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)

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.

When Your Enemy Dies

How do you respond when your enemy dies? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I remember several years ago I was on the program PALtalk and the news had just broke that Saddam Hussein’s sons had just been found and killed. Someone messaged me saying “Isn’t this such great news?!” I told them it was great that they would no longer be inflicting evil on the Earth, but as a Christian, it was also sad because they passed into eternity without Christ forever.

Even earlier when I first started doing apologetics, I remember being in a chat room on AOL with several young-earth creationists (And in saying this I realize not all YECs are like this, thank God) when the news came that Stephen Jay Gould, the evolutionary biologist had died. Immediately, there were people chatting about what it must be like for him in Hell right now. I remember also the same happening with some Reformed people (and again, thank God not all are like that), when a Pope had died and how he had “busted Hell wide open.”

I understand that for some people directly involved, it is good for them to know justice has been served, but many of us are not in that position. In the cases I described above, I found myself appalled at what I was saying. If you really think someone is in Hell, why should you celebrate? It’s not like you avoid it because you’re just so awesome.

So yesterday I finished listening to a book on my Amazon Tap and was playing a game where I couldn’t pause so I just switched to talk radio. Then I hear about the legacy of Rush Limbaugh. Legacy? That’s what you say when someone has died. I ask Alexa if that had happened and yes, that’s the news I get immediately.

Now as a conservative, I found the news saddening, but what didn’t surprise me was the images that I saw going on on Twitter after that. I have been just as appalled. You might want to make a statement about the character of your opponent, but those who celebrate in that matter are really revealing more about themselves.

What really amazes me is also that these are the people who often talk about being the people of love and compassion and tolerance and unity and being so opposed to any kind of hate. I would think that for all the time preaching this gospel, it might be practiced. It looks like it’s not really the case.

In a time like this also, we should also remember that eventually, death is going to come for all of us unless the return of Christ occurs first. Will we be ready? What are we doing with our lives right now?

If we’re Christians, we should definitely not be celebrating in this way. We should remember that this is a sign that our world is fallen. Also, keep in mind as much as you might not like it as a Christian, Rush Limbaugh and many others did say that they were Christians and if they were right, well, you get to spend eternity with them.

If you are hearing that and saying “I hope not! I don’t want to spend eternity with them!” then it is definitely you that has the problem. Eternity is to be where forgiveness and love definitely reign supreme. On a blog post I wrote years ago asking if your murderer will be in Heaven, someone in the comments said that right now in eternity, Stephen and Paul are together.

That’s really something to think about.

And yes, in eternity if forgiveness has taken place, people will be with those who murdered either them or their loved ones. Skeptics will be tempted to see that and think that that must be an awful place then. No. It’s a wonderful place because even something as horrendous as murder will be forgiven. We could also say if the criminal has repented, someone will be with their rapist, and there will be love and forgiveness.

All my secularist friends who believe in the goodness of man should be willing to see this as a good thing as well as man will be able to love someone who has hurt them so greatly. If you’re a Christian, realize that however you might not care about that person, you are called to love your enemy. You are called to want what is good for them.

During the Trump administration, if you had asked me who I wanted to meet if I got the chance to meet one famous person, I would have said Donald Trump. Some might say I’m a conservative so of course I would say that. Not so fast. I was asked that just recently and said still “The president” and when it was Obama in office, it was still “The president.” Why no matter who it was? Because I would want to go and talk to them about Jesus and let the message of Jesus impact them whoever it is, even if I thought that person was already a Christian.

To those celebrating, you’re revealing more about yourself and the people that you would hope to persuade are being given more reason to not listen to you. If this is the kind of person your side produces, then I want nothing of it. The side that produces those who love even their enemies is the one I wish to be on and I hope when my personal enemies die, that I will more respond the appropriate way as well.

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

Book Plunge: 100 Bible Verses That Made America

What do I think of Robert Morgan’s book published by Thomas Nelson? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

If you want to know about the history of America, it is imperative that you know about the Bible. You don’t have to be a Christian, of course, but a non-Christian should recognize the role that the Bible played in shaping our country. Our Founding Fathers were heavily influenced for the most part by the Bible.

This book follows that shaping from 1511 to 2019. Yes. Even before the country was founded, the seeds were being sown in Scripture that would make us who we are. Great figures in American history have used the Bible to inspire them and to inspire others. Great conversions led to intense ramifications for America.

My personal favorite stories largely took place in the 18th century. This is when our country was starting to establish itself and in war against the British. The way that pastors were targeted at that time is mind-blowing. Back then, the British put a bounty on the heads of certain pastors of churches. Today, most of our pastors are scared to say anything political because they could lose their 501c3.

These people relied on Scripture and based their lives on it. They believed Scripture called them to resist a government that was tyrannical and stand up for the freedom that they believed was found in Christ. Whether their interpretation was right or not, what matters is how seriously that they took the text.

Of course, one can’t avoid talking about American exceptionalism and if anything has made America exceptional, it has been the focus on Scripture. Christianity has shaped our country to be what it is and I have a great fear for what happens the further we move away from that. I keep coming back to a conversation I had a few years ago before even the 2016 election.

I made a statement to someone about the future of our nation that the gospel doesn’t need America, but America needs the gospel. That is still the case. If there is anything that our country needs today, it is still the gospel. We need 100 more instances of the Bible shaping America and even more.

That being said, sometimes in the book, I did question the connection between the verse and the historical incident. Was that incident specifically based on an understanding of the verse in question or did Morgan find a verse that he thought fit the context? I was unsure.

However, reading this will hopefully change your idea of American history. It really is a fascinating topic and with all going on in our country today, one I am definitely looking more into. For those of us who live in America, if we love our country, we need to know how we got to where we are and what we can do to keep America being what she’s meant to be.

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

A Way Forward

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

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

Now on to a blog.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ads, Memes, And Arguments

Are you getting the message across? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Since I live in Georgia, when I turn on YouTube, I will often see political ads. These are pertaining to a coming runoff election in Georgia. What I notice often as a problem with ads is that you simply have a soundbite of about thirty seconds and for whatever party you’re on, that’s not enough to make a case.

Consider ads against the Democrats. We’re told in them that these people running for Senate will be able to bring about the third term of Obama and continue a socialist agenda. Now if you’re a conservative like me who doesn’t like any of that, that sounds persuasive to you.

But what if you weren’t? What if you were someone who liked Obama and who likes the idea of socialism? The ad could actually get you to vote the exact opposite way. Unfortunately, there’s no message coming across of “Here’s why this is bad” or “Here’s why this is good.” If it’s anything, it’s a few brief statements and certainly not an argument.

Memes on the internet are the same way. People who share memes thinking they are convincing arguments are fools. Usually, memes come loaded with presuppositions of what people already think. If you buy into the thought prior, the meme is convincing. If you don’t, it isn’t.

Now if you have made an argument prior, I’m fine with using a meme as an illustration. I’m also fine with using a meme as a point of humor in an argument. We all know that they can be incredibly funny. What I have a problem with is thinking they are the argument itself.

We can also do this in our evangelism today. If you go up to someone and just quote the Bible, it’s not going to be fully persuasive. After all, if they believed the Bible, they would be on the path to being a Christian. (I say this because cults will say they believe the Bible as well.) Your preacher’s point might sound persuasive, but to a skeptic, it might not.

Remember how a few weeks ago I shared how the worship leader at my church said that weapons and items like that had been found at the bottom of a Red Sea in a row? The average layman might have found that convincing. Your average skeptic will not and if he goes home and looks it up or looks it up right there, he could be greatly disappointed.

Internet atheists do the same thing. An account will be thrown out because it contains miracles and I have never understood the point of going after Christians because they believe that a dead man came back to life or that a virgin gave birth (Which I do affirm). This is part and parcel of Christianity. To make the argument that this is stupid, you need to show that miracles are impossible or go even further and show that there is no God who can do miracles. If you go up to someone who believes in God and tells them their religion includes miracles, why should that be a negative?

This is one more reason you try to understand what the other person believes. You need to make an argument that depends on what they believe and showing that that is false instead of going with just what you believe. If your ad or meme starts with what you already agree with, it won’t convince at all, except for people who are already convinced.

This will sadly require work that most people just won’t do. Most people won’t engage on both sides and most people will be persuaded by memes and ads because they are not taking the arguments seriously enough. Don’t be one of those people and you’ll be more persuasive in the end.

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

A Big Problem With Presidential Debates

What needs to be done to change the debates? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’ve done debate before. Last year I debated Dan Barker on the existence of God. In many ways, I consider that debate more substantial than any presidential debate I have ever seen. I would say that about most debates I have seen on the topic of religion. Why is that?

I say this also as someone who enjoyed last night’s vice-presidential debate. I came in supporting Pence and on substance definitely, I think he won, but I also think he won on presentation and style. So this isn’t the case of someone saying “Last night’s debate was awful. Here’s what needs to be different” and having the reason because I don’t think my side did good. Now you can think Pence did terrible, and that’s fine, but let it be accepted that my thinking is not based on a disappointment and thus wanting to change the rules.

When Barker and I debated, we had a lengthy time to debate one question. Does God exist? After that, we then took live questions from the audience. If you have just one question and each of you has fifteen minutes at the start to make a case, you can make a substantive case.

So you sit down for last night’s debate and the first thing you hear is about 9 segments of ten minutes each. Sorry, but economic plans and matters related to climate change and abortion are not able to really be covered that substantially in just 10 minutes apiece.

Part of that is our culture has become a soundbite culture. We want an answer and we want it quick. If you want to give an economic plan, you need to be able to have time to explain why you think raising or cutting taxes will help and most people don’t read anything on economics to consider such a question.

What about health-care? Nope. You can’t really lay out a whole plan in that short amount of time. Not only that, we have to remember the other side has to have time to respond to that within a few minutes and then the original presenter needs to respond and wait, both of them are supposed to make a case in that time.

At the same time, I understand that especially in any case, the current president and vice-president are busy and won’t always be able to do a debate. What would I recommend? More debates from people that each party will say represents their side versus one on the other. Want to debate health care? Have a whole debate on that topic. Climate change? Racism? Yes. A whole debate.

Unfortunately, I doubt this will happen simply because most people don’t really have that kind of attention span anymore. We want quick and soundbite answers to questions and think everything should be able to be given in bite-size portions. It can’t be. That’s the nature of the beast. I don’t care who is giving the case. If this is a substantive issue, it requires work.

And dare I say it, maybe if you want to understand these issues, you will need to do that on your own some time. Watch on Facebook and when anything major happens, everyone becomes an expert on everything. We live in an age where we think we are worth listening to because we have an opinion. No. Your opinion might be right and valid, but you need to read up on it and give an informed reason for your case.

Ultimately, it all comes down to a public willing to better educate themselves. Unfortunately, I have no pipe dreams of this happening anytime soon. I also see no way to bring it about instantly. The best I would say is start with the churches being willing to educate themselves and hire preachers who know what they’re talking about and have educational credentials. If we want change to start with the world, it needs to start with us.

We could all bear to be more informed anyway.

Also, let questions come from the audience more often that’s there live. Let them tell us what is most important to us. Don’t let a moderator decide that.

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

Another Rant About Research

Should you share that claim so quickly? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Christians are supposed to be people of truth. Some claims, of course, cannot be verified easily. They also cannot be falsified easily. Some are very controversial and have intelligent people on both sides. However, some claims are just bogus or at least highly insufficient. Sadly, too often I see these and get incredibly frustrated.

This is the internet. Imagine if you woke up one day and saw a story being shared on Facebook that you were a pedophile. You go about and refute the charges the best you can and most people believe you, but some do not. Stories are shared all over the Facebook and your reputation can be destroyed just like that.

That might be extreme, but consider whenever you spread false information about another person on the internet, you are doing just that. This is especially worse if you’re a Christian since you claim to be a person of truth. You are doing what James said not to do and using your tongue, or in this case, your keyboard, to destroy.

Not only that, you want people to believe you when you tell them Jesus rose from the dead. Right? Even if all you have is your personal testimony, you want people to believe that. Why on Earth should anyone believe you on stuff that can’t be studied in five minutes, if they cannot believe you in what could have been easily checked with an internet search?

So let’s look at some claims this weekend that I came across.

You know that Trump was supposed to hold the Republican convention in Florida? He was, but he cancelled. What was the reason? Well, believe it or not, it was because Black Lives Matter had a bunch of buses lined up ready to get protesters and rioters to the meeting and make a scene.

I also want to say that I do say this as someone who voted for Trump and who does not support the movement Black Lives Matter. Of course, black lives matter, but the organization itself stands for a number of issues that I cannot support. Therefore, in saying what I am saying, I am actually calling out a fellow conservative who shared false information.

So the claim was Trump cancelled this because of the protesters. What was the evidence? Pictures of the buses lined up. Let’s take a look at these.

In the first picture, the buses could hypothetically say Black Lives Matter, but you can’t tell for sure. It could say Black Ladies Aboard. It could say Black Looks Beautiful. There’s any number of things it could say. The second picture has a bunch of buses that say absolutely nothing like that.

Doing my own research on the picture, the nearest I can figure is that the top buses do say Black Lives Matter, but that they were also from the Toronto Raptors who were in Florida. Even if that wasn’t the case, let’s consider something else. Whether you love Trump or hate him, does anyone think he shies away from confrontation and/or a fight? I found it amusing that I, as a conservative, was questioned because I dared to ask questions about the evidence, but alas, the evidence for this one is lacking.

Sometimes people send me YouTube videos that are really conspiracy theories. Please don’t. I hardly watch two minutes of these things if that much before I know they’re absolute nonsense. Last night, I got sent one that said that anything in history before the 1600’s is highly questionable.

Please don’t bother sending me stuff like this. I really find it highly embarrassing to see this stuff and to see Christians spreading it. On that, let’s give a brief caveat.

I have said something about conservatives and Christians and I am both, but this is not a conservative or a Christian problem. This is a human problem. We are all inclined to believe things that tend to go with our biases at the time. Liberals spread conspiracy theories. Atheists spread conspiracy theories. (Yes. Jesus mythicism I count as a conspiracy theory for atheists) Let’s not go on about how one group is so stupid. It’s all of us.

Also, for many atheists, it’s really hard for me to take you seriously as a person of reason and evidence when I see you blindly believing something about Christianity. Many Christians are skeptical of evolution. That cannot be studied in five minutes, and yet they see you sharing Jesus mythicism stuff and you expect them to take you seriously on this topic?

So let’s go with a final one. Someone shared this and I went directly to the source material which apparently was another Facebook page. So what’s the claim? Apparently, Lady Gaga has a new album called Chromatica where she celebrates extracting blood from the pineal glands of traumatized children. Here, you can see a picture of her covered with blood and her children drinking blood.

Wow. That’s pretty serious isn’t it? Look at Gaga covered in that blood and those children with zombie stares on their faces drinking blood. That’s pretty serious.

Or is it?

If you saw the real picture, it would say Entertainment Weekly on the bottom left. Why would that be the case? Because this is a picture of Lady Gaga on the set of American Horror Story where she played a character called the Countess.

This is probably the worst offender on this list today because this is an accusation of moral turpitude. None of us would like to be accused of this. It doesn’t matter what you think of Lady Gaga. I don’t particularly care for her stuff, but it’s wrong to share this information about her. I have my opponents on political issues, for example, but if you want to say something against Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, you’d better make sure it’s true or at least has darn good evidence for it. I only want my opponents taken down in truth.

Christians. Please be better about sharing things like this. Please do your own research independently. It’s too easy to hit that “share” button on Facebook and share it immediately. You are damaging your reputation though if it’s false and someone else’s reputation as well.

I would just advise you to avoid conspiracy theories altogether. The best conspiracy to pull off, as J. Warner Wallace has said, is two guys working to commit a crime and at the end one of them shoots the other one. Please don’t jump on board with these things immediately. Do your homework. Do your research.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 9/15/2018: Erick Erickson

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Snoopy said years ago there were three things to not discuss in public. Politics, religion, and the Great Pumpkin. We tend to be pretty good about the third one, but the first two not so much. Chesterton was also told when he got his job with the newspaper writing that he could write about anything except politics and religion. He said those were the only things worth writing about.

Today, we have a multiplicity of views on politics and religion. Some Christians are extremely gung-ho about politics. Some could be so much that they marry their Christianity to their politics. Others take an exact opposite approach. Politics is about the kingdom of man. We need to talk about the kingdom of God. They say this and conclude there’s no reason for Christians to be involved in politics.

So which is it? We have quotes from the Bible like “My Kingdom is not of this world” and “Render unto Caesar”, but at the same time, Jesus is a political figure often. He is a challenge to Caesar and to Herod both. Biblical scholars have shown that the title Son of God given to Jesus is also a title that was given to Caesar.

To discuss this, I needed to have someone on the show with a foot in both worlds. I needed a Christian who knows politics very well. I didn’t have to look very far.  I found this one just on my radio dial. Here in the Atlanta area, there is someone who has his own show on the local talk station, WSB, who is also a devout Christian in seminary. His name is Erick Erickson.

Who is he?

According to his bio:

Erick Erickson is the host of Atlanta’s Evening News on WSB and Editor of The Resurgent. Erickson has been a contributor for both CNN and Fox News and The Atlantic named him one of the most influential conservative voices in America. He studied political science and history at Mercer University and earned a law degree at Walter F. George School of Law. He is currently working towards his Ph.D. in theology.  Erickson lives with his family in Macon, Georgia. To learn more, visit http://theresurgent.com/.

We’ll be talking about the intersection of politics and religion. How does a Christian navigate the worlds of politics and religion? There are so many issues that it seems we need to be aware of in politics and in the world of Facebook, everyone thinks that they’re an expert on everything. How can Christians be able to have an influence on politics and still devote themselves to the Kingdom of God?

How also should we settle political differences? Was Jesus a Republican or a Democrat? Was He a Communist or a Socialist?

I hope you’ll be listening this Saturday as we discuss a plethora of such issues. Please also be in prayer for me. I recently did have to have two teeth extracted. I am in recovery, but I am doing the show anyway. (This isn’t me being stubborn either. The dentist said I could.) Please also go on iTunes and leave a positive review of the Deeper Waters Podcast.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Reclaim America And Bad Research

How should we look at claims about our enemies? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Politically, I am a conservative. I have always been one. Despite that, I have also tried to be as honest as I could. My own father had a problem in the past of sending out an email blast to a bunch of people or sharing something on Facebook about Obama and I would do five minutes of checking and find out that it wasn’t true. My stance was always we should aim to defeat our political opponents, but we must always do so in truth. This thread is not about politics though.

What I am doing I would hope anyone would do. If you are a Trump supporter for instance, do what I do and check claims on people like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and also check positive stuff about Trump before sharing it. If you are of the liberal persuasion. Check the reverse. Make sure that negative story about Trump is true.

I find this interesting also in light of going through Abdu Murray’s Saving Truth now where he talks about a post-truth society. In this society, we will share something even if it isn’t true and even if we know it isn’t true because it goes against our opponents. For those of us who are Christians, this should never be the case.

So there is a page called Reclaim America on Facebook. Sadly, I have written about them before with bad research. I wasn’t surprised to see that there was more of the same. The about of the Facebook page says this about them.

“Our mission is to speak truth to the lies of the Progressive Liberal Agenda! This page is kept current with information by the team of administrators that run it. God Bless the USA & those that seek to defend her!”

Fair enough. If you think liberals are spreading lies, then you should want to combat them. However, if you think lying is a problem, shouldn’t you make sure what you share is true?

So yesterday, I am surfing Facebook and I see this picture. I want to say upfront that I do not like profanity and the only reason I share this is because I want to be as accurate as I can. Anyway, this is what was shared.

Now immediately, several people are posting about what an awful woman Hillary is. As a conservative, I am no fan of Hillary and I do understand some things. First off, Hillary does have a reputation of being foul-mouthed, including around the Secret Service from when she was in the White House. Second, we do know that there were leaked emails. On the face of it, this could be plausible then.

But darn it, I have this tendency. I want to check up on things. There’s a date to this email and there’s a specific quote. It should be easy to find.

Except it isn’t. In fact, I find an incident from September 7 that matches it. This is one where Hillary said the exact same thing out loud at a Matt Lauer interview.

There is also another source out there that is doing the same thing. I found this video doing my search. For them, they had an email from someone with a Comcast email address. The original page I linked to about the incident had an NBC associate producer as the source. None of this is backed by anyone else. No specific names are given. Nothing.

So we have a claim with different dates and different sources and different forums. It leads me to think that this whole thing is bogus. Now keep in mind, a lack of evidence does not mean that it is necessarily false. Perhaps something like this did happen and no one reported it except a few isolated individuals, but I’m skeptical.

Even if it’s not necessarily false, there’s still no positive evidence that it is true. Now someone did point out emails went through Bleach Bit. Okay, but if that’s true, then how did we get those emails so we can know what is in them? Furthermore, if you point a specific date and no one can find an email on this date that has this, what are we to think?

Now if Reclaim America or anyone else can find this email, I will gladly retract this and issue an apology. Until then, I am skeptical of this whole thing. For those of us wanting to be people of truth, it doesn’t help our cause if we spread things so easily that anyone can see is not necessarily true.

As a conservative, this bothers me, but as a Christian, it does so even more. If you have no reason to believe something I share based on five minutes of checking, why should you believe it when I tell you that the Son of God came and rose from the dead which will take much more time to research and study? I have already damaged my witness by that.

It’s my hope that not only Reclaim America but anyone involved in debate will learn even more to check claims. Whatever side we want to serve in a debate, let’s try to serve it truthfully. If we don’t want false claims shared about our side or unprovable claims to be shared, let’s make sure we do the same.

In Christ,
Nick Peters