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Archive for the ‘Discerning the Times’ Category

from The Most Important News:

Based on how Americans are handling the coronavirus lockdowns, it is hard to be optimistic about what will happen when a really severe crisis hits us.  Yes, this pandemic is definitely a great tragedy.  There are more than 700,000 confirmed cases in the U.S. and more than 40,000 Americans have died.  But it isn’t the end of the world.  I am sorry to tell you this, but COVID-19 is not the worst thing that we are going to face.  In fact, it is not even close to the worst thing that we are going to face.  So it is a bit disheartening to see so many Americans responding to this pandemic so poorly.

Let me give you some examples of what I am talking about.  Polling firms have been extremely active lately, and even though nearly 40 percent of all U.S. adults are obese, one survey found that Americans are binging on snack foods during these lockdowns like never before

About 40% of people say they’ve been eating more snack foods since the outbreak began, with 26% admitting they’re finding comfort in chocolate, specifically, according to a Harris Poll of 2,013 US adults conducted over the weekend.

If overeating was all that we had to worry about, I could live with that.

But it turns out that Americans are also indulging in a whole bunch of other self-destructive behaviors during this time.  At a moment in our history when alcohol-related deaths in the U.S. are already at an all-time high, heavy drinkers have decided that this pandemic is a perfect opportunity to drink even more

One in five said they are guzzling more alcohol, though that number was higher, at 30%, among those 18 to 35 — or millennials and Gen-Zers.

In areas that have been hit extremely hard by COVID-19, sales increases have been especially dramatic.  In New York City, one liquor store owner says that it is “like New Year’s every day” during his city’s lockdown…

With the initial surge of panic buying over, wine and marijuana sales are still way up, presenting an opportunity — and a challenge — for the businesses scrambling to meet the demand spikes and shifts in consumer behavior.

“It’s like New Year’s every day,” said Mark Schwartz, the owner of Little Mo Wine and Spirits in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, who has seen alcohol sales shoot up fourfold.

Of course while they are eating and drinking they need something to do, and so the average American is streaming approximately eight hours of shows and movies every single day…

The average American is passing the time amid the new coronavirus pandemic by streaming roughly eight hours of shows and movies every day, a recent survey shows.

OnePoll surveyed 2,000 Americans with access to at least one streaming service and found that not only was the average person watching eight hours’ worth of content but also likely went through three series in a week alone, StudyFinds reported.

This helps to explain why Netflix stock has been absolutely soaring recently.

Personally, I have never watched “Tiger King” and I have absolutely no desire to do so.  In fact, I have not had a Netflix subscription for over a decade.  Very few corporations have embraced pure evil to the extent that Netflix has, but most Americans don’t seem to care, and right now Netflix is absolutely rolling in revenue.

In addition to binge watching television, Americans are also doing much more online gambling

Online poker revenues were up more than 100 percent from February, and iGaming revenue reached a new record of $64.8 million according to the figures released Wednesday for New Jersey, one of two states that allow online gambling.

To me, this doesn’t make any sense at all.

One recent survey found that about half of all Americans will have run through all of their savings by the end of April.  If you aren’t going to have enough money to pay your bills next month, why would you want to be gambling the little money that you do have away?

Sadly, it does not appear that our society is equipped to handle hard times.  Even before this pandemic started, the suicide rate in the U.S. was at an all-time record high, and more Americans were overdosing on drugs than ever before in our history.

But everything that I have shared with you so far pales in comparison to what I am going to share with you now.

As this pandemic has sent a wave of fear sweeping across the country, it has also created a boom in business at abortion clinics all over America

The Trust Women abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas, reported performing 252 abortions in March, up from 90 in March, 2019. Julie Burkhart, the chief executive of Trust Women, told RT.com this week that between the Wichita, Kansas clinic and her other clinic in Oklahoma City (which was briefly closed but has since reopened), they have seen a “300 to 400 percent” increase in their patient load.

“The women who have been calling are uncertain about having a baby when the world is so unpredictable all of a sudden, and they’re worried about money due to the sharp rise in unemployment,” she said. “We’ve been seeing more women calling earlier than usual in their pregnancy, and there’s this urgent nature to it.”

Just like with individuals, great challenges tend to reveal who we truly are as a nation.

And right now the message that we are sending to the rest of the world with our behavior is not a good one.

Past generations of Americans were called to go to war, but we have been called to stay at home for a few weeks, and we can’t seem to even handle that very well.

Amazingly, the mainstream media has somehow convinced a majority of the American people that the lockdowns should continue.  Just check out what a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll just found

Nearly 60 percent of American voters say they are more concerned that a relaxation of stay-at-home restrictions would lead to more COVID-19 deaths than they are that those restrictions will hurt the U.S. economy, according to a new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

But while strong majorities of Democrats and independents are more worried about the coronavirus than the economy, Republicans are divided on the question, with almost half of them more concerned about how the restrictions could affect the economy.

The longer these lockdowns persist, the more self-destructive Americans are likely to become.

But eventually they will end, and most people will attempt to resume their normal lives.

Of course it is just a matter of time before an even bigger crisis than this pandemic comes along, and if we are failing so badly this time around, how in the world will people be able to handle something even worse?

 

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There is a great deal going on globally right now that is ramping up towards an Anti-Christ system and government fairly quickly , that would seem to many to be all “of a sudden” however the ground work for it has been in the process of being laid for decades if not centuries.

I always knew in my spirit that when an Anti-Christ system came or was in the final stages of being put in place, that it would not appear out of the ordinary to the mass majority of people, the “sea” of mankind would run straight for it, because they would be given the impression that there is no other way or option!

We are now beginning to see that play out, people are being told that there is a global virus pandemic, and they must “temporarily” give up their individual rights and comply with what is needed to “flatten” the “curve” of rising infections, and oh by the way this virus may come back in waves so we will need all of you to sign up to having a “digital certificate” proving that either you have had the virus and built antibodies to it, or to show that you have had the vaccine to prevent you from not only getting the COVID-19 virus but also not able to pass it on to anyone else. And that digital certificate will be needed to not only return to work, but to participate in society!

And we are being flooded with pronouncements from global organizations such as the WHO, and others that the solution to this pandemic can not be found by any single country but can only be found via a unified global effort. not to mention that the “lock downs” and destruction of economies will cause a cascading effect which will lead to worldwide social and societal disruption, as well as long term disruptions to food supply chains. The outcome of which will demand a global solution!

And let’s not forget that we are also being constantly bombarded with advertisements that there will be a “new normal” when “lock down” orders are lifted. We will all walk out into a new world where everything we do is digitally monitored and tracked.

My concern is this: where have all the “watchmen” went? When I started this website over 10 years ago there was a plethora of “watchmen” and discernment websites, and sadly they have slowly disappeared, many  just became weary of the blow back from established churches and so called national Church leaders who stated that it was not in line with the “positive” message of the Bible to be constantly pointing out the apostasy of denominations and well known so called “Prophets” and “Evangelists”

Well now we are at the point that the threat has reached the wall! And there are few if any shouting the warning!

 

Via Lighthouse Trails Research:

The false Word of Faith teachers are showing their bad fruit.

Can this be God’s way of showing false teachers to the church? On March 29th, Word of Faith teacher, Kenneth Copeland, stated:

“In the Name of Jesus, standing in the office of the prophet of God, I execute judgment on you COVID-19. I execute judgment on you, Satan, you destroyer, you killer. You get out. I break your power. You get off this nation. I demand judgment on you. I demand. I demand. “I demand a vaccination to come immediately. I call you done. I call you gone. You come down from your place of authority, destroyer. You come down and you crawl on your belly like God commanded you when He put His foot on your head in the Garden of Eden. You will destroy through COVID-19 no more. ‘It is finished! It is over! And the United States of America is healed and well again,’ saith the mighty Spirit called Peace, who is also the Prince of War, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Copeland’s left-side “puppet” says to him, “COVID 19 has ceased to exist.”

Then Copeland responds with, “At exactly 12 noon on the 29th day of March.” They break out into praise, saying thank you Jesus “it’s over”!

Sounds like a child’s tantrum. No matter how loud he sounds, it is a whisper in God’s ears; and he does not teach what is in the Bible (God did not put his foot on Satan’s head in the garden.)

Look at the COVID 19 maps to see if it is over as Copeland pronounced in the name of the Lord. It’s not over, and this man has once again brought shame to the name of the Savior.

How is this any different than what Copeland said at another church at another time previously right here in Hawaii (20 years ago) that did not come true either. The fact is, he has a perfect record—of false prophecies:

“We are going to agree together tonight that God’s will be carried out. And that whosoever is elected as president of the United States and whomsoever is elected in the congress of the United States, WILL HEAR AND OBEY THE VOICE OF GOD ALMIGHTY FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS IN THIS NATION.”… WE BIND YOU SATAN in the name of Jesus. This nation doesn’t belong to you, it never has and never will. In the name of Jesus, YOU COME DOWN from your place of authority and you crawl in the dust like God told you to in the Garden of Eden.” (Copeland on August 18, 1996 at a Word of life Church, http://www.letusreason.org/Wf19.htm)

Copeland is doing exactly what the Bible says not to do on fallen angels (read Jude). He is Word of Life’s spiritual father; he came to dedicate their new building on Dec. 2, 2001. At a Word of Life Christian Center dedication celebration service in Honolulu Hawaii on Dec. 2, 2001, Copeland gave a “prophetic utterance”:

“But There are going to be multiplied millions upon millions. There’s going to be close to a billion people that have been trapped in that religion, that over the next few months are gonna to come into the kingdom of God. That’s gonna happen, you watch and see what I’m telling you (cheering) Because it’s been . . . I’m telling you Satan’s fat is in the fire he pushed it over the line, and God has moved. . . . I’d to get in there and walk around a while but I don’t have the time but I can tell you this, that thing has come to an end, it’s over, I’m talking about Islam and every, all that that stands for. That’s over with. ”

Benny Hinn—talking about COVID-19 claiming “those who abide in Him no plague will come, he who dwelleth in the secret place of the most high . . .   you said lord he that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high, who abides in your shadow no evil shall befall them, no plague will ever come nigh their home. That’s your promise. I pray you will give assurance to your people in this hour now Lord. We pray and agree because you said when two agree you will do it. . . . This virus will die, it will die. I declare in the name of Jesus no plague shall come near you, I speak it now, and establish it in this atmosphere in Jesus name.” (No Plague Shall Come Near You.” London Ministry Conference March 14, 2020)

Of course, this virus will eventually fade (not die) like all others. But to guarantee this to those attendees is absolutely shameful and dangerous.

Gloria Copeland also says there is no flu season
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcNPjUraXrA&feature=youtu.be), that we are healed.

The Word of Faith teachers are deluded, and you should now be able see how dangerous they really are. Flee from the false prophets while there is time. Do you want to be a goat or a sheep under the Lord?  Time to see it for what it is and choose.

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It’s all about the “Group Think”.

We have all over time been subtlety indoctrinated into “group think” And it all started with management techniques for industry. Through “Meyers Briggs” Personality type testing, where we evaluate our own personality and then evaluate others so that we can get a “better” understanding of our own strengths and weaknesses, from our own and then others perspectives, and how our strengths and weaknesses impact working team dynamics. And then also learning about the “Third Way” or Hegelian Dialectic. Where we are taught that there is no right or wrong only differing viewpoints, and those differing viewpoints drive our perception of reality. With the intent to mean that NONE of us have a monopoly on “truth” and if we all just learn everyone else’s perspective then we can all overcome our differences and by extension, conflicts and find an alternative path or “third way” to conflict resolution or peace!

You may ask well what in the world has that got to do with the overreaction to the COVID-19 virus? It has everything to do with it and it has a critical impact to the world and what will happen when all of this eventually dies down.

You see all professional organizations now have international affiliations. As the world has become more interlinked through globalization, education, travel etc. there has been found the need to have international standards for everything, however one of the main inhibitors to the adoption of common international standards has been different cultural belief systems. So how do you get beyond cultural beliefs? Via the Hegelian Dialect. or a “third way”; an international belief system that transcends all existing belief systems and one in which all those in a specific discipline globally agree to and operate from!

The methods for medical diagnosis, and treatment are a couple of those areas where medical professionals from around the world have developed common standards and much of that is managed through the WHO or World Health Organization. The agreements extend to defining what is an epidemic, and pandemic and what countries should do when they have any of those, and what the world should do together to deal with those. It is not unusual as well that most of the professionals involved those organizations are also Socialists or have Socialist leanings as having common standards around the world plays to a Socialist ideology. Does it mean all international standards are bad or evil? No it just means we need to limit their reach and power. Because as these organizations become more embedded within our governments they tend to operate based from a globalist agenda and NOT what may be best for a specific country.

The term “The Common Good” for them, has a Global meaning to it. My deep concern with how this pandemic has been mishandled  is it has caused economies around the world to literally collapse with breath taking speed. And the cost to get those economies back up and running will be beyond the current global financial order’s ability to bear and will require a “Global” solution, and that “Global” solution is going to place severe restrictions on the countries who made up the previous Global order, and without a shot being fired this wonderful 200+ year experiment in Republican Democracy will have come to and end! And……. we will see ushered in the Anti-Christ Empire!

See also: “Covid-19 Changed How the World Does Science, Together

WHO

From The World Health Organization:

Geneva/New York – International advocacy organization Global Citizen and the World Health Organization today announced the One World: Together At Home — a globally televised and streamed special in support of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. One World: Together At Home will be broadcast live on Saturday, 18 April 2020 at 5:00 p.m. PDT/8:00 p.m. EDT/12:00 a.m. GMT airing on ABC, NBC, ViacomCBS Networks, iHeartMedia and Bell Media networks and platforms in Canada. Internationally, BBC One will run the program on Sunday 19 April 2020. Additional international broadcasters include beIN Media GroupMultiChoice Group and RTE. The virtual broadcast will show unity among all people who are affected by COVID-19 and will also celebrate and support brave healthcare workers doing life-saving work on the front lines.

Hugh Evans, Co-Founder and CEO of Global Citizen, said “As we honor and support the heroic efforts of community health workers, ‘One World: Together At Home’ aims to serve as a source of unity and encouragement in the global fight to end COVID-19. Through music, entertainment and impact, the global live-cast will celebrate those who risk their own health to safeguard everyone else’s.”

One World: Together At Home will also be a multi-hour digital broadcast streaming online on multiple global platforms, including: Alibaba, Amazon Prime Video, Apple, Facebook, Instagram, LiveXLive, Tencent, Tencent Music Entertainment Group, TIDAL, TuneIn, Twitch, Twitter, Yahoo and YouTube. This digital special will include additional artists and performances from all over the globe as well as unique stories from the world’s healthcare heroes. For information about how to tune in and take action, visit  www.globalcitizen.org/togetherathome.

“The World Health Organization is committed to defeating the coronavirus pandemic with science and public health measures, and supporting the health workers who are on the frontlines of the response,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “We may have to be apart physically for a while, but we can still come together virtually to enjoy great music. The ‘One World: Together At Home’ concert represents a powerful show of solidarity against a common threat.”

“The United Nations system is fully mobilized: supporting country responses, placing our supply chains at the world’s disposal and advocating for a global cease-fire. We are proud to join forces with ‘One World: Together At Home’ to help suppress the transmission of the virus, minimize social-economic impacts on the global community and work together now to advance Global Goals for the future,” said António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations. “There is no greater case for collective action than our joint response to COVID-19 – we are in this together and we will get through this together.”

Last month in response to the global pandemic, Global Citizen launched an urgent campaign in support of the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO, powered by the UN Foundation. Calling on individuals to take action, and asking world leaders and corporations to support the response with sufficient resources, Global Citizens from over 130 countries around the world have taken tens of thousands of actions in support of the response fund.

At this critical moment in history, Global Citizen is also calling on philanthropists to join and support immediate COVID-19 response efforts as part of the organization’s Give While You Live effort. Investors, changemakers and foundation leaders are being urged to actualize their giving and invest quickly in related efforts like stronger health systems and vaccine development.

Over the past three weeks, the Together At Home series has featured performances from artists including, Chris Martin, John Legend, Charlie Puth, Common, Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, Niall Horan, Steve Aoki, Jennifer Hudson, Miguel, H.E.R., Anthony Hamilton, Rufus Wainwright, Hozier and Julianne Hough, among others in support of WHO and Global Citizen’s campaign.

Commitments from supporters and corporate partners will go to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO to support and equip frontline healthcare workers around the world, with masks, gowns and other vital equipment, and to local charities that provide food, shelter, and healthcare to those that need it most. These local groups have been verified to ensure that they are helping communities impacted by COVID-19.

 

 

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from End of The American Dream:

Be very thankful that you don’t live in China.  Approximately one out of every seven people on the entire planet lives in China, and it has become one of the most dystopian societies that the world has ever seen.  Surveillance cameras, government spies and facial recognition scanners are everywhere, and the totalitarian “social credit score” system that is currently being rolled out is an absolute nightmare.  And the Chinese government is not content to simply control how people behave.  They also want to literally control what people believe, and the ongoing crackdown on the Christian faith has been absolutely brutal.  Over the past several years, scores of pastors have been arrested, countless underground churches have been shut down, and thousands of Bibles have been burned.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for Chinese officials, and so they have now taken things to an entirely new level.

When the communists first came to power in China, it was a very dark time for Christians.  But underground churches started blossoming even in the midst of the persecution, and eventually there were a few decades where the national government more or less tolerated unsanctioned gatherings.  Today, it has been estimated that there are more than 100 million Christians in China, and it is being projected that China may actually have more Christians that any other nation on the planet by the year 2030.

Needless to say, the communists don’t like any threats to their power, and they see this underground movement as a very serious threat.

Under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping, the persecution of unofficial churches has steadily escalated.  This year they actually tried to ban Christians from gathering on Christmas, and a series of new regulations has just been introduced that requires “total submission to the Chinese Communist Party at all times”

A new mandate entitled “Administrative Measures for Religious Groups” has been approved by the CPC and is comprised of six chapters and 41 articles dealing with the organization, functions, offices, supervision, projects and economic administration of religious communities.

The new rules also seek to ensure that religious leaders support, promote and implement total submission to the Chinese Communist Party at all times.

So what does that sort of “submission” look like?

Well, in some cases officials have required churches to take down pictures of Jesus and replace them with pictures of President Xi Jinping.

Yes, this is how twisted things have become in China.

The new regulations also require all churches to “spread the principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party” in all of their activities…

According to International Christian Concern, Article 5 of the new ordinance reads that “religious organizations must adhere to the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, observe the constitution, laws, regulations, ordinances and policies, adhere to the principle of independence and self-government, adhere to the directives on religions in China, implementing the values ​​of socialism …”

In addition, Article 17 specifies that all religious organizations “must spread the principles and policies of the Chinese Communist Party” in everything they do.

Any church that does not go along is likely to be raided and shut down at any time.

For example, Pastor Wang Yi once led one of the most important underground churches in all of China, but his church was raided and he was arrested.

And now we have learned that he has just been sentenced to nine years in prison

Wang Yi, a leader in one of the most well-known Christian congregations in China, has been quietly sentenced to nine years in prison, according to a statement on the website of the Intermediate People’s Court of Chengdu Municipality.

The sentencing is the latest incident in an ongoing crackdown on organized religion in China. Early Rain Covenant Church, which Wang founded in 2008, attracted about 500 followers and was considered one of the most influential “underground churches” in China, operating independently of the state……..

Read the full article here.

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2 Corinthians 11:13-15:

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their actions.…”

from OneZero:

One of the charges against Socrates was that his arguments were like robots. As the Greek philosopher approached his own trial, Euthyphro told Socrates, “You are like Daedalus.” He meant that just as Daedalus made automata that moved on their own in Greek myth, Socrates’ arguments were so persuasive that his ideas seemed to move under their own power. Even 2,500 years ago, automata inspired both fascination and fear.

I recently speculated about whether a machine could have a mystical experience. If we aren’t careful, the claim of divine inspiration can make the mystic’s words influential. When someone, whether human or machine, claims to have peeked behind the veil, we don’t know whether the prophet or the mystic has really glimpsed the divine. We only know what they claim, and it’s up to us to decide whether to trust them.

Deus ex machina

My interest in the connection between religion and robots is related to the charge against Socrates, and it’s a pragmatic interest rather than a technical one. What matters is not whether we have invented true artificial intelligence, but whether we believe we have invented it. If we trust the machine, we might let it function as a mystic or a priest, even if it isn’t one.

This raises the interesting question of what to do when someone makes a machine that is actually intended to play the role of clergy. Some pastors joke that they help people “hatch, match, and dispatch,” by celebrating births, weddings, and funerals. They joke, but even if we aren’t religious, we do tend to trust professionals to guide us through those serious moments. A few years ago, Mark Zuckerberg suggested that Facebook could play a similar role, giving meaning to lives just as a pastor does for a church. Given the amount of trust we put in clergy — and given the many examples of Facebook’s untrustworthiness — Zuckerberg’s suggestion is alarming. What does that trust entail?

Maybe our intention is to distance ourselves from the difficult work of care. Our machines might offer one kind of care, while being the physical expression of our lack of interest in those who need the care.

That’s an important question, because we’re being given more and more opportunities to trust machines to act in the roles of clergy. The company SoftBank Robotics created Pepper the robot to chant at Buddhist funerals in Japan, and a church in Germany programmed a machine to pronounce traditional blessings. Very recently in Dubai, the government’s cultural and Islamic affairs agency IACAD launched the first-ever “Virtual Ifta” that uses A.I. to issue fatwas. Other groups have experimented with machines that can hear confessions, offer prayers, or even offer sacraments.

Sinless machines?

Religious communities will need to decide whether they accept machines performing these functions within their traditions, but there’s a bigger issue that affects all of us: these machines are tools we have made, and to various degrees, they already “make arguments move around.” If they persuade us with voices that sound divine, we only have ourselves to blame.

Ursula Le Guin once wrote that “a machine is more blameless, more sinless even than any animal. It has no intentions whatsoever but our own.” The function of machines is the result of their design, even if the designers did not intend that function. As Charles Sanders Peirce wrote, even if we eventually make machines that can “wind their way through the labyrinths” of complex thinking, “the machine would be utterly devoid of original initiative, and would only do the special kind of thing it had been calculated to do.”

Perhaps someday Peirce will be proven wrong, and we will have machines that act originally and creatively. But in general we want machines that do what we tell them to do. We might want a machine to write original music, but we don’t want too much creativity; what we want is a machine that figures out what people already like, and writes songs that will sell. Only quirky academics are likely to pay for a machine that wrote songs that machines wanted to hear. Peirce adds, with some irony, “We no more want an original machine, than a housebuilder would want an original journeyman, or an American board of college trustees would hire an original professor.”

So we might not want a truly mystical machine, but maybe we could use machines that do the best things clergy do for us. A machine that resembles a human could chat all night with a lonely person, and might make a very good counselor. It could offer comforting words at the bedside of someone who suffers from dementia, or who needs a listening ear. It could read stories or sing songs. Why not automate the singing of hymns, the reciting of scripture, the chanting of prayer, the pronouncement of blessings? All of those things are desirable, at least to some people.

What risks come with the benefits of care-machines? As Euthyphro and Socrates point out, automated ideas and religious authority can be very persuasive.

But are there kinds of work, like caring for our communities and for our own bodies, that we should not automate? Tools amplify our efforts. They also amplify our intentions, and maybe our intention is to distance ourselves from the difficult work of care. Our machines might offer one kind of care, while being the physical expression of our lack of interest in those who need the care.

Here’s another question: What risks come with the benefits of care-machines? As Euthyphro and Socrates point out, automated ideas and religious authority can be very persuasive. Automata that speak and act with religious authority could be doubly persuasive. We worry about the influence of corrupt human clergy; what political, ethical, and economic influence could automated clergy have?

And here’s a third question: A machine can repeat ritualized “hatch, match, and dispatch” words for us, but can it share our experience as an empathetic companion? And if it can’t, does that diminish the meaning of the ritual?

What has it got in its pocketses?

In Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, the Lilliputians try to understand Gulliver by looking in his pockets. They have never seen a pocket watch before, so they observe how he uses it. They decide it must be “the god he worships: for he seldom did any thing without consulting it. He called it his oracle, and said it pointed out the time for every action of his life.”

The pocket watch was a new technology in Swift’s time. At first, pocket watches helped us to be on time. Little by little, we shifted from measuring our lives in hours to measuring them in seconds. The technology we invented to help us observe time wound up changing the way we viewed our own lives. There is a lesson here.

Paul Virilio puts a finer point on this: “When you invent the ship, you also invent the shipwreck; when you invent the plane you also invent the plane crash; and when you invent electricity, you invent electrocution… Every technology carries its own negativity, which is invented at the same time as technical progress.”

Whether we believe in gods or not, our technologies can begin to function like gods, or like the priests that tell us how to behave. Even if we don’t intend them to, our machines can become our oracles, and where there are oracles, there are people ready to profit from those oracles.

Pandora’s Facebook Box has been opened. I don’t know if robots can be priests, but some are beginning to function like priests. This calls for care on our part, and I don’t think it is wise to expect a machine to care on our behalf.

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It is safe to say that attacks on Judeo-Christian belief systems in the U.S. is also on the rise. With the latest shooting in a Christian Church in Texas and the attack on a Rabbi’s home in New York.

Uber Liberals believe that if you kick out Christianity, then the supposed “natural goodness” and “inclusivity” of man’s nature will rush in and we will have “Heaven on Earth” unfortunately the opposite is true. Evil abhors a vacuum, and rushes in to fill that vacuum with hatred and chaos!

Man does not have a natural tendency to “goodness” in actual fact man’s natural tendency is to selfishness and evil, and unfortunately mankind has had to learn this lesson repeatedly throughout its history!

The message of Christ is: Man has fallen into evil because of man’s own selfishness & disobedience, and therefore separated himself from God. Jesus can remove that separation, if we allow him!

theo4

 

from The GATESTONE Institute:

Anti-Christian hostility is sweeping across Western Europe, where, during 2019, Christian churches and symbols were deliberately attacked day after day.

Gatestone Institute reviewed thousands of newspaper reports, police blotters, parliamentary inquiries, social media posts and specialized blogs from Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Spain. The research shows (see appendices below) that roughly 3,000 Christian churches, schools, cemeteries and monuments were vandalized, looted or defaced in Europe during 2019 — which is on track to becoming a record year for anti-Christian sacrilege on the continent.

Violence against Christian sites is most widespread in France, where churches, schools, cemeteries and monuments are being vandalized, desecrated and burned at an average rate of three per day, according to government statistics. In Germany, attacks against Christian churches are occurring at an average rate of two per day, according to police blotters.

Attacks on Christian churches and symbols are also commonplace in Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Italy and Spain. The attacks overwhelmingly involve Roman Catholic sites and symbols, although in Germany, Protestant churches are also being targeted.

The perpetrators of anti-Christian attacks — which include acts of arson, defecation, desecration, looting, mockery, profanation, Satanism, theft, urination and vandalism — are rarely caught. When they are, police and media often censor information about their identities and ethnic backgrounds. Many suspects are said to have mental disorders; as a result, many anti-Christian attacks are not categorized as hate crimes.

In France and Germany, the spike in anti-Christian attacks dovetails with the recent mass immigration from the Muslim world. The lack of official statistics on perpetrators and motives makes it impossible to know precisely how many attacks can be attributed to Muslim anti-Christianism or the jihadist cause.

In Spain, by contrast, attacks against churches and crosses are overwhelmingly carried out by anarchists, radical feminists and other far-left activists, who appear to be striving for Christianity to be permanently removed from the public square.

The motives behind the anti-Christian attacks, which are often met with public indifference, seem to fall into four broad categories:

  • Vandalism. Most attacks against Christian sites in Europe consist of acts of vandalism. These often lack explicit anti-Christian intent, but cross over into profanation and desecration when they target objects and symbols sacred to Christians. From a strictly legal perspective, such crimes are difficult to prosecute as hate crimes: according to the laws of most European countries, prosecutors must prove that the vandalism was specifically motivated by an animosity toward Christians or Christianity.
  • Theft. Many attacks have financial motives. In France, Germany and elsewhere, thieves have stolen church bells, sacred metal objects and even drain pipes, apparently with the aim of selling those items to scrap dealers. In Britain, nearly half of all churches on the National Historical List for England have been ransacked. Many of the crimes are being attributed to highly organized gangs which use drones, online maps and global positioning systems first to identify their targets through aerial footage and then plot their own escape routes. The plunder is dominated by thefts of metal, with entire roofs being removed from historic places of worship, according to the heritage agency, Historic England.
  • Politics. Some attacks, especially those against Roman Catholicism, which some radical feminists and radical secularists perceive to be a symbol of patriarchal power and authority, are political in nature. Such attacks include defacing churches and religious symbols with political graffiti, much of it anarchist or feminist in nature. In Geneva, Switzerland, for instance, the iconic International Monument to the Protestant Reformation, also known as the Reformation Wall, was vandalized with multi-colored paint forming a rainbow, a symbol of the LGBT groups.
  • Religion. Many attacks that appear to be religious or spiritual in nature reflect a deep-seated hostility toward Christianity. Such attacks include smearing feces on representations of Jesus Christ or statues of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Other attacks involve the defilement or theft of Communion wafers, which Roman Catholics believe are transformed into the real presence of Christ when consecrated. Some of these attacks may be the work of Satanists, who use the consecrated host in a ritual called the Black Mass.Such attacks, especially on the essence of Roman Catholic beliefs, appear to be aimed at intimidating or harassing Catholics or preventing them from practicing their faith. These attacks, which do meet the definition of hate crimes, pose a direct threat to the freedom of religion in Europe, but prosecutions are rare.

Writing for the Spanish newspaper ABC, Juan Pedro Quiñonero, its Paris correspondent for more than 35 years, explained:

“The desecration’s have an evident anti-Christian character. Drunk with fierce hatred, the vandals want to give their actions a clear anti-religious dimension. In recent months, anti-Semitic gangs have desecrated Jewish cemeteries, ‘signing’ their actions with swastikas. In the case of the desecration of Catholic churches, vandalism is not ‘signed.’ It speaks for itself: heinous mockeries of the figure of Christ on the cross and the desecration of high altars.”

European media outlets, which often amplify attacks on Muslims, have tended to downplay malicious acts against Christians. The issue of anti-Christian vandalism was rarely reported by the European media until February 2019, when vandals attacked nine churches within the space of two weeks. The issue made headlines again in April 2019, when a suspicious fire gutted the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Since then, however, the European media are once again shrouding facts in silence.

The French newspaper Le Monde has disputed the government’s use of the term “anti-Christian acts” and warned politicians not to “instrumentalize” the issue:

“More than a thousand acts a year, an average of three per day: the number is high, but what does it cover? Can we really speak of ‘profanations’ — a strong term — which implies an attack on the sacredness of a place of worship?

“Ideological motivations are in the minority: it is mainly about thefts and vandalism. The perpetrators often are minors.”

Annie Genevard, a French MP for the center-right Republicans party, has called for a parliamentary investigation in order better to understand the nature and motivations of anti-Christian attacks. In an interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro, she said:

“Recently, two terribly serious acts of vandalism were committed in symbolic places and shocked me greatly. A few days ago, the fire in the Church of Saint Sulpice, a church that houses remarkable works: there is nearly a million euros of damage and works are irretrievably lost! And some time ago, vandals broke into the Basilica of Saint Denis and damaged stained-glass windows and the organ. Saint Denis it is not only a place of Christian worship, it is the necropolis of the kings of France! It is a meeting place between our national history and our Christian roots. That one dares to attack this monument is really shocking not only for Christians but for many citizens, whatever their convictions. When an anti-Christian act is committed, we turn our backs on the history of France, which has an intimate connection with the Christian religion.

“To attack a Christian tomb or a church, whatever the motivation of the author, is a way to attack one part of our collective identity, because Christianity and its monuments have shaped our culture, our history and our landscapes. Seeking to destroy or damage Christian buildings is a way of ‘wiping the slate clean’ of the past. In an era where the most absolute cultural relativism reigns, it is all the more serious that some of our oldest and most valuable landmarks are endangered. A civilization that would deny and turn away from its past would be a civilization that would be lost. I think this is worrying, and there is a need for a strong political response.”

In an interview with the Italian magazine Il Timone, the Bishop of Fréjus-Toulon, Dominique Rey, said that the attacks against churches in Europe are taking place within the context of a European society marked by secularism, nihilism, hedonism, cultural and moral relativism, consumerism, and the widespread loss of the sense of the sacred. He noted:

“In the past, even those who said they were non-Christian lived in a cultural context marked by Christianity…. roots that have been abandoned by our culture and by our societies. Once the Christian roots, which were the common denominator, were removed, people turned to communitarianism, which led to a social fragmentation that is leading to a break. To find a common base of values and points of reference, Europe must restore centrality to its Christian roots….

“There is an evolution of acts of profanation against monuments, but also against the Catholic faith itself. In the past, even if one was not a Christian, the expression of the sacred was respected. We are facing a serious threat to the expression of religious freedom. Secularism must not be a rejection of the religious, but a principle of neutrality that gives everyone the freedom to express his faith.

“We are witnessing the convergence of laicism — conceived as secularism, which relegates the faithful only to the private sphere and where every religious denomination is banal or stigmatized — with the overwhelming emergence of Islam, which attacks the infidels and those who reject the Koran. On one hand, we are mocked by the media … and on the other, there is the strengthening of Islamic fundamentalism. These are two joint realities.”

The French political analyst Jérôme Fourquet, in his book — French Archipelago: Birth of a Multiple and Divided Nation — shows how the de-Christianization of France is taking place within the context of mass migration from the Muslim world. He provides extensive statistical data — for instance, that less than 5% of French people regularly attend Mass on Sundays — to show that France’s detachment from Christianity is so far-reaching that the country now is effectively “post-Christian.” He writes:

“There is a growing de-Christianization, which is leading to the ‘terminal phase’ of the Catholic religion…. For hundreds of years the Catholic religion profoundly structured the collective conscience of French society. Today this society is the shadow of what it once was. A great civilizational change is underway.”

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from Life Site News:

November 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Chick-fil-A has betrayed its Christian customers, and emboldened the LGBT mob. If you’re still defending them, then please, read on.

Chick-fil-A provoked the ire of the LGBT lobby in 2012 when its CEO Dan Cathy affirmed the Biblical view of marriage. But in the process they became a cultural icon for Christian conservatives, who flocked to the restaurant in droves. With their support, Chick-fil-A’s sales have more than doubled since 2012.

But after seven years of attacks from the LGBT mob, Chick-fil-A announced Nov. 18 that it would cease funding its remaining grantees that oppose same-sex “marriage,” including the Salvation Army.

Many of Chick-fil-A’s supporters, including LifeSite, have decried the decision as a capitulation.

At LifeSite, we have run countless articles over the years touting Chick-fil-A, and now we have taken a leading role in raising the alarm. We launched a petition to the company, garnering over 40,000 signatures so far. The American Family Association launched a petition that has grown even larger, with 102,000 signatures.

But Chick-fil-A has gone on the offensive, denying that it capitulated and claiming that its Christian mission remains as strong as ever. They managed to convince Franklin Graham, who sought to reassure Christians of Chick-fil-A’s commitments.

As a result, Chick-fil-A’s supporters have claimed the capitulation narrative is fake news, and have accused LifeSite and others of perpetuating a false story.

But that is wrong, and naïve.

Chick-fil-A did cave. Sure, they have kept God in their mission statement. Yes, they say they will remain closed on Sundays. They are keeping a soft Christian identity, for now. But where it’s hard – where the Gospel butts up against our culture of death and sexual licentiousness – they have indeed caved. And that’s where it counts.

Let’s remember that Chick-fil-A was clear when they announced the decision on Nov. 18 that defunding these groups was about rebranding in order to expand into new markets. The company’s president, Tim Tassopoulos, said:

There’s no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are. There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message.

The decision comes as Chick-fil-A is beginning to expand out of the U.S., into Canada and the U.K. Their new restaurant in Toronto faced immense backlash. And in London, England, the backlash was so severe that they are closing their first restaurant.

With a massive push from its Christian fan base, Chick-fil-A has skyrocketed to the third largest restaurant chain in the U.S. – behind only McDonald’s and Starbucks – with over $10 billion in revenue. Of course they want to expand now outside the U.S. But it appears they are willing to abandon their core customers to do it.

This was a flash point – a big cultural moment when the mob can declare victory in the public eye. But the reality is Chick-fil-A went off course very soon after Cathy’s comments in 2012, when they began withdrawing funding from the most ardently pro-family of the Christian groups they had been supporting, like the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family. In 2014, Cathy said that while he maintains his personal opposition to same-sex “marriage,” he had decided to keep quiet about it:

The bottom line is we have a responsibility here to keep the whole of the organization in mind and it has to take precedence over the personal expression and opinion on social issues.

Now, as supporters dig deeper, they’re seeing that Chick-fil-A has quietly been betraying their Christian customers for years. According to the Chick-fil-A Foundation’s IRS filings they have already been giving money to pro-abortion and leftist groups. Most shocking, as revealed Nov. 26 by pro-life leader Ryan Bomberger, Chick-fil-A donated $2,500 to the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2017.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a virulently anti-Christian group, and arguably one of the biggest agents of the soft persecution of faithful Christians in the U.S. today. It is famous for its “hate map” targeting pro-family groups that promote Biblical teaching on homosexuality.

In 2012 domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins cited their hate map as his inspiration after he entered the Family Research Council’s DC headquarters with the intention of gunning down its employees. In his backpack Corkins was carrying Chick-fil-A sandwiches, and intended to rub them in the faces of his victims. Thank God for the courage of FRC’s security guard Leonardo Johnson, who was shot while subduing Corkins.

And we learn now from the Family Research Council that Chick-fil-A never reached out to them even privately after the attack.

Yet five years later Chick-fil-A gave money to the very anti-Christian group that inspired the attack.

Chick-fil-A is continuing to tout its Christian values, remaining closed on Sundays, but as they abandon their principles, it’s beginning to appear that they are using the Gospel as a marketing tool.

This isn’t about the groups they are defunding. The Salvation Army, in particular, is not fully pro-life and I would not advocate giving them money. It’s about the message Chick-fil-A is sending by defunding them – and that is that they are distancing themselves from organizations that uphold a Biblical view of sexuality. They are capitulating to the LGBT mob, and emboldening them, showing that their persistence pays off. That we will cave if they come at us hard enough and long enough. And thus, Chick-fil-A is, in fact, encouraging the persecution of faithful Christians who cannot and will not capitulate.

The persecution is growing in Europe, North America, and around the world, and we need to be ready. It will take a heroic faith – deep conviction, and a willingness to give up everything. Christ is clear in the Gospel:

They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. … You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and kinsmen and friends, and some of you they will put to death; you will be hated by all for my name’s sake.

You know what we should fear more than persecution? That the persecution would come, and we would miss it because of our own apathy. That our faith is so lukewarm that we’re not deemed worthy of suffering for it. We don’t seek out martyrdom – but we should make sure our conviction is worthy of it.

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