Sexual Exploiters Dirty Dozen

Sexual Exploiters Dirty Dozen Can Reach Kids with Smartphones
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has listed 12 supposedly kid-friendly apps and games which in reality set kids up for sexual exploitation. Their sexual exploiters dirty dozen are:

SNAPCHAT – Users send texts and photos that disappear within seconds unless the user takes a screenshot. These contain popular sexters and child pornographers.
STEAM – A gaming platform with over 35 million child users which contains rape and other sexually explicit acts.
YOUTUBE – Lax monitoring of uploaded videos, many of which contain sexually explicit and violent content.
AMAZON – Sells photography books with child nudity, sex trafficking manuals, and soft-core porn.
COMCAST – Packages offer hardcore pornography including teen, incest, and racist themed porn.
EBSCO – This online library for schools features easy access to pornography and graphic sexual content.
HBO – Original programming often focuses on graphic sex scenes, including rape and other sexual violence.
iBooks – This app for e-books is replete with erotic literature normalizing adult/teen sex, incest, racially charged sexual stereotypes, student-teacher, and babysitter sex scenes and rape.
ROKU – This company offers users access to hardcore pornography through private and hidden channels.
TWITTER – Hosts pornographic accounts that advertise for porn websites and online prostitution.
POSTER BOYS OF #MeToo – Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Woody Allen and James Franco use their media channels to normalize their sexual conduct.

Parents, teachers, and caregivers need to be sure to know what sites young people are using. There are many more dangerous sites, channels, and games besides the sexual exploiters dirty dozen. You can find more on this at endsexualexploitation.org. We adapted this information from an excellent article in Citizen magazine for October 2018, pages 23-24. You can read it HERE.
–John N. Clayton © 2018

What Can We Trust?

What Can We Trust?
The October 2018 issue of Scientific American (page 39) contains an article by Brooke Borel titled “Clicks, Lies and Video Tape.” The article begins by stating, “Artificial Intelligence is making it possible for anyone to manipulate audio and video. The biggest threat is that we stop trusting anything at all.” Then what can we trust?

The article tells us that in April 2018 a new video of Barack Obama appeared on the internet in which he spoke looking exactly as he did when he was president of the United States. The image we could all see was Obama facing the camera, and with outstretched hands, he said, “President Trump is a total and complete XXXXX.”

In reality, it wasn’t Obama at all, but an actor named Jordan Peele who used BuzzFeed News to produce a fake video. The technology is now available to make realistic-looking fake videos. They can contain what appears to be known political characters spreading disinformation. In fact, this is already being done.

The first example of fakery was the serpent in Genesis 3, and Satan has continued to use this tool throughout time. In 2 Corinthians 11:13-14 Paul writes, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” The truth is that we cannot trust anything in the physical world. The evening news is full of falsehoods and agents of Satan.

As Christians, we would encourage others to understand that while humans can be bribed, bullied, and deceived. What can we trust? The word of Jesus Christ is true and testable. It can be trusted 100%. What a joy it is to know that we have a rock that is God’s word. If we trust God, all of the deceit and lying of men and of Satan himself cannot mislead us.

“All scripture is given by God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness that the man or woman of God may be complete, totally furnished to guide us into all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
–John N. Clayton © 2018

California Assembly Bill 2943

California Assembly Bill 2943 and LGBT Lifestyle
It was inevitable that after a period of time LGBT proponents would have people who no longer wanted to be a part of their lifestyle. To prevent people from getting help to leave that lifestyle, legislators in California have introduced California Assembly Bill 2943.

What that bill would do is to make it illegal to counsel anyone who wants to leave the LGBT lifestyle. You can get counseling to leave any other lifestyle choice. There are programs that offer counseling to help people leave Christianity just as there are to help people leave Islam or any other lifestyle choice. But what California Assembly Bill 2943 would do is eliminate the right of a person who is part of the LGBT community to receive help to change their lifestyle. Once you have chosen to be a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or homosexual, you would not be allowed to get counseling to change that choice.

Elizabeth Woning who has been a vocal opponent of the bill says, “AB 2943 isn’t protecting LGBT people. It’s really a dramatic infringement of their rights.” Part of the reason this legislation was introduced is because of the track record of Exodus International. At one time, Exodus International advocated militant activity to get people out of gay behavior.

There are effective programs that are not extreme, but offer positive support for those who want help. Two websites that are available on this subject are californiafamily.org and oncegay.com. The bill has been stalled for now, but it has raised awareness of the militant opposition to anyone who opposes forcing the LGBT lifestyle upon the general public.
–John N. Clayton © 2018
Data from Citizen magazine, October 2018, page 12-17

Child Predators and Pornography

Child Predators
The latest government figures reported by the Pregnancy Care Center tell us that every second 28,258 people in the United States are viewing pornography on the internet and that 40 million Americans regularity visit porn sites. This has resulted in 200,000 Americans who are addicted to pornography. The Pregnancy Care Center says “Pornography is extremely damaging to the individual, the family, and the community. It undermines the value of human life and leaves its victim with a sense of emptiness and hopelessness.” It also encourages child predators.

As people have left God and His teachings, they find themselves in a frustrating search for peace, satisfaction, and hope. As we all know, church leaders in all religions and denominations have had personal struggles with these issues, and very little is being done on a practical level to address this problem.

One of the areas where our ministry has tried to help churches and individuals in the area of sexual misconduct and all that it involves. We can best carry out the Church’s role in defending all people from the destructive effects of pornography by studying what the Bible says and learning from the experience of one who has “been there.”

We offer a DVD series from Jimmy Hinton titled Spiritual Warfare: Safeguarding Churches from Child Predators. Jimmy discovered that his father, who was a career preacher, was also among the hidden world of child predators. He has prepared this material to try to help stop this cancer which is undetected and unaddressed in virtually all congregations.

This material can be secured by requesting it on loan from us, or for purchase. If you have questions or wish to borrow the DVD and guide, contact us at 1555 Echo Valley Drive, Niles, MI 49120 or email jncdge@aol.com.
–John N. Clayton © 2018

Eugenics and CRISPR

Eugenics Logo 1921
In 1927 Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes stated: “Three generations of imbeciles is enough.” He was explaining the court’s support of a Virginia program of involuntary sterilization in a case identified as Buck vs. Bell. The Virginia law and others like it in other states compelled the involuntary sterilization of those people deemed genetically inferior. More than 60,000 people in the United States were sterilized in compliance with the laws the Supreme Court upheld. It was connected to the eugenics movement.

The concept of eugenics goes back at least to the ancient Greeks, but it became a popular movement in Europe and North America in the early twentieth century. In 1931, advocates of eugenics, the movement to improve the genetic quality of the human population, held a “Better Babies” contest in Washington D.C. to popularize the movement. Adolf Hitler used the concept of eugenics to justify his promotion of one superior racial group and to eliminate the inferior groups.

Now in 2018, the concept of using science to produce superior human beings is even more realistic. That is because of a gene-editing tool called CRISPR which geneticists can use to manipulate DNA to control the traits of animals, plants, and people. Dr. Henry Greely of Stanford University says that CRISPR “might one day be used to engineer humans who are more intelligent, beautiful, or athletic.”

It is essential to understand that the potential for good with CRISPR is enormous. It may be possible to cure genetic diseases by using gene editing techniques. It may also be possible to produce useful new food sources. The problem is that gene editing can also be used for evil purposes. Dr. Greely’s statement brings to mind Adolph Hitler’s justification of the extermination of what Hitler considered to be inferior humans.

So what will CRISPR be used for – enormous good, or enormous evil? The answer to that cannot come from science. The religious convictions of those doing the research and those who use the research will decide whether CRISPR does good, or whether it will become a tool of war and ethnic persecution.

Virtually every significant discovery of science can be used for good or evil. Nuclear energy has the potential for enormous good by providing unlimited energy to everyone on the planet. It also has the potential for immense destruction. Dr. Jennifer Doudna at the University of California, Berkeley, is one of the inventors of CRISPR. She has written that she has nightmares “of all the ways in which our hard work might be perverted.”

It is essential that brilliant young Christians become involved in science. They must be involved not only in the research but also in how to use the products of the research.
–John N. Clayton © 2018
Reference: Wall Street Journal August 18/19 2018, page C5.

STD Rates Increasing

STD Rates Increasing

In August 2018, the Center for Disease Control released 2017 data showing STD rates increasing. The report showed a radical increase in the sexually transmitted diseases chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. The CDC says that 2.29 million new cases of these three common sexually transmitted diseases were diagnosed in 2017. Gonorrhea led the way with a 19% increase in cases in that year.

The CDC suggests that the reason for the STD rates increasing is a lack of government funding on sex education. There has been no increase in federal spending in that area since 2013. We would suggest that education about the mechanics of how to avoid STDs won’t change the trend. People won’t change their behavior until they truly understand the purpose of sex and how sexual behavior functions in committed relationships.

We have pointed out before that more and more Americans say “none” when asked about their religious affiliation. That is especially true for the younger generation. Without a religious basis, how can young people understand that sex is a creation of God that binds parents together in a loving, healthy home? The answer to STD rates increasing is not more funding, but more faith.
–John N. Clayton © 2018
Data from USA TODAY, August 29, 2018, page B1.

Death Penalty Inadmissible?

Death Penalty Inadmissible?
Pope Francis has resurrected an old debate by declaring the death penalty inadmissible in all cases. The Pope says that the death penalty “attacks the inviolability and the dignity of the person, a dignity that is not lost even after having committed the most serious crimes.”

Romans 13:4 describing rulers says: “For he is the minister of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid: for he does not bear the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon he who does evil.” Some have argued that the sword is a symbol of justice, not execution, so there has been a debate on execution for many years.

One of the major theological issues is that when you execute a person who has not become a Christian you have condemned them to hell. Another problem is that courts cannot always determine guilt worthy of the death penalty in a fool-proof way. In the United States in the past 45 years, 1,479 people were executed. There were 162 people scheduled for execution who were found to be innocent before the death penalty was carried out. How many of those executed were actually innocent? The New York Times says the death penalty “is an arbitrary and hugely expensive barbarism whose victims in the United States are often black, poor, or mentally disturbed.”

Is it wise to make the death penalty inadmissible? We have prisoners in our correspondence program who are on death row. In our discussions with them, it has been clear that in most cases there was considerable doubt about the cause of their incarceration. In many cases, the court debates have gone on for decades. Perhaps finding ways for them to give back to society without allowing them to become a public hazard would be a more merciful and fool-proof response to not bearing the sword in vain.
–John N. Clayton © 2018

Data from The Week, August 17/24, 2018, page 17.

Secularizing a Culture

Secularizing a Culture
Is it possible to discover the key factors for secularizing a culture? Yesterday we discussed an international computer modeling project called the Modeling Religion Project. The goal of the international team of experts working on the project was to use computer modeling to learn how politicians could manipulate the religiosity or secularization of a society. We won’t go into all of the background details again, but you can read yesterday’s post HERE.

We said that this scientific study determined that four factors lead to secularizing a culture. The factors are: 1-Having material things, 2-Having personal freedom, 3-Welcoming diversity or pluralism, 4-Having a higher level of education in science and the humanities. We quoted Wesley Wildman, a professor of philosophy and ethics at Boston University and a collaborator on the project who seems to want our culture to become more secularized and less religious. He said, “The U.S. has found ways to limit the effects of education by keeping it local, and in private schools, anything can happen.” He also said, “Lately, there’s been encouragement from the highest levels of government to take a less than welcoming attitude to pluralism. These are forms of resistance to secularization.”

You shouldn’t need a computer model to realize that having money and material things along with personal freedom can lead people to forget about God. The ancient Israelite nation demonstrated that multiple times, and we can see it in more modern societies. Unfortunately, people turn to God in hard times and forget about Him when things are going well. Welcoming diversity or pluralism, when it means that we consider all faiths or no faith to be equally valid, is also an obvious path to secularization. However, sharing our faith with people of diverse cultures does not lead to secularization. Also, education does not have to be a path to unbelief. The DOES GOD EXIST? program has always said that science and the Bible, when both are correctly understood, are friends and not enemies.

Professor Wildman built another computer model to determine why some religious groups survive while others fall apart. He concluded that one of the most important factors is that the movements that persist have “a highly charismatic leader who personally practices what he preaches.” Wildman said, “It’s basically, leave the groups alone when the leaders are less consistent, kill the leaders that have those specific qualities.” In other words, he is saying not to worry about religious movements with leaders who are not charismatic and who don’t practice what they preach. They will probably die out anyway. The religious movements that will last and have a radical effect on society are those led by a charismatic leader who practices what he preaches.

What religious leader fits that description precisely? Jesus Christ, of course. What did the ones who wanted to end His religious movement do? They killed Him. The thing they did not count on, was that we would not stay dead.

Computer modeling has now given us the steps to secularizing a culture. Professor Wildman put it this way: “The MODRN (Modeling Religion in Norway) model gives you a recipe for accelerating secularization—and it gives you a recipe for blocking it. You can use it to make everything revert to supernaturalism by messing with some of those key conditions—say, by triggering some ecological disaster. Then everything goes plunging back into pre-secularism. That keeps me up at night.”

We suggest that we should be working to create not a “secular” or “religious” society, but a society based on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. We don’t need an ecological disaster. We do need a 1-a secure society, 2-with personal freedom of speech and religion, 3-that welcomes and shares with those in need, not only physically, but spiritually, 4-and with education that recognizes that God speaks through His creation (science) and through His word (the Bible). Remember that the authorities tried to kill Jesus and His message, but they could not.
–Roland Earnst © 2018

Click HERE for information about the Modeling Religion Project.
Click HERE for research reports from the project.
Click HERE for an article from The Atlantic titled “Artificial Intelligence Shows Why Atheism Is Unpopular.”

Computer Modeling Religion

Computer Modeling Religion
An international team of experts including computer scientists, philosophers, religion scholars, and others set out to find a method for computer modeling religion. The “Modeling Religion Project” ran for three years with funding from the John Templeton Foundation. They completed the project and gave their report in June 2018.

Collaborating on the project were Boston’s Center for Mind and Culture, the Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center, and the University of Agder in Norway. The goal was to use artificial intelligence to predict which political philosophy will give the best outcome. What does that have to do with religion, you ask? Read more.

The experts entered data collected from real people (largely in Norway) concerning economic security, education, and religiosity into computer models. The computer models were “trained” with “a set of empirically validated social-science rules about how humans tend to interact under various pressures.” In the computer model, the researchers could increase investment in education or provide more jobs or give the youth more social opportunities and so forth. The outcome was supposed to give politicians a tool to choose the most effective policy to follow. You still might wonder what this has to do with computer modeling religion.

Okay, here is the crucial part concerning religion. A spinoff of that project is another one called “Forecasting Religiosity and Existential Security with an Agent-Based Model.” This project is asking questions such as: “Why aren’t there more atheists? Why is America secularizing at a slower rate than Western Europe?” They also are attempting to learn what factors make a society more religious or speed up secularization. LeRon Shults who teaches philosophy and theology at Norway’s University of Agder said that by entering data from 22 different countries, they can predict “whether and how belief in heaven and hell, belief in God, and religious attendance would go up and down over a 10-year period.”

The researchers found that four factors lead a society to become more secular (less religious). The factors are:

1-Having enough money and food (existential security)

2-Having personal freedom (to choose whether or not to believe)

3-Welcoming diversity (or pluralism)

4-Higher level of education (in science and the humanities)

They found that all four of those factors must be present to speed up the secularization of a society. If any one of those four is missing, the society will remain more religious.

Wesley Wildman, a professor of philosophy and ethics at Boston University, collaborated on the project with Shults. Wildman said that keeping education local and in private schools and not welcoming pluralism have been “forms of resistance to secularization” in the United States that have slowed the move away from religion. He suggests that we need to nationalize education and be more welcoming of diversity and pluralism so that we can achieve more secularization as Europe has done. He hopes that their computer model will help politicians learn how to do that. However, he is not optimistic that politicians will accept his recommendations anytime soon, but he said, “We’re going to get them in the end.”

What, then, are the implications of computer modeling religion? You see the four factors that the researchers say will speed up the secularization of a society. Think about what this might tell us about the future. We will continue with that thought tomorrow. In the meantime, below are some links for more information about this project.
–Roland Earnst © 2018

Click HERE for information about the Modeling Religion Project.
Click HERE for research reports from the project.
Click HERE for an article from The Atlantic titled “Artificial Intelligence Shows Why Atheism Is Unpopular.”

Fake News

Fake News
In the last two years, the word “fake” has shown up so many times in the media and political arena that people are now well aware of the fact that not everything is as it appears. Fake news is nothing new, and the early Christians had to deal with fake apostles, fake witnesses, and scams of all kinds. (See Acts 6:13 and Acts 8 for examples.)

In the scientific area, there have been so many fakes in every field that there are some people who make a living just exposing fakes. This is a constant problem in the field of paleontology where fake fossils have confused the theories of evolution and earth history. In The Week magazine for August 10, 2018, carried an interesting story about “The Great Chinese Dinosaur Boom.” Scientists have found rich fossil beds in northeastern China. Local farmers have discovered that they can make good money by selling fossils to collectors who are not scientists. The result is that they have glued pieces together to make it look like a new form of life. This reminds us of the fake human tracks that were promoted in Glen Rose, Texas, in past years by people trying to sell the religious position that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time.

There are several lessons for all of us here. One is not to trust any human without checking out their claim. That is true of every endeavor in our lives. Few of us would buy a used car without investigating the claim of the salesman about what an excellent deal we are getting. Why would we accept religious or secular claims without giving the same spirit of investigation to the story?

In a world of fake news, the one thing we can trust and that is absolutely true is God’s word. Don’t trust what people claim that it says. Study it for yourself. That may mean looking up the meaning of the words of the original language and taking the time to look at the context. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is useful for teaching, for refuting error and for giving guidance as well as for moral discipline, that the man of God may be complete and adequately equipped for all good work ” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
–John N. Clayton © 2018