What Mr. Q Can’t Tell You

What can a computer not tell you about yourself? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If there’s one kind of show I enjoy watching a lot on TV, it’s a gameshow. I can get into most any of them. One interesting one to watch is 20Q. This is based on the game Twenty Questions. Contestants answer questions from Mr. Q, a computer. In the end, they have to go up against him to see if they can beat him.

Mr. Q can process information at remarkable speeds and has a database from which he can examine all possible answers from the clues that he is given. He will say in the middle of the final round when the contestant goes up against him from time to time how many answers he’s processing. Truly, a computer is brilliant at analyzing information and coming to conclusions.

Yet, despite all of this, there is something that he cannot find out no matter how much he searches his database.

He cannot tell what a contestant is thinking.

In the rounds where he’s sifting out who his opponent will be, sometimes he will say “I wonder if Bill (someone in the running not playing at the time) knows what the answer to this round is yet.” No matter how much Mr. Q can search his database or even the internet, which apparently he has access to, he cannot find that out.

I am sure someone more astute than I in philosophy could make a fascinating argument for the existence of the soul from this, but that’s not my goal this time. My goal is to point out that as great as the internet is, it cannot tell you who you are. This is important because too many kids today think it can do just that.

In the book Irreversible Damage, one howler of a line Abigail Shrier gives that is an argument for kids undergoing gender transitioning is that teenagers know who they are. Shrier does not think this is accurate and I don’t see how anyone can make such a statement with a straight face. I’m 40 years old and I’m still learning who I am. I am sure there are people much older than I who are doing the same.

In an audiobook I’m reading now while I’m driving, Girls and Sex, it’s amazing how many girls go to the internet to find out about who they are. It’s safe to say the majority of these kids do not know how to really use a search engine for research purposes. Because of this, they can be very impressionable to whatever they come across.

Not only that, they will often talk to complete strangers online who only have the scantiest of information to go by to advise them about who they are. These people often become more reliable than the people in their real lives who know them best. This is another problem with social media.

We all know about the people who go on sites like WebMD and diagnose themselves, usually with having stage 4 cancer of the most untreatable kind. The Babylon Bee at the start of the Coronavirus scare had a story about WebMD just changing to a page that said, “Yep. You’ve got Corona.” I’m sure plenty of people self-diagnosed themselves.

In psychology, there’s a rule really that you don’t try to diagnose someone from a distance. This is why psycho history has largely been a failed enterprise. It can be difficult enough for a therapist to diagnose a patient sitting on the couch in their office who they can directly interact with and ask the questions they want answers to. It’s much harder to diagnose someone when you’re only getting pieces of their life and can’t ask them questions.

When it comes to gender transitioning, too often, the patient becomes the doctor and comes in and says “I’m really the opposite gender” and the therapist is supposed to agree immediately. What other field does this happen in? If you went to your doctor and told him you were sure you had stage 4 cancer, is he going to prep you for surgery and/or radiation treatment immediately? No way. He’s going to test you and examine you first.

If kids are going to the internet to find out who they are, they could in some ways be engaging in groupthink without knowing it as many other kids are doing the same and they will all get back the same or at least similar results. The best ways to find who you are is to talk to the people who know you best and allow them to be honest. Also, going and seeing a board certified counselor can help too. Naturally, Scripture and prayer can also reveal much about who you are.

The internet can’t do that. Mr. Q could probably beat you in a game of 20Q. He could tell you many things about yourself that are public knowledge, but when it comes to your own thinking, he is clueless. He can’t tell you who you are. No computer can.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Not Everyone Is An Expert

Does social media really help the situation? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have posted about reading Abigail Shrier’s book Irreversible Damage recently. I am also going through a book now called The Price of Panic about how we made a lot more of the Coronavirus than it actually was and how that panic cost us. In both cases, one of the main culprits is social media.

On social media, everyone is an expert on everything. Of course, there are people who are experts in real fields on social media, but most everyone thinks they have something to say and it is worthy saying, usually because they are the one saying it. In the election of 2016, everyone was an expert on the electoral college. In Covid, everyone was an expert on medicine. Everyone can be an expert on constitutional law or rioting or any number of subjects that are in the news.

Many of us are willing to speak since that’s easy to do, but few of us are willing to go and read an informative book on the subject matter under question. When we don’t do activities like that, we speak out of our own ignorance. Worse than that, we can take a situation that could be somewhat bad and fan the flames and make it worse.

Consider what happens in the transgender movement. Everyone suddenly knows about what happens when you put cross-hormones in your body. Not only that, but people give attention and validation to someone they don’t really know and have never met. Those people become more important than the ones that are right there in person and know the person far better.

There’s a reason so many kids are going to the internet when they want to learn something about themselves and talking to complete strangers about it. Many of these kids can be very impressionable. On the other side of this, cyber bullying is now a greater hazard because of social media because in the past, the kids at least got a break when they got out of school and the bullies couldn’t reach them. Not today. Now they get home and they are bulled on the internet as well.

In the case of Covid, we liked to share bad news. If 100 planes take off today and they all land safely, you won’t hear about that on social media or on the news. You could hear about the plane that landed safely if your loved one is in it and they post they’re at the airport or a selfie of them there, but you won’t turn on the news and hear “100 planes took off and landed safely today without a hitch.” When one of them crashes, that’s what the news will be. (And on social media, everyone will be an expert on airplanes then as well.)

So what can we do?

First, with children, parents need to definitely monitor social media. I wouldn’t even give your children a smartphone until they’re at least 16, maybe even older. This is especially the case for daughters who will be prone to be tempted to use SnapChat as there are guys who will say on there, “Unless you send me a picture of you topless, I’m going to kill myself.” It’s happened before and some girls fall for it.

Since some kids know how to delete their browser history as well, you could consider being on the computer with them. That way you can be spending time with your children as well. Either way, monitor what they do on social media. Check their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.

For the adults in the room, try to inform yourself and really learn how to reason. I got in a debate yesterday with someone about Covid. Rather than consider that maybe I could have a point, it was easier to just refer to me as a science denier.

This is something I see in apologetics debates regularly. Christians will point to atheists as living in denial and just being in love with their sin and ideas like that as to why they’re atheists. I don’t doubt some atheists are atheists because they have a sin that they love and they don’t want to give it up. Often, this could be for sexual reasons, but that doesn’t mean that some atheists aren’t thoughtful people who are really wrestling with the questions and willing to look and listen.

Meanwhile, Christians are often told they are experiencing cognitive dissonance and psychologized over and over about when they came to believe and about their upbringing without discussing the data. It doesn’t help that for many atheists, they automatically equate atheism with reason. You can be a reasonable person and be an atheist or a theist. You can be an unreasonable person and be an atheist or a theist.

Please also try to verify what you share before you share it. I take down conspiracies on both sides honestly. It’s always embarrassing to me when a Christian shares something that can easily be shown to be false in a few minutes. People will be less inclined to take you seriously on the resurrection then which can’t be checked on in just a few minutes.

If you are not an expert, then you can do something about that. You can learn. If you meet someone on Facebook who thinks they are, well, maybe they are. Try to go with the Socratic Method in that case. Ask them the questions about why they believe what they believe. If you read Plato on this with his dialogues of Socrates, it’s really fascinating. You think Socrates is wrong sometimes in his questioning, but you just can’t see it for some reason because the way he asks his questions is so amazing.

If you are not an expert, you could be contributing to false information and sometimes hysteria. We can make bad situations even worse with that kind of behavior. Be careful on social media and even more so if you have children. They can be very impressionable at a young age and not know how to see through fake people on the web. Watch them closely.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Science Skepticism

Why are many of us skeptical of the reigning paradigm? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, I blogged about Abigail Shrier’s book Irreversible Damage about the transgender movement. In it, I found that if anyone went against the reigning narrative in transgenderism, then they were shut down and not allowed to speak. Color me skeptical then when I hear that all the leaders in thinking on this issue in the world of science go with the movement. After all, if someone in the field who is a leader speaks and disagrees, they no longer qualify, and who knows how many others don’t speak out of fear of losing their livelihood?

Not only that, but many of us today find it absurd to say that the reality of male and female which has been attested to since as long as man has been around, is suddenly no longer real based on that science of the day. It would make as much sense as science telling us that rape is not wrong. It would be like telling me that blue is really red.

This doesn’t help in other areas either as we naturally then have skepticism there. Some of these beliefs that are held to be mainstream could be true. Some could not. The most obvious case upfront is evolution. I am someone who does not care about evolution one way or another, but I do understand the skepticism that many of my fellow believers have.

It’s important to notice also that another reason for that skepticism is many Christians get the idea that the matter in science is either/or. You can either keep your belief in God or have belief in science on these issues. For many people, the idea of God is a greater reality to them than the idea of thought that has shown up only recently. In their minds, they have firsthand knowledge of what all God has done for them.

By the way, it doesn’t help when it goes the other way either. It doesn’t help when Christians tell atheists that they have to disbelieve in evolution or some other scientific idea in order to be a Christian. The first step in being a Christian is believing that Jesus died and rose again for your sins. If one has other false beliefs, which they will have and do have, then work on those beliefs later.

Climate change is another one. I can remember a time in my day when the fear was that there would be an ice age that would come upon us all. I am forty years old which means it was not too long ago and yet, that was the science. Today, I am told the exact opposite. Not only that, I am told the measures I have to take to stop this are rather extreme. Consider also that since I believe God won’t let the planet be destroyed this way, I am skeptical.

I am reading a book right now on the Coronavirus panic that echoes many of my thoughts. There was one time I was majorly concerned about it, but it lasted only a day and got help after talking to some knowledgeable friends. Other than that, I have seen a lot of hysteria, but you dare not question the paradigm. After all, if you do that, you don’t really care about the other people do you? This, despite the fact that my concern is those other people have jobs and they need to be able to provide for their families and we’re not helping by keeping them from doing that.

This also can show up in other fields, such as in history. Today, many schoolchildren grow up believing that Columbus sailed to show the Earth was not flat. That’s what I grew up being taught. That’s a complete myth. Many atheists talk about the Inquisition as if it wiped out half of Europe. That’s also a myth.

The difference with the science is we are often told that if anything is true, it must be able to be scientifically demonstrated. Whatever the science shows, this kind of idea is nonsense. Not everything can be scientifically demonstrated. These scientific ideas also, lo and behold, often seem to be tied to the political paradigm of the day as well. Isn’t that convenient?

If anything, I find it amazing that the people I meet who claim to be skeptics are the ones who are least skeptical in these areas. Whatever the reigning paradigm is, they jump right on board with it immediately. The questions that those on the outside have, well those are the questions of the ignorant masses and they’re not really worth taking seriously.

Which cases are wrong and right in science? Not mine to decide. Some I think are definitely inaccurate, such as the transgender movement. Others, I could not speak authoritatively one way or the other, though I have my skepticism of them. Those on that side need to instead of shouting down the skeptics (And this applies to Christians also when we encounter skeptics of Christianity) need to be able to hear our very real questions and concerns and be able to reply. Shutting down the other side for speaking differently never changes their minds. As a recent example, I seriously doubt any conservatives changed their mind on politics just because the Parler app went down. If anything, that only makes our concerns look more plausible. Keep one side from talking, and it looks like the side in charge has something to hide after all.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Irreversible Damage

What do I think of Abigail Shrier’s book published by Regenry? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Abigail Shrier thinks a pandemic of sorts is gripping young girls today. Too many young women are coming out suddenly and saying that they are transgender. While there is such a thing as gender dysphoria, the majority of people it strikes are men and they normally do get past it eventually. Shrier’s concern is that a group, the transgender community, that is supposed to affect a minority of the population, is really hitting in epic numbers that do not make sense.

Not only is it happening, but therapists and doctors are pushing it onward. If a young girl comes to a therapist and is convinced she’s really a boy, the therapist or doctor is not to ask “Why do you feel that way?” Instead, they are to go ahead and write out a prescription for testosterone. It’s gender affirming after all and besides that, if the daughter doesn’t do this, she’ll likely kill herself.

Shrier doesn’t think all such cases are like this and she is open to the idea that sometimes transitioning could be healthy, but is concerned that there is too much and too soon. To give a brief look at the end of the book, she also talks to Buck Angel who used to be a woman and he has the exact same concern. Girls at too young an age are making decisions that will have impacts on them that cannot be changed.

Consider top surgery for instance, which is a double mastectomy. Contrary to what might be believed, a woman can’t just remove her breasts and then get them put right back on. They’re not just mounds of tissue, but have a number of nerves and other functions that help with erotic sensitivity and with breastfeeding. A girl who does this could miss out on that for the rest of her life. She can get something done that could look the same, but they won’t functionally be the same.

That’s only a minor loss, though something any woman wanting to have sex and have a baby someday should think about, but speaking of having a baby, many of these paths to being a man could easily end in infertility. These would be decisions based on a decision a girl makes when she doesn’t have life experience to match. Naturally, many therapists and others encourage her and tell her what to say to especially deal with those bigots in her life who dare question her.

Normally, they’re known as Mom and Dad.

A girl can be in high school or college and go by male names and pronouns without her parents knowing. At college, she can get hormone treatment and her parents again do not have to know. If anything, the system is set up so that they won’t know. (The same applies to abortion. That’s not a coincidence.)

The question to ask is what is causing this. If there is any one culprit, it is the one no one will be surprised at. Social Media. Girls can see videos online from people in the trans community who can not only convince them that they’re really trans, but train them as to what to say to a therapist or to parents or anyone else.

Some people interviewed in the book describe the trans community as a cult, and there’s some odd parallels to that. As a Christian apologist, I found it interesting that it is often said that if someone walks away from the treatment, they were never really trans to begin with. Hormones and top surgery are practically sacraments to get to the path of salvation, coming out completely as someone of the opposite sex.

What about those who dissent? They are shut down immediately. There is not allowed to be any debate whatsoever. A highly acclaimed doctor who has spent several years in the field and is well-established can have his career ripped away from him if he dares to question the narrative.

And some people wonder why some of us are skeptical of science in other controversial areas.

Shrier’s fear is that these girls are going to make mistakes in this period of their lives that will be, well, irreversible. My concern is that this is a delusion and the more we enable a delusion, the more damage we do to those who have that delusion, even if it is ourselves. This has become a condition where the patient goes to see the doctor and the patient tells the doctor what the diagnosis and the treatment is. The doctor becomes a dealer of sorts.

I used to say that our society was in a war on boys. I still think that is the case. Men are vilified through MeToo and ads like that of Gillette and are conditioned to be more like girls. In a twist also, there is a war on girls where girls are told that there is nothing essential to being a girl and all you need to do is have your body mutilated some and you can be a boy and likewise a boy can be a girl.

How are both of these true? How are boys encouraged to be more feminine and girls encouraged to say there is nothing special about being a girl. It comes down to a delusion. It is a war against reality. It is a desire to remove any boundaries or fixed points whatsoever. If we can change who or what we are in our minds, we can allow for any behavior that we want ultimately, be it sex with whoever we want as long as they consent, (And how long will that barrier stay up?), abortion, that marriage can be whatever we want it to be, or this next step, that gender is a social construct. (These are connected. Right after the Supreme Court ruled in favor or redefining marriage, there was a switch immediately to the transgender community as the next step.)

If you are a parent of a young girl, I really urge you to get this book. You need to know what your daughter is coming up against. You also need to tell them that they have something special in being a girl. There is no need to trade that in for being a boy. Of course, boys do have something special, but our girls need to love themselves as they are just as our boys do.

Shrier’s book is thorough, scary, and needed. I want to thank the friend who got it for me for a review. This is a book that needs to be read by every mother and father of a daughter, whether they are a teenager or college student already, or even if this is a daughter still in the womb. Read it and be ready.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Strong Poison

What do I think of Dorothy Sayers’s book published by Open Road Media Mystery and Thriller? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It’s really hard to review this book because it’s a mystery and I can’t tell you much about it without spoilers. I will try to do the best I can. The story starts with a judge talking to a jury about the case with the defendant on trial. She is accused of murdering her past lover with arsenic and all of the evidence seems to point to her hands-down as the criminal.

Lord Peter Wimsey disagrees.

Lord Peter Wimsey is the detective in many of Sayers’s novels. I happen to enjoy reading a good mystery and the reason I did this one was because of my interest in Dorothy Sayers and that’s what I want to focus on. She was a member of the inklings and a friend of both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

To speak some about this work, one amazing aspect of it is while Christian characters do show up, sometimes the good guys engage in behavior that is not really Christian at all. I have no indication from this book if Peter Wimsey is a Christian or not, although I do know he can sing one hymn at least.

It is also sometimes difficult to understand some English mannerisms on this side of the pond. What does it mean for Peter to be a Lord, for example? Some of the terms seemed highly British and some of the ways that the people behaved, but one can still understand the plot.

The book goes so far in avoiding being explicitly Christian that in the end, I had to check to make sure I had the right lady. Maybe I got her confused with another Dorothy who was in the inklings. Nope. Got the right one.

We could say Lewis’s strength was that his material was much more outright Christian, yet Sayers’s strength is that hers wasn’t. Perhaps the difference was Lewis was writing for children with the Chronicles of Narnia. The Space Trilogy is a different matter, but that could also be by then that Lewis was so well-known as a Christian that it would be assumed.

Sayers then reminds me of what Lewis said about the best material needing to come from Christians even if it wasn’t Christian. What if the best book on medicine today was by a doctor who was Christian? What if the best book on physics was from a scientist who was Christian?

So my hope with this would be people would read Sayers and come to like her mysteries and then go and read her more theological works. I also wonder if she got some inspiration from Chesterton who did the Father Brown Mysteries. Of course, in that case, the character is explicitly Christian. I still have a funny story of when I had a roommate and he decided to borrow the Complete Collection one night that I had. He woke up late the next day and was upset with me because he didn’t get to bed until past 1 because he was so excited reading those mysteries.

So now, it looks like I have another detective to read. I have read Regan Reilly, Father Brown, the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, some Sherlock Holmes, and now I can add Lord Peter Wimsey to the list. He certainly is a fun detective to read. If you like mysteries like I do, give this one a shot.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

A Way Forward

How do we keep going on? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

First off, I want everyone to know we officially have a Patreon. I hope you all will donate. I would rather have several of you donating small amounts honestly than to have a few donating big amounts to help our cause. Please consider a donation.

Now on to a blog.

On Wednesday, like many of you, I was watching the news when I could. I was busy and at times I would get updates on my phone telling me some of what was going on. Overall, I largely kept thinking back to April of 2016.

Mike Licona and I were picking up Craig Evans at the airport for a debate he had with Richard Carrier, the unemployed polyamorous prominent internet blogger who’s banned from SkeptiCon, if you’re wondering who I mean by that name. After we took him to his hotel, we had some time before the debate and so we went to Subway.

While there, Mike asked me my opinion of the political climate of our country. What does it take to change things? My answer was the one I have always given. The church has to be the church. You see, the gospel doesn’t need America to survive, but America needs the gospel to survive.

I remain thoroughly convinced of this. Part of what helped out our founding in this country is Christianity. I have been doing some reading on our history and it’s really fascinating how many preachers had bounties placed on their heads by the bishop.

Think about that. A preacher in a church doing a sermon is the most prominent target in the place and has nowhere else to really go, and yet these preachers got up there and preached. What would they think today knowing our country kills babies in the womb, is treating the idea that men and women are different as a joke, has said that the old definition of marriage is not accurate, has prolific pornography, etc.

Most of our preachers today don’t even touch those topics. Can’t risk someone touching the 501c3 or possibly offending someone and getting a lawsuit. Sure, it’s destroying our society and future generations, but at least we’ll have a nice potluck supper this year.

No. The church has to get up and be the church. It doesn’t matter who is in the White House or who controls Congress or who is on the Supreme Court. If we think the right candidates can heal our country, then we are treating a spiritual problem with a political band-aid. This isn’t to say who we vote for doesn’t matter, but it’s not the cure.

There’s a story that Billy Graham went to visit Konrad Adenauer who was the chancellor of West Germany shortly after World War II. Adenauer asked Billy Graham if he believed in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Graham was surprised and said that of course he did. (Rumors also have it that he added that he affirmed the virgin birth, which I do affirm.) Adenauer looked out the window at the ruins of Germany and said that apart from the resurrection, He knows of no other hope for mankind.

And that is the hope we need. It is to return to the fact that Jesus by His death and resurrection conquers evil. It is to say that the Kingdoms of this world are not the final say. In Psalm 2, the one enthroned in Heaven laughs at their attempts to undo the reign of His Son. This is not to say we establish a theocracy. I have no wish to see Christianity marry the government like that because men are by nature corrupt.

It is to return to the ethic of Jesus as well and that includes especially the area of sexuality in our culture. Many have said the abstinence movement has failed and in many cases, I agree, but too often we have only given the message of “don’t” and then said everything will be perfect once you marry. I realize most of us don’t really think that, but that is the message that has been heard. We do not have a worldview of sex in our culture today and the rampant chaos on the topic doesn’t show that everyone knows what they’re talking about. It shows the opposite. Hardly anyone does.

It also means love of our neighbor and of ourselves. It means practicing forgiveness. It means keeping our word. It means charity. Instead of waiting around for the government to provide food and medical care, strive to help others yourself. Stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, which includes the unborn especially.

It has been said that all that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. If you’re a Christian, whatever political side you are on, you realize that our country has problems and we don’t want a future of constant rioting. I had the same thoughts back in the summer and I think I shared them then, but I have decided that one can either live in doom or gloom, which does nothing, or one can take their own stand.

I choose the latter. I hope you will take it with me.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Feeling vs. Being

Where is our focus in society today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have been pondering lately and this is still open-ended, as all our ponderings should be, about where the focus is in our society and many of the connections come across various lines of thought. For example, this past Saturday I had Mormons come and visit me. If you have ever dialogued with them, you know where they point to every time. It is an experience. It is the burning in the bosom.

I am also going through a book called Irreparable Damage written from a secular perspective on teenage girls coming out as transgender. Part of the work today is affirmation therapy where it looks like if a patient claims to be transgender, well, they are, and it’s best to affirm their attitude and if the parents don’t the child could kill themselves. It is not about why they feel this way or if they should. The inner attitude is given precedence.

While driving, I am also going through Peggy Orenstein’s book on CD, Girls and Sex. Last night, I heard her talk about how girls are having operations done on their genitals while they are teenagers merely for the sake of appearance. These operations do not improve sexual pleasure or function and can actually impede it. Still, these girls are doing this just to make sure they don’t gross a boy out in a possible sexual encounter. As an aside, if you are a parent of girls, either teenage or on their way, you really need to read this book and see what’s coming.

All of these have a common theme and it runs throughout our society. We live in a world where we talk so much about how we feel and talk very little about how we are. Not only that, we are responsible for how everyone else outside of us feels. This does not mean we cause unnecessary pain, but the only person we are in control of us is ourselves. If you feel offended and hurt by what I say or do, it could be I’m a jerk, but it could also be that you need to work on how you receive information and process it.

We don’t often ask what kind of character we are producing. Do we feel good about ourselves, as per the self-esteem movement? That is what is most important to people today. What should be of utmost importance is what kind of character we are producing. Are we becoming good and virtuous people?

After all, there are many times where we should not feel good. I think of my friend David Wood. When his mother died, he was able to go out to a diner and hang out with his friends like normal. Why? Not because he’s heartless, but because he is actually a sociopath and feels no sadness when someone dies.

Sometimes, we may think that is a good position to be in, but would we really want that always? If your loved one died, would you not want to be able to feel the sorrow and mourn it. Sometimes, we want to treat the sorrow as if it is the problem when sorrow can be healthy at times. If you are a normal person and you feel nothing when a loved one dies, that is a cause of concern.

Suppose you are an alcoholic. One of the most loving things someone can do is to not affirm you in your alcoholism. You might need someone to get in your face and tell you you have a problem and are destroying your life unless you get some help. If that’s what it takes to wake you up, that’s what it takes.

This is also true in evangelism. I know some people who didn’t become Christians until someone had the guts to get in their face and tell them they were a sinner. If you want to find gentle Jesus, meek and mild, do not go to the New Testament. He’s not there. This is the Jesus who referred to His own chief apostle as Satan at one point and who called the Pharisees sons of Hell. He was gentle on those who recognized their lack, but on others, He was highly confrontational.

Let’s also talk about the girls having operations done. Too often we are discussing how girls feel about their bodies. Boys can think this way too, but it is largely girls. Very ltitle time is discussed asking what they do with their bodies. Are they using their bodies in a way that is proper to the nature of the body?

For those of us who are Christians, we would contend that the modern sexual ethic is a war against reality. It is our prediction that the further we go down this road, the more chaos will break apart in society. One can only bump against reality for so long before reality will bump back and reality won’t care if it hurts us or not.

Instead of starting with how we feel per se, we should start with how we are. What are we being? What are we doing? A negative feeling could be a bad way of thinking we need to drop, or it could be an indication that we are doing something that is wrong.

If we hold to objective morality in any sense and to objective goodness, there is a right and a wrong to be done. There is a real good to be sought and real evil to be avoided. (Note that I singularized the good and generalized the evil. There’s a reason for that.) If none of those are true, then let’s eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die. If they are true, then we could feel great about ourselves and be on the path to destruction.

Think about Brave New World. In this society, everyone was feeling good about themselves and it was a pleasure-oriented society, but it was a nightmare as well. The people didn’t know it and were slaves to their passions and their science both. This is not to say passions and science are bad things, but they are not meant to control us either.

There is no easy solution to this as our society is very far gone in this measure. For those of us who are Christians, it is a return to character and virtue that will most help us out here, working on ourselves and on our children especially. It will also be an open pursuit of virtue as well. We will need to seek to be holy, especially since our own book tells us in Hebrews 12 that without holiness no one will see the Lord. If we want to see Him, we have to be holy.

Again, this is open-ended and with all my posts, I hope this leads to discussion all the more. I look forward to your thoughts.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: 12 Rules For Life

What do I think of Jordan Peterson’s book published by Random House Canada? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I saw my therapist reading this book one day and when I found it at the local library on audio, I decided to pick it up while driving. The audio version is read by Peterson himself and when I didn’t finish it on time, the book was fortunately on sale on Kindle so I picked it up then.

I remember when I saw the book the first time in the therapist’s office, I looked through the table of contents and some of the rules surprised me. Taking a look, many of us would be able to say to some of them, “Well, I never did that so I’m good.” One that stood out to me was “Do not bother children when they are skateboarding.” Okay. I don’t think I have ever done that so I am good.

However, each rule has a principle behind it and a long chapter where Peterson goes on about the lesson involved. When he talks about religion, though he is not a Christian at this point, he does hold a high respect for Jesus and thinks there is a lot of wisdom in the Bible. His reading of the text does provide interesting food for thought.

Other rules include assume the other person might know something you don’t and compare yourself to who you were yesterday and not who someone else is today. The second is to treat yourself like someone else you are responsible for. Peterson points out that many of us sadly take better care of our pets than we do of ourselves.

Also, watch your friends. Choose friends that will build you up. Many of us especially in the age of the internet make friends way too easily and choose friends that will bring us away from that which is good for us. This is not to say these people are necessarily people with evil intentions, but that their desires are not like our desires and their idea of good is not like ours.

The last rule was an odd one about petting a cat. The only reason I don’t do this is I don’t know if stray cats around here have fleas and I don’t want to risk bringing something home to Shiro. So what is the meaning behind this rule? You have to read it to the end because it’s only at the very end that he explains the lesson.

Much of the book focuses on psychology which shouldn’t be a shock, but there’s a lot of history as well. Peterson looks at events throughout time and finds the parallels that he needs. The man is, no doubt, highly read and very intellectual.

Of course, this material is useless if you don’t apply the rules to your life. This is a process and Peterson himself has said in interviews he struggles with them, especially the one on telling the truth to people, or at least not lying. That can be hard to do in an age where we want to make sure we don’t “Hurt someone’s feelings.”

I wouldn’t mind reading another one of his books after this one. Peterson I find to be a stimulating thinker and on the issue of Christianity being true, I think a meaningful dialogue could take place, especially if the rules are followed. Many of these rules are really common sense rules when studied further and ones we can all benefit from. Go out and get this book and it will be a good topic of discussion if others you know read it as well.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Addicted To Lust

What do I think of Sam Perry’s book published by Oxford University Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I heard about this book on a marriage blog I read and decided to check it out. Something interesting about the work is that I suspect Perry is a Christian, but it is not explicitly stated that I recall in the book. Also, the book is not coming out all guns blazing against pornography. The writer is striving to be as accurate with the data as he can be.

He starts off talking with the nature of addiction. I find it beyond dispute that some men are addicted to pornography. Many, sadly, have marriages that are suffering for this. I know of the stories of guys who have to watch a video or read a magazine in order to be able to perform with their wives. I have no doubt that the reason I hear so many commercials for treatment of ED around here is because of pornography.

Like I said, Perry tries to be fair. He states that some people do see benefits to their lives from pornography. Perry’s writing is not meant to persuade to a view one way or the other. It is to present the data.

He focuses on conservative Protestants because we do take Scripture seriously, or we’re supposed to, and that includes its sexual ethic, and because we make up a majority and tend to be people of the book the most. Sometimes, those outside like Catholics on the one hand and atheists and agnostics on the other are covered. However, those on the outside will still find this book helpful.

He also states that we in the church do tend to point out the problems of sexual sin. Of course, we should make a big deal about this, but we don’t often seem to emphasize so much pride or greed or dare I say it, gluttony. Perhaps if we focused on the latter, especially pride, we would have a lot less of the sexual sins.

There is a section on masturbation as well. If one goes with a strictly Scriptural interpretation on this, there is nothing one way or the other. Scripture does not say “Hands off” (Pun intended) nor does it say “Go for it!” There is also debate as to whether the rules are different for married men or single men. Not only that, there can be an interesting idea where men can be told to not do so, but a woman is so she can know what she likes and how her husband can better please her.

In the end, Perry gives no answer, as that is not his intent. He is merely presenting the different views. This is something that men definitely need to think about and really consider.

He then asks what happens when porn is left unchecked. What happens if we keep using it regularly? This is especially a battle today because in the past, you had to go to the video store or the magazine rack, highly public places, and get what you wanted. Everyone would also know why you were there.

Today, all you have to do is go look on your phone. You can find whatever you want right now. A teenage boy with a smartphone can easily be up at night in his bedroom watching pornography and his parents are none the wiser.

Unfortunately, it’s harder and harder to judge the results of porn on society because there are fewer and fewer men who have no involvement with it. It’s my thinking that our society will go further and further downhill the more we allow this. The sexual revolution has been one of the most destructive forces in society.

One other aspect he covers is that this is usually thought to be a man’s battle. Not so. More and more women are getting involved. The problem is at many recovery groups, sex is all men talk about. For women, sex is hardly talked about in these groups. Women who engage with porn are seen as out of the norm. A woman can find it hard to talk to someone and she can’t normally go to her pastor because he’s normally a man as well. Definitely, more needs to be done for women who struggle.

What about marriage? Some people count heavy porn use as infidelity, and I really don’t blame them. Many a woman hears about her husband using porn and is shattered thinking “Am I not enough for you?” Many women have an idea in their heads that they must compete with what they see on a screen which is always fantasy and no, reality in these cases is always easily trumped by fantasy since we can make it to be whatever we want.

This happens on a lesser level also. Many girls who are dating and having sex with their boyfriends think that they have to compete with porn. Some start watching porn so they can get an idea of what their boyfriends will like. I don’t know how long our society can function like this.

The last major chapter is on treatment. In this chapter, Perry looks to see if Biblical Counseling is, well, Biblical. He looks at what good programs like Covenant Eyes do. Hopefully, those wanting to get past this will find resources.

Now if you’re skeptical and want to know about how Perry did his research, good news. That is covered in the appendices. Since this book is published by Oxford, we can be sure it’s not lightly researched. It certainly isn’t. Perry’s book gives a lot of food for thought. It is very readable and even-handed and should foster better discussions.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Please Stop Buying Books On Prophecy

Are we hurting the church? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I was going to do a book plunge today, but other events showed up in my own personal life and I had to talk about those. Yesterday at church, I hear some of the ladies in the row behind me talking about a book with such an excitement. Would that it was N.T. Wright or Mike Licona or Edward Feser or William Lane Craig or someone like that. Nope. It was the Harbinger.

I’m a member of Nextdoor, an online chat site where you chat with others in your community. Someone posted Jeremiah 29:11 for a new year and as we know, posting something from the Bible never stirs up controversy. In the thread, someone else recommends the Harbinger saying it is very prophetic.

Now I have reviewed the book here and definitely recommend David James’s excellent response to it here. (For those interested, James comes from the dispensationalist perspective and still has a problem with the book.) It’s an awful book and not only is it bad theology, it’s bad writing period. The Da Vinci Code was a load of nonsense, but at least it had an interesting story to it. The reporter in The Harbinger makes the staff at the Daily Planet look like Einsteins.

I don’t know if someone has happened recently to get people talking about this book again, but they are.

So what I want to say again to people is PLEASE STOP BUYING BOOKS ON PROPHECY! I would really love to see a day come when doctrines like the resurrection or the Trinity or the virgin birth (Which I do affirm) are taken as seriously as prophecy. Would that one day churchgoers would have discussion before church about various theories of the atonement instead of trying to figure out who the antichrist is.

The reality is, we’ve all been through it before. How many people were taking people like Hal Lindsey and Edgar Whisenant super seriously? How many people gave up all they had for Harold Camping? How many people bought into the Four Blood Moons material? How much of that material has lasted?

We rightly would hold a pastor accountable if they had a major moral failing, such as having an affair. Should we not do the same thing if they have a failing such as trying to claim God says X in prophecy and it doesn’t happen? This is why James 3:1 tells us few will should be teachers because they will be held to a greater accountability.

Honestly, being a prophecy expert would be a great position to have in Christianity. You are an expert just because you say you are and you write books and hold seminars that everyone takes seriously. Within your own lifetime often, you are shown to be wrong, but you wait a few years and publish another book with another interpretation and you’re still held to be an expert.

How many books are gathering dust in the back of Christian bookshelves for claiming XYZ is the antichrist and that person is dead now? There have been people who have claimed Trump was the antichrist. Some people claimed Obama was. No doubt, some people will claim Biden is or that Kamala Harris is. As the hype spreads, the rest of the world looks on and thinks we’re nuts.

They already think that. We don’t need to give them more ammunition.

Not only that, but we miss the real messages of Scripture. We become focused on ourselves and think that Jesus is coming for us because, well, we’re just such a special generation. The fact that Jesus is going to return someday should give us joy, but it should also give us some degree of terror and urgency. What are we doing to spread the message? What kind of lives are we living?

I don’t know how many times I have to answer atheists who insist that Jesus said He would return soon and they use all the same texts to argue it. They insist, like everywhere else, on a hyper-fundamentalism that not even the most fundamentalist Christian I know of would accept. As I started Bart Ehrman’s book on Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet, I made a prediction that he would never once mention Orthodox Preterism in his book. I wish I had made a public bet beforehand because my prediction was entirely accurate.

Folks. There are other doctrines in Christianity besides prophecy and considering how many people with a dispensationalist hermeneutic have got the interpretations wrong, you first off have to wonder why you should take this next guy doing it seriously. I would like you to go a step further. Why should you take the hermeneutic and even the mindset behind it seriously?

I’m not saying you have to jump immediately into the Orthodox Preterist camp, but please at least consider abandoning a bad prophecy hermeneutic today.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)