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Saturday, 24 June 2017

A Child's Cry.

As our home is one of a block of fully-attached terraced houses, it is not unusual for noise from neighbours at either side to penetrate our rather thin walls. Only a couple of weeks ago we were disturbed by the thumping of drums issuing from the powerful high-fidelity music system owned by one of our neighbours. The continuous deep-bass thumping had not only irritated me, but vibrations can be literally felt in our lounge and Alex my wife started to suffer from headaches. This was enough for me having to handwrite a kind letter explaining the situation with a request to turn down the bass tone. Within minutes of posting the letter through their front door, all felt silent. Since then, only occasionally was I able to hear a much tinnier version of what they were playing next door, at a much more tolerable noise level.

However, our neighbour on the opposite side of us happen to run a private daycare business for young children of working mothers. Although quiet at weekends, lately we were both disturbed by an apparent new arrival - a child no more than two years old at a guess, and could be considerably younger. So for several mornings we could hear constant crying, the child screaming out,
Mummy! Mummy! Mummy!...

To hear such wailing can only bring distress. Although out of our sight, our imaginations are vivid with mental pictures of a helpless toddler sitting on the floor, a toy or an uneaten sandwich between his legs, loudly crying his eyes out whilst arms outstretched, longing for his mother's presence during whom she sits alone in her car, driving to her office to face another day. How helpless have I felt, how sad, how distressing. And I wonder how many times this sort of thing is repeated across the country, and particularly in the Home Counties, where we live.

The normal explanation given by mothers for this scenario is that she has to work, otherwise her husband's sole income would not be sufficient enough to support the home budget. Although in some cases this may indeed be true, I can't help feeling a degree of scepticism over their universal "must work or go broke" excuse. And this feeling of scepticism could apply even more here in the prosperous South of England. In this day of female academic success, the real reason why they feel that they "must work" is to pursue their career prospects. That covetous career ladder for which these past three years spent at university, along with the dizzyingly high college fee debt hanging over their heads, certainly makes the prospect of promotion worthy of pursuit, even to the cost of the child's emotional welfare.

So what I have read in the past,* the child's most important years of his life are the first five years spent at home with Mother. One striking example can be found in the early chapters of Exodus. In the second chapter we have a married couple, Amram (meaning the Exalted one) and his wife Jochebed (meaning God's glory). Having given birth to two children already, Aaron and Miriam, their third and youngest child was Moses, which by then the Egyptian Pharaoh had already decreed that all Hebrew boys born must be destroyed. To preserve his life, Jochabed had her son placed in a casket and left to float in the River Nile under the watchfulness of his older sister Miriam. Soon it was spotted by the daughter of Pharaoh, and offered to adopt him into the Royal family. However, Pharaoh's daughter needed a maid to wean him before adoption, and after Miriam approach with the offer, the infant was committed to his own mother to wean him.

This meant that as the lad began his life in Pharaoh's palace, he was taught all the wisdom of the Egyptians, the equivalent of a doctorate today. His was also groomed to be the future king of Egypt, and as such, the ruler of the whole known world. As his own Hebrew people sweated under their cruel taskmasters under the hot sunshine, Prince Moses was at his most comfortable ease, reclining in the softness of sofas in the palace. But he never forgot what his parents taught him during his sensitive infant years. He recalls sitting on his mother's lap day after day to be taught with affection about the God of the Hebrews, and of the Covenant made with his forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and how one of Jacob's sons, Joseph, who rescued both Egypt and his own family from starvation by a severe seven-year famine. He recalls his mother escorting the young boy outside, and made to watch his own people suffering under the taskmaster's whip, the groaning under heavy labour, and then turning to look up to his mother, only to watch her face crumple into tears.

"Look, Moses, these are your people, the Hebrews, slaving under the Egyptians's whip."
"Mummy, is Daddy among them, suffering with all the others?"
"Yes sweetheart. Daddy is suffering under the whip with all the rest." 

Jochabed lowers herself to the level of Moses' eyes, tears rolling down her beautiful cheeks.

"Please, my dear son, remember what you have seen today. You are a Hebrew, and these slaves are Hebrews, your fellow countrymen. Soon you must go to Pharaoh's palace. At the palace you will be adopted as an Egyptian and you will learn of their wisdom. But please promise me this."
"What promise, Mummy?"
"That as you grow up in the palace, promise never to forget who you are, who your family are, and who all these slaves are."
"I promise, Mummy."
"One day, sweetheart, you will lead your people out of this land to enter their own land. As I have already told you before, God has revealed this to both Daddy and me at the time you were born."
"I won't forget, Mummy."

As the Prince lounged at ease on the sofa, his head full of the wisdom of the Egyptians, memories of his mother's tutelage were revived, recalling that above conversation a few weeks after his fifth birthday. He also recalled how his mother sat him on her lap every day of his childhood, and with a loving, attentive attitude, taught him everything he needed to know, including his future leadership of his fellow Hebrews, even to the cost of the throne itself. This was the most important time for Moses. Mother and child spending time at home together. Something Moses had never forgotten throughout his life. It was his mother's tutelage which influenced her son's decision to identify himself as one of the Hebrews in expense of the fleeting pleasures of sin (Hebrews 11:24-25) as well as refusing identity as the son of Pharaoh's daughter, hence turning his back on the throne so he could suffer with God's people. Such was the mother's influence towards his young upbringing!

This story tells a great deal. From this I have come to the conclusion that it is a privilege for a mother to bring up her child in a godly manner at home, which to me, has far greater honour than seeking promotion at the office, especially as her toddler cries for her whilst in the hands of strangers. Then to add to this - if finance is the reason for the need to work away from home, then such a reason is weakened by the expense for childcare. It is easy to remember stories appearing in the Media about the income of working women almost swallowed up by childcare expenses. But for many, this is the sacrifice to pay for the chances of office promotion and ascending the career ladder. Then we wonder why these days many children grow up with poor performance at school, emotional imbalances, drug use often riddled with crime, frequent appearances in Court, and a high suicide rate. Such could be the end result of the quest for prominence at the workplace, which also creates a disdain for more menial tasks.

It was like when I was recovering from my heart operation over two years ago. During my three month convalescence period, I paid a visit to one of my window cleaning customers, she being a nurse. During conversation, I asked her whether there is any truth to the rumour that since nursing requires a university degree, many shun the profession, believing that the task of wiping an elderly patient's rear was beneath their academic status. The customer instantly recognised what I was talking about, and gave it a phrase: Too posh to wipe. And yes, she answered that this is one of several core problems with maintaining nursing staff, therefore the heavy reliance on immigrants, as my own experience in hospital can testify.

This obsession with the career ladder also makes me ponder whether that here in the UK alone, up to 200,000 elective abortions are carried annually. 200,000 abortions a year! That is around 548 terminations each day. And that is in Britain only. Mostly for the preservation of the work or social ethic? Really?  This was well dramatised earlier in the week in a series of the BBC soap, EastEnders, where one female character went for an abortion, which she kept secret from her boyfriend, in order not to ruin her chances for office promotion. When I consider these things - leaving a weeping child to the care of strangers, sacrificing part of income to pay for childcare costs, the terrifyingly high numbers of elective abortions - I have wondered whether allowing female students into universities was a wise idea. And I write this with the presupposition that every woman reading this would pick up stones in readiness.

This quest for knowledge and divine power. This strong force driving our hearts upwards at the cost of child upbringing at the tenderest age, along with a high rate of elective abortions, which is the killing of defenceless humans, whose silent scream when faced with extinction cannot be heard except by God alone. The crave for promotion, to rise from the ranks, to attain greater power. Tied in with all this is the desire on a national scale to leave the European Union in order to "have our own country back" with the proud, confident and optimistic hope for not mere survival, but to raise to its former imperial glory, to make Britain "the greatest in the world" free from ethnic and cultural diversity. The cry of "Hurry up, let's be out of there" (the EU) keeps on shouting across right-leaning newspapers, whose journalists are ready to stone anyone who dare oppose the move, dubbing such opposition as "Remoaners" - even "Remainiacs".

No, all this quest to leave the European Union is not so much for the benefit of the Economy, you understand, even if this is one the reasons used to promote Brexit. Rather, its for independent national glory and sovereignty. A reversal to an all-white, home-born, xenophobic Britain, deep in classism, head of the Commonwealth, just one step from being the motherland once again of a worldwide Empire. This bulldog, this massive bulldog, even wearing a tie made from a Union Jack flag, remains the icon of a strong Britain - a powerful force to be reckoned with.

And so we are endlessly fed with such fodder, day in, day out, when I turn the radio on at seven in the morning, whether I turn on the TV at six in the evening, this same, stomach-turning slop comes out of rather than goes into my ears.

No doubt it has all to do with the serpent in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis 3:4-6, we read (KJV):

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and the tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

If this is history rather than fable, then the serpent is very much alive and speaking to this day. The want for power, the quest for divinity, to rise from the ranks, to be someone, a man or woman of renown - isn't all this coming from the mouth of the snake? For the need to believe in Evolution, to evolve forever upward from a single cell amoeba to some superhuman deity with supernatural powers - isn't that the serpent talking? Or for the importance of knowledge above character? University knowledge, a degree, a doctorate, whilst confining the Scriptures to the realm of myth - serpent talking again? The wanting to climb the career ladder, to reach for the top? The bulldog spirit of national glory and sovereignty - without the need for God - snake talking again? I tend to think that the British bulldog is a spirit, an invisible entity in the air, a fellow fallen angel and assistant to the serpent, who is continually enticing our nation to stay away from the truth of the Gospel and replacing it with self confidence, pride and optimism, using Darwinism as its bedrock.

Frightened children left with strangers, the wailing cry of Mummy! Mummy! Mummy! heard through the wall and from the neighbouring back garden, the rivers of flowing tears, the number of abortions and silent screams reaching well into the thousands, much if not all, to climb the career ladder to power just as the snake had promised to Adam and Eve. Added to all that is the collective aspiration for national glory, strength and supremacy.

Contrary to myth and folklore, the serpent is very much alive and talking, enticing even regular churchgoers, and therefore weakening their testimony of the Gospel to the watching world.

*Dr. M. R. DeHaan M.D. The Jew and Palestine in Prophecy, Zondervan Publishing House, 1950,  11th Reprint 1972.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Angry at God.

Poor Noah! He was pretty well screwed up during the years following the Flood. How just one or two verses can reveal a great deal about a saint's personal life. No matter how faithful a believer can be, God is always patient and accepting.

When I first started to read the Old Testament book of Genesis, three issues had crossed my mind. First this Noah in a large houseboat featuring the long necks of two giraffes peering over the parapet wasn't quite a complete fairy tale after all, since the narrator writes with serious historical intention. Secondly, Noah appears to be alone, rather like an orphan, in a hostile antediluvian society. And thirdly, I assumed that his father Lamech has been dead for decades, and he is the last of his generation, alone with his wife and his three already-married but still childless sons. However, back in those days a question still loomed in my mind, recently asked by a sneering atheist at work, on where Cain had gotten his wife.

Getting stuck into this first book of the Bible, it is the provision of carefully-preserved genealogical records which has thrown much light into the narration. Not only can the question of Cain's wife be adequately answered, but the issue also hints of a massive population explosion not long after the Fall. Adam must have fathered far more than just Cain and Abel before the birth of Seth. Within the first 130 years of his life, an unspecified number of unnamed sons and daughters must have been born from Eve's womb. Not to have done so would have violated the specific commandment given to them by God himself - to procreate and populate the Earth (Genesis 1:26-28).

By the time Noah was born, both his father Lamech, along with his unnamed mother were alive and well, together with his peculiarly-named grandfather Methuselah, and his unnamed grandmother. The name Methuselah might well have raised the curiosity of young Noah, combined with the revelation given at his birth that he is destined to bring relief from the hard toil resulting from the cursed ground. Even from a young age, Noah already knew that the name Methuselah means At my death comes the waters. Combined with his own destiny, he was aware that something drastic will happen later in his life. Just a casual reading of the genealogical records narrated in the fifth chapter will reveal that right up to the start of the Flood, Noah was not the lonely orphan I first perceived him to have been. Here we are told that apart from the birth of Lamech, Methuselah had other sons and daughters, therefore the youngster growing up into a family of aunts and uncles. Then Lamech himself had other sons and daughters, supplying Noah with brothers and sisters, and perhaps nephews and nieces too. Indeed, if cousins are to be included, Noah grew up in a very large family.

The sudden death of Lamech after a comparatively moderate age of 777 years might well have answered Noah's begging question: Would his parents drown in the Flood? With the Ark nearing completion, all eyes were on his grandfather Methuselah. As the white-haired and white bearded grandfather's face displayed more wrinkles by the day, Noah had no option but to ensure the timely completion of his vessel, and that despite the ridicule thrown at him by those he loved, and the shaking of heads by other relatives who had confined him to the realm of lunacy. Then suddenly one morning, Methuselah was found dead in his bed. Noah flew into panic. His ark wasn't quite ready. That was when God revealed to him that seven more days were to elapse before the waters arrived, enough time to cross the t's and dot the i's, five years after the death of his father Lamech.

As the storms raged outside, Noah must have felt very lonely and disturbed as the ark rocked about whilst afloat on the shoreless ocean. It wasn't that long after the door finally closed, sealing them in, when massive earthquakes, roaring rumbles of thunder, water and even volcanic lava gushing out of the ground, that he heard his own panicking brothers and sisters, along with their screaming offspring, grandchildren, and maybe even their great grandchildren, together with his aunts, uncles, and cousins, all calling out his name and begging for the door to be opened. But as fists punched the outside of the hull, Noah knew well enough that the door cannot be opened. Such would jeopardise everyone else within, along with all the livestock. His own wife tried to comfort him, along with attempted encouragement from his three sons and their wives. But as the livestock drifted into hibernation for the duration, a certain stillness ensued, save from the turbulence of the waters outside. If only his relatives believed his message and entered the Ark whilst there was still time, instead of mocking and ridiculing! Now it was too late. 

It was over a year later, after having received reassurance, that Noah, his family, and all preserved livestock disembarked somewhere on a high mountain. But even with the happy announcement of the birth of his first grandson Canaan, sired by Ham, he could not alleviate his sorrows as he looked around the deserted land, bereft of all humans other than his own family. Even though he busied himself farming and harvesting grapes, his combined twist of torrid emotions of loneliness and family loss caused him to drink to excess. Whilst lying drunken in his tent, it was likely that his grandson Canaan sexually molested him, making him believe that it was his wife who was trying to revive the old man, while the boy's father looked on with some amusement before calling in his brothers Shem and Japheth.

Then there was no Government ministers to lay the blame on, no street protests, no media, thus there was nobody to blame. As it was, Noah and his family survived a natural disaster, this one so grand that it wiped out the entire human population. Because of their wickedness. And yet, as God made a covenant of the rainbow with Noah and his descendants, God also makes a statement that although the whole of humanity was given a fresh start, the human heart remains evil from youth (Genesis 8:20-22). It was as if the Flood has failed to reform the heart over the coming generations. So why promise never to bring another deluge, despite the natural heart remaining unreformed? I believe that an invasion of fallen angels interbreeding with antediluvian women had very nearly eliminated the Messianic Line, starting with Adam, through Seth, Noah, and through to Jesus Christ (Genesis 6:1-4). This interbreeding between fallen angels and human women produced a race of Nephilim - giants, and maybe together with those weird, cone-headed offspring who had high, above-average intelligence and greater evil, and therefore grew up to be men of great infamy. If the entire human population became infected with such offspring, the Promise of Genesis 3:15 would not have been fulfilled. Since after the Flood, the birth of such offspring apparently remained restricted to the line of Ham through Canaan, and they were to play a role in the discipline of the fledgling nation of Israel, which eventually eliminated them entirely, particularly from Joshua's day through to King Saul's reign. If all this is true, the need for a global Deluge has played a role towards our salvation. 

Since then, natural disasters as unleashed its powers throughout history, although never again to wipe out the entire human race. The natural phenomenon which demolished the Tower of Babel was a natural disaster, along with the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79, wiping out the cities of Pompeii, Stabiae, Oplontis, and Herculaneum. Then there was that explosive eruption of Mt. Krakatoa in the Sunda Strait, on August 26, 1886, which wiped out at least 36,417 people at surrounding coast-lands. Then not to mention the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, killing around 3,000 people and flattening 80% of the city. Then within our lifetimes there was the tsunami which epicentre took place in the Indian Ocean on Boxing Day 2004, taking up to 280,000 casualties. Then there was the destruction of New Orleans by a tsunami stirred up by Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2005. This disaster took at least 1,245 lives.

Here in the UK nature is far less harsh, befitting the gentle rolling hills and pastures green of rural England. Therefore, disasters here tend to be man-made rather than from the pure wrath of nature. Perhaps the worst was the bubonic plague which struck London between the years 1665 and 1666, taking 100,000 lives, about a quarter of London's population. This disease was spread by fleas biting people after being in contact with infected rats. Natural disaster? In a way, yes, but easily avoidable if only a better knowledge of sanitation was in force. The Bible teaches that human excrement, for example, should be buried in a hole already dug in the ground outside the camp, and then covered over with the soil (Deuteronomy 23:12-13). Instead, human excrement, rotting food and other sources of filth were thrown out from the windows to the street below, festering vermin which spread such fatal illnesses. The Great Fire of London of 1666 was, as I see it, an act of God's grace and mercy. This disaster took very few casualties, but destroyed property in abundance - along with the rats which carried the bubonic plague.

However, other than terrorist attacks occurring in America, Europe and Britain alike, the latest disaster now dominate the news bulletins. That is the fire which quickly consumed Grenfell Tower, a residential block occupying the poorer area of London North Kensington, with the wealthy area of Notting Hill just a stone's throw away. Here, the poorer, hard up residents lived cheek by jowl with the mansions owned by the rich. When I read about this, yes I was angry at God himself for allowing the fire to rage the way it did. Why always the poorer people suffer like this? And why such a special favour shown to the better off? Like as in most evangelical churches where the Gospel is shared among the middle classes, graduates and professionals, while at the same time, Islamic and other non-Christian refugees, immigrants, struggling families, and the plebs of society are left to burn alive or die from smoke inhalation without ever a chance to hear the Gospel for themselves. Salt is further rubbed into the wound when I consider that many of the wealthier occupy the pews of Anglican churches - giving the impression that God favours the wealthy and the better educated.

This craziness, this unfairness, this picture of a posh lady praying to God over her choice of a new dress while two to three thousand miles down the road the life of a starving child ebbs away while his mother looks on helplessly. Ditto of another child suffering from malnutrition and AIDS, with no fault of his own, slowly passes away while at that same moment over here, the patriotic Englishman and churchgoer prays and even fast for England to win the World Cup. Something seems rotten here.

Until the full truth comes out.

That is: The fire at Grenfell Tower was the result of cheap flammable cladding covering the outer masonry, so that this 1970's built structure will look more appealing to the nearby wealthy residents. The result of shoddy administration of the authorities plus the sheer greed of the contractors - putting profit above the safety of these pleb residents - extricates any accusation from man's perception of divine unfairness.

Noah had no reason to feel deluded by God's apparent injustice, especially to his wider family. Neither was there a need to harbour and feed those twisted emotions which tormented him. Rather, he should have realised that the terrible catastrophe he was saved from was brought upon antediluvian mankind by their own evil deeds and their own unbelief.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Lud-dum, Lud-dum, Lud-dum...

Around twenty years ago a good Christian friend came round to my bachelor's apartment for a coffee and a chat. He was Grammar school educated, a graduate on Physics, and held down a respectable career in computing. By that particular evening he was already married with two growing children. And he was a very committed member of our church, especially on his emphasis on tithing. He also had a leaning towards Darwin's evolutionary theory in preference over creationism. He was one of many like-minded graduates who populated our congregation every Sunday, along with junior church activity (a modern name for Sunday School teaching) and midweek house-group activity.

Whilst over coffee, he asked me this question:
Why, do you think, we (as a human species) are here?
Without hesitation I quoted the King James' Version of Revelation 4:11:-
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive honour and glory and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Emphasis mine.)
Then I asked him, Does that answer your question?

He was astonished. Here is a self employed window cleaner giving a quick, clean and sensible answer to a question while centuries of philosophers had spent years writing volumes about this question in their more academic attempts to answer, so my friend says. Then I explained to him that it wasn't I who answered as much as the Bible giving answers to many fundamental questions such as why we are here. Then I went on about how I loved the way King James had expressed it - for thy pleasure they are and were created. This was better than all other more modern versions which uses the phrase, for your will they are and were created. But unfortunately, after checking my Interlinear Greek/English New Testament, it turned out that for your will is the correct translation - even if has less of an impact. Indeed, the phrase for your pleasure sounds much nicer.

However, no matter how much or how little of Bible knowledge I may have, I am aware that all of these graduates have a Facebook account. Yet I don't have a Friend connection with any of them, although a quick look at their profiles would reveal quite a number of familiar names on their Friends list of those I knew for up to the past forty years. It's not that I have rejected any of their requests, rather it is that I'm not welcome into their circles, and that includes the chap who called round my apartment that evening. Bible knowledge and spiritual health has nothing to do with it. Rather, it's among these self-reserved, emotionally-restrained, well-educated middle class Englishmen - what a great pity it is when an emotional, intense and maybe outspoken Italian who means what he says, does not fit into the nice, calm, don't-rock-the-boat circle.

Maybe I do get some satisfaction in kicking up the mud, but always for the common good. For example, when a Tory-voting church-goer emphasised the advantages of selling off our public-owned National Health Service, of which funding from the public purse made it the envy of the world, and without stating any benefit such a sell-off to private companies would ensue, I quickly replied that any person, company or corporation investing in the NHS will expect to receive dividends. It is human nature. An individual or group of people will always buy shares with the intention of making a profit. Since the NHS does not produce any saleable products in the way that a factory does, sooner or later the only way that these shareholders will receive any reward for their investments is to start charging patients for treatment. There was no reply from the Conservative church-goer. And I doubt whether any die-hard Tories would mutter a word to counter what I have said.

Then I'm not expected to be believed either. What? A window Cleaner? What does he know? In the world of traditional Englishness, plebs like myself are seen to be bathing in the filthy waters of ignorance, and therefore perceived as too "smelly" to sit in the boardroom among those from an academic, suit-and-tie background. Am I exaggerating? No, I'm not exaggerating! In 1997, after giving a talk at the church pulpit about my travel experience and the Second Advent, I was actually told by one of my listeners that the couple sitting behind him was sneering at my low social status. At another discussion, a devout Englishman, close to my age and who loves to display his emotional reserve, actually boasted that throughout my talk, he was in full concentration of his football team's progress in the national League. Then not to forget the snide I received from one of our former Elders when I proposed to teach a class after a family had nominated me.

I suppose it all comes to our culture of isolationism. Living on an island. By checking the etymology of the word isolation, it does share the same root word as island, which itself is from a word meaning insular. And such as expressed by using proverbs like An Englishman's home is his castle, our emphasis on privacy and self-reserve spills into every aspect of daily living. And that includes the present upheaval of political circumstances centred mainly on Brexit - the national desire to break free from the European Union. Despite all the economic reasons given for its benefit, the underlying emotional factor of Brexit is xenophobia, a fear of foreigners. This fear that these foreigners immigrating here and having something to show us, and therefore our perception of national and racial superiority, together with secure smugness, feels as though they are all under threat. And this threat includes the fear of being told what to do by the European President and his team of unelected civil servants in Brussels. The want of self-rule, independence, as well as the power to police other nations. And as such wanting of national backing and security during her negotiations with Europe, our Prime Minister calls for a snap election, confident that her negotiations in Brussels will be strengthened by overall national reinforcement. Instead, she came unstuck when loss of some of her party seats to the Opposition led to a hung Parliament.   

And so in order for Theresa May to form a new Government, she needs an alliance with the Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland. This Brexit-supporting political group was founded in 1971 by a devout Protestant, Reverend Ian Paisley, whose stance was to oppose the Roman Catholic Irish Republic Army. With such religious leanings, it comes as no real surprise that the party, set to shore up May's weakened role as Conservative Prime Minister, has in its membership Young Earth Creationists and a strong attitude against abortions, gays and same-sex marriage. Indeed, I can't help feeling that here in the UK, any popularity D.U.P. may have at present will slide downhill rapidly, especially among the LGBT and feminists alike.

Not that I'm an advocate of voluntary abortions, homosexuality and same-sex marriages. Instead, I believe that pushing personal morality without the love of God through faith in Christ will harden the heart against God and cause him to run towards atheism. On Facebook, I follow a site: Atheists Against Pseudoscientific Nonsense. At present it has 91,430 followers and growing, although I would not be surprised at all if among its followers, there is a number of committed Christians like myself who are also followers - to keep an eye on what the site throws up on the computer screen. One of its main targets is Young-Earth Creationism. Nothing is so laughingly mocked and so debunked as nonsense than believing in supernatural Creation, Adam and Eve, and a global Flood, all within the first ten chapters of Genesis. And it seems ironic that it is here in the UK, well known for its Christian Constitution, that the first seeds of Darwinism was sown here, as Charles Darwin was an Englishman, and his book, On the Origin of Species was written here in English. With former theorists pushed aside, such as Frenchman and atheist Jean Baptiste Lamarck who preceded Darwin, England can be likened to a beating heart pumping blood into its arteries, as the blood of Darwinism flows to the furthermost corners of our planet.

And all this with little realisation that the theory of Evolution completely destroys any historical credibility of the Christian Gospel. If Adam and Eve had never existed, but instead we are all descended from primates, then there is absolutely no purpose for Jesus Christ to have died for our transgressions, for without our first parents, there was no Fall to atone for. And with no Atonement, there would be no Resurrection. And without the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Death would remain in power forever, without ever been defeated. To attain eternal life would be an impossibility. Little wonder that if there is a god, he he depicted as either a brutally cruel stick-wielding moralist in the sky, or some fictional spaghetti monster who slips a cog whenever a homosexual is conceived in the womb, and then afterwards blame him for being what he is. Little wonder that the Scientific knowledge of Evolution as fact has Atheism as a bedmate.

And so the heart that is England beats on - lud-dum, lud-dum, lud-dum, lud-dum, lud-dum... whilst the blood of Darwinism, carrying in its red corpuscles the knowledge of Scientific facts, is pumped to the remotest parts of the planet to feed every cell (human being), and then returns to the heart through veins whilst carrying the waste of religious and superstitious nonsense, to be disposed of into the wind before returning to the heart once again enriched with Scientific knowledge. And so as the physical heart is an independent organ in its own right, so our nation wants to be independent in its own right through Brexit whilst educating the world with Darwinism.

And now we have some Government alliances who believe in Divine Creationism. Could they be blood clots that threaten the life of the heart and which would eventually lead to cardiac arrest? Fortunately, the blood of Darwinism has properties which will dissolve the blood clots, and save the muscle from arrest (through ousting out of these ministers and calling for another General Election). Like the Apostle John in Revelation 17:6, I can't help feeling somewhat astonished with what is going on around me. For the Prime Minister's mantra to "Fulfil the wishes of the British people" to leave the European Union was actually not, in reality, the "wishes of the British people" - as nearly half, 48% of all who voted, wanted to remain in the EU. Then as time passed after the 2016 Referendum, we who voted to stay in became known as Remoaners, even Remaniacs, and rather like Adam and Eve, along with Noah's ark, we who voted to remain were brushed aside as fantasists and a perpetual nuisance, mere diminishing clots floating in the Darwinian blood of patriotism, and slowly being dissolved into oblivion.

Glory be to Great Britain! Independent, Right-wing, full of hope and glory, with racial, national and cultural superiority, xenophobic, and with want of stability in Parliament. And having Evolution taught as scientific fact as the bedrock for an economically healthy nation. After all, with such ambition and with such aspiration, who needs an anthropomorphic image of God, the "Big Bearded Man" in the sky watching over us with a big stick in his hand, constantly telling us to renounce Science and believe in mythological fairy tales, or end up in a fiery hell myth. After all, it's just not British.  

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Don't Panic! It's Not That Bad!

It's December 31, AD 999. Across the land, jitters are intensifying. Already, especially since Christmas Day, shops began to sell their merchandise at a cheaper price. Neighbours who in the past squabbled over property and land territorial rights were far more amicable to each other, with those readily in the right to allow the other to have his way, even giving him more of his land if he wants it. Convicted criminals were let out of prison and allowed to wander freely, perhaps even receiving offers of hospitality and food. Even sheep and cattle were let out of their pens, and allowed to wonder freely.  

As the day wore on, everyone looked at each other nervously, as well as scanning the sky, looking for any abnormality seen in the heavens. Shops no longer charged for their wares, people in the streets greeted each other like lost relatives reuniting. People gathered in homes, huddling each other. Long-standing disputes were put aside or forgotten as they try to perceive their future fate for eternity.

Meanwhile in Rome, people started to assemble into the cavernous expanse of  Basilica di San Pietro, at the Vatican, the headquarters of the Church. As midnight approached, the Bishop of Rome held up the giant Host, taken from the Monstrance located above the Altar. The clock struck twelve, followed by a deep silence, and then the clock suddenly stopped. Two or three people in the assembly screamed, one or two others died from shock on the spot. As the seconds turned into minutes, the otherwise silent vigil continued. Gradually a sense of relief began to be felt among the congregation as further minutes into January 1, AD 1000 elapsed with no further supernatural incidents. No legions of flying angels filling the air, none of the stars falling from heaven, no crashing thunder outside, no flashes of lightning, no earthquakes, no sign of the basilica splitting in two, no sign of the floor opening up to swallow them up. It was over - a good example of "Whoops, not this time!"

The Basilica of St. Peter, Vatican City.

Of course, the general belief of the world ending at midnight of December 31, 999 could well have been common back then, as the ushering in of a new Millennium was perceived as a milestone of Christian history. Then wind forward nearly another thousand years and the same enigma happens yet again, only with less drama and panic, but with a whole lot of new books on sale at bookshops and even for hire at local libraries. A new phenomenon, I would say referred to as the Rapture Generation began to fill the minds of many evangelical Christians. And I was one of them, who believed at the time that my remaining days on Earth were numbered. It was due to Cyrus Ingerson Scofield who, at the beginning of the 20th Century, produced the Scofield Bible with its emphasis on Dispensationalism, together with the certainty of the Rapture, or Translation into heaven of every dead believer in Christ, immediately followed by every believer still alive at that moment.

The consequence of such thinking led to wild speculations among popular literature. For example, former NASA engineer and Bible student Edgar C. Whisenant believed that the Rapture will occur in 1988, and wrote a book, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture will be in 1988, itself published in 1988. However, his was not entirely original. In 1970, Hal Lindsey had his book published by Zondervan: The Late Great Planet Earth. A few years later, Lindsey released another book, The 1980's Countdown to Armageddon, along with The Terminal Generation. Both these books advocated that the 1980's is actually the very last decade of human history as we know it, and the Rapture will occur sometime before 1990. Following the Lindsey publications, Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins wrote a series of fiction, Left Behind, first published in 1995, which is based on the aftermath of the Rapture, and these books has even been made into four movies. Also Norman Robertson's book, Understanding End-Time Prophecy, published in 1989 by Sovereign World Publishers, has Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev leading a massive army on horseback towards Jerusalem, in fulfilment of Ezekiel chapter 38. In reality, Gorbachev's presidency ended in 1991 with no further ado.

And so, where is Scriptural backing for the Rapture? I am aware of three references: Isaiah 26:19-21, 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. A less direct reference could be John 14:1-4. It is these verses that convinced me of the reality of a future Rapture of the Church to Heaven, marking the beginning of the end of human history as we know it. And anyone well acquainted with Holy Scripture will realise that a phenomenon of this kind has happened before in history - twice in fact. The first was the translation to heaven of Enoch, the seventh generation from Adam (Genesis 5:21-24) - an incident which verity was endorsed by the writer of Hebrews 11:5. The second occurrence was with Elijah, recorded in 2 Kings 2:1-18, with quite a spectacular angelic display for Elisha's benefit and endorsement of his successor's ministry to Israel.

So with such references direct from Scripture, throughout the seventies, I became a fervent believer in the Rapture of the Saints to heaven, and with C. I. Scofield's Dispensationalist theology as a backing, I took in Hal Lindsey's prophecies, together with Norman Robertson's and others as authoritative. But time beats on. December 31, 1999 came and went, and into the New Millennium normal life beats on with no divine intervention or supernatural signs in the skies. But my belief in a future Rapture has remained firm. The difference is, that the most safe attitude I can take is knowing that such an event is imminent - it will occur suddenly, completely without any expectation. But we don't know when. As far as we know, it could be another thousand years. This is something only God knows, and him alone. As far as I'm aware, there has been much anxiety over the decades over literally nothing. Life beats on, unhindered.

The Rapture of all the Saints

And exactly the same applies to this day. The Daily Mail newspaper is at panic mode when polls suggest a loss of lead for the Conservative Party at the election manifestos. It does look as if Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has gained some popularity. So this has put the frights up the Right-leaning national newspaper, as it makes every effort to demonise Corbyn whenever he hesitates slightly during any of the tough interviews he has to go through. This is because of a threat of higher taxes on demand from this private enterprise, as the Labour manifesto has promised higher taxes from larger corporations such as The Daily Mail newspaper. But on the contrary, if any uncertainty was shown by Conservative Theresa May, especially on the major issue of immigration, such shortcomings are quickly covered up. Today, an article appeared in the essay pages, which is a very panicky two-page report comparing the future of Britain under Jeremy Corbyn's administration to that of the failed socialist administration of President Nicolas Maduro over Venezuela. The article was written by The Daily Mail journalist Robert Hardman on the 2nd June, which was yesterday, a Friday following the Bank Holiday weekend. His article describes the disastrous political and economical failure of a socialist Government while he was staying at the country's capital, Caracas. Hardman warns that if Corbyn wins this coming election, Britain would end up like Venezuela.

This topic has brought up various issues here. Really, I have to ask: Does The Daily Mail really think that the English are so damned stupid and gullible, that they believe everything they read? Here I'm defending the intelligence and integrity of my own countrymen here in the UK. It looks to me that there is a certain level of dishonesty here in this debate. First of all, even if after Corbyn and his party does take over Government, there is no way that any socialist policy would consolidate into a Communistic regime and economic environment in any resemblance to Venezuela. After all, this South American country is a Republic, with President Maduro, an active politician, as supreme Head of State. By contrast, the UK is a Kingdom, under a Monarchical Head of State. As long as we remain under such a system, any chance of the UK taking even a short step closer to Venezuela is practically impossible. 

With the Queen and the Royal Family, the very political, social, and economic fabric of the nation will always remain stable. And it's extremely unlikely that any coup to overthrow the Royal Family from power by Corbyn would ever happen! And that despite even if a large percentage of Britons are leaning towards Republicanism. After all, consider the decade long administration of Labour Tony Blair as Prime Minister between 1997 and 2007. Did we shift towards Communism? Or for that matter, when we were under Jim Callaghan before Margaret Thatcher was voted in. Or even Harold Wilson's Labour administration before that. Not forgetting Clement Atlees's introduction of the NHS into the UK soon after the War. All were Labour ministers. And yet, in spite of such history, the newspaper continues to spread such nonsense and fear of a future Labour Party apocalypse. 

However, there is another issue here, and one serious enough to question the trustworthiness of the Daily Mail national newspaper. It was by simple observation and background checking of various sources from which these newspaper journalists quote from. And I couldn't have reeled in a bigger fish than in an article written by Stephen Glover just a few weeks ago. Glover accused fiction novelist, Julian Barnes, a Remainer, of deceit and dirty tricks towards Brexit voters by accusing the newspaper of neglecting the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, by relegating the news to a minor article found thirty pages within the newspaper. Instead, Barnes actually wrote that the conviction of Jo Cox's killer Thomas Lair was featured in the minor article, and not of the murder itself. These are two separate events. The murder took place on June 16, 2016. The conviction took place over five months later, on 23rd November, 2016. Barnes was referring to the conviction of the killer, not on the murder itself, as Glover insists by deliberately misquoting.

Learning about this has put a very serious dent in my trust at the newspaper's accuracy and authenticity. It has never been quite the same. The newspaper has demonstrated its right-wing bias to such an intensity, that I no longer trust it as a reliable source of knowledge, especially on political issues.

And so another question has arisen on this latest article by The Daily Mail reporter Robert Hardman. Reading what he says about a social disaster in South America, he wrote his report while he was staying at Caracas, Venezuela's capital. And he wrote it on the Friday 2nd June. That was yesterday, five days after writing a report on Sunday 28th May that his week-long family holiday to Greece, meant to start on Saturday 27th May, was ruined by the crashing of all British Airways computers, apparently by a power cut. So, under the insistence of his children, the flight was rebooked to "later in the week" - with a hint that it would be two days later, that is, Monday the 29th. Even though he would "spend a day or two" swimming with his family in Greece, to end up in Venezuela by Friday looks to me as cutting it too far to the quick. Not only that, but according to his own testimony, by Friday June 2nd, he should still be with his family in Greece, which coincides with the school half-term break. He wasn't meant to fly back home until today - Saturday June 3rd. After all, he was still in the UK when he wrote another report about his inability to collect his luggage at the airport until he posed as a foreigner from overseas. And this was written on the 29th May, which was Bank Holiday Monday. This led me to being confused over the authenticity of the Venezuela article. Assuming that they flew to Greece somewhat midweek, to return home today - I read that he was in Venezuela yesterday. Pardon me if I seem rather thick, but it looks as though the facts doesn't add up.

No Tie. Robert Hardman at Airport on 27/5/2017

Was Robert Harding in Venezuela yesterday when he should have been in Greece still? That is the confusing part. The only two plausible scenarios are, either he did not fly to Greece with his family at all, but sometime midweek, possibly on Tuesday or Wednesday, he flew alone to Venezuela from London. The alternative, which I consider to be less likely, is that two or three days before the end of his holiday, Harding was told by The Daily Mail to either fly back to London for a connecting flight to Venezuela, or even fly direct to South America from Greece, thus fulfilling his own prophecy of "one or two days swim" which appeared in his first report. Whichever way, this whole shenanigan looks very iffy. It beggars credibility.

To be committed to a cause can be virtuous in itself. Going back to the authors of popular books on eschatology (study on end time prophecy), I believe that they were sincere in what they believed in. But they all had to resort to speculation on when the Rapture will happen. The reality is, not only have they discredited the historical truth of the Bible, but they have lost all credibility themselves. In other words, they can no longer be trusted with handling Biblical revelation. Just as it is dangerous to one's own credibility to attempt to date the end times after the Bible specifically instructs us not to do so (Acts 1:6-8). So also, pushing fear and anxiety over an election manifesto by lying discredits the newspaper, and makes it untrustworthy of a source of political knowledge.
You can read in greater detail on how newspaper journalist Stephen Glover has deliberately misquoted Julian Barnes in order to defend Brexit by clicking here

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Manchester - Social Class Exposed!

As an adult who was a decade ago to be considered by a psychologist to possess above-average intelligence, I took advantage of such a revelation about myself by pushing hard at something I already enjoy doing. And that was writing, a beautiful art in expressing myself in words of thought, feelings, and will. When I was a boy attending a primary school around 1960, not only was I tasked by the teacher to show other children in the classroom how a word was read and pronounced, I also had relatives living abroad at the time, and I enjoyed writing letters to them. Unlike with the negative attitude shown a few years later by the majority of male classroom colleagues, I did not find writing as a burden, something which had to be done to avoid discipline from the staff, but rather something which left much room for development.

And so efforts to improve on the grammar, spelling and flow came mainly by reading books and newspapers, and noting how experienced authors expressed themselves. Books included fiction as well as mainly theological issues after conversion to Jesus Christ towards the end of 1972. Believe me, there were times when grappling with the grammar wasn't easy, although attending voluntary evening school and achieving a G.C.E. O Level pass in English Language was a big help in itself. In addition, there was a time, before acquiring the internet, when I was offered help from a professional writer from South Africa when I felt a strong desire to write a dossier about Richard Dawkins' book, The God Delusion. My friend, who has since moved to Northern Ireland to be close to his elderly mother, actually printed several copies of the book, one of them he kept for himself, and another I posted direct to Richard Dawkins who was still at the time lecturing at New College in Oxford. All this was somewhere between ten to eleven years ago.

Therefore throughout these blog posts published here, yes, I often throw a wobbly at certain academics. Writers such as Katie Hopkins, Richard Littlejohn, and even Stephen Glover, all contributors to the Right-Wing newspaper The Daily Mail, I have expressed my disagreement with them here. But not over their writing skills, but rather their attitude towards certain issues, namely their support for national superiority, and particularly Hopkins' view of ethical and political diversity as cockroaches and monkeys respectively. So I wouldn't be too surprised to learn that within the last 24 hours, she was dismissed from L.B.C. Radio for posting a tweet calling for a holocaust of all Muslims living here in the UK. Not surprising, however, is the rather loud silence of the newspaper itself, unlike the clear announcements from Yahoo website and The Guardian newspaper when the news of Hopkins' dismissal from the radio station was still at its breaking stage.

But given any unbiased journalist, reporter, or writer, I have admiration for him. Maybe even a form of worship. After all, part of worship, if not all of it, is an acknowledgement of the entity having greater intelligence, greater skills, greater powers and greater knowledge than what I have or could ever have. Maybe I can't help with the admiration, which engenders greater respect. Perhaps I can illustrate a practical example here. Let's suppose that we own our home, and we have a spare bedroom. So we decide that an extra source of income from a lodger would be beneficial. After posting an advert in the local paper, two applicants arrive at our door. One is dressed in a suit and is fresh out of university, and he is a budding writer or accountant. The other is a bricklayer or electrician, and he is casually dressed although still having a clean and tidy appearance.

Although I despise the class strata in our country, my instinct would still favour the first candidate. This is most likely due, in addition to a greater feeling of admiration along with a sense of privilege in having him in our home, it's also due to the fact that his university training and his employer has relocated him miles away from his family home, and this would justify his need for accommodation. The other candidate would far more likely to be still living at home, and yet desires some independence, maybe a break from his controlling parents, or more likely, not wanting to be seen by others as clinging to his mother's apron strings whilst watching friends of his age already married and raising a family, or taking months off to backpack the world. So instinct would tell me which one to choose to lodge with us, ensuring us that his income remains stable as long as he satisfies his employer.

The snag with all this is personality. Although the graduate, at least by outer appearance and profession, would be the ideal candidate, chances would be that the bricklayer would be a far better lodger in the sense of loyalty, camaraderie, and his willingness to conform to our way of life. Conversely, there is that greater possibility that the graduate may start feeling ill-at-ease lodging with us, as he sees us as beneath himself. This may lead to more frequent nights spent elsewhere, maybe at the home of an office colleague after a party, a supper, or a get-together over TV, but still keeping up with his regular payments. In all, there could be little social cohesion between us, with his spare evenings shut away in his bedroom, glued to the front of his computer, except for his brief visit to the kitchen to prepare his meal or coffee. Then after a month or so, he walks into our lounge with an announcement that he has found alternate accommodation more suited to his needs or closer to his place of work.

The bricklayer would most likely make an effort to be more cohesive and socially interact with us. Maybe an evening or two spent in a pub, or even include us among his fellow workmates over a drink. There is a good chance that he becomes interested in my past travel experiences, and would like to give it a try for himself. After all, I would explain that throughout my own long-haul travel career, I lived in a rented apartment which I was responsible for, and therefore did not live with or got any help from my parents, yet I was still able to travel. Then again, I would explain to him, there were certain advantages with living at home if long-haul travel was his intention. I would tell him of the Irish bricklayer I met during the month I was lodging at the backpacker's hostel in Israel, back in 1994. We had a hour-long chat as he shared his experience of a building contract during the year he spent overseas. Then I would relate about the Australian bricklayer I shared a hostel bedroom with while I was in San Diego in 1995. He too spent twelve months or more in the USA on a building contract, so he had told me. They both still lived at home, along with one or two other long-haul backpackers who were away for months rather than weeks. Maybe by living with us have added a level of zeal to his life and has helped him to set off in a clear direction. Who knows.

Perhaps this concept of birds of a feather flocking together has a ring of truth to it. What has really shook me about the Manchester incident was not so much about a deranged bomber inflicting carnage to a predominantly young female audience at the Manchester Arena. Rather, what I have found astounding was the reaction afterwards. Just before the blast there were two homeless beggars reclining near the entrance of the venue, a common spot, as the Arena was next to a railway station. After the blast, both gave themselves to assist and rescue the injured casualties, staying with them until they were collected by the paramedics and ambulance crews. One of the beggars, Stephen Jones, even admitted his disgust as he watched men in suits stepping over the injured so to hurry their journeys home. Meanwhile, the second homeless beggar, Chris Parker, bravely rushed over to the blast site and held an injured sixty-year-old woman, who died in his arms. Then he rushed over to a child who had lost both legs in the blast until she was picked up by the ambulance crews. He then tells of the tears he shed over the two casualties. Their dedication towards the injured was not only a reflection of a Christ-like compassion towards the unfortunate, but they both won public admiration for their efforts, and I believe were rewarded with enough resources, including six months of rent-free accommodation, to enable them leave a life of begging and find a job with a decent enough income for proper civil independence. And ironically, Steve Jones, before ending up as a homeless beggar, was a bricklayer.

Homeless rescuer Stephen Jones

Homeless rescuer Chris Parker

Although those two homeless beggars showed incredible courage and bravery, empowered by compassion, this comes only two days after writing and publishing my last blog, Clever? That's All Right Then! - where I referred to the arrogant Oxford University undergraduate, Lavinia Woodward, whose "talents" persuaded a Court judge to spare her from a prison sentence for stabbing her boyfriend in the leg during a pub disagreement. As I have expressed last week, Woodward came from a privileged upper-middle class family, and has successfully entered Christchurch College to train to be a cardiac surgeon. Full of herself and having no consideration for anyone else, her ferocious temper has landed her in trouble with other students in the past, causing at least one fellow-student to relocate her college accommodation. With such a black-and-white contrast to the Manchester beggars, would I have been willing to take her in as our lodger? Here lies the danger: If she had turned up at our door, and we were impressed with her university background and a promising medical career, we might have taken her in, totally unaware of her past, while at the same time turning away a homeless beggar such as Stephen Jones or Chris Parker. What I find so startling is that after just a few days with Woodward lodging at our home, I could well be lying in hospital with my face slashed by the sharp edge of a piece broken from a plate which was at first struck over my head in a screaming fury. On the contrary, Stephen or Chris could be enjoying a quiet drink with me at a country pub located a few miles out of town.

Should this blog appear to have a sexist slant, then it is worth mentioning here of another student, this time a male who was studying at Cambridge University. He was mentioned in one of my blogs written just a few weeks ago: What A Contrast! He is Ronald Coyne, the smartly dressed member of the Cambridge Union of Conservative Association. Having gotten himself stoned with alcohol during an evening out, he then passed a homeless beggar who was asking for a contribution of some spare change. Coyne took out a £20 note and holding it in front of the beggar's eyes, he also took out a cigarette lighter and set the note on fire. As the beggar watched the money burn, Coyne shouted out, There is your change! When his behaviour was discovered, the student was expelled from the Conservative Association, fearing the damage this could cause for the political party's reputation. Had he came to our front door, one look at us and he would turn his back to us and quickly walk away, perhaps with nothing more than a hesitated apology, if even that. To him, we would be seen as nothing more than parasites infesting the land.

Cambridge student Ronald Coyne.

If these issues have any truth in them, it makes me wonder about our perverted sense of class preference, and probably this includes myself as well. It looks to me that the wearing of a suit and tie does not change the wearer's evil character. Instead, all the smart clothing would do is polish up on the outside, to engender respect. Otherwise the heart remains the same. Couldn't this be any more appropriate? In Revelation 3:20, a vision is given by the Apostle John of the risen Jesus Christ standing at the door and knocking. He is waiting for the door to be opened, and he will enter through the door and have supper with the host. No discrimination there. The Lord is willing to enter the house of anyone who is willing to provide lodgings, which would change the host's eternal destiny forever.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Clever? That's All Right Then!

Something came up on the Media this week which, I have to admit, had made me feel very apprehensive! It was a case of a female medical student, Lavinia Woodward, of Christchurch College in Oxford, a very middle class cocaine addict, who was spared an immediate jail term by a judge, because having such a conviction recorded on her CV would destroy all her hopes of becoming a cardiac surgeon. The day after reading the article, I posted a message on Facebook saying that as a patient, I would not want her within a mile of the theatre whilst holding a scalpel.

Did she merely receive a parking ticket? No, it was much worse than that. Rather, she was guilty of grievous bodily harm, or GBH. During a disagreement with her boyfriend, a student from Cambridge, she stabbed his leg with a knife, threw a laptop at him, and also a glass, whilst together at a pub. Not that this was the first incident she was involved in. Despite the judge concluding that this was a one-off incident, fellow students at the college accommodation unit has testified of her violent behaviour occurring several times in the past, with one male student becoming frightened of her, and another female student asking the college authorities for a relocation of her residence, which was immediately granted.

Christchurch College, Oxford.

And so her sentencing was postponed, "for further investigation" by the Court, with a high probability that she would be spared jail in order for her to complete her studies and afterwards pursue her career as a cardiac surgeon. Imagine that. A cocaine addict with a scalpel, to whom you entrust your life and hope to come through the procedure with a healthily beating heart and everything else all hunky-dory. All because of her wealthy, middle-class background (her father also attended Oxford) and her brilliant learning abilities, there is a high chance of a reprieve. And that despite the universal opinion, by both Media and public alike, that had she been a shelf-stacker at Tesco's, then she would without doubt be inside already. The same applies if she had been male.  

Among my regular readers who are familiar with my lashing out at our Englishness, I hope this case will drive the nail into the coffin once and for all. It is nothing more than class favouritism, an attitude condemned by the Apostle James in his letter. I find it rather incredulous that despite calling our nation a Christian country, or at least one with a Constitution based on Christian principles, the vast majority holds the Bible as an ancient, obsolete book filled with myths and legends, even if regarded with a degree of respect, but no longer applicable to us on a day-to-day basis, especially in the realm of Science.

The reverence shown to academics and to successful professionals has made me think just where our priorities lie. Is education and career success the be-all-and-end-all of reverence and respect? Let's make a fictional illustration here. A middle class couple raises their son who successfully makes it into university. Then after graduation, and now in the world of work, he starts on the low rung of the ladder as a clerical assistant at a local office, but then rises rapidly into a managerial position, and eventually ends up among the Board of Directors, all within less than a space of twenty years. It can be said that this is Evolution symbolised in a miniature, personal scale. However, not long after leaving university, he marries his sweetheart he had met at college. But within their first decade after their wedding day, their marriage falls apart. Yet despite this, his parents beam with pride with their son's professional achievement, and even boasting about this to their peers, while at the same moment they brush aside the failure of his son's marriage as just one of those things which didn't work out, and therefore considered as barely relevant.

So what is the point of the story? Mainly this: Really, our culture, respected by many British church-goers, has turned God's priority on its head. Where all human accomplishments, including success in the office, will one day be destroyed by God himself. In turn, a healthy marriage has eternal implications, especially among Christian believers. Marriage between man and wife was instituted by God himself at the dawn of history when he married Eve to Adam, and sanctioned it. Unfortunately, now living in a fallen world as a result of Adam's transgression, marriage is something which takes effort to work out, rather like steering a ship through stormy waters, an endeavour, figuratively speaking, taking the efforts of two people. Really, by our experience of being one of a married couple, robustness of marriage is attained by a 100% commitment to each other. That is, for example, for me no longer living for myself, but to live for my wife's best welfare and interests. Because our God is love (1 John 4:8) - I believe in the importance of relationships way above career achievements, and no finer illustration is used in the Bible as comparing the love between husband and wife to that of Jesus Christ and his Church. This is, I believe is the most important lesson which people such as Lavinia Woodward must learn. Unfortunately for her, despite her high intelligence and learning, she is totally lacking in godly wisdom which her future profession will require from her.

Oh yes, the mention of Adam and Eve brings me back to the subject of Divine Creationism, now held to ridicule by all unbelievers, and even diluted to the level of Theistic Evolution by academic Christians. At present, at my daily Bible reading, I'm going through Revelation of St John, the last book in the Bible. At least in three places it is stated specifically that everything we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell are all created specifically by God. The first reference is found in Revelation 3:14 where the Lord addresses the church at Laodicea. The second reference if found in Revelation 10:5-6, when a mighty angel, with one foot on land and the other in the sea, has a private conversation with John, revealing an oath to God who made the heaven and everything in it, the earth and everything on it, and the seas with everything in them. And then, in Revelation 13:6-13, there is the threefold testimony from three angels who literally fly around the skies, apparently fully visible to all mankind. It's the first angel who exhorts the human race to worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the seas, and springs of water. 

I love it when revelations of God's truth often comes in threes. Three Scripture references, the three tiers of Creation - heaven (that is, the Universe), earth (meaning land rather than the whole planet) and the seas. The three angels flying across the sky proclaiming the everlasting Gospel, and then in addition to heaven, it's the earth, seas, and springs of water. The revelation of the number three seems to endorse the source of all life as the one God of three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

As I see it, these Scriptures speaks volumes! Because such events such as 144,000 Jews called to preach the Gospel to the whole world - chapter 7, the slaughter of the two witnesses and their physical resurrection three days later, in the sight of the entire human population - chapter 11, as well as the rise of the two beasts (these are men of great power and therefore not actual animals) - chapter 13. None of these events had ever occurred so far in history. And so accepting that these future events will occur during the last days of human history just prior to the Second Advent indicates a thorough rejection of the record of Divine Creation worldwide. So much so, that it takes an angel from heaven to declare the truth of it, giving all mankind an opportunity to repent (Greek, metaneo - to change their minds about Creation and the truth of Jesus being the risen Christ and Creator). Such is the grace of God - something Lavinia Woodward needs to learn about, along with every scientist and advocate of Evolution.

Whether because I am a believer of the risen Christ, or whether it's instilled in the mind of every human being, I cannot but help recognise the awesome power of God whenever I see scenes of natural beauty. Deciding on the three favourite beauty spots I have visited both within the United Kingdom and worldwide wasn't easy, as there are plenty of candidates. Within the United Kingdom, I would place - in no significant order: In England, the Dorset Heritage Coast, the Lake District National Park, and Duncansby Stacks on the northern tip of Scotland. Worldwide, again in no significant order, I would place the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and the Great Barrier Reef as top places visited. Other potential candidates would include Mt. Etna in Sicily, where I stood on the rim of its active crater, Blue Mountains National Park near Sydney, and the Red Sea coral reefs at Eilat, Israel. In the UK, other sites of natural beauty which I visited would include Loch Ness in Scotland, and the Rhossili coastline in Wales.

Duncansby Stacks, Scotland.

The Evolutionist loves the Grand Canyon! To him, the cutting through of the Colorado Plateau by the river of the same name has exposed a near perfect evidence of the Geological Column consisting of sedimentary rocks laid one upon another in sequence by water. Never mind that a billion years of sedimentary strata is missing at the Unconformity Zone, where a more recent stratum is resting comfortably on metamorphic and granite bedrock, without showing any evidence of erosion that was meant to have taken place before the rest of the upper strata were laid down - yet the uniformitarian geologist will still use this fascinating natural beauty as proof that the truth of Divine Creation is safely debunked. Rather, whilst I was there in 1995, standing on Tonto Plateau halfway down inside the Canyon, I could not help notice the raised beaches with which the plateau consists, separating the rim of the Inner Gorge from the base of the cliffs defining the Outer Gorge. If these are raised beaches, then how much more powerful must the River have been in ancient times, compared to the under-fit river system we see at present?

Rhossili Beach and Worms Head, Wales.

Tonto Plateau inside Grand Canyon. Raised beaches?

These areas of natural beauty tells of the awesome power of God, as Paul testifies in his letter to the Romans (1:18-20). The Apostle could not be more accurate when he wrote that although creation testify the truth of God, men prefer to push away the truth. This is a crying shame. Because the truth of God is replaced by a knowledge which constitutes to be a lie. Gain a degree, or better still, a doctorate on this kind of knowledge, and he will be highly esteemed by the world. And even if he, or in this case, she, commits a formidable crime to the victim's hurt, the defendant's academic greatness will reprieve any punishment justly due, which would have been bestowed on everyone else with less wealth, brains and learning skills.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Father God I Wonder...

The above title is also the title of one of our wedding songs: 
Father God I wonder how I managed to exist without the knowledge of your parenthood and your loving Care...
I am aware that such a statement would be scorned to intensity by anyone who was not brought up by a church-going family, even by those whose parents did bring to church during childhood and are at present committed atheists, also by those who cannot justify the presence of a "Fatherly loving God" to a world full of suffering, war, starvation, disease, poverty - whilst the few who are well-off financially, who are also well educated and hold a good job - are more likely the ones who attend church and acknowledge a Fatherly loving God. In a city such as London during the 1970's, a man dressed in a business suit walks hurriedly past a beggar besotted by alcohol, pretending not to see him. The beggar is slumped there, not because he was foolish enough to throw away his life, but because of the yet-to-be-recognised mental illness known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. 

PTSD after spending six years fighting in a global war. Probably knowing that some 383,700 British military personnel had never made it through such a horrible conflict. His thoughts constantly going back to his days at the barracks. His days when he was lean, strong, muscular, clean-shaven, among his closest friends, and maybe with a special friend who was closer than a brother - very much like David and Jonathan. And the one he had to watch die from his war-wounds as he lay in his arms and listening to his last, gasping breath. And forever remaining shocked by such an experience, he never properly adapted to civil life, especially with food rationing lasting some years after that, he remained unemployable and eventually homeless, ending his days forlorn in the streets. Indeed, by the 1970's, the sight of some well-dressed people marching by, holding up high a banner which read, God Loves You stirred only revulsion. Even worse if the banner read, Prepare to meet your God! After such trauma, especially after the loss of such a close companion, anything religious or with any spiritual slant had as much appeal to the beggar as finding a live maggot in your food.

I guess I was very fortunate to have been born during the Baby-Boom generation. Just young enough to miss the obligatory National Service, as the compulsory side to it was abolished by Harold Wilson's Government by May 1963, when I was just eleven years old. Indeed, as I see it, this was God's grace, although many would disagree, blaming the doing away with National Service with the gradual decline of discipline, especially in schools, along with the de-masculinization of the average British man, a trend so deplored by many Right-leaning newspaper journalists and columnists.    

Probably I can understand why the love of God towards the world is so misunderstood or so difficult to grasp. By entering a Gothic church or cathedral, whether Anglican or Catholic, yet remains a constant reminder of our own shortcomings, and being in the presence of a holy God, to whom we all will eventually give an account. So, as a boy, conversation was in whispers, as if afraid to disturb God from his sleep (actually it was so not to disturb anyone deep in prayer, often seen in Catholic churches). And the need to dress smartly. After all, the invention of the term Sunday Best was by no means accidental, as if God would be offended at a shirt worn without a tie, the sight of denim, or trousers with a hole at the knee, or the sight of a damp circle under the arms, or for a woman to wear a top or dress with a low neckline, or heaven forbid, she arrives without wearing a hat or bonnet. And dare if you accidentally and embarrassingly let out a belch, or even a resounding fart in church! And so such a concept of who God is, with his rather judgemental, punitive character does not warm the average human heart to himself, but from the more timid he raises fear, or at least some form of apprehension.

And at school, that was exactly how God was perceived, and not only a number of boys became "atheists" but I too. Or to be more honest with myself, a God hater. Could this be the real reason why a biologist, after reading a recently-published book by Charles Lyell, The Principles of Geology, the scene was set to launch perhaps the most anti-Gospel philosophy a man can think of, and after a visit to the Galapagos Islands, he himself wrote, On the Origin of Species, which made its author a household name. No doubt, Charles Darwin grew up in a very similar religious environment as I did, maybe more so, for after growing up as a Unitarian, part of his higher education was at the University of Cambridge to train as an Anglican clergyman. Apparently, he couldn't have been that impressed with the character of God either, with his emphasis of holiness, accountability, and judgement, but rather thin on his love and redemption through Jesus Christ, for he never made it to the profession. So instead, his love of biology grew, and he eventually dared to challenge the record of Divine Creation as revealed in the early chapters of Genesis.

And so his theory of Evolution became the source of truth rather than that presented in Holy Scripture. And it should not be a surprise since Darwin was an Englishman, and even voted as the Greatest Briton of all Time by BBC Correspondent Andrew Marr not long after the turn of the Millennium, and in addition with Charles Lyell being a Scotsman, it's no coincidence that the United Kingdom has become the motherland of Uniformitarian Geology and its younger biological sibling.

The social repercussions of this Lyell/Darwinian theories could not be more devastating. Racism is linked to evolution, which is why in time past, particularly in the 1980's, bananas were thrown at black players at a football pitch by white supremacists and mimicking monkey sounds at the stands. And according to Internet sources, this still happens at parts of Europe to this day. And let's face it, I believe this form of racism is still present here, although in the subconscious rather than outright. Maybe, as I once watched on TV, there were City employers who secretly messaged their agencies not to send black candidates for job interviews. And how could I not mention The Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins referring to everyone who would have preferred to remain in the European Union as one of a population of monkeys, as an indication and a yardstick that English patriotism is linked to evolutionary advancement?    

And professing ours to be a Christian country as opposed of being Islamic, our culture still lacks the Fatherly love of God engrained in its consciousness, but still rather perceived to be more of a divine bully who has respect for those higher educated toffs who dress well for church, but has little, if any regard, for others who don't quite fit the ideal model. And yet I can hear the pages of the Bible rustle like leaves of a tree rustling in the wind. The apostle James devotes the whole of his second chapter of his letter specifically to this issue. He wrote against showing special favour to the rich man who enters the house-church (as they were in those days) dressed in purple and fine clothing, whilst at the same time showing contempt for the poor man in rags who also walks in. Oh, its all very well believing on the intellectual level that only one true God exists (in contrast to a pantheon of idols and lesser divinities) but what is that to the watching world if showing neglect to the one who is cold and hungry, even to the point of publicly dishonouring God?

James concluded that you see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone, and just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead - (James 2:24, 26). Sure, I'm aware that anybody has the capacity for doing good. Richard Dawkins was quite specific about this. The trouble is: Atheists such as Dawkins evaluate the motives behind these good deeds as more genuine within those who are irreligious, but more out of fear of eternal punishment within the religious group. And I have to say that he is right, at least in part. Because during the last forty-plus of being a Christian believer myself, I have come across teachings indicating that fear should be the correct motivation for Christian commitment, simply because our love for God and for each other is not yet made perfect. And this hadn't come from a church layman but from a Cambridge-educated and Bachelor of Arts graduate, church pastor, itinerant preacher and author of several books. It is unfortunate that although this scholar has given great credit to the Bible, its historicity and truthfulness, I have wondered what kind of impact has he made to the unbelieving world. Are favours and good deeds done to others out of fear or even out of apprehension for the possibility of eternal punishment really that virtuous?

Indeed, this sort of thing brings the whole of the Christian faith into disrepute in the sight and hearing of outsiders. Good deeds done out of fear. This is like petrol fuel being thrown onto the fires of atheism! As I once read in the spiritual section of a gay website, one contributor wrote in the forums that the trouble with religious people is that their so-called "goodness" is done out of fear of Hell, and therefore his atheism is justified, especially where churches hold a high condemnation rate for all homosexuals. I wanted to write a reply to defend my faith in Christ and save its credibility. I wasn't able to write anything. Why? Because I knew that he was right, and I had nothing to say. But even worse than that, the idea of God  as a fatherly figure is hardly given any credit, but instead perceived as a strict moralist and a sky-bully. Little wonder that he is looked upon as a kind of spaghetti-god in the heavens, a candidate for the most abusive ridicule from the gay community.

The true Christian lives in love, love for his heavenly Father and love for others, especially other believers. That is the main emphasis of John's first letter. Even in his Gospel, Jesus is recorded as giving a new commandment for all believers, and this new commandment is to love one another, because through this the world will know that they are Jesus' true disciples, that they love each other as he loved them, right to the point of laying down his life for the one loved, as Christ himself laid down his life for a sinning world - John 13:35.

Perhaps this was what Jesus meant when he says that we are the light of the world and a city built on a hill (Matthew 5:14-16) - so let your light shine so by your good deeds men may praise God in heaven. The only way that God could be glorified is for the sinner to repent - to change his mind from unbelief to believing in his heart that this Jesus is the risen Christ, and so he receives mercy, is justified, and given eternal life. Every sinner saved brings glory to God. And everyone who lives in genuine love can call God his Father, and convert the sinner from his ways.