Speaking of Denominational Exceptionalism

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…This is a subject Adventists are not immune from and most especially in the US.

I’m talking about Denominational Exceptionalism.

In Islam, there are the Sunni and Shi’ite factions. In Judaism there’s Orthodox and Unorthodox. Both are still considered to be Muslim or Jewish though. Christianity has almost 35 recognized denominations–22 based in the U.S.–and all of them believe they are “The One”. Obviously, each denomination has their own set of unique beliefs. I won’t go into the specifics of what everyone believes but like I said, members of all believe they are “The One”.

…Adventists are no different.

I have been seeing Doug Batchelor of Amazing Facts and John Bradshaw of It Is Written as well as Dwight Nelson, Carton Byrd and other Adventist pastors whose programming is on Hope TV/Hope Channel, 3ABN, Amazing Facts TV and It Is Written TV pushing back hard against Denomination Exceptionalism from within the church.

The reason is simple: It’s short-sighted to think that way.

I mentioned at the top Adventists are not immune to the practice of Denominational Exceptionalism. The other Christian Denominations consider Adventists to be “Legalists” for using nothing but the Bible as the basis for all of its tenets. Not just one but all including The Sabbath, which is a big aspect that separates Adventists from the other Denominations.

The Bible makes it clear that there will be two groups of people at The Second Coming: Those who will be Saved and Those who will be Lost. There is no third group. Just one or the other. Not all who will be Saved will be Christian either. God loves using loopholes to Save people. Christ’s First Advent foretold in Eden is one such example. Contrary to what the Devil wants the world to believe, God is Love. God wants everyone to live and everyone to be Saved.

God can also use anyone to do his will even if they don’t know him. King Cyrus of Medo-Persia was named in scripture 150 years before his time as the one who would overthrow the Babylonian Empire in a single night. Studies conducted on past civilizations have revealed that there were people who worshipped a single Creator God despite neighboring people worshipping multiple Gods.

Anyways my point is once you get into the whole “My beliefs are the only ones that matter” mindset as a Christian, you’re only fooling yourself. Jesus himself there are many who think they will be saved and they won’t be. Many will also be very surprised to see who will be Saved as well. God forgave King David, who was an Adulterer. Jesus forgave a Thief crucified next to him. As long as you focus on just what’s in front of you, you will never be able to understand the larger picture.

Adventist Pastor Carton Byrd often said in his early Breath of Life sermons “It’s not important to believe what you believe but why you believe what you believe.” There are too many Christians across all denominations worldwide who can’t even explain what their beliefs are or what even about what their Denomination is about. If you can’t explain it to someone clearly and simply. you probably don’t know much about it yourself.

Here’s the 3 points I share with folks when explaining what Adventists Believe.

  1.  We believe the world was made in 6 literal days and God rested from his work on the 7th Day.
  2. We believe in the Second Coming of Jesus and the state of the world are signs of his soon coming.
  3. We believe the Bible alone is the sole authority for all things and not any man or tradition.

If you want a more detailed explaination, go here: https://www.adventist.org/en/beliefs/

 

Now here are the 3 points I share with folks when I explain why I am an Adventist:

  1. I believe in the Adventist Message regarding the Second Coming, The Sabbath and other things.
  2. I believe the Bible alone should be the only standard for my faith as does the SDA Church.
  3. I believe that over time, these beliefs will be adopted and practiced by Christians who will adopt in 1 and 2.

…That’s it.

I don’t force my beliefs on others. That’s not what anyone considers themselves a Follower of Christ or one who Believes in God should be promoting or endorsing either. God’s a big believer in choice and respects free will weather it’s to His benefit or not at the end of the day.

The Bible outlines when Lucifer Rebelled, God could’ve wiped him out with just a thought. Instead, he gave space for the angels to decide who they want to side with–God or Lucifer. Two thirds chose God, a third chose Lucifer. In Eden, God gave Adam and Eve a single Commandment: Don’t eat from a specific tree because in doing so, you’re sure to die. When they did, God could have and would have been within His right to immediately end the Human Race and start over but He didn’t.

Cold Logic dicates God made the wrong choice not only sparing their lives but allowing Human History to play out. God is clearly Logical though. I said earlier God loves using Loopholes to Save people. After all God is Love ^_^

 

 

 

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Before I forget, yes I am on Twitter

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If you already follow me on Twitter, you’ll see this same post and another one multiple times since I posted them on ALL of my WordPress blogs at once.

I’ll keep this one short, though. Assuming you’re reading this first from WordPress, my Twitter handle is @LaVonDavis617. Feel free to Direct Message me on Twitter if you’d like–I only recently found out what and how to DM on that note–and I’ll get back to you when I can.

The easiest way to get in touch with me without knowing my phone number is via Google Hangouts or iMessage. I have an Android Phone but I also have an iPad. I can text an iPhone as long as I know the number but if you wanted to text my iPad first, you will need to know my iCloud Email. It’s the same with Google Hangouts, which requires either an Android Phone number or a Gmail account.

  • My iCloud is btboston1@gmail.com
  • My Gmail is btboston1@gmail.com

…My iPad is Wi-Fi only but I’m pretty good at getting back to people fairly quickly. This way, everyone has at least 3 different ways to get in touch with me. Of course, you can also just email me if you want.

One last thing: I am in need of Donations. Use the link below if you’re able and willing to donate!

If you have enjoyed this post or other posts I have made on this blog, please consider making a monetary donation via PayPal. Whatever amount you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

In general, I like to be consistent in what I do and say

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When I first launched this blog 7 years ago, it was meant to be a backup to my old website Serene Adventure.net. I never would have imagined back then that I would have gone on to make 10–soon to be 11–more blogs on WordPress. I spent almost $500 on just operating costs with my original website over an 8 year period. I was able to do WAY more than that for free these past 7 years with WordPress.

My personal life has been in limbo over the last three–no, five–years in particular. Even so, I have learned a lot over the last 3 years I have been unemployed. My work as an Independent Consultant is a new venture I started late last year. I’ve got some big aspirations but I am also realistic. I know my limitations but I don’t think that disqualifies me from needing and wanting to make some big life changes.

Priority #1 is being able to support myself financially. To that end, I decided to start a Consulting Firm. Of course it’s not currently licensed or registered but that will change once I have the money to make it happen. At the same time, I am still looking for employment. The money I do make as an Independent Consultant isn’t much and isn’t consistent enough to really be considered income. I can’t even report it for tax purposes or I would have already.

This is something I have been saying to the people I’ve met in the last few years a lot lately: People have learned to love things and use people when it should be the other way around. You’re not rich until you have something money can’t buy. I have no interest in being rich or famous. Doing things for others makes me happy at the end of the day. At the same time, I am far more likely to go out of my way for someone who I know will appreciate the help I provide.

Every time I get a Like for one of my blog posts, I know someone appreciated the effort I put into it as well as the content. I have written almost 1,000 articles across my 11 blogs. I took my time putting every single one of them together.

For almost two years now, you’ve seen this at the end of every article:

If you have enjoyed this post or other posts I have made on this blog, please consider making a monetary donation via PayPal. Whatever amount you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

…To date, no donations have come in since I started including this in my posts across all of my blogs. I am now asking those who have especially come to enjoy my postings no matter how long it’s been to please donate. Without going into all the details, I need the help. If you’re able donate but want to talk to me first, you can email me at btboston1@gmail.com.

I recently got a Roku device and can now watch Hope Channel on TV again!

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I got one a few weeks ago and for the first time since my laptop broke in November, I can now watch Hope Channel on a larger screen. I found the Apps for It Is Written and Amazing Facts on my iPad and they were both on Roku, too. I now have access to not just live programming but on demand access to a treasure trove of Adventist and Christian programming across all three of these Apps.

…All FREE, too. All that’s needed is an internet connection.

Given the times we now live in, I feel it is more important than ever that I have ready access to the Bible Truth spoken via all three of these services. “What about the Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN)?”, you might ask. My first exposure to Adventist programming was 3ABN about 16 years ago. No disrespect intended to 3ABN founder and president Danny Shelton but I never liked that network personally. The original programming just feels far too scripted and patronizing to me. That’s just my personal opinion though.

By the way, Hope Channel is the official network for the Seventh Day Adventist Church. I do believe It Is Written and Amazing Facts are also at least partially funded by the SDA Church but I can’t remember offhand. All three as well as 3ABN have Apps that can be downloaded free of charge on Android and iOS or watched via web browsers on a computer. If you have a Roku (or similar device), you can watch them on your TV. You can also get a Daystar Satellite to watch 3ABN and Hope Channel. Most don’t know this but Hope Channel is also available on DirecTV on channel 216.

All that said, I highly reccommend getting a Roku. You can get a basic device for as low as $30 and all versions offer the same types of services. The higher end ones are designed for higher end TVs is all. Setup takes about 15 minutes. They include the Roku device itself, the Roku Remote, an HDMI cable and the power cord. An internet connection is required and you will need to make a Roku account, which itself free. This is important: You can only us one Roku device on one TV at a time BUT you can use several Roku Devices with a single Roku Account. It’s not that different from hooking up a video game console but is far smaller in comparison. Anyway once you get it up and running, you can download the relevant Apps and watch immediately.

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Not only can you watch live programming but you can also watch programs on demand. Doug Batchelor’s first Prophecy Seminar from 1999 is available on the Amazing Facts App in its entirety. Even back then, Pastor Batchelor explained things in a way that is both easy to understand and grounded in Bible Truth. That marked the first time I remember the SDA Church made a serious push to bring Bible Truth to a world in dire need of it using mass media.

It was an official introduction to the world of sorts for the SDA Church to not just explain what we believe but more importantly, why we believe what we believe. Since then, the SDA Church would concentrate spreading Bible Truth regionally across the world to a people hungry for it. About 10 years ago, the SDA Church decided to shift focus on people living in Cities. As the human population is expected to reach 8 Billion by 2030, more and more people are moving into the cities of the world. While most denominations have traditionally focused missionary work on remote and rural areas, the SDA Church is making a concious and aggressive push to bring The Gospel to every corner of the largest cities in the world.

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Last year, I mentioned The 10-40 Window in one of my posts. As a refresher, most of the Human population lives in this area of the world. Three of the world’s largest religions–Islam, Hinduism and Buddism–are also the most concentrated in the highlighted region. China’s population is 3.5 Billion and India’s is 1.1 Billion–almost half the world’s population combined and almost two thirds of the world population combined. Most Christian denominations avoid The 10-40 Window because in many of these countries, it’s either punishable by death to convert from the state religion (Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria for example) or local traditions are seen as too strong a barrier to overcome (Thailand, Japan, China and India for example).

When missionaries and evangelists publicly share stories about their experiences in some of these countries, they always preface it with either “I can’t name the country” or “In a certain country I can’t name”. They will also make up names in reference to people they interacted with as well. It’s mainly to protect the lives of the people they worked with when they were there first and make sure it’s possible for other outsiders to get in second. These are the countries where not just you but anyone who helps you is literally putting their lives on the line for the Gospel. Literature is burned at the least and conspirators are sentenced to death at the worst. Those who live in Europe, Australia, Parts of Africa + South Pacific and The Americas can only imagine what that must be like. Well, for now anyway.

This is to say nothing of the lack of funds and manpower being committed across all Christian denominations to mission work and spreading The Gospel in general. These Apps do help bridge the gap but they are not a substitute for real people and literature on the ground. The Lord is moving behind the scenes to open boarders for The Gospel. It is more important than ever for everyone to hear the last day message. These Apps certainly go a long way in bringing the Gospel to the world.

 

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Christianity’s dark history is why most outside the Western World don’t call themselves “Christian”

Most Christians in Western Europe, North America and Australia avoid discussing eras like the Crusades and the Inquisition not just because both events paint Christianity in a negative light but also because more often, they don’t know the truth hidden within the truth. A lot of it comes from how Christianity went from an underground movement after Jesus’ time to the State Religion of the Roman Empire almost 300 years later.

If you ask anyone where the phrase “Christian” came from, they’ll either tell you they don’t know or “It says so in the Bible”, which isn’t true. The term was first used by Roman authorities and Jewish leaders to describe Christ’s followers. In fact, it was meant to be used as an insult but the Early Church owned it and used to for good. In recent times, Christianity has been associated with hypocrisy and rightfully so.

…Its dark history is why.

Those who know their Roman history knows Emperor Constantine’s conversion to Christianity suddenly made a long outlawed belief system the Roman Empire considered the biggest non-military threat to its existence the state religion overnight. A people who were marginalized and brutally persecuted for years were now free to evangelize but it came at a steep price that wouldn’t be realized until almost a thousand years later.

That price was compromise and the mixing of traditions:

  • Zeus was replaced with Jesus as the main spiritual figure in the new Roman Catholic Church. Athena was replaced with the The Virgin Mary.
  • Idols and statues were everywhere in the Polythiestic beliefs of the Roman Empire. The Old Ways were prettymuch dressed up to be “Holy” in short as a compromise to Pagans.
  • The biggest “small” compromise: The Day of Worship was changed from Saturday to Sunday. Sunday was the holiday for the pagans already and honors their Sun God. The explaination given both then and to a lesser extent now for the change was to separate themselves from the Jews, who still honored the original Seventh Day Sabbath. There is nothing in the Bible to support the Sabbath Day being changed from Saturday to Sunday and those claiming there is always presents passages out of context and not even understanding themselves.
  • The Pope’s title is “VICARIUS FILII DEI” which translated to English means “Vicar of the Son of God”. In other words, the Pope claims to have power equal or greater to Christ. Of course, it’s code for something else: If you treat the Latin characters in the Pope’s title as Roman numberals, the sum of “VICARIUS FILII DEI” is 666.
  • The Roman Catholic Church introduced the concept of baptism by sprinkling to be just as good as baptism by imersion with no biblical backing.

 

The Roman Catholic Church rose from the ashes of the Roman Empire and used the nearly 1000 years before the invention of the Printing Press to plunge Christianity into a Dark Age. Before Gutenberg’s Printing Press, few outside the Church owned a bible and the reason for this is because the only way to get one was for it to be copied by hand. That made owning your own bible next to impossible unless you were rich.

Before the printing press, most people had no choice but to go by what they were told by church leaders. That made it all the more easy for Catholicism to introduce, spread and popularize practices not mentioned in the Bible. No one dared question what they were told mainly out of ignorance and lack of access to scripture themselves. The church quickly realized it was far easier to control the masses if they kept the truth out of reach. Yes they often helped meet physical needs over time but for spiritual needs, they spread alot of misinformation and untruths.

That brings us from the Dark Ages to The Crusades. Everyone knows Western Europe–specifically England and France–financed three campaigns to “liberate” Jeruselem, which was firmly under Muslim rule. The atrocities committed in the name of God have never been forgotten by the Muslim world almost 600 years later. The Pope at the time basically promised complete absolution to all–as in all sins would be forgiven–to all who enlisted and joined the campaign to take Jersualem from the “Muslim heretics” who controlled it. This is what can happen when Church and State are allowed to mix.

The first Crusade ended in failure but Christianity managed to capture Jerusalem with the Second after the Pope’s decree. The reports say once the gates of the city were break, everyone inside–including Christians–were massacred. The bloodlust of the invading forces was that fervent. The Muslims soldiers who managed to escape with their lives were demoralized but regrouped under the leadership of the legendary Saladin. The hollywood movie Kingdom of Heaven portrays Jerusalem’s rapid fall back into the hands of the Muslims. A Third Crusade attempted a few years later was stopped due to the lack of funding. France and England both refused to fund a third Crusade and…yeah. Jerusalem would remain under the control of the Muslims until the early 1950s after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

The US and the UN helped establish Israel as an independent nation but the ancient capital city of Jerusalem revered by 3 faiths–Christianity, Islam and Judaism–was disputed between the newly formed Israel and the Muslim nation that had been there long before, Palestime. A compromise was struck: Jerusalem would be open to all but in exchange, Palestine’s capital would now be Gaza City and Israel’s would be Tel Aviv. Jerusalem has been fought over–I mean literally–ever since but I won’t digress further.

The atrocities the Roman Catholic Church committed during and after the Medieval Times–not just the sex abuse scandals from 10 years ago–was all in the name of holding on to and expanding its power over the world. The current Pope has been taking steps toward regaining some of that terrible power it lost a few centuries ago. The late 1700s saw Europe turn its back on not just the Roman Catholic Church but Christianity as a whole. Many, many people in power at the time had opened their eyes to how corrupt the Papacy truly was and in some cases were establishing their own churches in defiance to the Vatican. King James of England is the most known–the King James Version of the Bible is from that time. When he came to power in France, Napoleon Bonaparte prettymuch outlawed religion entirely.

How did an entire continent that was long considered the bastion of Christianity lose almost 1,000 years’ worth of influence by the start of the 1800s? I just told you: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. If not for the almost overnight pivot away from the Roman Catholic Church, the Protestant movements that gained traction across Europe in the last few centuries before the French Revolution would not have flourished.

It’s true the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock 400 years ago–about 52 minutes’ drive southeast from Boston–sought Religious Freedom from the Church of England. It’s also true they brought the same intolerances of the Roman Catholic Church whose teachings the claimed to reject to The New World with them: The imfamous Salem Witch Trials (1692 and 1693). That incident which would today be considered a grave human rights violation likely played a role in the United States erecting a wall between Church and State at the time of its founding almost 100 years later. That hasn’t stopped many from inside and outside America to call it a “Christian Nation”.

The problem is its own history speaks to the hypocrisy of this so-called “Christian Nation”. A few things I’ll highlight:

  • At the time its founding, the owners of African Slaves fought hard to ensure they would be allowed to continue to own slaves at the time of the country’s founding. It’s true that some of the founders were themselves slave owners but they did grant their slaves freedom out of moral obligation. Most stayed on and were well taken care of.
  • During the almost 100 years between America’s founding at the Civil War, slave owners used Scripture to justify their Slavery in the US. Yes, this really happened.
  • During the 100 years between the end of the Civil War and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the American Aparthied aka Jim Crowe kept African Americans as second class citizens. Hitler himself once commented the Jim Crowe laws were too extreme even for him. So…yeah.
  • More so in recent years, the US Government is hastening to block or at least slow immigrants from entering the country. The irony being America was founded by immigrants.

I’ll stop there but see this blog post I made a while back for even more examples.

I’ll put it like this: The world’s biggest problem with America is the overt hypocrisy. Not just to other nations but the people who live within its boarders. Did you know the current White House Administration is actually violating International Law by threatening to close the US-Mexico boarder? Did you also know it is also a violation of International Law for a country to bar refugees from entering while they are undergoing the process to be legally recognized as refugees? Yes it is and I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t know that. Repeatedly over the course of it’s history, American Exceptionalism has put it at odds with the rest of the world. The only difference is now, the rest of the world is no longer willing or able to put up with it.

America is being left behind on every level including Spiritual. While it is true almost two thirds of Americans either grew up Christian or self-identify as either Christian or followers of Christ, America is morally and spiritually dead. Not dying or in decline but dead. The broad reason is because of selfishness and a lack of purpose. Most American Christians only care about  what they can get and receive. This is what happens when you live in nation that has in recent years hastened the destruction of the wall between Church and State–mostly at the behest of outspoken Christian preachers calling for an America with “Christian Values at its core”. We went through this before with Rome.

…Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I apologize for falling behind with the blog but given the times we are living in, I have been doing quite a bit of watching especially in recent years. Prophecies are being fulfilled before our very eyes and mant of very people who should be watching the signs and wonders are clueless. I’m talking about Christians just so we’re clear.

 

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An important warning to parents about the “Momo” Challenge and self-harm videos that target kids

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I was preparing to make a blog post to comment on the sudden rise of self-harm videos that have been reported on YouTube Kids all month when I got word of this imfamous Momo Challenge that has been reported worldwide. At this point I think it would be fair to say it’s not an urban legend and is in fact a real thing. Local Law Enforcement are trying to get the word out because the Momo Challenge threatens and encourages kids and teens to do dangerous things and eventually, suicide.

Here’s how it starts: Users are asked to add Momo as a WhatsApp contact via YouTube, Facebook or some other social media platform. It specifically targets kids, teens and in some cases Young Adults. Once the connection is made, things immediately get scary…and dangerous…and possibly deadly, too. The entity known as Momo makes contact and immediately threatens and intimidatinng the victim into doing what it says, saying things like “I’m watching you” or “If you tell anyone, you’ll die”. Kids as young as six years old have apparently been targeted by this Momo Challenge. It specifically targets children and teens because they’re far more likely to accept what they see at face value and do what they’re being told.

I do believe Momo is actually a botting program that is being intentionally spread online. There certainly are chat bots sophisticated enough to carry a conversation as if it was a real person. They do what they’re programmed to do in short. Of course, I would be able to tell the difference fairly quickly between a bot or a real person. A child? Absolutely not. Certainly not a 6 year old. On the one hand, it’s fine to ignore the messages. On the other hand, kids are being specifically targeted. So…yeah.

I mentioned other self-harm videos.

Even worse is both the Momo Challenge and other self-harm videos seem to have hijacked YouTube Kids, which is a kid-friendly version of YouTube. Google, which is aware is trying to address the problem but for now it’s highly reccommended you uninstall the YouTube and YouTube Kids Apps from your kids’ devices for now and block the site on your computers at home. Why go that far? Well, the self-harm videos, which describe in graphic detail how to commit suicide are disguised as innocent-looking cartoons kids are familiar with. It starts looking normal but then it gets dark and scary. Even worse is it ends by encouraging kids to go through with it.

…Yeah.

There are some sick, sick people out there sadly.

I would reccommend parents sit down and talk to their kids about the Momo Challenge as well as the Self-Harm videos. Tell them if they see anything online telling them or showing them how to hurt themselves to report the content immediately and don’t do what it says. Let them know all actions have consequences not just for them but everyone they know.

Most importantly, pray for them and pray with them. Assure them that all they need to do is call on the name of the Lord and they have nothing to fear from what they are seeing. This is the work of the devil. He is working overtime to get to your families and your children in any way he can. Nothing is off limits to him and this is why it’s all the more important to be vigilant and monitor what your children is doing online even if it looks familiar.

 

To the internet tough guys who think this is hoax, “Don’t see a problem” or feel “They’re doing parents a service”, you won’t feel that way when it’s your child or the child of someone you know. I promise you that. While yes, I certainly don’t think kids as young as 3 should be using the internet unsupervised, that doesn’t excuse the malicious and vile actions of the people who are doing and spreading these things online. Show me a 3, 4 or 5 year old child who has never seen one of these messages of evil before who would watch them and think it’s just “harmless fun”.

There is absolutely nothing “harmless” or “fun” about what these self-harm videos and the Momo Challenge are looking to intimidate and scare kids into doing. Yes, they revealed some glaring flaws in YouTube and YouTubeKids’ (and Facebook’s) prescreening algorithms but it doesn’t change the fact someone is deliberately doing this. The disturbing content is embedded in episodes of kids’ programming and uploaded to YouTube. In other words, someone is deliberately doing this for the sole purpose to traumatizing a child at best and coercing them into doing what they’re being told at worst. To date, 2 kids in Columbia (the country) have committed suicide because of these self-harm videos.

The disturbing content appears about 14 to 16 minutes into an otherwise normal episode of children’s programming and lasts for about 20 to 30 seconds. Short enough to not get picked up by YouTube’s pre-screening algorithims but still long enough to deliver its vile message. I have seen the messages myself and for reasons that should be obvious, I am not sharing here what is said. I will say for the Momo Challenge users are directed to add a phone number from Mexico, Russia or India to their contacts and contact Momo via WhatsApp under threat of death to them and/or their friends. Again: young children are being specifically targeted. They have no way of knowing they have nothing to fear from what they saw.

Like I said before, I do believe Momo–like Blue Whale before it–is a chat bot. It’s not an actual person but a scripting program someone made to sow chaos. I also believe the phone number is randomly generated and this is also why I am not sharing any numbers. Again, a young child would not know it’s not a real person. All they know is they’re being told to hurt themselves or put themselves in dangerous situations in very specific ways and if they don’t do what they’re told, something bad will happen to them or the people they care about. They are directed to not tell anyone or “I will know” and “I can see you right now so I’ll know if you tell anyone” obviously. Again, young kids who don’t know better are being exposed to this.

I am urging folks to reblog this post and help get the word out. The whole world is talking about this. That’s how serious this is. No one is taking this as “a hoax”. Kids are getting hurt at worst and in two cases, someone has died. This is one “game” that needs to be stopped immediately.

It’s like I said in a previous post on this blog: Evil is actively seeking out children via the internet and they are coming up with more and more ways to do it without ever meeting them in person. Unsupervised internet access for children under 13 especially is unacceptible. Know what your children are doing online weather they are home or elsewhere.

 

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It Is Written’s recent “The Dangers of Technology” Special is a Must-Watch for All Parents

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I will be posting a variation of this on my main blog as well as my video game blog and my new blog on Politics and News.

As more of the world has access to the internet and social media compared to 20 years ago, it is even more important than ever that we exercise caution when it comes to how we use modern technology. More importantly, leave nothing to chance when it comes to protecting children from the online predators who are actively seeking them out.

When it comes to the internet and social media, privacy is a thing of a past. The most valuable currency online is not money but personal information. After all, sites like Facebook and Twitter are hit by cyber attackers looking to gain access to the personal information of the millions who use those sites. Said information is in turn sold to the highest bidder or used to open lines of credit in your name. It’s not like the 90s where you had to be browsing certain kinds of websites to get into trouble. Now, the trouble is actively prowling Social Media and online games looking for their next victim.

Even those adults who know little about the internet knows not to disclose certain kinds of information to complete strangers they meet online. The same can’t be said about children and that is why pedophiles and sex predators have become more bold and brazen than they have in the past in luring children through social media and video games. When I say “child”, I mean someone who is 17 and under for the purposes of this blog post.

Here’s 5 questions I want to pose to you:

  1. Does your child have their own Social Media account(s)?
  2. Does your child play video games online at home and if so, does the game have a text chat or voice chat feature?
  3. Do you have pictures of your children posted or shared on your own Social Media account?
  4. Does your child have a desktop/laptop, netbook, cell phone or tablet that only they use?
  5. Does your child use technology unsupervised?

If your answered Yes to ANY of these questions, your child could be targeted by online predators or already may be. Just so folks know, most Social Media platforms state one must be at least 13 years old to make an account. Facebook has been aggressively closing accounts made by underage users to protect them from the pedophiles prowling the site for children.

It’s not just Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. Pedophiles are prowling popular video games like Minecraft and Fortnite specifically looking for kids to approach. First they gain the child’s trust and then things get dark and perverse fast. Of course, they approach pretending to be kids themselves wanting to be friends. Once they’re sure they’re talking to a child, they start asking age inappropriate questions.

If your child uses social media or video games with private chat features, ask them if they have been asked or told any of the following questions by someone they met online:

 

  1. “Where do you live?”
  2. “What’s your first name?”
  3. “Can you send me a pic? I want to see what you look like.” and “You look cute/good. Wanna be my boy/girl friend?”
  4. “You sound young. How old are you?”
  5. “What are you wearing right now?”
  6. “Can I have your cell number/email? I have something to show you.”
  7. “Can we video chat/FaceTime?”
  8. “Would you like to meet?”

If your child answered Yes to any of these, they may be talking to a pedophile. NONE of these are appropriate for an adult to knowingly ask anyone under 18, let alone under 13. Of course, most kids wouldn’t know. The predator’s fishing for info to confirm who they’re talking to is in fact a child and not an undercover cop. Once that’s confirmed, they work on two things: Getting a child to send them nude photos or video and arranging an in-person meetup. Again, a child wouldn’t know. Such material is usually quickly shared on Child Porn sites.

The only way to prevent this from happening is to use your Parential Discretion and actively monitor your child. Here is a checklist I highly reccommend:

  • Set Parental Locks on any video game systems, cellphones or tablets and other electronic devices your child will be using. This helps limit the device’s communication features both ways.
  • On your Facebook account set photos of your children to Friends of Friends, Friends or Me Only. This severely limits who can see them. At the same time, do not set pictures of your children as your Profile or Cover Photo. That invites predators and pedophiles to browse your photos and download pictures of your children without your permission or knowledge.
  • If you child plays video games online, tell them not to tell anyone they don’t know in person their name, age, phone number, email address or game account information.
  • Children under 14 should not have a computer in their bedroom unless there is internet filtering software installed or parental locks enabled on it. On both PCs and Macs, you can set parental locks that restrict both internet usage and installing or modifying programs.

…No longer are we worrying about Pedophiles just hiding in plain sight. They have figured out how to target children from the safety of their own homes. In short, extra care needs to be taken when kids are using technology. Talk to your children about the importance of internet safety and privacy. Tell them that not everyone who is friendly to them is who they say they are and teach them the importance of not revealing their real name, age or location to anyone they have never met in person before.

If your child has a cell phone, make sure they understand no one they have not personally met is allowed to know their cell phone number. Boys and girls should also be instructed to never take pictures of themselves with no clothes on and more importantly, tell anyone who asks for such pictures NO. Make sure children understand only a parent, adult family member or doctor is allowed to see or touch their private parts or butt and no one else. Just put it like that. Make sure they understand it’s not ok to show their private parts to anyone else with or without their permission. For teenagers under 18, make sure they understand they and whoever they’re dating can be charged with posession of child porn for “Sexting” even if it is consentual (and it usually is consentual) as long as one or both is under 18.

These days, constant vigilance is the only way to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable from the predators who actively seek them out. Most children are very trusting and have no way of knowing the harm in talking to a complete stranger or exchanging nude pictures with a complete stranger who asks. All they know is someone is being very nice to them and is giving them their complete attention. They have no way of knowing howing why they are being asked for pictures of their private parts. Such images or video are almost immediately shared with other pedophiles via the Dark Web and once something is shared on the Dark Web, there’s no going back.

…If you’re a parent or guardian and terrified by now, you should be. Use the information I provided and put it to protecting your children. Like I said at the top, the monsters change with the times. It’s on us to change with the times and do what we can to keep ahead of them.

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The subject of this blog post is definitely not for kids

And for that reason I am going to type about 50 characters so that it doesn’t show up in the article preview. See the below animated gif for a big clue on what it will be about. I said it’s not kid-friendly so obviously it has nothing to do with construction, cars or maintanance on equipment. By now I’m sure half the young guys reading this–and some of the young ladies as well–are giggling like schoolkids because their minds are going in a certain direction.

…And this time, they are not wrong to have that reaction. Yes, I am going going to go there. Not just on this blog but at least two others.

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I am going to talk about Masturbation.  Specifically, why it’s bad for your health. Not just your spiritual or sexual health but your overall health.

…Why the sudden interest in talking about it on my part? My reasons are two:

 

  1. About 8 years ago, a man I won’t name who had alot of money–he was a millionaire in short–bought what was believed to have been almost 90% of the porn sites and pornographic material available online at the time and consolidated his new assets into one site. Not only that, he made the content 100% free to the public. That new site is now known as PornHub, which is basically the Porn version of YouTube and ImageShack combined for those who may have never heard of it. No signups needed either. 90% of the content is free to all no strings attached while the other 10% is locked behind a premium subscription (but most of that has been re-uploaded as free content by users).
  2. According to various studies, the overwhelming majority of those who Maturbate fall into two categories: They’re young adults and they are single. It would also be fair to assume the overwhelming majority are Male as well.

 

Those who are belivers or otherwise Christian have undoubtably been told or read that Masturbation is considered a sin. In recent years, case studies done have revealed there are a lot of health-related reasons to either stop Masturbating or just not do it at all. That and there are concerns with growing cases of Erectile Dysfunction (ED) in young men–a condition normally seen in the elderly and porn actors–which is a telltale sign of too much Masturbating, almost always from watching porn.

It is worth noting the reported ED diagnoses skyrocketed afrer PornHub came online. So yes, there is a connection. For those who are probably thinking “What’s the big deal?”, it IS a big deal: Having an orgasm from Masturbating is different from having an orgasm from sex. Not only is the orgasm much  weaker–prettymuch a placebo effect–but you are actually slow-killing your own sex drive. You’re rewiring your brain to to use less Testosterone (Men) or Estrogen (Women) when you Masturbate.

 

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This is a huge problem for men in particular and more so if you and your female partner are trying to have a baby: Research done has revealed not only do men release a lower sperm count while Masturbating but most of the sperm are not even viable for fertilization because they are “lazy” and could even have trouble fertilizing an egg, let alone make it to one. If you are trying to have a baby, you will need to go at least a week or two without doing ANY Masturbating to allow your Testosterone levels to recover enough to produce Sperm strong enough for fertilization.

Making babies aside, like I said before you have a weaker orgasm and lower sexual endurance when you Masturbate. So, if you’re trying to impress someone then you’ll still want to go at least a week or two without Masturbating: Most women are able to correctly guess the man they had sex with (or were trying to) has Masturbated if intercourse is under 5 minutes, their ejaculation is small and short, they lose their erection almost immediately after ejaculating or a combination of all three. This does not happen in any other situation including sex with mulitple partners present.

What’s that? “I don’t plan on getting serious with anyone ever and don’t plan on having kids”? Well, that doesn’t mean you’re safe either.

Image result for Wrench tightening bolt gif

ED is a serious condition. For those who don’t know, having an erection for more than 2 hours is pretty unusual but will go away once sources of arrousal are gone. Having one for 6 or more hours is actually dangerous as your heart rate is elevated already. It’s rare to have an erection for more than 2 hours without male enhancement drugs or hormones (Viagara, etc.). If you have a strong erection for more than 2 hours with no sources of arrousal present then you need to go to the emergency room. You run the risk of suffering a heart attack in short. Some of you may have heard stories of old guys dying during sex so…yeah.

If you are having a strong erection for 2 or more straight hours with no sources of arrousal present or in mind then you need to go to the emergency room so it can be treated. More so since by then you can likely no longer control it and it is more than a little uncomfortable. Treatment involves a mild anesthetic directly into the base of the shaft of the penis. That relaxes the nerves in the penis and by extension blood pressure, allowing the erection to safely stop. You’ll also be advised to lay off Masturbating and/or Sex for a week or two as well as be more careful.

That aside, most guys who Masturbate likely don’t want female family members or female partners to know about it out of shame. More so if they do it while looking at Porn. Of course, there is no hiding the act from God. Masturbation can become very addicting and that can become a serious problem mentally, socially and Spiritually. Mentally, you can become so absorbed in it you lose touch with everything around you. Socially, it can set unrealistic expectations on how sexual intercourse is or should be. I don’t just mean the porn actors but the amateur porn videos regular folks upload as well. This is obviously aside from ejacuations while Masturbating. More so if it’s not into a toilet, bathtub or shower. Unless you plan ahead for that, more than likely you’ll have a…puddle to clean up afterward. Spirtually, it’s no different from any other addiction and that’s what makes it a sin. It’s something that separates you from your relationship with God.

 

I’ll close by saying this and it’s mostly for teenage boys and young men. Women and teenage girls WILL get pregnant if you decide to have unprotected sex with them. They have no control over it either. YOU, on the other hand do: More than likely once, you woke up one morning or in the middle of the night noticing your underpants are wet but it didn’t smell–or feel–like urine. That’s called a “Wet Dream”. That means your testicles have matured enough to start producing semen. The Wet Dreams are your body testing your sex organs (Penis and testicles) for sexual intercourse and more specifically, making a baby.

Naturally, that means you need to be careful from that point on. The difference between that and Masturbation is you are not aware of a Wet Dream because you are sleeping. And no, it doesn’t matter what type of dream or if you didn’t dream at all. Once you become aware you can conscientiously ejaculate–because of being sexually arroused or masturbation–then you have the responsability of practicing safe sex. If you have unprotected sex, you accept the responsability weather you like it or not.

Safe sex being using a condom–I know that’s a dirty word to some folks for some reason–and washing your penis after sex. Most don’t think to do that but yes you want to make sure to clean it after sex–more so if you have 2 or more sex partners. Yes, I went there. If something looks or feels strange, immediately go see a doctor. Most importantly, tell your sex partners if you have contracted an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection). They have a right to know to protect themselves. More so since…you know some STIs are lifelong. Seriously, if you know something’s not right and you have sex with someone else anyway that makes you a monster to ruin someone’s life like that.

…This concludes the Sex Ed Lesson no one asked for. You’re welcome and I offer no apology to those who may have been offended by this post on this blog. The unwillingness to openly talk about topics like this is why the same issues continue to this day. I don’t plan to make this a regular thing but if this is enough to turn you off from reading this blog, you won’t be missed. Like my other blog posts, I offer no apology to those who may be offended by what I post on this blog.

 

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Hope Channel’s Adventist Mission program in Thailand highlights the need for increased funding for Missionaries

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I’ve been watching this program on Hope Channel, which is the Seventh Day Adventist Church’s Official Network. It is free to all via the Hope Channel website, Apps (Android and iTunes) and DirecTV (Channel 368) in the U.S. You can watch Adventist and Christian programming from around the world and in many languages on Hope TV. There is also the privately owned and run 3ABN (Three Angels Broadcast Network), which also carries Christian and Adventist programming  worldwide that has been sanctioned by the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

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Getting to this particular program, it’s currently following the Adventist Mission from the U.S. working in Bangkok, Thailand. It shows what happens when a Foreign Mission does not get adequate funding. Since cameras started documenting the Mission two years ago, the Bangkok Misssion was forced to close due a lack of adequate funding. Not only that, it was revealed the Adventist Church’s Thai liturature is decades out of date and in many cases out of stock.

Now, while I was getting the above pictures I confirmed the Adventist Church maintains a strong presence in Bangkok via several hospitals and universities. It has also been commended for its health and wellness seminars by the Thai government. That’s great, but here’s some food for thought: Only 2% of the country is Christian, let alone has heard about Christ. According to the numbers, there are about 2,000 Adventists in a country of nearly 70 Million people. Over 90% of the country is Buddhist. Yes, the SDA Church is known in Thailand through its health and wellness programs as well as ADRA (Adventist Disaster Relief Agency) but not much beyond that despite having had a presence in the country for 100 years now.

In the episode I just finished watching, one of the commentators said something interesting that stuck out to me. He said Christianity is dying in America. He explained further the reason he said that is because in the U.S., Christians lack a real purpose and only care about themselves.

And you know what? He’s right.

In the U.S., Christianity has become so engrained in American culture and “The American Way” that most who identify as Christian are mainly so “out of tradition” or because their “family always has been”. Anyone who has seriously read the Bible would know what will happen when a people takes blessings from God for granted or misuses them. God will take away the blessings and give them to someone else. Clearly that time has come for the U.S. with the state of the country today. God will not be mocked or fooled.

Ask anyone why Christianity in America is the way it is and you’re likely to get one of the following responses:

 

  • “Abortion is legal”
  • “Gay Marriage” or “Gay Rights”
  • “God was taken out of Public Schools”
  • “Liberals” or “Democrats”
  • “Conservatives” or “Republicans”
  • “Non-believers want to play God”
  • “They want to take ‘Under God’ Out of the Pledge of Alliegiance”
  • “They want to take our guns away”
  • “All these other people want to come here.”

 

…Those are just a few examples of the things I have heard or others have told me they have been told from across the U.S. The funny thing is America’s Freedom of Religion goes both ways: Yes, you’re free to believe whatever you want as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others but the reverse is also true. Others are free to not believe in anything or a non-Chrirstian faith if they want to. The problem is because Politics and Religion were allowed to be mixed in the U.S., things will only get worse and worse over time. Prophecies are being fulfilled before our eyes and so many are unaware and unprepared. I’ll return to this topic another time.

Getting back to my earlier train of thought about Missionaries and Missionary work. The sad reality is across ALL Christian denominations, giving to foreign missions is down. The Bible makes it clear: Only when every man, woman and child has had the opportunity to hear The Gospel Message will Christ return. Until that happens, we can forget about The Second Coming can’t happen. Jesus’ task to us before he went to heaven was to take The Gospel to the world.

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The area highlighted here is known as the 10-40 Window. Two thirds of the human population live in that space. Christianity is insignificant at best (Iraq, India, China and Japan) and outlawed at worst (Iran, Syria, Yemen and North Korea) in the countries covered in the 10-40 window. To even consider evangelizing in most of these countries is to risk your life.

There is a reason most Christian denominations actively avoid this area:

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To say reaching the almost 5 billion people who live in this area–again, most of the human population–is quite the challenge goes without saying. It is a challenge but not an impossible one. Besides, Christianity is firmly established in some of these countries already.

Image result for The 10-40 Window
…Unsurprisingly, the Americas are all Green. Most of Africa is Green as well as Australia and most of the South Pacific. The Chinese government is not intolerant of anything outside Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism as it once was and has allowed Christianity to not only take root but thrive. It is a minority religion in the country now but evangelism is no longer criminalized…as long as you have permission from the government, of course.

Iraq has a rapidly growing Christian population. The country is still very dangerous but Christianity is stable there. Same with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Although it is in the 10-40 Window, The Philippines is actually a Catholic stronghold. Most of the population is Catholic though it does have a large Buddhist and Muslim population as well. Until the current president came to power, the Roman Catholic Church prettymuch ran the country since it became an independent country in 1987. There is uncertainty among non-Catholic Filippino Christians as many foreign missionaries go the The Philippines to train before going to another country in the region.

As for Japan–the most developed country in the 10-40 Window–the country is mostly Buddhist and Shinto out of tradition but most of the country is not devout to either. Christianity does have a presence there but it’s hard to thrive when it is surrounded by centuries of tradition.

…It really is a shame. There are almost 5 Billion Unreached and most of the Christian world is actively AVOIDING the 10-40 Window. The message we are sending loud in clear–to them and to God–is we are either unwilling or we don’t care or both and it’s shameful. Christians in other parts of the world who have far less than we do have been stepping up when they shouldn’t have to. They are giving generously to help reach the Unreached.

Here’s what I think: We need to focus less on converting people without a rention plan–the current norm–and focus more on meeting people’s needs where they are first. We need to focus less on politics and focus more on doing what’s right. What we are showing the world is not what can be called “Christ-Like”. Until we American Christians collectively change our way of thinking, the same thing that happened to Israel will happen to us sooner than later. The signs are obvious.

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How to respectfully decline Missionaries or Evangelists who approach you

…This is sure to draw a bit of controversy but I feel like it’s extremely important that I go over this as many times as needed. This is coming from someone who is a big believer in the need for more Evangelism locally, nationally and internationally. Not the Americanized made for TV stuff our elected officials subscribe to and want everyone in America to. I mean REAL Evangelism that isn’t afraid to call out foolishness and doesn’t make excuses for morally bankrupt politicians. I’ll talk about this more in a separate blog post and won’t digress further.

 

Getting back on topic.

 

Now me, I live in Boston. For those who don’t know, it’s a major city in America and is east of New York.

Over the last two years, I’ve noticed Jehovah’s Witness Missionaries with pamplet carts stationed in some of the major MBTA stations as Downtown Crossing, Copley Square, Kenmore Square and even outside Fenway Park. They’re a friendly, alert bunch who eagerly engage curious passersby who stop to see what they’re about, Bibles ready.

Here’s a picture (not in Boston):

Jehovah’s Witnesses lead all the Christian denominations in America as far as Evangelism is concerned and by a VERY large margin. No one else comes close and at times it can be intimidating because of how passionate some can be.

…Of course, this is different from what I usually see at Dudley Square and a few other transit hubs in Boston that I frequent. What I usually see are elderly women from certain Christian denominations standing next to station entrances or walking subway platforms handing out pamplets to everyone in sight.

Mind you, there are also the…let’s call them “Well-intended” Evengelists. I mean folks like this:


And this:

 

Yes, I’m going there. I’ve heard the guys on bullhorns in Downtown Boston a few times. It’s a full-time job for them and I’m not knocking them for what they do. What’s the problem? They’re mostly wasting their time. Their methods are not only ineffective but in the case of the second picture, it’s quite dangerous: What’s more likely to happen is they will either get people to go along with their teachings out of fear or they will chase people away.

The Gospel is Good News. Telling people they’ll burn in hell if they don’t repent, get baptized and/or go to church…that should be considered a form a terroism. Plus it’s not true. I’ll explain why in more detail in a separate blog but for now I want to refer folks to John 3:17, which reads:

I’m going to assume everyone knows the verse before it, John 3:16 (For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.). It’s extremely important for Evengelists and Missionaries that they keep John 3:17 in mind as well. The problem is too often, they cherrypick verses for shock value or to draw attention to themselves.

 

That sign in the earlier picture? It’s very misleading without the proper context. By itself, it’s easy for one to assume God will punish you if you don’t repent, get baptized and start going to church ASAP. That’s not how it works and that’s my point. Again, I’ll return to this in a separate blog post.

Back to the earlier topic, I’m sure many of you have had this type of encounter at home:

I’m talking about the textbook door to door evangelist. Until recently, your only way to avoid this encounter was to hopefully see them coming and tell everyone inside to make the house look like no one’s home (LOL!). More recently, one can get a home security system and just not go near the front door.

…Then again, who wants to live like that? Besides, they’re not paid to do what they do. They do it because they want to.

…Which brings us to respectfully declining Evangelists. Both those you encounter in public and those who knock on your door. I hope the wait was worth what I’m about to say. Now, I’m going to break this into a few categories depending on weather you’re a Christian, Athiest or follow another belief. This is of course assuming you’re in the U.S.

 

  • Door to Door (Christian): Tell them your denomiation, then Recite John 3:17, then offer to pray with them. Afterward, send them on their way.
  • Door to Door (Athiest): Go to the door with your smartphone. Tell them you’re exercising your 1st Amendment right to Freedom of Religion which includes Freedom FROM Religion (Yes, you can say this!). Afterward, tell them you’re not interested in what they have to say and if they don’t leave at once, they will be considered tresspassing and the police will be called (which again, you can do). If for some reason they don’t back off here then take out your phone and take a picture before making the call. You can file a complaint against their church. The officer who arrives will explain the process.
  • Door to Door (Other Faith): Tell them you are <Insert Faith Here>. Unless you are genuinely interested in hearing them out, tell them you’re not interested in what they have to say. If they don’t back off, tell them they will be considered tresspassing and the police will be notified.
  • Approached in Public (Christian): Tell them your denomination, then recite John 3:17, then offer to pray with them. Afterward, go about the rest of your day.
  • Approached in Public (Athiest): Politely tell them you’re not interested in what they have to say and walk away. If they make a rude comment or say something to get a reaction out of you, ignore them and walk away without looking back. If they persist and follow you, take out your phone and tell them you don’t feel safe and you WILL call the police if they don’t leave you alone. Then follow through with it.
  • Approached in Public (Other Faith): Tell them you are <Insert Faith Here>. Unless you are genuinely interested in hearing them out, tell them you’re not interested in what they have to say and walk away. If they make a rude comment or say something to get a reaction out of you, ignore them and walk away without looking back.

 

…Why such a strong rebuke? Because with some Evangelists, they won’t take no for an answer the first time (ie. Jehovah’s Witness and Jesuit Evangelists). Some of you might be thinking “Why would you tell non-believers they don’t need God?” about now. I’m not. I’m simply telling them they ARE protected by the laws of this country. It works both ways and that’s my point.

See, this is something many Christians in America want special treatment over. They want to force their definition of Christianity on others and feel anyone who disagrees with them is either wrong or shouldn’t be allowed to live in this country. Like I said before, Freedom of Relgion works both ways, Yes, you are protected if you practice a particular faith but you are ALSO protected if you don’t practice ANY faith.

That, my friends is the point of this post.

I resisted the urge to go off topic on more than a few occasions. The other threads I touched on will certainly be covered in separate posts in time.

 

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