‘Lucifer’ targeted by One Million Moms; Satan laughs as giant false idol of technology ignored

Fox showA nonprofit organization is targeting the upcoming Fox show “Lucifer.” The usual suspects in the media responded by mocking the faith-based organization, and guys like me just thought “God bless America! Everyone gets to say their peace and we generally do a good job of not coming to blows in the process.” However, I can’t help but wonder why organizations like One Million Moms focus on a single digital brick in the false idol that is technology. Few people seem to be paying attention to the bigger picture.

The One Million Moms website describes its petition as follows:

The series will focus on Lucifer portrayed as a good guy, “who is bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell.” He resigns his throne, abandons his kingdom and retires to Los Angeles, where he gets his kicks helping the LAPD punish criminals.

At the same time, God’s emissary, the angel Amenadiel, has been sent to Los Angeles to convince Lucifer to return to the underworld.

Previews of the pilot episode depict graphic acts of violence, a nightclub featuring scantily-clad women and a demon.

How many of those moms obsess over their Facebook feeds? How many of those mom’s have their eyes fixated on cell phones throughout the day? How many of their kids spend hours with their eyes glued on glowing boxes that stream video games, movies, and One Million Moms-approved television shows? The answer in each case is probably “too many.”

Fox’s “Lucifer” is a single show that will actually prompt children to start Googling questions about Christianity, demons, angels, God, Jesus and an assortment of other faith-based subjects. Perhaps I’m wrong, but my guess is that the devil probably doesn’t want young children using Fox television shows as a springboard to an introduction with Jesus Christ. Does God not possess the power to turn any evil into a greater good? Of course he does.

It seems much more likely that the bigger threat to the spiritual well-being of our culture is the cumulative effect of technology that a.) seemingly satisfies every need, b.) encourages narcissism so as to essentially render humility obsolete, and c.) cultivates pride and envy.

The false idol of technology, which seemingly caters to every want and desire, gives birth to the false idol of self (or should we say “selfie”?). The devil doesn’t want individuals thinking about his nature because it is almost impossible to do so without thinking about the nature of Christ. The devil does not want a man to know he is being tempted because knowledge of temptation presents the opportunity to display virtue.

One Million Moms may have their hearts in the right place, but their heads should be more focused the spiritual Trojan Horse before them. The Red Hot Chili Peppers (a band that probably isn’t on One Million Moms’ playlist) had much better advice in 2002 when they sang “Throw away your television.”

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Bono channels G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis to affirm his faith in Christ

Bono on JesusIt’s not often that a giant rock star gives an interview where he unflinchingly affirms his belief in Christ. That is exactly what U2’s Bono did during a March 2014 interview that is making the rounds again just in time for Easter. However, what is perhaps most interesting is how Bono appears to be well-versed in the writings of G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis.

Here is what Bono said in his interview with RTE One’s Gay Byrne, which comes across at times like an FBI interrogation or a courtroom cross examination:

Bono: I think it’s a defining question for Christian. Who was Christ? I don’t think you’re let off easily by saying a great thinker or great philosopher because, actually, he went around saying he was the Messiah. That’s why he was crucified. He was crucified because he said he was the Son of God. So, he either, in my view, was the Son of God — or he was nuts. Forget rock-and-roll messianic complexes. This is, like, I mean Charlie Manson-type delirium. And I find it hard to accept that all the millions and millions of lives, half the Earth, for 2,000 years have been touched, have felt their lives touched and inspired by some nutter. I don’t believe it.

Byrne: So therefore it follows that you believe he was divine?

Bono: Yes.

Byrne: And therefore it follows that you believe that he rose physically from the dead?

Bono: Yes. I have no problem with miracles. I’m living around them. I am one.

Byrne: So when you pray, then you pray to Jesus?

Bono: Yes.

Byrne: The risen Jesus?

Bono: Yes.

Byrne: And you believe he made promises that will come true.

Bono: Yes. I do.

Friendly note to Bono: Your observation is actually more awe-inspiring than you originally thought because billions — not just millions — have been touched by the words of Christ. Regardless, here is what G.K. Chesterton said when “The Everlasting Man” was published in 1925:

“If Christ was simply a human character, he really was a highly complex and contradictory human character. For he combined exactly the two things that lie at the two extremes of human variation. He was exactly what the man with a delusion never is; he was wise; he was a good judge. What he said was always unexpected; but it was always unexpectedly magnanimous and often unexpectedly moderate.

Take a thing like the point of the parable of the tares and the wheat. It has the quality that united sanity and subtlety. It has not the simplicity of a madman. It has not even the simplicity of a fanatic. It might be uttered by a philosopher a hundred years old, at the end of a century of Utopias. Nothing could be less like this quality of seeing beyond and all round obvious things, than the condition of an egomaniac with the one sensitive spot in his brain. I really do not see how these two characters could be convincingly combined, except in the astonishing way in which the creed combines them.” — G.K. Chesterton.

Here is what C.S. Lewis said when “Mere Christianity” was published in 1952:

“Yet (and this is the strange, significant thing) even His enemies, when they read the Gospels, do not usually get the impression of silliness and conceit. Still less do unprejudiced readers. Christ says that He is “humble and meek” and we believe Him; not noticing that, if He were merely a man, humility and meekness are the very last characteristics we could attribute to some of His sayings.

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level of a man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” — C.S. Lewis.

Chesterton and Lewis beautifully articulate the case before us: either Christ was who he said he was, or he was insane. But, as they both keenly observe, even his biggest detractors generally regard him as a profound thinker and a beacon of light whose example we should all follow.

Think of how many great men and women there were throughout all history, whose names are forgotten within weeks, months, or at most a few decades after they’ve passed away. Then consider Jesus, who for over 2,000 years has captivated the world and changed billions of lives — even those who don’t believe his claims. Like G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, a modern Irish rock star named Bono, and billions of other individuals throughout the course of history, I firmly believe he was exactly who he claimed to be.

‘The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics’: Pay a small price for the work of an intellectual giant

CS LewisFor years I only knew C.S. Lewis as the guy who was good for some really witty quotes and the author of “The Chronicles of Narnia.” I knew he was a Christian, and I knew he was friends with J.R.R. Tolkien. When I started writing a book roughly a year ago I told myself that I should really read his work to augment my knowledge of the Christian faith, yet I still procrastinated. Finally, after his name came up in the comments section of this blog, I vowed to get up to speed on C.S. Lewis — and I’m glad I did. “The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics” may be $34.99, but it’s worth every penny.

Here is what readers get for their money: Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, The Great Divorce, The Problem of Pain, Miracles, A Grief Observed and The Abolition of Man. Another way of putting it: 730 pages of philosophical and creative works written by an intellectual giant. Even those who disagree with the man, if they are honest, will concede that he was powerhouse.

C.S. Lewis writes in “Miracles”:

“Let us suppose a race of people whose peculiar mental limitation compels them to regard a painting as something made up of little colored dots which have been put together like a mosaic. Studying the brushwork of a great painting, through their magnifying glasses, they discover more and more complicated relations between the dots, and sort these relations out, with great toil, into certain regularities. Their labor will not be in vain. These regularities will in fact ‘work’; they will cover most of the facts.

But if they go on to conclude that any departure from them would be unworthy of the painter, and an arbitrary breaking of his own rules, they will be far astray. For the regularities they have observed never were the rule the painter was following. What they painfully reconstruct from a million dots, arranged in an agonizing complexity, he really produced with a single lightening-quick turn of the wrist, his eye meanwhile taking in the canvas as a whole and his mind obeying laws of composition which the observers, counting their dots, have not yet come within sight of, and perhaps never will,” (Miracles, 387).

The beauty of Lewis’ work is that it’s smart, but it’s personable. A man without a high school education and a Rhodes Scholar can both appreciate the product. Lewis’ insights are sharp, but he never talks down to his audience. Just as the U.S. Declaration of Independence artfully articulates the rights given to all men by their Creator — in ways anyone can understand — Lewis makes the case for God in ways that individuals of varying degrees of mental acuity can comprehend.

“What can you ever really know of other people’s souls — of their of their temptations, their opportunities, their struggles? One soul in the whole creation you do know: and it is the only one whose fate is placed in your hands. If there is a God, you are, in a sense, alone with Him. You can not put Him off with speculations about your next door neighbors or memories of what you have read in books. What will all the chatter and hearsay count (will you even be able to remember it?) when the anesthetic fog which we call ‘nature’ or ‘the real world’ fades away and the Presence in which you have always stood becomes palpable, immediate, unavoidable?” (Mere Christianity, 170).

One of the most interesting aspects of Lewis’ life is the fact that for many years he was an atheist. In many ways, his early atheism actually benefited Christianity because it is obvious that he thought long and hard about the existence of God. Those doubts are revisited in his journal entries pertaining to the death of his wife; the result is thought-provoking and hauntingly beautiful. Lewis says of dealing with his wife’s passing due to cancer: “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.” He is correct. His faith comes out in tact, but the journal entries from “A Grief Observed” leaves readers shaken because the truth can be jarring.

I highly recommend “The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics” for agnostics, atheists, Christians and non-Christians everywhere.

Break free of the Matrix: The 1-year challenge to see the world in a different light

Matrix pills

We are in our very own kind of Matrix. We’ve been conditioned to want more, more, more of any number of material goods, and then when we don’t have as much as the next guy we’re told we should be angry. We should be jealous. We should be envious. You need the newest technology and the newest clothes. You need to eat out multiple times a week, and if you’re married with children then the both of you need to work because there are so many things that you need to purchase now, now, now.

Once you believe that you need to buy what they’re selling, you are being controlled. Once you believe that the redistribution of wealth by government bureaucrats is necessary, you are being controlled. The only thing that matters is your soul. All the material goods in the world mean nothing, because one day you will die and you won’t be able to take them with you. Given that, it stands to reason that during the course of your life the primary focus should be to figure out what will make you happy at the deepest of levels, and then finding a way to do it. If there is one legitimate gripe about “the system” it is that these days it is geared towards keeping you from attaining higher levels of consciousness. There is great power inside you — incredible power — but over the course of generations we have been surreptitiously led to believe it wasn’t there until the mechanisms that detect it atrophied. You have the muscle — you just need to use it.

The world’s elite would rather have you playing XBox and looking at pictures of animals on the Internet than looking into “God” or “Source” or “Enlightenment,” because when you do that everything melts away (perhaps literally, but that’s a discussion for another time). The sickest thing may be that the elite even enlisted many of your friends and family to do their dirty work for them. Is it possible to convince a prisoner to lust over his own chains? Yes.

Someone who looks within and then turns that eye back on the material world can see the charade, and so you’ve been trained to play with the anger and hate and resentment that resides on some level in all of us like a kitten with string.

There are many ways to break free from the mind-forged manacles we’ve willingly fastened in place. Without much effort, you can find many inspirational figures online who are willing to discuss this journey. I happen to believe that real change only comes from looking inward, so here now is my challenge to you:

For one year — every day — actively look for ways to give of yourself. If there’s a man on the street corner asking for change, give it to him. If you think he’s scamming people, give him some money or food anyway. If you have an opportunity to give someone a genuine compliment, do it. Call up (or text if you must) an old friend and remind them of something nice they once did for you years ago; tell them you still think about it and are thankful for what they did. Make someone feel good. Be the light in your office environment or at school or in your immediate family. There are any number of ways you can give of yourself or perform a kind gesture. The key is to make a conscious decision every day to take advantage of — or create — such opportunities.

As you do this on a daily basis, changes will begin to occur within you. Your new thought processes and actions will start to affect other areas of your life. You might even notice a change in your basic biology (e.g., more energy).  Material things you once cared about will matter less. Relationships that had withered from neglect or animosity will spring forth with new life. Your mood and your entire disposition will shift. All of this will occur because kindness is a stimulant, and unlike anger and vindictiveness there are no unwanted side effects.

During the course of the challenge, all I ask of you if you aren’t a religious person that you at least entertain the possibility that Jesus was who He claimed to be. Then, since all humans are capable of empathy, I want you to find a quiet room and put yourself into the body of someone who is infinitely loved. Try and feel it. Try and wrap your mind around what it would mean. My guess is that it will overwhelm you because the human mind can not contain something so powerful. Tears will well up in your eyes because you will realize just how flawed you are, and that no matter how much you give it could never match the love and mercy Christ has for you.

But those tears will not particularly be tears of sadness because that person is you and He does love you. Infinitely. God (or “Source”) wants you to be happy. He wants you to realize your true nature. He wants your life to be filled with joy and abundance, and the kindness and love you’ve shown over the course of “the challenge” will have put you on the path to attaining all of those things.

Once such a realization happens it will start a positive feedback loop, in which your desire to exude light feeds an appreciation for the life you’ve been given, and that new found appreciation for life in turn cultivates a better you. Your spirit will quite literally be vibrating at a higher frequency, and you will never want to return to what you once were.

The thing is, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a nice car and a nice home and the amenities of modern life for you, your wife and kids. The problem comes in when people feel as though they need it. Why do certain celebrities fill airport hangers with cars? Why do famous athletes buy houses like they’re trading cards? Why do politicians have countless versions of the best suits and ties and shoes? They buy more and more “things” as some sort of status symbol — as something to give their lives meaning — and they can never have enough because what is really important is to fill up your insides with spiritual riches.

This challenge is not meant to convert you to Christianity. I wrote this because whether or not you believe in Christ by the end of it, I firmly believe you will see the world in a different light. You will have awakened something inside you that was always there, but calcified by hate, anger, envy and jealousy by pundits who constantly want you pitted against your fellow man. We are all individuals who were sent here for a reason, but we are all one. Once you realize that, you will no longer fall for political stagecraft or feel the “need” to buy your favorite product.

I wish you well on your journey, because I know you’ll come through it in flying colors.

Best,

Doug

Miracles happen every day: Girls pull 3,000-pound tractor off trapped father

Jeff Smith Tractor

How do you prove miracles happen to a person who doesn’t believe in them? Short answer: You can’t. You would think that the millions of chemical reactions that have to perfectly take place every second of every day for our bodies to function properly would be “evidence” enough for the skeptics, but that’s an issue for another time. Today, I’m talking about miracles in the classical sense.

For example: Say two teenage girls who might weigh 160 lbs. between the two of them lifted a 3,000-pound tractor off a man’s chest. Would that count? I think so.

LEBANON, Ore. — A Linn County man pinned by his overturned tractor said his teenage daughters saved his life by lifting the 3,000-pound machine off of him.

Jeff Smith was able to wriggle free and get breathing room after his daughters, 14-year-old Haylee and 16-year-old Hannah, lifted the huge machine up, as first reported by the Albany Democrat-Herald.

“I was saying, ‘God help me’ over and over because I obviously could not lift it myself. It was heavy,” [daughter Haylee said].

Recently I broke 300 lbs. on my dead lift. As my buddy told me, I’ve gone from a range that isn’t worth talking about to “sh*t” status. My next range is “suck.” I’m shooting for 340 lbs. by my 34th birthday. Regardless, I’m ecstatic. I consider myself a pretty strong guy, pound-for-pound. I weigh 154 lbs. And yet, my rational brain tells me that finding a way to leverage a tractor off a guy’s chest would be a Herculean feat. I have to believe that only with the help of God would I be able to move a small mountain like that.

Apparently, Jeff Smith agrees and his daughters are still in disbelief:

“They’re great girls, but I mean that’s a lot of weight. I’m a big guy and I don’t know if I could do that,” Mr. Smith said. …

“It’s crazy. I can’t believe we did it,” said Hannah.

It kind of like a dream when you think back. It feels like a dream. It feels like it never happened,” said Haylee.

But you did do it, Hannah. And it wasn’t a dream, Haylee. You did it. There was a hidden reserve of strength inside two teenage girls that was on display that years from now people will dismiss as if it never happened. Or they’ll call it a lie. Or they’ll come up with all sorts of reasons why it’s “really not that hard when you think about it.”

Sure. You go with that, guys.

Regardless, I think the takeaway here is that all people have a reservoir of strength inside them that is beyond human comprehension. This spring can be channeled into the body or the mind. Harnessed properly, it can take people to great heights. And, obviously, it can be used for good or evil.

Jim over at Vermont Verse adds to the story:

Being a farmer’s son, I know a thing or three about tractors and their dangers. The tractor in question appears to be a l940′s or /50′s International low-bow general purpose rig – made for plowing, discing, cultivating, planting, hauling. Not for heavy stump pulling. There are no front end weights to hold the machine down, and there is no roll cage to protect the operator. Dumb.

Dad’s a lucky dude, and Mom should make him sell that tractor immediately. God’s sending you a message, bro.

I couldn’t agree more. God sends us messages all the time, but you have to be willing to look and listen for the calls. My atheist friends think I’m crazy for saying that, but I don’t really care. They do not find God because they are not looking for Him. Imagine yourself turning your back on your father and then berating him because he isn’t visible. Imagine screaming “Why don’t you exist?!” when he’s standing right in back of you smiling, patiently waiting for you to turn around.

Tractor

Let’s put this another way using string theory, shall we? Correction: M-theory and F-theory.

Can you see what the implications are of the scientific geniuses working out these theories? It means that there could me entire planes of existence all around us that we can not see because we are not operating on their frequency. (What’s the frequency, Doug? What’s the frequency?) I don’t know, but I know that the more I learn about science, the more my faith in God is strengthened. Faith is that bridge between what we know and what we can never know, and contrary to popular opinion science keeps making that bridge smaller and smaller.

Keep believing in miracles. They’re real.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go assault Dan Rather.

Pyrros Dimas was able to chuck almost 400 lbs. over his head in his prime. But could he lift 3,000 lbs. of the chest of a dying man? Two high school girls did when their father's life depended on it. Amazing.
Pyrros Dimas was able to snach almost 400 lbs. over his head in his prime. But could he lift 3,000 lbs. off the chest of a dying man? Two high school girls did when their father’s life depended on it. Amazing.

Man of Steel Trailer: Harbinger of an epic film

Man of Steel

The new Man of Steel trailer is amazing. It is flat out awesome. Every aspect of what has been teased over the last few months indicates that Zack Snyder has directed something that aims for epic and in all likelihood will succeed. Snyder proved that he could handle a cynical take on Superman (i.e., Dr. Manhattan in the underrated Watchman), and all the early indicators are that he will deliver with the real deal.

First, let’s look at Jonathan Kent:

Pa Kent: You just have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be, Clark. Whoever that man is, he’s going to change the world.

Pa Kent (Teaser Trailer 2): You’re not just anyone. One day you’re going to have to make a choice. You have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be. Whoever that man is — good character or bad — he’s going to change the world.

Bravo. Good and Evil exist — and not only do we have the power to choose the person we become, but we must choose. Moral clarity out of the gates is reassuring. The world is clearly a messy place (e.g., Should Clark have let children die to protect his secret?), but deep down we know what is right and just and what must be done.

Growing up, I was never a huge fan of Superman and I never could quite pinpoint why. He was just “boring.” I didn’t realize it for quite some time, but Jor El explains the situation clearly:

Jor El (Teaser Trailer 1): You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble. They will fall. But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.

Superman is the ideal we all strive for, but will never attain. He sets the bar for all other superheroes. He has nearly-unlimited power, but he chooses to serve others. He is so much more than the humans he walks among, and yet he loves and protects and cares for them. And perhaps the truth is I didn’t dislike Superman because he is actually boring; I disliked him because he reminded me of just how flawed I was. And am. And always will be. Superman is that moment in time when after months of denying something you know to be true you look in the mirror and it’s there — there’s no escaping it — and the truth just stares you in the eye and forces you to confront the issue or fight that much harder to live in denial. Zack Snyder gets it, and he wisely made sure to include it in the script:

Clark Kent: My father believed that if the world found out who I realize was, they’d reject me. He was convinced that the world wasn’t ready. What do you think?

When I first saw an image of Superman in cuffs and flanked by U.S. servicemen my instinct was to become skeptical. Would Snyder go the route of so many other Hollywood directors and portray the U.S. government as the “bad” guy for a good portion of the flick? I thought about it, and decided not to write on the issue because everything I’ve seen from him suggests he’s smarter than that. There had to be a better angle. After having viewed the trailer, I’m glad I held off.

The truth is, the world would reject Superman. And in his love for humanity he would offer himself up to them. No matter how strong and powerful he was and no matter how much he tried to convince humanity that he loved it they would fear and, ultimately, seek to destroy him. A world in which Superman exists would thrust a moral weight upon the shoulders of its citizens that would be too uncomfortable to bear for millions (possibly billions) of people, and they would seek to find ways to cast off such a burden by banishing him from earth, discrediting or destroying him all together.

Man of Steel 1

If Zack Synder plays his cards right he will have a hit movie on his hands that millions of its critics will hate for reasons they won’t be able to comprehend until years after the fact, if at all.

Barack Obama Wishes Sentient Water Molecule, Christopher Hitchens, a Happy Easter.

President Obama used his weekly radio address to wish all of us a Happy Easter. He even had a little message for our atheist friends:

“While we worship in different ways,” the president said, “we also remember the shared spirit of humanity that inhabits us all — Jews and Christians, Muslims and Hindus, believers and nonbelievers alike.”

While I don’t fault the President for reaching out to atheists—he is the President of all Americans—I wonder if non-believers would have put up a stink if he had not thrown them a bone (or if he had, and it happened to be a rib…) After all, I would think that

I'm Christopher Hitchens, sentient water molecule...in the shower! That's insane!

someone who essentially believes everything cosmically fell into place so we, the sentient water-molecules of the universe, could exist for a brief moment in time before once again becoming part of the Big Wave, shouldn’t really get bent out of shape if they’re ignored. I mean, after all, when they’re gone they’re gone, right? That’s it. No coming back and no spirit left behind to worry about, correct? So why should they get angry? Well, they do. But at least it makes for great debate. Although, if you’re not up for a debates then I highly suggest reading Dinesh D’Souza’s fabulous book What’s So Great About Christianity this Easter (notice that’s not a question).

[Stephen Hawking states]: “If the rate of expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have recollapsed before it even reached its present size. So the odds against us being here are, well, astronomical.” And yet we are here. Who is responsible for this? (What’s So Great About Christianity, 131.)

If you’re unsure, I suggest reading D’Souza’s book. And Christopher Hitchens, if you’re right, I’ll see you in the oceans…