Thursday, November 17, 2016

Outer Darkness

Perhaps this is Hell.   I am watching a beautiful feast - in a shining city filled with glorious light. The Holy Angels are singing hymns of liquid praise, and some of these Sons of God are serving the wedding guests angel food. I am on the outside looking in through a gossamer fence of finest gold, solid yet transparent. I desperately want to taste the angel food, to eat the fruit of the tree of life, to drink the living waters.  Only one thing keeps me from joining the laughing radiant guests; only one thing keeps me from joining my Grandmother Grace, my Uncle Judah, and various other friends, neighbors, and coworkers that I have known throughout the years.  Even Dreadlock John that dirty panhandler that I would give money to is seated at the table.  But now he isn't dirty.  Now he smiles and shines with a mysterious glow, and he is dressed in robes of purest white.  
Dreadlock John must have been a prophet, for once he told me - when the rain was pouring down and I, feeling sorry for him, put a ten spot in his hand as I hurried on my way to the office -
“Just confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord, and the gates will open wide,” he said quietly in an unusual display of sobriety.   
I realize that this - right now - is what he was talking about.  There are real gates here, and they look like pearls.  But I had been annoyed beyond belief at his comment. I had thought “How dare Dreadlock John give instructions to me?”  
What I really believe is that I am my own God.  I am the arbitrator of what is right and what is wrong.  I suppose this makes me an existentialist, for I have never been one to accept easy answers. I have been searching desperately for another entrance into the feast. I have walked as if forever looking for a secret passage, a forbidden ladder hanging down over the wall. So far, the only way I see to enter is by the gate.  Occasionally I see others outside the walls in even worse shape than I.  Once I saw a woman pounding on the door howling in grief and rage.
“Lord, Lord,” she screamed.  “Let me in.  Let me in.”  I wondered what was her sin?  And as soon as I thought it, I heard the answer.  “Disbelief.”
Once again I stand outside the gate, once again I see a magnificent being in white holding a flaming sword.  He speaks to me.  It is like he can read the secret thoughts of my heart.
“You are created.” he said with a voice like thunder.   “He is Creator.  He is Almighty - you are not.”  But I was given a raw deal in life.  Memories flood my mind of the cruelty of others, of broken relationships and bitter disappointments.   Where was God when I needed him?  Where was God when my wife died of breast cancer?  Then there were my little lusts and desires: things I had to have even though my conscience said “Stop.”  Sure I did some bad things -I am not perfect after all!   The silly young girls who couldn’t say “no” to me.  The money. The lies to get the money to get the things to get the status to get the silly young girls.  It seems like my whole life was one brief affair with one lust after another.  Yet on the whole, I was not a bad person.  I worked hard, I volunteered, I gave to charity - but now I stand outside the pearly gates dressed in filthy rags.  Ten times filthier than the clothes Dreadlock John ever had to wear.  I don’t understand.  Why am I out here, and he is inside? In my heart, there is still this stubborn disbelief.  I still can’t actually see this Lord.  Does he even exist? Maybe this golden feast is a facade.  And if he does exist, who does this Jesus think he is to tell me what to do and how to live?  What human being can possibly live up to his standards of perfection and righteousness?
So I turn away from the shining party. In the distance, in the dark is a campfire  where I see someone dancing or jumping like on hot coals.  “I will have my own party,” I tell myself, “my own food, my own drinks, my own companions.”  I walk away from this piercing light which reveals way too many stains on my rags feeling desperate - feeling very very alone.  And I hear wailing in the distance.

“For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.”

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Review: The Great Divorce

Review: The Great Divorce

I have finally read the Christian Classic - The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis - first published in 1946. Obviously it has been reviewed, studied, and received many accolades before.  I add my 2 cents worth in the spirit of admiration and because of the self-revelation this book afforded me.

Lewis goes to great lengths in the preface to state that this story was not based on a dream or a vision of heaven and hell given by divine revelation.  He calls The Great Divorce a fantasy.  I believe he emphasizes this because the book contains so much profound insight into God’s design that it seems like a vision.  The reader would easily have believed Lewis if he had told us that an angel had taken him on this bus ride to visit the suburbs of heaven.  

The story demonstrates how the heavenly realms are much larger and more substantial than both hell and earth.  Lewis seems to have put the Book of 2 Corinthians into a fictional form.  “if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing, among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God. “ 4:3.  The passenger on the bus are visitors from Hell (or Purgatory)on an excursion to the suburbs of heaven.  But even in heaven, the passengers are blinded by their paltry little sins which keep them from the glory which is all around them.  

The heaven dwellers (called the bright people) have come to meet the visitors (who are called ghosts) from the bus in hopes to lead them to heaven.  Each visitor has his or her own teacher or guide that s/he knew on earth.  The bright people constantly tell the visitors “now is the acceptable time; look, now is the day of salvation,” 6:2. Yet each of the visitors has some problem that keeps them from accepting this salvation.  What blessed me is seeing how some of the problems of the visitors are also my problems that keep me from experiencing joy and heaven even now.

I cringed when I heard the once well dressed fearful woman fight against the Spirit’s guidance.
“Friend, said the Spirit, ‘Could you only for a moment, fix your mind on something not yourself?’” (62).
Self obsession, it seems, is one of the major obstacles in seeing heaven. Then there is Hard Bitten Ghost who is negative and suspicious about everything.  And Grumbler who is a very unhappy creature.  “Ye’ll have had experiences begins with a grumbling mood, and yourself still distinct from it; perhaps criticising it.  And yourself, in a dark hour, may will that mood, embrace it.  Ye can repent and come out of it again.  But there may come a day when you can do that no longer.” (77-78). I have had many dark hours and grumbling moods.  And I can feel this truth in my soul - that there is a point when I may no longer be able to repent of my grumbling - a point when I become a grumbler for good - bereft of the comforts of the Holy Spirit - stuck in my own small dark sad world.

Then there is the ghost who carries on his shoulder the lizard Lust.  And the dwarf who is manipulated by his own marionette Tragedian. So many sins, so little time.  What the Great Divorce helped me to see is how easy it is to be free of these unclean attitudes and sins that cling to our souls.  The Bright Lady admonishes the dwarf, “But now can set all that aside.  Never think like that again. It is all over” (122).  And the reader wants to shout,”Yes, Just believe what the bright spirits are saying!”
The Bright Spirits are models of heavenly citizens. Always forgiving, kind, loving, and serving those they hope to guide.  They patiently point out to the ghosts the problems with ghostly thinking. The sin areas that they hold onto.  Yet most of the ghost ignore the admonitions of the Bright Spirits.  They love their own sins more than light and freedom.

It is a rare book that sheds such a light on both the dark nook and crannies of our souls and the brightness and joys of heaven.  Which is what makes the The Great Divorce a classic that one will want to read many times and share with many friends.

Friday, September 16, 2016

A Review of The Kingdom of Speech by Tom Wolfe

Kingdom of Speech by Tom Wolfe

Little Brown & Co, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-316-40462-4

When getting my Master’s degree in English, I discovered the fascinating world of linguistics. With my emphasis in English as a Second Language, I took classes in Psycholinguistics (which is the physical and neurological aspects of language acquisition). I was especially intrigued by how language functions similarly to the genetic code, and I loved Modern Grammar which can be used with any language using the principles of Universal Grammar.  Universal Grammar, postulates Noam Chomsky (the founder and king of modern linguistic theory), is innate in all human beings - moreover all languages are similarly constructed of verbs, adjectives, and nouns.   What I didn’t realize, until I read Tom Wolfe’s superb book, The Kingdom of Speech, was that Chomsky had been toppled from his position of linguistic demi-Godhood by a relative newcomer, Daniel Everett.

In The Kingdom of Speech, Tom Wolfe not only takes down Chomsky in his usual sharp yet languid manner, but Charles Darwin and his “Just-so” stories on the evolution of man also undergo a, much needed, examination. What ties Darwin, Chomsky, Everett, and this book together is the quest to solve mystery of the origin of language. Darwin guessed that language evolved from humans imitating bird speech.  Chomsky believed that language ability evolved within (an as yet unknown) brain/nervous system “organ.”  However, a relative newcomer in the world of linguistics, Daniel Everett, Moody Bible College graduate and former missionary to a remote Amazonian tribe called the Piraha, throws a monkey wrench into “established” Chomskyan linguistics.
What Everett discovers in this Amazonian tribe is a people who do not have all of the Universal Grammar elements in their language. Furthermore, they have no words for colors or numbers, and they have no language for the past or future as they live in a state of eternal now.  Everett says that the uniqueness of the Piraha language - because it does not prescribe to Chomsky’s Universal Grammar - proves that language ability is not innate but actually an artifact created by humans to live in community. In other words, language is a tool, a sophisticated tool, somehow devised by humans over time.
I have a number of problems with Everett’s ideas - which Tom Wolfe, by the way, seems to totally embrace.  Everett see the Piraha as an example of the earliest humans.  They have embraced very little from other cultures (in the Amazon rainforest) because of their belief that anything outside of their culture is inferior and should be dismissed. The Piraha’s language - although extremely difficult to learn - is a very limited language in complexity, sociological constructs, and vocabulary.  This tribe can not even be counted as stone age in their technological development since they don’t have stone tools.  Their only tools are very rudimentary bows and arrows. They live in lean to’s that are easily disposed of.  Having no concept for the future, limits their desire (or need perhaps) to prepare for it.
Obviously such a people will leave few traces of their existence; however, I see no reason to view them as something from which stone age and present day humans have evolved.  Of course, I am not a (macro) evolutionists, and what I am about to say is terribly politically incorrect, but could it not be equally true that this tribe is an example of devolution? Cannot change (change and evolution are synonyms) happen in both directions?  For example, present day humans have smaller brains and weaker physiques than Cro Magnon people.  
I would be very interested to see a DNA analysis of this 300 or so person tribe. I would not be surprised if they all have a common ancestor that broke off a few hundred or so years ago from another Amazonian tribe. Are they really a separate and distinct people as their language seems to imply.  
I could speculate as to why their progenitors were not using a native language. Could they have been feral children who have little experience of human language.  What kind of language would such a pair or more of ferals create?  And although the extreme conditions of the Amazon rainforest  make it seem unlikely for a child to survive without adults, perhaps this is the case for the origins of the Pirahas.  Perhaps the progenitors were deaf/mutes? Or perhaps the Piraha language is not as different from the surrounding tribes as Everett believes. I assume the tribe has no legends of their beginnings since they have little concept of the past, so why or how they came to be will remain a mystery. However, the magnitude of Everett’s claim has not been thoroughly examined, it seems to me.  
He is saying the Piraha’s language is akin to a prima lingua.  If this is true, it should be easily proven by the Piraha tribe having a separate and distinct DNA lineage because, as we have seen throughout history, when different people groups intermingle, their languages also intermingle.  Everett is claiming (by using them as an example of a prima indigenous people) that this tiny tribe has somehow stayed intact, separate, an unchanged - for what? 10,000 - 100,000 - 1 million years? It is hard to say because evolutionists throw out dates for humanity’s beginnings as easily as gamblers throw out dice at the craps table.  All that is needed is a simple DNA test to prove if the Piraha are truly a separate indigenous people group.   In other words, to make a whole new case for the origins of language based on one tiny tribe of people seems ludicrous.
I suppose my true colors as a Chomskyite are being exposed. I do believe in an innate language ability that is wired into our brains/nervous system.  I only disagree with the evolutionary (as in macro-evolutionary) origin of speech.  I would say that we are endowed by our creator with the ability to use speech and to understand language.  In Genesis, the very first task that Adam was given was to name the animals.  And in the Gospel of John in the New Testament, it states that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  Language is divine.
It was especially interesting to me that Everett the former missionary turned away from Christ to follow the God of Anthropology and Evolution.  Interesting but hardly surprising.  There is no quicker way to derail and ruin a career in academia than to be a Christian.  Any theory (of anything) that is based on Intelligent Design rather than evolution is dismissed out of hand in this very small and narrow world.  Unfortunately the evolutionary worldview limits scholars to new hypotheses and possibilities as to the origin and development of language.

If you are interested in language or in understanding the philosophical trendsetters in the last 150 years, I highly recommend The Kingdom of Speech. Wolfe makes the journey in this 185 page book not only educational but enjoyable.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Why the Transgender Movement is Bad for Women

The beautiful ones - the ones who pass as women that we don’t even notice because they fit - they have always used the women’s restroom without comment.  But now we have to allow the creepy dudes - you know - the ones who are obviously men and are playing at being a woman for a day or two. Or who are slightly deranged and washing their hands in the sink next to me. These are the ones we can’t call for management to kick out of the bathroom any more.  

That is not the only problem. Another is - sister hasn’t anyone told you that taking extra hormones really is not safe?  Your body runs on the perfect balance of  estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone - you’ll get more than facial hair and a lower voice from testosterone, you could get higher blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and ovarian and breast cancer.  It’s dangerous to mess with Mother Nature.

Third - Why do the women on the Chinese swim team have such deep voices and broad shoulders - we know they’re taking testosterone - but why?  Because it improves their performance. You start putting real men (who identify as women of course) with their natural testosterone, their  naturally bigger bones and muscles, with their bigger hands and feet, why do women want to compete with that?  I’m sorry, you can’t change your biological sex - it’s impossible - and men who want to pretend to be women will ruin, decimate, and totally destroy women’s athletics.

I saw a college girl on 60 Minutes who said she felt like a man, so she started making “the transition.”  She went from being the top swimmer on the women’s team to the worst swimmer on the men’s team.  “Are you totally nuts,” I thought? She also went from looking like a sexy competent woman to a sissy looking boy.  Why?  For the man, however, who “self identifies” as a woman, guess what?  He goes from being last place on his men’s swim team to first place on the women’s swim team.  So who does this transgender thing really help? It helps the men get into our bathrooms, get into our showers, get into our sports teams, and I say “Women Wake Up!!” It’s a lose lose situation for us.  Don’t allow this to continue.

Chinese Olympic Women Swimmers

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Arachnid Dreams - a poem

Standing on the edge of the fortress high, you looked down and saw a net -
shining silver, gossamer bright and weightless floating next to the wall.
And you jumped like you had a bungee cord and fell below.
Landing on soft silk, sweet like honey, it smelt. You closed your eyes and dreamt
arachnid dreams of spinning rainbows and flying babies, 
of parachutes upon the wind and limitless horizons.
Now awake you try to move - to escape this bed;  
A foot, a hand, your hair embellished with the dew - all stuck.
No longer free to run - tied spread eagle like Fay Wray but ignorant of the lurking beast.
You do not scream; you do not even struggle.

Spidey will not let you go - your blood is beckoning her.
In the dark you'll find
Eight glowing eyes upon you, eight legs to bind you, eight merciless horns.
You’re her favorite dish: fat with life and light - nourished well since childhood.
You’re the tastiest treat and already a trophy hung upon her webbed wall.

Turn your head and see the graffeti of her other victims
They spew hate and twisted words, the truth has never touched them
Be afraid of what you will become once your life is drained and gone.  
Don’t surrender - you have an option:
Call upon the name you know, the only one Salutem.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sunday Drivers - Fiction - a short short story

They forgive old women for their eccentricities, so I had worn a white silk scarf today- wrapped tightly over my head and around my neck, the ends falling down my back: ala Jackie Onassis sans the dark sun glasses. Or like those girls I see on campus, from Iran and Indonesia, their pretty brown eyes highlighted by kohl, their long tunics and pants modest yet stylish, their scarves wrapped around their heads -an assortment of pastels.  I was also wearing a black silk and cashmere sweater, Stella McCartney dark wash jeans, and tennis shoes. I like to be comfortable.
I consider it my job to greet the newcomers. Today I see a young women, heavy and sad with 2 children: a boy and girl about 8 and 10. I cannot tell if she has a wedding ring, probably not, I think.  Probably needs help with the rent.
I go to her side during greeting time, she is talking to another woman.  I will seek her out after the service. The pastor, Sam Adams, calls us back to our seats.  He is still fairly new.  He looks very young to me: his blonde prom queen wife sits in the front row with their two well behaved boys.  I miss Pastor Jensen.  He was a wise man, deep.  He didn’t try to please his church, but compelled us to give more, pray more, love more…
At 65, the church elders had told him him it was time to take a well deserved retirement.
“There’s no retirement in the Bible,” he answered.
Agnes and he moved to a small town in Ohio where a small church, Christ Our Hope, was thrilled to have a pastor of his dedication and maturity.  And the elders chose this fresh faced, eager to please boy to replace him.  I would have to suffer through his years of maturing and might not live long enough to see if he’s worth anything!  The elders had been trying to find a “minority” to replace Pastor Jenson. An attempt to color up our waspy congregation, I  suppose.  The Black minister who gave a guest sermon actually tried to get us to say “Amen” and "Praise the Lord" while he was preaching, and the Korean boy - I think he got another offer from a California church. Once my husband had been an elder; they had retired him too, but in that case they were correct.
“We walk by faith and not by sight,” read the pastor.  Melissa who sits at my right is beginning to dose. I wonder if I remembered to turned down the pot roast in the cooker to low.

The mother with her 2 children disappeared too quickly after service for me to say “Hi,” but Randall Holmes grabbed my hand.
“Don’t you look marvelous today, Mrs. Tower! So Jackie O.”
“Thank you. Aren’t you sweet?” I smiled, pleased.
“I have been meaning to catch up with you.” He took my arm and steered me to a quiet corner of the church. “That silver service you put on consignment sold very well.  I was wondering if you had any other items you would like to put in my shop? Silver is so hot right now.”
“My daughter was very angry with me,” I sighed. In fact she had railed at me saying I had sold her inheritance and should have told her if I needed any money. Who was she fooling? Jenny and her husband were always broke; they had just bought a new BMW. They were hocked to the limit with my grandson in law school and all.  Who uses sterling tea services anymore anyways?
“Bring your daughter with you.  I am sure we can find some amiable agreement,” he cooed.
Loretta Homes had been my best friend before she passed. Her son was nothing like her. Am I as blind to my children’s failings as she was, I wondered. Of course, I had never had a son. Loretta would go on and on about how handsome and smart Randall was - that he was dating So & So’s daughter.  I always had wanted to say “Please, Loretta, your son is as queer as a three dollar bill.” Of course, I never did. I was raised to believe that ”sex” was not a proper topic of conversation.  Still, he was practically family.
“Are you interested in oil paintings,” I asked? I had only promised Jenny not to sell anymore silver.

I drove slowly and carefully to the nursing home.  My eyes aren’t as good as they once were. I distinctly remember being a child with my mother in her blue Buick - in the front seat of course - this was before children were relegated to the back of the car.
“Why is everybody driving so slow?” I complained.
“Sunday drivers,” my mother answered with a smile.
"What does that mean?"
"On Sundays the elderly people drive to church," my mother explained. "They don't get out as much the rest of the week."
"The elderly drive slower, dear," she finally explained to my satisfaction.
Of course back "in the day," most stores and businesses were closed on Sundays. Sundays were for church, for picnics in the park, and walks on the beach.

As you age, life seems to circle. Now I am the little silver haired lady leaving church in her boat of a car (Toyota Avalon - not blue), I have become the Sunday driver.

After church, I go to the nursing home to see John. He was slumped down and strapped to a wheelchair, like some demented prisoner - which, I suppose, is exactly what he is.  His face was gray and haggard-very thin.
“John…” I touched his arm gently.
“What? What do you want,” he demanded? Where have you put my wife?”
“I am your wife.”
“Irene,” he began to raise his voice. “Don’t play this game with me!  What have you done with my wife?”
His aid, a gentle girl from some South Pacific island, came quickly to his side.
“Professor,” she pleaded.  “This is your wife, Helen, here to visit you today.”
“You old bag of bones,” he yelled at me. “You bring back my wife.”
I left quickly. He was having a bad day- most of them were.  On days like this, John thought I was my mother and that our daughter Jenny was me.”  When he was with Jenny, he would pat her hand and stare adoringly at her face.  Jenny soaked it up.  That girl had always loved to talk: she would chat about her week, her children, her hairdresser, the color of her nail polish, anything at all. John would just nod and smile. Maybe I would call later and see if she could drive down this week. 

I wondered if John had always disliked my mother; he was always unfailingly polite to her - not at all like he acts towards me now. I wondered how Alzheimer's could strip a person of not only their memory but of their manners. At least my father had done the decent thing and died of a heart attack. One day he was here; the next he was gone.  Good memories left intact. No prolonged suffering and expense.

I have wondered where God is in this.  Once my husband had prayed and talked about his Lord as if He were his invisible companion. Now that John’s mind is gone, the Lord seems to be gone too.  Where was God? Did he still love John if John no longer loved him?  Perhaps God saw John as John saw me in Jenny: young (well at 51, we’ll call her younger) and still lovely, and in his mind - incorruptible. Then again, comparing God to an elderly man with dementia might not make Him happy.

A harsh wind from the night before had shrouded my front yard with brown maple leaves three inches thick. “Maybe after a nap,” I sighed as I pulled into my driveway.  The sky looked steel grey and heavy with rain or maybe even snow.  Raking wet leaves is a much harder job than raking dry ones, but I felt so tired. I went inside and curled up on the sofa with my warm furry blanket. “Just a short nap,” I promised myself. When I woke up, it was already dark , and the rain had started pounding.  

Friday, May 20, 2016

One Week Without Electricity

Last November, Eastern Washington has an unparalleled wind storm. The hurricane force winds ripped into Spokane  and killed two persons.  Hundred’s of thousands of people lost their electricity because multitudes of trees came toppling down.  The neighborhood I lived in was hit the worse.  The South Hill is known for its huge trees amidst early 20th century homes and steep windy roads. Lofty Ponderosa pines came up from the roots knocking over power-lines and crashing into roofs.   Some trees just cracked in two, falling upon cars and roads.  When travelling around the South Hill a few days after the storm, it looked like a huge bomb had exploded. Streets were still closed; electric lines still draped dangerously across the roads, and trees looked like they had been haphazardly tossed everywhere by an invisible giant hand.  It was a mess, and it was cold.

When the electricity goes out the gas furnaces no longer work. My roommate had a fireplace insert in her house upstairs in the livingroom which I visited frequently during our weeklong adventure of no electricity.  I live in the daylight basement apartment downstair - the pilot light on my gas fireplace stayed on, but the thermostat wasn’t working, so the temperature stayed about 45 degrees.  Fortunately the gas hot water heater stayed on, so we were alway able to take hot showers.

The first day or two of living with candlelight and cooking over a tiny propane stove was fun and a little romantic.  However, by day four, the thrill had gone.  Hauling firewood up to the second floor was tiring.  The cold and darkness of my apartment was starting to get to me.  It was difficult to do much cooking on our tiny propane stove; I was tired of eating cold food. And what to do at night.  Reading without electric lights strains my eyes. Of course there was no tv, and I can only take so much radio.  The mornings were the worst. Crawling out of my huge pile of blankets to visit an ice cold bathroom is no way to start the day.  Finally, after six days, our electricity was back on.  We were so tremendously grateful to the line men for working 24 hours a day to get everybody’s power back on,  and we were grateful just for light, heat, and warmth.

Our pastor this Ascension Sunday reminded the congregation about that storm during his sermon.  How we appreciated our electricity so much more after a week of going without it. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful,” he asked, “if our world could go a week without the benefits we have reaped from the life of Jesus Christ?  What would our world be like,” he continued, “if Jesus had never been born?  Wouldn’t our appreciation of him grow, if we all went a week without his influence in our lives?”

I know the rest of the sermon was about the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, but this question of his totally resonated with me.  What would the world be like, our governments, our cities, everything be like if Jesus had never lived?

It seems unlikely that Judaism would have taken over as the most prominent religion around the world.  Like it or not, Jesus is certainly the most famous of all the Jewish prophets and without the Christian disbursement of the bible, it seems unlikely that
The Old Testament alone would be the most widely read and published book of not only all time, but also the most bought and widely read book every single year.  The number one purchased and read book has been the Bible - since - the invention of the printing press.

Whether Islam would exist without Christianity is hard to tell?  If it had, it certainly would be  the major contender for  world domination.  Armed Islamic forces conquered the mostly Christian countries  of North African and the middle East within a few hundred years of their prophet’s birth.  Without Charlemagne and the Christian forces in the West, Europe would have certainly also fallen.  And who really thinks that a world dominated by Islam would be a good thing except for a hundred million or so crazy Jihadists?

It is not hard to imagine a Medieval Europe without Christ when we have a tv series called Game of Thrones that does it for us.  Take out the dragons, giants, zombies, and magic, and you have a Medieval world without the supremely important benefits of the church. (Martin’s Faith of the Seven is a pathetic and weak caricature of the medieval church.) The Game of Thrones world is filled with violence, revenge, and unbridled lust.   A similar HBO show from  a few years ago, Rome, also demonstrated what a cruel and decadent culture Rome had become by the first Century AD. with its rampant paganism, widespread slavery and lust for world domination.  I thought how exciting the series could actually become if it showed the Christians entering this culture, refusing to burn a pinch of incense to the emperors and paying for this refusal with horrific deaths. Now that’s a series worth watching, but I rather doubt that HBO wants to show that kind of story.  I have even wondered if that’s why the series was cancelled after Brutus’s reign.  It sort of spoils the historicity of the whole thing if you pretend that Christ and Christians never existed.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if Christians bought the rights and the sets to this series and finished it properly? But I digress.  

There is a wonderful book by the late great James Kennedy called What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?  This is a nice introduction to the profound influence Christianity has had on education, healthcare, government, science, economics and the Arts.  But perhaps these recently released series of early history without the effects of Christianity make more of an impact.  I have no doubt that a world which had never been influenced by the teachings of Jesus Christ would be a much less pleasant place to live.  A world without Christ is like a world without electricity: cold, brutal, and dark.