They got the colors backward

Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota, points out some interesting facts concerning the most recent American Presidential election:

Population of counties won by: Gore 127 million Bush 143 million

Square miles of land won by: Gore 580,000 Bush 2,427,000

States won by: Gore 19 Bush 29

Murder rate per 100,000 residents in counties won by: Gore 13.2 Bush 2.1

Professor Olson adds, “In aggregate, the map of the territory Bush won was mostly the land owned by the taxpaying citizens of this great country. Gore’s was territory encompassed those citizens living in government-owned tenements and living off government welfare…”Olson believes the U.S. is now somewhere between the “apathy” and the “complacency” phase of Professor Tyler’s definition of democracy; with some 40 percent of the nation’s population already having reached the “governmental dependency” phase.

I’m not so sure about these statistics, or even the existence of said professor. It sure doesn’t sound like a typical Minnesota academic, for one thing. And for another, we appear to have lost two states. But in any event, the more significant question is: were those non-dependent taxpayers suckered? George Delano’s performance seems to indicate that he prefers a dependent populace. It doesn’t matter how slow you drive if you’re heading the wrong way, if you refuse to turn around.

UPDATE – Good to know my instincts were sound. How hard is it to remember 50 states? I didn’t even bother posting the first part as the language sounded too modern to be the quote from Tyler. Also, academics don’t say “this great country”, politicians do. See Snopes for details on the fraud. The larger point may well be true, but it doesn’t excuse simply creating fiction to make a point. Not if you’re going to pass it off as non-fiction, anyhow.

Cavuto on Atkins

I’m not a big Neal Cavuto fan. He always strikes me as an intellectual lightweight with dual penchants for the obvious and the trite. But bravo to him for hammering the anti-Atkins folk who are still attempting to attack the man and his diet. While it bothers me that Dr. Atkins, for all his success, never bothered to fund even a small study demonstrating what is abundantly clear to anyone whose ever known anyone to go on the diet, it’s quite clear that he upset a lot of vested interests and called BS on the government’s food pyramid.

Of course, it should have been obvious all along that the food pyramid would be bad for you. The government approved it, after all.

Mailvox: On sovereignty

Webster 1913: \Sov”er*eign*ty\, n.;

The quality or state of being sovereign, or of being a sovereign; the exercise of, or right to exercise, supreme power; dominion; sway; supremacy; independence; also, that which is sovereign; a sovereign state; as, Italy was formerly divided into many sovereignties.

Easton Bible Dictionary: of God, his absolute right to do all things according to his own good pleasure (Dan. 4:25, 35; Rom. 9:15-23; 1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 4:11).

Where does a right to do all things according to his own good pleasure imply that all things are actually being done so? Where does the concept that God CAN require that God IS? And how is it mocking the (in my opinion fallacious) equation of sovereignty with micro-management to say that if there is a supreme controlling all beings and interactions according to a supreme master plan, that the score of every athletic event is predetermined? They’d have to be so controlled! There’s no escaping it!

Here’s the big question: why would we be instructed to pray that things be done on Earth according to God’s Will as it is in Heaven, unless things are not being done on Earth according to His Will?

I don’t actually believe in the synonymous concept, as I think that this intellectual tradition stems from a time when the concept of God existing outside of the material construct of time was wholly inconceivable. But as I’ve replied to several thoughtful emailers today, I see the primary flaw running through these “Calvinist” (for lack of a better term) arguments being the constant equation of sovereignty with micro-management, or as I prefer to put it, uber control freakdom. The very notion that God controls all actions and interactions of his creatures stands firmly against everything I understand of God, both from the Bible and from my personal experience.

However, I freely admit, I could be wrong. I make no claim of grokking the fullness. I don’t question God’s ultimate sovereignty. I question whether he is putting it directly into use at this time on this planet.

Onward Christian lunatics

First it was rock music – eek! Then Dungeons & Dragons – eek! Then Harry Potter – eek! Now Dan Brown – eek! I am so very sick and tired of listening to whiny fearful Christians getting their collective panties in a bunch about what non-Christians read and watch for entertainment. “It could, maybe, possibly lead someone, someday, into something that is BAD!”

Please.

Listen to me very closely. There is only one thing that has caused the publishing industry to pay any attention whatsoever to Christian concerns about reading material. That is the massive success of the Left Behind novels. The success of Mel Gibson’s Passion will have far more of an impact on Hollywood than every protest and complaint about the Harry Potter films combined and multiplied by one hundred.

Sure, I’m extremely irritated that my publisher sent out 50 copies of an overtly Christian novel to 50 different Christian media outlets – almost all of whom have pontificated at length about the evils of Harry Potter – and only one bothered to review it. Meanwhile, Publisher’s Weekly and a number of major secular science fiction outlets did see fit to do so. Now, you can certainly dismiss my attitude as sour grapes if you like. What you shouldn’t dismiss so easily is my large New York publisher – who also publishes some of Dan Brown’s novels – concluding that Christians are all talk, and they would rather whine than put their money and their media where their mouth is.

Do you really believe he’ll think twice about ignoring the complaints of a group of people who, from his perspective, barely exist? Are you going to threaten not to buy his books? You’re already quite clearly not doing so! So, why would he possibly care about whatever it is you have to say?

The sad thing is that an author could probably get more press from the Christian media by writing a lousy novel about a transexual serial killer priest who rapes and murders his way to the papacy than he could by writing a good novel written from a Christian worldview that glorifies Jesus Christ. If Christians will not support Christian alternatives, then they had better not be surprised when the alternatives to the worldly things that offend them disappear altogether.

Mailvox: control and chaos

DB writes: You’re my boy and all, but I have to take issue with you on sort of deriding Calvinism in your Christian perspective. I understand you aren’t a theologian and none of us will understand that the push-pull between free will/election, but even Spurgeon (a Calvinist) said that he would not break the handshake of two friends. I just think you are looking at the story from a completely Arminian/Wesleyian standpoint, even though there were some tremendous minds that are thoroughly convinced in a Calvinist theology, i.e., Jonathan Edwards, John Owen, Charles Spurgeon, C.S. Lewis, and John Piper. Obviously we can’t know for sure b/c “our ways are not his ways and our understanding is not His understanding”, but completely writing off the notion of God’s sovereignty in all things seems a bit silly to me, or at least not giving your readers the full extent of the nature of God, by always talking about Free Will. That is like saying that everyone who is alive has the choice to become a Christian or not, but this is in complete contradiction to Romans 9, in which Paul tells us that God has prepared vessels for wrath. I’m not saying I understand the tug of war between Free Will and Election, but the two stand and you sort of ignore one and give credence to the other on numerous occassions.

I hope that Christians can be on good terms with each other while disgreeing on something that we cannot possibly know the answer to anyhow. There’s no ill-will on my part – my little brother is a quasi-Calvinist and he attends Greg Boyd’s church without any massive cognitive dysfunction – but I do find the God as Control Freak to be a ludicrous notion. The fact of the matter is that if God is in control of all things, he not only chooses a winner of every football games, but also determines how many interceptions the starting quarterback will throw. I don’t buy that for a second, nor do I buy the notion that God has a specific plan for each one of us, regardless of whether our path runs us through love or tragedy.

I find that most anti-free will concepts show a profound lack of imagination. Sovereignty does not require or even imply day-to-day management. Among other things, they tend to completely ignore the book of Job as well as the many suggestions that, far from being under the control of God, this fallen world is under the dominion of the one that Jesus called the prince of this world. Jesus said that being had no hold on him, nor on us through him, but the implication is quite strong that everything else is under that being’s control, not God’s. CS Lewis obviously felt this way to some extent, otherwise his concept of the Divine Invasion makes no sense.

My father once was encouraged to leave a church over the outrage that occurred when, after being asked to pray for a friend dying of cancer, he did not pray that everyone would have a nice peaceful happy feeling about the man’s painful death, but instead prayed that the man would be healed. What kind of faith is demonstrated by those Christians who will not even ASK for what Jesus tells us to DO? I haven’t seen much positive fruit coming out of that particular intellectual camp.

I have no doubt that many good, solid Christians do not believe in free will. That is certainly their right and has no bearing on the genuine nature of their faith – I don’t question that. I simply find the concept of God as total control freak to be both illogical and generally unBiblical. If God is already in complete and active control, then why on Earth does Jesus Christ even need to come back? For that matter, why did he have to come in the first place?

Maybe she did do it

WND writes: Meanwhile, Misha Schubert, a former classmate of Polier from the Columbia School of Journalism, says it’s hard to believe the allegations of an affair between Polier and Kerry. “For one thing,” writes Schubert in today’s Australian, “at the time my former journalism-school classmate was supposed to be sharing intimate moments with the senator, she was working up to 80 hours a week on student assignments and dating one of our classmates. If she had time to manage an affair as well, that would have made her one hell of an overachiever.”

That’s the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard. First, people can always find the time to get jiggy if they’re so inclined. They’ll run themselves down and do without sleep if they have to. Second, no student at any school puts in 80 hours a week doing anything with the possible exception of med-school students. I knew business school students who still had the time to road-trip to Mexico; considering how little most journalists know, I rather doubt she spent 80 hours a semester working on anything.