Author: smcintos

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Is God Real? or Donuts in the Snow

So, is God real? If yes, why is there suffering in this world? Why doesn’t God fix our problems, if He loves us? This is an old argument, and I learned the answer a few days ago. Here is some background. Right now, where I live in Canada, we are in “Roll up the Rim to Win” season at Tim Hortons. Timmies is a cultural thing here, we all go there for coffee or tea and conversations. We also eat too many donuts there. In season, we roll up the rims of our paper cups and learn what we have won. I usually win a chance to play again; they are very kind when they say “no.” When I win a free donut I tear off that statement from the rim, and keep the ticket. One thing I really don’t need is a free donut and I can think of something worse, two free donuts. I had two winning tickets that I carried with me like a guilty pleasure. I do contract work, and some …

Island jutting out of Australia's Great Barrier Reef Credit: matlacha/Flickr/Creative Commons

Babylon is Imploding

In Australia there is a disagreement among scientists about global warming and the death of the Great Barrier Reef. Now the ‘disagreement’ has produced threats of firing and career termination for university professors, and lawsuits in court. I worked in a large university, in Canada, and I know one thing is true; if you want to understand any controversy in the system, just follow the money. You might believe there is a secular world system that stifles all dissenting opinions, including Christians who believe in Jesus; and you might be correct. But, in my experience, the system is supported with taxpayer money, and it is filled with scared people who are counting the days to retirement. The evil world system is imploding with money problems. In Australia, agriculture and industry and tourism could lose billions, and university professors could lose, or gain millions in grant funding because of the Barrier Reef. That’s the new way to pay for higher education, with funding applications. I understand the fight, even though I have never been to Australia. …

Credit: Jona Nalder/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Curse of Borderline Personality Disorder

Years ago, I needed to buy some small piece of hardware. Since I live in Canada, I went to Canadian Tire, and since I had two small sons, I took them with me. The boys were six and four years old, I think, and they were thrilled. When we walked into the store, they sprinted away from me and disappeared down some shopping aisle. That store had tires, and car parts, and tools, and toys, and more, and I knew I had lost them. I was not happy about this, so I bought the thing I needed and waited by the front door; they had to surface some time. When I finally saw them, I was shocked. The oldest boy had a sick look of panic on his face, and the little one had a blank desperate look as he followed his brother. They thought their father had abandoned them, and the emotions were real to them. Puppy love feels real to the puppy. I still feel guilty about that, and I never did it …

Crossing a river in Kerala State, India Credit: Michel Coutty/Flickr/Creative Commons

Hindus, Muslims, and Human Evolution

Something is happening in the world, and it’s like storm clouds gathering. On January 20, India’s Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Mr. Satyapal Singh made statements that were critical of Darwinian Evolution, including has belief that the subject should not be taught in schools in India. RELATED: India’s Education Minister Slammed After Claiming That Evolution Is ‘Scientifically Wrong’ About six months before that, the government of Turkey made similar statements. RELATED: Evolution Will No Longer Be Taught in Turkish Schools India is governed by religious Hindus, and Turkey is governed by religious Muslims. They don’t have the same religious beliefs, but something about Darwinian Evolution really bothers both groups. It’s one thing they agree on. It’s easy for English-speaking westerners to think they are the leaders in human progress, but there are other voices. Darwin’s theory for the origin of the species, evolution, is a logic escalator. In a department store, you don’t need to climb the stairs, you only need to make one small step and the machine will carry you to …

Credit: Dennis/Flickr/Creative Commons

Christians and Human Sacrifice

Don’t be fooled by my extreme title, Christians don’t drag some poor victim to the top of a pyramid and lay him on an altar; we are more subtle. Picture a group of children who got caught doing something wrong. The most important thing to report to the adults is ‘who takes the blame for this one.’ If we can heap the blame on someone else, we are free and clear. Our sacrificial victim is more like a scape goat. Among adults, this blame shifting can damage one person’s reputation, and it can damage families and churches. The destruction can last a life time. In my family, I am ashamed to admit, I fell for this a few months ago. My Dad is very old, and Mom is gone, so we are all concerned about our old father. A few months ago we learned that something wrong had been done with Dad’s money, maybe. I easily believed what I was told and I started to panic. I can remember at least one phone call that …

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Human Evolution in 2017

“It takes just as much faith to be an atheist as it does to be a religious believer. I don’t point to the Bible to prove this, but rather to the universe.” — Mick Mooney, Why I’d Still Believe In God Did you know, our picture of the world changed in the year 2017, in a big way? I am writing this in early 2018, and some science writers are looking back in shock and awe. For example, when I was a boy, public schools and libraries and publications like “Scientific American” and “National Geographic” gave one orthodox picture of humans who are apes that climbed down from trees and walked on the planes of Africa, and evolved into us. This was science, and there was no other way, and for sure there was no God. I was a Christian who went to church every Sunday, and I also studied and worked in a large university. My first degree was in Anthropology, the driver of human evolution ideas. I learned to keep my head down …

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Six Sigma and Jesus

If you are a Christian, are you also on the shelf? And is it comfortable? I am writing this in January, which is a good time to think about the new year we are in and about an hour ago I saw something that made me sad. I was waiting for a friend at a Tim Hortons and a young family came in; mother, father and two little boys. They were ragged and poor, but polite to everyone. Their order was a large coffee, probably for the parents to share, and a very small box of Timbits donut holes. That was their family break time. I guess they were probably Christians, and I know people come to Alberta, where I live, to find work. One nickname for this province is “tomorrow’s country” and I see struggling start-ups all the time. My parents did that. Today, I wish I had moved faster to buy cookies for the kids in that little family, but they walked away too fast into the cold and the snow, probably back …

Credit: Michael Kappel/Flickr/Creative Commons

How good will you be in 2018?

So how good will you be in 2018? There is not much competition on that side. Yesterday I helped someone; and every detail in this story matters for the conclusion. I have a bad cough, the kind that won’t let me sleep at night, and this morning I drove to the drug store in the Mall, where I don’t usually shop. I don’t know why I chose the mall, and that store. Also, the weather is cold today, – 30 C or – 22 F. I walked out of the wrong door at the Mall, so I had a long walk to my truck, at – 30 with bronchitis. That is a bad combination but I don’t think hard when I’m at the mall. Somehow it all felt right. As I walked, on my right I saw a small old truck, a Ford Ranger, which is usually a poor man’s ride. The driver turned the key and I heard “Click Click Click.” In subarctic weather, that means your battery is low, and that means the …

Palouse region of Idaho Credit: Charmar/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Christian Terrorists?

Just before Christmas I had a coffee break with a good friend. He is not a Christian, and I am. Somehow religion came into the conversation and he said something I have heard before; words like ‘Sure, there are Muslim terrorists, but there are also violent Christians who persecute us.’ I started to argue, but then I realized, he might be right about Christians. And I will let the Muslims answer for themselves. There are some very violent people in the world who claim to be Christians. About two years ago I drove to Portland Oregon for some training. I could have flown, but I like driving, and because I live in western Canada, I drove to the U.S. border in northern Idaho. I arrived in the evening and it was obvious that I wasn’t driving much further in the darkness. I was hoping for a motel room about an hour down the road but they probably thought I was visiting friends in the area. Usually border agents are friendly with me, but the two …

Polwarth, England Credit: Hamish Irvine/Flickr/Creative commons

The Critical Mass: How We Can Fail

On Sunday, in church, the pastor told us about people who had been helped in the last year. He told testimonial stories about cancer patients and struggling families. And then he told us about a man who had walked into the church to learn more. He was not a Christian, but he was interested. The pastor talked to him and gave him a book, and a few weeks later the man called to say that he had decided to become a Christian. Now he attends the Sunday services as a new Christian, growing in his faith. The man’s name is Mohammed. We live in interesting times. Now Muslim majority countries are modernizing, and Muslims are migrating to other countries with high levels of personal freedom. That means people can break free from the group, and choose how they want to live. This is becoming a crisis, as some young Muslims identify as atheists. Others, like Mohammed, choose another religion. RELATED: Losing their religion: the hidden crisis of faith among Britain’s young Muslims: The Guardian The …

London, England Credit: Xynn Tii/Flickr/Creative Commons

Careers for Christians: Making a Difference

Yesterday I taught a class. One man in the class was well groomed and polite; obviously a company manager. On a break, he told me his business was slow, so he was looking for a job, just a job. He was tired of losing money with his business, so he closed it down and put all his employees out of work. I train truck drivers. That man is at a very low point in his career, and I hope he climbs out and finds more success and satisfaction. If you are wondering, I am not longer a career climber. I am semi-retired and I work as a contractor helping other people with their work, and I really enjoy what I do. In the last few weeks, I learned how to find a satisfying career, and I know this will work for everyone, including you. Lesson 1) I visited my father because about a week ago I think God spoke to me. I am a Christian, and I expect this. The sensation reminded me that my …

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Careers for Christians: Good Without God

Everyone needs to eat, and make the payments to the bank, and that is a problem. In modern times we have careers with long-term plans. In Bible times they had slaves, and kings, and warriors. So how do we live today? What is a career for a Christian? The Bible tells us to work, and to work hard, and this is a curse we can’t escape from: “By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made.” (Genesis 3:19). I don’t see an exciting career in those words. If you follow the news, some fabulous careers are coming apart and collapsing these days. 2017 is the great year of the scandal, and in the news, that usually means sex crimes by powerful people. We can easily miss the other allegations of dirty politics, espionage, terrorism, and financial fraud; and I’m sure I missed something. We live in an information age when there are no safe secrets, and the wave of scandals is …

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Careers for Christians: Where do we start?

People everywhere are trying to find satisfying careers; we want to be fulfilled in the job we do to earn our paycheck. Sometimes, just getting a paycheck is the challenge. We are getting close to the new year when most of us think about these things. So, if God cares, does he care about this part of our lives? I may be on my third career now, or my fourth, depending on how you count some jobs. When I was a boy I delivered newspapers and when I was fourteen, I worked as the shop boy in the Yarn Barn. Knitting was a big thing and one of the ball winding machines had a broken tension hook, so I was the tension hook. I tugged on the yarn with my fingers as it raced through the machine, and I still have all my fingers. No one likes their first job, and I have moved on since then. I am sure the Bible has career advice for Christians, and really, the good book is good for …

Folsom Prison, California Credit: Vidor/Wikipedia and Charles Manson Credit: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation/Wikipedia

Who Died and Who Didn’t

David Cassidy was the poster boy for teenage girls around the world, about thirty years ago. He has lived a show-business life, with failed marriages and a serious addiction to alcohol. In 2015 he declared bankruptcy. On November 19 2017, the news came out that he was in a coma, with multiple organ failures, and his family was gathering at the hospital. The doctors said he didn’t have long. This morning, November 20, the news is that David Cassidy has regained consciousness and he is very much alive. If his condition improves so that he can see a computer screen, he can read on the Internet that he died yesterday. Someone posted information about his death, in anticipation. I don’t know how much time he has with us, but good for him, he outlived his obituary. One person who did die yesterday, at the age of 83, in Bakersfield California, is Charles Manson. This is confirmed; born November 12 1934 and died November 19, 2017. RELATED: Charles Manson dead: CNN This was a truly terrible …

Riyadh City, Saudia Arabia. Credit: B.alotaby/Wikipedia

NEOM: What is happening in the Middle East now?

Could you find the city of Neom on a map? It hasn’t been built yet, but it is a serious proposal. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a proposal to build a new super city in a remote place near the Red Sea. The cost is estimated at 400 billion and if it is built, it should be like a combination of Las Vegas and Hong Kong, in the Middle East. The proposal includes a bridge to Egypt and links to Jordan; and this is never mentioned in the literature, but it will be very close to Israel. RELATED: Saudi Arabia Just Announced Plans to Build a Mega City That Will Cost $500 Billion If you could stand on a boat at the north end of the Gulf of Aqaba, at the northern tip of the Red Sea, you could turn your head and see four countries; Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. All four countries converge at that location. Saudi Arabia has huge oil deposits about two thousand kilometres from Neom, on the eastern …

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White Privilege and Lido Pimienta

Are people with white skin privileged? Do we need to give special treatment to people with dark skin? People are talking about this. On October 19, 2017, a singer named Lido Pimienta went on stage at the Halifax Pop Explosion music festival to sing. Halifax is in Nova Scotia, Canada, and Lido is a woman, originally from Colombia, South America. Before she sang, she told white people and men in the audience, to move to the back, and she instructed women with dark skin to move to the front rows, close to her. Some people argued that this was racism, and a female photographer with light skin stayed near the stage to take pictures. She was ordered to move to the back several times, and then security removed her from the festival. Organizers have since apologized to Lido Pimienta for the photographer’s overt racism. RELATED: Halifax music fest apologizes for overt racism at Polaris winners concert Arguments have ensured. One quote from the discussion in the Global News article is: “I’m sorry but isn’t that …

Montreal student riot May 19, 2012 Credit: scottmontreal/Flickr

Are you ready for when “It Begins Nov 4?”

I am writing this a few days before the big day. It is always interesting to remember the time before it all happened. Apparently this is a time we will forget because big things will happen on November 4. Some radical groups, mostly in the U.S. have committed themselves to a violent uprising on one day. The promise is a threat to anyone who thinks differently than them. Some opponents think this promise is only bait, to make any opposers look bad and to get them arrested when they try to stop the uprising. “Take To The Streets And Public Squares in cities and towns across the country continuing day after day and night after night—not stopping—until our DEMAND is met” RELATED: November 4 the day it begins Are you ready? I don’t know what will actually happen, maybe some angry demonstrations, but I am not worried about the action, I am afraid of the reaction. The police know more about this than us, and they have been getting ready for weeks. My high school …

London, England subway Credit: Nige Harris/Flickr/Creative Commons

Should we take #MeToo seriously?

A few years ago I had to travel on the rapid transit for my work. On a busy day I walked to a subway station because I had to get some paper work in another part of the city. I remember a small crowd on the platform waiting for the train and I stayed higher up on the stairs to see the train when it came. And then something caught my attention. A young woman, probably a teenager kept pulling down her shirt, to expose one shoulder. A few steps from her was a young man, who I guessed was her boyfriend. He watched over her closely, and I began to realize that she was a prostitute and he was her pimp. They had brought their business onto the public transit system. If you are wondering, they didn’t seem to get any business. In any city, the public transit crowd is short on cash and the couple’s “business model” was never going to work, but I was really shaken. We all see the world in …

Credit: Caleb George/Wikipedia

Vegas and Hollywood: the truth

On the evening of October 1, 2017, a man named Stephen Paddock used a gun to kill and injure spectators at a country music concert in Las Vegas. You probably know something about the story, but have you noticed all the comments and conspiracy theories that have spun off from the incident; the story about the story? It’s interesting because Mr Paddock is such a mystery. We don’t know why he shot those people except that he made a decision. His background story gives us no clues, so we are free to make our own judgments. That’s useful for some people. Related: 2017 Las Vegas shooting A few days later, on October 5, the New York Times published an article about Harvey Weinstein, one of the most powerful men in the Hollywood movie industry. He has been accused of gross misconduct with young women who were trying to make careers in movies and television. At this time, it is fair to say the accusations have been denied, and any accusations are only alleged; but that …

Edmonton Credit: Dave Sutherland/Flickr/Creative Commons

The terror attack on my street

On Saturday night I had trouble sleeping because of the flickering lights. Red meant police with no sirens, and no color was the helicopter searching for someone. I wasn’t concerned, but I stayed inside. I learned later that a man, possibly police, was digging in a garbage bin nearby, and shining a light on passing cars. The morning news said something about a driver who hit a police officer, and a small truck that flipped over, both close to my home. I drove to church on Sunday and saw a police car parked near our home. At church, I couldn’t get in because of a big celebration that filled the parking lot, so I went to another place. In the new church, the preacher kept telling us that God was going to do great things; we only had to trust. I didn’t disagree, but I didn’t see anything big. In the afternoon I went for a walk and many police officers were searching my neighbourhood. A news crew tried to get a man-in-the-street interview from …

Credit: Val D'Aquila/Flickr/Creative Commons

Noah’s Flood, Atlantis, and the Okotok

People who don’t like the Bible, or believe that it is not true, like to point out the story of Noah’s flood as proof that they are correct. How can any reasonable person believe that the whole world was covered with water and animals marched two by two into a large wooden boat? Where is the scientific evidence for that? You might be surprised. Noah’s flood, in the Bible, is dated at about the same time as other flood stories from almost every ancient culture. Stories about a huge and deadly flood are found in the Australian outback, the mountains of Ecuador in South America, in China, in the stories of Gilgamesh and Noah’s flood from the ancient Middle East, and in the Greek story of Atlantis. Plato and other Greek writers told us about an ancient land of Atlantis that was flooded, and apparently the Atlanteans invaded other places, in desperation. Ancient flood stories are everywhere, from people who did not speak to each other. They made their own versions in isolation. We now …

Credit: Experience Life Trips/Flickr/Creative Commons

The crime of climate-change denial

North America had a solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, followed by a string of hurricanes and earthquakes in Mexico. Also, we have been warned that the world will end, or begin to end, on September 23, 2017. RELATED: Will the World End on Saturday, September 23, 2017? This is ammunition for people who believe in global warming, or climate change caused by all the carbon dioxide we are putting in the atmosphere. Some of them are saying that “denial”, disagreement with their ideas is criminal because it will lead to human suffering. We need to take action to prevent a disaster. They have an opposing side that believes climate change is caused by radiation pulses from the the sun, and volcanoes produce more carbon dioxide than humans do. RELATED: Sorry, But With Global Warming It’s The Sun, Stupid In Canada, the solar people advertised on buses that the sun causes climate change, and the atmosphere people convinced the government to start an investigation for criminal charges. The investigation was suspended after 14 months, but it …

Joel Osteen Credit: Faith Church.com/Flickr/Creative Commons

Joel Osteen and the Gimli Glider

On August 26, 2017, Hurricane Harvey landed in Texas. Houston was badly damaged, and one of the casualties was Lakewood Church and its pastor Joel Osteen. One of the biggest news stories from Hurricane Harvey was the pastor’s refusal to let victims of the storm shelter in the church building. RELATED: Joel Osteen tells Hurricane Harvey victims to not have ‘poor old me mentality’ This may sound strange, but I think I agree with Joel Osteen. If you are wondering, I live very far from Houston, in Canada, and no one asked me to write this. These are some of my reasons: Disaster management includes shelter that is designed for occupation. A huge church is not a dormitory and it may put people at risk. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and people moved into a covered stadium. It was unsanitary, the police lost control, and criminals moved in with guns. People had to be rescued by force from the shelter. Feel-good self-serving charity is always wrong. Victims need useful help; donors don’t need …

Credit: Dennis Yip/Flickr/Creative Commons

What is the big deal with Fentanyl?

I did not know this, but I am living in the center of a world crisis of biblical proportions. People around me are dying, and the numbers of deaths are large, in the thousands, and growing rapidly. Governments don’t seem to have an answer, and the crisis is spreading. Have you heard of Fentanyl? It’s a prescription drug that you can buy cheaply and legally, in most places, and it’s an opioid like heroin and morphine. Drug dealers love this stuff. They add it to more expensive and illegal drugs to provoke more addiction in their customers. It grows their business and saves them money, and I live in western Canada, one of the most blighted regions. Who knew? Fentanyl was developed in a lab in 1959, as a legitimate pharmaceutical. Carfentanil was developed soon after and used by veterinarians; as a sedative for elephants. Related: Carfentanil: Wikipedia The potency of morphine is the control measure, and Fentanyl is fifty times more potent; and Carfentanil is 10,000 times more. That number is not a typo. …

Credit: Richard Cassan/Flickr/Creative Commons

¿Le han disparado últimamente?

English version: Have you been triggered lately ¿Le han disparado últimamente? El diccionario urbano define esto como “Getting lleno de odio después de ver, oír o experimentar algo que no se puede soportar.” En mi experiencia, una persona disparada no es responsable de su ira. culpa de otra persona abrió la puerta de su rabia y ahora podía pasar cualquier cosa. Recientemente, un comediante Kathy Griffin posó con una cabeza cortada falsa del presidente Donald Trump, Bill Maher usó la palabra “n” en una entrevista, y Stephen Colbert ha sido criticado por algo crudo. Kathy Griffin, al menos ha recibido graves amenazas de muerte por su delito. Relacionados : Maher, Griffin, Colbert: cómicos Anti-Trump están teniendo un muy mal momento: Washington Post Entonces, ¿cómo la cultura popular descender a la violencia cruda y amenazas de muerte? se desencadenaron personas. Son molesto, por lo general por Donald Trump, por lo que no hay límites a su conducta, y ahora el otro lado se activa y amenazas de muerte hacia ellos. Si esto parece una locura para …

Zoroaster temple in Iran Credit: Bastian/Flickr/Creative Commons

Entonces, ¿quién es Zoroastro?

English Version: So Who is Zoroaster? Hace unos tres mil años, probablemente en los tiempos de David y Salomón en la Biblia, un hombre llamado Zoroastro o Zaratustra comenzó a predicar acerca de un Dios, y una gran fuerza del mal en el mundo. Su hogar era probablemente cerca de Afganistán y su enseñanza llegó a dominar todas las personas iraníes, desde el norte de la India a Grecia, en Europa. Información sobre los tiempos y lugares se han perdido, pero los estudiosos coinciden en que alguien trató de convertir a la gente a Dios, en el centro de Asia, hace muchos siglos. De acuerdo con Tabari, un musulmán sunita que vivió hace unos mil años, Zoroastro el antiguo profeta de Irán era de Israel y discípulo de Jeremías, o viajaba con un profeta Hebreo. Sabemos que los Persas eran a menudo amables con Israel y su templo en Jerusalén. El Rey de Persia (Irán) ordenó la reconstrucción del templo de Jerusalén: Entonces el rey Darío proclamó un decreto, y buscaron en los archivos donde se …

Scottish Highlander cattle Credit: Lloyd/Flickr/Creative Commons

Darwin y las vacas escocesas

English Version: Darwin and the Scottish cows Charles Darwin desarrolló su teoría de la evolución para el origen de la especie cuando se dio la vuelta al mundo en un barco llamado el Beagle. En ese viaje, en 1834, exploró el valle erosionado del río Santa Cruz, en Argentina y él comentó sobre el curso de los siglos y la erosión gradual que produjo el valle. Ahora sabemos que un GLOFs (glaciar de los lagos de valles de inundación) se produjo cuando un glaciar de hielo bloqueó el río cerca de las montañas y represado una enorme reserva. Cuando el agua entró por el hielo, la GLOFs erosionado el valle de forma rápida, probablemente en día. Cuando era un niño, viajé con mi familia en el estado de Washington, y me di cuenta que el interior seco tenía cientos de canales de agua erosionadas, todo seco, y vi probablemente la caída de agua más grandes del mundo, Dry Falls, cuatro veces las el tamaño de las cataratas, en un valle erosionado profunda. Entonces supe que …

Charlottesville, Virginia protest August 2017 Credit: Evan Nesterak/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Riots in Charlottesville … and Darwinian Evolution?

We know about the demonstration in Charlottesville Virginia. Groups described as Right Wing gathered and demonstrated for their beliefs. The trigger was a threat to remove monuments to leaders of the Confederacy in the American Civil War, more than a century and a half ago. That war was fought with muskets and sabres and horses, and the good guys won. The demonstrations were ugly, with symbols and language that related to Hitler and the Nazis, and the Klu Klux Klan. Counter demonstrators gathered, including some dangerous violent people. It all ended when allegedly a car driven by a man with a history of mental illness rammed into a crowd of counter demonstrators, killing a woman and injuring 19 others. Two police officers also died when their helicopter crashed as they monitored the demonstrations. It was a terrible day. To understand what was happening, some researchers brought up Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Really. A survey was sent to members of the alt-right supporters asking for their opinions about human evolution. Related: Psychologists surveyed hundreds of alt-right …

Credit: Des D. Mona/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Creation of Evolution

Have you heard about the new Darwin? Jeremy England is a professor at MIT with a theory “dissipation-driven adaptation” about the origins of life. The theory focusses on physics instead of biology, the usual scientific approach to evolution. My best summary is that life is inevitable because of the physical structure of the universe. “random groups of molecules can self-organize to more efficiently absorb and dissipate heat from the environment.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_England Life had to happen because of the design and structure of the universe. That’s a complicated way to say that life was created. The god of creation, in this case, is the physical universe, the thing that made life. By extension, something intelligent made the structure of the universe so that it inevitably produced life, but that is just me talking. The ‘new Darwin’ Jeremy England identifies as Orthodox Jewish and apparently studies the Torah, what Christians call the Old Testament. Did you know that the original Darwin was a religious man? He is described as a naturalist, but that profession didn’t exist in …

Credit: Harold/Flickr/Creative Commons

But We Can’t Afford That

A few days ago, a young woman who lives near me overdosed on Fentanyl. Her family drove her to a hospital and I think someone did CPR during the ride. She almost died, but the hospital staff were able to save her. Something bothered me about that story, and then I noticed that they drove her in the family car; they didn’t call an ambulance. I don’t know the family but I guess they can’t afford a five-hundred-dollar ambulance ride every time their addict overdoses. Transporting critically ill patients in a private vehicle is something we should never do; the ambulance crew might save a life before arriving at the hospital. But that ride has a cost, the whole system costs millions, with dispatchers, EMTs, vehicles and equipment, and sometimes helicopters. And life-threatening problems like drug addiction are becoming epidemics. And another story; I keep the tickets from McDonald’s coffee cups. Where I live, each cup has a peel-and-stick ticket and a detachable card. Seven tickets will buy one cup of coffee. I don’t need …

Credit: Alpha/Flickr/Creative Commons

Help, I can’t get promoted!

For part of my career I worked in a large university. I also trained to be a Christian minister but jobs were just not available in churches, so I taught in a university. I was promoted to be the coordinator of the department, like a vice-principal in a school for adults. This promotion was a surprise to me, and I was supposed to be interim; our Director was going to quit and someone had to hold things together until the new Director arrived. When he finally came, he needed people like me, so he extended my tenure as coordinator. That’s when my friends started hating me and senior managers started looking at me as a liability instead of an asset. They needed to save money and I was a cost, and my friends wanted my job. On the success side, I schemed and politicked my way into a large window office, in a place where most of us worked in cubicles, with no outside light. I am ashamed to tell you that now. God never …

Tolerating Muslims

Last Sunday, as I drove to church, I noticed police cars on the road ahead, with flashing lights. It looked like a big accident or a crime scene, but when I got to the site I saw people coming out of the Islamic Center. Muslims celebrate Eid, at the end of the fasting time of Ramadan, and the police were managing traffic and providing security. With crowds of people and busy parking lots at an Islamic center, the police were being careful. So, are we supposed to tolerate those people? They were mostly new immigrants and most wore ethnic costumes from the old country. And they certainly have values that are different from mine. So, should we tolerate them? No, certainly not. I am a Christian and I follow the example of someone who loved us so much He died for us. Barely tolerating my neighbor is wrong for me. What I give out must be in the higher levels of kindness, at least; God’s love is the language of Christians. This is not even …

Credit: Stefan Georgi/Flickr/Creative Commons

Raging Billboards

Someone put a religious message on a sign beside a freeway near Indianapolis. You can see what they wrote in the picture. The message is a summary of some things conservative Muslims believe about their founder. In the twenty-first century, these ideas don’t look good, but people are outraged that the sign is critical and hateful. There are some lessons for us in this story. You can’t win against the critics: Every human organization or movement has skeletons in the closet, historical things we wish would go away; and the Internet lets the critics dig out those facts and tell the world. In Canadian and Australian history, people who called themselves Christians forced native children into residential schools, away from their families. Today this is a national embarrassment. The Mormons have many things to explain. In the U.S. the Democratic Party was the political base for slavery, segregation, and ugly racism. They are trying to do better now. The message on the sign was skillfully written and researched. If the author is sued, he will …

Credit: Richard Cassan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Have you been triggered lately?

Have you been triggered lately? The urban dictionary defines this as “Getting filled with hate after seeing, hearing or experiencing something you can’t stand.” In my experience, a triggered person is not responsible for their anger. Someone else’s fault opened the door to their rage and now anything could happen. Recently, a comedian Kathy Griffin posed with a faked severed head of President Donald Trump, Bill Maher used the “n” word in an interview, and Stephen Colbert has been criticized for something crude. Kathy Griffin, at least has received serious death threats for her offense. Related: Maher, Griffin, Colbert: Anti-Trump comedians are having a really bad moment: Washington Post So how did popular culture descend to crude violence and death threats? People were triggered. They are annoyed, usually by Donald Trump, so there are no limits on their behaviour, and now the other side is triggered and issuing death threats back at them. If this seems crazy to you, good. This is collective insanity, and it seems to be a thing these days. But Christians …

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Turn Down the Noise

Recently I learned one of the most important lessons in my life. Why can’t we learn all the important lessons at the age of 12 or 14? A few years ago I knew an older couple, and the wife was a severe critic of everyone. You know the type. The problem for me was our failed relationship. When I visited them I always left angry. Her criticism of me was irritating, but maybe I deserved it and maybe there was some good advice in her cruel words. My breaking point was all the judgmental things said about other people. I didn’t want to join in and sometimes I tried to defend my friends. I can remember my anger as I write this. It’s impossible to correct an old critic. These old people were devout church-going Christians, respected by everyone who knew them, and I am a Christian, so this was one of the biggest defeats in my life. My clinical description above doesn’t show my emotions; those people made some of us crazy. And then …