Whackos, Oddities, Curiosities and Stray Moonbeams

Anyone involved in the kind of work that I do, and for as long as I have, will likely have encountered every weird, whacky and wild idea, thought and writing out there. With an interactive blog site, as well as various social media connections, I am in touch with people from around the world 24/7.

I constantly deal with all sorts of people, all sorts of issues, and all sorts of ideas. And I tell you, some real lulus can be found in cyber space. You get some of the most bizarre, illogical, quirky and loony comments and remarks imaginable.

cyberspaceI guess the fact that so much of what can be said in cyberspace can be done with complete anonymity means that some people think they can get away with murder. They will unleash the most mind-boggling remarks, the most wild accusations, and the most moonbeam opinions possible.

I could write a small book about some of these gems. Often they go straight into the bin because they are so incredibly unhelpful, dangerous, dopey or deceptive. But sometimes I try to interact with such folks and their remarks. I usually do not get very far however, and often I have to just end a discussion when it is clear that it is going nowhere fast.

Let me then just offer a few examples of this, all from the past few days. Some are just the result of real sloppy thinking. Some may be because of deliberate deception. Some may be offered with good intentions, while others may just be folks lashing out in anger or argumentativeness.

My first example is this: I got this bizarre remark on CultureWatch: “Sometimes Bill you don’t have to have an opinion about everything that happens in the world and relate it to Godly and biblical principles.” Umm, I don’t? So what should I relate them to? Atheism? The New Age Movement? Islam?

I am a Christian of course so everything I do, say and think relates to Godly and biblical principles. Why wouldn’t they? Of course I don’t know if this guy is a believer or not. If he is a Christian, he should know better. The Lordship of Christ is to extend to every area of life as Scripture makes clear.

If he is a non-Christian, he also has a worldview he is operating from, be it secular humanism or whatever. Whether he is conscious of this worldview or not, he is always bringing it to bear on what he thinks, says and does. So the idea that I am stuck in my worldview but he isn’t is just silly.

It is all the more bizarre when the home page of my website clearly says this: “This website is devoted to exploring the major cultural, social and political issues of the day. It offers reflection and commentary drawing upon the wealth of wisdom found in the Judeo-Christian tradition.”

And even more bizarre is the fact that I don’t always bring in “Godly and biblical principles” into my articles. I may well write about matters that may be rather trivial, so no biblical commentary is necessary. Or often I am making the case for something, but using just secular grounds to do so. So he is wrong on that account as well.

My second example is not too serious, but still reflects some rather dodgy thinking. A friend passed on this: “Some Christian women say they experienced very little childbirth pain because they claimed certain scriptural promises etc. What say you? Can Christians lessen the curse of pain in childbirth by appropriating their position in Christ? Anyone had this kind of experience in birthing?”

Now if I were a pregnant female I might ask similar sorts of questions as well! But the advice she got seems to me to not be all that helpful. It may be more of a case of wishful thinking. It is at least poor biblical exegesis. The simple fact is, because of the fall, sin, suffering and death continue until Christ returns.

Even believers are subject to this – we also suffer, sin (to some extent) and die. Believing that the work of Christ fully removes all hardship and suffering in this life is known as the error of an over-realised eschatology. It assumes that all the benefits associated with Christ’s second coming can be fully appropriated now in this sinful world.

So we better not get our hopes up here. We can certainly all pray for a smooth delivery, and God can certainly give grace in this area. But we better not think a quick name-it-and-claim-it prayer will make a delivery pain-free. However, you can see a fuller theological discussion of these matters here: billmuehlenberg.com/2008/01/28/living-between-the-ages/

Finally, consider the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, particularly the Hamas war against Israel. I find more muddled morality and threadbare thinking on this issue than I can stomach. With yet more hundreds of rockets raining down on Israel, the loonies are again out in force, incredibly claiming that all this is somehow Israel’s fault.

Or they foolishly claim that both sides are equally at fault here. They are utterly clueless as to what is actually going on. They are living in a dream world, and a PC one at that. Israel of course does everything possible to minimise civilian casualties, including telling their enemy beforehand when and where they are striking.

Hamas does everything it possibly can to maximise civilian casualties, especially by targeting civilians, and carrying out its attacks hiding behind civilians. They will launch missiles from homes, schools and hospitals, waiting for Israel to defend itself.

Then when civilian casualties take place, just as Hamas intended (and they even command civilians not to get out of harm’s way), a loathsome mainstream media will come in with their cameras blazing, seeking to further demonise Israel. There is no moral equivalence here whatsoever.

But those who are clueless or simply Israel haters keep rambling on and on about this. They really should stop relying on the ABC or SBS and actually seek to learn a few facts here. Even paying attention to a few headlines such as the following would be a good place to start:

-Washington Post Sees Hamas Missiles Moved Into Gaza Mosque During Humanitarian Ceasefire (VIDEO)

-20 missiles found in UN-run school in Gaza
UNRWA apologizes to Israel, condemns a ‘flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises’ and promises investigation; Israel calls on UN to ‘act strongly’

-Israeli military foils attack from Gaza tunnel
The Israeli Defence Force releases footage showing how it thwarted an attempt by 13 Hamas militants to infiltrate Israel from a tunnel in Gaza

In addition, see the last three links below for some brief but helpful articles offering moral clarity on the Gaza situation. But some people seem to prefer blissful ignorance and kneejerk emotional reactions instead of actually dealing with facts and reality.

Consider one fellow who made this claim: “There is a better way … its time the IDF learned how to play ice hockey, and teach this to the Gazans.” He sent in a link about this, with the headline: “Middle East peace on the ice: Hockey team brings Jewish, Muslim kids together.”

When I suggested that this would likely do zippo to deal with the deep-seated problems in the Middle East, he came back insisting that this was the way to go, offering this bit of wisdom: “Games are an excellent practical effort to consider as an alternate to what we have now. Think Chess, Olympic Games, Soccer …”

I really thought for a moment that this guy must be a stand up comedian or something, and was just having me on. But sadly, I think he was actually serious here! According to this, for all these centuries we have missed this perfectly obvious answer to obtaining world peace.

Yep a hockey game will solve all the problems in the Middle East. How foolish of us all to miss it. Had Hitler and the Allies simply sat down for a few ping pong matches, WWII would never have taken place! If we can just have Obama and Kim Jong-un get together and play a game of darts, everything will be sweetness and light in that part of the world.

And there I thought that most of the Muslim world had sworn to destroy Israel, but it is just the lack of a good badminton match that would bring lasting peace to the Middle East. I must say I am baffled that such ideas can actually be put forward with a straight face.

Sadly far too many people – Christians included – are absolutely ignorant or blind to the situation Israel faces. It is surrounded by enemies who have vowed to drive it into the ocean. The Hamas charter states that peace “will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them) …” But all we get from many folks is more mindless moral equivalence, or hockey match diplomacy.

As I say, this is all just par for the course. I get inundated with this sort of stuff every day. It speaks much to where so much of the West is at nowadays. And it can be extremely worrying.

www.algemeiner.com/2014/07/18/washington-post-sees-hamas-missiles-moved-into-gaza-mosque-during-humanitarian-ceasefire-video/
www.timesofisrael.com/20-missiles-found-in-un-run-school-in-gaza/
www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/10973141/Israeli-military-foils-attack-from-Gaza-tunnel.html
www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/abc-still-blind-to-the-savagery-of-terrorist-group-hamas/story-fni0ffxg-1226991404277
www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-moral-clarity-in-gaza/2014/07/17/0adabe0c-0de4-11e4-8c9a-923ecc0c7d23_story.html
www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/gazans-real-enemy-is-hamas-not-israel/story-e6frg6z6-1226994082509

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12 Replies to “Whackos, Oddities, Curiosities and Stray Moonbeams”

  1. Do you know what happened to the missiles fond in the UNWRA school? They were given to local authorities. I hope people realise who the local authority is in Gaza. Aiding and abetting terror organisations is what the UN does.

  2. Regarding your point about the Palestinian/Israeli situation, I saw a very good comment which summed it up, for me at least.
    “Israel uses its missiles to defend its people, whereas Hamas uses its people to defend its missiles”.

  3. Please be encouraged Bill, Christians can be shallow, thick, naive and just plain dumb too, so we need people like you. I do find it odd though, when shown simple facts, many people still choose to be led down the garden path, perhaps just because everyone else is going there.

  4. Whether anyone wishes to believe it or not, I can name at least 4 women who I personally have known to have pain free child births, so that is definitely something that can be attained to through faith.

    1 Timothy 2:15 talks about women being saved in childbearing and we know that this is not relating to the gift of salvation/eternal life.

  5. Thanks Mario. Not meaning to belabour this, but given that not every childbirth is painful, long and miserable, and thus even pagans or cultists or atheists can experience these on occasion, the case is not foolproof. I am sure your four mums did have an easy run, and it may well be due to their faith and prayer. But that obviously cannot be said on non-Christian women who may also have an easy run. And of course millions of faith-filled, spirit filled, Christian women would also have prayed greatly for an easy run, but nonetheless experienced some degree of pain and difficulty anyway.

    As I say, this is simply due to the truth that we are living between the ages. Some healing and so on happens, but not all and not fully until Christ comes again. But I discuss that elsewhere of course, eg:

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2008/01/28/living-between-the-ages/

  6. “What say you?”

    Thanks for asking, I say ‘yes’ a woman can believe God for a pain free smooth delivery child birth as the Word of God teaches thus.

    “Can Christians lessen the curse of pain in childbirth by appropriating their position in Christ?”

    The ‘curse of pain in childbirth’? Bill are you in ‘pain’ when you eat food? I suggest you take a look at where ‘pain’ originated from and then take a closer look at the word ‘sorrow’ in Genesis 3:16 & 17, because men should be eating in the same pain if you translate it thus, or you have put your own assumption on the text respecting the woman, but thought differently about the man, yet it is the same word. ‘Labour’ would be the more befitting interpretation for both.

    “Anyone had this kind of experience in birthing?”

    Yes my wife has seen success in this area as well as numerous women have also testified to myself of such. I can relay testimonies of older midwives mocking women who were believing God for such, and then after the baby was swiftly delivered without a whimper from the mother in just a few pushes, they were asking more about this Jesus. Signs and wonders always make people take a bit more notice, after all we do serve a ‘God’ who is a spirit and quite able, He isn’t the mysterious now and then.

    “My second example is not too serious, but still reflects some rather dodgy thinking.”

    Believing God through faith (which pleases Him), in the promises of his Word is now ‘Dodgy Thinking’? I’d like to see the theology on that, as I can show you how failing to believe God and then claiming that ‘He might do it through grace’ (Your comment: “We can certainly all pray for a smooth delivery, and God can certainly give grace in this area”), seems to be not only dodgy but also contradictory thinking. Of course it reveals you believe that God can, and I commend you for being scriptural here at least, but that He ‘might not’, and thus we can ‘hope’ but not ‘believe’, and I suppose He has some strange reason for doing it for one and not another too?

    “Now if I were a pregnant female I might ask similar sorts of questions as well! But the advice she got seems to me to not be all that helpful. It may be more of a case of wishful thinking.”

    How can giving someone some scriptures of promise to help take into the delivery room, having something to hold onto, amount to ‘not be all that helpful’. Should we tell her that she is going to be here for hours screaming and writhing in pain instead?

    “It is at least poor biblical exegesis.”

    Really? Well I can show how your comments are poor biblical exegesis, so then, bring it forth and I’ll show you mine, let’s have at it.

    “The simple fact is, because of the fall, sin, suffering and death continue until Christ returns.”

    Yes this is correct, but not in your context, as I’ve told you before, it is incorrect hermeneutics to lump everything that can be defined as ‘suffering’ into the same bucket and just be told to ‘suck it up’, as Scripture makes many distinctions about varying sufferings and offers answer and promises for the believer regarding such.

    “Believing that the work of Christ fully removes all hardship and suffering in this life is known as the error of an over-realised eschatology. It assumes that all the benefits associated with Christ’s second coming can be fully appropriated now in this sinful world.”

    I don’t disagree with you here to some extent. However I am aware of your thinking here in this specific context and would remind you that many of the promises of God of which can be referred to are not in the context nor even close to apocalyptic doctrine, they are for the ‘Church Age’, under the New Covenant and ‘while we look for the promises of His return and the wrap up’. Thus, to claim if a person believes God’s Word for certain promises while in the flesh they are referring to the time of the eschaton is incorrect.

    “So we better not get our hopes up here. We can certainly all pray for a smooth delivery, and God can certainly give grace in this area. But we better not think a quick name-it-and-claim-it prayer will make a delivery pain-free.”

    I think i’ll stick to teaching people to believe God rather than doubt Him and then shout ‘bonus’ if He somehow mysteriously picks me to be one of His sovereign benefactors.

    Mar 11:21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.
    Mar 11:22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

    Heb 11:11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

    Heb 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
    Heb 11:33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
    Heb 11:34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
    Heb 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
    Heb 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:………

    oh and btw, your comment above about ‘some women who are not Christians having pain free child births’ revealing that it might not have been God’s supernatural intervention is also flawed thinking, as the same happens to people in regards to sickness and disease, thus, God never gets any glory because it can all be seemingly explained away somehow. This is exactly how pagans argue, they refuse to believe.

    The real fact of Scripture is, that God has made provision and promise for certain sufferings, obtained through faith in Him while we live between the ages…..sigh…

  7. Thanks Dorian. Four very brief replies if I may:

    1. I am afraid Mario beat you to it here on this one, and I have already replied to him!

    2. I did not intend for this to lead to WWIII.

    3. You and I have of course had these discussions plenty of times now. I have answered all your points numerous times, linked to various articles, etc. So I am certainly not going to repeat all that here. Been there, done that.

    4. I am willing to extend grace to you to offer your beliefs here, even though I may differ at times. Hopefully you will return the favour!

    Bless ya bud and keep up your good work.

  8. I have a few questions re Israel. It appears that the only crossing out of Gaza other than into Israel has been blocked by the Egyptians. If Israel has warned the citizens of Gaza to leave, which I believe they have, why don’t they leave via Israel? Are they too proud to escape through their enemy territory when the oportunity is offered or are there some logistic facts I am missing?
    People also have argued that because up until recently no Israeli people have died because of the Hamas rockets, Israel is therefore at fault for the ground attack trying to protect themselves from possible and certainly intended casualties by those rockets. Go figure.
    Bill, I appreciate that you posted Dorian’s full comment, I know it was a bit long, but thought you both have valid biblical positions and put together when extracting the biblical balance, we probably have the truth as precisely as it is humanly possible to pin point. I also have tried the “grab and blab” method as a young Christian and had a very painful labour. I surrendered to this being God’s will in the end, as I had prayed and exercised true faith, but God can not be put in a box, he is not a vending machine whose buttons we can press. Afterwards I was more worried about presenting a wrong picture of God and what is ours by faith to the nurse that I so convincingly told that “this would be an easy painfree birth” than feeling God had let me down. “The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away, shall we receive good of the Lord and not evil?” Heb 11 also prooves that both experiences both in response to true faith are valid and all are according to the inscrutible will of a sovereign God whom we will know as we are known when we are with Him in glory, but not until then.
    As to WWIII, do’t worry Bill, this is the kind of robust discussion done in respect and Christian love as you 2 have done, which I really enjoy and which, I believe invigorates our ability to love God with our mind and also challenges us to true love and fellowship in the face of differing, but yet scripturally supported opinions.
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  9. As to the “useful idiot” who proposed the hockey game, has he never heard of Hitler’s 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, which were to prove what? Not how he was going to live peacefully with the rest of the world, but how he could make the world believe that he was not as evil as he was rightly perceived to be even through his own writings. No, those who want to make true peace have to be prepared to go deep, to first expose the rottenness within, which is never painless and then to heal. God does it no differently with his people, so how do we think we can make peace with a superficial game even if we presuppose the intentions are benign?
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

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