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Location: Montgomery Area, Alabama, United States

Former BUFF driver; self-styled military historian; paid (a lot) to write about beating plowshares into swords; NOT Foamy the Squirrel, contrary to all appearances. Wesleyan Jihadi Name: Sibling Railgun of Reasoned Discourse

Friday, July 28, 2006

Christian Carnival CCXXXII

This week's Christian Carnival is up at Faith at Work Blog.

Among other worthy contents, there's this post at The Common Room, which presents the best one-paragraph summary concerning the historical authenticity of the New Testament that I have read:

The New Testament, miraculously unlike any book of ancient origin, is testified to by the survival of thousands of documents within a few years of the original autographs, and these documents all agree with one another to a remarkable degree. It is remarkable because this level of evidence is unmatched by *any* other ancient document.

The Old Testament, too, has proven a remarkably consistent and reliable document. I have studied this matter at some depth and, as a military historian interested in the dawn of warfare and achievement of the Turney-High's "military horizon" among civilizations (not least among the Hebrews), I have some familiarity with how sparse and unreliable most ancient sources are (up to the Renaissance, in fact). I also know how much anthropological "theory" is based on mere speculation. In the military field, this is often speculation by specialists with little professional knowledge of how and why men fight. Thus, I look with jaundiced eye at all textual criticism, especially the modern variety, and am continually struck by how well-preserved and documented Israel's history and Jesus' life are. Campared with what military historians consider authoritative accounts of battles and campaigns, the Bible provides an overflowing wealth or corroboratable detail. I am constantly amazed at how well its accounts harmonize and agree with what we know from surviving evidence.

Over at Crossroads, we have an excellent small treatise on how the pernicious "philosophy" of the Baby Boom (my) generation continues to pollute society and, in particular, the Visible Body:

Let's take a time travel trip back to the 1960's...............the era of the Baby Boomers coming of age..........

Their Philosophies
*Truth is what we think and say it is.
*Helping people is more important than sitting around talking about and obeying rules and decorum.
*Lots of hypocrisy in the society.
*The environment is what we should be focusing on - in fact let's live in the woods.
*Perhaps the Eastern religions can teach us something we are missing here in Western society.

Somehow, with the exception of the Jesus People, the church missed out. In most cases this was very good because they retained their teaching and morality; but in another sense they never really did engage it.

And so as a result of that.....................

The Emergent church (children of the Boomers for the most part)......
Their Philosophies
*Biblical truth is what we think and say it is.
*Helping people is more important than doctrinal truth.
*Lots of hypocrisy in the church
*The environment is somehting we should be focusing much more on.
*Perhaps the Eastern religions can teach us something we are missing here in the Western church.

Yes, there's little doubt that the Baby Boomers embraced moral relativism as their implicit religion (a thing only intellectual elites had done before them -- the BBs represented a mass popular movement) and we had a chance to see how destructive moral relativism could be when inflated into social policy: 60% divorce rates, a million abortions a year, tens of thousands of indigent dope-heads sleeping on urban heating grates, colleges that teach our young to hate the greatest nation in Earth's history and pander to barbarians who as soon slit our throats as look at us...und so weiter. It seems clear to me that my Worst Generation's legacy continues to damage us spiritually, although I do see within the "emerging church" many positive indicators as well -- trending away from and reacting against "anything goes" and "if it feels good, do it" that betokened my generation. I am a fan of the Catholics' Pope, whose Truth and Tolerance is an excellent answer to relativism in the spirit of Christian tolerance. I recommend it highly -- it strikes a balance well, without compromising first principles.

Finally, the excellent Fallible writes on the beauty of blogging:

Honestly, blogging started (for me) as a way to relieve my poor husband from a small measure of his listening duties.

Monk-mate KANH, I'm sure, can relate. Since I began blogging, I spend much less time yelling at the television or trying to bend her ear on subjects she's heard me spout off on for years. Yes, blogging is a beautiful thing.


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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ayman's Right, You Know...

Al Qaeda's No. 2 man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, has issued a new videotape. He warns us again of who we are at war with and what's at stake:

The Egyptian-born physician said the Hezbollah and Palestinian battles against Israel would not be ended with "cease-fires or agreements." The fighting began last month following a Palestinian cross-border raid in which an Israeli soldier was captured, then expanded to Lebanon after Hezbollah militants captured two other soldiers in a raid earlier this month.

"The shells and rockets ripping apart Muslim bodies in Gaza and Lebanon are not only Israeli (weapons), but are supplied by all the countries of the crusader coalition. Therefore, every participant in the crime will pay the price," al-Zawahri said.

The war with Israel does not depend on cease-fires. ... It is a Jihad for God's sake and will last until (our) religion prevails," al-Zawahri said. "We will attack everywhere."

He's right, of course, and it's good for us to hear it, just as it was good for the Allies to study Mein Kampf to understand Hitler's mind and motivations. Zawahiri lays it out there for all to see: we are in a world war, in which Lebanon and Iraq and Afghanistan are just battles or campaigns. We have been in this war since the "Prophet" announced the hijra fifteen hundred years ago. The enemy, islam, has triumphed more than it's failed and Western civilization has been saved several times just by the skin of its teeth (as at Tours, Lepanto, and Vienna). Let's see the money quote again:

"It is jihad for God's sake and will last until (our) religion prevails."

That is, until the entire world is clad in burkhas or kafiyahs and the muezzin sing out the call to prayer from Copenhagen to Omaha to Tokyo. Western liberals had better want such a world, becuase that is what their opposition to present American policies is helping to bring about. What I fear most -- more even than the enemy's efforts -- is the coming backlash, precipitated by some hideous muslim atrocity, in which the West will strike back with all it has and people will die not by dozens or hundreds, but by the millions. Let us pray it does not have to come to that. If only liberals and the establishment media would just shut the hell up and let those who are better informed, trained, led, and motivated get on with today's rough business so we do not have to burn mountains of corpses (including those of many traitorous Westerners) later...

One enemy, one war, one victory.


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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Dick Gets It Right For a Change

After calling the state of Israel a "mistake" last week, Richard Cohen of the WaPo makes good by debunking the "proportional response" criticism that has been levelled against Israel during the coflict in Lebanon.
Says Cohen:

The list of those who have accused Israel of not being in harmony with its enemies is long and, alas, distinguished. It includes, of course, the United Nations and its secretary general, Kofi Annan. It also includes a whole bunch of European newspapers whose editorial pages call for Israel to respond, it seems, with only one missile for every one tossed its way. Such neat proportion is a recipe for doom.
The dire consequences of proportionality are so clear that it makes you wonder if it is a fig leaf for anti-Israel sentiment in general. Anyone who knows anything about the Middle East knows that proportionality is madness. For Israel, a small country within reach, as we are finding out, of a missile launched from any enemy's back yard, proportionality is not only inapplicable, it is suicide. The last thing it needs is a war of attrition. It is not good enough to take out this or that missile battery. It is necessary to reestablish deterrence: You slap me, I will punch out your lights.

Israel has been in dire need of such deterrence ever since it pulled out of Lebanon in 2000 and, just recently, the Gaza Strip. In Lebanon, it effectively got into a proportional hit-and-respond cycle with Hezbollah. It cost Israel 901 dead and Hezbollah an announced 1,375, too close to parity to make a lasting difference. Whatever the figures, it does not change the fact that Israeli conscripts or reservists do not think death and martyrdom are the same thing. No virgins await Jews in heaven.

Roger that: You slap me, I punch your lights out. Being a Christian, I am not sanguine about this, but with this enemy, sadly, it is the only rational response. Anything less is suicide. As I've said before, I fear a muslim act or acts in this war that unleash the full fury of the West and make Israel's "disproportionate" response look like a Sunday picnic in comparison. Maybe if Israel succeeds in crippling Hezbollah, worse measures won't be necessary later. (On the other hand, maybe we'll all keep fighting over this region until Christ returns....)


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Friday, July 21, 2006

Victor Davis Hanson: Patience Is Wearing Thin


In his RealClearPolitics column today, Victor Davis Hanson says what many (myself included) have been thinking for some time, but have been reluctant to say aloud:

Patience is wearing thin

...Despite...sound conventional wisdom, an exasperated West is running out of choices in the Middle East.

...For all their threats, what the Islamists -- from Hezbollah in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley to the Iranian government in Tehran to the jihadists in Iraq's Sunni Triangle -- don't understand is that they are slowly pushing tired Westerners into a corner. If diplomacy, or aid, or support for democracy, or multiculturalism, or withdrawal from contested lands, does not satisfy radical Islamists, what would?

Perhaps nothing.

What then would be the new Western approach to terrorism? Hard and quick retaliation -- but without our past concern for nation-building, or offering a democratic alternative to theocracy and autocracy, or even worrying about whether other Muslims are unfairly lumped in with Islamists who operate freely in their midst.

If they are not careful, a Syria or Iran really will earn a conventional war -- not more futile diplomacy or limited responses to terrorism. And history shows that massive attacks from the air are something that the West does well...

Read the whole thing.

As a Christian, this is what I most fear in this war: not that the islamofascists will actually destroy us as a civilization (although I do also fear the possiblity of our surrender), but the likelihood that the Salafis or their nutbag Twelver Shiite equivalents finally succeed in committing some act so horrific that they provoke the full wrath of the United States and other Westerners (most definitely including Israel) and then we stand by and watch while a few hundred million muslim human beings get smeared into gristle-flecked jelly before we're satisfied and let the survivors slip back under their cultural rock. I don't want that, nor should any Christian, however much we abominate the culture that produced islamofacism.

What we (Westerners) are doing in places like Iraq, Iran, and Lebanon had better work and Christians had best pray that it does, becuase the alternatives are much, much worse.

One enemy, one war, one victory. One way the other...


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Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Alabama Makes the News

It's rare that my adopted home state of Alabama makes the news. When it does, you can bet that there's a bizarre Harper Lee or Faulkner vibe, or at least some kind of wierdness, to the story. So it is with this piece out of the local fishwrap that National Review Online picked up:

MOBILE -- To the bafflement of insect experts, gigantic yellow jacket nests have started turning up in old barns, unoccupied houses, cars and underground cavities across the southern two-thirds of Alabama.

Specialists say it could be the result of a mild winter and drought conditions, or multiple queens forcing worker yellow jackets to enlarge their quarters so the queens will be in separate areas. But experts haven't determined exactly what's behind the surprisingly large nests.

Auburn University entomologists, who say they've never seen the nests so large, have been fielding calls about the huge nests from property owners from Dothan up to Sylacauga and over into west-central Alabama's Black Belt.

The picture looks like something out of Alien. The caption reads:

A yellow jacket nest engulfs the inside of a 1955 Chevrolet on Harry Coker's Tallassee property on Thursday. Gigantic yellow jacket nests have been found in old barns, unoccupied houses, cars and underground cavities across the southern two-thirds of Alabama.

Tallassee?! That's just down the road! The thought of such hives is truly frightening and makes me more than a little nervous. I guess I'll have to alay my nervousness in a time-honored Alabama way: by scarfing down a mess a' Waffle House hash browns. Susanna, I accept your challenge! Scattered all the way for me, please!(I just hope there are no yellow jackets at the WH...)


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Monday, July 17, 2006

The Marines Tell It Like It Is

I could say a great deal about what has taken place in the Mideast since my last post, but I couldn't summarize or express things any better than this Marine, who wrote Atlas Shrugs from Iraq:

Dear Atlas,

I am the Marine that wrote to you about the News Media betraying us.
I just wanted to tell you that we, Marines, SUPPORT Israel in their war against Hamas and Hizbullah. I cannot express to you how many Marines I have talked to or have heard say how proud of Israel they are. I cannot tell you how happy I am that Israel is destroying Hamas and Hizullah. We all CHEER when we watch Lebanon being bombed on TV in the Chow Hall. I hope Israel annihilates Hamas, Hizbullah and Syria. Because the way we see it, that is less Jihadists for us to fight. I can't speak for all Marines, but the Marines that I know and talk to stand by Israel 100%. And I am in the infantry, we are front line Marines. Warriors. We support Israel because we have fought the same people they are fighting, Jihadists. This is a world war. It has been a world war since 11 September 2001. Hopefully now people are realizing the true scale of this conflagration. And Israel is fighting the same enemy in Gaza and Lebanon as America is fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, just on another front in the same war. And we see the Israeli Soldiers as brothers in arms against a common enemy. Myself and the Marines in my unit, Veterans of 2 tours in Iraq, support Israel all the way to victory. And I THANK the State of Israel for their determination, fortitude and vigilance in the destruction of Evil.
God Bless America.
God Bless Israel.
And God Bless all freedom loving people worldwide.

- US Marine and Veteran of the current world war

He pretty much sums up how I feel about what has happened over the last several days.

One enemy. One war. One victory.


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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Christian Carnivals!

We have two for your reading pleasure this week.

Carnival CXXX is up at Brain Cramps For God. There's a thoughtful post on why so many Christians in today's hectic world stay away from church. Also, don't miss Brain Cramps' host's revealing confession at the end of the carnival. There was a point in my life wihen I dealt with the problem he faces too.

Carnival CXXIX was at Crossroads. It contained a fascinating little speculation on whether God's creation mandate to be stewards over the Earth extends to other planets as well. Unless and until we find other sentient life out there, I'm inclined to think that it does. This carries with it responsibilities as well as rights, of course.



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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Third Way Again

When things get slow around here, correspondent Izmud can usually be relied upon to get things going again.

This time, he sends an endorsement for a grassroots third party movement that sounds interesting:

Personal Message: Dear family and friends: Unity08 offers the possibility that we can combine the best in the Democratic Party with the best in the Republican Party to organized some kind of decent leadership in this country. If not, we had better be thinking about the 2nd American Revolution. We are drowning in corruption and incompetence. Our republic cannot survive unless we make some drastic changes. Pat I know you're fed up with the partisan bickering and special interests that dominate politics today. So am I. And so are millions of other Americans. That's why I urge you to join me in signing the "Declaration of Independence from Politics without Purpose" at

Unity08 Message: Declare your independence from politics without purpose today and together we will send a message to congressional leaders from both parties that Americans expect -- and deserve -- better than the current political paralysis in Washington, D.C.

It's high time they face the facts. According to a recent Princeton Research survey, only three percent of Americans say they are "very satisfied" with American politics today, compared to a stunning 44 percent who say they are "very dissatisfied." Eighty-two percent said America has become so polarized between Democrats and Republicans that Washington can't seem to make any meaningful progress solving the nation's problems.

Add your "John Hancock" by Friday, July 7 at:

Okay, so I'm a little late posting it. I'm sure they'd still take your support if offered. I asked Izmud if this was something he thought up. He responded:

No, I did not start it--it was sent to me and I investigated a bit. Being a broken-spirited Republican who feels his party has wandered fromt he True Path, I was intrigued. My concern upon researching the group is that many of the founders have very liberal past associations. Nevertheless, this is a promising start and so I have joined up to particiapte. I figure democracy only works if you participate--maybe I can guide from within?

Good point. I'd have to know more about the group's political platform before endorsing it, especially given Izmud's concerns. Nonetheless, interesting. Certainly, the basic idea of starting a Third Way is something I endorse.


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Monday, July 03, 2006

Freedom of the Press or Treason, Part 2

Who knew that the New York Times' perfidy extended back this far? (Courtesy of Les Baitzer via Powerline):


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