Is IBM-Twitter deal thoughtful business or thought manipulation via mission creep?

IBM announced recently it’s tweaking its business model to focus on cloud-based services with the help of data and analytics. To get the ball rolling, they entered a partnership with Twitter to access Twitter’s entire database in the same way the social media company did for MIT just weeks ago. All tweets starting with the very first one in 2006 to the present and in the future will be included. Not long after Twitter’s announcement about MIT, it came out that the National Science Foundation is doing surveillance of Twitter to monitor how political speech is spread.

Many economic analysts were wondering recently how Twitter would become a profitable company given that it isn’t as focused on ad revenue as Facebook is. Well, here’s their answer. They’re selling out their subscribers. This could either be a very thoughtful, smart business move for IBM and Twitter or it could be a mission creep move laying the foundation for the future thought police.

IBM plans to store all this data in their cloud and in their computer Watson, the one that was featured on game show Jeopardy, for data mining on behalf of their clients to establish profiles for customers of their clients so they can make changes based on what the customer tweets and, no doubt, to ultimately predict their behavior. When social media websites make moves like this, is it any wonder that they eventually level off on gaining new subscribers?

Just as a side note, IBM is up to its eyeballs in the Bilderberg Group. These types of cronies own 80%+ of the world’s wealth and still want control of middle class wealth and the little that the lower classes own. And when the middle and lower classes come up with ideas like crowdfunding, they try to put a leash on that with proposed regulations from both the U.S. and the E.U. nations. Control freaks and criminals have basically nixed the days when surfing the Internet used to be for honestly sharing ideas and fun. Now it seems the majority of it is for sinister ulterior motives. All of this brings to mind the 1980s song “Silent Running” by Mike & the Mechanics in this video with its very poignant lyrics:

God created us as beings who love to share what we think or know, and now it seems it’s being used against us. We are quickly approaching the days the prophet Micah spoke of in the following passage, with my notes in brackets:

The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net. [in this case with the Internet]

That they may do evil with both hands earnestly [when they type out their computer code and push it out], the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up. [in hyperlinks, cookies, spyware, and online ads]

The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.

Trust ye not in a friend [including social media ones], put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom.

For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.

Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. Micah 7

Sources: Joe Wright, Social Media Surveillance Expands as IBM Taps Twitter, Activist Post, October 30, 2014.

IBM, Government technology solutionsBig Data & Analytics, IBM website.

Harry A. Gaylord

Purging from converging with the Emerging Church’s view of ‘God’

“Christianity in its institutional forms has really been a dualist religion, meaning always seeing the world in terms of good and evil, us and them, in and out; you know–black and white… always seeing the world in very binary terms. …Eastern religion has held out that there’s something beyond dualism.” — Brian McLaren gushing about what he admires about Eastern religions like Buddhism.

The quote above from Brian McLaren of the Emerging Church movement is in the YouTube video below. McLaren and other Emerging Church leaders like him seem to despise the God of the Bible while they attempt to portray themselves as his representatives. Its the age-old tactic of them transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness which Paul warned us about in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. If you become familiar with this movement of impostors, you will notice that one thing McLaren, Rob Bell, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, and others have in common is their disdain of the idea that Jehovah (and by default, Jesus) is superior to all other gods.

Yet in the midst of McLaren knocking “dualism” in his quote above, he contradicts himself by embracing and introducing his own brand of dualism by proclaiming Eastern religions are better than Christianity in that regard, an “us and them,” “either … or” comparison that is itself dualist. Since they hate the superiority of God so much, I’m sure they would cringe if they were to read Isaiah 40-46 where the Lord repeatedly points out his superiority. I decided to do a compilation of some of those verses in honor of God’s frankness on the issue to highlight this false doctrine Emerging from their spiritual blindness.

18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? … 25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Isaiah 40

23 Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods: yea, do good, or do evil, that we may be dismayed, and behold it together. 24 Behold, ye are of nothing, and your work of nought: an abomination is he that chooseth you. Isaiah 41

8 I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Isaiah 42

11 I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour. Isaiah 43

6 Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. Isaiah 44

5 I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me … 18 For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord; and there is none else. … 20 they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. Isaiah 45

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me… Isaiah 46

Amen, Lord. That’s why I will forever worship only you.

Harry A. Gaylord

God’s kingdom has impenetrable defense and offense

In this day and age, it seems to the naked human eye that God’s enemies are winning and wearing out the saints. If we were to measure by earthly standards, we could come up with plenty of data to back the idea they are winning. But if we were to switch to a view coming from a heavenly perspective, that isn’t really the case since we have a myriad of promises from the Lord that he cannot lose. Take, for instance, Luke 20:17-18–

…The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?

Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

fortressChrist’s rejection from the Jews of his day actually served to enhance his victory as he sits on the throne in heaven–the resurrected Master of the universe and the head of God’s church. In this passage of Luke, Jesus is letting the world know that ultimately he has the best defense and offense that no one can defeat even when it looks like he’s defeated. Those who ‘fall upon’ Christ the stone will subsequently be broken by his defense. To ‘fall upon’ is a term of ambush and attack as one does with an offensive team. Spiritually speaking, this happens when people turn away, reject, and disobey the Lord deliberately or simply refuse his lordship.

Has God really lost in those instances? Actually, the person who has chosen to be at odds with the Lord has lost because they have injured themselves by missing out on God’s many blessings reserved for those who are in a relationship with him, who build their lives having the stone as the head of the corner of their foundation. Without Christ as head, unbelievers’ lives lack spiritual worth, or a decent ultimate purpose, or godly joy, or the possibility of the highest and best motives for good deeds, leaving them standing on unstable morals and principles built on sinking sand which brings destruction by eternal separation from their Creator. Anything they have said and done will still be used against them in God’s court in the future.

Which brings me to God’s offense. When we see God give his children victory over their enemies here on earth or we witness him carrying out his ‘acts of God’ to judge sin, these are just a preview of what’s ahead when unbelievers die without the Lord and when Christ will judge the whole earth, before finally returning. The stone will fall upon his opponents and grind them to powder when they are sent to the hell they have chosen after they die and/or when Judgment Day arrives. The brightness of Christ’s coming will be so luminous the unbelieving will scatter like roaches when a light is turned on and they will cry to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb,’ Revelation 6:16.

Opposing the Lord Jesus is nothing but a lose-lose proposition. Going against him gets you hell. When he goes against you, you get hell. I learned that a long time ago, and decided since I couldn’t beat him, I’d join him–best decision I ever made.

34 a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.

35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.’ Daniel 2

Shroud of Turin (Jesus ‘burial cloth’) a prop for medieval Easter ceremonies, says historian

British historian Charles Freeman claims that he has compiled all of the information he can about the Shroud of Turin and has come to the conclusion that it was just intended to be a prop for people in medieval times who celebrated Christ’s resurrection on Easter, the pagan holiday.

Freeman noted that the very first mention of the Shroud appeared in the 1300s, around the time emphasis was placed on how bloodied Christ was at his trial and crucifixion. Prior to that, Freeman claims, all depictions of Christ were free of the blood and gore that is popular today. His views line up with the questionable method of radiocarbon dating done of the Shroud in 1988 that gives it a 14th century date. Freeman argues the Shroud only became a relic in the 15th century, when “it was acquired by the House of Savoy in 1453 … to shore up the power base of the insecure Alpine dukedom.”

Examining the various engravings of the Shroud, Freeman points out, “few researchers appear to have grasped that the shroud looked very different in the 16th and 17th centuries from the object we see today.” In other words, he believes it was tampered with at various times to match the bloodied Christ depiction so common today.

As I have noted before, the Bible states clearly that Jesus’ burial cloths were in two pieces or more–one for his head, the other(s) for the rest of his body, as was Jewish custom (John 11:43-44; John 20:6-7). The Shroud is one piece of cloth that supposedly covered Christ’s whole body. When details like this conflict, I would rather stick to what the Bible says. Despite this, many who claim Christianity are caught up in venerating (worshiping) this thing as a religious relic when, in fact, true Christianity is not in the business of promoting the veneration of any relics.

For more info on Freeman’s research, read the original article that appeared on October 23 in The Guardian.

Women lack leadership roles in evangelical nonprofits

boardroomResearchers at Gordon College and Wheaton College have discovered after surveying 1400 evangelical organizations that women have fewer leadership roles than their secular counterparts. While women in secular organizations make up 43% of their nonprofit boards and 40% of their CEOs overall, in the evangelical world only 21% of evangelical boards are female, 19% are in top paid positions, and 16% are CEOs.

A majority of evangelicals (94%), whether men or women, believe that men and women should have equal access to those leadership roles, which has left experts wondering why that isn’t reflected in the actual numbers of women leaders. Three basic questions have arisen from these numbers, namely:

  1. Do the women make decisions that limit their options?
  2. Are there attitudes in these work environments that put men at a better advantage to take these positions?
  3. Do evangelical women feel that their roles at home and church, as stated in the Bible, should also apply to society in general?

Several days ago, an article appeared at CharismaNews from a pastor’s wife who in her travels to different churches still found that women approached her with the concern that they as women were prohibited from preaching, teaching, and praying for people and were relegated to only serving in the church kitchen or cleaning the facilities.

Is this really what God has in mind for women? I personally can’t see how that could be for several reasons such as:

  • Jesus appeared to a woman first after his resurrection (Mark 16:9) and she was the very first to spread the good news of his resurrection.
  • When the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit on Pentecost (Acts 2) as evidenced by their preaching/prophesying in tongues, both women and men were there (see Acts 1:14). Peter attests to this when he addressed the interested crowd by quoting Joel 2 where Joel prophesied God would use both sons and daughters, servants and handmaidens to prophesy, which includes preaching.
  • Priscilla taught Apollos the way of God more perfectly alongside her husband Aquila (Acts 18:26). She was also in business together with her husband and Paul joined their business also to help pay for his ministry (Acts 18:3).
  • Lydia, a businesswoman in Philippi (Acts 16:14), was the first person of that city to become part of the church. And there’s no mention of her being told to close her business after being saved.
  • Euodias and Syntyche were also women at Philippi who labored with Paul in the gospel (Philippians 4:2-3).
  • The deacon Philip had four daughters who prophesied (Acts 21:9).
  • Phoebe was a servant (deaconess) of the church at Rome and Paul ordered that church to assist her with whatever she needed because she supported many people in the ministry, including Paul. Apparently those who were ordered by Paul to assist her had to include men (Romans 16:1).

So having taken all of this into account, what do we do with the scripture where Paul told women to keep silence in the churches (1 Corinthians 14:34) or when he told Timothy “I suffer not a woman to teach” (1 Timothy 2:12)? Or how about when he told Titus that young women should be keepers at home (Titus 2:4-5)? I doubt if Paul meant women should not be leaders in the church. But what I do know for sure is all the examples above and that Paul gave instructions on how a woman should prophesy in 1 Corinthians 11 and it’s clear he was talking about women prophesying and praying in church (1 Corinthians 11:16).

Source: Adelle M. Banks, In Evangelical Nonprofits, Women Leaders Lag Behind Peers in General Market, ChristianHeadlines.com, October 23. 2014.

Assorted nuts & nincompoops: Shia LaBeouf finds God? Really?

Shia LaBeoufIn our day of easy-believism and embracing a Jesus that requires no repentance, it’s no surprise that celebrities and the so-called Christians who kiss up to them for the sake of name-dropping and photo ops are really confused about who Jesus really is and what he requires of his followers. The latest example of this is 28-year-old actor Shia LaBeouf, one of the stars in the war drama Fury.

In a recent interview with Interview magazine, LaBeouf gives a glimpse of what’s going on in his heart and mind, revealing a very disturbed, very pitiful soul. I pray he will one day encounter the true life-changing-make-you-wanna-do-a-180 Jesus of the Bible. I have to admit, I have mixed feelings about him. A part of me would like to yell at him about getting his act together and the other part of me feels sorry for him because he just doesn’t know what he doesn’t know.

Anyway, here’s the overall breakdown of this interview:

  • He attributes his recent arrest and being kicked out of a Broadway show as ‘method acting’ to irritate actor Alec Baldwin. However, in this ‘method acting’ episode he put his hands on people.
  • LaBeouf claims his problems are due to his very strained relationship with his dad and his seeking solace in drugs and alcohol.
  • In the movie Fury, he plays a Christian soldier and says playing this part helped him find God. Then he goes on to explain “I became a Christian man, and not in a f***ing b******t way – in a very real way. I could have just said the prayers that were on the page. But it was a real thing that really saved me.” He goes on to say, “Brad [Pitt] was really instrumental in guiding my head through this. Brad comes from a hyper-religious, very deeply Christian, Bible Belt life, and he rejected it and moved toward an unnamed spirituality. He looked at religion like the people’s opium, almost like a Marxist view on religion. Whereas [Fury writer-director] David [Ayers] is a full subscriber to Christianity. But these two diametrically opposed positions both lead to the same spot, and I really looked up to both men.”
  • The actor indulges himself in some self-pity over dissatisfaction with parts of his career and money not bringing him happiness when he states, ‘I felt like I was being blamed for everything wrong with every movie I’d ever been a part of. Which may well have been the case. … And then you’ve got everybody around you going, “How could you not feel joy? Look at all the blessings. Look at all this money that you have. Look at all these opportunities that you have.” And you can’t be grateful because these aren’t things you ever got into this m**********r for.’

All in all, LaBeouf with his profanity-laced statements seems to be your typical self-obsessed entertainer who blames others a lot and maybe hasn’t accepted full responsibility for his actions yet. Hopefully one day he’ll arrive at a genuine Jesus moment and become a new creation inwardly who displays it outwardly.

Source: Elvis Mitchell, Shia LaBeouf, Interviewmagazine.com, November 2014.

Is religion just a fear tactic used to control people?

screamThat is often the accusation used by unbelievers in their attempts to argue that Christianity is invalid. But is that argument itself a valid one? As any of us who have lived long enough knows, fear can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the situation. We have healthy fears that preserve our lives, such as the fear of walking into a busy roadway without looking in every direction first. We also have unhealthy fears, like being afraid of going to the doctor for checkups with the illogical assumption doctors only give bad news.

The truth is that the preaching of the genuine gospel can sometimes be a fear tactic. And that’s fine with God because the dangerous consequences of not heeding the gospel are real. God has given us license to use fear tactics when they are based on his truth in pointing people to the true and living God because God’s control of someone’s life is good control with positive end results. Since God has proven himself to be 100% righteous and trustworthy, the end justifies the means here.

According to Jude, we must depend on wisdom from the Holy Ghost with prayer, mercy, and love to know when fear tactics are necessary and when they should be avoided since God has two basic tactics of drawing people to him. Notice here what Jude says:

20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:

23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

We are to go out of our way to show overwhelming compassion toward some of the unsaved people he mentions in the preceding verses (v. 15-19) because some unbelievers only require a very gentle nudge to get God’s message across. Then there are others who need to be scared straight with an urgent hellfire and brimstone message to be shown how serious their situation really is (even to the point of yanking them out of the fire) and how appalled God is at their behavior with a display of disgust at the very tools they use to promote their sin. This is what Jude refers to using the symbolic phrase at the end of v. 23 which also shows up in Zechariah 3:4.

Paul also said, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…” 2 Corinthians 5:11. In other words, hell ain’t no joke. Proverbs 24:11-12 also makes this plain.

If we want to be frank about fear tactics, even Christianity’s critics use them for control. Fear is used to persuade people not to believe in Jesus by making them believe the lie their lives will be over if they do or that their lives will be boring and ruined if they have to give up their pet sin (despite the fact their pet sin has already ruined their lives). Fear is used by socialists to threaten, bully, and badger people with violence and/or surveillance if they choose not to comply. Fear is used by liberals for mind control to brainwash people into thinking those who don’t think like them are out to keep them from what they’re entitled to, therefore they should envy and become a scofflaw if necessary to get what they want. Environmentalists use it. Educators use it.

Fear tactics for control are in every segment of society. So the question we should really ask is “Is this controlling fear tactic for genuine good or genuine evil?”