The novel is still a hardback bestseller and the movie comes out next year. The Da Vinci Code continues as the best-selling fiction work in history. Yet Christians are alarmed by the “pseudo history” where it’s hard to tell where fiction ends and truth begins. Bible scholars are releasing a number of books to counter this secular work of fiction called The Da Vinci Code. Fiction writer Dan Brown likes to say he’s on a mission to persuade. He believes the non-traditional theories and obscure teachings that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, that they had children, and that Jesus was not the incarnate Son of God. In other words, Dan Brown would not believe that Jesus is God or part of the Trinity.
Bible scholars say there is virtually no historical evidence to support the theories breathlessly presented in his novel. So what’s the problem? It’s what one Christian publisher (who is putting out a book to counter The Da Vinci Code) said, “We realized Dan Brown’s book raised many questions that the average Christian didn’t know how to answer.” One biblical scholar says talking about The Da Vinci Code is like shooting fish in a barrel. Some pages have so many errors you don’t know where to start. You get compounded errors. It’s wrong in so many layers it leaves one speechless.
The Bible itself is evidence is what it claims to be – the Word of God. It’s a library of 66 books, written by 40 authors over about 1500 years, and yet, there’s an underlying unity that runs right through it and holds it all together. Its prophecies were remarkably fulfilled. Its understanding of God is more profound than any other, and its ethics are nobler. And today, over 2,000 years later, more people than ever want to read it. It has brought forgiveness to the guilty, freedom to the oppressed, guidance to the perplexed, consolation to the dying and hope to the bereaved. Everyone who reads it with an open mind and a humble spirit testifies that it has a strange power to both disturb us and comfort us at the same time. In a single bound, it crosses every cultural barrier. As one Chinese Christian said one time, “Every time I read that Book, it kicks me.” Charles Morris
In case you missed it, this might be a humorous insight you could use.
There are times you have to love Ted Kennedy, in spite of all the criticism we level at him and his liberal colleagues, Joe Biden, Chuckie Schumer, Hillary Clinton and John Heinz-Kerry, to name a few. On Monday evening, December 11, on national TV Ted was speaking in his bellicose fashion about the things he and the Dems are going to do as soon as they take over power in Congress in January. Among other things he is introducing a law whereby all businesses with more than 15 employees must provide 6 paid sick leave days for every employee each year. Describing it, he said: "If it is good enough for the Senate and good enough for Members of Congress, it's good enough for hard working people too." Couldn't have described his fellow politicians more accurately.
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | It is chilling that the Baker-Hamilton report came on the eve of Pearl Harbor's anniversary. In 1941, clashes every day in the Atlantic Ocean made us more focused on the imminence of war with Germany than with Japan. Today all eyes are on Iraq. It's called the center of the war on terrorism, but it must not monopolize our attention. We need a third eye because we are now less likely to be attacked by international terrorists than by homegrown American citizens, self-radicalized individuals who are members of groups inspired by al Qaeda propaganda.
This is a profoundly demoralizing thought, given the long tradition of success our nation has enjoyed in infusing newcomers with the American ideal. Britain, taking a different course, was proud to have created a multicultural society. But apparently well-adapted young Muslims who were born in Britain exploded the subway bombs of July 2005. Now the head of Britain's domestic intelligence agency, Eliza Manningham-Buller, has come out with a grave warning. Not so long ago it was an offense for anyone even to mention the name of the head of MI-5. (The box office hit, Casino Royale, has it right: 007's boss, Judi Dench, is a distinctly anonymous figure). So the fact that the MI-5 director has stepped out of the shadows is significant in itself. And what she says is that there are many more British Muslims who back the terrorists. MI-5 has stopped five plots to date. We know of the one to blow up 10 planes over the Atlantic, but MI-5 is monitoring 1,600 other suspects, mostly homegrown Islamic terrorists who get their training in murder and mayhem on the Internet. In Germany, too, only an alert train conductor prevented the detonation of propane and gasoline bombs that would have horribly burned and killed hundreds of commuters.
A new training ground. Interviews with the heads of counterterrorism and local police officials in the United States yield similar assessments. The threat is from second- and third-generation children of immigrants, fluent in English and accustomed to American society but using the legal rights of U.S. citizenship to rebel from within. They have learned the Koran on the Internet; they lead small clusters of 20 to 25 mostly young men who share feelings of alienation, a longing for self-importance, a need to be a part of some larger group or cause. They have developed what is called "adversarial assimilation."
The Internet has replaced Afghanistan as a training ground. It is effectively the university of jihadist studies, where hundreds of Muslims from all corners of the world can study the rules of jihad, while they live in it anonymously. Here they learn to fire a shoulder-held antiaircraft missile; to prepare explosives and make bombs out of batteries and improvise hand-thrown charges to hit vehicles; to seek a position on a crowded bus to achieve maximum casualties; to plan kidnappings; and to concoct botulism toxin.
Marc Sageman, who collected the life histories of 400 would-be jihadists, found that most were well-to-do, with two thirds having some college education and only 27 percent characterized as lower class. Some 70 percent joined the ranks of the global jihadists while away from home. Separated from the traditional bonds of family and culture, they drifted to the mosques more for companionship than for religion, but there they found extremists who appeared to offer a compelling, all-encompassing explanation for their feelings of anomie and lack of self-worth.
If we are to avert mass casualties from the enemies within, it is imperative to fashion a new approach to find these people. Our criminal justice model has been to look for the criminal after the crime. This won't do any longer. How do you punish a suicide bomber? We must disrupt plots before they are carried out. Gathering this intelligence will impinge on traditional civil liberties, but we simply don't have much choice. As the well-known journalist, Harold Evans, told the Hudson Institute recently, "I'd rather be photographed by a hidden surveillance camera than travel on a train with men carrying bombs in their backpack. I'd regard being blown to bits on the street as more of an intrusion of privacy than having an identity card."
The jihadists are not just another protest group. They recognize no moral and legal standards-and we are fighting them with one hand behind our backs: The sad fact is that over the years our government has not earned enough trust to allow for reasonable compromises by which the intelligence agencies could get the bad guys without violating the privacy of the good guys.
What has been done to date-border controls, intensity of interrogation, even airport searches-has not diminished most citizens' "feel of freedom." But if we were to experience a major attack that could have been thwarted by effective countermeasures, the public outcry for action would make the present restrictions seem a mere bagatelle. So the greatest threat to civil liberties today is not preventive measures, but failing to take them.
Imagine what it would be like to stand helplessly by and watch your home be washed away in a flood. This was the tragic reality for thousands of people in India this year. That's because the annual monsoon rains deluged the country with much more rain than normal. The result was massive flooding. Click here to see how GFA Compassion Services helped one village make a fresh start after the floods. Click Here
GFA Compassion Services Teams take very seriously the Lord's command to help meet people's physical needs, without neglecting their spiritual needs. That's why you'll find teams made up of missionaries, students and local leaders sharing the Gospel and praying for the people long after all the relief supplies have been distributed. You can see more about the work of GFA Compassion Service teams here. Click Here http://www.gfa.org/newsupdate121206?motiv=WA6C-G1PS
All the News That's Fit to Print? IFI and the New York Times
December 12, 2006
Note: This commentary was delivered by Prison Fellowship President Mark Earley.
Regular "BreakPoint" listeners and readers know that a federal judge has ordered a highly successful program for prisoners called the InnerChange Freedom Initiative®, or IFI, to shut down because the judge felt it violated the separation of church and state.
Prison Fellowship strongly disagrees. So do the Justice Department, nine state attorneys general, and numerous faith-based organizations. That's why Prison Fellowship is appealing the case and why the others I just mentioned have filed friend-of-the-court briefs with the appeals court on IFI's behalf.
Not surprisingly, however, the New York Times agrees with the judge. On its front page last Sunday, the Times ran the following headline above the fold: "Religion for a Captive Audience, Paid for by Taxes." The headline alone tells you the kind of picture the Times intended to—and, in fact, did—paint: inmates coerced into participating in a government-funded religious program.
But what did the Times not tell us in that article? First, the Times failed to mention that prisoners who participate in the program do so voluntarily. Every potential participant is told about the religious aspects of the program. Participants may leave it at any time without penalty. And they do not need to accept or profess Christianity to graduate. That's why every prisoner who testified at trial said that he was not coerced into enrolling in the program.
Neither did the New York Times tell you about what the judge considered to be "coercion": offering inmates a quality program and the tools they need to succeed on the outside, such as drug treatment, job preparedness, and general education. These are what he regarded as bait to lure unsuspecting prisoners into a Christian program where they can be converted!
The Times did tell you that one Catholic inmate left the program because he felt IFI was hostile to his faith. And while the Times granted that the program does not condone anti-Catholicism—which, of course, it doesn't—it didn't tell you that the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights filed an amicus brief on IFI's behalf.
In its zeal to make it look like the taxpayers are picking up the tab for jailhouse evangelism and indoctrination—their words, not mine—the Times didn't tell readers that Prison Fellowship pays 60 percent of IFI's costs in Iowa. The other 40 percent paid by the state of Iowa, pursuant to a competitive bid contract, is used for the non-sectarian or non-religious aspects of the program.
While the Times did note that attorneys general in nine states "fiercely protested" the judge's decision, and that IFI has been "widely praised by correctional officials and politicians," it didn't tell you why.
The reason is that IFI has been proven to help states reduce recidivism, as shown by a study by the University of Pennsylvania. And it helps states to manage corrections costs. In short, state officials like IFI because it works.
The Times article has been picked up by other newspapers across the country. On one hand, I'm glad that IFI is receiving front-page coverage. On the other hand, I'm left feeling that the Times has chosen not to report all the news that's fit to print.
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