The Bible as oil prospector

A man believes that a Bible verse teaches that there is oil in Israel.  So he started Zion Oil & Gas Co. to find it.  And apparently he has.

Ask John Brown why he’s spent three decades looking for oil and natural gas reserves in Israel, and he has a simple answer: The Bible told him to.

That sounds a bit crazy, the chairman of Zion Oil and Gas Co. admits, especially because no one had ever found much oil there.

“In the first years, it was sort of bizarre to talk about oil and gas in Israel because there was none,” Brown said. “There’s an old joke that, when he came to the Promised Land, Moses should have turned left and gone to Saudi Arabia instead.”

These days, it looks like Brown, who will be in Nashville this weekend for the National Religious Broadcasters convention, may be on to something. Two years ago, a major natural gas field was found off the coast of Israel. And the rising price of oil and new technology have made oil shale, which Israel has in abundance, financially viable. Billionaire investors like Rupert Murdoch and George Soros are putting money into companies looking for oil in Israel.

Brown, whose company’s U.S. base is in Dallas, sees these new developments as signs of God fulfilling his promises in the Bible.

“I think it’s God’s blessing for the nation of Israel,” he said.

Zion Oil and Gas Co. was inspired by a passage in the Old Testament, Genesis 49:25: “Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under.”

Brown says the passage refers to oil. Biblical scholars aren’t so sure.

via Bible inspires hunt for oil in Israel | The Tennessean | tennessean.com.

So what do you think the verse is referring to?  Is this “rightly dividing the Word of Truth”?

Reversing global warming with a nuclear winter

National Geographic reports on a NASA study of the climate effect of a “regional” nuclear war:

The global cooling caused by these high carbon clouds wouldn’t be as catastrophic as a superpower-versus-superpower nuclear winter, but “the effects would still be regarded as leading to unprecedented climate change,” research physical scientist Luke Oman said during a press briefing Friday at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C.

Earth is currently in a long-term warming trend. After a regional nuclear war, though, average global temperatures would drop by 2.25 degrees F (1.25 degrees C) for two to three years afterward, the models suggest.

At the extreme, the tropics, Europe, Asia, and Alaska would cool by 5.4 to 7.2 degrees F (3 to 4 degrees C), according to the models. Parts of the Arctic and Antarctic would actually warm a bit, due to shifted wind and ocean-circulation patterns, the researchers said.

After ten years, average global temperatures would still be 0.9 degree F (0.5 degree C) lower than before the nuclear war, the models predict.

via Small Nuclear War Could Reverse Global Warming for Years?.

These computer models, though, were based on 100 Hiroshima-size nuclear bombs going off.  That doesn’t strike me as a small war!  What 100 cities would be vaporized, and what effect would that have on the world?

As Joe Carter notes (HT be to him), no one is actually proposing this as a solution to global warming, at least not yet.  But this environmentalist thinks it’s pretty much too late to reverse climate change, so he is heading for the hills, stocking up on survivalist supplies and buying guns.  So maybe there will be a movement to set off some nukes.  A commenter suggests just setting off some in a desert.

Brit complains about U.S. weakness

And I thought Republicans were harsh on the president.  Here is British journalist Nile Gardiner, writing in the London Telegraph:

The débacle of Washington’s handling of the Libya issue is symbolic of a wider problem at the heart of the Obama administration’s foreign policy. The fact that it took ten days and at least a thousand dead on the streets of Libya’s cities before President Obama finally mustered the courage to call for Muammar “mad dog” Gaddafi to step down is highly embarrassing for the world’s only superpower, and emblematic of a deer-in-the-headlights approach to world leadership. Washington seems incapable of decisive decision-making on foreign policy at the moment, a far cry from the days when it swept entire regimes from power, and defeated America’s enemies with deep-seated conviction and an unshakeable drive for victory.

Just a few years ago the United States was genuinely feared on the world stage, and dictatorial regimes, strategic adversaries and state sponsors of terror trod carefully in the face of the world’s most powerful nation. Now Washington appears weak, rudderless and frequently confused in its approach. From Tehran to Tripoli, the Obama administration has been pathetically slow to lead, and afraid to condemn acts of state-sponsored repression and violence. When protesters took to the streets to demonstrate against the Islamist dictatorship in Iran in 2009, the brutal repression that greeted them was hardly a blip on Barack Obama’s teleprompter screen, barely meriting a response from a largely silent presidency. . . .

It has also become abundantly clear that the Obama team attaches little importance to human rights issues, and in contrast to the previous administration has not pursued a freedom agenda in the Middle East and elsewhere. It places far greater value upon engagement with hostile regimes, even if they are carrying out gross human rights abuses, in the mistaken belief that appeasement enhances security. This has been the case with Iran, Russia and North Korea for example. This administration has also been all too willing to sacrifice US leadership in deference to supranational institutions such as the United Nations, whose track record in standing up to dictatorships has been virtually non-existent.

via Do tyrants fear America anymore? President Obama’s timid foreign policy is an embarrassment for a global superpower – Telegraph Blogs.

Dealing with gay marriage

Al Mohler, a consistent defender of traditional marriage and sexual morality,  says that, despite his and other conservatives’ efforts, gay marriage will soon be legalized across the board and that Christians and their churches need to figure out how to deal with it when that happens:

Though many Christians are going to try to deny “the obvious,” evangelical leader Dr. Albert Mohler believes gay marriage is going to become normalized.

“I think it’s clear that something like same-sex marriage is going to become normalized, legalized and recognized in the culture. It’s time for Christians to start thinking about how we’re going to deal with that,” he said Friday on the Focus on the Family radio program.

Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, was speaking in response to the Obama administration’s decision this week to stop defending the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act – federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman – in the courts. . . .

With the Justice Department now pulling its defense of DOMA, pending legal challenges against the federal law will likely result with the nullification of DOMA, Mohler predicted.

“You can say, the cards are pretty much stacked against DOMA,” he illustrated.

He warned that when Christians feel threatened, they have to be careful not to lash out with a predictable response.

The Southern Baptist made it clear that he was not saying that they are giving up. Marriage is still an institution Christians need to save, particularly in their own community. But Christians also need to start learning how to deal with the shifting culture and even face the fact that they may lose a few from their flock.

via Christians Need to Prepare for Normalization of Gay Marriage, Christian News, The Christian Post.

Assuming that this happens, that same sex marriage is fully legalized and becomes culturally acceptable–with all of the legal rights and protections that this implies–what will it mean for the church?  How should Christians deal with this?

Depressing the army

The Secretary of Defense gave a speech at West Point that surely bummed out the student body:

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, in one of his last addresses to the Army, said Friday that he envisages a future ground force that will be smaller, pack less heavy firepower and will not engage in large-scale counter-insurgency wars like those in Iraq or Afghanistan.

“In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it,” Gates quipped.

Gates, who is expected to leave his post later this year, predicted a greater role for the Navy and Air Force in the future and warned the Army to gird itself for a period of relative austerity compared with the gusher of defense spending that has sustained it over the past eight years. In particular, Gates suggested that the Army will have a tough time justifying its spending on heavy armor formations – which have been the core of its force for decades – to lawmakers and the White House.

“In the competition for tight defense dollars, the Army … must confront the reality that the most plausible, high-end scenarios for the U.S. military are primarily naval and air engagements – whether in Asia, the Persian Gulf or elsewhere,” he said.

The defense chief predicted that Army and Marine forces would increasingly be asked to focus more on short-duration counterterrorism strikes and disaster relief. As he has for the past several years, Gates called on the Army to devote more of its best personnel to training and equipping foreign militaries.

via In one of final addresses to Army, Gates describes vision for military’s future.

So you’re a senior at West Point, having survived plebe year and basic training and officer training and a rigorous college curriculum, and you’re finally ready  to start your military career, eager to serve your country and make your mark. Whereupon the Secretary of Defense comes to campus and announces  and you’re told that the army is getting its budget and its firepower cut, that your future is in training foreign armies, and that the important assignments are all going to the Air Force and the Navy.

Hasn’t the Sec-Def ever heard of ceremonial speeches?  Or motivational speeches?  Even if this is going to be the administration’s new policy, why break the news in a speech at West Point?

At any rate, what do you think of this new military strategy?

The Czar and the President as liberators

Russia is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the emancipation of the serfs by Czar Alexander II, tying this event to what the Czar’s contemporary, President Abraham Lincoln, would do soon thereafter in emancipating America’s slaves.  From the Washington Post:

In this season of sesquicentennials, Russia is marking the liberation of 20 million serfs on March 3, 1861. That was one day before Lincoln was sworn in as the 16th president, assuming powers that he would eventually use to bring American slavery to an end. . . .

Alexander was intent on reforming the creaky Russian state, and the conservative owners of Russia’s vast land holdings passionately resisted him. Liberals couldn’t help but notice the parallels with the slave-holding plantation owners in the American South, said Andrei Yanovsky, a co-curator of the archive exhibit. In the 1850s, in fact, when censorship made it impossible to criticize conditions in Russia, newspapers and magazines devoted large amounts of space to denunciations of American slavery – and, Kurilla said, readers understood that this was a stand-in for the actual target, Russian serfdom.

His foreign minister said Alexander considered the outbreak of the Civil War to be “deplorable,” threatening the progress and prosperity that America had achieved in its 80 years of independence. The czar sent naval squadrons to New York and San Francisco as a show of support for the Union. Russia at the time was wary of British designs and feared that a Confederate victory would play into British hands. On this point he got no argument from Lincoln.

The president was under no illusions about Russian despotism – he once remarked, before going to the White House, that at least it was honest about its cruelty, compared with the hypocrisy that swirled around the American debate over slavery. For his part, Alexander seems to have been confident enough in the lasting power of the Russian royal family that he needn’t worry about befriending a republic that had cast off a king.

via Russia remembers Lincoln as it marks the freeing of the serfs.


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