Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Manufacture of Dissent

In 1984 a man named Noam Chomsky wrote an essay called the Manufacture of Consent. In this essay, he argues that much of the way we as Americans view our country is based on a false belief in the fundamental goodness of our founding and intentions throughout the development of our country. I could spend a whole lot of time getting you up to speed on the particulars of how he made his case and more of the substance of this essay, but I am not writing about Chomsky's essay but about my own observations about many in our country who have most certainly taken Chomsky's points twenty years ago to heart.

It seems to me that many in the intellectual crowds within colleges around the country and especially those in Hollywood chose to buy into his premise hook, line, and sinker. They seem to have made it their mission in life to expose the "evil empire" that was and is the United States of America. Ironically, now that his views have taken such root in the imaginations of those particularly on the left side of the political spectrum, I myself see a false belief that is a foundational premise for many of these people. This premise is simply put: the United States is incapable of doing or being anything noble or good. It is through this lens that people are able to see things like the world trade center and the current war on terrorists globally and somehow only see our atrocities, our wrong foreign policies, our corruption, etc.

A word of clarity... I am not claiming that these points deal with all who voice opposition to the war in Iraq nor even our methods of dealing with terrorism. I am well aware that there are other lines of reasoning than those I am mentioning here. Also, I realize that the United States is certainly guilty of evils in her past and present. This, however, is NOT to be confused with anything even remotely approaching the view of the United States that I just described.

I think organizations like the New York Times are complicit in this "manufacturing of dissent" with their blatant opposition to the war effort and the administration instead of objective coverage. (Please remember the New York Times owns much more than simply that one newspaper.) There are three primary editorialists that speak regularly for the Times. In the period from January of 2005 to July of 2006 these three primary writers wrote 314 editorials. Of the 314 editorials that they wrote, 156 were about the Bush administration and NOT ONE of them were written in a positive light. Also, the second man to receive the medal of honor from the start of the entire second Gulf War to date hailed from the great state of New York last fall. Guess who did not mention a word of it in the day of the ceremony ANYWHERE in their daily edition. In an almost unprecedented act, the New York Post actually wrote an article about the lack of ANY coverage by the New York Times to shame them. It was only after this that the Times covered it at all. I guess that story just wasn't supportive enough of their agenda.

Even Senators have gotten in on the act of contributing to the wrong headed premise of the "evil empire." Kennedy jumped on the Abu Ghraib scandal when it came out by saying that Saddam's torture chambers had reopened under U.S. management. Consider even the worst we know of our scandal with this. "The following, according to the State Department report, were routine in Iraq during Saddam Hussein's rule:
Medical experimentation
Hammering nails into the fingers and hands
Amputating sex organs or breasts with an electric carving knife
Spraying insecticides into a victim's eyes
Branding with a hot iron
Committing rape while the victim's spouse is forced to watch
Pouring boiling water into the victim's rectum
Nailing the tongue to a wooden board
Extracting teeth with pliers
Using bees and scorpions to sting naked children in front of their parents"
Also, Kennedy knew the perpetrators at Abu Ghraib would be prosecuted for what they did do. Instead Kennedy decided to make himself and his ridiculous quote the headline for Al-Jazeera the next day.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Quote of the week...

"Christianity is not a formula, but the Person of Jesus Himself. Never think that Christianity is a matter of adjusting behavior, but rather, of letting Christ live through us in His strength and power." --Malcolm Smith

Oops forgot to give the web address.... :)

Way of the Master Radio

I would like to take this post as an opportunity to plug another specific web site I have recently found. You may or may not be familiar with the Way of the Master TV show that airs on TBN and probably some other religious stations. It is a show where Kirk Cameron, of Growing Pains and Left Behind fame (well, sort of), and Ray Comfort go out onto the streets and record encounters of street witnessing. Comfort has developed a specific approach to witnessing that involves using the law of the old testament as a means to "prick their consciences" so to speak. It is only after he and/or Cameron have done this that they inform them of their option to be "saved" from the wrath of God through faith in Christ. It is my understanding that the point of this method is to create the correct context for their decision so that it is not a shallow or wrong headed decision on their part. There are aspects to the show that I like and dislike, but overall I am very supportive of them.

The radio show takes many elements of the TV show and adds current events, political discussion, and doctrinal discussion. It has a lot of humorous elements in it as well. As with the show, I am not claiming to agree with everything I hear on it by any means, but I think perhaps the most important role it serves is to spur important, thoughtful discussion. This is something that I think is desperately needed within the Body of Christ, especially in America, if for no other reason than to teach us to develop discernment through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our own hearts and minds.

You can listen online and download shows for free from over a year ago. This makes for about 500+ hours of available listening just from previous shows, and they are adding two new hours each weekday! Hope it is a tool that the Lord will use to strengthen us all for His work.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Quote of the week...

"Atheists express their rage against God although in their view He does not exist." --C. S. Lewis

Meditation or Meditation?

The two oldest organized religions are generally considered Judaism and Hinduism. Both are generally dated as officially beginning around 1400 B.C. These two religious foundations have set the stage for much of the fundamental differences between Eastern and Western civilizations as we know them today..

One of the fundamental differences between them comes into play when simply using the word meditation. Language is fluid meaning even the same word can mean something very different depending on how it is used. The key is the context.

The Bible uses the term meditation to refer to focusing on God, the scriptures, His creation, and so forth which is a tool used by the believer to deeper understanding and appreciation of Him so we can glorify Him more through our lives and worship Him with our hearts more fully.

The term is used in an Eastern context to refer to a clearing the mind of all thought through various means including but not limited to repeating certain phrases or words until they are completely meaningless. This leads you to becoming "one with an impersonal force." I am butchering this in an attempt to keep it short and succinct, and in order to try to keep with the main thrust of my point.

Here is the purpose of this post: it is not a history lesson or a linguistics lesson but a warning to all Christians to be alert about which type of meditation you are practicing. Hinduism and Buddhism and transcendental meditation are weaving their way into our culture, and this includes our churches and teachers. Please be discerning.