Friday, August 29, 2014

the joy of the killjoys

I'm not the biggest social media follower, but yes I do spend a bit of time on it. It's interesting, in its own ways.

Anyway, as most people who frequent social media to any degree that the word “frequent” might be used, one of the latest rages is the Ice Bucket Challenge, which seems to consist of people having buckets or tubs or any other kind of container filled with water onto them, which somehow is suppose to involved charitable giving to an certain organization doing research involving a certain disease.

Ok, so, all well can good. I'm all for trying to find cures for diseases, in this case ALS or, as it's more popularly called, Lou Gehrig Disease. It's an ugly disease, very debilitating. It would be good if it were cured.

But, yes, the Ice Bucket Challenge itself is rapidly reaching the point of annoyance. Not to fear, it'll soon exhaust it's 15 days of fame, and then something else will take its place.

Now, legitimate criticism can be leveled against this challenge. Perhaps the most legitimate one is that the organization that is the focal point of the charitable giving regarding this gag is one that engages in or encourages embryonic stem cell research. To put it bluntly, they say it's ok to kill George and use his remains in order to find a cure for Geoff. Of course, it's quite all right for people to want to find a cure for Geoff, but many of us do think that it is going too far to insist that George's life should be sacrificed in order to find that cure.

This is a real concern in regards to the challenge and the charity. Sadly, this kind of thing also attracts another kind of persons. I will call them “killjoys”.

Here is an example of what they do. There an image I've seen on social media over the past few days. I can't remember the specific info on it, but it went something like this, “Only a thousand or so people die every year from ALS, but ten times that many, or more, die each year from lack of water”. Another image I've seen shows one picture of a group of people getting water dumped on them, with a message under it something like “in America”, while right below this a picture of a child, I could guess an African child, getting sip of water from some kind of small container, and under that photo a message which went something like “Other places in the world”.

I consider these kinds of images to be “cheap guilt trips”. It's not that their information may not be accurate, but that they are created in order to make people feel guilty for no good reason.

How to explain what I mean? Let's try this. Let's say that a person who posted these kinds of images was really serious about them. How would that person continue to act? Would that person not drink any more water each day as he or she would need to? Seems like a good idea for them. Would that person go down to the nearest public swimming pool, and demand they stop wasting water for the simple enjoyment of people going to the pool? Reasonable. Would that person try to organize protests at water parks? Would that person go into conniptions when he or she saw a bunch of five-year-olds in flimsy plastic pools? Would that person demand that people stop going to Niagara Falls, because that magnificent sight is actually little more than a waste of water?

We have reasons to doubt that they will act in such ways, because they are not truly serious about their protestations. Heck, I've not even noticed them even providing information on charitable works that could provide those people who need it with water, or help them dig for wells so they can have access to water. No, they seem content simply to try to make people feel guilty because they dumped a bucket of water on themselves or someone else.

They are, to put it simplest, killjoys. They are the wet blankets tossed on the campfire. They try to make the campers feel guilty, because somewhere in the world are people who are suffering from a lack of warmth. They may be correct, there likely are people who are suffering and even dying because they have no access to fire and warmth. That is a bad thing. But the campers roasting marshmallows at their own fire are not the reasons those others are suffering.

Like I tried to point out a few paragraphs ago, I think there are good reasons for not participating in this trend. But feeling guilty about dumping water on oneself is not one of them. Now, if you really are concerned about people not having access to water, good for you, that is a real and legitimate concern. Let me provide you with a way you can be of help to them, should you so choose.

Samaritan's Purse Water,Sanitation, and Hygiene

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

book review—The Future of Us by Julia Loren and others

moon pie prophets
I got a copy of this book when the publisher offered it for free.

The title of this review is taken from a gathering of prophets the author mentions at one point in the book, in what is called the Blue Moon Conference. She calls these people the Blue Moon Prophets, but I think a much more apt and accurate name for them would be the Moon Pie Prophets, and this book does an excellent job of showing why that name would be so fitting.

For example, the first chapter is some kind of an attempt to explain, or explain away, the horrendous inaccuracy rates of so many of these kinds of prophets. "Some of the people I know had predictive dreams or visions that were accurate. Others were not." (p. 18). True prophets of God do not have inaccurate dreams and visions. In fact, one of the signs the Bible gives that we can know that a prophet is not from God is that what they prophesy does not take place. "No matter how long we have walked with God, we can still be deceived by our own soul or deceived by the enemy. No one is immune." (p. 19). This statement alone should put paid to any notion that these people are real prophets of God. Would Elijah or Isaiah or any other real prophet have resorted to such a lame excuse?

"Later, Terry claims that Gabriel visited him again and gave him an actual date for the Vancouver to Seattle devastating quake. That date has passed without incident." (p. 22). Umm...assuming this guy was really visited by some kind of angel-like being, then we now know that it was not really Gabriel, because that angel's prophetic message didn't happen. That angelic being, assuming there really was such a vision, was obviously playing for the other side. "Many prophets also speak about a horribly destructive earthquake demolishing Los Angeles." (p. 25). Yeah, that's so common, it's almost a meme.

Then, there is the rather disturbing rhetoric showing that this author has caved to the climate change scare-tactics. "The Blue Moon Prophets may just be seeing what is ahead if we do not repent, turn from our dependence on fossil fuels and our self-focused materialism, and change our ways." (p. 36). "According to journalist and author Mark Hertsgaard, climate change and global warming are largely to blame for the increase and destructive potential in super storms around the world." (p. 36). It's pretty clear that a lot of the climate change data was skewed and cooked, and that "climate change" is a political tool. One that I guess this author is quite willing to use.

Once you realize that these prophetic words are about as solid as the marshmallow filling in a Moon Pie, you can pretty much put this book own, or read it for the entertainment value. You might find it amusing, for example, when Shawn Bolz claims God led him the false prophet Bob "I prophesied falsely hundreds of times" Jones. Sorry, but God didn't lead this man to a false prophet who was also guilty of sexual misconduct.

So, there you have it. These prophets are completely untrustworthy, their prediction are about as likely to be accurate as the nearest Tarot card dealer and palm reader. You'll know about as much about the future by gazing into a crystal ball as by gazing into this book. These false prophets are just like Moon Pies--flimsy, squishy, not very solid, may taste good to some people but offering little to no real nutritional value.

What works would I recommend? First, regarding these false prophets, I'd recommend Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship by John MacArthur, as his book details the kinds of unbiblical things these kinds of false prophets say and teach, along with Christianity In Crisis: The 21st Century: The 21st Century by Hank Hanegraaff. Concerning how serious and unbiblical this hit-or-miss attitude is concerning prophecy, I'd heartily recommend The Fallible Prophets of New Calvinism: An Analysis, Critique, and Exhortation Concerning the Contemporary Doctrine of "Fallible Prophecy" by Michael Beasley, an excellent book about this issue. All of these books are order of magnitude superior to the drivel in Loren's book.
Comment | 
Looking for voting buttons? Sorry, we don't let customers vote on their own reviews.

Monday, August 4, 2014

very compelling perspective

I think this is a very compelling video, by someone who has to live some of the day-to-day reality that people not very far away from her want her and her people dead. Highly recommended viewing.