Tuesday, 8 January 2013

I Need A Break

I need a break. I haven't had a break in a long time and if I don't get one soon I am going to break.

As most of you know, I live out of two houses although it all too often seems less and less like living. Five days a week I get up in the morning and spent a little while with Tess before heading to my parents. Once there I have a coffee, breakfast, check the computer for email, and then, except for the mornings when I sneak out for coffee and a ride with Scott, I help out around the house. I do any errands they are wanting done, shovel snow, clean the house, plan dinner. About 2:00 I go out to have coffee with Tess when she is on her break. The, back to my parents where I cook their dinner and clean up.

From then until 8:30 I usually just waste time dinking on the computer. I cannot settle in to any relaxation as I know I will be leaving to go back to Tess'.

Once back here Tess is just getting home. She is usually wound up from work and her favourite way of unwinding is to jabber at me non-stop for at least 45 minutes until she runs out of steam. At that point she will turn on Filipino television. I dink on the computer while giving scant attention to one Filipino show that is kind of cute and which she thinks we are watching together (I understand only about every 10th spoken word but can follow what is going on).

When that is over I would truly like to go to bed and read but that, I am afraid, upsets Tess. She has always hated sitting in front of the TV by herself. She thinks I am ignoring her or am being rude by going to bed. For the sake of peace I stay in the living room and dink on the computer some more. I wind up spending too much time online and not enough time doing what I want, doing what makes me me At other times I will plug into my MP3 player for a lecture. Only after 10:30 do I dare disappear into the bedroom to read and by then I am usually too tired.

I have tried sitting in the living room with ear plugs so I could read but invariably she will start talking to me and I can't hear her and that upsets her too. She gets upset a lot.

Remember that song that had the line "you don't know what you got till its gone?" I feel like that a lot sometimes.

Winter used to be one of my favourite times. I would leave the office and come right home to let the old dog in from a cold day in her dog house. She would want to rough house for a few minutes and chew on my arms and so we would have a romp before I either cooked something quick for dinner or went back out to a diner for a quick bite. Once home again I would feed her and take her for a quick walk if she wanted. We would have another romp, she was a 120 pound half wolf, half shepherd hybrid and need a lot of romp taken out of her.

I'd bring in enough wood for the night and stoke the fire up before heading to the couch for the evening to read. The old dog would lie on the floor beside me. The only sound would be the sounds of sparks in the stove and of my turning pages. Occasionally Kitten, the dog, would sigh and I would talk to her for a minute. Her tail would thump the floor. I would read away most of the evening although sometimes I would write in my journal or surf the Internet for a half hour or so.

I led a very quiet life. Low key. Stress free. On Friday nights I would stock up the larder from the supermarket and stay at home for most of the weekend.

Yea, I know. Pretty boring but it suited me. I need the quiet. I become unsettled without it. When I become unsettled I become sick.

I have not felt settled in quite a while now. I am starting to come apart at the seams. Not enough time alone.

Tess' mom comes back here to live with her for a bit in March. I am trying to plan a retreat for me.I don't know how I will accomplish this but it is a must.

I am thinking of renting a cabin on a lake and taking enough food for a week. I want to borrow my brothers yellow lab Bailey and take her with me along with a dozen books and settle in for a week where there are no cell phones, no Internet, and no television  but most of all, no people.

I hate to say it but you know what? If Tess and I ever split up I would not ever want another relationship. I used to feel like an odd sock when I was single. Now I would almost treasure it.

Catastrophe

(Originally posted to Multiply June 6, 2009)


It was a catastrophe.

As some of you know who have followed my blog, I have several hundred books stored at Tess' house as I have no room for them here. They have been boxed up and put away in an extra bedroom in her basement and have been there for quite a few years. Occasionally I will go through them looking for some odd book I wish to read again or which I need for reference but for the most part they have remained safely boxed up awaiting the circumstances where I can shelve them all again.

The other day I was rooting around in the boxes looking for one particular book. As I worked my way to the bottom carton in one row I thought things were odd. The books in that box seemed a little damp. In mounting horror I started moving boxes across the room and discovered that all the bottom cartons in the rest of the rows of books were soaking wet. Tess had a leak in the humidifier in her furnace room and the water had migrated to that area of the basement.

Thousands and thousands of dollars worth of books in those four cartons have been destroyed. Some of these were multi volume sets of rare and out of print theology books. Some were rare single volumes. One, irreplaceable, was one of the few remaining copies in the world of a commentary on the book of Acts by Foukes-Jackson that I had had a London bookseller searching for me for years before it was found and shipped to me here in Canada. The loss is incalculable. I can never afford to replace these and some cannot be replaced at any price.

Tess does have insurance and a claim could possibly be filed for loss buy she had a leak in that same area a couple of years ago which she had to file a claim for. Any further claims for water damage i that area of her home would raise her insurance premiums sharply and, in all likelihood, the insurance company would probably only pay a small portion of the cost.

A couple of months ago the thought came to me that I should be cataloging and documenting the books there and purchasing special insurance to cover an untoward eventuality but dithered getting around to it. I should have gotten right at that chore as soon as I thought of it.

This has made me absolutely sick to my stomach.

Having salvaged the rest of the books that were not on the bottom row, sucking up water and drying carpets, repainting baseboards and repairing humidifiers, I am now in the process of buying more book cases and moving the rest of the books here. I don't care if I have room for them or not. I will put book cases in the middle of the living room if I have to!

There is a lesson here somewhere and it has been learned the hard way.

Absolute Living Proof of Evolution


(Originally posted to Multiply June 2, 2009)

I have absolute proof of evolution and if you think that Ida, the 47 million year old lemur fossil, was a viral Internet sensation you haven't seen anything yet.

I get a little bit tired of fake news and Internet sensations.  Frankly, Ida was all hype. Firstly, this fossil was discovered in 2004.  Two days after this was suddenly all over the news I found a 'brand new' hardcover book about her in my local bookstore. Folks, hardcover books are not released over night. This had been in the making and was released to time with the sudden flurry of information about this fossil that suddenly hit the news and Internet.

Secondly, tout it all they want, Ida is not a missing link. There is absolutely no evidence linking this 47 million year old fossil to humans. None.

Now lest you think I am just making that up you need to review all the news articles since then. Most palaeontologists do not believe this is is in the humanoid line at all. It is a remarkably well preserved fossil but no more. Scientists will argue about this among themselves for decades and eventually Ida, as a missing link, will be consigned to the ash bin of history just as every other 'missing link' before her has been discredited. Count on it. And, if you do not know that every other so called missing link has indeed been discredited you are living in the dark ages of paleontology. There are no missing links. They have all been re-classified as hoaxes or other species. Go figure.

In fact, two days before the hype about Ida hit, there were stories circulating about another find of a missing link in Asia. I guess a German missing link trumped an Asian missing link. Racists!

I, on the other hand, have discovered undeniable and absolute proof right in my back yard and I now reveal it to the world for the first time. This is not only proof of evolution but proof of evolution happening in real time.

Furthermore, my proof is not a 47 million year old fossil but a living specimen, a living missing link in human kinds linage. I call him 'Woody.' Furthermore, Woody isn't the sole specimen. He has another member in his family tree, so to speak, who is also making the leap to humanhood. His name is Walrus.

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the absolute proof of evolution.


Woody


Woody and sister Margaret


Wally (Walrus)


Dad, "Wally," and Mom

So, there you have it, folks. The hell with Ida and her bones.

I Got Grandfathered


I got grandfathered last night.

No, that doesn't mean I had another grandchild. If you are a grandparent then you know what it means when 'grandfathered' is used as a verb. If you are not yet a grandparent then you will understand one day.

One of my daughters lives 10 kilometers from me in one direction. The other lives 40 kilometers in another direction. Oddly, they both live on roads with like sounding names.

Last night about 6:30 the phone rang. I answered to hear granddaughter Sabrina say, "Hi, Grandpa."

"Hi, Sabrina."

"What are you doing, Grandpa?"

"Just going to lay down and read."

"Oh."

The "Oh" was said with as much defeat as I have ever heard so I laughed and asked her what she wanted.

"Grandpa, I want to go spend the night with Sharleigh (her cousin who lives 50 kilometers away from her) but Mom and Dad won't drive me."

"Why not?"

"Mom is cooking dinner and Dad is spending time with his Mom and Step-Dad (who are visiting)."

"I see."

"Mom said to call you and ask you if you wanted to go visit Sharleigh."

"She did, did she? Well, honey, Sharleigh was here all afternoon so I have seen her today"


"Oh."
"It's okay, Sabrina. I will drive you out if you want. You be ready in 15 minutes, okay?"

(Laughing). "Thanks, Grandpa.

So that is what "being grandfathered" means.

Round trip? One hundred kilometers. We saw a huge mother bear with cub. We saw two deer. We saw  couple of coyotes. We chatted and enjoyed the ride together. Being grandfathered is okay.

He's Got the Experience For It


 “With all their attack ads, the President is just throwing away money…and he’s pretty experienced at that.” — Paul Ryan

Barry's Boy


My family had lived continuously in Boothbay Harbor from 1628, when it was known as Townsend Gut, until the death of my grandmother in 1977. While there are still Lewis' in the Harbor they are not from our clan although we still have distant cousins, Stovers and Pierces, in that Maine community.  That is 349 years of history in one community for anyone trying to do the math and for a few of us, my Dad, myself, and probably cousin Elizabeth, it is still home if home is defined as where the heart is.

We moved from Boothbay Harbor when I was 12 to spend a short sojourn in Ogunquit before returning for a short time to East Boothbay before moving a year later to Princeton, down in Washington County, now Oxycontin capital of the world.

From Princeton we would travel back to the old home town every vacation, holiday, and any weekend we could manage the two hour drive back to my grandmothers house. Boothbay Harbor was still home although I suppose we had become 'away' people. Arriving at my grandmother's house I would stick around long enough to be polite but would soon be off to John's or Richard's house and if they weren't home I would hurry off over town to the hangout at Romar Bowling Lanes to see what was happening and meet up with someone.

And so it was I found myself walking across the inner harbor footbridge one cold, snowy day before Christmas when I was about 18. The snow squall was sandblasting my face. The only other brave soul venturing out that day an old salt somewhere between 80 and God walking from the opposite direction. As we closed to within a distance he could be heard over the wind he said, "You're a Lewis, ain't ya?" It was more a statement than a question and I nodded in the affirmative. "Barry's boy?" Again I nodded and then, since I did not recognize him from Adam, asked how he knew. "All you Lewis' walk alike," was his reply as he passed me.

"All you Lewis' walk alike." Well, I didn't know although I do now.  But think about that for a moment if you will and compare it to the overly busy, stick-to-yourself world we inhabit today. Some old salt between 80 and God could identify the inhabitants of his town, even if they didn't live there any longer, by the way they walked. I walked like a Lewis therefore I must be a Lewis and, I suppose, my age pinpointing me as Barry's boy. An entire families history summed up in their gait.

I have lived in the this town I live in now for 40 years. If I go to town I might, might, see one or two people who know me by sight or by first name. On a rare day I might see someone who knew me by my first and last name. Occasionally I might run into someone who used to work for father who might inquire how he is. But, nowhere in this town will I ever be known as Barry's boy and no one will ever ascertain a 349 year family history by the way I walk.

Progress. I hear people tell me we have progressed since the 50's and 60's that seem to only live in my memory. Progress. Is it really? Have we really progressed at all?

When I was growing up we never locked the door to the house at night. We didn't even lock them when we went away. Some neighbor might need to borrow something.  As a child I might leave home at sun up and not make it back until dinner time. No one worried and fussed if I had been molested or kidnapped or murdered. Those things didn't happen. Everywhere I went in the course of a day someone who knew me or knew my family would make note of my passage. Barry's boy.

Given my druthers I'd druther be living 50 years ago and still be known as Barry's boy. You can have what you call progress. I tend to think progress may not always be forward.

Will I Live To See 80?


Here's something to think about.I recently picked a new primary care doctor. After two visits and exhaustive lab tests, he said I was doing 'fairly well' for my age.A little concerned about that comment, I couldn't resist asking him, 'Do you think I'll live to be 80?'


He asked, 'Do you smoke tobacco, or drink beer or wine?'
'Oh no,' I replied. 'I'm not doing drugs, either!'

Then he asked, 'Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?'

I said, 'No, my former doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy!'

Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, sailing, hiking, Or bicycling?'

'No, I don't,' I said.

He asked, 'Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have a lot of sex?'

'No,' I said.

He looked at me and said,...

'Then, why do you even give a shit?'

The Hell With Vets

(Originally posted to Blogster August 29, 2012)


Since D-Day 1945 there have only been three occasions when the President of the United States has failed to go to the D-Day monument to honor the soldiers killed in the invasion.

Do you know what Presidents and what years?

Only one President. Obama. In 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Mr. Obama, you Sir are undeserving of any respect from decent people.

Smoking Pot Lowers IQ

(Originally posted to Blogster August 29, 2012)


From Wintery Knight

New study: smoking marijuana/cannabis permanently lowers IQ

Today, August 29, 2012, 5 hours ago | Wintery Knight
From the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:
Teenagers who regularly smoke cannabis are putting themselves at risk of permanently damaging their intelligence, according to a landmark study.

Researchers found persistent users of the drug, who started smoking it at school, had lower IQ scores as adults.

They were also significantly more likely to have attention and memory problems in later life, than their peers who abstained.

Furthermore, those who started as teenagers and used it heavily, but quit as adults, did not regain their full mental powers, found academics at King’s College London and Duke University in the US.

They looked at data from over 1,000 people from Dunedin in New Zealand, who have been followed through their lives since being born in 1972 or 1973.

Participants were asked about cannabis usage when they were 18, 21, 26, 32 and 38. Their IQ was tested at 13 and 38. In addition, each nominated a close friend or family member, who was asked about attention and memory problems.

About one in 20 admitted to starting cannabis use before the age of 18, while a further one in 10 took up the habit in the early or mid 20s.

Professor Terrie Moffitt, of KCL’s Institute of Psychiatry, who contributed to the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said “persistent users” who started as teenagers suffered a drop of eight IQ points at the age of 38, compared to when they were 13.

Note: This explains a lot about Democrats.

Hillbilly Zen


Eat when you're hungry,
Drink when you're dry,
If a tree don't fall on ya,
You'll live 'till you die.

This Is Beyond Disgusting and Borders on Treason


(Originally posted to Blogster August 28, 2012)

This is beyond digusting and borders on treason but the Kool Aid drinkers are completely blind to it.

DNC Proceeds With 2-Hour Islamic ‘Jumah’ Prayers (And You Won‘t Believe Who’s Invited)

LINK

A Catholic Cardinal will not be allowed to pray. Radical Muslims will.

What is wrong with America? Is there a death wish among liberals? Is there a sudden desire to become dhimmis?

The Good Wife's Guide


"The world has moved on." That is what Roland Deschain, the Gunslinger in the Stephen King Series The Dark Tower, would say.

Indeed, the world has moved on. It used to be a better place. A kinder place. A warmer place. All in no part due to the good wives and mothers who fulfilled an important part in making America great.

I fully support a woman assuming her proper and rightful role in society. It is just that there is so many of them out working these days none of them are home to fulfill it.

Well, with that in mind I present:

The Good Wife's Guide

From Housekeeping Monthly, 13 May, 1955.



Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have be thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed. 

Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. 

Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables. 

During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet. 

Be happy to see him. 

Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him. 

Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours. 
Don't greet him with complaints and problems. 

Don't complain if he's late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work. 

Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. 

Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice. 
Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. 
Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him. 

A good wife always knows her place.

Ah. Yes. Those were the days. Men were men and women knew it!

Strange But True Facts


True facts!

The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet.
( O.M.G !)               

A pig's orgasm lasts 30 minutes.
(In my next life, I want to be a pig.)                              
A cockroach will live nine days without its head before it starves to death. (Creepy.) (I'm still not over the pig.)

Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories a hour
(Don't try this at home, maybe at work)

The male praying mantis cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body. The female initiates sex by ripping the male's head off.
(Honey, I'm home. What the...?!)

The flea can jump 350 times its body length. It's like a human jumping the length of a football field.
(30 minutes..lucky pig! Can you imagine?)

The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds.
(What could be so tasty on the bottom of a pond?)

Some lions mate over 50 times a day.
(I still want to be a pig in my next life - quality over quantity)

Butterflies taste with their feet.
(Something I always wanted to know.)                               
                      
Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people.
(If you're ambidextrous, do you split the difference?)

 Elephants are the only animals that cannot jump.
(Okay, so that would be a good thing)

A cat's urine glows under a black light.
(I wonder who was paid to figure that out?)

 An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
( I know some people like that.)

Starfish have no brains
(I know some people like that too.)

Polar bears are left-handed.
(If they switch, they'll live a lot longer)

Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure.
(What about that pig??)

Top Complaints From Dogs


1. Blaming your farts in me? Not funny. Not funny at all.

2. Yelling at me for barking. I'M A DOG! Get it?

3. Any haircut that involves bows or ribbons. Now you know why we chew your stuff up when you're not home.

4. The sleight of hand, fake fetch throw. You fooled a dog! Whoooo Hoooo. What a proud moment for the top of the food chain.

5. Taking me to the vet for the 'big snip,' then acting surprised when I freak out every time we go back.
6. Getting upset when I sniff the crotches of your guests, Sorry, but I haven't mastered the handshake thing yet.

7. How you act disgusted when I lick myself. Look. We both know the truth ....
Now lay off me on some of this stuff. We both know who is boss here. You don't see me picking up your poop do you?

Who You Gonna Call?

Who You Gonna Call?



You Know It's Summer When Girls Start Showing Their Belly Buttons


Yes, it is the time of year when women start baring their belly buttons once again.



Drag Queen Barbie


Seriously. The United States isn't slipping into the moral sewer. It is running and diving into the deep end of it.

Mattell Introduces Drag Queen Barbie.

(Originally posted to Blogster August 10, 2012)


Book Review: What's So Great About Christianity



Genre: Religion & Spirituality
Author: Dinesh D'Souza
Rating:           5 out of 5 Star


Last year I waded through the books of the 'Big Three Big Guns' of what have been termed the new atheists. Those who read my reviews of Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris will note that I was dismissive of Hitchens' God Is Not Great. Hitchens is merely a shrill for whatever comes along that will gain him a moments notoriety. There is nothing Hitchens likes quite so much as to tout what he thinks of as his own superior intellect but that alleged intellect was notably missing in this book where his lack of understanding of Christianity was laughable. The tone of Hitchens books was as fundamental and as harsh as those he was attempting to tar with his own brush of hatred. 
 

Overall, I gave Sam Harris a good review but his polemic was also strident and harsh and his call for the nuclear annihilation of Muslims was as mind boggling as his attempt to portray Christianity and Buddhism as being in the same category as Jihadists.

Dawkins' The God Delusion was the best of the three. Dawkin's humour and sarcasm are funny and cutting. His defence of evolution is unassailable. His understanding of the Christianity he wishes to condemn to the ash heap of history is, however, under graduate and his dismissal of the arguments by Thomas Aquinas for the existence of God were sophomoric and showed a clear misunderstanding of what Aquinas was arguing. Nor did I believe
Dawkins made his primary case for the proof of the non-existence of God. His argument ran that since God was irreducibly complex, God could not exist. To this I must say, if God does exist we are all in a world of shit if he is not irreducibly complex.

In spite of what each of these books lack in sophistication and argument and no matter how shrill or fundamental their arguments have become (Dawkins holds that parents who teach their children religion are child abusers), they have held their position in books sales and in their prominence. That may have been more the result of any coherent opposition, however, than the worth of their case.

Recently we have seen a spate of books attacking or critiquing Harris, Dawkins, and Hitchens as well as Dennett. One of these was Chris Hedges' intellectual tour de force I Don't Believe in Atheists.

Now we have Dinesh D'Souza's brilliantly conceived and executed What's So Great About Christianity. D'Souza is eminently qualified to take on all of the 'big three' at once.

D'Souza's is a historical, scientific, anthropological and philosophical defence of Christianity that does not rely on Bible for it's qualification. D'Souza meets Dawkins head on and on Dawkins own turf and soundly thrashes him before ejecting him bruised and bleeding from the field and since the publication of this book has met Sam Harris and Dan Dennett head on in debate and bested them (Hitchings and Dawkins, having seem the lumps taken by Harris and Dennett, perhaps wisely refuse to debate him).

In this book D'Souza sets out to prove seven propositions:

1) Christianity is the root of our Western civilization, the root of our most cherished values.
2) The latest discoveries of modern science support the Christian claim that there is a divine being who created the universe.
3) Darwin's theory of evolution, far from undermining the evidence for supernatural design, actually strengthens it.
4) There is nothing is science that makes miracles impossible.
5) It is reasonable to have faith.
6) Atheism, not religion, is responsible for the mass murders of history.
7) Atheism is motivated not by reason but by a kind of cowardly moral escapism.


Does D'Souza make his case? In my opinion he has more than adequately made the case for six of his seven propositions. Some are stronger than others but in all cases except one he has met the burden of proof, the preponderance of evidence. I do not believe he made the case for proposition number 2, "The latest discoveries of modern science support the Christian claim that there is a divine being who created the universe." That is a toss up, I believe and even if his case were stronger he would not have convinced me. Nor has argument three that Darwin's theory strengthens the case for supernatural design lead me to the conclusion for the existence of God or, to be be exact, to the 'truth' of Christianity. The problem still rests with Adam. One may spiritualize or allegoricalize a lot of scripture but without a literal Adam all of Christian theology collapses and D'Souza does not address this.

In meeting the arguments of Harris, Hitchings, Dennett and Dawkins individually and collectively he leaves them bloodied and lying in a heap on the floor. He has reduced them to pleading special causes in the same way as the person of faith does and in the end perhaps that is exactly what atheism comes down to. It is every bit as much a matter of faith as Christianity or any other religion is and if it is a matter of faith than Dawkins dogmatism is even more hypocritical.

None the less, this is an excellent book. It is an intellectual tour de force running through the disciplines of science and theology and philosophy. Whether one is a believer, an atheist or an agnostic, whether one is a fundamental Christian, a Muslim, a Hindu or a fundamental atheist this book deserves a read.

As for myself? Did it change my mind? Did it cause me to question my own atheism?

I thought a lot about what D'Souza has to say but in the end my belief is unchanged. In spite of D'Souza's excellent arguments I still think that evolution was the death knell of religion, the funeral for the God hypothesis.

Even if I could accept that evolution was God's means of creation that still does not eliminate the very real 'Adam' problem.

Regardless of whether or not anyone finds acceptance or rejection of God in general or Christianity in particular through reading this book this is an extremely important, even vital book. D'Souza's contention that Western civilization was built on Christianity is well founded. We live in a post modern world and we are watching with horror the decline of the Western world. Terrified many wonder where we are headed and how this happened. The reason is unmistakable. Our civilization is foundering due to the collapse of our reliance on Christianity. We have kicked it to the curb and not replaced it with anything we can hang on to. While God may not exist and Christianity is a fable it would seem that in order to rise above our propensities to slide back into the primordial ooze, we, as a species, need belief in a God we have clearly rejected as impossible. We live in dangerous times.

Michael Shermer, certainly no friend of foolishness and stupidity, or Christianity for that matter, says of this book, ""As an unbeliever I passionately disagree with Dinesh D'Souza on some of his positions. But he is a first-rate scholar whom I feel absolutely compelled to read. His thorough research and elegant prose have elevated him into the top ranks of those who champion liberty and individual responsibility. Now he adds Christianity to his formula for the good society, and although non-Christians and non-theists may disagree with some of his arguments, we ignore him at our peril. D'Souza's book takes the debate to a new level. Read it."

This is a brilliant book. Don't miss it.

Albert Mohler ( http://www.albertmohler.com/blog_read.php?id=1037 ) says: "Today's Christians know that they do not, as their ancestors did, live in a society where God's presence was unavoidable. No longer does Christianity form the moral basis of society. Many of us now reside in secular communities, where arguments drawn from the Bible or Christian revelation carry no weight, and where we hear a different language from that spoken in church." That is the opening salvo from author Dinesh D'Souza in his new book, What's So Great About Christianity.

D'Souza's book is written, at least in part, as a response to the frontal attacks on Christianity launched by figures such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris. He writes with a clear and uncluttered style and his arguments should attract considerable attention.

D'Souza chides believers for taking "the easy way out," sheltering themselves in Christian intellectual enclaves rather than engaging the issues. They live separate secular and sacred lives without recognizing that this is incompatible with the Gospel.

Here is how he sees the challenge:

This is not a time for Christians to turn the other cheek. Rather, it is a time to drive the moneychangers out of the temple. The atheists no longer want to be tolerated. They want to monopolize the public square and to expel Christians from it. They want political questions like abortion to be divorced from religious and moral claims. They want to control school curricula so they can promote a secular ideology and undermine Christianity. They want to discredit the factual claims of religion, and they want to convince the rest of society that Christianity is not only mistaken but also evil. They blame religion for the crimes of history and for the ongoing conflicts in the world today. In short, they want to make religion – and especially the Christian religion – disappear from the face of the earth.

In fact, the new atheists are frustrated that belief in God has not passed away. They had great confidence that the theory of secularization would promise a new secular age, with belief in God relegated to humanity's past.

Nevertheless, this isn't happening. Europe may be overwhelmingly secular, but Americans are still a deeply religious people -- even if this does not represent an embrace of authentic Christianity.

Meanwhile, traditional religion is growing all over the world. The world is not becoming more secular, but more religious in a myriad of forms.

D'Souza sees this in his own personal story:

I have found this to be true in my own life. I am a native of India, and my ancestors were converted to Christianity by Portuguese missionaries. As this as the era of the Portuguese Inquisition, some force and bludgeoning may
also have been involved. When I came to America as a student in 1978, my Christianity was largely a matter of birth and habit. But even as I plunged myself into modern life in the United States, my faith slowly deepened. G.K Chesterton calls this the "revolt into orthodoxy." Like Chesterton, I find myself rebelling against extreme secularism and finding in Christianity some remarkable answers to both intellectual and practical concerns. So I am grateful to those stern inquisitors for bringing me into the orbit of Christianity, even though I am sure my ancestors would not have shared my enthusiasm. Mine is a Christianity that is countercultural in the sense that it opposes powerful trends in modern Western culture. Yet it is thoroughly modern in that it addresses questions and needs raised by life in that culture. I don't know how I could live well without it.

The continent of Europe is now the great exception -- the secular continent. D'Souza explains:

Then there is Europe. The most secular continent on the globe is decadent in the quite literal sense that its population is rapidly shrinking. Birth rates are abysmally low in France, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, and Sweden.

The nations of Western Europe today show some of the lowest birth rates ever recorded, and Eastern European birth rates are comparably low. Historians have noted that Europe is suffering the most sustained reduction in its

population since the Black Death in the fourteenth century, when one in three Europeans succumbed to the plague. Lacking the strong religious identity that once characterized Christendom, atheist Europe seems to be a

civilization on its way out. Nietzsche predicted that European decadence would produce a miserable "last man" devoid of any purpose beyond making life comfortable and making provision for regular fornication. Well,

Nietzsche's "last man" is finally here, and his name is Sven.

D'Souza's strongest analysis comes when he considers the true character of the new atheism. It is, he suggests, a "pelvic revolt against God." In other words, it is a revolt against Christian morality -- especially sexual

morality. This is not a new observation or argument, but D'Souza makes it exceptionally well:

My conclusion is that contrary to popular belief, atheism is not primarily an intellectual revolt, it is a moral revolt. Atheists don't find God invisible so much as objectionable. They aren't adjusting their desires to the truth,

but rather the truth to fit their desires. This is something we can all identify with. It is a temptation even for believers. We want to be saved as long as we are not saved from our sins. We are quite willing to be saved from a

whole host of social evils, from poverty to disease to war. But we want to leave untouched the personal evils, such as selfishness and lechery and pride. We need spiritual healing, but we do not want it. Like a supervisory parent,

God gets in our way. This is the perennial appeal of atheism: it gets rid of the stern fellow with the long beard and liberates us for the pleasures of sin and depravity. The atheist seeks to get rid of moral judgment by getting

rid of the judge.

D'Souza's argument here is very insightful. These atheists are not so much struggling with intellectual doubts but feel limited by moral constraints. They are repulsed by the very idea of divine judgment, so they get rid of the

Judge.

Christians will find Dinesh D'Souza's latest book to be both interesting and helpful. His apologetic model is G. K. Chesterton, and he writes with a similar style and verve. I found his argument that Christians should embrace evolution while rejecting Darwinism to be unconvincing and unhelpful. The dominant model of evolutionary theory is just as atheistic and incompatible with Christianity as classical Darwinism.

Nevertheless, the book is filled with interesting and helpful arguments offered by a Christian intellectual who is heavily engaged in the great battle of ideas. What's So Great About Christianity is a helpful addition to our public debate.


Former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow also has a very good review of this book at:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/march/25.79.html

The Huffington Post also has a review here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dinesh-dsouza/whats-so-great-about-chr_b_69614.html

Another helpful review is here:

http://www.nappaland.com/03-Features/Feature_Articles/DineshDSouzaInterview.htm

Get this book!
(Originally posted to Multiply January 13, 2009)

Book Review: So You Don't Want To Go To Church

(Originally posted to Multiply January 13, 2009)




Genre: Literature & Fiction
Author:Wayne Jacobson and Dave Coleman
Rating:     1 out of 5 Stars


Several people have recommended that I read The Shack but I have, until now, passed but friend Deb recommended it the other day so I went out to get a copy only to find none in town. All the stores were out. The people at the book store said that it fies off the shelf. I have had to order a copy.

While I certainly cannot say I am a follower of Jesus Christ or that I any longer have the faith I once had, I do know the Bible inside out. Knowing the Bible as intimately as that allows me to draw conclusions that others may miss and whether I believe it or not is not the point. There are things that define Christianity such as the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If you do everything else right but do not believe in the resurrection, for example, you are not a Christian. Or if you believe everything else but do not believe that Jesus was God then you are not a Christian. Being a Christian entails adherence to certain core beliefs that are fundamental to the faith. If one does not cling to those core beliefs one cannot make the claim of being a Christian.

Having been recommended to me so many time I had to look for reviews of The Shack to see what was going on and in doing so I came across a review by someone I know and whom I respect. The review was not glowing to say the least.

Whatever else The Shack may be, no matter how inspirational or uplifting, it is not good theology, it is not Christianity, it is not the faith of the fathers.

I will have more to say once I read it. This review is not about The Shack but about So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore which in spite of the title is also a work of fiction.

It is also a deception. The first edition of this book claims to have been written by 'Jake Colson,' one of the characters in the book. I am not sure why the authors would do that unless it was to hide who it was really written by and thus hide the fact that this book was published by the same people who published The Shack. And why would they wish to hide that other than the pounding that book has taken in Christian circles and their not wanting this book to get tarred with the same brush? The authors of this book were both at one time ministers who left the church themselves. Now we begin to see the method behind the madness of these two books once that is known and why they attempted to hide behind a fake name when they first wrote this boo. By the way, they haven't abandoned that deception entirely. They still maintain a website called jakecolsen.com.

I should say that even as fiction this is not the kind of book I would normally read even during my current crusade and rebellion. I only read it because it was recommended by the bookstore when they told me they were out of The Shack. The book blurb itself says, "What would you do if you met someone you thought just might be one of Jesus original disciples still living in the 21st Century? That's Jake's dilemma as he meets a man who talks of Jesus as if he had known him, and whose way of living challenges everything Jake had previously known. So You Don t Want to Go To Church Anymore is Jake s compelling journal that chronicles thirteen conversations with his new found friend over a four-year period and how those exchanges turn Jake's world upside-down. With his help, Jake faces his darkest fears, struggles through brutal circumstances and comes out on the other side in the joy and freedom he always dreamed was possible. If you're tired of just going through the motions of Christianity and want to mine the depths of what it really means to live deeply in Christ, you ll find Jake s story will give you hope for your own. This book probes the difficult questions and offers some far-reaching answers. It just might turn your world upside-down as well!

Well and good. But that is not really what the book is about. This book is really about the condemnation of the church and the suggestion that it be replaced with something else which the authors suggest is more in keeping with what Christ intended. Well, sure, and after 2,000 years they just happen to be the people who discovered God's will in this matter. Right.

From beginning to end this book utilizes the logical fallacy known as a straw man. From Wikipedia, " straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position. To "set up a straw man," one describes a position that superficially resembles an opponent's actual view, yet is easier to refute. Then, one attributes that position to the opponent. For example, someone might deliberately overstate the opponent's position. While a straw man argument may work as a rhetorical technique—and succeed in persuading people—it carries little or no real evidential weight, since the opponent's actual argument has not been refuted."

I could go on and on and on and on. I am not. I am just going to say this is a bad book. It misrepresents Biblical teachings about the church. It attempts to subvert traditional Christianity. If you want a specific in depth review then go here:

http://www.challies.com/archives/book-reviews/so-you-dont-want-to-go-to-church-anymore.php

Or better yet, just trust me for once and whether you are a Christian or not, avoid this garbage like the unpardonable sin.

I will reserve judgement on The Shack until I have read it myself.