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)

Is Mega Man A Man?

Is the Blue Bomber really a Mega Man? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This is some stepping out I would like to do combining my love of gaming with theology and philosophy. Thus, I would appreciate any feedback. Is this something you would like to see more of? Even if you’re not a gamer, do you get something out of this?

My introduction to the Mega Man series actually began when a friend of the family gave me Mega Man 2. Like many people, this one is my favorite game in the series. The metal blade is one of the best weapons in the game and it’s got enough challenge without being way too easy.

For those who don’t know, the series Mega Man is set in the distant future where robots are common. Mega Man, the Blue Bomber as his nickname goes, is created by Dr. Light to counter the evil plans of Dr. Wily. Wily will regularly produce a number of robots, typically eight, who specialize in one area with one weapon and Mega Man has to beat them, claim their weapon, and then use that weapon against the others. After beating all of the robots, he goes after Wily himself.

Now with a title like Mega Man, you would think that man is what he is, and mega is what describes him, but is that really so? Is Mega Man a man or not? If he isn’t, what is he? If he is, then is he really the same as us? (Note I am using man in the generic to refer to all of humanity.)

Mega Man is described as a robot throughout the series, but when we think of robots in our world, they’re not really like Mega Man is. After all, Mega Man is deciding which robot he wants to fight when and choosing how to fight all the enemies throughout a level and having to make typical athletic feats like strong Mario style jumps. He can apparently experience what looks to be some degree of pain when he gets hit by an enemy in some way and is knocked back slightly.

The free will issue is a major one. Mega Man behaves like he makes his own decisions. Now we could be pedantic and say he doesn’t make his own decisions but simply does what the player tells him to do, but by this standard every character in a game that is the main character is a robot. That would be another blog in itself.

Mega Man is also shown to often have emotion, such as at the end of one of the games where he is stopped before he almost finishes off Dr. Wily himself in anger. In most every case, Mega Man beats Dr. Wily’s final robot whatever it may be and Wily begs for mercy and Mega Man takes him to prison. This time, Mega Man nearly went against that.

The end of Mega Man 2 is a curiosity to me as you see Mega Man walking away and going through each of the seasons. When the scene ends, you see Mega Man’s helmet just lying on the ground. I always wondered if he somehow became a human or what. It’s never specified.

In the end, I do have to conclude that as much as he is like a human, Mega Man himself is still not really a man. Mega Man is still a robot who changes based on what tools he wishes to use and he lives in a world of robots. When he needs some work done, he still has to go to Dr. Light regularly. In Mega Man 11, he also gets the Double Gear system which changes his data to give enhanced abilities for a limited time to him. Also, whenever he dies, he pretty much explodes with parts of him flying everywhere.

A man is not programmed or mechanical inherently in anyway. I realize we can get parts put in us that are mechanical and I do know that there is talk of transhumanism coming in the future, but even then, we can question if we will cease to be men. We can’t beat our enemies and add parts of them to us really and when we have a problem to be fixed, it’s not inner gear or machinery normally, but rather physiology.

Now some of you might be wondering why as a Christian I am not mentioning the image of God in all of this. It is because I am seeking to go by general revelation alone at this point. You can know what a man is to a good extent without the use of Scripture. You can know that a robot is not a man and vice-versa.

Man also I hold has a soul, an immaterial aspect to him that gives him life. I think there are many good arguments for some kind of dualism and that NDEs have provided excellent evidence that there is some existence outside of the body. I do not see that being the case with Mega Man as he is simply apparently rebuilt and updated with machinery every time.

So Mega Man is someone who we can say is mega, but I don’t think we can call him a man technically. He’s still one of the best heroes that there is in gaming, but he is not a man. He is a robot.

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

Lack of Education

Are we on the path to elimination? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My last blog post was about the culture wars. Someone in the comments on my Facebook pointed out that we should be concerned also about statistics about people not believing Christian doctrine even in the church. If anything, we should be more concerned. I heartily agree. If all we keep doing is responding to the world, then we are always going to be on the defensive.

It should be the opposite. Jesus said the gates of hell wouldn’t stand up against the church. Gates are defensive measures. If we were going to church accurately, we wouldn’t wear our Sunday best. We would wear battle gear and realize we are undergoing training for the mission of the Kingdom.

Many of us have seen the statistics such as people in the church who believe there are more ways to God than Jesus Christ, who question the deity of Christ, who believe in reincarnation, have no problem with sex outside of marriage, accept homosexual behavior, etc.

Is it any wonder that if this is what people within the church believe that we are losing the culture war? How can soldiers who don’t know basic training manage to handle conflict on the outside? How is it that we are losing this battle?

Part of it is that we unfortunately, took a stance of retreat. In the 19th century, you had higher criticism, the teaching of evolution, and situations like this that led to questioning of Scripture. Instead of engaging the culture, the church went into retreat. Soon, the church became a private sphere. The church dealt with the internal and the personal and the outside world, namely science, dealt with the external and the factual. Is it any wonder so many people, even Christians, believe there is a war between science and religion?

The church is always better off when it engages with the culture and faces challenges head on, but when the church withdraws from the academy, expect the academy to fall. Keep in mind, the Ivy League schools had been established for the good of Christianity. Now they are for the good of the hook-up culture. How far we have fallen!

Today, normally strong believers that we have in the church are not strong believers because of a deep study of theology or apologetics. It is because of a deep emotional commitment. How many of our churches are full of preachers who don’t have any higher education whatsoever?

Now some will counter and say “Well, the disciples of Jesus didn’t go to seminary did they?” Consider what the person is asking. The disciples of Jesus. What did that mean? They were His students. The apostles were constant students of Jesus Himself and I think all of us would happily change our seminary education to sit at the feet of the greatest rabbi ever like they did. Jesus personally taught and invested in these men.

As for Paul, who didn’t have that experience, who would question that he was greatly educated? He got invited to speak on Mars Hill, which is not a place where idiots went to. His epistles show someone who is extremely educated.

Also, ask many of the people in the church to explain the Trinity and likely, they will become Arians or Modalists. I have heard evangelists say the Trinity is like a man who is a husband, a father, and a son. Such a person should not be doing evangelism if they cannot give a proper illustration of the Trinity without falling into heresy.

We wonder with all of this why our young people are struggling in the area of sexuality. More of us get our sexual ethics from pop culture than we do from Scripture. As has been said before, if a young man and woman are on a couch together, it will take more than a few verses from Paul to stop them. They need a whole worldview of sex to know how it fits in. (Something most secular people don’t have either.)

Our people need to know not just what they believe, but why they should believe it. They should be having discussions of great books and know what the people around them believe. If you’re going to become a Christian in the Middle East, you need to know not only why you believe in Jesus, but why you don’t believe in Islam.

The problem with the culture starts with us. We watch the news and ask what has happened to the world. It is better to ask what has not happened to it. We have not happened to it. We have not been salt and light to the world.

What’s the solution? We have to learn what we believe and why we believe it and know how to interact with the world. That also means knowing more than just the Bible. We need the best education we can get in history, the sciences, economics, psychology, etc. Christians should be the most educated people of all, but in reality, we are usually the dumbest.

Many experts on marriage will tell you you change your marriage best by changing yourself first. If we want to change the world, we change ourselves first. If the culture is going insane, and it is, the best we can do is work on our own sanity.

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

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)

Book Plunge: So Far

What do I think of Kelsey Grammer’s autobiography published by Dutton? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This one is definitely not a work on apologetics or Christianity, but when my wife and I moved into the new apartment, we cut the cord and got Hulu and Amazon Prime Video instead. I saw that Hulu had Cheers, a show that my Dad and I had watched when we were growing up. I watched through the whole series in order calling my Dad regularly to tell him about the episodes and we would remember them together.

In looking up information about the show, I saw that Kelsey Grammer had written an autobiography which did have some more in it about being on Cheers. My wife and I had decided to watch Frasier next and he had always been a character I liked on the show so I decided to order it. It recently came in at the library and it’s fairly short, so much so that I finished it in two days.

Grammer’s tale is one that really grips so much so that I found it hard to put it down. He spoke of his faith early on in the book, though for those of us who are Christian, it is Christian scientist of the Mary Baker Eddy variety. He doesn’t hold to all the tenets of it though, as he does believe in doctors and medicine.

It also reminded me that despite the impression often given, people in the world of Hollywood can have their lives marred just as much as anyone else can. Grammer has had two people in his life murdered. I do not want to say who for those who might be interested in reading his book.

Grammer also talked about the hard work that goes into being an actor and the tough living he had at times trying to make ends meet. He ended up not finishing school at Juilliard, but he still never gave up on acting. He accepted bit piece by bit piece until Cheers came along where he got established.

And along the way, there was trouble in the area of love. He had a number of marriages that failed. At the end of his book, at least the edition that I read, he talked about dating a girl named Tammi who would be his wife one day and he knew he was ready for her. Looking ahead later on on IMDB, he wasn’t ready. He never married her and while he’s remarried now, there was one more marriage that ended in divorce before this current one.

Grammer also emphasized the importance of reading. One of the greatest compliments he says he received was after doing a show once someone came up to him and said after seeing him in a Shakespearean play, they started reading Shakespeare. Grammer also talks about reading the works of Auden in the book, though I am sure there are many others he reads.

One particularly sad story he told about was a friend who had a rough go in life and then started turning it around and met a beautiful girl and married her. Two days after the wedding, she died in an accident. Just a few days later, her husband had died, probably a suicidal accident. It’s hard to imagine that a large group of people could gather together to celebrate a lifelong love and then in a week the bride and groom are both dead.

Grammer also says he wrote a theme for his life early on and years later found it in Auden’s writings. That theme was to stagger onward rejoicing. That could be a good theme for most of our own lives as well.

We often look at celebrities on the screen and think they don’t have a clue about the real world. In many ways, maybe some don’t. However, reading about Grammer’s life in his own words, I found someone I could understand to a great degree and also understood how he wanted to be accepted as a person apart from his celebrity status.

Not only that, he’s candid about his own problems. Grammer says in the book regularly that he had to undergo therapy. He talked about having to overcome a cocaine addiction when he was on Cheers. I appreciated both of these statements. Being in Hollywood doesn’t mean you’re necessarily insulated.

I found Grammer to be someone I thought I could talk to about intellectual subjects in literature as well as politics seeing as we are both conservatives. Also though, I got a reminder that those people we see on the screen and sometimes we actually look down on in some ways, they need Jesus just as much. Perhaps while we are busy condemning so many things in Hollywood, we should be praying for the salvation of the people there.

If you’re a fan of Cheers or Frasier, you could probably enjoy this work. The chapters are short enough that you could read one quite easily. The writing is more of a stream of consciousness style that I think works well. It left me thinking perhaps I need to read more biographies.

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

The Problem With Christian Entertainment

Why do we not impact people in the entertainment industry? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday I saw a post on Facebook, and whether it was sarcastic or not, I don’t know, about why Christians shouldn’t watch The Office. Now I have never seen an episode of the show. The most I know about it is I understand a lot of memes on Facebook are from it and I know about the Owlkitty video of it. That’s it.

This led me to thinking about something else. I know we all realize it, but for the most part, Christian entertainment sucks. It’s often just boring and preachy. There are some exceptions, but it’s nothing the world wants to see. I remember when Fifty Shades of Grey came out that the same day, a counterpart movie called Old-Fashioned came out. You might have never even heard of it. There’s no way it could compete with Fifty Shades.

If there is one clear exception to this, it is the Chronicles of Narnia. Yet do you see Christianity explicitly spelled out in that? No. There’s a lot of symbolism in the books of course that points to Christ and so there is also in the rest of Lewis’s fiction, but many atheists can even enjoy reading C.S. Lewis.

Christians don’t have anything in the way of entertainment. We think you have to spell it out explicitly. It’s not fun. If we make something for the purposes of entertaining, our aim should be that the product is actually entertaining. That doesn’t negate we do it for Jesus, but people won’t want to watch Christian entertainment or play Christian video games or read Christian books for fun if they are not, well, fun.

Back in the days of the NES, I remember getting the Bible games from Wisdom Tree. They were alright games, but the only reason I got them was that they were Bible games. That’s it. They honestly hardly even worked on the NES at times. Bible video games are often some of the worst games that they are.

Many of us who are Christians don’t like it when we see a series and the politics is out there in front and everyone knows it. We think we are being preached to, and in essence, we are probably right. I know a lot of people have complained about the newest Star Trek series thinking that it’s going on. They could be right. If we don’t like it, why think unbelievers will like it?

What would be good is if we had a series come out on TV that was actually entertaining or a movie at the theater that was actually entertaining or a book or a video game or whatever it is and people wanted to play it and then find out later on that it was a Christian series. I know some of you will disagree, but on my podcast I have had John Granger on to discuss the Harry Potter series as a Christian series from a Christian viewpoint. Even if you don’t agree with that, if it is true, that is something powerful. That is having it done right.

When we think things have to be explicit, we also assume our audience is stupid. We assume that they have to state it outright or else no one will get it. That insults our audience. No one wants to be assumed to be an idiot.

I don’t know if you should watch the Office or not, but I know the reason we debate this is because we don’t have our own entertainment that’s good. You may enjoy watching Pureflix, but how many people do you know who are non-Christians who are buying it? This is not to knock them at all, but if we are wanting to reach people, it doesn’t help that goal if people aren’t interested in our method of outreach.

God gives us all things richly for our enjoyment as is said in 1 Tim. 6:17. Shouldn’t we do something for the enjoyment of our fellow neighbor? If we want to show Christianity to them in a way that is something they will want, shouldn’t we show them something they would want to have and something they can actually enjoy? This isn’t to say fun is the main goal of the Christian life, but fun is the goal of entertainment. If you sit down to watch the Office, you likely aren’t doing it to study theology or philosophy. Rightly or wrongly, you’re doing it to have fun.

We’re also meant to be creative people in the footsteps of the creator. Our creator created some very fun things for us here. I’ve seen our cat running around here playing some tonight. The animal kingdom is a testimony to the fun of the creator in many ways. Yes, nature is red in tooth and claw at times, but it’s also very fun in many other ways. Shouldn’t we be creative that way? Shouldn’t we make music and TV and movies and video games and books that unbelievers even will want to live?

Let’s do better.

Then maybe we won’t have to debate the Office because not only will we be watching our own great material, but so will everyone else.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I Affirm The Virgin Birth.)

Thoughts on Animal Crossing

What do anthropomorphic animals on an island tell us about God? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A friend recently gave me a gift of $100 to the Nintendo Eshop and wanted me to choose what to get. My wife has been playing Animal Crossing and asked me to play with her. Now this isn’t my type of game I think, but I want to do more things with my wife. I get the game.

Allie has tried to get me into Harvest Moon and honestly, that one just didn’t click with me. I was thinking more of the same. I normally play RPG games or things of that sort. I grew up on Mario and Zelda and Metroid and later on, games like Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior, which is now Dragon Quest.

So in the midst of our playing Pokemon together, Allie wants me to try Animal Crossing. Before too long though, I find myself being caught in this world. Last night I started really thinking about it. What is it that makes this world so special that Animal Crossing was a big sell, especially when so many of us were quarantined? Granted, it’s not for everyone….

Okay. So as the photo says, you start the game on this island and your goal is to build it up. Your first encounter is with a guy named Tom Crook…errr….Nook. He keeps charging you more and more for things he gives you which gives you a taste of progression. Once you pay off one debt, there’s another one and it’s bigger.

But at the same time, you’re expanding more and more. There is a museum on the island where you can bring in bugs, fish, and fossils. Later on, artwork becomes a part of it. There are planes whereby you can fly to other islands, which are either random ones made by the game or ones where other players, mainly friends, live.

Throughout, you gather resources. Some of these can be used to make tools like fishing rods and axes and nets and other things for collecting and practical use. Some of them are just things for beautification. Build some furniture and put it in your house.

So what are some things that I think make this so popular that even someone like me enjoys it?

Let’s start with a simple thing. Creativity. There is something nice about making something. Many a mother knows that getting a Mother’s Day card is nice on Mother’s Day, but getting one that is made instead of bought is even nicer even if the quality is less.

Now there are guys like me that can’t make a thing to save their lives, but there is something nice about gathering wood and iron and other things and using them all to make things. When we create, we are essentially doing the work of God. We are creating things after Him, the original creator.

Beauty is another one. Catching a fish and some butterflies reveals often times many beautiful creatures. Flowers are often planted on an island for no purpose other than beauty.

We live in a culture that often thinks beauty is relative. No Christian should ever think such a thing. None of us should say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is in the object itself.

When a player decorates their house just for aesthetic reasons or plants flowers just for such a reason, then they are showing that they believe in beauty. They anticipate that any player who comes to their island will think that it is beautiful as well. Let’s face it. We all like to look at beautiful things. Many times driving with Allie, I will look over at her and just think that I am amazed I have such a beautiful woman as my wife.

Lastly, there’s progression. We all like having goals that we can reach. In this case, it’s paying off debts and building a better environment for you and others to live in. Reaching a goal gives a sense of accomplishment.

Many of us know this in real life. We want to be praised when we do something well. We want to be celebrated when we hit plateaus. If you’re dieting and you lose a certain number of pounds, you want to celebrate. We celebrate graduating from high school and college. We celebrate birthdays.

The idea of progress really is a very Christian idea. Many worldviews in the ancient world were cyclical. History would repeat again and again. Judaism and later Christianity said that history started somewhere and it is going somewhere and there is no repeating of it. We take this for granted today, but it really was quite different for its time.

So those are some reasons why I have found myself enjoying this. If you play also, send me a message on Facebook with your code. Maybe we can visit each other virtually. Now if you’ll excuse me, my blog is done so I have some checking to do on my island.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Where Is Our Impact?

Why aren’t we making a difference? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I don’t remember where I heard it, but I heard someone over the weekend talking about how a small group like the transgenders have such a big impact. They’re right. 20 years ago I never would have thought that I would have to defend the idea that men are men and women are women. I never would have thought I would have to defend marriage as a union of a man and a woman. Yet today, these things that were believed for thousands of years by everyone have been called into question.

Let’s look at statistics. It’s my understand that transgenders or people who claim such I should say are actually about .3% of the population. I think homosexuals are really 2-3%. Some sources more leftist indicate a 10% of the population. Let’s suppose that that is true. That’s still definitely a minority.

And what have these people done? When I fill out surveys online, many times when I get to the question of sex or gender, I see categories put up there for transgender people or people who have been convinced that gender is something fluid that you can just change or is a social construct.

What about the homosexual movement? How many countries around the world are now redefining marriage? This is something we never would have thought possible to happen a few decades ago and yet now we seem to have a new normal going on.

What did these people do? They spoke out. They demanded. They used the media. They used the entertainment industry. They were vocal about what they believed and they shared it. There’s a joke that a transgender, a homosexual, and a vegan walk into a bar. I only know about this because they told everyone within five minutes of entering.

Now let’s compare this to Christians. We have so many churches all across our country. We make up a decent percentage of the population, but let’s go light. Let’s say Christians only make up 40% of the population. So what are we doing?

We are the ones who are often marginalized and cast down in society and seen as the backwards people. If anything, we’ve probably done something to earn that image. We’re usually known for what we stand against and not what we stand for. Christians are anti-gay, anti-transgender, anti-science, anti-sex, anti-progress, anti-whatever it is out there.

Instead, we fail to get out the message that we are really pro-things. Christians are not anti-sex. We should be the most pro-sex people out there. We have the Song of Songs after all! We just value sex so much that we think it should be used in the proper time and place. Like all people, we put barriers around the things that matter to us.

We need to use the media to the best of our advantage. Can Christians please make decent movies and video games and TV shows sometime? Believe it or not, you don’t have to explicitly state the Gospel in every single thing you do. C.S. Lewis never did that in his works and yet those works have stood the test of time. A number of atheists can even easily enjoy the Narnia series.

And you know, maybe sometimes we should make good content just because it’s good content. You don’t have to make everything into evangelism. Be good at what you do regardless and you will draw attention to yourself.

Definitely, we need a more informed populace. We need to know what Christianity is, why it’s true, and why it matters. If the average Christian cannot articulate a basic defense of Christianity and what difference it makes, then they are not prepared. I still remember to this day a lady in a small group I was in who said, “I’m saved and my children are saved so I’m just waiting for Jesus to come.” A lady like this is part of the problem. What about if your kids go to college and lose their faith? What about everybody else’s kids?

We Christians are way too focused on our own selves and looking out for ourselves instead of going out there and changing the world. We can say the homosexuals and transgenders and progressives have a false gospel, but it doesn’t help us to do that because at least they are out there sharing it. They are more true to a false gospel and we are false to the true gospel.

Most of the media we make when we make it anyway is for us. Christian movies are made for Christians. Other people aren’t going to see them so we’re just preaching to the choir. When Fifty Shades of Grey came out, right alongside it came Old-Fashioned where the guy wouldn’t even be in the same room with the girl in the trailers at least. Guess which one the world was more interested in. That’s not saying Christians should make movies like Fifty Shades, but we should make a movie that people would want to see and would show Christianity as something that they would not only want, but at least want to be true.

Definitely every church needs to teach some apologetics. Every church should have at least one go-to person in the congregation for apologetics. Larger churches will need more. Every church should have someone they can call when Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons come by. (Speaking of being true to a false gospel, they tend to do more evangelism than we do.) Definitely, youth need to be trained up long before they are ready to go off to college.

It’s bizarre to me that we can have events about how to divorce-proof your marriage or how to be a good parent or how to get out of financial debt, and we should, but we so rarely have them on why Christianity is true and what difference it makes. It’s as if the only reason to be a Christian is to have a good marriage, be a good parent, and live debt free. Do those things, but don’t forget the engine behind them.

While we disagree with those other groups, let’s admit that we can learn something from them. We should definitely not do anything immoral, but we can learn how to do evangelism better. We can learn how to use media and culture better. We have nothing less at stake than the lives of countless souls all over the world.

Think it’s worth it?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Opening Thoughts On The Final Fantasy VII Remake

What are my thoughts on Square-Enix’s latest release? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Normally, I would have had to put getting this one on hold, but fortunately, someone was very kind and decided to surprise me with a copy of it. I spent a few hours going through it yesterday becoming immersed in the story and enjoying the new additions to it.

While the play style is different and there are no new enemies to fight, I really don’t want to focus on that part. There are enough reviewers of games who comment on that. I want to comment more on the questions of good and evil that are raised.

To begin with, I always think it’s important to consider a work of fiction from the world it’s set in. When we hear talk about killing the planet, those of us who are more conservative might think of the environmental movement and think this is the same thing. That could be true from our world, but in this fantasy world, if what a character like Barrett says is true that the planet has a lifestream and Shinra’s plants are draining that to line their own pockets, then the organization is indeed killing the planet.

Today, we might consider a group like Earth Liberation Front and consider them terrorists. However, if their claims were true about what we are doing to our own planet, then one could say even if they disagreed with their methods, their goal is the right one. While I disagree with Islam, if Islam turned out to be true, then if Allah says killing the infidels is right, well, it would be right.

If you know the story of Final Fantasy VII, you know that the first part of the game involves the group blowing up one of the reactor plants. The difference in this game is that after that, Cloud has to wander through the streets of Midgar and you hear all the side chatter. Listening to what townspeople are saying, you can imagine what it was like on 9/11 if you were in New York City at the time.

Not only do you hear the chatter of the people, but you hear first responders. You hear talk about needing stretchers and someone being injured. The townspeople talk about what they were doing and who they were going to meet and about their families at the time. This is a very real aspect that you don’t hear about in the first game.

This does raise the questions of good and evil. Some might think that one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist. It could be tempting to say we do not know what is good and what is evil, but we do. We know somehow in the game that Cloud and his friends are the ones we are meant to cheer for. Now in reality, that doesn’t mean they’re right. Movies and games and TV shows can have us cheering for guys who aren’t doing what is right. You can watch a heist movie, for example, and be eager to see how the main characters are going to outsmart the police and the rest of security and commit the crime.

But ultimately, this is what I like about the remake. It’s the realism. In the original, you blow up a reactor, no big deal to you, and you go on with the game. In this one, you see traffic stopping as people watching and the whole area around falling apart. It definitely brings out that there is a real battle going on.

This game thus far only consists of the parts that take place in the city. We eagerly anticipate what is coming next from Square-Enix in this regard. I am considering doing a video if I can figure out all the things of how to show images of games on FFVII and good and evil and those kinds of questions. Be watching to see what I decide.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

On Chick-Fil-A’s Donation Stance

What do I think about what has happened with Chick-Fil-A recently? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Okay. I don’t have a real personal interest in this. Contrary to many Christians, I don’t care for chicken. It’s the thing about having Aspergers. My diet is extremely limited. I do like the fries there, but that’s about it.

Like many of you, when I heard about Chick-Fil-A not donating anymore to some causes, I was shocked. There are two sides to every coin and I have heard Christians arguing on both sides, but I think CFA did a great mistake yesterday that will damage not only them, but the people they are not supporting. I want to try to understand as much as I can still and explain the best I can, but that’s where I fall at the end of the day.

Of course, just because someone or something stops supporting someone, it doesn’t mean that they think the cause is not valid anymore. If someone stops being a supporter of Deeper Waters, should I think that they no longer care about Christian apologetics and ministry? It could be that, but it’s not necessarily that.

One reason given for this lack of supporting these organizations is that they are supposedly anti-LGBTQ. It is never explained what this means. Today, we live in a day and age where disagreement with a behavior is seen as hatred towards the person. (Does that mean people who hate how Christians practice their belief hate Christians?) One such organization being dropped from donations is the Salvation Army.

You know those hateful bigots. Right? They’re the ones standing outside of grocery stores on Christmas ringing the bells and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. I am not going to claim everyone who works there is a saint, but they care greatly for the homeless and those in need. Are they anti-LGBTQ? Well, let’s see what they have said.

Does The Salvation Army serve the LGBTQ Community?

Yes. Any person who walks through our doors will receive assistance based on their need and our capacity to help. Our mission is to the preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human need in His name without discrimination. 


Does The Salvation Army provide shelter to transgender people?

Yes. When a transgender person seeks help from us, we serve them in the same manner as any other person seeking assistance. Too often, LGBTQ Americans experience unacceptable homophobia or transphobia when seeking shelter. The Salvation Army seeks to be a welcome, safe place for all men, women, and children.


Does The Salvation Army consider the sexual orientation or gender identity of an applicant in its hiring practices?

No. We embrace talented people regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity. Our hiring practices are open to all.


Does The Salvation Army provide benefits to the spouses of employees in same-sex marriages?

Yes. We provide the same benefits to opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

Some have said CFA is doing this because of contractual agreements to only support for a few years or to get into a UK market. Neither one of these is good reasons. Unfortunately, there are some effects that can follow from CFA’s decision because of this.

Years ago, CFA had the most successful day ever in fast food history with Chick-Fil-A Day. My family and I were ones that stood in line for about half an hour to get something there. It was arranged by Mike Huckabee. CFA never personally endorsed the day, but they reaped the benefits. Why did they get these benefits?

Because many Americans today still believe in traditional marriage and they were proud to see one restaurant standing by their principles and not caving even when the other side was pushing in on them. They have done this consistently. Unless there is some emergency in an area, they are not open on Sundays when they could be making profits on those days.

So CFA has some happy and loyal customers who support them because of their stances. Now I’m not saying CFA should go somewhere just because of the money, but at the same time, if they believe their stance is right, they should stick with it. Yesterday, the conservatives got the message from CFA that appeasement to the left is the proper way to go.

It’s been seen by many as a slap in the face and foolishness. After all, give the left an inch and usually they take a mile. These people will not be satisfied until CFA is donating money to pro-LGBTQ organizations and until they have a requirement that every employee show up to work in drag and refuse to serve to those bigoted Christians and close not on Sundays, but on Muslim holidays.

Not only that, now all these organizations that CFA has refused to donate to have been labeled as anti-LGBTQ, which will make it all the harder for them to get support. The mission that they are seeking to do will be less likely. In essence, they have been thrown under the bus.

Some Christians are wanting to boycott CFA. If you are going that route, I can honestly understand it even if I don’t support it. Buycotts like Chick-Fil-A Day work if there is a concentrated effort. When Duck Dynasty was pulled from the air, a concentrated effort worked to get the station to reverse its decision.

My only concern with this is if Christians go this route and CFA responds positively, just like with Duck Dynasty, please do not stop there. The message I got with the Duck Dynasty event was that Christians will get up in arms when a TV show is removed because of its Christian principles, but once they get what they want, Christians sit back down again. If that is the case, all that matters is the TV show. It is not the greater cause of the Kingdom.

If you do a boycott, do it not because CFA matters so much, but the cause of Christ does. You think CFA has betrayed that cause and you will not support them while they are doing that. Note also this is your personal conscience. Some Christians might still go from time to time because they just see CFA as a chicken sandwich restaurant. As Paul would say, let each be convinced in their own mind.

My own hope is that CFA will reverse this decision. It’s not going to keep me up at night or anything like that, but I think they sent a very bad message yesterday. It’s really just bad business also to do something to anger your largest support group and try to appease your most vocal critics instead that won’t be pleased.

CFA. If you read this, please reconsider.

In Christ,
Nick Peters