Gold Coast Bereans

Out of Ghana, West Africa; Christian hearts and critical minds seeking, speaking and writing the truth with love. This is a conversation of a group of friends, now living in the USA and the UK, who have known each other for more than 20 years.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Pulpit language, General language, etc

I personally heard a Pastor use the expression "holy cow!" as an exclamation while preaching in church. Do you think it is appropriate? (Incidentally, I read somewhere else recently about about a pastor using "BS" by mistake in the pulpit). - Gaius Language Policeceus Robbo, February 14, 2006 4:01 PM



I believe our public and private pronouncements should be seasoned with salt. So I think it is wrong for a Pastor to have used such language - Gaius Dissentus 15 February 2006 12:55:08



I think the use of the term Holy cow etc seriously down play the importance of the word "holy". All things are lawful but not all things may be permissible. A weak christian may have his/her faith shaken on hearing the pastor use this phrase. We're admonished to let our utterances edify and also to keep in mind how our actions affect our weaker brethren. - Gaius Chicago, 15 February 2006 19:58:44



It's an interesting problem. One question is where to draw the line. It's clearly wrong to take the Lord'dsname in vain, so when people say "Good God", etc as interjections I think it's wrong. A colleague of mine at work uses "Christ" in this way. It upsets me to no end.

I think the next line is terms like "holy cow" and "good heavens" which are not quite the Lord's name, but are close. To me, they don't belong in a Christian's vocabulary, either.


Then there are well reconigzed dirty words, like the four-letter synonyms for copulation, excreta and gynecological body parts, which though in wide use are even unacceptable on mainstream television. Close to those are words like "crap", "screw" and "balls", and "bull" which have become almost acceptable usage in the USA.

Finally, there are a group of expressions like "shoot", "shucks" and "dickens". Those are for people who feel like they have to swear, but not irreverently.

I think the best policy is to use none of these words, because it's just a matter of degree. But when someone says "what the hell..." or something like that, should they be called on it"? Moreover, as the world continues to decay, some language that was formerly unnacceptable slowly creeps into daily usage.

Personally, I was surprised that evangelicals did not make a big deal of the president's calling someone an "........". I remember Billy Graham was interviewed when the Nixon tapes first came out. Asked what surprised him the most, Graham lost no time in saying it was the language.

My guiding verse is: "do you not know that it is not what goes into a man that defiles him (those of you who love pig trotters may continue to indulge) but what comes out....for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." If someone feels the need to pepper his speech with such worthless language, that only shows what's in their heart.-
Calorius, 16 February 2006 04:31:19













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Monday, February 27, 2006

Scripture, The New Testament Cannon, etc

There are a number of instances in the scriptures where scholars believe that later copyists and scribes possibly added, deleted, or altered verses and passages in the original texts,. For example, the gospel of Mark has 2 or 3 different endings. This can only mean that some copyists either added or removed passages from the original. What would be their motive to do so?

Likewise, some of the earliest manuscripts do not have the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery. There are a number of passages in the gospel accounts that are hard to harmonize e.g. the resurrection stories (how could recollections of events that followed such a supernatural event be so different). Even te time of His death on the cross appears different in the accounts. Some, e.g., say it happened in the morning, others in the afternoon.

There are books, now considered apocryphal, that were supposedly fabricated by heretics and removed by the Nicene council from the collection of authorized books (the cannon of the NT). Some of these books record even more incredible stories of the resurrection e.g. a talking cross in the tomb!! Does the fact that these additions, deletions, alterations, forgeries, embellishments exist--no matter how few--bother any of you when you read scripture? It suggests some had motive to embellish and mythologize the truth. How do we know today, that all of what we read is authentic--true copy of the original gospel accounts.

Furthermore, you probably know that books like 2nd and 3rd John, Hebrews, the Revelation, I Timothy (even today some doubt that this epistle was written by Paul) were not accepted by all Christians in the early church and only later came to be accepted as canonical. In contrast, other books, now rejected as apocryphal, were initially circulated and read by some early christian groups.

Finally, have you ever wondered how the gospel writers were able to record things like people's thoughts or prayers. How did Mark and Luke and Mathew know what the pharisees were thinking? Perhaps they inferred these thoughts based on Jesus's responses. But how too, for example, were they able to record verbatim, so many years after the fact, Mary's prayer when she conceived our Lord (Magnificat). Luke no where states that he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write these statements; instead he says he carefully investigated the facts. How did he come about these facts.

How did the gospel writers come about details concerning Satan's temptation of Jesus in the wilderness (again different accounts in the different gospels) Clearly lots of issues to resolve. Perhaps one of you has an easy solution to these problems. I have been reading a lot written by FF Bruce, Metzger, Millard (all christians) and by Ehrman (formerly born again--now an agnostic scholar) and it is hard to skirt some of these problems. Perhaps some of you have pondered these issues too. If so, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on these issues? - Gauis Columbus Dissentus, 20 February 2006 17:46:06

Oh one more thing, even though they did not know exactly when, the apostles seem to have been reasonably sure that Jesus would return in their lifetime. You can infer this based on things written in parts of the gospels and epistles. If so, how could they have been so wrong and how can we trust their authority on other matters? Or perhaps they weren't wrong--is the claim that they expected Him back soon exaggerated? For those wondering whether I am still in the fold of the elect, don't worry--I am still firmly in the camp. Just lingering questions in this tired old brain of mine. - Gaius Columbus Dissentus



Personally, I now have a more fundamentalist view of the Bible. By that, I mean that I believe it was given through men writing what the Holy Spirit inspired them to write. This first premise is one of faith, and cannot be proven empirically. Not only can I not prove this, I can not even disprove those who argue against it. It is simply an article of faith for me. Many other faiths, which are based on historical writings, depend on similar beliefs. It is worth pointing out some differences though; Moslems (and interestingly this is one thing all moslems agree on) believe that the Koran was dictated to Mohammed by the angel Gabriel. Mohammed wrote it down. Interestingly, the timing of the first dictations was when Mohammed was 40 and still fairly "illiterate"- a better translation is "unlettered"-.

This is why well-taught moslems so revere not just the meaning of the koran, but the print itself- as well as the prophet who wrote it. Some of them even believe it is wrong to translate the koran into other languages. For a moslem, to suspect the koran could have been "flushed down a toilet" is maddeningly irreverent. Possibly, it would be like an old testament Jew hearing the tablets of the Ten Commandments had been so treated. We christians don't feel the same way about the paper on which the Bible is printed. Mormons believe the book of mormon was found by Joseph Smith. An angel had written it on tablets of gold. Joseph Smith merely translated it into english using the urim and thummin. Non fundamentalist christians believe the Bible is merely a collection of historical books, each of which should be measured on the basis of what is known about it.

We must remember though that the methods the Holy Spirit used to inspire the biblical authors vary from chapter to chapter. In parts of revelations, John saw or heard something and was told to "write this.."In some other parts songs or poems that had been in use were collected and sanctioned for use in worship. In some parts eyewitnesses wrote what they recalled. Others were historical texts that got passed down. The Ten Commandments were written by the hand of God on stones carved by Moses. Etc.

As a fundamentalist in my view of the Bible, I ask God to make it so that my understanding of what I read is what He intends for me. And I believe (that's where it's faith and not logic) that He does. This has led me to believe in 6 literal days of creation, a literal flood, etc. More importantly, I believe in the literal immaculate conception, virgin birth, the fact that Jesus never sinned, but died, rose, and will come again. The apostles' creed.

More specific G. Colombus's points, I find it easy to accept the conclusions of the council of Nicea, because their stated basic beliefs were similar to mine. I accept the cannon that they agreed on, and have not found a reason to go beyond it. By the way, my favorite authors in these dialectical issues are A Ernest Wildersmith (if you can find his books- they are all out of print), CS Lewis and Leo Tolstoy- his short stories, not the long novels (the imp and the crust, how much land does a man need, etc- are great for adults and for kids). I also enjoy reading some of the non-believing authors, cause I find their arguments interesting, and I feel good when I can see through them. So I occasionally read Aldous Huxley, Bert Russel and H.G. Wells, all excellent writers, and Ii actually enjoy even their novels. I'm currently reading an abridged account of Darwin's life. Very interesting.

Regarding the time of Christ's return, I don't think the disciples felt certain it would be in their lifetime. In some of Paul's writings it is clear he thinks he might die soon; yet he also expected the Second coming, anytime. I think it was an attitude of expectation rather than certainty of when the Lord would return. - Calorious - 20 February 2006



By the way you can often find out-of-print books at www.abebooks.com. Check it out. Perhaps I will return to the matter concerning Scripture a little later. At this time, while I accept and fully respect the fundamentalist posture that G Phoenix has adopted, I feel respectfully that I need a little more if for nothing else because I presently have the "curiosity itch" and understand also that the scriptures teach that it is imperative to test all truth, critically but honestly. I have been praying that God will protect me from falsehood/apostasy in this quest. I trust, however, that the gospel, because it is true, is able to withstand a little deeper scrutiny/honest enquiry.

As a related matter, I do ocassionally wonder whether the burden of proof in respect to the gospel remains the same for successive generations of christians? For example, since we did not witness Jesus live or talk to eyewitnesses, is the burden of proof that we face today different than it was for the apostles,? Specifically, is each generation judged afresh by different standards and according to evidence available to it? Is this the meaning, in part, of Jesus's statement to Thomas after the resurrection (Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe) and of his reproof of the Pharisees when he compared them to cities further back in antiquity who unlike the religious leaders of His time would have believed had they seen the miracles he performed in support of His messiahship.- Gaius Columbus. 22 February 2006


Jesus in His day was probably not the person any of us would have wanted to associate with: anti establishment, radical, unconventional and making "outrageous" claims and I do not think He was not physically attractive either (Isaiah53) . Furthermore, the Romans were looking for any excuse to crush the Jews. The multiplicity of miracles was God's way of helping the people of those days to come to faith.

Wehave the benefit of history and unfamiliarity (remember a prophet is not honored in his home town) in accepting Christ. So, I thank the Lord for the generation of our birth and the grace He has given all of us to come to Christ. We face different challenges in our days- the lust of the eyes, flesh and love of this world. - Gaius Chicago 22 February 2006



G. Columbus! when I was a kid and used to ask these questions, I was told I would get mad. Along with questions about how many hairs are on my head (easy to answer now), how much water is in the ocean; trying to count the stars in the sky etc.
Just joking.

But seriously, I agree. I think G Columbus has it right. We are to test everything. I think those verses mean testing everything against scripture, or testing scripture for internal consistency. Ii don't think it means testing scripture itself, but I'm not sure. If we were asked to test scripture, I would have to reply by paraphrasing our former military ruler in Ghana, Jerry Rawlings who when he was asked to hand over power said "hand over to whom?"In this case I would say "test scripture against what?"

There is a certain limit to relativism. Take the scientific observation that matter-energy is indestructable and cannot be created. Therefore everything comes from something. You can push it only so far, eventually coming to the conclusion that there has to have been a something at the beginning which either brought itself into being, or else has always been. Or that the laws of physics did not exist at a certain point in time.

Same with doctrine. Every doctrine gets its authority from somewhere, until eventually you get to a certain source which claims to be self evident. In relativity theory, the speed of light has the same significance. But definitely, at that ultimate level, the logic that got you there ceases to work, and you are left with a defintion or observation of a constant.

One thing that can be frustrating is that this putative constant may one day be found to be a fraud. Once they thought the atom was indivisible; now its some other subatomic particle. In quantum physics they used to think its was a certain amount of energy. That's changed. At one time they thought Pluto was the last planet, or that Cape Verde was the end of the world.

Eventually, arguments like this lead you to conclude there must be an Absolute, a Beginning, a God. I think that you can deduce that far. Whether that Absolute is the God and Father of the Jesus we know is, I beleive, an article of faith.

By the way, abebooks is where I also get some of my out of print stuff. I recently acquired a copy of Ephraim Amu's first book. They in turn found it in an Australian used book store. I'm pretty sure its the last copy in existence. Interesting how we converge to the same things. -
Gaius Solarius. 23 February 2006




I have heard it said before that those of us living now have a better "advantage" compared to those living at the time of Christ. I actually suspect that (knowing myself) I would have been one of those screaming "crucify Him" on that Friday night in Jerusalem if I had been there and Gauis Texas would have made a good Pontius "I find no wrong in this man" Pilate. Gausi Solarius would have pointed to Peter near the fire and said "surely your accent betrays you, you are one of them". The only guys who would probably have been on the Lord's side in 33 AD would probably be Gauis Columbus and Ohio. Gaius Pittsburgh. Wed, 22 Feb 2006



In answer to the question about testing the veracity of the bible I think its ok but I will say upfront that you can never fully prove (I say fully and I use that carefully because some facts can be proved) the Bible by research. The historical facts can be corroborated to some extent but not all. How can you prove a virgin birth? Even in AD 0, that could not be proved. How do you prove a resurrection of Christ? These are the cornerstones of Christianity withou which there is no salvation for you and me.

So for me it appears that God wants me to live by faith and thus has made it impossible for me to validate these facts physically. Rather He- God- works it out in me by applying the death of His son to me and then His Son's life so that I can attest to them in my experience and thus there is no doubting on my part.
You may find some answers to some of the discrepancies in the bible by reading Josephus who chronicled the Jewish history of the 1st century AD and thus addressed some biblical issues in the process. As far as I know he is the only extra biblical source where Christ is mentioned. Eusebius also addresses some of these issues; he writes later than Josephus but is closer in time to Christ and the apostles than most sources and even makes a reference to some of Jesus' physical descendants and answers some of the discrepancies in the NT, eg., the genealogies of Christ in Matthew and Luke.


I personally have no problems with the discrepancies I just think that we do not fully have all the historical facts to reconcile some of the events and also in a persons lifetime not all parts of the Bible are meant for him. For example some scholars claim that if Herod murdered the babies in Bethlehem it should have been recorded in historical accounts of the time (eg Josephus). I disagree because Bethlehem was a small village and Herod probably hired some urchins to abduct and kill the babies (analogous to say the Beltway sniper incident a few years ago). For some time this would have made news to the folks of the time as they tried to explain why there were serial killings but over time such a small incident would be forgotten akin to how the Beltway snipers are almost forgotten bu others today (except of course the families directly affected who have to live daily with the consequences).

As an example of why some things are not meant for all generations, a lot of the Revelations prophecies are meant for the people who will live in that time and sometimes I am amazed at how we go out of our way to try to make current events fit those prophecies.

As for how the bible writers knew what was happening in peoples minds that is where we need to believe that God knows our very thoughts and thus I believe His Spirit gave that revelation to the writers of the bible. As for the apocrypha and the deletions by the Nicean council I think that you can read all those books that have been deleted if you wish (and I have but it made no lasting spiritual impression on me) but I can hardly keep up with the 66 books that they left so why should I even be worried about the other ones.

I will faithfully read what I have and trust that it is enough to guide me throught this ragged life. Where there is a controversy over an ending say in Mark, I check their contents against other scripture and if there is uniformity of thought I accept them. I use this example because some people do not believe in the ending with the bit about picking up snakes, but I do. My reason is because Paul picked up a serpent (albeit by accident) and did not die and there is an abundance of laying on of hands in the Acts of the apostles, thus for me it is in conformity with the rest of scripture and why one scribe left it out and the other did not, I do not know. It could be as simple as one running out of papyrus, hence the shorter ending.

I think I probably haven't helped you but that is not what I set out to do. I only gave reasons why I am ok with the Bible as it is now. Good luck in your search and let me know what pearls you crack open. - Gaius zealot fundamentalis of Texas. 23 February 2006



G Texas! living in an area with rattlesanakes, I think you have a vested interest in beliving that particular ending of the Gospel of Mark. - Robbo. 23 February 2006


Thanks for your kind and thoughtful responses. I too believe in axioms beyond which one can not proceed further. I have no problem with fundamental propositions like God exists--the whole universe literally screams that He does. I also have no doubts that Jesus lived, died and rose again. Starting with the premise that God exists, none of this miraculous stuff (including the virgin birth) is a stretch of the imagination for me. Having accepted by my own observations and deductions (vs the bankruptcy of alternative theories) that He does exist, miracles for me offer not logical contradictions.

Incidentally this is why I have no problems with a literal 6 day creation story. This is also why I agree that it is the very essence of hubris to suppose that what we cannot explain cannot exist. A creature that lives in a 2 dimensional world cannot understand what humans in a 3 dimensional world take for granted. If you carry this logic forward--as even science is beginning to do with theories like String theory--it is easy to see why there are truths we cannot "see", why there are truths that our minds can only intuit.

So again I have no problems with the axioms of my faith. My problem is how to rightly divide the word of truth when there is evidence that some later scribes having read these wonderful events or heard about them recorded incidents--willfully or accidentally--in ways that suggest error. Perhaps some felt they could help God out by embellishing the story etc. Perhaps others did it with malice in their hearts or to resolve some doctrinal disputes. In doing so, however, these scribes created intractable problems for honest enquirers and the Church.

When I asked whether different generations had different burdens of proof, this is exactly what I was alluding to. Clearly, God does not ask that we seek evidence of Mary's virgin birth or that we interview John the Baptist. But does He not ask that we determine, to the best of our ability, whether words purportedly spoken by John or by His beloved Son are indeed what they said? Does he not ask that we look at the historical evidence with honest hearts so as to make the difficult judgments when questions arise? Does he not ask that we try our best to determine which parts of scripture are His words versus additions by later scribes?

Perhaps not outright, but I think it is implied when I hear about the Christians in Berea and when Ie read that seeking the truth with all of my heart will yield dividends. For me one mark of truth is consistency. The Lord once said "Wisdom is known by her children". He said this when he chided the Pharisess for the lack of their internal consistency (remember they they rejected both John the Baptist--"an unsociable wild man" and the Lord who they saw as "eating and drinking and a frequenter of feasts" So yes, I seek internal consistency. When it is lacking I try to determine why?

Sometimes like a math problem the answer comes in a eureka moment, when from a new perspective things suddenly make sense. Other times inspite of my attempts I am unable to assail the stubborn walls. Even then it is often worth a try because of various other lessons learned. Finally, I do accept your loving concern when you warn against too great a reliance on proofs alone. Every tool--even our intellects--have their limits. For this reason I guard against the trap of the so called learned of this world (one that some former believers have fallen into) that asserts that unless one can explain a thing rationally it cannot be true.

Fortunately, I do not buy into that kind of thinking. A logician by the name of Godel once proved convincingly that there are some truths that cannot be expressed by any formal system of logic. Truths that transcend formal systems of proof mainly because these attempt to encompass the infinite on the bais of finite sets of axioms. I fully accept the finitude of my mind. I also recognize that there are truths that I have held and will continue to hold "in tension" until the Lord's return.

I have come accross passages that are difficult to harmonize, but never ones that I can honestly call contradictions. So scripture as I currently know it is incomplete, but it is not inconsistent. Indeed, like Paul I am forced to see dimly as though through glass mainly because of human errors in transcribing and transmitting the original Gospel message to us. Incidentally, the statistical model is a good one for me. In plotting real data I do see the general shape of curves that reasonably explain relationships within the noise represented by measurement error. I am comfortable with childlike faith which has a basis in reality. What I am uncomfortable with is blind faith; faith without basis. I believe God has given us enough to believe.

I believe honest inquiry will lead to a deeper appreciation of the truth--it always has with me. There have been many instances where what I cannot fully grasp I can "see with my hearts mind". In a way just like limits in calculus--never fully grasping the value of a function at a particular point but knowing where it trends. Similarly, on this side of eternity I know enough to be assured that what I believe is true . For me that is the essence of faith and the basis of my relationship with our Lord. The endpoint that all the patterns in the old and new testament point to as I approach the limit-the clear patterns that are capped by faith, the final bridge to truth.

I am working around objections brought about human error through the ages but I still see the general shape of God's plan as revealed in Scripture quite clearly. I hope this explains my questions a little better. Thanks again for your helpful responses. God bless. Gaius Enquritus of Columbus, 23 February 2006


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Friday, February 24, 2006

The ACLU, the Parties and Christianity, etc

The ACLU has often been maligned but I have found that they protect my right to exist peacfully better than Pat Robertson. Can I have your views on the ACLU and christianity please? - Gauis Texas Sat, 18 Feb 2006 11:01:42 -0600

I must confess that I'm as conflicted about the ACLU in much the same way as I am about the Republican and the Democratic parties. The Apostles of old, I guess, would have loved the ACLU's attempt to level the playing field to allow everyone to pursue their objectives without interference or help from the government. They actually filed a brief on behalf of a pastor from the south who was denied the right to baptize in a river by a public park

Perhaps this organization has helped protect the rights of us minorities. However, I'm not sure their motives just end at the stated noble mission. Most of their law suits seem to misproportionally target the "freedom" christians enjoy; or it may appear so because the laws of the land for a long time were written or interpreted to our advantage.

Hence my dilemma about the ACLU. For some christians, its a blasphemy to be a democrate given their support for abortions, gay rights etc. My church, during the last elections, presented information that was obviously crafted to compel or convince us to vote for president Bush, short of outright endorsement.

In the book of Isaiah when God stated His displeasure for their fast, it wasn't about the "big" sins, but the denial of the worker his due wages, the failure to care for the widow, alien, the poor etc. Does the opposition against abortion define a christian?. How do we claim to care about the unborn when we pay little attention to those alive? How come lots of religious blacks more democratic?

The Democrats, on the other hand, excuse every immoral act and by intention or design, make people under acheivers. I guess people may see Christ-in-us from different perspectives. I pray for the emergence of a party or group of people who while upholding righteousness, understand the role of grace, mercy, kindness etc in uplifting every human life born or unborn to their full potential predestined by the one God who created all mankind. This is my only wish in our fallen state. Gauis Chicago Sat, 18 Feb 2006 17:18:54 -0500

The ACLU doesn't bother me. I actually agree with them more often than I disagree. I think they are doing their own thing. We should be doing our own thing, which is evangelism, too. No one is blocking us from that. Gauis Phoenix 22 February 2006 07:22:46



I share G Chicago's conflicts about the ACLU. There is no doubt in my mind that if
Gauis Columbus (most pure in heart) is ever brought up before the Sheriff of his small town on trumped up drug charges, it will be the ACLU calling for justice while some local "conservative" talk show host pronounces him guilty before his trial and goes on to demand the expulsion of all foreigners to Canada.

Regarding the parties, I recently watched a program on Reconstruction after the Civil War and the abolition of slavery and was surprised to find that it was the democrats in the south who resisted giving equal rights to blacks and rather it was the republicans, mainly in the north who advocated those rights. How things have changed and now it is Democratic party which is perceived as a friend of the underdog. I think we should be very careful about painting the main parties into categories and rather we should look at prevailing situations as well as the overall picture in deciding as individuals who to support. Gauis Pittsburgh 22 February 2006 23:20:59

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

INTELLIGENT DESIGN, the TEN COMMANDMENTS etc

Where do you guys stand on the question of teaching intelligent design in schools. And, should the Ten Commandments be displayed in courthouses? - Gauis Phoenix Wed, 15 Feb 2006 22:32:20 -0700


Hey G Phoenix,
How's your mom? They tell me you scared the old lady by revealing your momentary troubles. I thank God you're feeling better now. As the good book says, " many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord delivers him from all".

I'm all for teaching intelligent design in the schools but may be not in a biology class. Usually, we the "religious" guys are the intolerant ones, but in this matter the pseudointellectuals are almost paranoid about any suggestion of an alternative theory to evolution. Evolution theory, in my mind, has contributed to racism, tribalism and many other bad "isms". Creationism says we all came from one created human- Adam and hence yellow, black, brown, kwahu, fanti, Kokomba and Nanumba etc., have the same origin.

Evolution also excuses animal behavior -what do you expect from guys originating from monkeys! I know I'm not thinking like a scientist but I do not think evolution theory can withstand true scientific scrutiny of proof .

Creationism can be excused because there's admission of faith-based inferences. What angers me about evolution is the arrogance of the premise that because we cannot understand or proof something that negates its existence. My patients sometimes tell of alternative therapies that work for them and I'm careful not to dismiss their assertions because we don't understand everything about the human body yet. In oncology, (G. Phoenix can correct me if I'm mistaken) do we know why some patients go into remission, cure etc and others don't. I don't think we can explain everything( though we can predict with some accuracy)- even with all the cytogenetics, flowcytometry and other modern tools available.

So I say thumbs up to teaching intelligent design in schools but once we open up to alternative theories we must be prepared to accommodate the Hindu, Buddhist, and who else's theory of the origin of man. That, I think, is the real argument against my choice. - G. Chicago 17 February 2006 04:04:15


What about our own experience? We were taught evolution. Remember the Ecology II textbook even had those ridiculous pictures about evolution of the motorcar. We "studied, passed the exams, and forgot all that rubbish. (All, except Gauis Texas, who at that time was fumbling with advanced level mathematics, Backhouse II or some other such nonsense involving log books and slide rules). Yet we all turned out OK.

Look at Gauis Columbus of Ohio: he's even gone beyond medicine and seems to be reading some "Law for dummies" or something like that. Even Gauis Pittsburgh (now calling himself Robbo for yet to be revealed reasons) has turned out pretty well, despite his conspicuous absence from the Scripture Union during the crucial years of Sixth Form.

It seems to me that having the right foundation in faith allows one's mind to be open, and some of the inconsistencies in the argument from classification, the argument of ontogeny recapping capitulation, etc become easier to see. "I have more understanding than all my teachers, because my meditation is Thy law". Somehow, I don't feel my faith or that of my children threatened in any way by the teaching of evolution in biology class. Am I missing something? - Gauis Phoenix 17 February 2006 07:43:45


Well said both of you.
A really good read on this matter is by Philip Johnson. He exposes the philosophical basis of evolution brilliantly in a number of his books. Like Jesus and Paul his critics were unable to mount a defence against his arguments and so attempted to silence him. In particular, Science (the magazine) shamefully would not permit him to rebut a very weak critique of his work by Stephen Jay Gould.

Like any false doctrine, this one has hung around but will eventually fall on the basis of its own inconsistencies. I am amused by all the versions of this theory that have arisen over time. Like the followers of any false doctrine, the disciples of evolution seem threatened by any competing theory that questions its underserved dominance in the classrooms. Truth is usually not afraid of critical examination. Most science is based on such openness. Christianity has not shied away from critical examination. Not evolution.

With the defeat of ID by the courts, perhaps Christians and other critics (secular scientists that are not convinced of the validity of this theory) should push for a more balanced teaching of this theory. Specifically, as the sole theory taught in class, most (including those who object to ID being taught on the basis a need to separate church and state), would agree that it would be fair to more fully expose the weaknesses and inconsistencies of the evolution theory in biology class.

Perhaps a separate philosophy class could more critically examine other views such as Creation. For now, I simply teach my kids the truth and know the Holy Spirit will guide them into all truth just like He did each one of us. For the other "elect" God will lead them into all truth in His own time. - Gauis Ohio 17 February 2006 14:08:18


I agree with everyone on this issue. I have never been threatened by evolution and I really feel, as Paul explained in Romans, you don't need to look around too hard for the existence of God. I think that God can uphold His own name and indeed no where in the Bible do I find Him asking us to fight to uphold His holy name by entering into arguments with unbelievers- in fact we are discouraged from getting into baseless arguments in 1 Tim 6, except where an unbeliever asks us to defend our faith according to Peter.

Rather by our good deeds we should shame the unbelieving and in the process glorify God. God is able to uphold His own name without any help from us. In reality the only command on us is to proclaim Christ. I say this because I have watched the church get sucked into these arguments and slowly loose focus of our real mission which is to proclaim Christ and soon the only really powerful tool that we have, the Holy Spirit, is left idle while we indulge in unfruitful pursuits of apologetics. I am not saying we should not have intellectual discussions but we should never try to prove to people that God exists- we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works and if we lived as he expected we would be the incontrovertible proof of His life in us and thus by direct implication His very existence.

I have actually met atheists who do not embrace the theory of evolution and I believe that that theory is no match for the gospel.

I actually have a problem with Intelligent Design. What is ID and what are we really saying? If we hold that the creation story is true then we should teach it and mention God with no apologies. The question is, is the classroom the place for the creation story? Because of the separation of church and state it may not be especially since other faiths may object. But is that a set back to Christianity? Absolutely not. We all learnt about evolution in school but how many of us even gave it serious consideration? It's absolute rubbish and only the intellectual classes who feel they know "too much" go around touting it as an answer to their existence and I feel many of them do it because its fashionable but they probably will not be ready to die for
like a fully committed christian.

We had an alternative in school in Ghana called Scriptur Union which gave many of us the direction we needed to get going and that is what Christians should try to do. Teach our
faith without the political correctness of a school syllabus. I say this because there is a little known clause in the court ruling that banned prayer in school. The same ruling said that schools had to provide for Christian clubs as long as other clubs were allowed to function. Thus there
are child evangelism programs going on in schools that some of these christian ID advocates could do well to support and promote instead of trying to fight a battle that as far as I know is not going to preach Christ.

I don't believe in ID. I believe in the creation story and that is what I teach. If that is what the Bible says, then when I speak it God will convict the hearer by His Spirit of the truth of what I am teaching and that is the faith I have when I speak it to my own kids- otherwise why
waste my time?

The only concern I have with the creation story is that traditionally people have assumed that it took place over 7 literal days and that by calculating the genealogies in the bible the world is about 6,000 years old- but I don't think the bible gives us any time frame- in our understanding of time- of how long the "earth" has existed and if there was another creation before ours that was destroyed hence the dinosaurs. Did one day in the creation equal a million? As we know from Peter Gods time is different from ours.

Also modern science is revealing that there are a lot of gaps in the genealogies that take us further and further back into antiquity as we keep resetting the clock. We don't even know how long Adam lived in the garden before the fall. I think that these are issues we should address in our intellectual discussions so that people know that we are intelligent and not zealots and also have equally good arguments for some of the discrepancies between science and the Bible.

I personally believe that the pyramids in Egypt were built by Joseph for storing grain in time of the great drought and the communist pharaohs later nationalized them as "cemeteries". I also think that the dinosaurs are the carcasses of the animals that would not listen to Noah and so perished in the flood. I am ready to defend my views on Larry King live. Any takers?- Gaius Texas Anti ID et creation activist.18 February 2006 03:04:46


G. Texas! It appears you have this whole thing figured out down to the Dinosaurs!! I must say that it was intellectually satisfying for me to read books written by Philip Johnson. Doing so also strengthened my faith tremendously. So I am grateful for those like him who have taken time to mount a vigorous attack on Evolution, which had, until recently, been given a veneer of unassailability.

Such work does not substitute for the gospel but may bring people to the point where they are ready to hear it. "He who does not work against us, is for us".

I believe G Phoenix's other question related to placing the 10 commandments in courts. My view is if one does not know not to murder or not to bear false witness by the time one gets to the court house, it is a little too late. I would rather His laws be written on peoples hearts. For me it is a non-issue. Like G. Texas said we are better served by sharing the gospel.- Gauis Ohio. 18 February 2006 05:17:05


Agreed, G. Ohio! Just a side note though. Evolution is a theory and the church must push for that to be emphasised in the school and the word theory explained. Very slowly we are allowing it to be taught as a fact and then we become the theorists.

I couldn't agree more about the Ten Vommandments. What a waste of time! Interestingly there was more injustice in the south where the ten commandments were displayed than there were in places that it was not displayed. It must be in the heart and not on stones. - Gauis Texas. 18 February 2006 13:04:08


You've all raised very important issues which the Church in America has failed to proclaim but I do have other concerns. We as parents have to take full responsibility in raising our children in the christian faith. Not the government and obviously not the school system and hence the need to "walk the talk".

We must acknowlege, however, that our children are facing more attacks on their faith than we did. I cannot recall meeting an open atheist in my teenage years, and we never had gay-lesbian clubs in our high schools! Scripture Union members were in the majority in some schools. The christian community here has overemphazised political activism to the detriment of personal witnessing by the church.

When we start dealing with legistlation to stop gay marriages or restore the Ten Commandments' place then the battle is long lost. Over 75% of those who become and stay committed christians are like us- converted as teenagers, had discipleship under christian role models like the late Uncle James, the Kweku Hutchfuls etc. and enjoyed the fellowship of other beleivers.

When we look at people in our present socioeconomic group (we must not forget the time we spent on the brink of starvation- eating kenkey and fish for brunch/dinner for most days of the week!), we can relate to the comment made by Jesus about the difficulty of the "rich" making it to heaven.

I do still believe there's a role for the James Dobsons, Pat Robertsons etc, if they remain grounded in sound Biblical doctrine. Why do we sacrifice American lives and billions of our tax dollars to free Iraq, to have them declare "Islam as the basis of our laws". Why should we neglect the Judeo-Christian heritage on which the constitution of this land is based?

A story is told of a man who kept shouting in Sodom and Gomorrah " repent or hell is coming". Someone told him its insane to keep doing that routine, aware that no one is listening. The man remarked, ' I know they may not repent, but if I don't keep doing it I may become like them'. I don't feel convicted to stage a protest around abortion clinics but if others feel that's their calling, praise the Lord for them. I'll rather support pregnancy crisis centers or better still child evangelism so as to avoid premarital sex in the first place. Gauis Chicago. 18 February 2006 15:47:55

You raise very good points some of which I agree with , G Chicago. I do want to pose a question- are we really faced with more threats today than we did growing up? There are two main threats to Christianity- the religious and the secular. If you read the Bible the problems we have today have always been around. Paul was upset with all the secular immorality of the Greeks and the religious ignorance of the Jews. Today the problems are the same but packaged differently.

Our kids are bombarded with the same secular threats but what about the religious which are rarely mentioned? How do you combat growing Mormonism, the Jehovah's witness, Buddhism etc? The Dalai Lhama draws more crowds than a lot of christians preachers. In my opinion they are all as dangerous as evolution and sometimes even worse because a person caught up in the religious diversions usually hardens his stance even more than the secularist.

In the world of the New Testament, christians were a tiny minority and rarely cried foul- actually didn't have a dogs chance to do so- but still put up the most stellar display of christian existence that we will probably ever see. They overcame by their adherence to Christ andHis cross and persistently witnessed to that fact by their lives and words. That is where the real power to change is and the devil has slowly blinded us to that and we have gone in search of many diverse schemes with "loose fellows of the rubble". 1 Cor 1:22,23 tells us that, "the Jews want signs (religious path) the Greeks want wisdom (secular) but we proclaim Christ crucified....."

These are spiritual facts that are nonsense to those without the Spirit (1Cor 2:14) and they are not argued out but spoken in faith and then effected by the supernatural work of the Spirit.
We do need to be socially active though so that the agenda is not driven by just the infidels but in so doing we need to be fair and not partial. Gauis Texas. 18 February 2006 17:01:42



Re. the question of the Ten Commandments in courtrooms: I agree with all of you. I wonder why some of these zealots are not trying to put John 3:16 or something similar into the courtrooms. Infact, i would go further and suggest that the Ten Cmmandments are not really a Christian statement, but more representative of Judaic law when they had a near-theocracy. We could chose many relevant parts of the Bible, more representative of christian views, to display in a courthouse.

Re: evolution in schools. I am also impressed by our agreement on this issue. If I may summarize, it seems to me we all agree that: the best place to teach Creation or any other christian doctrine is in the home, and perhaps the church. The best time to teach certain doctrines is when our kids are kids. As the kids grow up, as we pray for them and guide them, they will learn more age-appropriate, intellectual christian views. The over-politization of this issue can distract from our true mission of evangelism yet we must be sensitive and vigilant defenders of those public rights that are neccessary for christianity to flourish. Gauis Phoenix. 20 February 2006 19:51:56

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

THE CARTOON RIOTS, etc

What do you guys think about the uproar over the Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed? There seems to be a concerted effort in the press here in the US (and perhaps the UK) to avoid further inflaming the sensibilities offollowers of Islam. Does anyone think the press in the US (and UK) would have shown the samekind of sensitivity over issues relating to Jesus and christianity? - Gauis Columbus


Have we all forgotten what happened in Nigeria a few years ago during the Miss World competition? How long will these guys continue to use violence in the name of their religion. Christ has been depicted in worse ways even in movies, and yet christians don't go on rampage. I do condemn any attempt to disparage someone's religion. The west, to their shame, sometimes prefers to appease these guys. Is it all in the name of Oil? I applaud the decision of the Danish government not to intervene but shame on Jack Straw for playing into the hands of these violent zealots.Anyway, I miss all of you guys and may the good Lord continue to bless and uphold you.- Gauis Chicago Mon, 06 Feb 2006 23:44:06 -0500


To some extent I agree with you Gauis Chicago but what I don't understand is the French and German newspapers who reprinted the cartoons in the name of free speech and in the solidarity with the Danish newspaper. This has escalated the issue. There are extremists who are always looking for something to use to manipulate the masses so why go out of your way to provide them with something in the name of free spreech?

If for example I know that my neighbor is a psycho Steelers supporter who will not hesitate to burn down my house if I displayed a Seahawks flag before the superbowl, would I be correct in risking the life of my innocent children in order to fulfill my right to display any flag I like? I wish these editors will really stand up for free speech by going to Mecca and holding up the cartoons in front of a mosque and be ready to sacrifice their lives for their belief in their right to publish any cartoon they like. Instead they sit in the safety of their own countries and put at risk the lives of innocent Danes, French and Germans who are doing good all over the world and are sometimes building bridges to the Muslims- not to mention the other lives which will be lost usually grassroots poor Muslims who are manipulated into these demos by extremists with a different agenda. - Gauis Pittsburgh aka Robbo. Tues, February 07, 2006 7:32 AM


I agree with Gauis Pittsburgh.
For one thing, it was pretty stupid and irresponsible to reprint those cartoons. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. many people live in parts of the world where they are very vulnerable to islamic retaliation, and their lives and property were being endangered by the reckless publication of such trash.

Secondly, it was pretty disrespectful. Remember the furor over the national endowment for the arts and the new york galleries that featured unmentionable items. Even apart from religion, certain expressions (for example racial slurs) are just not respectful to use. Shiite moslems believe it is wrong to make images of their prophet. period.

Third, i think it is irrelevant that some other religions have tolerated worse things.

And i'm not even sure that that is entirely true. When our own Master Jesus Christ found that people were buying and selling in the temple courts, He whipped them. He destroyed property (overturned their tables), and i suspect the tip of His whip graced the back of a few traders who were not quick to flee. And for those who like to see old testament examples: there was a guy who brought a foreign girl or baalist or something like that into the assembly. One zealous warrior run and pierced them through with a a spear- and by so doing he averted the judgement of God.

there is a sense in which we Christians should be embarassed that "zeal for Thy house" has not consumed us and motivated us to act in some of these situations. we should not be proud of our inaction; we should not call it temperance. it is a part of our lukewarmth. Like Lot living near Sodom and Gomorrhah. At least he was "distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men...tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard..'

Of course I am being disingenious, because there is a difference between cleaning your own house (like Jesus and the OT guy) and retaliating on others, but the point I am trying to make is that it is perfectly understandable for a zealous person to "lose it" under some forms of provocation.

Finally, i think it is hypocritical for Western politicians to invoke "free speech" in this case, while knowing very well that the laws governing indecency are more applicable here.


And by the way, the Pittsburgh stealers (deliberate spelling) should play their own size. That game was robbery. The Phoenix Suns, on the other hand; pure gracefulness. -
Gaius Solarus Kelvinatus of Phoenix 10 February 2006 08:36:19


I tend to agree with G Pittsburgh and Phoenix. I certainly feel that it is very disingenuous for the west to claim free speech when in the UK and US people are deported including some Imams for preaching a version of Islam that is considered too radical for the likes of Tony Blair and George Bush. I can recall recently that Pat Robertson called for the assasination of Hugo Chavez ( the Venezuelan president) because he was anti US in his rhetoric and then followed up by calling for Gods fire on a town in Pennsylvania that did not approve the creation story in the curriculum. The latter two examples do not show a lot of tolerance.
Even more hypocritical is when the west threatens to cut aid to the Palestinians because they have democratically voted in Hamas who they consider a terrorist organisation though this was free speech in its most legitimate form.
The article was certainly free speech in every way but how will the west react if say George Washington is cast in a movie as a brutal slave owner who whipped his slaves and routinely raped the female slaves on his estate?

I did find the cartoon pondering the impending shortage of virgins in paradise because of the booming number of suicide bombers entering paradise quite funny . Heres my million dollar question, there are quite a few female suicide bombers now, who will meet these amazonians in paradise??? Gauis Texas. 11 February 2006 04:41:51


Now, is the word "disingenious" or "disingenuous", make up your minds- Robbo



Sorry Pitt, Phoenix and Texas, I cannot agree with you guys. I think you guys are conflating a number of the issues. As I see it there are 3 or 4 separate issues:
1. Does the press have the right to publish what it chooses?
2. Should the right to publish be restricted when it comes to religious issues?
3. When aggrieved, are there responses by people of faith that can rightfully be called barbarous (vs. civilized)?
4. Is it cowardly to act in a civilized manner when one's religious sensibilitiies are hurt?

We have all probably noticed that Jesus during his time on earth reacted very differently to secular Roman authority than he did to the ruling religious authorities. Incidentally, the apostles followed the same approach. Jesus taught his disciples to submit to the Roman officers even when abused--give your coat when it is asked of you; turn the other cheek. He paid taxes. He encouraged others to do the same. He uttered no complaints when he was flogged and then crucified by the Roman officers. In contrast, we find that in dealing with the Jewish religious leadership, he overturns tables in the temple (as Smart points out), he debates religious authorities, refuses their interpretation of scripture, and is far less tolerant of a gratuitous slap in the face when he was brought before the Sanhedrin--punishment much less severe than the flogging or crucifiction at the hands of the Romans.

All of this highlights a principle that is both moral and sensible. All authority has a domain and time of influence. Jesus exerted his prerogatives as a member of a community over which Scripture had ultimate authority. One day he will exert his prerogatives as Lord over all His creation. That time has not yet come. Islam should be no different. The koran is an authority for those who submit to its teachings. It does not have the right to religious jurisdiction over non-believers. It does not have the right to hold the rest of us hostage to its tenets and practices. Moslems can and should request, implore, beg--call it whatever you want-- respect for their teachings, oracles and prophets. What it cannot do is demand it, especially in language reminiscent of barbarisms of centuries past.

Now to the matters at hand. What are we to do when freedom of speech is offensive? How are we to act and to express our displeasure when people say things that tick us off? How about the corollary? What are we to do when freedom of speech is salutary? When it brings us pleasure? If the cartoons that are causing the present furor in the middle East were instead articles that praised and recommended Islam to its readers--i.e., ones that very strongly commended Mohammed (or our Lord) as a model for the world, would Moslems have found that kind of free expression of ideas acceptable? My guess is that kind of free expression of pro-Islam ideas would not have been considered off limits--indeed, would not caused a single negative ripple--but instead would have been embraced by Moslems as self-evident truth, even if publicized by an infidel reporter. But why should that be? Is free speech only acceptable when it makes a subgroup feel good about itself? Is it inherently wrong when it offends? Should it be restricted when it takes lightly what others consider sacred--particularly religion? More pointedly, should religion be considered off limits--a kind of separation of church and state--when it comes to free public expression of opinions? What I am getting at is this: unless we are willing to restrict all talk of religion--both when religion is praised as well as when others criticize or mock it--then we have to devise other strategies for maintaining civility and balance.

The devise that most modern societies have come up with is the freedom not only to speak but also to rebut. This is the mark of a civilized society. Otherwise we only have 2 options--live in a totalitarian state where our thoughts are policed for the good of all (but who would decide what is good for all) or else revert to an earlier time when disputes were resolved by violence. It appears to me that the latter is the path that many fundamentalist Islamic nations have taken. Our ancestors, when they disagreed killed each other. Was this not the case with our Lord's enemies? Remember that He was murdered by those that were angered by His right to freely express ideas that they considered heretical yet were unable to withstand the force of his reasoning. Paul too was often in jeopardy because his enemies could not rebut his arguments so plotted to kill him (see Acts). I believe the civilizing influence of true christianity arises from our own experience with repressive authority. It is the reason why debate and argument have always been promoted over coercion as a means of changing peoples minds (it is for good reason that we call the the era of the inquisition the dark ages--nothing about that time reflected true christianity).

This message, unfortunately, has not been embraced by Islam. From its very inception conversion has been achieved by force. That trend continues today. That is why I am appalled by the violence; why I cringe reflexively from these mob acts. Do not get me wrong. I think some of the cartoons were insensitive, particularly if they are perceived to be about Mohammed--I contend that many of them, like the one about virgins that Sebu mentions, were meant to convey a deeper more subtle point. My view is that the charge that this is about "dissing" Mohammed is a strawman argument used irresponsibly by some the leaders of Islam to inflame the passions of the believers against the infidels. Even if you disagree with me on this issue, my deeper point is that the response to this literary/artistic offense has been excessive and barbaric. There is no excuse for destroying property and threatening collective violence on everyone who is not a Moslem. Kids hit and bite when offended; grown-ups use words or appeal to good sense. It is not cowardice to disavow violence or threats of Jihad.

There are better ways to settle disputes. Killing, maiming and destroying property are not high up on that list. Finally, unlike Smart, I don't know that Jesus would have been put out by cartoons that depict a false religion to be what it is. I don't think that he would have drawn such a cartoon himself, but would he have come to the defense of the marauding bands that are destroying property and life? Try to imagine Jesus alive today, pressed on CNN for his response to the uproar over a false religion? Somehow, no matter how much he understands the viewpoint of the offended parties in this matter--I do not see him (I may be wrong) siding with the Moslems on this issue. Lastly, since we are invoking passages from the old Testament, how about Elijah and the prophets of Baal. Talk about mocking another person's religion!

Take care- Gaius Ohio 11 February 2006 07:58:18


Few more points: When Moslems call for the killing of Jews and for the extermination of Israel, are they rightfully exercising their freedom of speech? Is there a contradiction when the US threatens not to do business with Hamas if they do not recognize Israel? I see no contradiction. Every nation has a right to self-determination. If a nation chooses terrorists for its leaders, that is their right. However, it is also the right of other peoples to decide not to deal with that nation. If your son or daughter decides as an adult to curse God, that is his right. It is also your right to respond to his or her decision in a way you see fit. No contradiction.

If the New York Times endorsed a book or article that used the word nigger would I still support free speech? Yes, I would. Why? Because I would have the opportunity to respond. I could decide to do nothing, to rebut that statement or to shame the person who said such a thing. I could refuse to buy the newspaper or to protest peacefully outside its doors etc. What I would not be allowed to do with impunity in a civilized nation is to throw petrol bombs or threaten to kill the editor. For those infractions I would put myself in seriious jeopardy of going to jail. Similarly, if a politician make antisemitic or racist comments in this country--all in the name of free speech--that right is not taken away; however that politician would pay the consequence--he or she would be thrown out of office or shamed into leaving. No one, however, would have the right to torch his or her home. That is the difference between here and there.

About deportations: Freedom of speech is not the same as a conspiracy to commit a crime. To
incite others to break the law is not the same thing as voicing views that because of a difference of opinion may be offensive to others. If that was the criterion we would all have to be mute and deaf. No one could ever hope to say anything in public--particularly in a mixed population--that would be acceptable to all.

Lastly, I agree that the West does not always live up to its own creeds or ideals. But surely, you are not arguing that this kind of hypocrisy makes those ideals defunct. If so no christian should preach the gospel or promote morality. We would all be hypocrites a thousand times over. Moslems who so hate freedom of speech that they are willing to kill others who exercise this right, should relocate to countries where that right is taken away. Instead, what they hope to achieve by threats of violence is the de facto globalization of Islam. They want to extend the reach of Isam outside of the middle East to places where the Koran is not the supreme law. If other newspapers have decided to print a few more cartoons, they may simply be protesting the silly untenable notion that Moslems have a right to impose their religion universally. They don't. So I end where I started. Is there an even greater inherent hypocrisy when Moslems defend their right to deny the holocaust, call for the killing of Jews, promote the extermination of Israel (in my view the last is a crime--not the exercise of free speech), yet cry foul when Mohammed is drawn in a cartoon that points out in a humorous way the sick idea of suicide killings? I guess the exercise of their freedom of speak is justified but that of these cartoonists isn't. Preposterous. Like G Texas said, let those who live in glass houses
........Enough said. - Gauis Ohio 1 February 2006 15:38:27


Ok G Ohio, good points but I think there are some assumptions on your part. I do not think that most of the moslem protests have been violent. There have certainly been some violent responses as there will always be, because extremists will use this opportunity to advance their agenda. By and large most of the protests have been large demonstrations denouncing the cartoons and boycotts of Danish goods- which is where I feel the west is really nervous. I think the protests are very legitimate and just like you said free speech means that you and I have a right to respond to anything said about us.

The person also making the statements should be aware that there will be consequences and should not adopt that "deer in the headlights" look when there is a backlash to his free speech. They were insulting the Moslem religion or disparaging it if you wish and there is no circumventing that issue. It insults every moslem in the name of free speech. The moslems are doing the same and the West is saying, "There go those extremists again". Do you know that when those cartoons came out the ambassadors of 12 moslem countries went to meet the Danish Prime Minister to let him know that he needed to denounce those cartoons as offensive so as to avoid a backlash in the moslem world. The Danish prime minister refused and here we are today. Now rather belatedly with the point made the Prime minister is trying to patch the damage without success.

I am certainly no lover of Islam but I feel that the West uses this freedom of speech thing very loosely.Lets face it if at the highest levels of power the moslem nations could not even make their voice heard what more could they do than to protest on the streets and boycott western goods. It sound very similar to what Ghandi did to secure India freedom from the colonists. The west is not a haven of saints and angels and they claim to be the bastion of civilisation but behind that facade is the same extremism you see in Islam when the west ist hreatened. You would not have agreed with me 5 years ago. But come 911 you see the extreme response in prisons camps in Guantanamo bay, invasion of Iraq.

In an unperfect world we need to realiset that change or getting your views across are not always done through diplomacy. The moslems are seeing all this and reacting to it accordingly. Note that the moslems are not without blame they also have allowed extremists to hijack their religion which has led to this impasse.

Lastly I am not so sure that Christ was so compliant with all of the Romanlaws. He obeyed them because they did not conflict with his relationship with our Father. When you read the new testament carefully you become awareof the fact that even though say slavery and polygamy are not banned outright the bible discourages them. So I am so sure that Christ is all that silent on the Roman law. I certainly do not think that he liked to see people crucified when he passed by Golgotha before his own time.- Gauis Texas. 11 February 2006 16:55:01


G. Ohio, I respectfully disagree, again. I think the publication of those cartoons was immoral, insensitive and plain wrong. It should not be defended. It is hypocritical for some of our leaders to invoke "free speech" in this case, without paying attention to the indecency and offensive speech laws. Both are important in free societies, and neither should be allowed to trump the other. In most western countries, you can get in great trouble for saying or publishing things that are inflammatory in nature. Like threats, insults, etc.Remember in the 90's the US congress even passed laws extending these rules to the internet, (the communications decency act), it is particularly hypocritical for this administration.

If they believe in free speech, they should publish the pictures of Dubya with Abramson, and the attendance list of Dick's energy policy meetings. And it wouldn't hurt to let us know who directed Scooter Libby to endanger the lives of Valerie Plame and her contacts. the fact is, all the freedoms of society have their limitations. There is free speech, but that is limited by laws against libel, indecency, instigation, and inflammatory speech. the same is true about many of the other freedoms; eg, there is a right to bear arms- but not without a license; there is freedom of religion- but certain practices is banned. There is freedom to associate- but not in certain places. Moreover, many of the freedoms conflict each other in some circumstances.

Remember what happened in Rwanda: one man's inflammatory broadcast led to the slaughter of tens of thousands of people. Those who wielded the machetes were guilty of murder, but did the guy who did the radio broadcasting have some blame as well? you bet. he is facing extradiction from Quebec. Words are powerful. And a simple apology could have averted so much suffering. "A soft answer turneth away wrath". In my book, the murderous rioters who killed others are guilty of murder. But perhaps as guilty (morally, though not legally) are the heartless, cruel, disrespectful ones who could have nipped this in the bud and chose not to. They knew what was good to do, and did not do it. For them, it is sin.

This was a breach of common sense; hence it was a breach of school rules. Gauis Phoenix 14 February 2006 05:53:34


Hey G Phoenix! you still remember the School rule #1 from high school? That brought back precious memories. "Ignorance of the school rules is no excuse. Every breach of common sense is a breach of the school rules" hahaha.

The cartoon riots have now reached Nigeria and guess what, churches and christian owned businesses were attacked and people lost their lives and later on the christians also retaliated attacking moslems with further loss of life. So in the fragile "ecosystem" that exists in places like that, all it takes is someone irresponsibly exercising free speech 2000 miles away for sectarian violence to begin. very sad and that is precisely my point about bridges beein destroyed because of someone's careless words - Robbo 18 February 2006 05:53:34


Well said G. Phoenix. Nobody is arguing the fact that the paper had no right to publish what they wanted but we feel that society is also governed by a code of conduct where people respect each other.

In the bible Jesus says if you call your brother a fool you will stand before the council and James praises the one who can control his tongue as the tongue can incite in an evil way. What really is freedom? You and I are not really free. The freedoms we have are protected in a civil way bythe laws that grant us those freedoms and outside of those laws there is nofreedom. So freedom of speech exists because we have laws that protect usbut those laws are not a license to be vitriolic of another persons views or religion. In the christian life our freedom is Christ and how much of Him we get to know on this side of the grave- outside of His person we are not free there is just bondage to Satan.

I think the word freedom is grossly misused. I am not talking of press censorship, criticism orinhibiting intellectual debate, but when does a government say this is reprehensible and should not be said? Only after people riot and boycott their goods or when there is no riot or boycott but the matter just stinks? This is no different from me standing up and insulting you to the face, is that free speech? G Texas 15 February 2006 04:51:51

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WELCOME

Welcome to the goldcoastBereans. Please fell free to comment on the issues raised on this blog. We pray that you will be blessed by what you read here.

Robbo

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