Converts to “religion of freedom” are boosting church attendance in Europe

refugees-A-INThe Muslim immigrants converting to Christianity are having a noticeable effect on church growth and church attendance in Europe.  (See this, this, and this.)

For the last few decades, churches have been almost empty on Sunday mornings. But congregations that have evangelized Muslims are coming back to life.  For example, theTrinity Lutheran Church in Berlin, which we have blogged about, used to have 150 parishioners.  Now they have 700.

The phenomenon has spread to England.  One Anglican bishop says that one out of four of the confirmations he performs are for Muslims converting to Christianity.

Two stories from British sources after the jump.  They give some inspiring testimonies about how some of these immigrants came to Christ.  A common theme:  the realization that Christianity is “the religion of freedom.”

I suppose there is a connection between the freedom of religion and the religion of freedom! [Read more…]

Wikileaks exposes CIA’s cyberespionage

Seal_of_the_Central_Intelligence_Agency.svgA huge trove of documents about CIA hacking, surveillance, and cyberespionage operations ha been posted on Wikileaks.  This is just the first of a series of revelations, according to Wikileaks head Julian Assange.

Here we learn about how the CIA can use smart phones and even television sets to spy on people.  Wikileaks says that various intelligence subcontractors have been circulating the code that gives access CIA’s “hacking arsenal” so that now other countries and independent hackers can use it.  One such subcontractor leaked the material to Wikileaks.

Do you think this is related to the surveillance of the Trump administration and the leaks from the other side?  Could this have anything to do with the Russians?

One of the revelations  is that the CIA has the capability of launching hacking attacks and “misdirect attribution” so that they appear to be from someone else.  Could the CIA itself be responsible for the alleged Russian hacks into the presidential campaign?  But, if so, why would they be helping Trump then and hurting him now?

Is whoever leaked this stuff a traitor, betraying our country’s defensive capabilities and intelligence agency?  Or is he a brave civil libertarian, exposing “the dark state’s” nefarious doings?  Who are the good guys and who are the bad guys?  And what does it mean that it has become so difficult to tell the difference? [Read more…]

President Trump’s new travel ban

Immigration_Ban_Protest_at_ORD_08President Trump has issued a revised travel and immigration ban.  This one is  designed to pass legal muster after his first executive order on the issue was struck down by the courts.  It is also designed to avoid other problems raised by the first order.

The new policy will allow visitors and immigrants from Iraq, responding to military requests that Iraqis who helped U.S. forces whose lives may now be in danger be taken care of.  Now citizens of only six countries will be denied visas for 90 days:  Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.  The U.S. refugee resettlement program will be suspended for 120 days.

The measure also removes the provision that allowed exceptions for religious minorities escaping persecution.  Thus, the courts can no longer construe it as being biased towards Christians and discriminatory against Muslims.

The new order also addresses the implementation problems of the first version.  Those who already hold visas or permanent resident cards will not be affected.  And the new policy will not go into effect until March 16, giving border agents time to prepare for the new measures.

Do you think this new executive order will get through the courts?  Is it now reasonable and just?  Will it still provoke outrage?

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Will Islam become the world’s largest religion?

religion-882281_640A new study says that Islam will pass Christianity as the world’s largest religion by 2070.

The report says that in 2050, Muslims will make up 10% of the European population.  But they will number only 2.1% in the United States.

Interestingly, the study also says that the number of atheists and non-religious affiliated will decline globally.

This may very well be, but, like many statistical studies, it is mainly just an extrapolation of current numbers over time.  Muslims have a higher birth rate than Christians do, so if we graph that out, their numbers will be higher by 2070.

Other scenarios are not factored in.  For example, what if some of the 10% of the European population that has an Islamic heritage convert to Christianity, now that they can be exposed to it?  That may depend on Christianity reviving in Europe, but that is not outside the possibility of the grace of God.  Or what if the brutality of ISIS and the Islamic terrorism that is rampant in the Middle East creates a reaction against the religion?  Or what if the Westernization of Islamic countries creates a decline in the birth rate?  Or what if the Christian birth rate shoots up?

Lots of things can happen, there being many more variables and unpredictabilities in life than a single statistical trend.

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The liquid bread fast

In the 17th century, a strict order of monks gave up all solid foods for Lent.  So to sustain themselves, they developed a particularly rich version of what they called “liquid bread.”  That is to say, beer.

This was the origin of the Paulaner brewery, which still makes its acclaimed beer.

A few years ago, a Christian  journalist went on an all-beer fast.  Intoxication faded.  Hunger subsided.  And he developed a remarkable “clarity of focus” and devotional intensity.

I suspect that any kind of long-term fasting can have that affect.  (Can anyone speak to this?)

I should add, don’t try this at home!  Most beers today lack the nutritional substance of the old brews.  (The journalist found a special doppelbock.)  And there can be other unintended consequences. [Read more…]

Trumpcare vs. Obamacare

obama-1301891_640The Republicans have finally introduced a bill to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.  Let us call it Trumpcare!

The new plan would eliminate penalties for not having health insurance and cut Obamacare taxes.  People could still get health insurance on state exchanges.  And low income Americans would get subsidies in the form of tax credits.  Those who don’t pay income taxes will still get the money to help pay for their health insurance.  Health Savings accounts will also be part of the program.

The new bill will prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving Medicare money.  Also, tax credits may not be used for policies that pay for abortions.

What do you think of this replacement?  Does Trumpcare keep too much of Obamacare?  Does it do too much or too little?

 

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