googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: December 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Brain Damaged Liberals are at it Again: Public School Principal Bans Christmas

Santa Claus is banned. The Pledge of Allegiance is no longer recited. “Harvest festival” has replaced Thanksgiving, and “winter celebrations” substitute for Christmas parties. New principal Eujin Jaela Kim has given PS 169 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, a politically correct scrub-down, to the dismay of teachers and parents.... A memo last month from assistant principal Jose Chaparro suggested a “harvest festival instead of Thanksgiving or a winter celebration instead of a Christmas party.” He urged staff to “be sensitive of the diversity of our families. Not all children celebrate the same holidays.” (NY Post, December 13, 2015)

I'm sure I've mentioned before how liberals are brain damaged. We see yet another example in Public School 169 in NY where a new principal has “banned” the Pledge of Allegiance, Thanksgiving, and now Christmas. There's no secret about their motive; they've done in for the sake of sensitivity and diversity. Blah, blah, blah. It's typical liberalism: trampling the rights of everybody in order to be fair. I guess they don't see how their move might be insensitive to the families who do celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, do they?

The NY Post article says that Ninety-five percent of the 1,600 kids at PS 169 are Asian or Hispanic. Hmmm. Why do you think they would cite that statistic? Is it because they assume most of the kids – or as least a large number of them – don't observe these holidays anyway? “Asian” is a very broad term because there are a lot of different kinds of Asians including both Orientals and Indians. There are also a lot of places where the natives could be called Hispanic – Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and many Central/South American countries. These various places all have people with different beliefs but wouldn't it be stereotyping, for example, to assume someone of Asian descent – living in the US – doesn't observe Christmas? Wouldn't a more relevant statistic be how many of the 1,600 kids in the school observe these holidays? But liberals are racists and so they assume people of color don't (or shouldn't) celebrate “white people's” holidays.

But for the sake of argument, let's assume that only a tiny fraction of the student's at PS 169 observe Thanksgiving or Christmas. In that case, I might agree it's not necessary to organize special activities geared toward holidays these students don't even recognize anyway. But that's not what is happening. It's not that they're not celebrating these days – there's an outright ban on anything related to these days. The PTA president said in the article, We can’t even have a star because it can represent a religious system, like the Star of David. The Business Manager for PS 169 said in a memo even Santa is banned banned because he is considered an ‘other religious figure. So even if it were a tiny minority of students were Christians who thanked God on Thanksgiving and celebrated the birth of Christ, the staff can say or do nothing that might acknowledge those beliefs.

Remind me again, aren't liberals the ones who want to educate kids in cultural diversity? They talk about diversity and respecting people of other cultures but that surely cannot mean all cultures because they don't want to talk about American or Christian traditions. I copied this from an educator's blog:

How can we celebrate diversity and help students build on positives while paying special attention to disenfranchised students? The first way is to open a dialogue on the topic. One of the first discussions I have with teacher candidates is to explain what it means to be culturally responsive in teaching. As an educator, you have to understand how language and culture affects a student’s self-worth.

Am I right?  Aren't they saying we should "celebrate" diversity but we have to be especially sensitive to the disenfranchised (aka, “minority”) students?  And in order to protect their fragile “self-worth,” we have to have discussions about their language, their cultures, and their beliefs – except Christians of course. Christian traditions and beliefs like Thanksgiving and Christmas are offensive.

Racists. Hypocrites. Liberals. Yes, they're brain damaged.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Is the Bible Immoral? Part 3b: Does the Bible Condone Slavery?

I hadn't intended to write another post on this series. In my last post on this subject, I explained that it would take too much time to address every passage in the Bible that discusses slavery – not that there are a lot of them, by the way. However, I can see now that there are a few other points that need addressing.

First, there is the irony that if there really is no God, then the critics have no moral grounds to say the Bible is “wrong” about slavery. If there is no transcendent, objective standard of morality, then there is no weight in the critic's claim that our modern attitude of slavery is more “correct” than the attitudes held by ancient slaveholders. Critics who use slavery to attack the Bible are relying on a general sense of outrage over the word “slavery” to give their argument any credibility. Therefore, they invariably want to equate the type of slavery in the Bible with the type of slavery we once had in the US.

If you do a Google image search for “slavery Bible,” you'll get hundreds of images showing mostly dark skinned people chained, whipped, and tortured. Completely absent from the criticisms are Scripture references supporting the things the critics portray. There is no passage in the Bible, for example, that talks about putting slaves in chains. Why, then, are there so many pictures of blacks in chains with Bible verses written beneath them? Whether it's done out of ignorance or intentional deceit, it doesn't matter. It's a straw man caricature of what the Bible teaches.

Just as I said in my last post, slaves in the ancient world were a socioeconomic class. They were chronically poor or indebted people who entered indentured servitude because they could either not take care of themselves or they could not repay their debts. This type of indentured service was practiced in many places in the world. The slavery discussed in the Bible not only didn't resemble the slavery once experienced in the South, it wasn't really even like the slavery practiced in contemporary nations.

Usually, entering into this kind of servitude was a lifelong commitment. If the master died, the slave would continue in the service of the master's family. This was also true of foreign slaves living in Israel. Jews, on the other hand, were required to forgive the debts of other Jews every 7 years; this included freeing Jewish servants. In Leviticus 25:46, the admonition to not treat their fellow Israelites “ruthlessly” cannot be interpreted as a license to beat foreign born slaves. It precisely meant the Jews could not exclude indentured service from the debts forgiven. By the way, even freed Jewish slaves could voluntarily remain in their master's employ permanently. This is really the only difference between servants taken from among Jews and servants taken from other nations.

Some key differences between the kind of service detailed in the Bible and the cruel slavery seen in other parts of the world are as follows:
  • People could not be kidnapped and sold into slavery against their will. Exodus 21:16.
  • Slaves who ran away could not be forced to return to their masters. Deuteronomy 23:15-16.
  • Slaves were required to be given a Sabbath day of no work, just like free men. Exodus 20:10.
  • If a master kills a slave, he is guilty of murder. Exodus 21:20.
  • If a master permanently injures a slave, such as knocking out a tooth, he must free the slave. Exodus 21:26-27.
Nowhere in the Bible are masters commanded or even allowed to chain, torture, and kill their servants. Nowhere! Yet that is exactly the false impression critics want to portray when they show dark skinned people in chains. When asked to cite specific verses where such practices are allowed, critics really can only resort to one verse, Exodus 21:20-21:

If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property.”

The verse is cited to make it sound like it's OK to beat a slave as long as he doesn't die immediately; if he dies later, it's fine. This is another example of taking a passage out of context. The passage isn't talking about murder but about what happens if you injure a man but he doesn't die. In verses 18-19, the two verses immediately prior to the above verses, the Bible proscribes exactly the same punishment for fights between free men. The only difference is that if you strike a free man and he doesn't die immediately, but only remains in bed for a while, he must be compensated for the time he was injured. A slave that is struck but doesn't die immediately doesn't have to be compensated for the time he was injured because his work belongs to his master anyway!

The idea of permanent servitude still will sound strange to a lot of modern readers. I've tried comparing it to being a squire or vassal – words that are less emotionally charged – but even these types of service don't exist anymore. It's just hard for some people to think of a being a “slave” as anything less than repulsive. They can't imagine being a slave as being a kind of job. They can't imagine a person wanting to be a slave. It might help if you think of the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). A man's son asked for his father for his inheritance now. He took the money and went into a foreign land where he squandered it all. When the money was gone, he began to starve and considered returning to his father as a slave. Read the boy's thoughts (Luke 15:14-20):

After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father

Further Reading:
Is the Bible Immoral:

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Are Humans “Naked Apes”?

This is a picture of me. Really. My blog is not about me even though I constantly write in the first-person voice and often use myself as an example to make a point. In this post, I again intend to use myself as an example to make a point.

I've recently grown a goatee. I'd never had one before. I did have a mustache for more than 20 years and even grew a full beard a couple of times but for the last 2 or 3 years I've been clean shaven. My facial hair grows pretty quickly and when we were vacationing recently, I had gone several days without shaving. My wife asked me to try one so I trimmed it up and returned to work with a goatee. I still haven't decided if I like it or not but my wife really likes it so I'll probably keep it for a while.

My beard grew in a lot grayer this time than it was the last time I had one. When I was young, I had coal black hair. The gray makes my beard seem a little thinner than it really is but you can still see in this pic that it's a little bushy. I'm probably ready for another trim. I noticed too that my hairline has receded a little. Wow! I'm looking old. Bear with me because I'm going somewhere with all this.

So, I'm online the other day watching a YouTube video and the speaker flashes a picture of a chimp on the screen. It was a tight shot of just the chimp's face and I noticed something that I hadn't noticed before. Compare the picture of the me to the chimps. Do you notice anything different about our hair? In case the answer isn't immediately obvious, let me point it out:

Men grow facial hair on their upper lip, jaw, and chin. We also have hair on our brow ridge (aka, our eye brows). Chimps have virtually no hair around their mouth nor on their brow ridge. Isn't that interesting? It goes further than that though. You can see in this picture that the chimp has a heavy coat on its shoulders and arms but the hair is much thinner on its chest. The other picture of a reclining chimp shows not only thinner hair on the chest but also its arm pits. Human males, on the other hand, have thicker hair on their chests and under their arms but much thinner hair on their shoulders and arms.

Humans have been called, “naked apes.” As the name suggests, humans are considered by evolutionists to be merely another species of ape – one which has lost its heavy coat of fur. It's a little more complicated than that though. You see, evolution is supposed to be about descent with modification. If humans and chimps share a common ancestor, evolution should predict that we have hair patterns similar to our ancestor. But we don't. The closest similarity is the top of our heads. Everywhere else, where chimps have the most hair, we have the least and where we have the most, chimps have the least.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to have noticed this. I've heard it suggested that humans have facial hair for warmth because our clothes cover our bodies but not our faces. Such an explanation is blatantly circular. Why would we need to start wearing clothes in the first place except that we lost our fur? And even if we accept the explanation, it still doesn't explain why humans have heavier hair under their arms.

Good theories are supposed to make predictions. If evolution were true, we should see similar hair patterns between humans and chimps. The ad hoc explanations about why it isn't this way are “just so” stories invented simply to ignore another failed prediction of evolution.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Is the Bible Immoral? Part 3: Does the Bible Condone Slavery?

Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly. (Leviticus 25:44-46, NIV)

Another way that critics try to portray the Bible as “evil” is to claim that the Bible condones slavery. The criticism strikes a chord with many people because of America's tragic history of slavery. We consider ourselves to be a better nation for having ended the practice here and so, when we read passages like Leviticus 25 which seem to support slavery, doubt about the Bible can creep into our minds.

It should be noted first that there's a little bit of dishonesty behind the criticism – even if it's not intentional. When we hear the word, slavery, we immediately think about the subjugation of blacks in the South. It's a highly, emotionally charged word which is the impression critics want us to have. It's an unfortunate consequence of translation that words of different languages seldom have exactly the same semantic range of meaning. It's nearly unavoidable that when we substitute an English word for a Hebrew or Greek word, we interpret the text according to our understanding of the English word. In English, slavery sounds like a terrible thing which makes this criticism seem to have merit.

This is not a trivial point. This criticism's entire weight rests upon the negative connotation implied by the word, slavery. Critics routinely beat this drum by using disparaging language like, Except for murder, slavery has got to be one of the most immoral things a person can do (source). It's a type of straw man argument. The moral quandary only exists if the slavery mentioned in the Bible resembles the slavery as the typical, modern reader understands it.

The reality is that the “slavery” discussed in the Bible is not at all like we experienced in the US. For example, Exodus 21:16 specifically proscribes the death penalty for anyone who kidnaps a person in order to sell him. In his letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul includes “enslavers” (ESV) in the same list as murderers, liars, and other sinners (1 Timothy 1:8-10). The type of slavery once practiced in the US, where dark-skinned natives were kidnapped in Africa and sold in America, is specifically forbidden in Mosaic Law and is clearly identified as a sin.

When the Bible talks about “slaves,” it is primarily talking about 2 groups of people. First, a tiny minority of slaves were prisoners taken in war. War was a grim reality at the time of the Old Testament and conquered kingdoms meant defeated populations that needed to be dealt with. If you defeat and enemy, you can't simply pack up and go home or else you'll be fighting the same enemy again sometime later. The Law gave instructions in dealing with enemy prisoners that was more practical than internment camps and more humane than summary execution. This doesn't mean that God “condones” war or slavery. Just like Jesus said about the law allowing divorce (Matthew 19:8), laws dealing with captured prisoners were merely allowances made for people living in a fallen world. It doesn't reflect God's perfect will.

The far more common slaves in biblical times are what we might call indentured servants. In biblical times (both the Old and New Testaments), there were no such things as government welfare or bankruptcy. Out of economic necessity, chronically poor people could pledge their future labor in exchange for things like forgiveness of debt, a lump sum of money, and food and shelter. The practice isn't as foreign when we look at similar arrangements that aren't called slavery. Kings had vassals. Knights had squires. Vassals never became kings and squires never became knights but in both situations, the subordinate served the master exclusively and permanently.

Such an arrangement might still sound bizarre to modern readers, but it was often easier for the impoverished person to do this rather than try to provide for himself. Once again, such an arrangement isn't “condoned” by the Bible. God created a world where “work” meant tending a garden and picking food off the trees to eat. In the fallen world, people have to work hard to eat. This type of arrangement existed and the Law gave instructions to regulate it.

It would take too much space to address every verse in the Bible that discusses slavery but, in general, the Bible tries to make the arrangement more professional and less like “slavery” as we typically understand it. Colossians 4:1 commands masters to treat their slaves “justly and fairly.” Jewish slaves were commanded to be freed in the year of Jubilee (every seven years). Even after being freed, a Jewish servant could choose to permanently remain with his master. In other nations, female slaves were often used for sex but the Law commanded that if a Jewish owner had sex with a slave, he must treat her like a wife. These are just a few of the types of regulations the Bible lists concern the practice.

Finally, God ultimately does not distinguish between slave and master – both are equal in His eyes (Galatians 3:28). In his letter, Paul tells Philemon to receive Onesimus, not as a slave but as a brother (Philemon 1:16). Paul even refers to himself as a “slave” to Christ (Greek, δοῦλος, Romans 1:1, et al). Indeed, Christ Himself gave us the parable of the unprofitable servant, Luke 17:7-10. He has forgiven my debt, paid the penalty for my sins, and given me eternal life. He is my Lord. I owe Him all I have and could serve Him my entire life and still never repay all He has done for me.