Showing posts from October, 2019

Halloween is not pagan

Every year, conservative Christians either guiltily participate in Halloween or reject it altogether. As everyone knows, Halloween is a pagan holiday. A day to celebrate the satantic. Witches. Ghosts. Devils. Hobos. Ninja Turtles. You know...dark stuff.

The history of the holiday is not a straight line but most historians do note that pagans such as the Celts had fall festivals toward the end of October including a day called, Samhain in which the Celts communed with other worldly figures under big bonfires. Scholars think that when Romans conquered the Celts, that holiday was given a Roman twist but still maintained some sort of commemoration of the dead.

And you can see why someone might think Halloween is pagan as a result of this. Late October, other worldly figures, commemoration of the dead.... Halloween.

Well, sort of. That might be like a Halloween movie. But that is not Halloween. They did not, for example, go door to door and get snack sized packs of Nerds. Nor did they dre…

About that Pew Study: Christianity is Not Shrinking

"In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace," says the shocking new study from Pew. Well, if true, I have been very wrong. In the past, I argued against this idea. But my previous articles did not discuss this particular study or the measures they use to come to that conclusion so I figured I would engage the Pew Study and show why I am still convinced that Christianity is not really shrinking. Let's review the Pew Study first. Consider this:

That looks pretty bleak....and based on these data, you would not be blamed for agreeing with the headline. Christianity is in rapid decline in America.

But there is something that doesn't fit to this. If Christianity is in such rapid decline, why does attendance data from Gallup show that church attendance has been amazingly steady for 100 years?

(Sources for data come from here, here, and here)

You would think that if there has been a drop off in Christians, then people would stop showing up at ch…

Why I Said Sam Harris is Not Smart

I noted on Twitter that I thought Sam Harris was not smart. I got "ratioed bitch" as one Sam Harris fan boy said. In short, most of the responses were negative and slightly angry.

People came with two general responses:

1-I was only saying that because I was too dumb to understand Harris.
2-My critiques of specific errors by Harris might be fair but to call the man stupid because of a few errors was unfair.

I am more sympathetic to the second point. The first point is ridiculous. Harris makes repeated major errors that undermine entire books. I could be dumb as a box of rocks but that would not make his No True Scotsman fallacy that unpins much of 'Letters to a Christian Nation,' any less fallacious. I could ride the short bus every day and yet that would not make Harris's profound confusion about the "Is/Ought" problem any less embarrassing.

Now, as the second group of people pointed out, this might just be two areas of blindness for Harris. And I a…

Like it or not, we are in a culture war.

We are in the middle of a culture war. Like it or not.

Who are the combatants? Christendom vs. Darkness.

Before you stop reading.... I realize that no one thinks they are the darkness and I am not claiming that there is anyone out there laughing manically while intentionally bringing the world to evil.

So, why am I calling fellow Americans (including close friends and family) darkness? To be clear, I am not saying any one individual is darkness I am saying that when it comes to cultures there are enlightened ones and dark ones and the enlightened ones are the ones that were built on Christianity and have managed to maintain Christian values for the most part.

Darkness then is not a single movement or individual. But if a Christian culture is light, Darkness necessarily is any movement, individual, or legal structure that undermines the things that build an enlightened culture.

How can I say that Christianity is light to this world? It is necessary to understand how many great thing…

Four Things Future Societies Will Laugh at Us About

CS Lewis said that we should read authors from centuries past because every age has its errors and while old authors come from eras with their own errors, they also shed light on the errors of our own day. Certain things in our own age stick out dramatically from the way humans have thought for our entire existence. What are the chances that we are getting these things right and every other human from every other era is getting it wrong? I would say it is highly unlikely.

So... from my reading of ancient authors and history, what are the things about modern American society that will be laughed at by future generations? I am working on a longer list but here are four things I have noticed. I will add to this in time.

1- Thinking Artists are Important
Every society has had art. Going all the way back to cave paintings. But our own views of what art is and its significance is insane by historical standards. Instead of being a thing we do for enjoyment or the beauty of has bec…

Why you can ignore most of the news

Oh my goodness.... Stormy Daniels.

Oh my goodness.... Michael Cohen.

Oh my goodness.... Mueller is going to testify.

Oh my goodness.... Trump is going to attack Syria.

Oh my goodness.... Trump is going to attack Iran.

Oh my goodness... Trump is going to attack Turkey.

Except no. Except none of this ended up happening. These are just recent examples of headlines and breaking news promised to be history changing moments only to lead to nothing. We could have never heard of Stormy Daniels and we would be no more ignorant of the way things unfolded. Same with the rest of this.

24-hour news if full of stories. They make their money by telling us that a world changing event is on the horizon. War is close. Some global pandemic is close. Impeachment is close. Something is about to happen and if you so much as dare to change the channel, you will regret it. And now a word from our sponsors.

Imagine crossing the street. You look left. You look right. No cars, buses, or trucks. You cross safel…

No, the US was not built on slavery

A common refrain is that the US was built on slavery. I saw an example of this today with Kyrie Irving suggesting that the NBA should not really criticize the Chinese government because the USA has a racist past and, "was built on slavery." Irving in saying this is just repeating a common thought. The Atlantic ran a headline a few years ago saying, "Slavery Made America." Vox recently had a headline, "How slavery became America’s first big business."

For many people, the answer to the question, 'How did America become the richest nation in the history of the world?' is simple: slavery.

We went to Africa, plundered the people, we brought them back, we enslaved them. We used them to build the agricultural powerhouses of the south and literally build the buildings and foundations of the nation. The legacy of slavery therefore tarnishes any claim to American exceptionalism. Sure we are rich but we did it through racism and slavery.

Is this true? Was …

Why I don't care about Trump's bone spurs

A lot of people think that Trump dodging the draft by claiming that he had bone spurs is a good political hit. Every time Trump does almost anything related to the military, someone brings them up. It is a joke. Trump should have served but didn't... by claiming he had bone spurs.

But here is why I don't care. If Trump was a war monger.... pushing the US to intervene and engage in every war possible, then I would have a problem with it. Someone that avoided service and then turns around and sends others to fight and die, is a hypocrite. But Trump avoided service in an unjust war. The draft is immoral and unbiblical. Forcing people to fight is the worst form of slavery. Trump, however he avoided it, was not immoral for avoiding fighting in a war he did not believe in.

The earliest Christians almost all opposed fighting for the Roman Empire. The argument against Christians enlisting was that the wars were unjust and led by an immoral commander in chief. Trump had every right in…

Why Men and Women are Different

Many modern gender studies departments like to pretend that gender is some sort of an imaginary thing. Men and women .... if such categories exist... only have inconsequential and largely negligible differences. Gender is a social construct. Any attempt to establish biological males and biological females as clearly distinct groups of people with clearly distinct behaviors and traits, is nothing more than a power trip.

But this is a strange philosophy to hold. Almost everyone agrees that there is a certain purpose to the way animals - including humans are. Whether you are an atheist who thinks that unguided evolution is the reason things are they way they are or a creationist who believes that things are designed, everyone agrees that things are the way they are for a purpose - either the design and purpose of God or the demands of survival and procreation (or both).

With this in mind, why does gender exist? Why are some born with penises and some born with vaginas? Why do some bear …

An Privacy Bill of Rights

I recently posted a podcast explaining why privacy is important. If you think that it is not... go listen to that podcast. And don't be a clown, seriously. But during that podcast, I talked about the need for a Privacy Bill of Rights - a list of protections for citizens from intrusion from governments and corporations. I have thought a bit about it and here are what I came up with. If you have ideas on things to add or change, let me know.

1) The government should not record or collect data on any citizen without a warrant.

2) All online terms and conditions should be standardized, simplified (one short readable page) and regulated by some sort of consumer advocate group. The whole close your eyes and click thing should not exist.

3) We should own our data and have the right to have it removed or deleted when we wish.

4) Corporations should have a limit to how long they store our data. All data should be destroyed within 10 years.

5) The government should have a limit on how lo…

Book Recommendation: The Forge of Christendom by Tom Holland

Reading history is a necessary thing. So many people are so ignorant of the world just a few decades ago. So many people get all their knowledge of history from videos watched in high school. History is critical to read because it gives us perspective. Knowing how people thought and lived centuries ago helps shed light on our own idiosyncratic culture. Every culture has faults but every culture ignorantly assumes that they have none - or at least assumes they know their faults. But the reality is that our culture is the air we breath. We cannot see it. We cannot observe it objectively.

The things we believe seem self evidence. Things like the separation of church and state seem obvious. Things like slavery seem obviously wrong. Things like wars for land seem obviously wrong. But only those that read history see how the opposite of these things were once assumed. It seemed obvious to most in the year 900 AD that church and state were to be intertwined. Kings picked bishops. Bishops bo…

Men and Women act Differently with Regards to Sex

[This is an excerpt from an earlier article]

The last few days, I have spoken of some of the built-in differences between men and women. I talked about the fact that women are better at arguing , the fact men and women have different focuses of life. , the fact that men and women have different levels of defensiveness, the fact that men and women communicate differently, and different emotional sensitivities. No matter how much social engineering, we cannot get past these differences and never will. They are built in. Well, here is another one.

With the Trans movement, one of the things that has come up is that allowing biological males that identify as women into women's bathrooms, this will put women at risk. Which brings up the question: why are do we need separate bathrooms at all? Bathrooms are intended to go to the bathroom and not for sexual purposes. The idea that we need to put men in one place and women in another is strange. Should we not just teach men that they shou…

Emotional Sensativity - Men and Women are different

The last few days, I have spoken of some of the built-in differences between men and women. I talked about the fact that women are better at arguing , the fact men and women have different focuses of life. , the fact that men and women have different levels of defensiveness., and the fact that men and women communicate differently.  No matter how much social engineering, we cannot get past these differences and never will. They are built in. Well, here is another one.

When it comes to admitting differences between men and women, this is the elephant in the room. Everyone knows it is there. Everyone avoids talking about it. 

Jerry Seinfeild has a bit where he says to women, “I bet you would like to know what men are really thinking. Would you like to know? Alright, I will tell you. Nothing.” His joke is that men tend to be oblivious and take things as they are. This, of course, is a generalization (as everything I am writing here) but it points to another general rule. Women seem to…

Men and Women Communicate Differently

[This is an excerpt from an earlier article]

The last few days, I have spoken of some of the built-in differences between men and women. I talked about the fact that women are better at arguing , the fact men and women have different focuses of life. , and the fact that men and women have different levels of defensiveness. No matter how much social engineering, we cannot get past these differences and never will. They are built in. Well, here is another one.

My wife and I often have the problem of her being able to tie multiple lines of thinking and conversation together in one conversation while I get lost if we get beyond one single line of discussion. She will be talking about the kids and suddenly be continuing a conversation from hours earlier about her mother. I get lost. She wonders what my problem is.

This is true for men and women more generally. Women often get frustrated with men because men cannot tell what they are thinking. 

Men, if you come home from work, think you…

Is the US Dollar About to Become Wothless? The Danger of Hyperinflation

A few weeks ago, I attended a dinner party. The men stood in a corner and talked sports, business, and politics. The topic of national debt came up. Being a group of fairly conservative men, we all expressed concern about our mounting national debt. But one of the guys dismissed the concern. 'We control the Federal Reserve,' he said. 'Therefore, we can never default on our debt.' This was not a dumb guy. Smart in many ways. College educated. And he honestly was not concerned about debt because the USA controls the Federal Reserve of the closest thing we have to a global currency. Now, if this was just an individual crank making an obvious blunder, I would not be writing on it. But his mistake is more common than you imagine. I have heard it repeated by other friends, congressmen, and celebrities. Even idiot economists:
So.... why do I think that this sort of thinking so terribly wrong?

Let me start by talking about something called hyperinflation. Most people are awar…