Monday, July 30, 2007

Wives the foundation of Civilization

I recently read an article on Islamic polygamy, and one of the commentators to the article had this to say, which I found interesting:
Car insurance companies hire statisticians. Those statisticians have found that indeed, young men are reckless. They have also found that once those young men are married, literally, "settled down" they become less reckless as now they must be providers. In general, wives keep their husbands in line and out of trouble.

What does polygamy do? Imagine a population of 50 men and 50 women. Where each man will take 2 wives if he can. Well, you will potentially have 25 men with 2 wives apiece, and 25 single men. And those 25 single men will be society's worst nightmare: reckless, criminal, irresponsible.

Monogamy is the foundation of modern civilization. A wife to control all men, a father to control all children. Children without fathers and men without wives, will be the downfall of any civilization.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Parallels: Genesis and John

In the first two chapters of Genesis we learn that in the beginning, God created the earth with his word.

The creation took six days.

At the end of that six days, there was a marriage.

Had Adam reached over and plucked a peach from a tree, the tree would have appeared years old, but it was only three days old.


In the first two chapters of John we learn that in the beginning, God created the earth with his word.

And then there was a marriage.

At the marriage were six jugs of water, which were turned to wine.

When the wine was drunk, it was a fine wine, as if it were the product of months, or perhaps years, of vine growth and tending, yet it was only minutes old.

Adapted from Session 2 of Dr. Jobe Martin's DVD set, "The Evolution of a Creationist"

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Concerning the Right to Bear Arms

Remember this ...
When in a life-threatening situation where seconds count, the police are only minutes away...
- Bud B. - Virginia Beach

Friday, July 20, 2007

Wisdom from Peter

Since Jesus went through everything you're going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you'll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.
1 Peter 4:1-3

Wow! Break the habit of expecting to get your own way, and stop being tyrannized by your wants. Just, wow!

Wisdom from James

A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!

It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.

James 3:5ff

Thursday, July 19, 2007


While reading from The Message a few weeks ago I came across a prayer in Ephesians 3 which I thought would be a good prayer to pray sometime when asked to lead prayer publicly at church.

Then last night I was reading a site concerning Jewish holidays, and the page I was reading ended with that prayer. It struck me how that this prayer has intersected in my life from two different directions.

Also last night, I gave a letter to a young lady at church who was immersed last year. A week or two after her immersion, I wrote her a letter with the hopes that it would be an encouragement to her, and this one last night was a similarly-motivated letter, celebrating her first year birthday in the Lord. One of the points I had made was to encourage her to make her daily choices with the thought in her head of glorifying God with each choice. Another point was that she's a Princess-daughter of the King, married to the Prince, but although she's royalty, she's currently having to live among the peasants in mud shacks until the Prince returns, and while there, she needs to share her affections for her Prince with her peasant neighbors, who will then fall in love with him also, and be able to join in the celebration when he returns.

Then, after I had given her this letter, while I was doing my daily Bible reading last night, I came across two passages from 1 Peter that echoed the two points I had made to this young lady.

Concerning honoring God with daily choices:
Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. -- 1 Peter 1:18
Concerning her life's example to her peasant neighbors:
Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they'll be won over to God's side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives. -- 1 Peter 2:11-12
Again, interesting intersections.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mom --> Broadband

Yea! I just got Mom on broadband!


Friday, July 06, 2007

Why Suicide Bombers are Usually Muslim

Psychology Today has an article that deals with Ten Politically Incorrect Truths About Human Nature. I don't buy the evolutionary assumptions made in the article (the theory explains everything, and a theory that explains everything explains nothing), so I'm hesitant to recommend the article, but one of the "politically-incorrect truths" caught my attention. The author of the article writes:

Suicide missions are not always religiously motivated, but according to Oxford University sociologist Diego Gambetta, editor of Making Sense of Suicide Missions, when religion is involved, the attackers are always Muslim. Why? The surprising answer is that Muslim suicide bombing has nothing to do with Islam or the Quran (except for two lines). It has a lot to do with sex, or, in this case, the absence of sex.

What distinguishes Islam from other major religions is that it tolerates polygyny. By allowing some men to monopolize all women and altogether excluding many men from reproductive opportunities, polygyny creates shortages of available women. If 50 percent of men have two wives each, then the other 50 percent don't get any wives at all.

So polygyny increases competitive pressure on men, especially young men of low status. It therefore increases the likelihood that young men resort to violent means to gain access to mates. By doing so, they have little to lose and much to gain compared with men who already have wives. Across all societies, polygyny makes men violent, increasing crimes such as murder and rape, even after controlling for such obvious factors as economic development, economic inequality, population density, the level of democracy, and political factors in the region.

However, polygyny itself is not a sufficient cause of suicide bombing. Societies in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean are much more polygynous than the Muslim nations in the Middle East and North Africa. And they do have very high levels of violence. Sub-Saharan Africa suffers from a long history of continuous civil wars—but not suicide bombings.

The other key ingredient is the promise of 72 virgins waiting in heaven for any martyr in Islam. The prospect of exclusive access to virgins may not be so appealing to anyone who has even one mate on earth, which strict monogamy virtually guarantees. However, the prospect is quite appealing to anyone who faces the bleak reality on earth of being a complete reproductive loser.

It is the combination of polygyny and the promise of a large harem of virgins in heaven that motivates many young Muslim men to commit suicide bombings. Consistent with this explanation, all studies of suicide bombers indicate that they are significantly younger than not only the Muslim population in general but other (nonsuicidal) members of their own extreme political organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah. And nearly all suicide bombers are single.

Being a single male wondering where the women are, and remembering the younger years especially, I can understand the motivation that 72 waiting virgins might provide to a hormone-addled young man to do whatever it takes to gain access to that prize.

Monday, July 02, 2007

“Human Spirit” or “Holy Spirit” in Romans 8:26?

(Scripture quotations from the KJV unless otherwise noted.)

In Romans 8:26 we read:
26Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
It has been argued that this “Spirit” is the human spirit rather than the holy spirit. The case is made that the context of this passage, starting at least in chapter 7 and perhaps earlier, is of the basic struggle between the fleshly part of a human and the spiritual part of a human. This can be seen by comparing 7:18 where Paul writes:
18For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing
and 7:22 where he writes:
22For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
The argument is made that the basic flesh-vs-spirit struggle is reiterated in verse 26: our flesh, being against God, has infirmities, but our spirit, being in favor of God, makes intercession for our faults.

It's a fairly strong argument, but I believe it fails on three points.

The first failure point is that Paul uses a phrase similar to verse 26 in Galatians 4:6:
6And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
As was noted in Part 1 of this essay, Paul often “recycles” his sermons as he writes to different church groups. This particular case appears to be an example of one of those recycled sermon points. In Romans, the spirit intercedes in prayer by making groanings that can not be uttered; in Galatians, the spirit, which has been sent into our hearts, prays to God as Abba (Aramaic for “Papa”).

The spirit in each passage performs a similar function of praying-crying/interceding-groaning. It seems likely that both passages are referring to the same spirit.

Since the spirit in Galatians is identified as the Spirit of God's Son, it seems likely that the spirit in Romans is also the Spirit of God's Son (aka, the Holy Spirit).

The second failure point of the argument that the spirit in Romans is the human spirit comes from the grammar of verse 26. Note that the subject of the clause, “the spirit”, as well as the verb, “maketh intercession” are in the singular form, whereas the direct object, “us”, is plural (at least in this English translation; if the underlying Greek does not support this point, it may be dispensed with without injury to the other two points). The passage thus says “the one spirit makes intercession for the many of us”. If “the spirit” in this passage were the human spirit, it would make more sense for Paul to have written something like “our spirits make intercession for us” or “a person's spirit makes intercession for that person”.

The third failure point is the structure of the immediate context. Note that Paul uses the word “likewise” in verse 26. What does he mean? Like what?

Outlining the passage makes it more clear:
  1. The whole creation has been groaning – verse 22
  2. Not only the creation, but we ourselves groan inwardly – verse 23
  3. Likewise, the spirit groans, helping us by interceding for us – verse 26
Paul already covers the case of our human spirit groaning in verse 23 (we groan “inwardly”). If the spirit in verse 26 is the human spirit, Paul would essentially be saying “we groan; likewise we groan”, which doesn't make much sense.

Conclusion: The spirit referred to in Romans 8:26 is probably the “Holy Spirit” rather than the “Human Spirit”.

“Human Spirit” or “Holy Spirit” in 2 Corinthians 5:5?

(Scripture quotations from the KJV unless otherwise noted.)

In 2 Corinthians 5:4-5 we read:
4For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
5Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
It has been argued that this “Spirit” is the human spirit, that the existence of our eternal human spirit serves as a “down-payment” (“earnest”) of immortality.

The Apostle Paul, as any preacher might do, often “recycles” his sermons as he presents them to different churches (perhaps “tweaking” the lesson over time, as any preacher might do); he even mentions this habit in 1 Corinthians 4:17:
For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.
The idea of the “spirit being a guarantee” seems to be one of those topics that Paul presents to different church groups. He writes of it to the Corinthian church (as quoted above), and he writes of it to the Ephesian church, as here from Ephesians 1:12-14:
12That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
In the Ephesian passage however, Paul “tweaks” his sermon by adding the word “holy”.

In both passages the spirit performs the same function, serving as a down-payment (“earnest”) of “our inheritance until the redemption” (“mortality swallowed up in life”). This indicates that both passages are referring to the same spirit.

Since Paul identifies the spirit in the Ephesians passage as the “holy spirit”, it seems reasonable to conclude that the spirit in the Corinthians passage is also the “holy spirit”.

Conclusion: The spirit referred to in 2 Corinthians 5:5 is probably the “Holy Spirit” rather than the “Human Spirit”.

Why Radical Islam Breeds Murder

Here is an interesting article by a former Islamist radical.

The author, a former member of the British Jihadi Network, writes that he left the organization in February 2006 because he realized "that its members had simply become mindless killers".

In the article, he claims that the cause of Islamic violence is not poverty, or political oppression, etc, but rather because of a radical offshoot of the basic Islamic paradigm. He says the basic paradigm has been developed over the years that there are two types of nations in the world: The Land of Islam, and The Land of Unbelief.

However, Islamic radicals have gone two steps beyond that:
1) They claim there is no pure Land of Islam, and therefore the whole world must be the Land of Unbelief, and
2) since Islam must declare war on unbelief, they've declared war on the whole world.

The author goes on to write:
Along with many of my former peers, I was taught by Pakistani and British radical preachers that this reclassification of the globe as a Land of War (Dar ul-Harb) allows any Muslim to destroy the sanctity of the five rights that every human is granted under Islam: life, wealth, land, mind and belief.
In Dar ul-Harb, anything goes, including the treachery and cowardice of attacking civilians.
He charges that this state of affairs, at least in Britain, is because no one is willing to discuss theology, and thus a vacuum has been created in which radicalism has flourished.

He argues that the solution is for both Muslims and non-Muslims to open up discussions about theology.
And when this new theological territory is opened up, Western Muslims will be able to liberate themselves from defunct models of the world, rewrite the rules of interaction and perhaps we will discover that the concept of killing in the name of Islam is no more than an anachronism.
I am in agreement with this Muslim that open discussion can lead to solutions. Life is filled with examples of damage done because someone is unwilling to deal with the issues and get the issues out in the open, whether it's a secret addiction to sleeping pills, or a teenager's angst over not being accepted by the popular kids, or an entire culture's angst at discussing religious issues. As the Creator of the universe once said, "The Truth shall set you Free".