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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