Dec. 30, 2014
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama topped Gallup’s lists Monday of the nation’s most admired women and men. Of the 31 names mentioned often enough to get a least a single percentage point in the poll, 16 were politicians or their spouses, making politics most revered profession on the lists.
Spanish consumer prices fell the most since July 2009 in a sign that slumping oil costs are complicating the European Central Bank’s battle to stave off deflation in the euro area.
The Indian government issued an executive order to make it easier for companies to buy land and eventually replace a law that has hindered manufacturing and constrained economic growth.
The richest people on Earth got richer in 2014, adding $92 billion to their collective fortune in the face of falling energy prices and geopolitical turmoil incited by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Bargain-seeking investors have turned bullish on embattled energy stocks, plowing record amounts into the industry. More than $3.13 billion went into exchange-traded funds holding stakes in Exxon Mobil, Schlumberger and other energy stocks this month, even as the price of oil fell 22 percent.
U.S. oil drillers idled the most rigs since 2012 as prices slide below $55 a barrel to the lowest level in five years and a fight for market share with OPEC intensifies.
Ukraine may have to leave the fate of Crimea to future generations, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said, a day after the president said the country can’t afford to take back its rebel-held areas by force.
Home prices in 20 U.S. cities rose at a slower pace in the year ended in October, putting the market on better footing heading into 2015.
U.S. Representative Michael Grimm of New York, who pleaded guilty to a federal tax charge, said he plans to resign from the House.
AP Top Stories
Indonesian rescuers searching for an AirAsia plane carrying 162 people pulled bodies and wreckage from the sea off the coast of Borneo on Tuesday, prompting relatives of those on board watching TV footage to break down in tears.
A cargo ship believed to be carrying hundreds of migrants near the Greek island of Corfu sent out a distress signal saying armed people were on board, Greek television reported.
The ripples from the massive National Security Agency leak orchestrated by former contract worker Edward Snowden continue to be felt even now. While most of the eye-opening revelations are behind us, the sheer volume of confidential documents exposed by Snowden has resulted in a continued trickle of information. Now, a new report covering information pulled from leaked NSA documents reveals several encrypted services that the NSA has been able to crack in its widespread data collection efforts. More importantly, perhaps, the report identifies a number of secure services with encryption that the NSA has been unable to crack.
Was the North Korean government really the mastermind behind the massive hack on Sony? Many researchers have continued to express skepticism about this claim and The Security Ledger reports that researchers at security firm Norse may have uncovered the best evidence yet that the Sony hack was actually an inside job.
The Islamic State group published on Monday an interview with the Jordanian pilot captured last week after his plane crashed in northern Syria.
A new gun law banning the sale of certain types of fire arms will take effect in California on January 1st.
Brent crude fell to a 5-1/2-year low of less than $57 a barrel on Tuesday as a global supply glut outweighed concerns of lost supply from Libya where battling militias have closed ports.
A volunteer nurse who contracted Ebola in west Africa was being treated at an isolation unit in a specialist London hospital on Tuesday as infection rates increased in eastern Sierra Leone.
Iraqi government forces have retaken the town of Dhuluiya from Islamic State, sources said, reportedly inflicting heavy casualties on the jihadist group.
The Ebola victim who triggered the current outbreak, a two-year-old boy from Guinea, may have been infected by playing near bats, said scientists.
Maryland’s first female Episcopal bishop was the driver in a hit-and-run crash that killed a bicyclist in Baltimore, the diocese said.
The Pentagon said that the US military has carried out an air strike targeting a senior al-Shabab leader in Somalia.
A new national cemetery for Ebola victims opened in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, as the number of infections in West Africa passed 20,000.
The “implosion” in America’s abortion industry is continuing, and the only thing that prevents a complete collapse is a series of court injunctions that are preventing various state safety laws from being enforced, according to a new survey of the situation. “In all, 73 abortion facilities shut down for all or part of the year. The total number of all remaining abortion clinics in the U.S. is currently 739. Surgical abortion facilities account for 551 of that total while the number of medication-only abortion facilities stands at 188.”
After more than 10 years of litigation, the Supreme Court of Rhode Island has thrown out lawsuits by two Christian firefighters who were forced to drive a Providence fire truck in a “gay”-pride parade despite their religious objections.
A Muslim civil rights group has sued the government on behalf of a former Navy enlisted man from Northern California who says he was the target of ethnic slurs, was reassigned to a menial job, and was later denied re-enlistment after seeking permission to wear a beard for religious reasons.
Shock As NY Times Reveals Obama Generals ‘Do Not Understand’ ISIS
“We do not understand the movement, and until we do, we are not going to defeat it”
WASHINGTON — Maj. Gen. Michael K. Nagata, commander of American Special Operations forces in the Middle East, sought help this summer in solving an urgent problem for the American military: What makes the Islamic State so dangerous?
Trying to decipher this complex enemy — a hybrid terrorist organization and a conventional army — is such a conundrum that General Nagata assembled an unofficial brain trust outside the traditional realms of expertise within the Pentagon, State Department and intelligence agencies, in search of fresh ideas and inspiration. Business professors, for example, are examining the Islamic State’s marketing and branding strategies.
“We do not understand the movement, and until we do, we are not going to defeat it,” he said, according to the confidential minutes of a conference call he held with the experts. “We have not defeated the idea. We do not even understand the idea.”
General Nagata’s frustration is shared by other American officials. Even as President Obama and his top civilian and military aides express growing confidence that Iraqi troops backed by allied airstrikes have blunted the Islamic State’s momentum on the ground in Iraq and undermined its base of support in Syria, other officials acknowledge they have barely made a dent in the larger, longer-term campaign to kill the ideology that animates the terrorist movement.
Read the rest of the story on the New York Times…
The post Shock As NY Times Reveals Obama Generals ‘Do Not Understand’ ISIS appeared first on Now The End Begins.
Gay marriage dynamic in U.S. shifted dramatically in 2014
by Marsha West
According to the Los Angeles Times:
For the first time, a majority of Americans are living in a state that allows gay marriage. After a year of cascading court opinions tossing out many remaining restrictions, the dynamic in 2014 changed from how many states allow same-sex marriage to how many states don’t.
Now, at the end of the year, same-sex marriage is legally approved in 35 states and the District of Columbia, and court reviews are pending in many others.
Abortion industry on verge of ‘implosion’
The “implosion” in America’s abortion industry is continuing, and the only thing that prevents a complete collapse is a series of court injunctions that are preventing various state safety laws from being enforced, according to a new survey of the situation. “In all, 73 abortion facilities shut down for all or part of the year. The total number of all remaining abortion clinics in the U.S. is currently 739. Surgical abortion facilities account for 551 of that total while the number of medication-only abortion facilities stands at 188,” said the report from Operation Rescue. “Out of 60 surgical abortion clinic closures, 47 were permanent. This represents a 23 percent decline in surgical abortion facilities over the past five years. “The only things that are preventing total collapse are court injunctions that are blocking several state abortion safety laws from being enforced,” the report said. The report said 13 surgical facilities were closed, but then allowed to reopen “primarily due to court action that enjoined abortion safety laws that had shut down the substandard facilities.” More
Stop conversions, Stanford religious dean tells churches
The newly appointed dean for religious life at Stanford University has some advice for churches. They should stop doing all those conversions and shouldn’t even “do religion” all the time, contends Rev. Jane Shaw, who plans to teach “empathy” in her religion classes. The school explained her duties are to provide “spiritual, religious and ethical leadership to the university community, serve as minister of Memorial Church and also teach undergraduates and graduate students as a professor.” Provost John Etchemendy praised her as “both a charismatic leader and an accomplished academic.” “Dean Shaw is equally committed to the educational mission of the university and the ecumenical mission of Memorial Church,” he said. It was in a taped interview when she complained that churches should be more into art, global warming and the like. They should be less “churchy,” she said. “I think people are always slightly surprised that I’m not very churchy as a person,” Shaw said in the interview with Palo Alto Online. “I don’t think church is to be more churchy. I think church is about, anyone should be welcome. I’m really interested in how you welcome many different kind of constituencies, certainly not convert them, not even necessarily to do religion all the time. More
Obama golf game prompts relocation of Army wedding
Two captains in the U.S. Army relocated their wedding over the weekend to accommodate a golf game for President Obama, who is currently on vacation in Hawaii, according to Bloomberg News. Natalie Heimel and Edward Mallue Jr. initially invited Mr. Obama to their ceremony, but received a letter Saturday saying he couldn’t come and wishing them well. Soon after, the couple was informed they would have to move their wedding, scheduled for Kaneohe Klipper Golf Course on the Marine Corps Base Hawaii, which Mr. Obama has visited when he’s in the state. A manager for the catering company handling logistics for the wedding said they had other sites ready to go and said people planning an event at the course when the president is in town are warned about possible last-minute shuffling. More
Seed Libraries Struggle With State Laws Limiting Exchanges
Gardeners at hundreds of spots around the country are sharing seeds as part of an increasing interest in locally grown food, but some agriculture officials say the well-meaning effort violates state laws. In spots like Duluth, Minnesota, the conflict has surprised gardeners and library officials who never thought to examine the intricacies of state seed laws. Agriculture officials say they weren’t looking for a fight but must enforce laws that are intended to protect farmers by ensuring seeds are viable, will grow the intended plant and aren’t mixed with unwanted seeds for weeds or plants. More
Japan Culls 42000 Chickens After Second Bird Flu Outbreak In A Month
Japan on Monday ordered the slaughter of some 42,000 chickens after officials confirmed the country’s second bird flu outbreak in less than a month. DNA tests confirmed the H5 strain of the virus at a farm in Miyazaki prefecture in the country’s southwest after its owner reported Sunday that several chickens had suddenly died, the local government said. Officials began the slaughter Monday and asked farms within a 10 kilometre (62 miles) radius not to move their poultry outside of that geographic area. The case comes about two weeks after the government ordered the slaughter of some 4,000 chickens at another poultry farm in Miyazaki — the first confirmed outbreak of bird flu at a Japanese poultry farm since April. More
License Plate Reader Technology Looks At Faces
The leading suppler of automated license plate reader technology in the US (ALPR, also known as ANPR in Europe) is expanding its offerings to law enforcement. Vehicle owners have already had their movements tracked by the company Vigilant Solutions, which boasts 2 billion entries in its nationwide database, with 70 million additional license plate photographs being added each month. Now passengers can also be tracked if they hitch a ride with a friend and are photographed by a camera aimed at the front of the car. The Livermore, California-based firm recently announced expanded integration of facial recognition technology into its offerings. “The new Vigilant Mobile Companion app expands the benefits of license plate recognition and facial recognition technologies to all areas of the agency,” a Vigilant Solutions press release claimed. “Using many of the new analytic tools that Vigilant has released in its Learn product over the last couple of years, the app makes these tools even more easy to use and accessible on a mobile device. The app also features Vigilant’s Facesearch facial recognition which analyzes over 350 different vectors of the human face.” More
A New Jersey bid to privatize water without public votes
A bill that would allow New Jersey municipalities to sell their public water utilities to private, for-profit corporations without putting the measure to voters is awaiting Gov. Chris Christie’s signature. Until now, any municipality in New Jersey that sought to sell off its water system to a private bidder had to hold a public vote. But a bill passed with bipartisan support by the state’s Senate last week would allow municipalities with aging and deteriorating water systems to put their systems up for sale without holding a referendum. While supporters of the bill say privatizing water systems could save municipalities money, it allows companies to factor the purchase price of the systems into the rates they charge customers, meaning taxpayers could ultimately be on the hook for the sale of their water systems. Many New Jersey municipalities have turned to privatization as a way to get quick cash infusions for their deteriorating water systems. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the state would need $41 billion over the next 20 years to repair its water, stormwater and wastewater systems. More
Hackers could steal your fingerprint from readily available photographs, leaving iPhones and other technology vulnerable
Hackers have already proved they can bypass Apple’s fingerprint scanner using a collection of household items to make a latex replica print. And now, one expert has recreated the fingerprints of Germany’s Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen, using just a photo of her. The security researcher known as Starbug, used publicly available software called VeriFinger with photos of the finger taken from different angles. Starbug, whose real name is Jan Krissler, told attendees of the Chaos Computer Club’s (CCC) 31st annual congress in Hamburg, Germany, how he achieved the hack. More
ObamaCare fines rising in 2015, IRS to collect
Don’t have health insurance? Get ready to pay up. The ObamaCare-mandated fines for not having insurance are rising in 2015 — and for the first time, will be collected by the Internal Revenue Service. The individual requirement to buy health insurance went into effect earlier this year. But this coming tax season is the first time all taxpayers will have to report to the IRS whether they had health insurance for the prior year. The fines for the 2014 year were relatively modest — $95 per person or 1 percent of household income (above the threshold for filing taxes), whichever is more. But insurance scofflaws face a sharp increase if they don’t get covered soon. The fine will jump in 2015 to $325 or 2 percent of income, whichever is higher. By 2016, the average fine will be about $1,100, based on government figures. The insurance requirement and penalties remain the most unpopular part of the health care law. They were intended to serve a broader purpose by nudging healthy people into the insurance pool, helping to keep premiums more affordable. But the application of fines in 2015 could renew criticism of the law, at a time when Republicans are taking control of Congress and looking at ways to undercut the policy. More
Solar System Likely To Collide With Nearby Orange Dwarf Star
A local orange dwarf star has a 90 percent probability of passing within the orbit of our outer solar system’s Oort Cloud between 240,000 and 470,000 years from now, says the author of a new study detailing the computer-modeled orbits of more than 50,000 nearby stars. In a paper just accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, Coryn Bailer-Jones, an astrophysicist at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, and the paper’s sole author, found that of 14 stars coming within 3 light years of Earth, the closest encounter is likely to be HIP 85605, which now lies some 16 light years away in the constellation of Hercules. Like agitated bees circling a hive, we live in a dynamic sea of low-mass stars. More than a few buzz our own star on timescales of thousands to millions of years. But how many of these stellar interlopers perturb a fraction of the estimated few trillion comets that make up the Oort Cloud? That is, the grand reservoir of comets which circles our own solar system at a distance of nearly a light year. That’s the crux of this new paper which, among other things, posits that these passing stars cause a significant number of the Oort Cloud’s kilometer-sized cometary bodies to be injected into Earth-crossing orbits. More
The McAvany Intel Memo
A quick review (by Ugo Bardi) of the fall of the Roman Empire:
THE TOP – 120 to 180 AD Marcus Aurelius was Emperor and “spent most of his life fighting to keep the empire together; fighting barbarians. [Does this sound like America today?] Aurelius surely understood that something was wrong. The Romans had been almost always on offense. Now they were always defending themselves.”
400 AD “Of Matters of War” (author unknown): “This document includes beautiful color illustrations of dreamed of futuristic weapons … none of which were ever constructed. But … the futuristic weaponry does show that the unidentified 4th century author did see empire troubles … actually he seems scared to death because of what is happening (around him).”
476 AD Romulus Augustus was deposed. In a book, “DeReditu Suo” by Rutilius Namatianus, Bardi found a description of the last days: “Namatianus lived at a time that was very close to the last gasp of Empire. He found that, at some point, it wasn’t possible to live in Rome any longer. Everything was collapsing around him and he decided to take a boat and leave. He was born in Gallia (France).”
“Namatianus said, ‘I have chosen the sea, since the roads by land, if on the level, are flooded by rivers; if on high ground, are beset with rocks. Since Tuscany and since the Aurelian highway, after suffering the outrage of Goths with fire and sword, can no longer control forest with homestead or river with bridge, it is better to entrust my sails to the wayward.'”
With the extensive road and highway system that had supported the Roman Empire in total disrepair by 476 AD, it was clear that the Roman Empire was no more!
A CONCLUSION (from Ugo Bardi) – “But what does Namatianus think of all this? Well, he sees the collapse all around him, but he can’t understand it. For him, the reasons for the fall of Rome are totally incomprehensible. He can only interpret what is going on as a temporary setback. Rome had had hard times before, but the Romans had always rebounded, and eventually triumphed over their enemies. It had always been that way: Rome would become powerful and rich again.
“There would be much more to say on this matter, but I think it is enough to say that the Romans did not really understand what was happening to their Empire, except in terms of military setbacks that they always saw as temporary. [ED. NOTE: As most Americans and their leaders do not see the decline in America today.] They always seemed to think that these setbacks could be redressed by increasing the size of the army and building more fortifications. Also, it gives us an idea of what it is like living a collapse ‘from the inside.’ Most people just don’t see it happening – it is like being a fish: you don’t see the water.”
NOTE: The strength of the Roman Empire was based upon the strongest army of the day, fruitful agriculture, and the conquering army’s continual harvest of gold, silver, and slaves to enrich Rome from each new foreign conquest. The fall of Rome began when there were no longer any easy or wealthy targets to conquer.
The fall of the Roman Empire spanned 300 years in a day when news arrived by carrier pigeon. If there is a peak in our American Empire, will it take 300 months, 300 days, or 300 hours with today’s worldwide information network?
(Excerpt from McAlvany Intelligence Advisor, July 2014, by guest editor Jim Deeds)
How feminism conquered pop culture In 2014
On the red carpet, on stage, in our National Theatre and our Houses of Parliament, at the UN, on our bookshelves, Twitter feeds and on talk shows, prominent actresses, singers and writers proclaimed the importance of gender equality. (Vincent, The Telegraph)
Will 2015 be the year of meninism?
Could 2015 be the year when downtrodden men finally grow a pair, rise up against the tyranny of modern feminism and cry, “I’m a meninist – and I demand equality!” (Daubney, The Telegraph)
Reality TV facing its own reality: a ratings slump
Just a few years ago, underemployed TV writers were complaining that reality programming was taking over their industry. Now the scribes are having their revenge: Unscripted programming is mired in an unexpected slump. (Collins, Los Angeles Times)
Islam Is Neither a Religion Nor Peaceful
By Bethany Blankley
Bethany Blankley is a conservative political analyst and columnist who regularly appears on Fox News Radio.
It’s misleading to call Islam a religion. While Islam, literally translated, means “submission” [to Allah—or death], it’s very much a political ideology.
The Qur’an, Hadith, and the Sunnah all clearly articulate Islam’s goal to implement worldwide totalitarian rule through implementing Shari’a Law.
Through a Glass, Darkly
This is why young, influential leaders like Cameron Strang, Donald Miller, and Shane Claiborne have bought into leftist “justice” issues, and it is no surprise each of these men is also pro Palestinian. A century of liberal/leftist ideology, first infecting the seminaries, has now spread to all quarters of evangelical thought.
It is why some of us struggle to understand exactly what is going on. We see through a glass, darkly.
Congress Goes to Pot
I’ve pretty much given up on both the Democrats and the Republicans. Since they have obviously lost sight of the biblical guidelines that made America a great nation, I don’t have any hope that someone from these two parties can get us back on the straight and narrow. Unless a secular leader understands the spiritual forces that cause trouble in this world, their best carnal efforts will likely end in failure (Ephesians 6:12).
NYPD cop slayings: Never forget who’s to blame
Exclusive: Jesse Lee Peterson reveals root of ‘anti-police sentiment’ that led to executions…..
And, unfortunately, the people themselves have short memories. Over time, we tend to allow the media’s warped message to become reality.
Yet we must never forget who’s to blame for creating the violent atmosphere that brought on the murder of two of NYPD’s finest, and other police officers.
The Left’s Use of Black People
How progressives keep African Americans in a perpetual state of grievance.
Let’s look at some of the ways white liberals use black people. One of the more obvious ways is for liberals to equate any kind of injustices suffered by homosexuals and women to the black struggle for civil rights. But it is just plain nonsense to suggest any kind of equivalency between the problems of homosexuals and women and the centuries of slavery followed by Jim Crow, lynching, systematic racial discrimination and the blood, sweat and tears of the black civil rights movement.
US finds Israel fourth most ‘unacceptable’ country
Foreign Policy article examines number of times state department referred to ‘unacceptable’ behavior this year; Israel ranked between North Korea and Pakistan.
4 Trends in Christianity That Could Scare You
Despite what many think, the church in America is not dying (and no serious researcher thinks that). However, there are some challenges and changes to be considered.
When we consider missiology, part of the discipline includes considering how churches relate to their culture. Since we live in changing times, it’s worth thinking through what current cultural changes mean for future church engagement of that culture.
Here are four trends that are already evident, but will become even more important in days to come:
Top 12 Most Important Christian News Stories of 2014
NOTE: This ministry cannot conceive how Christian persecution would not be at the very top of this list. — OTM
State supreme court rules firefighters must participate in ‘gay pride parades’ despite objections
by Marsha West
Christian News Network reports:
The Supreme Court of Rhode Island has unanimously ruled that the religious rights of two firefighters were not violated when they were forced to participate in a “gay pride parade” a decade ago despite their objections.
Theodore Fabrizio and Stephen Deninno were assigned by city officials to drive a fire truck in the 2001 parade, but when the men asked if they could be reassigned as they do not agree with the homosexual lifestyle, they were refused. The men then carried out their assignment against their will, but state that they experienced sexual harassment, including sexual propositions and “at least 60 profanity-laced anonymous phone calls,” from parade attendees and their co-workers both during and after the event.
Rivlin: Retaliation against persecution of Christians in the Middle East is a war against extremism
Over the past months, he said, “we have been greatly concerned by the on-going religious persecution and restrictions on freedom of worship for minorities in the Middle East. Because of their faith hundreds of thousands are being exiled, forcibly converted, attacked and brutally murdered,” he said.
One Word Changes Everything; Can You Handle The Truth?
There is a significant shift in the church today to avoid controversial truths, such as sin and repentance. if a pastor avoids difficult truths they are not a pastor; they are a motivational speaker, or a false prophet offering false hope (cf. Jeremiah 23). The cross only makes sense in light of the consequences of sin.
The Unbreakable Laura Hillenbrand
“Hillenbrand’s biography of Zamperini, “Unbroken,” was released in 2010. The hardcover debuted at No. 2 on the New York Times best-seller list and remained on the list for nearly four years. This week, a movie adaptation of the book, based on a script by the Coen brothers and directed by Angelina Jolie, will be released amid a flurry of early Oscar attention.”
If The Good News Is Old News, Does It Become Bad News?
“As consumers of news, we become quickly bored with a repetition of antiquated news. With our wide tendencies toward A.D.D., we always crave novelty. Many think, the “new is true, the old is mold.” This is what C.S. Lewis labeled ‘chronological snobbery,’ the belief that we who come later in the parade of knowledge automatically have the advantage of being smarter. Accordingly, those who come before us are thought of as not nearly ‘enlightened.’
A Christmas Present From The Mainstream Media: Newsweek Takes a Desperate Swipe at the Integrity of the Bible (Part 1)
“The recent Newsweek cover article by Kurt Eichenwald, entitled “The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin,” published intentionally (no doubt) on December 23rd, goes so far beyond the standard polemics, and is so egregiously mistaken about the Bible at so many places, that the magazine should seriously consider a public apology to Christians everywhere.”
A Dangerous Passion For Growth
“The more passionate a person is to see the church grow and the more their sympathies rest with the sinners we are trying to reach, the more open they become to the danger of compromise. Leaders and churches can become ‘sinner driven’.”
What Is The Church’s Big Mac?
“We might even be able to agree that the church must identify and keep her metaphorical Big Mac but what ought to strike us is that nowhere in the author’s list of possible candidates are those which ought to be obvious to us: the pure preaching of the gospel, the pure administration of the sacraments, and the use of church discipline.”
The Seven Deadly Sins in a Digital Age #7: Pride
“In recognizing our dependence upon God, we don’t necessarily think less of ourselves, rather we think of ourselves less. We do not waste much time assessing how well we have overcome various vices, but simply fix our eyes on Jesus and start focusing on the next vices that need to be overcome — remembering that this side of glory, pride will always be one of them.”
Finnish Church Embraces Gay Marriage, Loses 12,000 Members
In the days following the statement, nearly 12,000 people resigned their membership in the Lutheran Church in Finland, according to Finland’s YLE news. A website making it easy for people to resign online continues to track daily totals. Comments on the website seem to suggest the majority of resignations are in response to Mäkinen’s statements.
So, Who’s Training Tomorrow’s ‘Mainline’ Protestant Pastors?
“Independent evangelical seminaries that have grown exponentially since World War II affect not only conservative groups but the pluralistic or liberal “mainline” denominations where minority evangelicals exercise minimal influence on national programs but persist at the local level. These schools have built a reputation for training pastors in effective sermonizing, pastoral work, and outreach.”
Examining the 10 Commandments of Atheism
by Alan Anderson
The Atheist Mind Humanist Heart website recently conducted a crowd sourcing project titled, “The ReThink Project”, where they asked their viewers to submit entries with the goal of developing the “Ten Commandments for the 21st century”. They had a slew of popular atheist names on the judge’s panel to narrow all the entries down to ten, which included well-known atheistic advocates such as Adam Savage from Mythbusters, Dan Barker from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, and Matt Dillahunty from the Atheist Experience television show. There was a reasonable amount of responses from their fan base with over 2,800 entries submitted from over 18 countries. However I must admit, when I heard of the “ReThink Project”, I almost laughed aloud.
After ‘Unbroken’: The remarkable story of Louis Zamperini’s faith
By Franklin Graham
Actor and director Angelina Jolie has done an incredible job in following the remarkable story of Olympian and World War II POW Louis Zamperini, as told in the book “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand.
Unfortunately, Jolie’s movie, by the same title, stops before Louie’s real battle begins. He was broken by his own memories of anger, fear, alcoholism and the abandoned promise he had made to God while adrift at sea in 1943.
Posted: 29 Dec 2014 06:09 AM PST
It’s been an amazing year for me personally here at Cold Case Christianity. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be this busy as a “retired” cold-case detective. My most recent case went to trial in July and we convicted another killer 6 weeks later. The case was featured on Dateline again, and I’m now consulting with the Los Angeles District Attorney on cold-case homicides from other agencies in Southern California. This year I also presented the case for Christianity to 30,385 people at 73 speaking engagements (166 talks) in 20 states and 9 university campuses. I completed 25 radio show interviews, and made 3 television show appearances. Along the way I managed to write my second book and post 17 new videos, 48 podcasts (and television broadcasts), and 246 blog articles. Next year I think I’ll slow down a bit.
As I was reviewing the statistics for the blog posts this year, I figured it was time to post my annual top ten list. Here are the most popular articles (written in 2014) in order, from the 10th most popular to the most popular of all:
10. 10 Important Questions for the Jehovah’s Witness Worldview
There are a number of philosophical and theological questions exposing the internal contradictions of the Jehovah’s Witness worldview.
9. How the Book of Abraham Exposes the False Nature of Mormonism
By taking an evidential approach to Christian and Mormon scripture, I confirmed the veracity of Christianity and guarded myself from the falsity of Mormonism
8. Ten Principles When Considering Alleged Bible Contradictions
If we objectively examine the Scriptures with these principles in mind, we’ll grow in our understanding of the Bible and better resolve the difficulties
7. Is Jesus Simply a Retelling of the Horus Mythology?
Is Jesus simply a retelling of the Horus myth? How similar is Horus to Jesus upon close examination? Do these similarities invalidate the historicity of Jesus?
6. Why Are Young Christians Leaving the Church? It’s Simple Math
Why Are Young Christians Leaving the Church? Three powerful forces are driving the current departure of young Christians from the Church.
5. The Inevitable Consequence of An Atheistic Worldview
What are the inevitable consequences of an atheistic worldview? A summary from an honest (if not politically correct) comment from an atheist.
4. Investigating the Evidence for Mormonism In Six Steps
Given the evidence, there is more than enough reason to conclude Joseph Smith was a fraud and the Book of Mormon is a work of fiction.
3. Is the Bible True? The Cumulative Case for the Reliability of the Gospels (Free Bible Insert)
Is the Bible true? The case for the reliability of the Gospels is strong and substantive.
2. The Difference Between “Natural Talents” and “Spiritual Gifts”
Natural talents are the result of our genetic inheritance and the training in our family environment. Spiritual gifts are given to us by the Spirit of God once we are saved.
And here it is, the most popular article posted this year (by far):
1. Is There Any Evidence for Jesus Outside the Bible?
The ancient non-Christian interpretations (and critical commentaries) of the Gospel accounts serve to strengthen the core claims of the New Testament.
Words of Comfort: One blood.
Some have wondered, if we are all descendants of Adam and Eve, why are there so many races? The Bible informed us 2,000 years ago that God has made all nations from “one blood.” We are all of the same race—the “human race,” descendants of Adam and Eve, something science is slowly coming to realize. Reuters news service reported the following article by Maggie Fox:
“Science may have caught up with the Bible, which says that Adam and Eve are the ancestors of all humans alive today. Peter Underhill of Stanford University in California remarked on findings published in the November 2000 issue of the journal Nature Genetics. . . Geneticists have long agreed there is no genetic basis to race—only to ethnic and geographic groups.
“People look at a very conspicuous trait like skin color and they say, ‘Well, this person’s so different’ . . . but that’s only skin deep,” Underhill said. “When you look at the level of the Y chromosome you find that, gee, there is very little difference between them. And skin color differences are strictly a consequence of climate.” [From, The Evidence Bible]
Frustrated With God
Q. I am so frustrated with God, I have been praying for years now, my family and friends too, to save my marriage. Last night i was talking to my husband again, meanwhile I am praying for God to intervene. He just will not. Nothing. My husband is moving out, he is done, and I stand here helpless. Where is God? He is able to move mountains, he can do anything he wants, and if he loves me, why does he not answer my prayers. I know it is his will we don’t divorce so why is he not stopping this. Why is he not helping me?
Peace Or Sudden Destruction?
Q. I am a brother in Christ, but I have trouble understanding how Luke 21:25,26 and 1 Thessalonians 5:3 can both be right. How can they be saying peace and security and at the same time being fearful about the thing coming to the earth?
Becoming Like Little children
Q. Do you think all children in the world under the age of accountability will be raptured? Even those in unbelieving households?
A Secret Jesus Couldn’t Reveal, Follow Up
Q. Re: A Secret Jesus Couldn’t Reveal. We do not understand your statement, “Blessings like salvation by grace through faith alone, eternal security, and especially the rapture, never have and never will be offered to Israel.” We understand that only the Church will be raptured, but how does the Jew receive salvation if not thru faith alone?
Pop-offecy versus preaching as from a full Canon
by Dan Phillips
It’s so much fun to be a Charismatic these days. You can say anything you want, and not only will no one in your movement call you on it, they’ll give you buckets of money and the opportunity to do it over and over and over again!
Take Pat Robertson, famous for The 700 Club and much besides. Every year, Pat literally goes up in the mountains to get a word from God. Now, in case you are not familiar with Charismaticism, this isn’t a Bible study. This isn’t a word like the word every last child of God has been given by Him for millennia. This is a special word, a private word, just from God to just Pat.
Then Pat tells us.
Of course, like all of the distinctive doctrines and practices of modern Charismaticism, this bears no resemblance to the Biblical phenomena. (That’s why some solicitous enablers have fabricated the whole “analogy” camouflage.) Unlike Biblical revelatory phenomena, these are largely unverifiable, unfalsifiable, and unremarkable.
“Largely,” I say, but not always. In Pat’s case, he has made some specific predictions in God’s name. In those instances, how’s Pat’s record as a prophet? In short, not so great. For instance, in 1996 “God” murmured to Pat that Clinton would lose in his bid for the White House. Yeah, if only. Also, a nuke was going to hit the US. Then in 2005, “God” hinted that Bush would pass Social Security reform and tax reform, and would load the Supreme Court with conservatives. Again, if only. Then in 2006, the US would be hit with tsunamis, and in 2007 a mass killing would possibly leave millions dead in the US.
So you see? If Pat were held to the standards of Biblical prophecy (Deuteronomy 18:20-22), he’d be thirty years dead.
More recently, then, how did Pat do for 2014? Well, the walking, talking unpaid Charismatic bill said he thinks maybe God kinda told him that the world is going to be in chaos; some kind of credit crisis. (Wow, now, that’s going out on a limb, isn’t it?) Also, Iranians will have a nuclear device by end of year. President Obama will be severely hampered and will take a lot of vacations, surfing and stuff — again, hardly Isaiah 40.
But Pat also said “There’s going to be a great move of God.” Like what? Oh, the usual Charismatic stuff — so, nothing. But also this:“There will be a move of God, and it will be the greatest year in the history of the church. It’ll be unbelievable all around the world. And I think Islam is going to be on the retreat; instead of advancing, it’s going to be retreating, uh, and, you know, onward Christian soldiers”Apparently God didn’t tell Pat what impact it has on Islamists to hear a Christian saying “onward Christian soldiers.”
At this writing, that promised revival of Christianity (which, ironically, would mean the end of Charismaticism), as well as the retreat of Islam, hasn’t happened either.
So as I say, if this were Israel, Pat would be thirty years dead. As it is, he can’t even get himself excommunicated, or disowned, or even effectively shushed.
For our church and as a sort of foretaste for the Sufficient Fire conference, I preached a sermon titled 2015 – Predictions and Prescriptions, from the perspective of hearty affirmation of a full Canon and a sufficient Scripture.
Compare and contrast, at your leisure.
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