January 23, 2009

Tom Hanks Apologizes for Calling Mormon Supporters of Proposition 8 "Un-American"

FoxNews reports that actor, Tom Hanks, has apologized for his insulting remark about members of the Mormon church in relation to the Proposition 8 issue. The report states,

"Last week, I labeled members of the Mormon church who supported California's Proposition 8 as 'un-American,'" the actor said in a statement through his publicist. "I believe Proposition 8 is counter to the promise of our Constitution; it is codified discrimination."

"But everyone has a right to vote their conscience; nothing could be more American," the statement continues. "To say members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints who contributed to Proposition 8 are 'un-American' creates more division when the time calls for respectful disagreement. No one should use 'un- American' lightly or in haste. I did. I should not have."

Amazingly, actors assume that the public cares about their political views. Perhaps these spiteful public outbursts from Hollywood are more for attention and dramatics than for making meaningful statements.

And often times members of the audience do not readily separate the actor’s public comments and worldview from his performance on the big screen. The bottom line is that the public expects to be entertained by actors not lectured to, condescended to and insulted.

Israel finds massive natural gas reservoir

WorldNet Daily reports that Israel recently discovered a natural gas reservoir that could be historic and will dramatically change the Israeli economy.

According to the piece,

"We are witnessing an historic moment in Israel's energy market," Israel's National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer told Reuters. "If it turns out in a few weeks that the indicators received in recent days are true, then we are talking about the biggest find in Israel's history."

Israel's Petroleum Commissioner Yaakov Mimran told Reuters that if early finds are validated the site would meet Israel's demand for 15 years.

"If the Tamar site opposite the Haifa coast succeeds in producing the significant quantities of natural gas predicted, we are talking about a revolution which will have an impact on the Israeli economy for the coming generations," Dan Halman, CEO of Halman-Aldubi Group told the Jerusalem Post.

"The vast reservoir is poised to bring down electricity prices, reduce the country's dependence on gas from foreign countries, in particular from Egypt, and thereby turn Israel from a gas importer into a gas exporter," Halman said.

Analysts told Reuters the natural gas find at Tamar No. 1 was worth an estimated $26 billion and would be available for market starting in 2013.

If the reported reservoir pans out it could dramatically alter the dynamic in the Middle East.

January 17, 2009

Barna: 1 in 3 Christians believe Jesus sinned

A January 12, 2009 Barna survey revealed some disturbing things about the beliefs of American Christians. According to the survey,

“Among individuals who describe themselves as Christian, for instance, close to half believe that Satan does not exist, one-third contend that Jesus sinned while He was on earth, two-fifths say they do not have a responsibility to share the Christian faith with others, and one-quarter dismiss the idea that the Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches.”

The sinlessness of Jesus Christ, Satan’s existence and the trustworthiness of the Bible are essential aspects of biblical Christianity. Deviation from these central doctrines is a deviation from biblical Christianity. Specifically, if Jesus sinned, He cannot be God in the flesh, the Trinity cannot be true, nor can He be the perfect sacrifice for sin all of which the Bible teaches. Doctrine is like a puzzle: if one piece is taken out it affects the whole picture. It is stunning that people think they can be Christian while dismissing many of the central doctrines of Christianity.

January 12, 2009

Financial Times: One world government is plausible

The Financial Times of London had a very interesting piece on December 8, 2008 titled, “And now for a world government.” One might expect this kind of conclusion from Evangelical Christians and one might expect this kind of thing in a satirist type article, but this is a serious article coming from a respected secular newspaper in London.

According to the author of the piece, Gideon Rachman,

I have never believed that there is a secret United Nations plot to take over the US. I have never seen black helicopters hovering in the sky above Montana. But, for the first time in my life, I think the formation of some sort of world government is plausible.

A “world government” would involve much more than co-operation between nations. It would be an entity with state-like characteristics, backed by a body of laws. The European Union has already set up a continental government for 27 countries, which could be a model. The EU has a supreme court, a currency, thousands of pages of law, a large civil service and the ability to deploy military force.

Rachman goes on to list and explain three reasons why he believes the EU is a model for a world government, but says the problem for world government proponents is that most people are stubbornly local when it comes to their political identity.

Pew Forum poll: Most Christians believe other religions can lead to eternal life

Undoubtedly one of the most controversial doctrines of Christianity is its belief –based on John 14:6 among other biblical passages– that salvation is found exclusively by faith in Jesus Christ. With this in mind, the Pew Forum did a survey recently to see who believed this teaching.

According to this December 18, 2008 Pew Forum survey 52% of Christians in the U.S. believe that some non-Christian faiths can lead to eternal life. Astoundingly, 37% of Evanglicals said they believed that other religions can lead to eternal life. Interestingly, however, those holding to an exclusivist view of salvation increased from 24% in 2007 to 29% in 2008.

Atheist admits Africa needs God

In this London Times article, Matthew Parris, a committed atheist, reluctantly acknowledges that 21st century Africa must have Christian evangelism to survive because it “liberates” in a way that government programs, education, and aid money never can.