Every time we mention the damaging effects of pornography, we get a few nasty emails suggesting that we are just control freaks who want to deny a harmless activity. The Bible makes it clear that God would have us “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). A recent news report about Billie Eilish and pornography shows it is not harmless.
Young people today have easy access to porn because it is readily available online. Billie Eilish, a Grammy-winning singer, stated that the porn she began watching online at age eleven “really warped her mind” about healthy sex and relationships. Porn composes a third of all internet downloads in the United States and is a pandemic among young people.
In The Daily Telegraph, Judith Woods wrote that online porn is “suffused with hatred for women.” She goes on to say that the sex depicted on porn sites is “terrifying, dominant, and violent… There is choking and spitting and angry misogyny… Women are degraded, used” and “discarded.”
Anyone who thinks this activity is not damaging to young minds is simply ignorant about how young people learn. Furthermore, the whole purpose of sex is lost in a culture that denigrates marriage and uses sex as a weapon or a recreational activity.
Sex in marriage creates a sacred, unique, and pure relationship between a man and a woman. Therefore, Christians must teach children what sex is about at an early age before the world exposes them to pornography. In the case of Billie Eilish and pornography, that was age eleven.
The media have recently reported on several life issues from beginning to end. Here are some examples: The German Euthanasia Association has announced that those seeking euthanasia must produce proof of COVID vaccination to legally end their lives. This is apparently to protect healthcare workers.
In Poland, the government has passed a law requiring doctors to report all pregnancies and miscarriages to a government database. The apparent reason for this is to make sure that all pregnancies end with a birth. Unfortunately, Poland has a shortage of workers, and this seems to be the government’s solution to the issue.
Research has shown that women who use marijuana during pregnancy are more than twice as likely to have aggressive, hyperactive children with heart rate and immunity issues.
Babies have a fragrance that comes from an organic compound called hexadecanal. It is found in human skin but is abundant in a baby’s scalp. Research shows that females exposed to the fragrance become more aggressive and strong defenders of their babies. On the other hand, men exposed to it become more gentle and speak with softer voices. Evolutionists claim that this is an evolutionary survival mechanism. We would suggest this is part of God’s design of the human reproductive system.
Research on adopted children shows that some traits are common to adopted children that do not commonly appear in children who are not adopted. In the nine months of pregnancy, there is a “primal bonding that happens by biological design.” Those of us with adopted children can attest to some behavior issues that may be related to the adoption process.
God gave us the ideal arrangement for family–one man and one woman in love with each other produce children they love and care for. Unfortunately, that arrangement is not always possible. Understanding the stress and feelings involved can go a long way toward making adoption a good experience.
As we examine life issues from beginning to end, we know that every child needs a loving family, and every senior adult needs someone who loves them.
A long-term study of 27,224 mice over 26 years challenges a basic assumption of Neo-Darwinism. The assumption is that natural selection guides evolution by removing “unfit” individuals. Therefore individuals that are more fit survive to pass on their genes. The study involved white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) in the wild.
Researchers identified mice with broken, missing, or deformed limbs, missing eyes, cataracts, and missing or mutilated tails. Evolution predicts that these unfit mice would be removed from a population, and the researchers set out to see how quickly that would happen. The data shows that the survival rate of the impaired mice was no different from that of mice who had no physical impairments.
For humans, this observation would be even more dramatic. That is because humans crippled for many years have lived long lives, supported by family members or group associates. That kind of support has never been observed in mice. Moreover, human history is full of terrible acts by racists and political leaders, such as Hitler, who viewed minor physical characteristics as justification for persecution and even execution of other humans.
The evidence is that physical impairments in the animal kingdom do not necessarily cause the demise of an individual. This challenges a basic assumption of Neo-Darwinism which, like uniformitarianism, is not supported by the evidence.
On December 1, 2021, the United States joined Canada, Australia, and Europe in allowing drug safe-havens for people who wish to use heroin and other narcotics. Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City announced that having monitored facilities where someone watches for overdoses will save lives. The first facility in New York was set to open immediately.
Federal laws ban operating a place for narcotic use, but those laws have been poorly enforced. It is interesting that there is no evidence that these facilities provide help for those who are addicted. There have been negative results in other places where governments have tried legalization. Other moral issues such as prostitution and sexual abuse become part of the scene.
Setting up drug safe-havens, making it easier for people to use narcotics, is sanctioning people to harm themselves. Even though they may not die immediately from drug usage, the long-term result is not good. Should the government provide a way for people to become addicted? The news releases on the New York City plan do not say that drugs will be provided. If that is true, drug dealing and the problem of contaminated drugs will continue.
Licensing sin has never worked, and neither will drug safe-havens. Instead, the legalization of gambling has increased crime, prostitution, economic damage, and family breakdown. As the world turns away from God and denigrates the teachings of Jesus, we are not surprised that politicians will seek to condone the sin industries and tax them.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22, Paul admonishes Christians to “Bring everything to the test and cling to that which is good and rejecting all that has a look of evil about it.” Therefore, let us oppose the movement of our nation toward embracing the sin industry as it offers an alternative to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Recent data on disease brings some good news. Cancer has been a major challenge for medical science, but survival rates for cancer have been increasing. Between 1975 and 2016, the percentage of people living for five years after a cancer diagnosis has risen from 50% to 68%. In 1971. three million people in the United States had survived cancer, or 1.5% of the population. In 2019, that number was 16.9 million, 5% of the population. Human pollution and poor life choices cause many cancers, but God has given medical science the ability to combat this dreaded disease.
Also, some good news is what vaccines have done for survival. A better understanding of God’s design of the human body has allowed us to combat diseases with vaccines. Before the vaccine for smallpox, 48,164 people contracted the disease in the United States. Since the vaccine’s development, that number has dropped to zero as of 1998. Diphtheria brought severe illness and usually death to 175,885 people in the U.S. Since the vaccine, there has been one case. Polio affected 16,316 people in the U.S. before the vaccine. Since then, there have been no cases. Measles was a significant cause of birth defects and other health issues and affected 503,282 people in the U.S. After the vaccine, there have been 89 cases.
We thank God for some good news regarding these human afflictions. The more we learn about diseases, the more we understand that they are not “God caused” but often result from human actions and carelessness. It is a tragedy that some people refuse what God has given us to prevent illness and death.
Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments on a Mississippi law prohibiting most abortions after 15 weeks. Protestors on both sides of the abortion issue were active outside of the Supreme Court building. Many abortion advocates, including politicians, have threatened violence if the court strikes Roe v. Wade. Unfortunately, there are no easy answers as people argue about women’s rights and unborn babies’ rights. While research continues to show the humanity of the unborn child, we see inconsistent fetal laws.
More than 38 states in America have “fetal assault laws” on the books. In the past 15 years, about 1200 American women were criminally charged for taking illegal recreational drugs resulting in a miscarriage. If someone assaults a pregnant woman, killing the baby, that person is guilty of murder in most states. This was true in Old Testament times as well (See Exodus 21:22-23).
Researchers at the University of Oxford had the rare opportunity to study gastrulation of a human embryo from an abortion16 to 19 days after fertilization. Lead researcher Shankar Srinivas, an expert in developmental biology, explained that gastrulation is a process that begins about 14 days after fertilization. At that time, different cells emerge and arrange themselves to form various organs in the human body. The new research into gastrulation has the potential to open ways to prevent congenital abnormalities.
The research by Dr. Srinivas gives a glimpse into early human development. When fertilization occurs, we are dealing with a human, not a blob of chance cellular accumulation. The complexity of this system speaks of God’s design and is precious and unique. A news report quoted Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, the director of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, saying that this research shows “recognition of the humanness of the embryo.”
It is within our grasp to prevent conception and avoid the destructive actions of an abortion that can also cause physical and mental harm to a woman. It starts with understanding that sex is not a meaningless physical act but a joining of two people in a deeply personal relationship. That was God’s plan from the beginning. We understand more and more about how this design works, and a consistent approach to the facts can lead us toward an end to inconsistent fetal laws.
What response would you make to a 14-year-old girl who has decided she is really a boy and wants doctors to surgically remove her breasts and put her on a puberty blocker and hormone therapy regime? The UCLA School of Law and the American College Health Association tell us that the number of girls seeking treatment to have their sex changed has risen dramatically. In 2008, it was one in 2,000, and in 2020, it was one in 20. There are now over 50 clinics treating gender dysphoria in the United States. There was one in 2007.
Many young people have severe depression issues and are frequently suicidal due to gender dysphoria. Experts debate the cause of this phenomenon while treatments being used are causing more problems. The question is how to go about treating gender dysphoria. Many transgender cases are due to social contagion as friends influence a young person to “come out” as trans. There are online forums of trans teens with large numbers of participants.
An increasing number of transgender persons regret their decision to change their gender. Some have even sued clinics for rushing them into the decision to change without adequate counseling. Many times other mental health issues are involved. Having your testicles or breasts removed is irreversible. Also, the drug treatments are for life and have side effects that may be medically difficult to manage.
The Bible says God created male and female (Genesis 1:27). The original plan works, but surgery, drugs, and a rejection of God’s design have changed that. The tragic result sometimes leaves innocent victims who are negatively affected by what others have done.
The real complication is that treating gender dysphoria has become a political issue. For example, The Week magazine (October 29, 2021, page 11) carried an article about LGBTQ activists committing violence against scientists and doctors who have suggested applying caution regarding medical intervention in trans situations.
Christians must respond to this with love, compassion, and caring. We should do everything we can to help everyone enjoy the blessing of being a confident male or female in an age of confusion and frustration.
Various mental health professionals and organizations use animal therapy in their practices. The animals soothe and calm hospital patients, provide emotional support, and even help in treating addictions. Therapy animals have included dogs, cats, pigs, horses, ducks, and other mammals and birds.
What can animals do to bring emotional comfort and stress relief to humans? Scientists are conducting clinical research to give objective answers to that question. In the meantime, we all know of subjective experiences where animals have given mental and emotional help to humans. There are also some cases where things did not work out so well, as when a petting zoo brought a bear cub to a university campus to soothe students during final exams. Unfortunately, the bear bit fourteen students, resulting in a rabies scare.
Scientists never want to rely on anecdotal evidence. Instead, they want to know if animal therapy works and why. Part of the importance of the scientific studies is that the United States Department of Veterans Affairs has refused to cover the cost of service dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Insurance companies struggle with similar questions concerning doctor-prescribed service animals for patients with mental health issues.
While scientists struggle to discover the facts regarding animal therapy, many people claim to have received comfort, stress relief, and companionship from their pets. Some scientists have suggested what they call the biophilia hypothesis. According to that hypothesis, the desire to affiliate with animals results from our common evolution from lower life forms.
We suggest another explanation for the fact that humans relate so well to animals. We believe that the Creator gave us animals, especially mammals and birds, to be our companions and helpers. We relate to them, we learn from them, and they serve us in many ways. The truth is that humans have survived through the ages with help from mammals and birds. They are a gift from God.
Seeing colors of light is a blessing. Light is electromagnetic energy vibrating in a specific range of frequencies, but our brain perceives the frequencies as colors.
When your retina receives a particular frequency of electromagnetic energy, it sends a signal to the visual part of the brain, which generates a mental image with luminosity and what we call color. Seeing colors is merely our perception of the various frequencies or wavelengths of light energy.
Every creature with vision can see different intensities of light, but not all can see as many colors as humans can. However, some, such as bees and butterflies, can see colors we can’t see. Human eyes see best in the range of frequencies that our brain interprets as green, but our vision is not as sensitive in the red and blue frequencies. So our brain combines the red, blue, and green frequencies to allow us to see about ten million color variations.
Consider how much of our world is green. Green is very soothing compared to reds or blues, but it would be dull and boring if we could see nothing but green. Seeing colors can change our mood, causing us to become relaxed or excited. Colors can convey a message or bring back memories. Different colors appeal differently to various people.
The color of our eyes, hair, or skin is part of what makes each person unique and part of God’s human tapestry. Therefore, we should thank God for the amazingly complex physical laws and biological properties that bring color into the world for us to enjoy.
One of the facts of life is that eventually, we will all die. Many of us have seen people endure enormous pain over a long period before death finally came. I am thankful that my wife Phyllis and my son Tim did not go through months of intense pain before passing on. Medical science has made great progress in extending life but has not been as effective in relieving pain. That is part of the reason we have seen a movement for legalizing physician-assisted death.
New Jersey passed a “Medical Aid-in-Dying” law two years ago, and last year 33 terminally ill people in the state ended their lives. Since 2016, California has had “The End of Life Option Act.” New York has a “Good Death” Act moving through the legislative process. The movement to legalize physician-assisted death is not confined to America. Holland was perhaps the pioneer of physician-assisted death in Europe. Columbia became the leader in South America back in 1997. The “Colombian Pain Institute” administers euthanasia for “intense physical or mental suffering due to an injury or incurable illness.”
The Week magazine for October 22, 2021 (page 8) carried a report demonstrating the difficulty of legalizing physician-assisted death. In Colombia, a 51-year-old woman named Martha Sepulveda has ALS and was scheduled to be euthanized. She would be the first person in Colombia to receive physician-assisted death without a terminal prognosis. However, the Colombian Pain Institute concluded that “her condition had improved” so she is no longer qualified for the procedure. Now she has a lawyer fighting for her right to die because she “is not willing to continue to live.”
Christians have concerns in this matter. In 1 Corinthians 3:16, we read that our body is “the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in us.” The next verse tells us not to defile the temple. This concept is continued in 1 Corinthians 6:15-20, which teaches why a Christian should not be involved in prostitution. In ancient times, death came more quickly than in today’s world with modern medicines. Therefore, a person near death today deserves special attention and Christian compassion. In Proverbs 31:6-7, we read, “Give strong drink to those who are ready to perish, and wine to those who are of heavy hearts.” When David was near death, he was chilled, and a woman came to warm him not for sexual purposes but to relieve his discomfort. (See 1 Kings 1: 1-4).
The doctors I know are horrified at the prospect of deciding to end someone’s life. It is hard to assess the collateral damage of someone saying, “I choose to die rather than blessing others, especially my family.” In many cases, financial concerns are a significant motivation for ending life, and there are horror stories of involuntary euthanasia in Holland. Christians should lead the charge to develop medical steps to relieve suffering and pain. Financial problems should not be an issue in a wealthy country like the United States.
From an atheist’s viewpoint, death is the end, and physician-assisted death is merely the solution to suffering. However, I continue to be reminded of my son’s last words to me before he died. He said, “Dad, I am going to see Mom, and I will actually be able to see her and be with Jesus.” These words were from a blind, mentally challenged, COVID-ravaged young man who had battled muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and schizophrenia all of his life. He was ready to move on to something better.