Book Plunge: Veils of Distortion

What do I think of John Zada’s book published by Terra Incognita? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

John Zada is a journalist writing about how media distorts the news for all of us. Right now, my conservative readers are thinking, “Yep. We know we can’t trust the media. You tell them.” My liberal friends are probably thinking, “This is just going to be a cry of celebration for Trump and Fox News.”

Both of them are wrong.

There are statements in here both sides will not be happy with, which means it’s great reading for both sides. Instead, it’s a general warning about how the media functions today. In many ways, the media does control the culture and what they say does stick. This book is also recently published which means you can find news about Trump and about the Coronavirus.

Let’s start with the latter as an example of how news is shaped. Consider that the virus is called a “deadly virus.” Left out is that normally 98% of people who get the virus survive just fine. So why report it this way? Because deadly is a way that can make news. Also, we regularly report only the exceptional negative news. For a counterexample, you won’t turn on the news and hear “Millions of Americans get flu vaccine and nothing bad happens.” If however, some people die from it, which happens every year, that will make the news.

Part of the problem also is like most things journalists report on, they are not experts on the subject. Someone could be a journalist who reports on issues of national security all his life. However, he still will not have a job where he works directly in national security and so that will always be a blind spot for him.

News outlets also try to get news out there as fast as possible which means that they don’t have the time to fact check. In the past, they had to compete against only other journalists and news stations. Now who do they have to compete against? Everyone with a smartphone. How many of our news stories now are based on captured smartphone video?

Thus, the media rushes right out the gate without all the information and can often make snap judgments. Fact-checkers don’t always have the time to do proper fact-checking and can be just as unreliable as anyone else is. The best way for us to handle topics is to try to do our own fact-checking.

Sometimes, as a sad commentary, the media practically hopes for a disaster to take place. Zada even reports of a time where there was a standoff somewhere and someone in the newsroom actually said, “I wish some fighting would break out between these two so that we could have something to report.” After all, the same news doesn’t sell. If you have a story where a plane crashes, that will make the news. You will never turn on the news and hear, “Hundreds of planes flew across America today without a single crash.”

We must remember the media is driven by one thing ultimately. Money. They want ratings and that can lead to sloppiness as they try to get the best stuff out there as quickly as they can. The news will stay in the air for a bit and then when it no longer brings in the ratings, the media will go on to another story.

Also, whatever you think of Trump, he knows how to play the media well, and that is part of the reason he won in 2016. He knew what to do to get the media reporting on him which meant free coverage. The media had a love/hate relationship with him. They hated him politically, but they loved that he was a ratings grab which means in an ironic sense, they helped him become president with all the coverage.

What can we do?

For one thing, we need to inform ourselves. Watch the news from both sides and watch agencies that watch the media as well. You could even try investing in slow journalism. I have heard that Dan Bongino, for example, tries to wait 72 hours before taking a side on an issue that breaks out. Since he has a national radio show now, I don’t know if that can be done as easily, but whether you like him or not, I think that’s an admirable stance.

In my own field, I know that often a discovery is made in archaeology and Christians and atheists both rush out to share it thinking it will either confirm or disprove the Bible. I always say the same thing to them. Wait. Let the scholars look at the issue. Many people like to rush their stories to the media in this area instead of going through the scholarly review part. Always be wary of those.

Try also to read a story or hear it from the other perspective. If the situation was reversed, what would that mean? What data is being left out? We can hear how many people die from Coronavirus. How many people don’t?

I urge liberals and conservatives both to read this book.

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

Happy Liberal Passover!

How shall we celebrate June? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When Autism Awareness Month started in April, I ordered some bracelets that say Autism Awareness on them and started wearing them. For you, my readers, I blogged on an insider’s perspective on what it’s like to have Aspergers, a subset of Autism. I did an interview on the topic for a Christian podcast as well.

I barely remember seeing one ad, I think on Hulu, about Autism Awareness.

Yesterday was June 1st, the start of Gay Pride Month.

Already, the day before Words With Friends 2 has a theme going on this week about gay pride with a bonus yesterday if you played the word “pride” and today if you play the word “trans.” I saw WatchMojo released a video on top LGBTQ+ characters in video games and I am sure more such vids are coming. I saw ads from companies like LinkedIn and others celebrating. I saw numerous people on Facebook posting messages for Gay Pride Month.

Now these businesses and people have a right to do what they want with their business. However, where was this support for the Autism community? After all, if we say we care about the people involved, does this mean that most companies today don’t care about people on the spectrum? I don’t want to think that, so perhaps there’s something else going on.

Have you seen what happens if you disagree with the LGBTQ community? You get blacklisted and “cancelled” and often sued. Is it a shock then that so many businesses are putting up rainbow images? Imagine if we changed Exodus 12 to this idea.

And the LGBTQ community said, “And we will pass through your social media accounts, and when we see the rainbow avatar, we will not destroy, but if we come to any business account that does not have a rainbow account, we will bring all our forces on you to show you are against diversity and inclusion and you’re a bigot and we will destroy you in our fury.”

Keep in mind that a few years ago, these were the people telling us we need to be tolerant. As is expected, when such people get into power, tolerance is not a virtue that is cared about anymore. It was useful for the time, but you can be sure there won’t be tolerance for evangelical Christians and others who disagree, except perhaps Muslims since we don’t want to be killed.

So as this Liberal Passover goes on (I wish the name was original to me, but a friend came up withit), other communities can be expected to be ignored as is common. I didn’t even see this much last month when it was for Asians and Pacific Islanders. Of course, that’s also because Asians likely won’t sue you if you say nothing about them.

So then for all those businesses who are treating this month like it’s the most awesome thing ever, where was the “love” when it was the month for Autism? Where was the celebration of diversity and inclusiveness? After all, I think it is pretty firmly established that we’re born this way. I don’t think many of you want to go with the idea that vaccines cause Autism since we have heard enough condemnation in Covid about the Anti-Vax community.

So let’s see. We are born this way and we have a known disability and we’re not even asking for pride. The month for April is not Autism Pride Month. It is Autism Awareness Month. I do celebrate that I am on the spectrum, but I know it’s not because of anything that I did so pride isn’t fitting. What criteria do we not fit that we get people to talk about our month?

Once again, as a Christian, while I do oppose homosexual behavior, I also support the freedom businesses have to do what they want. If you want to support Gay Pride Month, that is your choice, and if you don’t want to support Autism Awareness Month, that is also your choice. At the same time, if someone doesn’t want to support a business for their choices, that is also their choice. That’s the way freedom works after all.

I just would like to have some consistency and I would delight in hearing from businesses. Why is this month something you want to shout out about, but April was met with cold silence? Is it hatred or disapproval of the autistic community? Are we just not worth it? Why the silence?

I think I already know the answer and it’s the one I gave above, but if I’m wrong, let me know.

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

Book Plunge: Fault Lines

What do I think of Voddie Baucham Jrs book published by Salem Books? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Baucham is concerned about the evangelical church in America and the rest of the world for that matter. Too many good Christians are buying into Critical Race Theory. It might look good for awhile. After all, who wants to say that black lives don’t matter? Don’t we all agree that racism is a bad thing? Don’t we all want justice? Of course, but there are bad ways to get good things.

Baucham does agree that racism is in America, but America is not systematically racist. Racism is not at the root of all of our ills. He also sees CRT as Marxist and pagan in its origins. It will do more harm by far than good.

Baucham also deals with statistics on crime and other issues. For example, he tells the story of a young man who died tragically at the hands of police. A police officer pinned him to the ground and mocked him. He pleaded with the officers saying that they were going to kill him. The officers did nothing and kept making jokes.

No. That’s not George Floyd. That’s Tony Timpa. Timpa had schizophrenia and had called the police himself because he was off his meds and he had already been handcuffed by a security guard. Timpa died under those police officers before the paramedics arrived.

Most of you never heard of him because he was white.

On October 5, 2016, an officer was nearly beaten to death by a suspect. She knew she should have used her weapon. Her supervisor told her she should have. Why didn’t she?

Because she knew the next day she and her family would undergo scrutiny on the national news. There are real world consequences?

What about Dylan Noble? During a routine traffic stop, he reached into his wasitband and was shot 11 times. Why do you not know about him? He’s white.

Breanna Taylor made the national news when she did in a shooting involving the police. A police officer served an eviction notice on her Dad. The Dad pulled a weapon and the officer pulled out his gun and fired. The bullet passed through his arm and hit Ciara which caused her death eventually. Why do you not know about this? She was white.

Why bring these up? Because people love to bring up stories that fuel a narrative. In this case, it’s the idea that the police treat the black population unfairly. Baucham argues there is further evidence to back this.

Meanwhile , a National Academy of Sciences study ignited controversy when its authors proclaimed, “ We find no evidence of anti – Black or anti – Hispanic disparities across shootings, and White officers are not more likely to shoot minority civilians than non – White officers. ” 14 More fundamentally, the researchers noted that “ using population as a benchmark makes the strong assumption that White and Black civilians have equal exposure to situations that result in FOIS, ” which is the only way the 2.5 – to – 1 ratio could be viewed as prima facie evidence of police bias. Instead, they noted that contrary to the accepted narrative, “ If there are racial differences in exposure to these situations, calculations of racial disparity based on population benchmarks will be misleading. ” 15 In other words, the 2.5 – to – 1 ratio, taken at face value, is actually misleading.

CRT will not bring about unity. It will only bring further division. For example, if every incident involving interaction between blacks and whites is made into racism, even if no racist motives can be shown, then there will be hesitancy to act in any situation. Not only that, but if you cry wolf, real racism will go unnoticed. Even today, I am highly suspicious as soon as someone says “racist” about something or someone.

Baucham stresses that CRT has Marxist origins and thus is highly antithetical to Christian values. The church could let the nose of this camel in thinking they are doing good, only to wind up having the whole camel in and that will lead to chaos on other issues.

For many on the CRT side, if you deny that you are a racist, well that just shows you are a racist. No matter what you do, you are racist. You can marry someone of the another race or have children of another race and still be considered to be racist. You are guilty of racism until you are proven innocent, and you cannot be proven innocent.

I was amazed also to read parts of a sermon that Obama gave to a black church on a Father’s Day. I never supported Obama, but I have to say I agree so much with what he said.

Yes, we need more cops on the street. Yes, we need fewer guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. Yes, we need more money for our schools, and more outstanding teachers in the classroom, and more afterschool programs for our children. Yes, we need more jobs and more job training and more opportunity in our communities. But we also need families to raise our children. We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child — it’s the courage to raise one.

The problems for the black community by and large are not from without but from within. Fatherlessness is too common and too many black men are dying at the hands of other black men. Restoring the family to the black community would be the best gift that could be given. CRT will not do that as groups like BLM are opposed to the typical nuclear family.

This book is written from a Christian perspective, but I think a non-Christian would get something out of it. They won’t care likely about what is going on in the church over this, but I would hope they would look at the case either way. I really hope Baucham is wrong about a future earthquake coming, but I fear that he is right.

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

Should Christians Support Israel?

Is Israel the nation to support? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Israel is facing trouble again and that means Christians in America have taken sides, as well as no doubt many other places in the world. However, America has a strong connection to futurism and dispensationalism especially. We often see ourselves as a chosen people and our ability to function is somehow tied to Israel. After all, aren’t the Jews the people of God?

Now in this, I am not going to even begin to recommend solutions regarding conflict between Christians and Palestinians. I know some Christians who do think Palestine has a case and they are not anti-Semitic. That’s something else that needs to be said. Just because someone thinks the Jews could be in the wrong does not mean you can go and kill all the Jews you want and treat them horribly.

A few weeks before this all broke out, I remember being on Facebook and seeing a post asking something along the lines of how Christians should see Jews today. I answered, “People who need Jesus just like everyone else does.” I stand by that 100%. Jews need their Messiah.

However, any support I would give to Israel is not for theological reasons. Again, it seems to need to be constantly said that just because you do not support for theological reasons does not mean that you cannot support for any other reasons. It also doesn’t mean that you immediately jump over to the other side and think they’re all just fine.

Modern end-times people have often tried to connect end-times prophecy with the formation of the state of Israel, but that has not been too successful. Some were speculating it would be within a generation, vis a vis the “this generation” prophecy of Jesus, of the founding of Israel that the “rapture” would take place. Well, that hasn’t happened. Then it was the Six-Day War which turned out to be a swing and a miss. So far, this hasn’t worked well.

But isn’t Israel in the land? That means God was behind it. Right?

I find it strange that the people in end-times circles who want to take the Bible so “literally” often ignore how the text makes repentance a constant requirement for returning to the land.

Deuteronomy 4

25 “When you father children and children’s children, and have grown old in the land, if you act corruptly by making a carved image in the form of anything, and by doing what is evil in the sight of the Lord your God, so as to provoke him to anger, 26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will soon utterly perish from the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess. You will not live long in it, but will be utterly destroyed. 27 And the Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord will drive you. 28 And there you will serve gods of wood and stone, the work of human hands, that neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. 29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.

Deuteronomy 30

“And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there he will take you. And the Lord your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. And the Lord your God will put all these curses on your foes and enemies who persecuted you. And you shall again obey the voice of the Lord and keep all his commandments that I command you today. The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, 10 when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

1 Kings 8

46 “If they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy, so that they are carried away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near, 47 yet if they turn their heart in the land to which they have been carried captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors, saying, ‘We have sinned and have acted perversely and wickedly,’ 48 if they repent with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies, who carried them captive, and pray to you toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city that you have chosen, and the house that I have built for your name, 49 then hear in heaven your dwelling place their prayer and their plea, and maintain their cause 50 and forgive your people who have sinned against you, and all their transgressions that they have committed against you, and grant them compassion in the sight of those who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them 51 (for they are your people, and your heritage, which you brought out of Egypt, from the midst of the iron furnace). 52 Let your eyes be open to the plea of your servant and to the plea of your people Israel, giving ear to them whenever they call to you. 53 For you separated them from among all the peoples of the earth to be your heritage, as you declared through Moses your servant, when you brought our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord God.”

Has anybody seen the nation en masse turning to Jesus as Messiah? I know several Jews are, but for the most part, Israel is still a secular nation. Now if you want to take the text literally, then that would indicate God is not the one directly behind this. That does not mean that you cannot support Israel. You can do so for other reasons. For example, I think Israel is a helpful buffer to have against Islam in the Middle East. Before anyone asks, I have not looked at the conflict between Israel and Palestine so I have no opinion on that one.

We should also see if our interests are in line with Israel or not. Do we have the same goals? Are we truly friends or not? If Israel was doing something that was wrong, would we support them because they are Israel? Let’s suppose for some reason Israel had invaded Kuwait instead of Iraq around 30 years ago. Would we be supporting Israel then and attacking Kuwait? Would we ignore an SOS from Kuwait asking for help because Israel are our allies?

None of this is also to speak ill of my dispensationalist friends. Most know that I don’t consider the view to have any Biblical credibility, but I am thankful for my brothers and sisters who hold this position not because they hold it, but because we’re all one in Christ. I also recommend they go and look at the passages about returning to the land and see how often repentance is mentioned.

By all means also, pray for Israel if you desire, but I would also add to pray that everyone over there, Jew and Gentile both, come to Messiah Jesus.

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

Generous Reading

How do you read a text that’s controversial? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

“They did not kill him and they did not crucify him, rather, it only appeared to them. (Qur’an 4:157)”

This is a text from Islam’s holy book that many apologists use to say that Jesus was not crucified. Many Muslims do the same as you will find books about the “Cruci-fiction” out there. However, it was when I was reading a Christian book about Islam that I came to a different conclusion.

It’s not a hard and fast conclusion, but it’s one that is possible. That is that the Qur’an is not really denying the crucifixion, but it is rather answering the Jews who thought they brought it about and is saying it was really the doing of Allah. The author of the book argued that Muslims didn’t make denial of the crucifixion a claim until some time much later than the time of Muhammad.

That could be right. The point is that I don’t know enough about the Qur’an to know if that interpretation is correct or not. However, I do know that there is a right and a wrong way to read a text. If I have read the text and there can be a reasonable doubt that there could be a more generous reading of that text, I will not go with the reading that I have.

This is also a rule to follow with any text, and that includes texts that aren’t written, such as in speeches. If a case can be made for a more generous reading of a text that doesn’t present it in as negative a light as you would like, following the principle of charity, it’s good to be open to that one and not hold dogmatically to the one you have.

I did the same going through the Book of Mormon one time. When I would find something mentioned as existing here in America at the time, I would look and see if it was there. If it was found here, then I would go right on ahead. If I found evidence that that came to America at a later date, I would put it down as an item to use. After all, anachronisms are a powerful argument. For instance, it was either cement or concrete that I did find evidence of being over here. Scimitars? Not so much.

Note that this rule applies with all things being equal. It doesn’t mean the better reading is always right, but it does mean that if there is an equal probability of the two or it’s controversial and you don’t know the subject well, go with the one that is the more generous. If you don’t do that, it could be that you really want that person behind the text to be as bad as you want them to be.

I also want to stress that this isn’t a rule just for the Bible as I started out with texts that I do not think are from God in anyway whatsoever. I will happily debate that many Muslims do deny the crucifixion, which is certainly a fact, but that does not mean that the Qur’an necessarily does. If a Muslim denies the crucifixion in front of me, then I will argue against them on that point.

If you do know the subject well though and you can make a case that this is what the author of the text originally meant, then by all means make the case. This is in no way saying authors and books never say evil and/or stupid things. It’s just a general rule of thumb and it’s good for holy texts (Or claimed holy texts), political speeches, or any other text whatsoever.

This will also help your debates as someone is more apt to listen to you (Not a guarantee mind you) if they know you are really listening to them. Everyone wants to be treated fairly most of the time. If you’re a Christian, you are commanded to. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you want someone to be generous with your words, then do the same with theirs.

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

If I Had Two Months To Preach

What would I speak on? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Someone messaged me asking what I would preach on at a church if I had two months to preach on an apologetics topic not necessarily political, but it wouldn’t be race either. What would I preach on? I immediately answered sex and marriage. I was asked if there was anything else since this was two months. I stated that I think this is two years worth and I stand by it. Why?

Let’s start out with getting people into the church. Imagine if on the sign outside the church you had the announcement “Come join us these next two months as our pastor preaches on sex and marriage.” Would you get more people in to see what was said? Yes. That could even include people outside the church.

After all, ask which people if they had to choose one, which they would rather see a TV movie about? Would it be the Sermon on the Mount or would it be David and Bathsheba? I know a lot of Christians would choose the former, but most on the other side would choose the latter, and let’s face it, a lot of Christians could very well choose the latter.

Not only that, but one of the greatest problems we have today is men don’t want to go to church. Church has become way too feminine. I would like every pastor to read Why Men Hate Going To Church. Many of our songs about Jesus could be what a girl sings about her boyfriend and guys don’t care about that, but if you talk about what men are interested in, they will come. Not only that, but statistically, if the father/husband comes, he brings the rest of the family with him.

Next, this is a topic our whole culture is confused on. We want to treat sex like something that you just do for fun, but when one person sleeps with someone different, the idea is that cheating has taken place. Kissing someone other than your lover can be cheating, but this brings it to a whole new level.

We know there’s something different. If the couple kisses or goes on a date, that’s said to be nice, but the goal really comes when they sleep together. Then you know that they are a couple. I am not saying that I agree with that, but I am saying that’s the perception.

Another reason to talk about this is this is a great cause of people leaving the faith. If there is any moral reason people abandon Christianity, it’s because it interferes with their sex lives. People don’t really like the stance Christianity takes on sex, and many times, that includes those of us who are Christians.

This is especially so with young people who we’ve sold a false bill of goods to. Many of us have told them that if they have sex before they marry, they will feel guilty. They might. Some do. Some don’t. Those that don’t wonder what else the church has lied to them about.

Another problem with this is purity culture where we have told women especially that if they give themselves away before marriage, they are damaged goods. I certainly think women should save themselves, but they are not damaged goods. We also have this strange idea of purity until marriage. No. You should stay pure after marriage. Sex isn’t something dirty that taints you.

For many men, pornography is a huge issue. Sadly, many more women are starting to get into this as well. The understanding I have is that one in three men in the church struggle with pornography and it’s probably more than that. This is also destroying many marriages. Why is it so many men are struggling with pornography and we never talk about it from the pulpit?

Our young people especially need a worldview of sex. Why not sleep together if you’re in love? They need a whole worldview of sex, and so do so many of the adults as well. I got after the guys about pornography, but the women need a message to. Too many women are engaging in sexting, that is, sending intimate pictures of themselves on their phones. They can think it will go away, but it won’t. I say this especially to the women because let’s face it, a woman’s body at the intimate level is much more appealing to people than a man’s is.

If a young man and a young woman are on a date, they need more than a few verses in Paul to stop them from going too far. They need a whole worldview. This could not only teach them good thinking about sex, but good thinking about everything else. Good thinking carries over after all. If you learn to think well in one area, you can do so in others more likely.

Also, our marriages need enrichment. I realize that Shaunti Feldhahn has dealt with a lot of myths about Christian marriage, but too many are in trouble and need help. We need whole sermons on the topic. Having a seminar every now and then is good, but we need more.

This also does have political ramifications. Teach on sex and you touch most everything else. You wind up addressing abortion, homosexuality, and transgenderism. You will get people learning what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman.

We also have many failures recently in this area. How many pastors who are prominent have fallen because of sexual temptation? Do I need to mention Ravi Zacharias again? He used to be one of my heroes and today, the first aspect of him I think of is the scandal.

Scripture speaks about this constantly for a reason. We should listen. Our young people and the rest of the church get to hear the world’s message on this topic six days a week. We have one day a week and we don’t use it.

So again, without hesitation, this is what I would speak on. It covers a multitude of topics and it is not based on race. Actually, all races could benefit from this. Last I checked, we all reproduce the same way.

And maybe you’re not a guest pastor, but you’re the actual pastor. Could it be time to update that sign outside the church?

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

The Latest Good Doctor

What can not be thought of on television still? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I am giving this an ambiguous title due to the necessity of spoilers. If you watch the series regularly like I do and you have not yet seen last Monday’s episode, then do not read this yet. There are spoilers. You have been warned. Any knowledge of what happens at this point is on your head and not mine.

So in this latest episode, it is dealing with the revelation from the prior one that Shaun, the autistic good doctor, was given by his girlfriend Lea. She’s pregnant. Obviously, the baby is his as she hasn’t been being intimate with anyone else.

Then there came the question of what to do. Were they really ready to have children? Were they ready for that kind of commitment? Could the child be on the spectrum like Shaun is? What about their careers?

Absent from this was the question of “Is this a human life?” I suspect there’s a reason that wasn’t debated on a show about medical medicine. It’s because the evidence is clear. This is a human life. Once that is said, the cat is out of the bag.

  • “Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which, incidentally, is not a ‘moment’) is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte.” — Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Müller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001. p. 8.
  • “Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.” –Keith L. Moore and T.V.N. Persaud, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition, Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003. p. 16.
  • “Human embryos begin development following the fusion of definitive male and female gametes during fertilization… This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development.” –William J. Larsen, Essentials of Human Embryology, New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1998. pp. 1, 14.
  •  “Every time a sperm cell and ovum unite, a new being is created which is alive and will continue to live unless its death is brought about by some specific condition.” — E.L. Potter, M.D., and J.M. Craig, M.D. Pathology of the Fetus and the Infant (3rd Edition). Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1975, page vii.
  • “It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoan and the resultant mingling of the nuclear material each brings to the union that constitutes the culmination of the process of fertilization and marks the initiation of life of a new individual.” –Bradley M. Patton, Human Embryology, 3rd Ed., (New York: McGraw Hill, 1968), p. 43.
  • “It is possible to give ‘human being’ a precise meaning. We can use it as equivalent to ‘member of the species Homo sapiens’. Whether a being is a member of a given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being.” –Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 85-86.
  • “Perhaps the most straightforward relation between you and me on the one hand and every human fetus on the other is this: All are living members of the same species, homo sapiens. A human fetus after all is simply a human being at a very early stage in his or her development.” –David Boonin, A Defense of Abortion. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003) 20.

“A human fetus is not a nonhuman animal; it is a stage of a human being.” –Wayne L. Sumner, Abortion and Moral Theory, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), p. 10.

(Special thanks to Clinton Wilcox for his help in this information.)

Now in an earlier episode in this situation, one doctor did refuse to do an abortion for her beliefs on life, but it is all too different when it involves the main characters. Much of the episode dealt with this question. Are they going to have an abortion or not?

I found it interesting hearing Lea say she wasn’t sure she was ready for that kind of commitment. Reality is, if you are having sex, you are already saying you are ready. One of the natural consequences of sex is human life coming into being. If you are not ready, then hold off, but if you think you can be committed enough to a human being that you can be naked before them and completely vulnerable, you are ready for the commitment to be a parent then. If you are not, then don’t engage.

Naturally, those of us on the Christian side don’t really support sex before marriage, but our society is at the point where marriage is no longer sacred really and sex is no big deal. This is why Christians need to be taking their thoughts on marriage and sex seriously. We have to be a contrast to the world.

In the end, the couple decide even at the clinic after Lea’s name has been called to not go through with it. I really wasn’t surprised at this. Why is that?

Because in our day and age, we can practically show a rape on TV. (Game of Thrones anyone?) We can show conception. We can show full male and female nudity. We can show the birth process.

Somehow, we still can’t show abortion.

Could it be we really don’t want to confront this? Could it be we really don’t want to watch something like the Silent Scream? Could it be that we don’t want to see a main character on a show go in a room pregnant and come out not pregnant and without a child? Perhaps we have more conscience as a society than we realize.

Our society if it decides to take this question seriously I think will be put in a binding position. If we take abortion seriously, we have to take sex seriously. If we take sex seriously, we have to take marriage seriously. We also have to take morality seriously. We have to realize there are moral truths and sex really means something and has consequences, including pregnancy. (We could also add in the shocker that men and women are different.)

I predict the couple will never discuss this question again. It is only dealt with once. We can rejoice that the right choice was made and we should always celebrate that no matter how a child is conceived. The child is still, as Greg Koukl would say, a precious unborn human person.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Colorado Shooting And Mental Illness

What is the main culprit? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Another shooting has taken place and I know the media went one way immediately and jumped to race. Well, that didn’t age well. While conservatives like myself disagree with them on that, too many times, conservatives will also say the other culprit that exists in these cases in their minds along with the media and that is mental illness.

I realize that the family is saying that the shooter (Let’s not mention his name) was mentally ill. They could be right, but that is not an assessment to be made lightly. Many of us have a problem, and rightly so, when someone claims to be an internet doctor where they diagnose themselves going on Web M.D. After all, you look up symptoms for a common cold and walk away thinking you have terminal cancer.

The same applies to mental illness. Diagnosing yourself is not recommended. One is supposed to go see a therapist or trained psychiatrist, someone professional, to get a diagnosis. It’s also not wise to diagnose someone from a distance. These are not light claims.

Yet whenever a shooting like this takes place, mental illness is brought up immediately. Why? Well, surely someone who would do a great evil like this is mentally ill. No one in their right mind would do this.

Why not?

People who have no mental illness do things that are wrong everyday. Sure, not to the level of a mass shooting, but they do evil and some do so with a clear conscience. I consider abortion a great evil and people go and get one in their right minds because they buy into the idea that they are not killing a human person.

Not only that, but we speak of mental illness as if it were a clear term all throughout. It’s not. Mental illness is a wide umbrella that contains many conditions under it. Consider if I said hospitals are for people who are sick. Okay. That doesn’t mean you need to go to the ER for the common cold despite that being a sickness. It’s more for people who have serious conditions like cancer or who need to do some serious operation.

The same with mental illness. Many people with mental illnesses would not do a great evil like this just like many regular people wouldn’t. Technically, I can be said to have a mental illness. Sure. I can struggle with anger many times and have my own evil I struggle with, but I am not a mass murderer.

So why do we do this? Because I don’t think we want to face the fact that people really can do great evil and do it in their right minds. That’s hard on all of us. You want to know in reality who does have the potential to be the next mass shooter?

Every single one of us.

None of us is immune to evil. Sure, some are more likely than others, but if we look at who committed the greatest evils in the past, it’s been perfectly ordinary people. Consider the Milgram experiments. Perfectly ordinary people were willing to give someone what they thought was 450 volts.

Perfectly. Ordinary. People.

Think about that. You could say that wouldn’t be you, but isn’t that what most people who did this in the experiments would have said? Now you could say all of those were the ones with mental illness, but that would be begging the question.

I really suspect none of us want to face the evil that is within us. How many people have had to go to therapy suddenly because just one day, they uncovered something in their past and it gave them extremely strong emotions at the time that were difficult to handle? All of us who are ordinary people have been greatly hurt at some time in the past and have to deal with it.

Let’s suppose I meet two men in my work in ministry in the church. Both of them want to avoid getting into sexual sin. One says that he is really strong against pornography and won’t fall into it. The other one is worried sick that he will. I am more concerned about the former one. My thinking is that the moment you think you cannot give in to a sin, you are far closer to giving in to it than you think.

The media will continue to make race an issue, but as one on the spectrum, I want to deal with mental illness here instead. People who are mentally ill are not automatically evil. They, or rather we, need some help at times just like everyone else does. We have our struggles. We are your neighbors. We go to church with you, shop with you, play games with you, marry you, and go out to eat with you.

We’re not all mass shooters just like not all normal people aren’t mass shooters. However, we all of us alike have the capacity of great evil in us. Let’s all confront that together instead of just mentioning one group specifically.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Book Plunge: White Fragility

What do I think of Robin DiAngelo’s book published by Beacon Press? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Multiple thoughts go through one’s head reading this book. I think of the trick Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay did where they wrote a paper that was absolute nonsense as they intended and got it published to show how lacking the academy is with publishing. Reading DiAngelo’s book, I wonder if it was one of those papers.

Then I think of the Life of Brian. In one scene in the movie, Brian is being followed by a crowd who is convinced he’s the Messiah. He denies it and is told that the true Messiah will always deny that he is the Messiah. Then when he says he is the Messiah, everyone jumps and says he is the Messiah.

I also think of presuppositionalism and see this book as a form of that. The author starts out with the assumption that all white people are racist. If they agree with that, they are working on their racism. If they disagree, that demonstrates their racism. No matter what the response, they are racist.

At the start, on page 15, she says race, like gender, is socially constructed. With this one claim, I think her whole thesis goes up in flames. Could a white person not just say that they are really a black person born in a white person’s body? You might think that sounds ridiculous, but if a person can be misgendered at birth, why not misraced?

Throughout the book, DiAngelo keeps switching definitions of racism and is not clear what kind she is talking about. She does say being a racist doesn’t mean a hate-filled racist automatically who actively hates black people. She sometimes does speak of Latinos, (Using the term Latinx which I’ve never seen a Latino person use) but her emphasis is on the black community.

The sad point is that when she does make some points that are valid, she’s already accused her audience enough that no one wants to listen to her. After all, she has started with her conclusion already and nothing anyone can say can change her mind so shut up and accept you’re a racist you bigot. The conclusion is here so who cares about the evidence?

There is a saying that if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I also know the counterpart that if all you have is a hug, everything looks like a kitten. Unfortunately, in DiAngelo’s world, everything is racism. Not only that, every myth about racism she buys into. Michael Brown becomes an innocent victim even though he wasn’t.

The problem here is that racism is always being used so that nowadays, most people I encounter don’t really listen to the claims anymore. Everyone has to jump on the bandwagon. I recall seeing a liberal friend of mine on Facebook saying he had changed his mind on a case where a black man was shot by a cop and decided the police acted properly. What was the immediate charge made? Racism.

Yet if racism is not the problem at root, then we are not going to deal with the issues that are going on in this country properly. If anything, we could be making it worse and sadly, I think that is what DiAngelo is doing. She is contributing to a problem by making everything about race.

Not only that, she doesn’t interact with real problems that are going on. I don’t see anything in the book about how we need to deal with the problem of fatherlessness in the black community. There is nothing said about crime or gangs or the lyrics sang in much of the rap music today.

It’s a case often where the minority ruins it for the rest of us. Most people in the black community are not like that. Most people in the white community are not racists or white supremacists. Most men are not rapists.

Yet that is what is going on here as the majority are treated like the minority. What if I went and spoke to every woman like she was a golddigger wanting to use men and had that as my conclusion? What if I just assumed that every atheist had a burning hatred of God in their soul? What if I assumed every Muslim had a deep desire to be a terrorist and blow up and kill the infidel?

Such a situation would result in chaos, and yet DiAngelo has done that very thing. There is no doubt we can all improve the communication that we have between the races and the relationships that we have, but why assume racism is the problem? Why not ask all races why they respond to the others like they do? Then work with those answers.

If we picture this nation having a few people being a problem and those few representing a small fire that is burning, a book like this is pouring gasoline all over that. It will not help any problem, but it will heighten any supposed problem and make it worse. DiAngelo could have written a good book pointing out difficult issues and real problems and how to work on them, but instead she just straight to accusation every time. It’s not a shock people get defensive when they are accused and yet she has it that that demonstrates her case. In either situation, DiAngelo is right.

There is also a problem today that everyone is made responsible for everyone else’s feelings. We cannot make anyone feel miserable or feel happy. That is up to them. This is not to say we should be rude to people or anything of the sort, but it does say that when it comes to how someone feels, they must always own that. It is always something they can work on, no matter how difficult it may be. Unfortunately, our culture has a victim mentality going on where people seem to practically glorify in being victims when in turn, they actually become the perpetrators making real victims.

Do yourself a favor. Don’t read this. If you want better relations with a person of another race, just go and talk to them.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.

Men And Women Are Different

Is it hateful to think men and women are different? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I have said before that I am a gameshow junkie. As I sit here, I have my smart TV in my room playing Buzzr, which plays old classic gameshows. The one on in the morning for me normally is Supermarket Sweep, the original one from the 90’s. This one involves answering questions about various products found in a grocery store.

The final round that determines the winner is based on a race through the store. Up until that point, the questions have been based on earning time for the run. Then, each pair of contestants selects one of them who will run through the store and try to get as much in their cart as possible with some stipulations (No more than five of one item) and rack up the highest total. The winner goes on to have a chance at the prize of $5,000.

All things being equal though, if all players had the same amount of time, I’d generally give earning the most through shopping to the men. There are exceptions, but I generally expect that men will be more capable in this area. Why? Because men are usually the ones who by nature are stronger and faster.

Now in all fairness, I generally think that if it comes to strategy, many a woman might shop smarter. Many women know how to budget very well and how to do smart shopping and generally tend to enjoy shopping more. However, having a good plan doesn’t matter as much if you don’t have the same speed and strength to pull it off.

Unfortunately, in our day and age, it’s automatically assumed that what I have said must be sexist. Consider it like the professor several years ago who said women don’t do as well as men at certain mathematical skills. The outcry was tremendous and while I was not involved in apologetics yet, I remember having one question.

Is he right?

If that is what the evidence shows, then that is what the evidence shows and complaining about it won’t change it. You might say you want to live in a world where that is the case, but if that is not so then that is not so. Now if a woman can improve her skills in this area, that’s wonderful and she can do so if she desires.

Keep in mind also that all that I have said is generalities. There are many women I know personally who are brilliant in mathematics. When I was in high school, I nicknamed our calculus teacher the goddess of mathematics. On the other hand, I know that there are many women who are stronger than I am physically.

And if we’re talking about traits considered masculine and feminine, there are differences. Many men in the gaming sphere like I am in are usually very surprised to encounter a female who has a great interest in video games. Meanwhile, when I was learning to drive, my Dad and I always had communication problems as he would tell me to park next to the Subaru or pull out after the Nissan went by. I would say “What?” and then he would clarify with “The blue car” or something similar. To this day, I couldn’t recognize any of those cars.

The problem too often is that if I say men and women are different, somehow we get an idea in our head that that means one is better than the other and one is superior. There is definitely one area of superiority. Men are superior at being men and women are superior at being women. Unfortunately, in our day and age, we are getting close to the point where men are superior at being women as well.

Men are usually superior when it comes to physical prowess. Again, this is a generality and as has been said about stereotypes, they are always wrong and generally helpful. Women, however, tend to be superior at empathy and gentleness and are superior in beauty. This isn’t just me saying that as a man. Even women are more impressed with their own beauty than that of the male.

Many of us remember when growing up what parent we went to for what. If we fell and skinned our knee and needed someone for that, we went to Mom. Mom was gentle normally and would bandage it and hug us and tell us it would be alright. If we wanted to do something risky, we went to Dad who was more likely to agree to something like that.

We’re now in an age though that is starting to think that someone can change their gender just by changing their physical body, which is also a process of mutilation. Then, men who transition into women can engage in sports that are meant for women to participate in and lo and behold, somehow they seem to win. If this keeps up, we will see the end of women’s sports. Keep in mind I don’t say this as someone who cares for sports at all.

That’s because we now live in a world that wants to blur all the distinctions away. However, even if one does that, someone will always be superior in someway to another and inferior in someway to another. Even identical twins have their differences like this. True equality in that everyone is 100% alike is impossible, and thank God it is. I wouldn’t want to live in a world where everyone was 100% like me. That would be boring.

We are also sadly being moved into a position where the transgender movement cannot be questioned. This is odd since so many skeptics of Christianity think that many Christians grow up in a faith that they are not allowed to question. Sadly, in a large number of cases I am sure this is true. We should always welcome and allow questions.

Suppose we look at a scientific question like evolution. Many scientists will say that the question on evolution is settled. They could be right. However, I would hope that they would not say that the theory cannot be questioned. Where are we if any scientific idea cannot be questioned? The questions could be answered wrongly, but they will likely lead us to other areas of knowledge.

If transgenderism cannot be questioned, then we are in an area of a dogma, a more secular dogma. The left then has their own inquisition. If you dare question the dogma, then you are the heretic (Bigot or whatever other name you want) and have to be shut down. Your ideas are not allowed.

We should ask the questions. Chesterton years ago said before you take down a fence, find out why it was put up in the first place. Why do we say men and women are different? What makes them different? What would happen if we really tried to erase those differences? What would happen if we tried to treat boys like girls and vice-versa?

Men and women really are different, and that’s a good thing. Men are generally stronger in some areas and weaker in others and vice-versa. There are exceptions as there are in most any area, but those are the exceptions that prove the rule. In the past, Gamaliel warned the Jews that by persecuting the apostles, they could find themselves fighting against God. We could find ourselves fighting against reality and that will turn out just as disastrous.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
Support my Patreon here.