Round-up of stories from around the world

United Kingdom

Here’s an article from the BBC News from reader Steven about the suppression of the rights of medical personnel by secular humanists. This time, we get some good news.

Excerpt:

Doctors are demanding that NHS staff be given a right to discuss spiritual issues with patients as well as being allowed to offer to pray for them.

Medics will tell the British Medical Association conference this week that staff should not be disciplined as long as they handle the issue sensitively.

The doctors said recent cases where health workers had got into trouble were making people fearful.

But atheists said it was wrong to mix religion and health care.

I also noticed this related article on LifeSiteNews linked by Binks in his latest round-up. Another Christian nurse gets flak from the atheistic fascists for daring to not behave as an atheist in public.

Excerpt:

Nurse Slatter was told by her employer, the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, that the 1-inch gold necklace could “harbour and spread infections” or be used as weapon. She refused the hospital’s suggestion that she carry the necklace in her pocket and has resigned, saying she would not choose between her job and her religion.

…Many of these clashes have been the result of action by homosexual activists and the help of the Labour government’s “anti-discrimination” laws. Most recently, the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) has issued draft “guidance” for schools that say teachers must hide their religion from students and colleagues. They must “promote equality and value diversity” by keeping their religious beliefs to themselves it said.

You can listen to a debate here that shows how naturally atheism leads to fascism in places like the UK. Or you can read my exchange with a British fascist here. (Fascism is the system of government in which individual rights, such as the right to free speech, are curtailed by the state)

India

You might remember that I blogged about the persecution of Christians in the eastern state of Orissa when I covered the recent Indian election.

Orissa is one of the states where Christians are really in the minority and there are Hindu schools teaching the Hindu-nationalist doctrine of Hindutva, which is extremely hostile to Christianity.

Well, Shalini sent me some good news about the situation in Orissa:

Excerpt:

Home Minister P Chidambaram, who is on a two-day visit to Orissa, visited one of the relief camps in riot-hit Kandhmal district on Friday.

While speaking to the victims, he apologised for the conditions they had to face in the wake of a series of communal clashes following the killing of 85-year-old VHP leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati in August 2008.

…Condemning the incident, Chidambaram asked them to start life afresh, build the churches and practice their religion.

“Whatever happened was wrong. Build your churches and practice your dharma,” he said.

When some refugees spoke of fear of RSS and Bajrang Dal, the Home Minister assured then that the guilty will be “prosecuted and punished.”

I hope that this is a sign of better things to come for Indian Christians. I must admit that I spoke to a few Indian Hindus here in the USA, and they were not supportive of the rights of Christians to evangelize or to exercise freedom of religious expression in India.

Australia

Looks like Australia is considering implementing Human Rights Commissions, exactly like the ones that Canada has. Story from Life Site News. (H/T Free Canuckistan)

Excerpt:

Australian life and family advocates are deeply concerned with plans by a government agency to institute new “human rights” legislation modelled on that of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Endeavour Forum, a national pro-life and pro-family advocacy group, has submitted a brief to a consultative committee, warning that since the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has “consistently failed” to protect the Christian values of the majority of Australians, “its probable recommendations will diminish, not enhance, our freedom.”

The AHRC is conducting national consultations on a proposed Human Rights Charter that is supported by the Attorney General, Robert McClelland, who has argued that since other countries, such as Canada, have such documents, Australia should follow suit.

And to think there was a time when I wanted to move to Queensland! Ha!

Canada

A Quebec court will hear from a Catholic school that is resisting the anti-Christian curriculum that is being pushed by the province. The article is from LifeSiteNews courtesy of Binks.

Excerpt:

Loyola Catholic High School has finished presenting its case in court against Quebec’s mandatory Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) program. The case was launched after the Department of Education refused to allow the school to continue teaching its own Catholic-centered religion course.

The private Catholic boys’ school objects to the province’s mandatory course on the grounds that it conflicts with the school’s Catholic character and presents a relativistic world-view of religion.

…Quebec Education Minister Michelle Courchesne has denied all applications for exemption from the ERC and has made it clear that any religious education program that promotes one religion over any other is not acceptable.

Quebec is the most secular, left-wing province in Canada.

Pakistan

I spotted this story over at The Lambeth Walk blog. It recounts the details of some anti-Christian crimes in Muslim-dominated Pakistan.

Excerpt:

Recently two very disturbing cases have emerged from Pakistan which give some insight into the risks which non-Muslims face in Muslim countries, particularly if they fail to pay the jizya.

The first concerns a Christian man who was sexually abused, raped and murdered for refusing to convert to Islam…

The second case involves the police torturing a Christian man and then denying him medical treatment…

Here’s another one from Weasel Zippers, also via Binks.

Excerpt from the linked BosNewsLife article:

Two Pakistani Christians remained detained Thursday, June 25, on false charges of “blasphemy” and “robbery”, advocacy groups said.

Asia Bibi, 37, was reportedly detained by police on allegations of blasphemy in the village of Ittanwali in Punjab province on June 19, following heated discussions about Islam with Muslim women who work with her on a farm.

“Bibi told them that Christ died on the cross for their sins and asked them what Mohammed had done for them,”said Voice Of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC), which monitored the case. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God and yours is not true,” Bibi reportedly said.

Something to pray about, and there’s no time like the present for prayer.

Mauritania

Al-Qaeda kills an American missionary in Mauritania. Story from Jihad Watch, via Binks.

Excerpt from the linked AFP story:

The man was shot several times in the head from close range after he resisted an apparent kidnap attempt, a witness told AFP, after the shooting outside a private language and computer school run by the American.

“A foreigner has been shot dead, apparently by youths who fled. We are investigating the case,” police said, while the interior ministry identified the man as Christopher Logest and said he also worked for a charity, Noura.

Mauritania is in northwest Africa.

Polar bear expert suppressed for telling inconvenient truth

People voted for Obama based on this inaccurate picture and a propaganda movie made by someone who will make millions from cap and trade
Polar bear population has increased 5 times in the last 50 years

First, polar bear populations are BOOMING worldwide as the current global cooling phase continues.

Gateway Pundit has a round-up with all the numbers.

Excerpt:

Polar bear numbers in Canada have increased in 11 of 13 regions in recent years.

Another report shows that polar bear encounters on the North Slope oil fields have risen to record levels the last two years. The global warming religionists blame the increase in polar bear sightings on shrinking ice flows. So, now the alarmists are blaming manmade global warming on both increased and decreased polar bear populations.

There are 5 times as many polar bears today as there were 50 years ago…

In August 2008 Alaska Governor Sarah Palin sued the federal government seeking to reverse the decision to put the polar bear on the threatened species list.

A new US Senate report says:

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimates that the polar bear population is currently at 20,000 to 25,000 bears, up from as low as 5,000-10,000 bears in the 1950s and 1960s.

But it’s much worse than that.

The suppression of the evidence

Not only is the number of polar bears 5 times higher than it was 50 years ago, but the research of the most prestigious scientists is being suppressed.

Consider this story from the UK Telegraph. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

Over the coming days a curiously revealing event will be taking place in Copenhagen. Top of the agenda at a meeting of the Polar Bear Specialist Group (set up under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature/Species Survival Commission) will be the need to produce a suitably scary report on how polar bears are being threatened with extinction by man-made global warming.

This is one of a steady drizzle of events planned to stoke up alarm in the run-up to the UN’s major conference on climate change in Copenhagen next December. But one of the world’s leading experts on polar bears has been told to stay away from this week’s meeting, specifically because his views on global warming do not accord with those of the rest of the group.

Dr Taylor… was voted down by its members because of his views on global warming. The chairman, Dr Andy Derocher, a former university pupil of Dr Taylor’s, frankly explained in an email (which I was not sent by Dr Taylor) that his rejection had nothing to do with his undoubted expertise on polar bears: “it was the position you’ve taken on global warming that brought opposition”.

Dr Taylor was told that his views running “counter to human-induced climate change are extremely unhelpful”. His signing of the Manhattan Declaration – a statement by 500 scientists that the causes of climate change are not CO2 but natural, such as changes in the radiation of the sun and ocean currents – was “inconsistent with the position taken by the PBSG”.

Newsbusters has more on the suppression of the dissenting expert.

What can you learn by reading apologetics books?

For beginning apologists, I wanted to recommend a series of 3 books designed to give you coverage of most of the issues. Each book is a collection of short chapters designed to introduce you to the various areas that are likely to come up in disputes.

Here they are:

  1. “The Case for a Creator” by Lee Strobel
  2. “Passionate Conviction” edited by William Lane Craig and Paul Copan
  3. “Contending with Christianity’s Critics” edited by William Lane Craig and Paul Copan

I just wanted to show you the table of contents so that you could get an idea about what you might learn by reading through these books.

The Case for a Creator

Here is the table of contents. (Watch the book’s DVD on YouTube)

  1. White-Coated Scientists Versus Black-Robed Preachers
  2. The Images of Evolution
  3. Doubts About Darwinism: An Interview with Jonathan Wells
  4. Where Science Meets Faith: An interview with Stephen C. Meyer
  5. The Evidence of Cosmology: Beginning with a Bang; An interview with William Lane Craig
  6. The Evidence of Physics: the Cosmos on a Razor’s Edge; An interview with Robin Collins
  7. The Evidence of Astronomy: The Privileged Planet; An interview with Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Wesley Richards
  8. The Evidence of Biochemistry: The Complexity of Molecular Machines; An Interview with Michael J. Behe
  9. The Evidence of Biological Information: The Challenge of DNA and the Origin of Life; An Interview with Stephen C. Meyer
  10. The Evidence of Consciousness: The Enigma of the Mind; An Interview with J.P. Moreland
  11. The Cumulative Case for a Creator

Passionate Conviction

Here is the table of contents. (Sample chapter in a PDF)

PART 1 WHY APOLOGETICS?

  • In Intellectual Neutral by William Lane Craig
  • Living Smart by J. P. Moreland

PART 2 GOD

  • Why Doesn’t God Make His Existence More Obvious to Us? by Michael J. Murray
  • Two Versions of the Cosmological Argument by R. Douglas Geivett
  • The Contemporary Argument for Design: An Overview by Jay W. Richards
  • A Moral Argument by Paul Copan

PART 3 JESUS

  • Revisionist Views about Jesus by Charles L. Quarks
  • What Do We Know for Sure about Jesus’ Death? by Craig A. Evans
  • Jesus’ Resurrection and Christian Origins by N. T. Wright

PART 4 COMPARATIVE RELIGIONS

  • Christianity in a World of Religions by Craig J. Hazen
  • The East Comes West (or Why Jesus instead of the Buddha?) by Harold Netland
  • Christ in the New Age by L. Russ Bush
  • Islam and Christianity by Emir Fethi Caner

PART 5 POSTMODERNISM AND RELATIVISM

  • The Challenges of Postmodernism by J. P. Moreland
  • Is Morality Relative? by Francis J. Beckwith
  • Reflections on McLaren and the Emerging Church by R. Scott Smith

PART 6 PRACTICAL APPLICATION

  • Dealing with Emotional Doubt by Gary R. Habermas
  • Apologetics for an Emerging Generation by Sean McDowell

Contending with Christainity’s Critics

Here is the table of contents. (Sample chapter in a PDF)

PART 1 THE EXISTENCE OF GOD

  • Dawkins’s Delusion by William Lane Craig
  • At Home in the Multiverse? by James Daniel Sinclair
  • Confronting Naturalism: The Argument from Reason by Victor Reppert
  • Belief in God: A Trick of Our Brain? by Michael J. Murray
  • The Moral Poverty of Evolutionary Naturalism by Mark D. Linville
  • Dawkins’s Best Argument Against God’s Existence by Gregory E. Ganssle

PART 2 THE JESUS OF HISTORY

  • Criteria for the Gospels’ Authenticity by Robert H. Stein
  • Jesus the Seer by Ben Witherington III
  • The Resurrection of Jesus Time Line by Gary R. Habermas
  • How Scholars Fabricate Jesus by Craig A. Evans
  • How Badly Did the Early Scribes Corrupt the New Testament? An Examination of Bart Ehrman’s Claims by Daniel B. Wallace
  • Who Did Jesus Think He Was? by Michael J. Wilkins

PART 3 THE COHERENCE OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE

  • The Coherence of Theism by Charles Taliaferro and Elsa J. Marty
  • Is the Trinity a Logical Blunder? God as Three and One by Paul Copan
  • Did God Become a Jew? A Defense of the Incarnation by Paul Copan
  • Dostoyevsky, Woody Allen, and the Doctrine of Penal Substitution by Steve L. Porter
  • Hell: Getting What’s Good My Own Way by Stewart Goetz
  • What Does God Know? The Problems of Open Theism by David P. Hunt

Before you can mount a detailed defense on any of these questions, it helps to be able to recognize them all!

By the way, you can get a head start on the first one if you just connect to YouTube and watch the movies “Unlocking the Mystery of Life” and “The Privileged Planet”.

Does Obama’s stimulus bill discriminate against men?

Check out this story from Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

It turns out that the $800 billion stimulus bill (porkulus-1) was altered in order to discriminate against the blue-collar men who are losing the lion’s share of jobs in the Democrat-caused recession.

Excerpt:

Christina Hoff Sommers points out that “of the 5.7 million jobs Americans lost between December 2007 and May 2009, nearly 80 percent had been held by men. . . .Men are bearing the brunt of the current economic crisis because they predominate in manufacturing and construction, the hardest-hit sectors, which have lost more than 3 million jobs since December 2007. Women, by contrast, are a majority in recession-resistant fields such as education and health care, which gained 588,000 jobs during the same period.”

But when the Administration floated the concept of “an ambitious . . . stimulus program to modernize roads, bridges, schools, electrical grids, public transportation, and dams” as a way of “reinvigorating the hardest-hit sectors of the economy,” “Women’s groups were appalled,” asking “Where are the New Jobs for Women?” and denouncing what they called “The Macho Stimulus Plan.”

And what did Obama do in response to this feminist pressure?

The Obama Administration quickly knuckled under to this pressure, replacing its recovery package with an $800 billion stimulus package that instead “skews job creation somewhat towards women” by spending money instead on social services like welfare that are administered mostly by female employees.

“A recent Associated Press story reports: ‘Stimulus Funds Go to Social Programs Over ‘Shovel-ready’ Projects.’ A team of six AP reporters who have been tracking the funds find that the $300 billion sent to the states is being used mainly for health care, education, unemployment benefits, food stamps, and other social services.” Or, as another AP report put it, “Stimulus Aid Favors Welfare, Not Work, Programs.”

The stimulus package also repealed welfare reform…

Read the whole thing. I think this is very interesting given the fact that it was these blue-collar unions who helped to get Obama elected. If there is a silver-lining to Obama’s socialism, this has to be it.

I think the most interesting question to ask about this story is: do single women, who voted for Obama 60-35, expect to find husbands and fathers for their children? Or will they all marry the government?

Understanding the effects of moral relativism on New Zealand schools

Previously, I had discussed why atheism is not able to ground the minimal requirements for rational moral behavior.

Now let’s see  an example of  the effects of not being able to make moral judgments about good and evil.

An example from the education system

I was reading over on the MandM blog, which is based in New Zealand and I found a post about the bullying problems that their 14-year-old son was having in his school. Schools are notorious breeding grounds for moral relativism – that is where young minds are brainwashed with “values clarification” programs. Students learn to make up their own values based on personal preferences.

Here is what happened to their son Christian:

Christian began attending Liston at the start of 2008 as a Year 9 student. Since that time he has been repeatedly bullied by other students. This bullying included being called names, threatened, being taunted about his medical condition (he has Aspergers Syndrome – see the attachment “medical condition”); he has been shoved, choked, hit, punched, knocked over, kicked, had his pants pulled down and has been dragged across the concrete while a student filmed him on his cell phone. During class, he has had objects thrown at him, he has been hit, punched, kicked, he has been knocked out of his desk, has had people steal his belongings, call him names and taunt him about his condition.

And this is what the teachers did:

Frequently the response of the teachers in these classes to these incidents has not been adequate, often it has been [to have] him moved instead of the bully.

To our knowledge, no student has been stood down, reported to the board of trustees or even had their parents phoned over the assaults and harassment they have committed against our son in his year and a half at Liston, including the repeat offenders.

And here’s what it means:

It seemed to us (aside from the repeat offenders) that as each bully was dealt with another one popped up to take his place. This suggested to us that a culture of bullying had developed within the school; that to the other students, bullying didn’t come with serious consequences: your parents didn’t get told, you were not at risk of being stood down and the teachers didn’t really view it as anything serious anyway when it happened in the classroom.

This is the problem with the moral relativism, which has become dominant as Christianity has retreated. It is irrational for an atheist to stand up to evil and injustice if it involves possible unpleasantness for them. The moral relativist, believes that there is no distinction between the victim and the bully – and this prevents the relativist from standing up to the bully and stopping their bullying.

You can see an example of this moral relativism going on right now with Obama and the Iranian dictators.

New Zealand’s anti-smacking law

It has been argued by family-values advocates that children need to form their conscience and moral sense by relating to their parents, especially their mother, at a very early age. Anxiety and aggression in children increases as the family is weakened or broken up by things like day care and no-fault divorce.

The disintegration of the family is aided by many progressive policies enacted by the political left. The left is wedded to moral relativism, because the left is secular. And they even desire to force moral relativism on families. What that means to parents is that the state can criminalize moral judgments with hate crime laws, restrictions on speech and even restrictions on parenting.

In New Zealand, the country is actually having a referendum about their “anti-smacking” law. The current law is that parents are prohibited from physically disciplining their children. I would think that this law would exacerbate the bullying problem in the schools. [Note: I fixed this paragraph to reflect the fact that the law is already in place, and the referendum is non-binding!]

UPDATE: I noticed a post about how Christians are allowed to make moral judgments, including judgments against bullies, also on MandM.

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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