Archive for August, 2010

Information Addiction

26 Aug

I am addicted to my Blackberry.

Or so my extended family told me when they were listing what they thought everyone present was addicted to. I’m not addicted to my phone per se, nor technology (some technology like microwave ovens I reject outrightly). I’m addicted to the technology-provided connectivity to unnecessary information.

For example, the first thing I did this morning was check The Drudge Report on my phone. I read some articles about the upcoming Glenn Beck/Sarah Palin non-political rally in Washington DC, an article about Democrats increasingly thing they’ll lose the House of Representatives in November, and the story of a comedian trying to kick his technology habit by living in his bathroom for 5 days. ( Seriously? 5 days is all it’s going to take? And you’re living in your bathroom? Since you evidently don’t rely on technology, why not just box it up and put it in your garage?)

None of that information was necessary at the beginning of my day. So this is how tech-connectedness has infiltrated my life. This is my poison. What’s yours?

During what hours of the day do you check Facebook? the news? blogs? your favorite website? During what hours do you text message?

Photo of woman using laptop in bed

Increasingly the answer is: all hours. This is a problem.

Instead of technology being a tool to better our lives and relationships with each other, it’s taking over our lives and making our relationships shallower.

Unfortunately, I do depend on technology. I’m a software engineer – work that can’t be done with a pen and paper. I need to receive email and instant messages on my phone for work. I can’t go cold-turkey without losing my job.  However, I’m increasingly becoming convinced that I should compartmentalize my day so that I’m a Luddite most hours of every day and a tech-savvy software engineer during business hours. I like the idea of the gadget basket, though I think I’ll just start putting my phone away, setting only business emails to notify me and closing our TV cabinet. The technology basket article linked to above suggests a few hours every day when you don’t use your phones or other technology. I’m not sure that’s right.

Instead of being self-defined as gadget-addicts that disconnect for 2 hours  every day, perhaps we should become unplugged people who use technology as a tool, but only during limited windows of time during the day. When we do connect to technology, we should be purposeful about why we’re doing so – not to waste time, but to connect with other human beings in meaningful ways.

If we don’t, we’ll eventually have perception limited to a screen – on your phone, tv, or computer monitor. Like horses with blinders, we’ll miss the world and the people around us, having them substituted for a virtual world and hollowed out shells of people that can only be communicated in 140 character status updates.


President Obama: Muslim or Apostate

24 Aug

I previously wrote about the White House’s explanation of Obama’s Christian faith: he prays, so he’s obviously a Christian. Most articles and tv reporters talking about this subject keep repeating that Obama is a Christian, to tell the rising number of Americans (as high as 25% in recent polls) who think Obama is a Muslim that they’re idiots.

Who decides who is a Christian? Who decides who is a Muslim? Both systems of belief have a recognized authority: for Christians the New Testament, for Muslims the Koran and the hadiths, other teachings supplemental to the Koran.


Only 1 way:

Closed Bible The Bible says that no one is born a Christian. There’s interaction between a person and the supernatural, and the person enters into a relationship with the one triune deity, recognizes Jesus as the master (Lord) of their life. Romans 10:9-10 is the closest the New Testament has to a step-by-step process of salvation:

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

There is no magic phrase to recite, but these verses speak of a verbal confession of what a person inwardly believes. Even the spoken element is only a confession of inward reality. If the inward reality isn’t there, the speaking isn’t a confession, but a lie.

Being a Christian is about an inward spiritual change that affects every aspect of your being. The Bible teaches that only God knows a person’s heart, it therefore follows that only God knows the spiritual state of everyone around the world. It is not possible for someone else to know whether you are truly a Christian through any sort of litmus test. There is evidence, however – outward transformation in a person’s lifestyle and actions that happens when your are inwardly changed. Does a person’s world view, beliefs, and positions on issues line up with Jesus’ teachings? While no one is perfect, a Christian should be conforming more to the person of Jesus as time goes by.


Closed Koran/QuranIn contrast, one can be a Muslim by conversion or by birth.

Option 1: Conversion

One may convert to Islam by saying the following phrase (the Shahadah) in Arabic: “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” This is not a direct quote from the Koran, but is based on Koranic and extra-Koranic writings and has been the longstanding tradition in Islam.  A whole-hearted attitude or inner change is not required, though that’s desirable.

Option 2: Birth

Any children born to a Muslim are considered Muslim from birth. While Muslim men are free to marry non-Muslim women, Muslim women are forbidden to marry non-Muslim men. Thus, regardless of the mother’s religion, a Muslim household always has a Muslim man at it’s head, and the children are Muslim. If your father was a Muslim, you are a Muslim, according to Islam.

A Muslim child is not accountable before Allah for his/her actions until puberty. At that point they can continue to live as a Muslim or they can choose otherwise, and are considered an apostate, deserving execution.

Execution!? This is not some archaic story in the Koran that was situational. It is a very clear teaching. While it isn’t practiced by every Muslim, it happens around the world and Malaysia and Iran have recently been considering legislation to legally enforce this Koranic teaching.  The video below is about a teenage girl from a Muslim family in Ohio who fled for her life after her father threatened to kill his daughter.

YouTube Preview Image

Quirk: Lying in Islam

While the Koran forbids lying, there are lies that aren’t considered lies. One general rule of thumb I’ve heard many times is that it’s not considered lying to lie for the advance of Islam or for the heart of a woman (which as we know from above is a quick way to beget baby Muslims). Additionally, “Muslims can lie while under oath and can even falsely deny faith in Allah, as long as they maintain the profession of faith in their hearts. ” You can read this long article on the Muslim practie of Al Takeyya, the practice of lying for one’s self or for other Muslims. The article states that even befriending people of other beliefs and displaying adherence with their unbelief as a means of self-protection is ok, and for self-preservation or the preservation of other Muslims, a Muslim can:

  • Drink wine, abandon prayers, and skip fasting during Ramadan.
  • Renounce belief in Allah.
  • Kneel in homage to a deity other than Allah.
  • Utter insincere oaths.

So from a Muslim perspective, it’s possible to denounce Islam and remain a Muslim, though it seems relegated to being in a position where it would be detrimental to one’s self or to the cause of Islam to be openly Muslim.

President Barack Hussein Obama: Christian or Muslim?

Obama's Ramadan broadcast

Photo from the LA Times

As the previous post referenced, there has been a doubling of the percentage of Americans who believe Obama is a Muslim. The White House and the traditional press (newspapers, network, and cable news) have all risen to his defense to tell everyone about Obama’s faith. According to the White House, he’s a Christian. But according to the White House, the continuing recession is “Recovery Summer.”

But it doesn’t matter what the White House or your favorite media personality states. It matters what the authorities within Christianity and Islam state.

He can’t be both. If President Obama truly believes that Jesus Christ is Lord (God and master of all areas of his life) – the condition of being a Christian – then he cannot believe the Shahadah – the condition of being a Muslim. They are mutually exclusive.

As the New York Times accurately reported back in 2008, President Obama was born a Muslim under Muslim law as understood uniformly around the world. When he reached puberty, he became accountable for his actions as a Muslim. To apply the information gathered above, there are only 2 possible outcomes in Islam:

  1. Barack Obama is an apostate, worse than an infidel, and should be executed as an apostate by the followers of Islam.
  2. Barack Obama is a Muslim in good standing and engaged in Al Takeyya, pretending to be a Christian for the advance of Islam. This would only be possible if one could conceive of a reason that pretending to not be Muslim could be advantageous to the advance of Islam or his personal benefit as the President of the United States. Perhaps if you take a moment here to think: from the perspective of Islam, what could possibly be the benefit of having a Muslim in charge of the most powerful nation on earth, even if he had to pretend to be a Christian? If you can’t think of any possible answer, I’d like to thank you for visiting from MSNBC!

From a Christian perspective, the best that can be said about Obama is that he is likely a true Christian. Or you could argue likely not, as his positions on issues of importance don’t line up with Jesus’ teachings, and his views ought to be affected by his faith.

From a Muslim perspective, Obama is a Muslim or he needs to be executed.

Is Obama a Muslim? It depends on your perspective.


Posted in Politics


White House Soteriology: Praying daily makes one a Christian

19 Aug

"The president is obviously a Christian. He prays everyday."

In an attempt to redirect attention from recent polls about up to 25% of Americans believing President Obama is a Muslim and less than 40% believing he’s a Christian, the White House declared:

“The president is obviously a Christian. He prays everyday.”

If the statement was just “The president is obviously a Christian,” that would have been the error of mere assertion: Merely because you assert something is true, that doesn’t make it so. Luckily, they offered a proof: “He prays everyday.”

There’s a few problems of course:

  • Not everyone who prays everyday is a Christian. Muslims pray every day, for example.
  • One isn’t a Christian on the basis of how much one prays.

While prayer is part of being a Christian, you’re not a Christian because you pray. By “Christian” I mean someone who is following the biblical model of following Jesus.

Becoming a follower of Jesus has to do with living out one’s belief that Jesus is master (Lord) of your life. It is evidenced by what grows out of your life, what actions you exhibit. It has nothing to do with being perfect except that a Christian will, over time, change on issues as (s)he lives more as Jesus as their master.

While Obama’s family is Muslim, and while he has Muslim names, anyone who believed he was a Muslim for those reasons already thought so during the election, and that doesn’t explain the dramatic increase in those numbers. That has to do with Obama’s actions:

This isn’t necessarily new to Obama – there have been questions about previous presidents faiths. Whether or not Obama is a Muslim isn’t the point of my writing. The point here is the flaw in reasoning and the glaring misconception of faith.

Praying daily does not make it obvious that someone is a Christian. Saying so makes it obvious that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

Clearly White House overall has no idea of what it means to be a Christian. No wonder they misunderstand Christians so much!

How do you feel about the White House defining Christianity this way?

Another issue here is that the media are declaring the state of a person’s soul – the article linked to above states:

The number of Americans who believe — wrongly — that President Obama is a Muslim has increased significantly since his inauguration and now accounts for nearly 20 percent of the nation’s population.

Can you imagine an article beginning: “The number of Americans who believe –wrongly — that the Tea Party movement contains extremists…”?

Why is it necessary for reporters to be inserting this commentary? Even the punctuation around “wrongly” makes it the word that stands out most. This isn’t reporting. This is commentary.

“The president is obviously a Christian. He prays everyday.”


Media Slant: LA Times Hates Ray Bradbury

18 Aug

Ray Bradbury, Farenheit 451I enjoyed reading the LA Times article about Ray Bradbury, author of Farenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and other books. The article includes a few quotes of Ray Bradbury:

First, about President Obama:

“He should be announcing that we should go back to the moon… We should never have left there. We should go to the moon and prepare a base to fire a rocket off to Mars and then go to Mars and colonize Mars. Then when we do that, we will live forever.”

Second, about the size of government:

“I think our country is in need of a revolution… There is too much government today. We’ve  got to remember the government should be by the people, of the people and for the people.”

Here Bradbury agrees with many (most likely the majority of) Americans, and the founders of the country. These are not words to be written off as words of a crazy old man. Yet the LA Times titled the piece:

Ray Bradbury hates big government.

The headline – the part of the article that more people will read than any other – simply labels Bradbury a hater. He’s expressed a differing opinion, therefore he can be lumped together with Fox News, Sarah Palin, the tea party movement, and everyone else labeled those who hate – also known as those just as easily called sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, racist, and bigoted.

All of these words have been hollowed out of their meaning and redefined to simply mean “hateful.”

Then again, Bradbury didn’t say anything hateful. In the end all of these slanderous labels simply mean: “someone who disagrees with the Left.”

Take note, if someone disagrees with the Left, the LA Times and often the personalities on “progressive” talk radio and television news networks show how to handle them: Call them a name and never respond to their arguments.


The Democrat’s Phony Diversity, Part 1

17 Aug

DNC DonkeyThis is in response to the article “The Jesus Litmus Test” by Peter Beinart. Peter Beinart is a senior political writer for a website, author of a recently published book, contributor to Time magazine, and an associate professor of journalism and political science. I’m sure he is more well-read, a better writer and must have more time on his hands to write up articles about politics… as it’s his job.

The DNC has the same old rallying cry: Diversity!

Yet the democrats were pro-choice for slavery until the Republican Party was established to fight the Democrats and overthrow slavery when they got Lincoln into office. They were the party of Senator Byrd, recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan. Yet the DNC claims to be the party of diversity.

The party of Reid, Pelosi and Obama has relied on gender, racial and religious profiling, such as giving special aid on the basis of skin color instead of need and support from and for organizations like the National Organization of Women and the NAACP.

The right judges people on the basis of their character, the left judges people on the basis of their race, gender, religion, etc.

That’s why Harry Reid could say last week, “I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican, OK. Do I need to say more?” Reid was saying that they shouldn’t be treated differently because of their heritage, but then he treats them differently because of their heritage. This doublethink (believing two contradictory ideas at the same time) is what makes up the left’s view of diversity.

Most on the Left assume everyone thinks and acts the way they do. It’s more difficult to think in this closed-minded way on the Right, because the media, public schools, and state universities tend to veer strongly Left, so the Leftist worldview is unavoidable. Thus, when a conservative criticizes someone on the basis of character, it is incomprehensible to most on the Left. The Leftist assumes that the  Conservative must judge the same way she does, on the basis of race, gender, religion, etc. The Conservative is called racist if the person is of an ethnic minority, sexist if the person is female, homophobic if the person practices homosexuality, and bigoted if nothing else sticks.

That’s why anyone who didn’t vote for Obama is a racist. Anyone who doesn’t want a redefinition of the millennials-old term “marriage” is homophobic. The ethics investigations of two Democrats is racist.

The Democratic Party has been in the business of labeling and profiling people on the basis of a variety of demographics. They divide people by category and they have told everyone in every category that they must belong in the Democrat party or they are a Judas to their own kind.

We are all welcome, of course, as long as we do not bring our own distinctives with us. You’re welcome as a minority American, as long as you don’t bring your cultural family values with you. What they want is your skin color, not your heritage. You’re welcome as a Catholic as long as you reject the Catholic worldview. They want your label – leave your beliefs at the door.

You are welcome as long as you behave. Do what you are told to do. Believe what you are told to believe. Democrat politics trumps all religious belief. The party this takes over the place of your God. You lose the right to practice your own religion or to hold your own worldview.

There cannot be any real diversity because the worldview of the DNC conflicts with every religious system and traditional value system. The DNC must take priority over your faith, your worldview and your traditions. The only diversity allowed in the DNC is a facade without substance. It is as genuine as a fake city backdrop on a movie set. The appearance exists without substance.

Fake City Backdrop on Movielot


WSJ: The Perils of ‘Wannabe Cool’ Christianity

16 Aug

There’s an opinion piece published in the Wall Street Journal today called “The Perils of ‘Wannabe Cool’ Christianity“. It reminds me a little of what I wrote in “Treat Us Like We’re Stupid.”

Here’s an excerpt:

If we are interested in Christianity in any sort of serious way, it is not because it’s easy or trendy or popular. It’s because Jesus himself is appealing, and what he says rings true. It’s because the world we inhabit is utterly phony, ephemeral, narcissistic, image-obsessed and sex-drenched—and we want an alternative. It’s not because we want more of the same.


Best Free Core Blackberry Apps

13 Aug

I’ve shared my favorite Blackberry apps with friends before, but lately I’ve found a few that enhance some core functionality of the Blackberry. Here’s a few apps that will give you better experiences for voicemail and sms messaging.

Better Voice Mail: YouMail

YouMail visual voicemail for blackberryI hate checking my voicemail. I delay, then I never know who left a message or when. Even when I listen I don’t know what number they called from, who they are (unless they say),

or what time the message was left. Enter YouMail.

YouMail for Blackberry screenshot

While their website boasts more, I only care for the visual voicemail offered by this app. You’ll see voicemails in a list showing the date, time, name (or caller id information if you don’t have them as a contact), and length of message. Then listen to your messages from this screen. You can save or delete old messages.

YouMail works by forwarding your unanswered calls to a different phone number where they’ve set up a voicemail service. This means you’ll need to record a new greeting or you’ll be using their default.

Get YouMail here.

Better SMS: crunchSMS

crunchSMS, better SMS for my BlackberryBlackberry treats SMS the same way it treats email. Messages show up in the list, you can open, reply, delete, etc. crunchSMS instead treats SMS messages like chat messages, so they show up in a chat-style  format so you can always see the string of messages between you and the other person.

Screenshot of crunchsms, a better sms app for my blackberry.Like YouMail, this is a 3rd party application taking over some core phone functionality, so there’s a few simple steps to set the blackberry firewall to block sms messages so you don’t receive them both in crunchSMS and in the native blackberry email format.

Get crunchSMS here.



08 Aug

Suddenly we’re all Captain Planet? Because we allow the hotel to save money by not hiring as many employees to wash our linens?

We certainly do foster a culture of narcissism.

Posted from my BlackBerry.