Jedism: Latest Up and Coming Religion?

This is the religion better known as the Jedi Church. You read that right--like Luke, Obi-Wan, and Yoda were in Star Wars. I came across this interesting fact by reading an article in The Sun and The Daily Mail that reported the founder of the Jedi Church in England was thrown out of Tesco (supermarket chain in Europe) because he refused to remove his hood.

I almost didn't believe that this could be true, but it is. The Daily Mail article reports that the Jedi Church has an estimated 500,000 followers worldwide. That number doesn't put it on par with Baptists, Catholics, Muslims, Hindus, etc. but it is still a pretty significant number.

I stumbled upon something truly interesting as I browsed the website of the Jedi Church. Attempting to answer the question--Is the Jedi religion fiction?--the website boasts:

Is the Jedi religion fiction? Many religions claim to be the one and only true religion, thus necessitating that all other religions are fictitious. In addition, although many religions claim to speak the word of God, but the truth is they are only the written word of prophets or followers of the religion. There is no way to prove or deny that what was written was the word of God. Several other religions openly admit that their text is not the word of God, and that it is only a prescribed behavior or a philosophy of life (e.g. Buddhism, Scientology). Most non fiction is a discussion of science and life, of things that can be observed, quantified and readily challenged for its truth and authenticity. But not religion. Any religion put to scrutiny is merely words on paper, with no ability to confirm its authenticity. The Jedi church makes no denial that its name and terminology originates from a fictitious past, but the concepts and ideals that are identified by Jedi followers are known for their innate truth. The sun existed before it was given a name, and it could be revered as a God, however, when the sun finally had a human name, it could be written about and communicated with others. The Jedi religion is just like the Sun, it existed before a popular movie gave it a name, and now that it has a name, people all over the world can share their experiences of the Jedi religion, here in the Jedi Church.

So in summary, no religion is truth. It is all just a matter of faith.

That answer is pretty amazing. Basically, the claim is that the Jedi religion has always existed; it was just given a name by George Lucas when he wrote Star Wars. Then if that were not enough, he finishes by making the statement that "no religion is truth." So the followers of the Jedi Church have faith in a falsehood? I don't think a person of any faith truly believes that their religion is false. If they truly believed their religion was false, then why practice it at all? Imagine that I told you if you caught a certain species of fish then you would find a $100 bill in its mouth. More than that, imagine that I also told you that fish cannot produce money in their mouths. Are you really going to put forth the effort to go catch any fish, much less a certain species? I know I wouldn’t.

I think it is readily apparent that the Jedi faith didn't exist before George Lucas and Star Wars, but I just couldn't pass up the opportunity when I read those articles.
What'd you think? 

How to reach people of "no religious affiliation"...

There is a lot of buzz in the media about a study recently released by Trinity College. The report is titled “American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population.” The study reports that 15% of America’s population claims no religious affiliation. One other important note about the Nones is that they are not overwhelmingly atheists as many might suspect. Rather, the majority of Nones (59%) are agnostic or deists. This means that many in this group will profess a belief in God, but do not attend any organized faith services.

Some might be wondering where the motivation for this study came from. It grew out of the study by the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) released in March of 2009. An interesting point in this study by Trinity was their effort to try and determine the religious upbringing or lack thereof of the Nones. They discovered that roughly 73% of the Nones were raised in religious homes—that is homes where both parents identified with the same or different religions, but both parents were religious.

This brings up two concerns. It could be concluded from this study that religious parents are not passing on their faith. Is this because the church has failed to teach them how to disciple their children? Is this because the parents are living hypocritical lives? Is this because the parents didn’t discuss opposing and critical viewpoints with their children? There is not way to know the answer to these questions for sure, but it can be taken as a warning sign to parents today. These are important thing to do with your children. It is important that if you profess the Christian faith that you live it out at home just as faithfully as you do “at church.” It is important to teach the soundness of the Christian faith and not feed them doctrines without the foundation for them. If we fail to do these things, we are only setting our children up for failure in regard to faith. Is it possible that so many walk away from “church” is because we are leaving them spiritually bankrupt?

There are a lot of people who believe in God—82% of Americans and 51% of the Nones. Yet, FACT2008 reported that the American church is in decline. How can it be that a large section of Americans believe in God but the church is shrinking? This is the second concern. This points out the obvious fact that there is a disconnect between the church and the majority of Americans. We need to be asking what has caused this disconnect and what can we do to correct the problem? Has this occurred because the church has become outdated and irrelevant to the culture? Has this occurred because we are not discipling our congregations? These are the kind of questions that need to be asked.

What do you think about these concerns? Do you think parents have dropped the ball (or what ways do you think you as a parent can prepare your children)? What do you think churches can do differently to begin reaching the public again?

Related Links:
What'd you think? 

Religion in the Santa Rosa School System

There has been a lot of buzz in my local community of Santa Rosa County (and nationally) about the ACLU lawsuit against the school board and the charges brought against Frank Lay and Robert Freeman. There has also been a lot of misunderstanding about what the “Consent Decree and Order” consists of in regard to school officials and students leading in prayer. I have already written two posts on this matter regarding the original lawsuit and the hearing against Lay and Freeman. In this post, however, I want to actually address the Consent Decree alone. I still think the decree is good in its overall goal, but I think there are some areas that need to be challenged and refined. I have read the Consent Decree in its entirety, unlike many in the community who have voiced opinions about it. It is available for anyone to download and read by clicking HERE and HERE. Likewise, I am sure that you can obtain a copy of the decree from the Santa Rosa County School Board because they are required to distribute it to all faculty members and include it in the Student Code of Conduct manuals until January 1, 2015. I originally understood that this decree would not infringe upon the students’ right to express their religious beliefs and practices, but after reading the details of the Consent Decree I believe there are a few points that do infringe upon the students’ rights as well as those of the faculty.

The first place I believe the decree needs to be challenged is: Permanent Injunction 5. Prayer at School Events, (e) “If a School Official elects to review or may by policy review the content of a student’s or any other person’s planned address during or in conjunction with a School Event, then School Officials shall prohibit the person making the address from offering a Prayer.” I do not believe that this is in line with the U.S. Constitution that states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” I believe this is prohibiting the free exercise of religion of the students. Now, what should be clarified at this point is that students should not be selected to make such a speech based upon their religious affiliation. In other words, if the valedictorian wants to offer a prayer in their speech at graduation, then they should be allowed to do so regardless of their religious affiliation. I understand this point in the consent decree. It would be all too easy for school administrators to use students as “surrogates” to promote religion. They could select only those students they knew would offer “Christian prayer” and therefore exclude prayers from other religious groups. I would not want that to take place either, but I don’t want to prohibit a student from sharing their belief with other students.

Second point of challenge: Permanent Injunction, 5. Prayer at School Events, (h) “To the extent that School Officials permit a person during or in conjunction with School Events to give an address that a School Official can or does shape, review, or edit for content, substance, message, style, or theme, then School Officials shall instruct the person that the person’s address must exclude Prayer.” This is essentially the same order as above except that it applies to speakers other than students, so my complaint would be the same. Speakers should not have their religious liberties restricted as long as they are not chosen as a speaker based upon their religious affiliations.

Third point of challenge: Permanent Injunction, 6. Religious Services (Baccalaureate), (c) “School officials during or in conjunction with a School Event shall not require or encourage students to attend any Religious Service, including Baccalaureate. School Officials shall prohibit a school band or choir from performing at a Religious Service, including baccalaureate. Provided however, that individual students, in their personal capacity, may not be prohibited from such performance.” This I think needs to be rewritten so as not to “prohibit” students from these performances so much as to prohibit the requirement of students in the band or choir to perform at these events. For example, if the band at the local high school is asked to perform at baccalaureate, then they should be free to do so provided that members of the band are allowed not to participate without repercussion(s).

Fourth point of challenge: Permanent Injunction, 8. Promotion of Personal Religious Beliefs, (a) “School Officials shall not participate in any way in a Prayer with students during or in conjunction with instructional periods or a School Event. During or in conjunction with a School Event, School Officials shall not offer a Prayer, recite a Prayer alongside or with students, or posture in a manner that is likely to be perceived as an endorsement of the Prayer, e.g. bowing their heads, kneeling, or folding their hands.” This also seems to infringe upon the rights of the school faculty. I have a problem with them inciting religious practices, but if the valedictorian prayers during his/her speech and a school employee shares that belief, then they should not be prohibited from joining in that prayer—that’s ludicrous. Likewise, if a teacher is overseeing the Fellowship of Christian Students (FCS) and during that meeting the students lead in prayer (without input from the teacher), that teacher should be free to join in that prayer. I believe this point of the injunction goes too far.

Fifth point of challenge: Permanent Injunction, 8. Promotion of Personal Religious Beliefs, (e) “School Officials shall not orally express personal religious beliefs to students during or in conjunction with instructional time or a School Event…” I think this point needs to be further clarified. If a student asks a teacher about his/her personal religious beliefs, the teacher should be able to explain their beliefs without offering an invitation to join their faith. Likewise, this could even be relevant to the lesson in a class such as East and West Heritage or a class that covers the major religions of the world from an unbiased viewpoint. As it currently stands, a faculty member would not be allowed to answer a question about his/her personal religious beliefs even it was as simple a question as, “Are you a Christian?”

An important note is that these points of the Consent Decree can be challenged and changed without nullifying the entire decree. From Other Orders, 14 “…If any court of competent jurisdiction determines that any provision contained in this Order, or any part thereof, cannot be enforced, the parties agree that such determination shall not affect or invalidate the remainder of the Order.” This means we can challenge and refine the decree to protect the students’ rights to religious expression while also protecting them from being coerced into participating in the religious beliefs of school officials.

I also understand that the Consent Decree is “designed to ensure that the School District’s practices and policies do not violate, either currently or in the future, the First Amendment rights of students in the School District,” but I believe that it does just that in some areas and; therefore, needs to be challenged on these points in a legal proceeding. I also believe that if the faculty will use some common sense, they will know whether or not they are violating the law regarding religion in schools. I also believe that the school officials need to comply with the decree as long as it does not violate their religious beliefs; the only area I believe this might be the case is being forbidden to bow their heads, etc. when a student is leading in prayer. I think school officials have every right to express their faith in this was as long as the student initiated the prayer without any coercion.

I have already asked about the Consent Decree in another post, but after hearing all the facts and being able to read it for your self do you think the Consent Decree should be thrown out all together or challenged on some points? And if so why and/or what points
What'd you think? 

Lay and Freeman: Not Guilty

Last week marked the trial of Frank Lay and Robert Freeman, the two Pace High School faculty members facing criminal contempt charges for violating a “consent decree” which prohibits school employees from leading in prayer at school functions. I wrote a post last week on the original ACLU lawsuit that resulted in the consent decree being issued, which in turn precipitated the charges against Lay and Freeman. I am posting on this issue mainly because a reader asked me to comment on these things in light of a post titled “Symbols: Anarchy.”

First, Lay and Freeman were found not guilty. However, this does not change the consent decree nor does it mean that continued violations of the consent decree will go unpunished—the judge made this point clear. There are a couple of points I would like to address in this whole scenario. (1) Was Frank Lay wrong for his actions? (2) Should Christian school employees submit to the consent decree? (3) Is the consent decree a good thing?

Was Frank Lay wrong for his actions? This is a little difficult to answer. Not because I am floundering on the moral aspect, but because it is difficult to truly know what Frank Lay was thinking when he asked Robert Freeman to offer the prayer. This was the crux of the matter in the trial as well—did he willfully and intentionally violate the consent decree? If Lay did so purposefully, then he was in the wrong. Now, before anyone thinks I am saying that Christians should allow the government to suppress the practice of our religion, you should read my previous post on this matter(see link above). If Lay did not purposefully violate the consent decree, then he has learned a pricey lesson. What I found extremely interesting and what I have been saying all along (in my personal life), is that Frank Lay would most likely be found not guilty because it was a criminal case. The punishment simply would not fit the crime. However, if this was tried as a civil case, then I think Frank Lay would have been found guilty by the judge. In fact, the local news anchor reported this very fact; almost inadvertently I believe. His comment occurs around the 6:45 minute mark in the video at the end of this post.

Should Christian school employees submit to the consent decree? I believe that as long as they are at work and acting in the capacity of a school employee, they should abide by the decree. I do not believe they should refuse to live according to their Christian morals, answer questions of students from a biblical worldview, or share their beliefs with those students who ask them. But this strikes back at my last post, would Christians want a Muslim teacher offering up Islamic prayers over their children? Absolutely not. I’m a Christian and a parent and I have no shame in admitting that I don’t want a teacher of another faith leading my child in prayer. We too often complain about double standards in our society (standards that discriminate against the Christian religion and not other religions) and now we are asking for a double standard, whether we realize it or not. This leads right into the third point.

Is the consent decree a good thing? I believe this is a yes and no answer. I think in the overall aspect, the consent decree is a good thing. I want it to protect students from faculty leading them in religious practices. However, the consent decree seems to go too far the other direction. It almost begins to infringe upon the rights of the faculty because some of the restrictions really begin to apply under the individuals’ own time when they are not acting as faculty. This is where the trouble with enforcing this is going to be problematic. When is Frank Lay not the principal of Pace High School? Too many people in the community know that he is the principal. Imagine that he is having a birthday party at his home for his child and that child invites friends over (who are students at Pace High School) to celebrate. Is Frank allowed to pray in his own home or does he have to refrain from practicing his faith because students are there? This is where the decree needs some clarity and needs to be challenged—but it needs to be challenged legally and not by first violating it and putting community pressure on the judge and jury hearing the case.

I also think the consent decree and the ACLU lawsuit has been good for the community in an overall sense. The students are living out their faith more openly and sharing it more actively than they have in some years. It has also united much of the Christian community. A fresh breath of life has come to the Christian community of Santa Rosa County. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the months and years to come.

What do you think, was Frank Lay wrong for his actions? Is the consent decree a good or bad thing? Why?
What'd you think? 

Symbols: Tribal Design

There has been a huge growth in the popularity of tribal design in nearly every aspect of our culture. Motorcycle enthusiasts incorporate tribal designs in things as simple as the mirrors on the handle bars to the paint job. Likewise, tribal designs are popular on many clothing designs from t-shirts, to hats, shoes, wallets, etc. This design is also extremely prevalent among tattoo designs. There simply seems to be no area where “tribal” is not affecting. One question no one seems to really be asking is what is tribal design?

These tribal designs were used for what the name implies, to designate a person as belonging to a certain community or tribe and they were almost always in the form of a tattoo. I suppose you could compare it to the gang colors of today, which mark someone as belonging to a particular gang. Unlike today, for many hundreds of years tattoos were not a fashion statement and people didn’t get them “just because.” Traditional tattooing was an extremely painful and long process; as pointed out in an excellent article on, this process could last up to three months. Tattooing in the United States is performed in almost every city and with modern equipment that makes the tattooing process much more efficient and much less painful than the more traditional methods. These methods employed the use a single needle that was often manually tapped into the subject being tattooed and then applying the ink followed by more needle tapping. These designs were often earned and were sometimes the final rite of passage to be considered a man. They were often indications of “social rank and affiliation.” In other cultures, such as the Egyptians, once a person was initiated into a temple’s service, a person would often receive a particular tattoo to indicate his/her temple affiliation.

It is for these reasons that the Bible opposes tattoos: Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD (Leviticus 19:28). The PBS article mentioned above also addresses that tattoos were often used as a sign of mourning. Because tribal designs have become so popular in American society, many of the designs today are completely devoid of any symbolic meaning. Therefore, caution needs to be used and the question needs to be asked if the design does have a meaning before one wears it on a t-shirt, etc. There may be some who will decide to avoid tribal designs all together, that is a decision you as an individual will have to make on your own.

Back to "Symbols" Main Index Page
What'd you think? 

Book Review: Trolls and Truth

Dorrell, Jimmy. Trolls and Truth: 14 Realities About Today’s Church That We Don’t Want to See. Birmingham, Alabama: New Hope Publishers, 2006, 215 pp.

Trolls and Truth is an excellent book written by the man who pastors The Church Under the Bridge. This church meets right where the name implies—underneath a bridge. While the church is comprised of a varity of different people from all different walks of life, there is a large number of people who are homeless or have been homeless in the past. It is through the stories of some of these people that Jimmy Dorrell conveys some areas that the church could presently use some improvement.

I absolutely loved this book. One of the features that I truly enjoyed about this book was the way Mr. Dorrell would tell the story of someone that related to the truth he wanted to communicate. Then, he would look at this truth through the lens of Scripture. Finally, he would close with some discussion on how the church is dysfunctional in this area and some ways to truly improve in biblically living the truth as the church. Any church or ministry interested in reaching out to the community around them in a way that will make a difference in people’s lives should read this book. This book doesn’t promote a “go out and volunteer” method of ministering in the community, but more of an “invest in people’s lives” method that will truly bring hope and healing to people lacking one or both in their lives.

This is a book that should be on everyone’s “to read” list. You can purchase it at or from the WMU by clicking the photo at the top of the post.
What'd you think? 

ACLU vs Santa Rosa County School District

I was recently asked by a reader to comment on the Frank Lay incident at Pace High School. I am sure many of you have no idea what I am talking about so I have included links to news articles at the bottom of the post (please note ; the links to may go “dead” as they archive the stories and then require payment before reading). However, before commenting on Frank Lay and his actions specifically, I want to wait for his case to go to trial later this week (Sept 17?) and then I will post on that.

In this post, I want to talk about the general issue that was raised. The ACLU filed suit against the Santa Rosa County School District (specifically Pace High School) for promoting religion at school and school-sponsored events. The case went before a judge where the district admitted that there were some violations occurring and the district requested to be allowed to self-correct these violations. The judge agreed and the district outlined their plan to correct these violations. This was presented to the judge and was approved—this is the “consent decree.”

There is a lot of misinformation in the news both locally and nationally about what this means exactly. School officials are not prohibited from ever praying, even when away from school. They are prohibited from leading in prayer while acting in the capacity of a school employee or official. In other words, if they are being introduced as an employee or representative of the school board, they are not allowed to promote religion. However, if a teacher at Pace High regularly attends church and is simply being asked to lead in prayer as a fellow member of that church, then they are free to do so.

Should Christians be fighting “to keep prayer in schools,” as this is being heralded? That seems to be the underlying sentiment here in the county. I think that the consent decree accomplishes things that I am not opposed to as a Christian. This is because the decree does not prevent students from practicing their religion while at school; it simply works to prevent teachers and faculty from proselytizing. I don’t think many Christians in the county have stopped to ask themselves some important questions. For example, it’s all honky-dory now because we currently have a Christian principal at Pace High School. What about in five years? What if a Muslim is assigned as the next principal at Pace High School? Are we still going to be rallying around that principal when he leads prayer with our students to Allah? Will there be community fund-raisers to pay for his/her legal fees? I think not.

I don’t want there to be a principal leading in religious matters (such as prayer) be it Christian or otherwise. This measure serves to protect Christians as well, and we are undermining that very protection by thumbing our noses at the court decision.

That is just my two cents on the matter. What do you think, do you support the decision made? Why or why not?

Related articles:
Please note there are many other articles out there, these are just a small sampling.
What'd you think? 

Is stem cell research a fraud?

Stem cell research seems to be getting dealt some swift blows of late. I have no qualms about adult stem cell research, but I am opposed to embryonic stem cell research (ESCR). An article published back in July by the New York Post exclaimed in its title “The Great Stem-Cell-Research Scam.” The article goes on to explain that researchers have known for some time that ESCR is a dead-end road. It is plagued with problems that are extremely difficult to overcome. This is particularly important now that adult stem cells have been shown to have the same plasticity as ESC’s and don’t come with anywhere near the same amount of problems. The article contends that the reason so much is still being spent on this form of research is that it brings in the big bucks for select groups and companies. What really intrigued me in this article was the manner in which this research was being pushed. The author intimated that it is being sold as medical vs. pro-life politics or as our President so wonderfully stated on 3/9/2009 in his speech concerning federal funding of ESCR—“a false choice between sound science and moral values.” In other words, science vs. religion.

A more recent story in The New York Times reported that a new stem cell drug failed two different late-stage clinical trials. The drug was based on mesenchymal stem cells. These are produced from the bone marrow of adults and are different from the “typical” adult stem cells—induced pluripotent stem cells—which are derived from skin cells. The drug did no better or marginally better than the placebo used in the study. It really makes me wonder how genuine some who so heralded Mr. Obama’s statements that we must make “scientific decisions based on facts, not on ideology”…and “to restore scientific integrity to government decision making”…as well as “ensuring scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda.” It is beginning to seem that it is based more on politics than fact. There have been no successful clinical trials in the U.S. using embryonic stem cells (or adult stem cells at this point). Lots of stories have come from over seas, but many of these are proving to be over-rated, false, or frauds. The fact has come out time and time again that ESCR is a dead-end and the only promising stem cell research is now from adult stem cells. This was even stated by Dr. Oz on the Oprah Winfrey Show (HERE). The fact is if we are going to be spending millions and/or billions of dollars to fund this research it should be going to the more soundly scientific adult stem cell research and not to ESCR being kept on life support by federal funding.

What do you think, should embryonic stem cell research be abandoned to more vigorously pursue adult stem cell research? Why or why not?

President Obama's Speech (video)
What'd you think? 

What's the deal with Labor Day?

Labor Day is one of those holidays to which people look forward. In many American’s minds, it signals the last hoorah of summer. It is a time many families go on their last weekend vacation until Thanksgiving, Christmas, or the next summer. This holiday is one that has a much richer history than just being one last fun-day at the end of summer. It grew directly out of a movement that dramatically changed this country forever—the unionized labor movement.

During the late nineteenth century—the Industrial Revolution—factories were springing up across the country and many Americans were enjoying regular full-time employment. It didn’t take long, however, before these factories began trying to increase their profit margins and the best way to do this was to pay their workers less money, make them work longer hours, or both. Not only was this the case, but many factories also employed children. The working conditions likewise began declining and hazardous work environments were beginning to take their tolls on workers. Many laborers lost limbs while others lost their lives.

It did not take too very long before the workers began to organize together to fight for better wages, regular work hours, safer working conditions, and the outlawing of child labor. Weekends, minimum wage, and child labor laws are in large part due to the labor unions that organized and marched for decades before much of the reform began to occur.

While many people today view unions as groups that bully employers into giving them more than they deserve, the first labor unions paved the way for what workers today enjoy when it comes to protections from employer abuses.

As I researched the history of this holiday, it became increasingly clear that the origins of this movement truly line-up with the Bible. The Scripture abhors taking advantage of laborers (Leviticus 19:13, Deuteronomy 24:14-15, Malachi 3:5, James 5:4). Along those same lines, Labor Day is a holiday to celebrate “the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” The Bible also upholds and commends a strong work ethic (Proverbs 12:11, 14:23; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13). In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor states on their website that in 1909 the American Federation of Labor adopted a resolution that the Sunday before Labor Day be known as Labor Sunday—a day dedicated “to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.”

I personally had no idea about the rich history to Labor Day, but I know I will celebrate it in a different light from this point forward. Some other resources for this post include:

What'd you think? 

America is a Nation of Hindus...

I have had this article by Newsweek book marked for a while now as I debated whether or not to post on it. However, I decided to post on it since there seems to be a growing consensus about America no longer being a “Christian nation.” This is particularly popular following President Obama’s comments that really jump-started this discussion (you can watch this comment HERE). His exact quote was: "We have a very large Christian population...uh...we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation...uh...we consider ourselves...uh...a nation of citizens, who are...uh...bound by ideals and a set of values."

What really struck me about this article, however, is that it was not yet another news snippet proclaiming that America was no longer Christian. The amazing thing about the article was it proclaiming that we are becoming a nation of Hindus—at least in our ideals. The article noted, “A Hindu believes there are many paths to God. Jesus is one way, the Qur'an is another, yoga practice is a third. None is better than any other; all are equal.” Pointing to recent surveys, Lisa Miller—the author—shows that the traditional belief of conservative Christians that Jesus is the only way of salvation and that Christianity is the only true religion is becoming the minority. She wrote:
According to a 2008 Pew Forum survey, 65 percent of us believe that "many religions can lead to eternal life"—including 37 percent of white evangelicals, the group most likely to believe that salvation is theirs alone. Also, the number of people who seek spiritual truth outside church is growing. Thirty percent of Americans call themselves "spiritual, not religious," according to a 2009 NEWSWEEK Poll, up from 24 percent in 2005.
Could it be that Christianity is beginning to lose one of its fundamental doctrines? It has long been understood that the Bible teaches that salvation is gained by Christ Jesus alone (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). As far as Christianity being the only true religion, that can become an argument of terms. For example, there are many who proclaim they are “Christian”, yet deny many of the doctrines taught by Christ himself. On the other hand, which religions and denominations are “Christian” is becoming a war of semantics. Baptists don’t consider Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses to be Christian, yet the average person on the street would call a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness a Christian. This is increasingly going to become more of a problem as time continues to pass. This relativism is beginning to creep into churches because many churches no longer teach their congregations the Bible, they teach their congregations about the Bible. There are lots of “pretty” sermons preached that don’t make a bit of difference in people’s lives when they leave the doors of the church because they don’t believe the Bible applies to their daily lives. It’s just an outdated book that isn’t relevant any longer. It’s not equipped to answer the tough questions of society today. Then we are surprised when we hear the statistics of polls like these.

There was yet another interesting point in this article: “So here is another way in which Americans are becoming more Hindu: 24 percent of Americans say they believe in reincarnation, according to a 2008 Harris poll.” Reincarnation is the belief that following a person’s death, their soul returns to earth in a different body. In a sense, the Bible teaches reincarnation. At the end of days, people will be reunited with a new body—an eternal body (1 Corinthians 15:35-55, 2 Corinthians 5:1-5). The main difference in Hindu reincarnation and “Christian reincarnation” is that Hindu’s understand this to be an on going process—death, rebirth, death, rebirth, etc. Wheras, Christians would only believe that this occurs one time. Death of the finite body and rebirth into the eternal body.

Overall this was an intersting article that raised some good points. What about you, do you think we are becoming more Hindu as a nation? Do you believe there is more than one way to salvation? Do you believe in reincarnation?
What'd you think? 

Plan B: Good Option or Abortion?

There has been a lot of buzz again as of late about the Plan B or “morning after pill.” This is because a federal judge recently lowered the age-limit to purchase the drug over-the-counter from 18 to 17 years of age. I am somewhat conflicted about this drug, however. A part of me would like to support the use of this drug in order to reduce the number of abortions in the country. Another part of me is opposed to it because it may prevent an embryo from implanting itself on the uterine wall. It does not terminate an already implanted embryo, so it does perform an abortion by killing an already growing and healthy embryo.

My internal conflict over this drug arises from the fact that I cannot seem to find a clear answer to the question of whether or not this drug prevents a fertilized embryo from implanting of the wall of the uterus. I have found many stories out there that address the core purpose of the drug—to prevent ovulation from occurring. If the drug is successful to this end, a fertilized embryo would never form and the sperm would simply die off naturally before ovulation could occur. If this is how the drug worked 100% of the time, I would have to problem supporting its use to prevent pregnancies. I would put it on par with condoms and birth control aimed at preventing pregnancy from occurring.

Nearly every story I read concerning Plan B, however, mentions that the drug “may prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb (implantation)” [FDA Press Release]. Therein lies my problem. If the drug prevents a viable offspring from developing that would otherwise have done so, I have some qualms about it. This is because I believe an embryo is not a blob of tissue, but an actual person (click here to read about this position).

Sarah Kliff of Newsweek wrote an article entitled “How Plan B Works: Six Things You Always Wondered About Emergency Contraception.” She also wrote the article about watching an abortion being performed, which I posted on HERE. The Seattle Times wrote an article about Plan B being available over-the-counter to those 17 years of age and older. The article contends this will do nothing to affect the pregnancy rate among teenagers. It is a very interesting article that I would recommend. Newsy also published a video clip about this story, which you can watch below.

But I would like to hear you weigh in on this topic. Do you think Plan B is a good option like condoms or other forms of birth control? Or do you think Plan B should be placed on par with other forms of abortion? Even better, do any of you know of some more concrete research that answers whether or not it prevents fertilized embryos from implanting and how often does that occur?

What'd you think?