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Where Are You Going?

July 21, 2014

From my friend, Clayton Jennings… where are you going?

 

June Update

July 2, 2014

June was busy but good. Here’s a breakdown of what transpired in our little world.

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Professionally:

- Worked on the June issue of Forcing Change, which was completed at the end of the month. This edition examines present-day economic realities and considers the economic system most inline with a Biblical worldview.

- Spoke at the Learn To Discern Conference in Abbotsford, BC. This was an exhausting but wonderful time in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia, interacting with attendees, other speakers, and being blessed with new research contacts and friendships.

- Spoke to a couple of small fellowships in the Interlake region of Manitoba; one in the community of St. Laurent, the other in the town of Gimli.

- Completed a quarterly editorial job for Hope For The World, the research/information ministry of Gary Kah.

- Radio shows: Did a fun yet serious six-part interview with Michael Boehm for his youth apologetics broadcast.

Personal:

- Spring is always a time for mushrooms! So as the month progressed, and as the tasty wild morsels popped-up, they soon found their way to my plate… yummy!

- Spent some time in the woods. We have access to some heavily wooded property with a river and valley cutting it in two. It’s a great place for campfires, hiking, and just “getting away” for a while. So we did.

- Our son, Scott, had a heavy month of working for a national railway company. But it has been been a good experience, and it has allowed him to see some new country in Northern Ontario.

- Austin, our daughter, kept up with boxing lessons. She’s has a mean left-hook…

- And it rained, and rained, and rained. A lot of rain came down throughout the month of June, but it was during the last weekend of the month when things went from bad to out-of-control. Much of the province was hit with multiple inches – up to 6 and more in places – along with shrieking winds. Fields are underwater, ditches are overflowing, and bridges are washed out.

- In looking back over June, the realization is this: Between speaking engagements and writing assignments, there really wasn’t a lot of time for personal adventures. Hmmm… I’ll have to make it up in July!

Books Read:

- Nick Rosen, Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in America (Penguin, 2010).

- Frank Dikotter, Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962 (Walker & Company, 2010).

- Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay (Scholastic, 2010).

Under War’s Bloody Banner

June 28, 2014

Under War’s Bloody Banner

By Carl Teichrib

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Note: Originally published in late 2005, this essay is as relevant and important now as then, for it tackles the criticism – “religion is to blame for all wars” – and explores the interfaith-political outcome that derives from this assumption.

In re-releasing “Under War’s Bloody Banner” on this blog, I have taken the time to re-check and add more information to the “death list” found in the essay – a powerful informational section. I’ve also lightly edited some of the text for better flow and expression.

If you appreciate the type of in-depth research and analysis found in this essay, please consider becoming a member-subscriber to Forcing Change, a monthly online publication that considers global political, religious, economic and social change movements from a conservative Christian perspective.  www.forcingchange.org

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“…all modern trends point to the specter of a terrifying, bigger and more pitiless conformity.” — Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn. [1]

If a global motto exists, it would have to be “Give Peace a Chance.” [2] From every corner of the world, from every academy and institution, from every school, church, and public office, it seems that the cry for global peace is being sounded.

Peace is a noble idea; but since mankind has had a written history, we have never known true peace. The scattered, bleached bones of human history testify to this brutal truth – millions upon millions of times over.

So is Mankind incapable of achieving ultimate peace on Earth? In a nutshell, yes. But accepting this reality doesn’t imply that we are to automatically embrace conflict and strife. If anything, it gives us a window into who we are and how we operate. Unfortunately, the view from this window isn’t very pretty.

How do we collectively respond to this sad state of affairs? By perpetuating a lie.

Religious Guilt and the Death Factor

It has been popularly said that religion is responsible for the majority of the world’s conflicts. Posted on a BBC News Talking Point discussion board on the relevance of religion, one commentator boldly asserted, “Just look around the world today. Religion is the cause of all war and hate.” [3]

Expounding on this line of thinking is an internet petition seeking “world peace” by the outright banning of “organized religion.” This petition, which needs to be viewed for what it is – an exercise in dissent – makes it very clear that organized religion “in all it’s factions, is responsible for most of the worlds wars and the entire ‘War on Terrorism’.” A number of petition signers, some showing immense tolerance by resorting to obnoxious and crude language, repeat the mantra “Religion is the cause of all wars.” [4]

On a more serious note, Ken Wilber, a contributor to BeliefNet.com writes,

Throughout history, religion has been the single greatest source of human-caused wars, suffering, and misery. In the name of God, more suffering has been inflicted than by any other manmade cause…for every year of peace in humankind’s history there have been fourteen years of war, 90% of which have been fought either because of, or under the banner of, God by whatever name. [5]

Has religion really inflicted “more suffering” than any other man-made cause? Is this assumption, one shared by a large segment of society, an accurate notion? Certainly it’s a position that’s well ingrained. [6] Demonstrating the imbedded nature of this popular impression, history professor Pat Johnson writes, “I challenge my classes to comment on the following statement: Organized religion has caused more suffering, wars and violence than any other cause. Almost all the students raise their hands in agreement.” [7]

Logically, if religion has been the major cause of the world’s wars and death, then religion should shoulder the burden of responsibility towards making peace. Today, this rationale underscores much of the global interfaith movement, including the recent United Nations Conference on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace. [8]

But can the finger of guilt really point to religion as the primary cause of war and strife?

The Killing Century

In analyzing this hypothesis of religion’s global war guilt, let’s examine the role of religion as the primary killing factor in the bloodiest century of all time – the last one hundred years. As Winston Churchill explained during the MIT Mid-Century Convocation,

Little did we guess that what has been called the Century of the Common Man would witness as its outstanding feature more common men killing each other with greater facilities than any other five centuries together in the history of the world. [9]

So was religion the prime death factor, the “single greatest source” of war and suffering, for this very cruel and brutal century?

In order to understand the answer to this question, we need to list the major wars and human-caused genocides that occurred during this time frame. And in order to do this in the space allotted for this short article, we need a lower stop-limit number – let’s say 1.5 million as a minimum death total.

Please bear in mind that this list will not be able to separate-out all examples. Some, such as the death figure for World War II, could be broken down into holocaust tabulations, single battle totals, etc – but we’ll try to keep it simple.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that many historical conflicts and killings lack accurate death tabulations, and in some instances the numbers given in our list may actually be too low.

Other problems arise from the lack of concrete death totals. For example: the Mexican uprisings of 1910-1920 variably runs between 750,000 and 2 million dead, likewise the decades-old Rwanda/Burundi conflict falls into this statistically difficult range. Because of the variance in accounting up to the 1.5 million mark, I will leave out these two examples, along with many others that display complex numerical discrepancies up to the 1.5 million figure.

However, the following death-inventory will suffice for our brief review. [10] Notice how many of these mass-killing events had classical religion as its central cause. And yes, religious factors do come into play in some instances, yet even in these examples there are other causes and motivations that go beyond religion.

————

Congo Free State (1886-1908), 8 million – with some estimates up to 13 million; control of colonial profit and power base.

Feudal Russia (1900-1917), 3.5 million; political control and consequences of political struggle.

Turkish Purges (1900-1923), 3 to 5 million; political control before and surrounding the Ottoman collapse, Islamic/ethnic factors within political/national expansionism – Pan Turkism.

First World War (1914-1918), 15 million; balance of power.

Russian Civil War (1917-1922), 9 million; political control.

Stalin (1924-1953), 20 million – with some estimates up to 60 million; political control.

China Nationalist Era (1928-1937), 3 million; political control.

Second World War (1939-1945), 55 million; German/Japanese expansionism, balance of power.

Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), 17 to 24 million; Japanese expansionism into China. Note: this number may or may not include the Henan Famine of 1942-43, which started as a drought but was horrifically accelerated by the Chinese government in Chongqing. If the numbers for the Sino-Japanese War do not include the Henan Famine, than add 3 to 4 million more dead. Furthermore, it must be recognized that the Sino-Japanese War blended into the Pacific Theatre of World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Soviet Repatriations – Victims of Yalta (1944-1947), 1.5 to 2.8 million; end-of-war and post-war repatriation of “Soviet citizens” from Western Allied-controlled territory to the Soviet Union.

Post-World War II German Expulsions (1945-1950), 2.2 million – with some estimates at 5 million; post-war retributions and displacement actions of Germans from Eastern Europe, consequences of Allied policies and Soviet “reparations in kind.”

Yugoslavia (1941-1987), 1.5 to 4.8 million; political control, ethnic/religious issues play an important role. Note: the history of conflict, genocide, and democide in the Balkans is complex and the accuracy of the numbers are difficult to ascertain. That said, the numbers given represent WWII and up to the immediate post-Tito era.

Chinese Civil War (1945-1949), 2.5 million; political control.

Mao Zedong (1949-1975), 45 to 70 million; political control and consequences of collectivist policies. Note: Approximately 45 million perished during Mao’s Great Leap Forward alone, due to starvation, collectivized and forced labor, beatings and executions. The higher number of 70 million would include the death toll of the Great Leap Forward.

North Korea (1948-today), 2 to 3.5 million; political control and consequences of collectivist policies. Note: the numbers may be much higher due to famine/starvation.

Korean War (1950-1953), 3 million; political control.

Second Indochina War (1960-1975), 2 to 4 million; political control. Note: The higher figure represents the expanded capacity of the Second Indochina War beyond Vietnam and into surrounding nations.

Ethiopia (1962-1992), 1.5 to 2 million; political control and the exasperation of famine conditions, ethic issues come into play.

Nigeria-Biafra War (1967-1971), 1 million but up to 3 million due to starvation; political control, religion and ethnic issues play a role.

Pakistan-Bangladesh Genocide (1971), 1.7 to 3 million; political/economic and social control over East Pakistan, ethnic and religious issues come into play.

Khmer Rouge (1975-1978), 2.5 million; political control and collectivist policies.

Afghanistan (1979-2001), 1.8 million; political control, Soviet expansion, religion (Islam) and tribal/ethnic factors plays a role in internal strife.

Second Sudanese War (1983-2005), 2 million; historical ethnic struggles, Islamic issues play a key role, resource control and usage.

Congo (1998-today), 3 to 5.5 million; political control and regional debasement, ethnic strife, resource and territorial control.

————

The sheer horror and brutality of mankind throughout the twentieth century cannot be properly demonstrated in a simplistic chart. However, it’s more than apparent that the principal causation of the majority of these awful events – especially those with death numbers more than five million high – cannot be laid at the feet of classical religion.

Remember Professor Johnson and his statement, “Organized religion has caused more suffering, wars and violence than any other cause”? Professor Johnson just baited his students, and as the good professor tells us, “Almost all the students raise their hands in agreement.”

I then demand that they provide dead bodies as evidence. They usually mention the Crusades and one or two other religious wars they might have heard of but in none of their examples can they come up with a million deaths…I then point out that most of the people who have died as a result of war, have done so in the Twentieth Century and that most of the killing was done in the name of secular ideologies. I then ask them who is the ‘baddest’ of them all. Most guess Hitler. I then tell them that he is rated #3. Some then guess Stalin and I inform them that most scholars place him at #2 with 20 million killed. Almost no one gets #1 who, of course, is Mao who starts with an estimated 40 million. I then point out that the top two were Communists and Hitler was a radical proponent of Social Darwinism. All of these ideologies are based on atheistic systems. [11]

Matthew White, a librarian who has done a tremendous amount of study in genocide/war issues, and is the author of the on-line Historical Atlas of the Twentieth Century, gives this Q&A response to the question of “religion.”

Q: Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?

A: No, of course not – unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century – Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union – no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion. [12]

Maj. John P. Conway, studying at the US Army Command & General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, commented in an article “War and Religion: Is Religion to Blame?”

Most times, it can be argued that religion may play a key and significant role in the conduct of warfare on a psychological and cultural level, but is it the cause of warfare? Do nations, states and kingdoms wage war over religion? Is religion a primary cause of conflict between governments? Many have argued that it is. Another popular statement is, ‘Religion has been the cause of more wars than any other factor throughout history.’ This is commonly accompanied by ‘people have been killing each other in the name of God for centuries.’ Upon closer examination, these statements exude an element of mythology versus fact… A fundamental analysis of past wars commonly attributed to ‘religion,’ as the causal factor, may reveal an uninformed and reactionary misjudgment. Throughout the course of history, the cause of warfare between sovereign states, kingdoms, and governments is attributable to many factors, but can rarely be attributed to ‘religion’ as is so often the assertion. [13]

Maj. Conway continues,

…it becomes apparent that those who make the claim ‘religion has been the cause of more wars than any other factor in history’ may speak from ignorance or have ulterior motives for the assertion. Further, this type of assertion seems rooted in anti-religion posturing… Men and nations have a history of warfare and the root of conflict is power and gain… Occasionally war is fought over religion, as is perhaps the case during the reformation period in Europe. More often than not however, the cause of war can’t be laid at the door of religion. [14]

Certainly religion plays a motivational and ruse factor in various conflict scenarios (all kinds of pretexts can be used in inciting and snow-balling hostilities, in 1969 soccer played a key role in exploding tensions between Honduras and El Salvador), but as a whole the main cause of the major genocides and wars of the last one hundred years lie outside of purely religious stimulus. Moreover, even wars that contain a deep religious element often have multiple causation, including economic, political, and territorial grievances.

None of this is to say that religion is innocent when it comes to strife. Historically we can cite the Crusades, the Reformation genocides, and the mass slaughters done in the name of Allah – such as during the Wars of Apostasy. [15] In modern times we can see the effects of Catholic-Protestant clashes in the British Isles, Hindu-Islamic hostilities in India, the Islamic-Christian slaughters in Sudan, Buddhist-Hindu warfare in Sri Lanka, Moslem-Christian fighting in Indonesia, and the constant struggle in the Middle East between Israel and her Moslem neighbours. Islam as a religious/cultural/political system does play a dominant role in some regional conflicts and localized tension-points. However, in terms of the largest concentration of outright killing capacity, communism, national socialism, and imperial expansionism – all power struggles based on centralist political methodologies – have been the grandest contributor to war and human-caused mass death. Nothing else comes even remotely close.

Clearly, to exert that “religion is the cause of all war and strife” demonstrates a severe degree of historical naivety, or deeply distorted emotional blinders, or the outright broadcasting of disinformation for an ulterior motive (see Maj. Conway’s above quote).

For the students of Mr. Johnson’s class, naivety is the most probable reason for their belief in this religion-war mythology. But for others, ulterior motives exist.

Wrong Assumptions, Wrong Peace

When wrong suppositions are employed, wrong results are guaranteed.

As already demonstrated, the war/religion assumption is nothing short of faulty. While religions today and historically have been culpable (Islam is a prime example in both modern and ancient contexts [16]), religion has not been the prime cause in every instance of war and strife, not even in the most extraordinary cases of the 20th century. Embracing this mythology as fact, the quest for world peace already finds itself building on a shaky foundation.

But regardless of the incorrect nature of the above point of view, many religious authors and spiritual leaders hold to this assumption. Then, taking motivational cues from this war theory, a response is formulated around another faulty assumption.

Here’s the crux of the matter: as faith communities are to blame for the world’s sorrows, then religions need to unite under a common umbrella to ensure peace and security prevails. Therefore, by uniting faiths in the push towards world peace, the divisions that drive humanity to mass violence will be bridged. Today’s global interfaith movement takes this approach, as does Ken Wilber of BeliefNet.com.

Postulating this idea of religious unity in light of religion’s historical war burden, Wilber explains,

If humanity is ever to cease its swarming hostilities and be united in one family, without squashing the significant and important differences among us, then something like an integral approach seems the only way. Until that time, religions will continue to brutally divide humanity, as they have throughout history, and not unite, as they must if they are to be a help, not a hindrance, to tomorrow’s existence. [17]

So what does it mean to be religiously “united in one family”?

Marcus Braybrooke, president of the World Congress of Faiths, explores this theme in his book, Faith and Interfaith in a Global Age,

My hope – though certainly not the hope of all in the interfaith movement – remains that dialogue will eventually bring convergence or, at least, that theology will become an inter-religious discipline or ‘global theology’. [18]

German Catholic theologian Hans Küng describes a similar pan-spiritual unification, “after intra-Protestant and intra-Christian ecumenism we have irrevocably reached the third ecumenical dimension, ecumenism of the world religions!” [19]

Küng and Braybrooke’s concept of universalism is shared by a large assortment of spiritual thinkers, and even some religions. John Davis and Naomi Rice – both connected with the Coptic Fellowship International – succinctly tells us that “the ultimate objective is a fellowship of religions, and the gradual appearance of a world-faith, which in its broader concept will be able to encompass all humanity.”[20] Similarly, the Bahá’í International Community, the global representative of the Bahá’í faith, openly asserts, “The key to interfaith harmony and co-operation is to focus on the essential oneness of all religions.” [21]

To a global public sick of war and bloodshed, the above unification ideology becomes a very appealing venue. Yet this postulation flies in the face of anthropology, sociology, history, and theology. The belief sets of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Animism, Hinduism and so on, are fundamentally and irrevocably disconnected – including who God is (or is not), the constitution of Man, the problem of evil, and the redemption solution to humanities failed state. Furthermore, the concept that all religions are “equally valid” is logically inconsistent.

If all religions are authenticated as valid, we must then admit each spiritual expression into this new “global religious club” as legitimate forms. Therefore, cults-of-death such as the Aum Supreme Truth movement – which was accused of delivering nerve gas inside a Tokyo subway train – must be more than just tolerated, it must be embraced as a legitimate source of truth. Satanism too, along with any other anti-social belief system, no matter how disagreeable, must be accepted on par and received into this universal fold.

Clearly, this “world faith for world peace” assumption is also lacking in credibility. However, this shouldn’t come as a surprise; after all, this flawed unity concept is designed around the first fabrication – the guilt of war.

It can never be said that a House of Truth is built on lies, yet the perfect dream of world peace is being constructed on that very foundation. Waving the flag of tolerance and solidarity, religion is looking to re-invent itself to a new level of “planetary responsibility” – devoid of truth, logic, and reality.

Indeed, as Man sacrifices truth in the pursuit of peace, the only peace gained will come at the sacrifice of liberty. Why? Because such a system, misdirected from the onset, can only coerce and enforce. And whenever Man imposes a utopian peace design – that is, the “creation of peace” at the expense of reality – it inevitably becomes a “bloody utopian dream.” [22]

Paradoxically, by its nature, a “world faith”- world peace structure may actually become a type of self-fulfilling prophecy, ultimately raising the terrifying banner; “Peace is the destruction of all opposition.”

Endnotes:

[1] Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse (Arlington House Publishers, 1974), p.17.

[2] The song Give Peace a Chance by John Lennon, recorded on May 31, 1969, has become a type of global anthem often sung at peace rallies.

[3] BBC News Talking Points, “Is religious faith still relevant?” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/1885779.stm, April 9, 2002 (Accessed November 18, 2005).

[4] PetitionSpot.com [caution: some of the language is very foul, and would not be suitable for young readers], http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/Ban%20religion/signatures.

[5] Ken Wilber, “Why Do Religions Teach Love and Yet Cause So Much War,” www.beliefnet.com/story/147/story_14762.html BeliefNet column. Accessed November 17, 2005.

[6] See Carl Teichrib, “Casting Stones: Christianity and the History of Genocide,”

[7] Professor Pat Johnson, responding to and supporting an online Christian apologetics discussion regarding war as an excuse against Christianity. http://net-burst.net/hot/war.htm (Accessed November 18, 2005).

[8] The UN Conference on Interfaith Cooperation for Peace was held on June 22, 2005, in conference room #4 at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. A reading of the various speeches and documents that surround this event demonstrates the link between religion as a conflict force (and the guilt this implies), verses what religions can now do – unite under the banner of world peace and development.

[9] Winston Churchill, MIT Mid-Century Convocation address, March 31, 1949.

[10] Sources for this chart include the work of R.J. Rummel, Matthew White, and a host of other encyclopaedic resources.

[11] Professor Pat Johnson, responding to and supporting an online Christian apologetics discussion regarding war as an excuse against Christianity. http://net-burst.net/hot/war.htm (Accessed November 18, 2005).

[12] Matthew White FAQ section on twentieth century history, http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/war-faq.htm (Accessed November 19, 2005).

[13] Maj. John P. Conway, US Army Professional Writing Collection, “War and Religion: Is Religion to Blame?” http://www.army.mil/professionalwriting/volumes/volume1/december_2003/12_03_2.html (Accessed November 17, 2005)

[14] Ibid.

[15] For more information on these historical conflicts and slaughters, see The Encyclopedia of Military History by R Ernest Dupuy and Trevor N. Dupuy, The Age of Faith by Will Durant, The Crusades by Zoe Oldenbourg, Judgement Day: Islam, Israel and the Nations by Dave Hunt, Martyrs Mirror by Thieleman J. van Braght, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John Foxe, A History of the Jews by Abram Leon Sachar, The Arabs in History by Bernard Lewis, etc.

[16] See Dave Hunt, Judgement Day: Islam, Israel and the Nations (The Berean Call, 2005) and Dore Gold, Hatred’s Kingdom (Regnery Publishing, 2003).

[17] Ken Wilber, “Why Do Religions Teach Love and Yet Cause So Much War,” see footnote #5 for details.

[18] Marcus Braybrooke, Faith and Interfaith in a Global Age (CoNexus, 1998), pp.15-16.

[19] Hans Küng, Preface to Willard G. Oxtoby’s, The Meaning of Other Faiths (The Westminster Press, 1983), p.10.

[20] John Davis and Naomi Rice, Messiah and the Second Coming (Coptic Press, 1982), p.111.

[21] Bahá’í International Community, “At the UN, governments and religious NGOs convene a peace conference,” One Country, April-June 2005, p.14.

[22] See the Bloody Utopian Dreams series by Carl Teichrib

 

May Update

June 6, 2014

After the craziness of March and April, May felt like a breath of fresh air… without the blizzards and arctic cold of the last 6 months. Here’s what transpired.1900 Fishy tail side

Professionally:

- Spend time working on my manuscript. Who knew that trying to write a book would be so, well, trying? But it’s slowly coming together!

- Worked on the May edition of Forcing Change, which is online in the membership section of the Forcing Change webpage. It covers the important topic of “global citizenship education” and activism for world change. If you haven’t read it and are a member, click here, log-in, and download your copy today!

- After much discussion, we dropped the price of Forcing Change to $4.50/month and restructured the billing processor to a monthly system. For the majority of member/subscribers this isn’t an issue, but some have asked why. A major part of the reason is that over the past two years the majority of memberships have been bulked into the space of four months. We’re not sure why this has happened, and while we’re grateful for four months of better income, it has created a cash flow/budgeting problem for other periods of the year. Going to a monthly billing system will, over the long run, smooth out this situation.

- Attended the virtual conference, “Back to the Future in the Metaverse.” The event took place in Second Life and examined breakthroughs in virtual realty as it related to transhumanism. The irony is this: Too many people showed up and crashed the system! That’s right, “due to technical difficulties” in the metaverse, this conference on the future of the metaverse had to quickly be re-arranged through an open YouTube channel. I’m glad the option was available, for it allowed us to hear the speakers, but it lacked the interaction available through the Second Life venue. Ah, the future… oh never mind, the server went down. Sarcasm aside, I did find the information to be of value and I was glad to attend. A nice surprise came at the end of the event when I re-entered Second Life at the conference’s initial location and was approached by an avatar with a question, “Is that you Carl?” Turns out, the other person was a Christian interested in transhumanism from a critical point of view, and had read my previous material on the movement. A very pleasant surprise!

- Had the opportunity to speak at a small church in Kenton, Manitoba. Subject: other religions and spiritual movements compared and contrasted to Christianity, and the Biblical response to our multi-faith society.

- Radio shows: The Janet Mefferd Show and The Christian Outlook, which excerpted part of The Janet Mefferd interview and played it over the air in Washington DC.

Personally:

- I did some metal detecting in May and was fortunate to find a number of older coins; Quarters, dimes, and small 5 cent pieces. Most dated from 1900 to the 1940s, with an American Indian Head penny from 1893.

- Much of May was focused on our daughter’s festival work. Austin performed at a highlights concert in Gladstone, Manitoba, and then competed at Provincials in the prose/poetry and singing categories. Way to go!

- Our daughter also had the opportunity to stretch in other ways. In the beginning of May she found herself participating in a Model United Nations Assembly, debating world issues and working through resolutions. What made this especially interesting was that she was mentored through the Model program by an elderly friend who’s personal history is deeply entwined with the United Nations and global governance advocacy. Needless to say, we had much to talk about before-and-after the Model UN Assembly! It was a good experience and she’s looking forward to doing it again next year.

- Our son spent all of May working on the railroad and found himself in Northern Ontario, a beautiful part of the country that’s so different from his prairie home. Railroad work is tiring and not without risks, but it’s a fantastic adventure and opportunity. In many respects, this is the summer when our son has crossed the threshold of “teenager” to becoming a man. Keep your eyes on the ultimate prize, Scott! We love you!

- Scott was awarded by the 9th Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron for his long-term service. As he couldn’t attend the ceremonies due to his railroad duties, Leanne accepted the award on his behalf. It was an honor to attend and know that Scott was recognized in this capacity.

- Attended the funeral of a family friend, Mrs. Klassen. It was a bitter sweat time – For we know that if our earthly house, the tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens. Her sons, Murray and Darryl, respectively gave the eulogy and preached the sermon. Neither is an easy task, but both were handled in a way that was honoring to their mother and to Christ Jesus.

Books Read:

- Peter Jones, One or Two: Seeing a World of Difference (Main Entry Editions, 2010).

- Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire (Scholastic, 2009).

Money, Greed, and God – Examining Economics from a Christian Perspective

May 23, 2014
tags:

In this 55-minute lecture, Jay W. Richards does a good job in breaking down economic myths – including zero sum theory and the troubling “greed is good” concept of Ayn Rand. It’s well worth watching and provides food for thought.

Spring Update

May 6, 2014

The months of March and April were wild. For the first time since I started writing personal updates for this blog, I had to skip a month due to time constraints. So this one post combines two months of personal and professional news.

Professionally:

- Wrote two editions of Forcing Change magazine. The March edition focused on the Ukraine situation from an historical perspective, offering important contextual information, charts on energy flows, and a comprehensive timeline that demonstrated the complexity of the Ukraine/Russian/European interlock. If you have not read the March edition of Forcing Change, you need to. The timeline alone is worth the read, as I am unaware of another that gives such sweeping details regarding the geopolitical and diplomatic tensions that underlie this region. ImageImage

The April edition of Forcing Change returned to the question of “what does a Christian criticism of religious transhumanism look like?” During March, I worked to finish the final version of an essay which was subsequently published by the Mormon Transhumanist Association; “An Evangelical Christian Critique of Religious/Christian Transhumanism.” This modified and completed essay, which was first introduced in January as a rough draft, was released to the Forcing Change readership in April.

- Each quarter I compile and edit articles for an Indiana-based ministry and their publication, Hope For The World Update. This task filled up the front end of March.

- Lectured at the following events: Red River Bible & Prophecy Conference (Fargo, ND), Southern Manitoba Prophecy Conference (Winkler, MB), and Ball of Confusion Conference (Lafayette, IN).

- Radio shows interviewed on: Erskine Overnight, Truth Traveler, TruNews, and The Janet Mefferd Show.

- Forcing Change Radio: Knowing that March and April would be full months, I made the difficult decision to cancel my own radio show, which was playing on the Worldview Weekend network. Each weekly half-hour program required 4 to 6 hours to complete: This included the research, recording, editing, summary and E-Alert write ups, and other tasks associated with the show. Now that April is over, and upon reviewing my situation, I don’t believe the time is right to re-launch the program. Hence, Forcing Change Radio is off air until further notice.

- Forcing Change magazine also made the decision to revamp the online membership payment system, moving to a monthly payment program in order to smooth out cash flow hic-ups and other problematic areas.

- On April 4th the Mormon Transhumanist Association held their annual conference. Although the MTA extended an invitation to attend as an observer, I wasn’t able to go this year. However, as the event was live streamed, I set the day aside to watch as many of the proceedings as possible through the comfort of my desk chair. Alas, while streaming a conference is a convenient way to connect with a remote audience, it doesn’t equal being there in person. Nevertheless, I’m thankful I could watch as the event took place.

Personally:

- Since 2002, we as a family travel each spring to Indiana in order to help with the Hamilton County Passion Play. Unfortunately, with only a few days to spare before going, we discovered that our car needed some hefty repair work. Although it was fixed on time, the set back forced us to cancel our trip… to the great disappointment of the Teichrib household.

- During the week that the car was in for repairs, the back tire and rim came off the pick-up truck at 50 mph. Talk about waking a person up! It was late at night when the little mishap took place, and as the sparks flew from our dragging rear hub, my wife, daughter and I, watched as the drum from the brake assembly raced past the cab and disappeared beyond the headlights. What happened? The lug nuts had come loose until all but one kept the rim on the hub, then it snapped and everything went flying. Thankfully we found the nuts (rattling in the hub cap) and managed to mount the tire/rim with three nuts before limping it home. We were thankful for a few things that night: 1) Our son and daughter had used the truck during the day, and it didn’t happen to them on the busy highway. 2) It happened close to home on the gravel road, so there was little chance of an accident with another vehicle. 3) The temperature that night was only -5. If it had happened any other time during the winter, with our chilly -20 to -35 average, it would have made for a much more nasty time.

- Scott, our son, received seasonal employment with a railroad company working on a track/utility crew. March and April, therefore, had us running to Winnipeg for interviews, medical exams, and training sessions. Way to go, Scott!

- Austin, our daughter, took up boxing lessons (she’s a lefty with a mean right hook). She also competed in two singing festivals, winning in the Folk Song division with a recommendation to participate at the Provincial level. Great job!

- Leanne was able to spend a week in her hometown where she had the opportunity to adjudicate a speech-arts festival. It was an exhausting yet rewarding time spent interacting with the school children, teachers and parents of the Virden, Manitoba area.

- I spent a week helping a concrete polishing contractor – ThinkConcrete – as we worked night shifts to carefully grind down a factory floor, and then polish the entire surface area into a beautiful luster. Thanks for letting me be part of your team for a week!

- During the final part of March and throughout the month of April we were able to connect with good friends from as far as British Columbia to Indiana, and others who are right here in Manitoba. We are richly blessed to have friends who, while we may not see each other for a considerable period of time, can nevertheless pick up where we left off – sometimes years and years after seeing each other last.

- April was also the month when winter decided to leave us! After months and months of brutal cold and a lot of snow, the touch of spring warmth and the start of the melt was welcomed by everyone.

- Finally, our dear friend Lisa Wiebe (picture below) – mother of four girls and wife of Randy Wiebe – lost her battle with lung cancer. I knew Lisa from grade school days, and about 5 years ago we developed a friendship with Randy, Lisa, and their daughters. Her faith in Christ Jesus, her love of family, and her commitment to God’s truth were attributes that set her apart from the crowd. She is missed by many.

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Books Read:

- Walt Hartwich, The Success of Lawlessness: The Professing Church, the World, and Antinomianism (Tate Publishing, 2013).

- Richard Halliburton, Second Book of Marvels: The Orient (Bobbs-Merrill, 1938).

- Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception (Harper, 1954/2009).

- William I. Thompson, Evil and World Order (Harper, 1976).

- Aldous Huxley, Heaven and Hell (Harper, 1956/2009).

The War on Humans

March 12, 2014

Overall this is a well done documentary on the importance of humans in relationship to creation, and to each other. Worth the watch.

 

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