Oprah Winfrey says that my grandparents need to die!

It never ceases to amaze me how racist some people can be while claiming they are not racist.  Oprah Winfrey is a prime example of someone who is clearly racist but doesn’t acknowledge it.

In an interview with the BBC, as she was advertising her film, The Butler, Oprah was asked a question about President Obama not receiving proper respect because he is black, I mean African-American (and for President Obama, he actually might be an African-American).  Oprah responded that she thought very clearly that President Obama is being judged and disrespected because of the color of his skin.  She goes on to say:

Of course the problem is not solved, as long as people can be judged by the color of their skin, the problem is not solved.  As long as there are people who, and there’s a whole generation of people, and I say this for, you know, for Apartheid in South Africa, I say this for my own community in the South, there are still generations of people, older people, who were born, bred, and marinated in it, in that prejudice and racism, and they just have to die.

If you don’t believe me that this kind, tolerant, loving liberal passed such a sweeping judgment on an entire people group from the South, then here is the video footage for you to watch her say it for all of England to hear:

Oprah Winfrey on BBC (Video of her saying a whole generation in the South needs to die)

My grandparents who currently reside in East TN and were born and raised in North Carolina fit into this geographic people group that needs to die.  She blatantly lumps all of them from a certain era, geography, and I’d even say ethnicity (white skinned) into a single pool that needs to ALL DIE to solve the problem of racism.

Oprah however fails to see that she is part of the problem.  She says that racism will not die until people who judge others by the color of their skin all die, but she has passed a harsh judgment upon an entire people group based on the color of people’s skin and geography.

We must all confront such self-contradictory, liberal nonsense if we hope to have a world of tolerance and a society that values truth and life, because you know what, just for writing these words, Oprah probably thinks I need to die too, and likely thinks everyone who posted the following related articles also needs to die.

The Bible is Just a Story! Like Harry Potter is Just a Story!

Yesterday, I set-up an evangelism table at Saddleback Community College.  I had a Contradict poster taped to the table with print-outs of the Contradict page of explanation with me to hand out to people who seemed interested in the sign on the table.

A long conversation was sparked with a student who recognized that the religions contradicted each other and that they can’t all be true.  When I began to share about why I believe Jesus is God and the Savior of mankind, he objected, saying that the Bible is just a story.  He argued that the Bible was written by a person a long time ago, and it’s just a story, similar to how J.K. Rowling writes stories.  People eventually believed the Bible to be a true story, and he had no problem if people wanted to believe it was true, becuase the stories that form religions help keep society in order, by giving people a purpose and direction life, something to live for.

I noticed in his explanation that he referenced again, and again, that it was just “a person” who wrote the Bible. I corrected him on that point, that the New Testament was not written by “a person” but at least 8, likely 9, different authors.

I then told him that those 8-9 people suffered and were persecuted for their writings.  Some argue that we only know by tradition that the apostles died, not good hard historical evidence, and this is likely true, that it’s only in tradition that they died as martyrs.  But we do know for certain that they were persecuted, jailed, robbed, and many were executed for the Christian faith from the NT writings themselves, as well as from the writings of early Church fathers, and from historians of the 1st-3rd centuries outside of the Christian circle.

But he made no argument against my claim that the Bible had multiple authors, or against my claim that they were persecuted for their message.  He still wanted to argue that it was a story, so I drew a parallel to his Harry Potter comparison.

Author J.K. Rowling reads from Harry Potter an...
Author J.K. Rowling reads from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at the Easter Egg Roll at White House. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I said, we know that J.K. Rowling wrote the Potter books.  We also have her own words explaining how she created the characters and conducted research into the practices of magic and the occult to write her books.  We records of interviews with her, and we have critics who have read and critiqued her work, both in praise and against it.  I told him that we have similar works with the BIble.  The Talmud mentions Jesus and claims that he performed his work through the Devil.  Other authors outside of the Christian refer to Jesus as a historical person who was crucified by Pontius Pilate.

What we find is that the apostles did not recant their beliefs when confronted to say that their story was fiction.  If J.K. Rowling claimed her Potter universe was real, and there was a gun put to her head, and she was told that she had to admit that her work was fiction or a bullet would be put into her head, would she maintain that Potter and his friends and his school actually exists?  He said no, of course not, at which point I told him that the disciples didn’t reject their “story.”
He responded that they could have been crazy.  I quickly refuted that argument, at which point he jumped to explain that Jesus probably had a twin brother!  Really?  I had heard that this was a natural argument to explain the resurrection, but I had never met someone who actually argued that it’s most likely that Jesus had a twin brother, than a bodily resurrection occurring.

I’ll share more about the Twin discussion in a post to come very soon.

Zombie Apocalypse Questions

The Walking Dead (season 2)
The Walking Dead (season 2)

Zombies!  I went to a gun show recently and I was shocked to see Zombie Ammo and Zombie shooting targets!  I even saw a Zombie Obama shooting target.  I have a friend whose greatest dream would be for there to actually be a Zombie Apocalypse, so he can put to use all the knowledge and survivor skills he has learned from video games and movies over the years.  Why the Zombie obsession?  What’s the big deal?  Why are we attracted to Zombie culture right now?

Zombie Apocalypse (video game)
Zombie Apocalypse (video game)

I have watched all the first two seasons of the Walking Dead, and I personally love it.  Someone asked me why do I watch it?  I told them because it is more than just shooting walking brain-eating zombies.  The Walking Dead presents many interesting questions to consider, such as:

1. What makes us human?  What separates us from the animals, in this case, the zombies?

2. Are there any scenarios in life in which it is better to kill someone, even if the person is innocent, for the greater good of the larger community?  This scenario arose in The Walking Dead, Season 2.  If they let a person live, he’d likely return to his community that would then come to wreck deathly havoc and pillaging upon the community that the series follows.  It’s not certain, but it’s most likely?  The guy could be innocent and could be trusted, but he’s likely guilty and could endanger everyone.  The show had a debate and vote to see if they should kill him for the greater good of their community.  It was an interesting debate from both sides, and again it makes us question the value of human life, and when it should be protected, and if it can ever be justified to kill a person to protect others we care and love.

3. Zombie movies and shows, if they are created for more than just depicting blood and guts, also do a good job making us question what we value most in life.  What are we living for now?  If everything was turned upside down in the world, and all of our consumeristic lifestyle was destroyed, with the loss of electricity and clean running water, how would we survive; what would we value most?  People under zombie attacks living in a Zombe-Apoocalypse world usually discover that what is most important in life, isn’t the type of car they drive, how big their home is, how cool their last vacation was, or how attractive they are, but the simple fact that they have relationships, community, and love.  These movies and shows do a good job of making us realize that our first world problems are trivial and not focused on what’s important.

4. And in the case of The Walking Dead, there is a Christian father who keeps his faith throughout the show and members of the community do ask questions about God and from time to time they do pray.  It can make us ask, would I keep my faith no matter what happens?  And for those who don’t have faith in God, would it make them consider their own mortality and lead them to ask, is there a God and is knowable?  What will happen after I die?  And Christians can use such questions spawned from Zombie-Apocalypse fiction as a launching pad to share the Gospel.

Ephesians 2:8-9 – What is the object of saving faith?

A song that I really despise is Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.”  I don’t even know if that is the name of the song, but I’m sure anyone reading this will know the song I am talking about.  Usually if I mention a song, I’ll add a Youtube clip of the song to the blog, but in this case, no, no I will not!  I don’t know the song well enough to even begin to tell you the context of the chorus, but it seems like what is called fideism, which is essentially faith stands alone apart from reason or philosophy.  Faith trumps all.  Just believe.  Just have faith.  Faith in faith.  But what’s the object of the faith?  Don’t stop believing, Journey?  Don’t stop believing in what?

Worst Neeson movie I have ever seen.

I watched the worst Liam Neeson movie, The Grey, in a movie theater.  I know anyone else who has shared this experience is probably cringing right now.  That movie – that movie – oh man… it was bad.  In a holy crap we are all about to die talk around a fire, the one character in the bunch who seems to believe in God, although we don’t learn which God, he seems more like a Deist, because God forbid there is a strong Christian character in a Hollywood movie, tells Neeson’s character, “What about your faith?  You got to have faith. You can’t lose faith”  I wanted to puke – Faith in what?  Faith in whom?  “Just don’t stop believing?”  And most people probably have no problem with this, because they don’t realize that who, or what, we have faith in matters!  Pluralism has made all beliefs co-equal and co-valid.  The sincerity of your faith doesn’t matter!  It’s the dependability of the object of your faith!

A famous saying that emerged from the Reformation is “By grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by Scripture alone with glory to God alone.”  This is pulled from Ephesians 2:8-9.  However the word Christ, or Jesus, is not found in these two verses.  Christ is implied, and to the implication comes from the rest of Scripture.  Enjoy looking these verses up and I pray that the Holy Spirit will create, work, sustain, and strengthen faith in your life!

Ephesians 2:8-9 (New International Version)

8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.

Faith in what, or whom?

Galatians 2:21

Romans 4:5

Romans 3:21-24

Romans 3:28

2 Timothy 1:9

Hebrews 11:6

Galatians 2:16

Titus 3:7

Samsara – Christianity Today’s Movie Review

I like reading movie reviews from Christianity Today.  I like the reviews that are connected to a Christian worldview, and sometimes I especially like the discussion questions that are present at the end of each review.  Without even seeing the movie, Samsara, the discussion questions at the end of the Samsara movie review are great to use in religious/spiritual conversations:

Samsara

Filmed in 25 countries over five years, a beautiful moving picture book of the world.
Mack Hayden

 

[ posted 8/31/2012 5:31 ]
Samsara
our rating

3 Stars - Good
mpaa rating

PG-13 (for some disturbing and sexual images)
Directed By

Ron Fricke
Run Time

1 hour 42 minutes
Cast

N/A
Theatre Release

August 23, 2012 by Oscilloscope Pictures

Samsara. The name begets an aura of distant mystery. What kind of film is this? A journey into the unknown or a treasure hunt spanning continents? An elixir guaranteeing meaning to all shades of existence, sought for high and low? The latest project from Ron Fricke (1985’s Chronos and 1992’s Baraka) answers a subtle yes to all these suggestions while reaching even further. His camera traverses the globe with the fervency of a Cortes, the ambition of a Magellan. Still, his greater purpose is to create not a travelogue but a dialogue. The far-away wonders and nearby concerns presented are meant to encourage us to allow the world to illumine itself and our souls.

If narrative structure is necessary for your cinematic enjoyment, Samsara will probably dissatisfy. One viewer may perceive it to be a kaleidoscopic masterpiece while another may see it as an unwelcome flashback to college art history slide shows. No dialogue is exchanged between characters, no soliloquies pass the lips of any personage. It’s a silent documentary, accompanied by ambient music and the even louder soundtrack of the viewer’s own thoughts. A variety of landscapes, faces, and circumstances pass in and out of focus bereft of any explanation.

Buddhist monks and a communal work of art Buddhist monks and a communal work of art

The breadth of life depicted here refuses to be framed or unified. Diversity is the highest virtue. Toward the beginning, a group of Buddhist monks gathers around a patch of ground to create a work of art, communally crafting a mandala—a spiritual tapestry made of colored sands, as delicate as it is intricate. Close to when the curtains fall, the same monks are seen destroying what they have created—not with any sense of malice but perhaps a hint of fatalism. The end was as inevitable as the beginning. What happens in between creation and destruction is life, life, shining life. Fricke sets out to display it all. Fantasies and nightmares, the serene and saddening. Questions are posed by portrayal alone. What is man’s hand in both the assembling and dispersal of the tapestry? The personalities, the architecture, and the threatening wild all seem to support different conclusions. And perhaps that’s what Fricke wants the viewer to take away in the first place.

An infant awaits baptism An infant awaits baptism

Samsara is a phenomenally ambitious film. Shot over the course of five years, spanning continents, it sets out to encompass the whole world and life from infancy to cessation. The cinematography captures all the myriad elements of earthly life with vibrancy and colorful abandon. Think The Tree of Life meets National Geographic in motion. Each scene is composed according to its own needs. Still, this fly-by-night set of moving pictures is able to maintain its strange unpredictability without becoming a mere series of vignettes. Inexplicably, Fricke was able to make different countries, different peoples, and different shooting styles cohere without losing each scene’s originality.

While often evoking wonder, any study of life’s light can only be seen by darkness’s occasional display. Disturbance comes unexpectedly and without warning. Interposed with the mundane or joyful are factually based and surrealistic examples of fear and evil. Animals are mistreated, the aftermath of catastrophe is analyzed, and a nightmare plays out in an office cubicle. There is the desire to turn away, the cringe you wish did not exist. Especially when couched in so many other real life images, Fricke refuses to spoon feed. If we are to have his vision of human existence, cradle to the grave, we are to have a vision that includes the righteous and the wicked.

A Mursi tribe girl from Ethiopia A Mursi tribe girl from Ethiopia

Faces take up most of the screen time; the human visage is the most useful metaphor for the human soul. By staring into the eyes of so many different people, the spectator’s self is brought under greater scrutiny. Interior monologuing reaches an all-time high as uncomfortable seconds while by, faces staring directly into the camera and, by extension, directly into the audience’s hearts. In its best moments, the film unnerves or enlightens by creating the sensation that it is watching you. A look into the eyes of African or Tibetan citizens makes life both more intense and sublime in North America

The Christian’s sense of mission might be deepened by films such as these. On one hand, it seems to be a practical ode to postmodernity. “Can you not see how different we all are?” “How silly to impose an exclusive system of belief on such an endless world?” But through each scene, a little more of the beauty and brokenness found in every human artwork and personality is revealed. The tapestry is created and then destroyed: this is an absolute. Even more so is the desire for resurrection, for a more beautiful and indestructible tapestry that we have yet to even understand.

Talk About It

Discussion starters

  1. What is the value of travel in the Christian life? Can seeing other ways of life help us better understand our own?
  2. The film’s more disturbing sequences are deeply unsettling. Are nightmares as essential as lighthearted dreams to the human condition?
  3. Do you think the director’s worldview is detectable here? If so, do you think it can be considered compatible with Christianity?

The Family Corner

For parents to consider

Samsara is rated PG-13 for some disturbing and sexual images. There is one truly frightening sequence involving a man in an office cubicle as well as some scary images involving deformities or human cruelty to animals. Another scene takes place in what appears to be an erotic dance club somewhere in Asia. The breasts of African tribal women are also seen in a different sequence.