everyone I know is tired of the old one. We had an endless stream of bad news about our health, and the health of the economy, and political arguments. For me, the news every day was a toxic mix. This morning, I had text messages from friends and a relative, and they feel the same as me. There is not enough optimism at the beginning of this year. We need something new, and better. It might comfort you to know that God thought of this first: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43: 18 and 19) Those are the instructions from a higher source, the highest source, when we get lost in things that happen around us. It is easy to …

Is Christianity declining? Pick a god, any god.

I remember a story from a time before I was born. The church that my family went to when I was a boy had something called a “revival.” I’m suspicious about the name, but something happened, something spiritual. For reasons that are lost to us now, people got concerned and focused on God. The church had extra services and people came, in large numbers. I think this was in the 1920s, and the city had a strange problem, for that time; traffic jams. Apparently, streetcars were filled, and traffic management became an issue on Sunday evenings, in a small city. Where else did a church cause traffic jams? That might have happened somewhere else, but it is kind of weird. God is just not that popular. If we accept that spiritual revivals can happen, I remember something about that church in my childhood. There was a confidence and sense of purpose that I have not seen in many other groups. When I was a boy, I thought those older people were bossy, and they had …

Find someone who thinks differently than you, and demand an explanation!

We can’t blame a virus for our behaviour, but my impression is that our global health crisis has generated a lot of arrogance. COVID taught us some things that are not good. We are getting skilled at dividing and rejecting. Have you noticed that some people are correct and approved, and others rejected because they don’t think like the official majority? I have read news articles about ‘those people’ who are usually on the wrong side of an argument, like vaccination or some political division. The official position seems to be, if we find someone who thinks differently, we demand an explanation. We want to know how they could be so wrong when we told them how to think. Division and rejection seem to be our new path to the truth. If you don’t agree with me, don’t lose your temper. That would just prove my point. We should all know, that a disagreement about an idea can easily become a rejection of people. READ: Mass protests and mayhem continue into a sixth night; thousands …

How to Lose it all: Have you seen the movie ‘Come Sunday’?

Did you ever lose your faith? Yes, you did, if you are older than six. When I was a boy, I remember some other children who were told that Santa Claus was not real. I stayed out of that violent argument, but I saw their confusion and outrage. As we get older, people disappoint us, and if we are honest, we can disappoint ourselves. I formed a career goal when I was about twelve, and I saw myself as one of those people, just working on an education and waiting for an opportunity. I knew who I was, and my conviction was unshakable. Near the age of forty, I had to tell myself that it would never happen, and I had to keep the job I already had. I lost my faith. You are probably wondering; I saw myself as an archaeologist, like the ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ and I thought of it first, before they made that movie. After reading all those books, and studying in so many university courses, it never happened. …

Finding new gods through Cluster C: How anxious are you?

How anxious are you these days? The world has been a mixed-up place lately, and I know people who are stressed about health, including all the COVID issues; and jobs, careers, and finances; and relationships, including marriages and families; and politics sure are interesting. Right now, scientists are getting stressed about a new variation of COVID known as “Omicron.” I have friends who have stopped reading the news. I know a family that lost their old mother, one year ago. She lived a long life, and she was weak and frail when she died, and I don’t think COVID was a factor. It was sad for them to lose their mother, but they were not surprised when she passed. The problem is the “estate.” Their Mom had her own way of coping with stress; she was a long-time hoarder. She worked for many years in a large retail store, and she had easy access to bargains. Now, one year later, the children are struggling to sort and dispose of all the merchandise, unopened in packages, …

Kyle Rittenhouse and those pastors in Jail: What side are we on?

We all know the name “Kyle Rittenhouse” by now. Only a few teenagers have become as famous as him, in modern times. He is probably as well known as Greta Thunberg, who made a speech at the United Nations, and she was invited at the age of fifteen. Kyle Rittenhouse walked alone, into a dangerous riot, with a loaded gun, and he was seventeen. If he was my son, and I saw him walking out with a gun, I would call him back and tell him to stay home. I am not choosing sides in the arguments about his trial, I just think some things are too dangerous for a boy acting alone, with a gun. Apparently he shot three people, and two of them died. We know there was a trial by jury, and Kyle was acquitted on all charges. This has produced and explosion of arguments, and much celebrating on one side and intense anger on the other side. So, what should we, think? I am speaking as a Christian. My best advice, …

Migration or Immigration: Why are so many people crossing borders?

You have probably heard about caravans of people, forming in Central America and travelling to the US border, and then crossing into the US and claiming to be refugees. You might have also heard that many refugee claimants decide that the US does not have what they need, and then cross into Canada. That might have stopped, with the COVID crisis. Governments can say that they are keeping people out for health reasons. If the COVID crisis declines enough, that route for migration will start again. There are other migrant routes. People travel across the English channel to Britain in small boats, usually from France. They also want to live in a new country, and thousands are trying. Some find a boat with room for them, and cross over to England, or drown. I have crossed the channel on large ferries, and once on a large hovercraft. That was interesting for me, but I would never want to sail in those rough waters in a small boat. There are also people who travel from Africa, …

Our other COVID fear: Do we still have rights?

You have probably heard the news about people in Australia who are demonstrating in the streets. Their concern is something about COVID restrictions, and the way their government treats them. I am not Australian, and I’m not a medical specialist, but there seems to be a growing fear around the world. People are concerned about the loss of their rights, with restrictions for safety, in a health emergency. A few days ago, I was driving in a town close to where I live, and I saw some people holding signs. I saw only three people holding signs, near the courthouse. They were friendly, and they waved at the cars driving by. Probably they were demonstrating about civil rights and COVID restrictions. We all hope that COVID will dry up and go away soon. Eventually it will. Where I live, due to health-care restrictions, there is a debate about our rights. That includes the three friendly demonstrators that I saw, and the crowds can be much larger, and less friendly. We also get advertising from the …

Are you a Bible Thumper? Is there a cure for that?

Have you noticed how people argue these days? You can win any argument if you give the other side an ugly name. I hear a lot about “Anti-Vaxxers” where I live, and I know some people who fit the description. The problem is that some of them are friends, and I don’t like to mock and sneer at my friends and neighbors. Also, if we think a woman is pushy and demanding, we can call her a “Karen” but the same problem applies. Other people deserve our respect. When I was young and living at home, I said the forbidden words “Holy Rollers” and both of my parents got angry, and told me never to use those words in their house. They reacted as if I was swearing. I was surprised, but they probably received that insult before I was born. I learned the lesson from my parents. An insult is not an intellectual argument. We also have an insult for Christians “Bible Thumper.” If you don’t like that person and their beliefs, just apply …

Mikhaila Peterson: Spiritual or Religious?

Are you worried, or stressed, or maybe afraid? For me, the problem is stress. We have COVID, and problems with the economy, and political arguments, and what did I miss. There is an old saying “It is a curse to live in interesting times.” So, how do we cope with interesting times? What is the best medicine? Are you spiritual? Are you religious? It is popular now, to say ‘I am spiritual, but I am not religious.’ I think that was more popular a few years ago. Possibly people were trying to dodge the pressure to join a religion, like something you could tell your mother. So, what does it mean, and should we all join in? Spiritual: In the Bible, Jesus told us “But the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4: …