Archive for April, 2012


A recently released report from the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago shows which countries have the most, and the least, belief in God by population percentage.

The Philippines, a predominantly Catholic nation, was found to have the highest percentage (84 percent) of people who “know God really exists and … have no doubts about it,” and the lowest percentage (less than one percent) of people who said they “don’t believe in God” at all.

The report, titled “Beliefs about God across Time and Countries,” analyzes 30 countries based on surveys from the International Social Survey Programme conducted as far back as 1991 and as recently as 2008. The survey’s findings do not include Middle Eastern countries where a Muslim majority exists.

Those surveyed were asked a number of questions to help researchers measure their collective belief in God. First, they asked a question to determine whether those surveyed were atheists, agnostics, deists, waivers (those who believe in God only some of the time), weak believers (those who believe but have doubts) or strong believers. They were also asked how their belief has changed during their lifetime, and whether or not they believed in a God “who concerns himself with every human being personally.”

“While there is a modest, general shift away from belief in God, there is enormous variation across countries in the level of believers, atheists, and intermediate groups,” the report states.

Among all the nations mentioned in the report, atheism is highest in former East Germany, where 52 percent of people don’t believe in God. Smith indicates in his analysis that “countries with high atheism (and low strong belief) tend to be ex-Socialist states and countries in northwest Europe. Countries with low atheism and high strong belief tend to be Catholic societies, especially in the developing world, plus the United States, Israel, and Orthodox Cyprus.”

Among Americans, 81 percent say they have always believed in God, compared to just 37 percent in Great Britain, 25 percent in Japan and 13 percent in former East Germany.

Sixty-one percent of Americans said they know God exists, while three percent identified themselves as nonbelievers.

In Japan, only nine percent of the Japanese people said they don’t believe in God, yet only four percent said they know God exists – the lowest out of all the countries surveyed. People from Japan were more likely to indicate that they fell somewhere in the middle, and they either believed in God some of the time or said they were agnostic.

“Japanese people actually are spiritual people. They’re not religious people, but they’re spiritual people … They have a belief in a lot of different types of deities,” Richard Chuman, executive director of the Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society (JEMS), told The Christian Post on Monday.

Chuman says the biggest hindrance to Christianity in Japan is that it is seen primarily as a “Western religion,” but there are other cultural factors as well. Many Japanese churches are very traditional, some would say behind the times, and they often adhere to firm denominational divides instead of assisting another in reaching their nation. Some of the more recently successful churches are those that are less traditional and work toward appealing to the nation’s youth.

Japanese people who travel to the United States or Australia are more likely to become Christians while abroad, Chuman says, because they are removed from their culture. Often, when these Christians return to Japan, they see themselves as “catalysts for change” in their homeland.

When asked if they believe in a God “who concerns himself with every human being personally,” 92 percent of people from The Philippines said they did, as compared to just 24 percent of people in Japan and 68 percent of Americans.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/which-country-believes-in-god-the-most-least-74118/

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By Lisa Van Houten

ABC’s “GCB” returned last night after being preempted last week.  “GCB” finished in last place in overall network ratings for its timeslot with 5.7 million viewers.

Take Action! Click here to send a message to the corporations that align with the mocking of Christianity on “GCB.”

 

Returning advertisers include:  Ace Hardware, Subway, Vaseline, Honda, Overstock.com, L’Oreal.  New advertisers include Applebee’s. All detergent, Bank of America, and Resolve Spray-N-Wash.

Sadly, even though the show came in last, “GCB” had its best ratings in five weeks.  Add up the number of Christians in America and 5.7 million should seem like a paltry number in comparison.

So why is a show that ridicules the Christian faith still on the air?  Why wasn’t the show immediately yanked in response to a loud chorus of protest from American Christians?

 

Perhaps because there hasn’t been one.  More like a whisper of protest.  I know many of you our readers have spoken up and expressed outrage regarding this show that is the most blatant example of Christian bigotry to ever air on network TV.  And so while I may very well be speaking to the choir, the lack of response from the overall Christian community is a vivid example of the lethargy of the Church in America.

Perhaps too many of those 5.7 million viewers are made up of church-goers.  I’ve followed blogs about “GCB” and have seen countless comments such as “I’m a Christian and I love this show!”

 

Or maybe today’s Christians are so accommodated to our decadent culture because they spend too much time playing the Hokey-Pokey with the world – except they put their foot in the world and keep it there.

Actress Annie Potts who plays one of the characters on “GCB” claimed that the show is actually “disinfecting” Christianity.  She stated:  “I’m getting a lot of letters and tweets and things from people who are Christian people who are happy to see the hypocrites called out.  I think all true believers love to have hypocrisy routed out. I mean it’s – what do they say – sunshine is the best disinfectant? Put it out there. Call it what it is. You know, satire is always helpful for society.”

 

The only thing is, as one commentator stated:  “The problem with this show’s portrayal of Christians is that it is not intended for Christians to poke fun at ourselves or to hold us accountable for our too-often worldly behavior.  The problem is the show is viewed by a non-Christian audience as an accurate portrayal of Christians’ hypocrisy.  At the very least, you must agree that it falsely presents the message of our faith.  For the world that is in desperate need of the Savior, that’s not entertaining it’s just sad.”

And that is the concern regarding “GCB.”  The point of the show is not to light-heartedly point out the speck in the eye of some who call themselves Christians, but to paint all of Christianity with the same speckled brush – leaving viewers with the false impression that this offensive portrayal of Christianity is a true picture of our faith.

As the saying goes, ‘we may be stupid, but we’re not dumb.’  Annie Potts may be trying to sell “GCB” as “sunshine” and “helpful” for society, but the kind of help and light that society truly needs comes only from the Son.

Take Action! Click here to send a message to the corporations that align with the mocking of Christianity.

http://www.americandecency.org/archives/gcb-%e2%80%93-disinfecting-or-denigrating/#more-6625


The Daily Spurgeon: Follow Jesus, then expect this.


Dear President Ransdell:

As a supporter of Hilltoppers for Life, I am deeply concerned at the way its pro-life display was vandalized on April 20, 2012. I am perhaps more concerned with the way Western Kentucky University (WKU) officials have responded to this criminal action. As this story continues to unfold, the facts suggest that at least one WKU official knew in advance this vandalism would occur. Later, several officials did nothing to stop it. This is simply inexcusable in a climate of higher learning.

As you already know, Hilltoppers for Life erected approximately 3,700 crosses in order to commemorate the number of babies aborted every day in the United States. On the morning of April 20th, Elaina Smith, an art student at your university, began placing condoms on each of the crosses. Members of Hilltoppers for Life confronted her peacefully and asked her to stop. She simply refused to do so. This young feminist did not seem to understand that no really means no.

When campus security officers arrived, they did nothing. That bears repeating: The police simply sat there and watched her break the law. That kind of laziness is appalling. It makes me wonder whether your police have tenure. Unbelievably, Ms. Smith told them she was completing an approved art assignment by desecrating the crosses. And the cops actually bought her “my professor made me do it” defense!

Your April 24th statement claims that Ms. Smith’s professor, Kristina Arnold, did not really intend to target the pro-life display. Unfortunately, Dr. Arnold contradicted that when she told WBKO that she did not disapprove of Ms. Smith’s proposed vandalism. She admitted that she knew of it in advance and did nothing whatsoever to stop it. So who is lying? Is it you or Dr. Arnold?

Other comments indicate that Arnold actually condoned Ms. Smith’s acts. For example, she smugly stated, “Learning and debating are not always pretty or polite processes. Critical engagement with ideas can get messy.” But nowhere in her statements did she indicate that “critical engagement” also involves respecting the free speech rights of fellow students. Professors should also know that no means no.

While it is encouraging to hear you say that you and your fellow administrators value free speech, so far WKU’s actions have not demonstrated that it really understands the First Amendment. When student freedoms have been criminally violated, issuing private assurances and holding secret meetings falls short of the mark. You preside over a public university, not a secret society.

I have already seen some of the internal emails in connection with this unfortunate event. The most notable comes from Ms. Smith and contains the following admission: “During the week of April 16th, the Hilltoppers for Life’s pro-life display remained un-interrupted. The student body tolerated this intrusion without major incident. The voice of the pro-life community was heard. On the last day of this event, I attempted to add to the visual dialogue with my own voice and was met with strong resistance.”

The very idea that one of your university students deems others’ speech as an “intrusion” and the desecration of other people’s property as an attempt “to add to the visual dialogue” is simply dumbfounding. This makes perfectly clear the need for immediate action in order to correct her fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between vandalism and free speech.

Accordingly, I suggest that Dr. Arnold’s art students be sent on a series of assignments – for full academic credit – that will help them better appreciate the difference between protected speech and unprotected violations of the Kentucky criminal code. The following assignments should teach them that their actions are not always protected – even when they are in possession of 3700 condoms:

*Go find Elaina Smith’s Prius in the WKU parking lot. Adorn it with 3700 “Abortion is Murder” bumper stickers. Then ask whether she thinks the stickers “add to the visual dialogue” on the abortion debate.

*Go find Dr. Arnold’s office on the campus of WKU. Adorn her door with 3700 pictures of aborted babies. Then ask whether she thinks the pictures “add to the visual dialogue” on the abortion debate.

*Photo-shop a picture of Jessie Jackson holding a condom saying “Don’t be like me. Suit up and avoid an unexpected love child.” Tape the picture on the door of the African American Center. See whether this visual creates a better dialogue.

*Next, photo shop a picture of the prophet Mohammad with a condom over his head. Tape the picture on the door of the Muslim Student Association office. See whether you can get the NEA to defer your costs.

*Next, go to the campus Gay and Lesbian Center. Burn a rainbow flag just like the hippies who burn the American flag. And make sure it’s their rainbow flag. Remember to tell them you are just trying to expand the visual dialogue – even after the room is filled with smoke!

I can imagine no better way to promote equality and learn about the First Amendment all at once. Just have your students insult everyone while trespassing on their personal property. If people get angry, that’s their problem. Learning is not always pretty and polite. And critical engagement can sometimes get messy.

Mike Adams

Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Feminists Say the Darndest Things: A Politically Incorrect Professor Confronts “Womyn” On Campus.

http://townhall.com/columnists/mikeadams/2012/04/30/the_old_rubber_cross/page/full/


“Be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 6:12

We all have little slips in our memory once in a while, right? I love the story about the guy who decided to do something about his increasing forgetfulness. This poor chap decided to attend a seminar on how to increase his ability to remember things. And, to his great delight, the seminar worked! A few weeks later he sat in his living room, chatting with a friend about his newly improved recall ability.

“You won’t believe it,” he gushed, “This memory seminar really has helped me remember things better. I have a whole new lease on life!”

“That’s great,” his friend replied. “How does it work?”

“Well, you simply think of a common object that helps you build a link to whatever you need to remember. If you can remember the common object, then you’ll remember the other object.”

“Wow!” said his friend. “You know, to be honest, my memory’s slipping a little. What’s the name of the seminar? I think I might sign up for it.”

“Okay,” the guy replied. “Let’s see, think of a flower with red petals . . . long stem . . .  thorns . . .  rose.” Then he yelled to his wife in the next room, “Hey, Rose, what was the name of that seminar I went to?”

In Deuteronomy 6:12, Moses is talking to the Israelites about the danger of memory loss when it comes to forgetting God. God’s people were standing on the edge of the Promised Land, ready to enter a land with great cities they did not build, houses full of good things they did not fill, and vast and lush vineyards they didn’t plant. And, as good as the prospect of all this prosperity was, there was a danger lurking under the blessing. Moses knew that in good times it’s easy to forget God. The people were in danger of forgetting that it was God who had given them this land flowing with milk and honey; forgetting that it was God who went before them in each battle; forgetting, in fact, that it was only through God’s gracious choice of them as His people that they were enjoying the blessings of their new home and country. And, when we forget God, we become unthankful, proud, and self-sufficient—the kinds of things that are offensive to the Giver of every good and perfect gift.

So the solution for Israel—and for that matter, for us—is keeping God in mind! The book of Deuteronomy is actually a memory seminar about God’s goodness to His people. Moses reminds the Israelites of the law that was given on Mount Sinai. He tracks the Israelites back over the ways God miraculously provided for them—battles won, food given, shoes that didn’t wear out—the list of God’s providing work is long.

So, here’s the lesson. Beware! When God is abundantly good to us we are in great danger. We are in danger because in good times it’s easy to forget God. It’s easy to be so consumed with the gifts that we forget the Giver! And if we do that, we end up worshiping the blessings and not the One who in His amazing grace has blessed us.

The benefit of keeping God in mind is that it keeps our hearts grateful, appropriately humble, and delighted in our God for His goodness to us. Believe me, delighting in Him beats being consumed by the stuff that He has given us.

Memory lapses in our daily routines may be normal for us. But remembering God’s goodness in our lives is something we can’t afford to forget!

YOUR JOURNEY…

  • Take some time to write out what God has done for you. Let it be an exercise in remembering His goodness and grace in your life!
  • While we can rejoice in the fact that God forgives and forgets the sins that we confess before Him, it’s sometimes helpful for us to remember just how much He has forgiven us. We are, as Paul said, examples of God’s “unlimited patience” (1 Timothy 1:16).
  • How does remembering what God has done for you personally affect the way that you will live your life today?

http://getmorestrength.org/daily/dont-forget/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GetMoreStrength+%28Strength+For+The+Journey%29

Spontaneous Love

Posted: April 30, 2012 in Oswald Chambers

Spontaneous Love.


“When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, he made a compact with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel, as the Lord had promised through Samuel.” — 1 Chronicles 11:13

“What’s in it for me?”

The ubiquity of self-interest within daily life can be glimpsed at home – “why should I wash a dish that I didn’t even use?” – at the office – “why should I cover for someone else, just because he’s sick?” – and even in a religious setting – “why should I greet a new face in the congregation? No one ever greeted me when I moved in!”

We’ve all heard some variation on this theme, and in a sense, it’s not surprising. Would we, ourselves, slogging through a busy work schedule as it is, expend extra energy accomplishing a task, the outcome of which will have no measurable impact on our quality of life?

How strange is it, then, to read 1 Chronicles’ account (paralleled in 2 Samuel) of David’s ascension to the throne of Israel? The chronicler informs us that after the entire Israelite leadership had expressed its collective desire to see David anointed king, David took the initiative in establishing his rule upon a constitutional foundation via a covenant, or in Hebrew, a berit.

In other words, although David possessed overwhelming popular support and could have enthroned himself as a dictator – a ruler unimpeded by official limits – David chose, willingly, to establish a berit between himself and his people, ensuring that his rule would be just. Although David himself gained nothing from this berit, he knew that it would greatly benefit his brethren, and he acted accordingly.

The most basic component of personhood for Jewish males is the berit milah (circumcision). Although every Jewish male must be circumcised, it is noteworthy that, as the great thinker and jurist Maimonides teaches the responsibility to undergo circumcision falls only secondarily upon the person himself.

Instead, the primary command to circumcise a child falls upon the child’s father. Although the father receives no personal reward for providing for his child’s berit, he nonetheless remains instrumental in performing for his child the kindness of ensuring his eternal place within the Jewish ancestral tradition. Indeed, in Jewish thought, the very idea of a berit, in any context, expresses the praiseworthy notion of selflessness.

In our own lives, let us recommit to the principle of “berit” – of selfless devotion to family, friends, strangers, and most of all, God.

http://www.holylandmoments.org/devotionals/the-berit-principle