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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Radar on Christians and hate crimes and special protectionism

The persecution facing Christians is the largest "human rights" violation issue in today's world.

According to the World Evangelical Alliance, over 200 million Christians in at least 60 countries are denied fundamental human rights solely because of their faith. David B. Barrett, Todd M. Johnson, and Peter F. Crossing in their "Missiometrics 2007" report in the International Bulletin of Missionary Research (Vol. 31, No. 1: 32) estimate that approximately 173,000 Christians will have been martyred from mid-2006 to mid-2007. This represents an increase of 1.2% over last year and compares to 160,000 martyrs in mid-2000 and 34,400 at the beginning of the 20th century. If current trends continue, Barrett, Johnson and Crossing estimate that by 2025, an average of 210,000 Christians will be martyred annually.

excerpted from The Voice of the Martyrs

Christians in this country have it made compared to those in many overseas nations. We are not often murdered for our faith. But it does happen, and often Christians are assaulted simply for being Christians. Church burnings are commonplace enough if you watch the news each night. I have personally been attacked for being a Christian physically, because I dared to let people know of my faith.

On college campuses, the liberal agenda rules. Christians and conservatives in general are villified by college professors and speakers who are one or both get shouted down or even attacked from coast (Columbia University) to coast (California SLO campus). It is quite possible that Christians and conservatives are, in such venues, more likely to be subjected to a "hate crime" than anyone of a homosexual bent.

There is no big push to bring about a "hate crimes bill" to protect me and those of my creed. Schools are not promoting a "Day of Christ" to bring about awareness of Christianity and Christians and promote activism to protect us. There is not a quota system in schools or corporations to try to be sure an adequate percentage of Christians get accepted or hired. When a group of Christians get attacked the news media are not quick to carry the story.

But, you say, Christians are a majority in this country and need no protection, don't make me laugh! Are they? Let us shed some light on that...

The Theologica Blog presented some interesting facts in a posting, Between Two Worlds. It turns out that although around 40% of the population of the USA claims to attend church, the number of people who do so is much lower.

Only about 18-19% of the population are found in a church service on a given week, and only half of those are attending an evangelical Christian church service, while about 3% attend mainline churches and 6% go to Catholic services.

From that website: "How many Americans go to church regularly?


If you listen to the answers provided by major opinion research firms, the answer usually hovers around 40%. (National Opinion Research Center: 38%; Institute for Social Research’s World Values: 44%; Barna: 41%; National Election Studies: 40%; Gallup: 41%.)


But in recent years this consensus has been challenged. It seems that it’s more accurate to say that 40% of Americans claim to attend church regularly.


In 1998, sociologist Stanley Presser at the University of Michigan—whose “research focuses on questionnaire design and testing, the accuracy of survey responses, and ethical issues stemming from the use of human subjects”—co-authored a study entitled: Data Collection Mode and Social Desirability Bias in Self-Reported Religious Attendance, American Sociological Review, v. 63 (1998): 137-145 (with L. Stinson). Comparing diaries with actual attendance, they made the estimate that the actual percentage of Americans attending church from the mid-1960’s to the 90’s was about 26%.


One of the problem comes in how the question is asked in a poll. Different questions yield different results. For example, in a survey you might ask, “What did you do last weekend?” listing for the person a number of possible activities, including church-going. This will yield a very different response than if you asked, “Did you attend church last Sunday?”


One factor is that people often answer according to what they think someone like them wants or ought to do. So people tend to overreport on the number of sexual partners they’ve had and how much money they give to charity, and tend to underreport on illegal drug use and the like. Hence, church attendance is often inflated."


The numbers of Christians in this country seem to be declining in proportion to the population, even while the faith is growing world-wide. It is also evident that Christian influence depends greatly upon what region of the county you live in. (The numbers of church-goers varies widely by state, as you see in this chart).

I can attest that the average church-goer is not terribly involved in church activities or Christian outreach. Based on my research and numbers from The Barna Group, only about 25% of the 18-19% of the population actually attending church are participating in any volunteer activities within or associated with the church. These are the people who are truly involved in Christianity and are more likely to share their faith with others.

What it boils down to is that only 5% of the population is therefore a outreach-oriented Christian, the kind who might tell you about Christ. That isn't much bigger than the percent of the population that is homosexual (homosexual activists will claim up to 10% of the population, which is ridiculous while some claim as low as 1%. I think 2-3% of the population is the best guess based on studies and polls I have viewed).

Then we look at the racial demographics of the USA as of 2005 according to Answers.com:

According to the Census Bureau, 2005 American Community Survey the US population is as follows:
White American, 74.7%, or about 700 million (the definition of White includes European Americans, North African Americans, Middle Eastern Americans (e.g. Arab Americans), Central Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans who reported as White in the 2000 Census)
Black or African American 12.1% or 34.9 million
Asian American 4.3% or 12.5 million,
American Indian 0.8% or 2.4 million
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0.1% or 0.4 million
Two or more races 1.9% or 5.6 million
Other 6% or 17.3 million

The figures above include people who declare mixed race or multiracial ancestry, and people who identify themselves as Hispanic. As of the 2000 Census, U.S. federal law defines Hispanic to indicate any person with ancestry from a Latin American country or Spain. The category includes Sephardic Jews[citation needed], and speakers of Ladino are classified with Spanish speakers in the U.S. Census.

Hispanics of any race: 14.5% or about 41.9 million.

I suspect that if we consider your racial heritage, your religion, your voting preferences, your sexual orientation, your gender and whether or not you liked dogs or cats, you would find that your particular grouping would be a minority group. My minority group is this:

Mixed race (European Caucasian/American Indian)-Christian-Conservative-heterosexual-male-loves dogs-barely tolerates cats.

I don't want special protection for my group!
I want equal protection under the law as an American citizen, period. Don't give me more or less protection because I am a Christian or a heterosexual or for any other reason. Don't do it for homosexuals or Asians or cat-lovers or karaoke addicts, either.

Un-American special protection laws actually mean persecution for others. Look at what is now being proposed in Oregon!

"...A legislative plan to "eliminate attitudes" opposing homosexuality is moving forward in Oregon, even though opponents claim it threatens churches and establishes pagan morality as a benchmark for their operations.

Senate Bill 2, already endorsed by the state Senate and favored by Gov. Ted Kulongoski, a Democrat, now heads to the floor of the state House following a 5-1 committee endorsement.

It is expected to be voted on within the next week.

In the House Rules Committee, an amendment was offered that would have provided an exemption for Christian churches and Christian groups in the proposal to grant broad new powers to the homosexual community by designating them as members of a protected minority class.

However, the amendment was rejected in favor of a plan to continue to allow homosexuals to demand Christian churches hire them when there are job openings – among other issues.

"This is still an intrusion of the state into religious liberty, and makes [Christian organizations] subject to state control," David Crowe, of Restore America, told WND.

"It favors the homosexual community and puts the church in a defensive posture, having to defend itself and its beliefs, policies, doctrines and employment," he said.

The Oregon Family Council had proposed an amendment derived from similar legislative plans in other states where homosexual community members have been granted special rights, but it was rejected.

"This is very objectionable. It reveals that this is an agenda. They couldn't care less about what the people of Oregon think," said Crowe..."

Freedom and liberty and justice for all - threatened by the "progressive" forces for political correctness. We need to stand and fight. As was said of the time of the rise of Hitler...

First They Came (Pastor Martin Niemoller)

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I did not speak out;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.


12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I always kinda figured that the numbers of self-identified Christians were bogus, but once again it looks like you're trying to have it both ways here, just like with the cognitive dissonance you put on display with your recent series of posts on global warming, in which scientific evidence supporting an old Earth was suddenly something you fully approved of, just because it conveniently supported a (weak) argument that we shouldn't worry about global warming.

You're still evading quite a number of questions on that and other topics, by the way... are you conceding these issues and hoping nobody will notice?

Like this one, for example: Statement: “The claim that the Earth came into existence no more than 6,000 years ago is disproven by the fact that we have continuous tree ring records and ice cores that go back long before that.”

Radar, could you explain why this statement is false?



So regarding this post, which is it: is the US an overwhelmingly Christian nation, or are Christians a persecuted minority?

Has the US evolved into a more secular society?

radar said...

You're still evading quite a number of questions on that and other topics, by the way... are you conceding these issues and hoping nobody will notice?

Like this one, for example: Statement: “The claim that the Earth came into existence no more than 6,000 years ago is disproven by the fact that we have continuous tree ring records and ice cores that go back long before that.”

Radar, could you explain why this statement is false?


I see no evasion here. I have posted previously about tree rings in that the reading of tree rings includes several assumptions and those assumptions help determine longer or shorter ages for the trees. There is no tree ring data that proves to be older than 6,000 years. People who hope to show long ages often substitute a season of growth for a year, whereas recent studies show that trees often produce multiple rings in one year's time.

I haven't yet posted on ice cores but the same principle applies. Since none of us go back more than 80 years or so and studies of ice cores don't go back thousands of years, the science is uncertain and assumptions must be made.

So regarding this post, which is it: is the US an overwhelmingly Christian nation, or are Christians a persecuted minority?

Has the US evolved into a more secular society?


Did I ever say that the nation was becoming more Christian? In what way am I having it "both ways" as you said (below)?

I always kinda figured that the numbers of self-identified Christians were bogus, but once again it looks like you're trying to have it both ways here, just like with the cognitive dissonance you put on display with your recent series of posts on global warming, in which scientific evidence supporting an old Earth was suddenly something you fully approved of, just because it conveniently supported a (weak) argument that we shouldn't worry about global warming.

My question to you is, are you intentionally being deceptive or do you just not understand? If you re-read my global warming posts, I cite and depend upon evidence gathered that observes the last approximately 6,000 years and ignore data that some believe goes back farther than that. Your argument is just wrong-headed and it is stupid to continue to bring it up again and again.

Yes, I believe global warming cause by mankind is a total farce. The records of recent centuries years show a correlation between Solar activity and global warming. Greenhouse gases are shown to rise, but in reaction to the warming caused by the increased activity of the Sun. The gases rise on a curve that lags by as much as 900 years behind the Solar activity and subsequent warming. This is well documented. Global warming alarmists have presented a lot of half-truths and outright lies to press their case and I think it is absolutely criminal in nature. Do you realize that, technically, the US Supreme Court has now mandated that we need to monitor water vapor???!!! Talk about ridiculous...

Anonymous said...

"People who hope to show long ages often substitute a season of growth for a year, whereas recent studies show that trees often produce multiple rings in one year's time.

I haven't yet posted on ice cores but the same principle applies. Since none of us go back more than 80 years or so and studies of ice cores don't go back thousands of years, the science is uncertain and assumptions must be made."


And yet it is exactly this assumption that is the basis for the argument that there are regular climate cycles. If one were to substitute your logic that "trees often produce multiple rings in a year", then these cycles would look very different from the data provided by the source you quoted.

(BTW, the reason I called it a weak argument was that showing regular cycles in the past does not allow us to conclude that such cycles will continue indefinitely into the future, especially if key variables change over time. For example, if we observe the tides with some regularity for a hundred years, would that mean that a tsunami is impossible?)

Now:

1. Could you back up your claim that "recent studies show that trees often produce multiple rings in one year's time"?

2. Could you explain in what ways the same logic is supposed to apply to ice cores? Keep in mind that in order to adhere to your YEC ideology, in this case you'll need to squash something like 100,000 years into a mere 6,000. This would mean that ice core dating is vastly, vastly unreliable.

3. Could you explain on the basis of this as well as your observation that "[s]nce none of us go back more than 80 years or so and studies of ice cores don't go back thousands of years, the science is uncertain and assumptions must be made", you can conclude anything at all about climate cycles outside the past century and a half or so of actual written record?

This climate cycle argument (weak as it is for reasons explained above) is the only attempt at an actual argument that you've attempted to bring to the table on the subject of climate change so far, and now you're ripping it to shreds so you can maintain your belief in YEC.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not arguing against the existence of those climate cycles as such (unlike you, I do accept the data as indicating an old Earth) - I just don't think that that gets us to the conclusion that this should mean that the climate will never deviate from these cycles if certain key factors change.

"My question to you is, are you intentionally being deceptive or do you just not understand?"

Neither. You're evading simple logical questions that a number of your readers can understand perfectly well, but you either purposely ignore them or still don't fully grasp them.

"If you re-read my global warming posts, I cite and depend upon evidence gathered that observes the last approximately 6,000 years and ignore data that some believe goes back farther than that."

That's not entirely correct: you cite and depend on evidence whose foundations you have previously dismissed. You can't simply say that you'll take on board tree rings and ice cores, but only for 6,000 years and then simply cut them off as if by magic. By arguing that multiple tree rings occur per year (and somehow the same applies to ice cores for reasons you haven't yet made clear), you're not just buying yourself the luxury of being able to maintain that nothing existed more than 6,000 years ago...

... but you're also completely mangling the reliability of those sources for the past 6,000 years. The numbers you quoted from the article are based on those sources being reliable including within the last 6,000 years.

"Your argument is just wrong-headed and it is stupid to continue to bring it up again and again."

Feel free to argue with facts instead of slinging ad hominems around. I look forward to you addressing the above questions.

"Did I ever say that the nation was becoming more Christian? In what way am I having it "both ways" as you said (below)?"

In the way I indicated in my second-to-last question in my above comment (which wasn't about movement, but about Christians being either in the majority or the minority) - heck, perhaps I'm wrong and you never did claim that the US was an overwhelmingly Christian nation. But if you did, then you did a complete turnaround in this post.

-- oh and of course this is creeper, sorry I forgot to sign the last post.

Anonymous said...

"in this case you'll need to squash something like 100,000 years into a mere 6,000"

Actually, make that 800,000 years.

You're saying that ice core dating is off by a factor of more than a 100... and still want to use conclusions based on this source as a basis for your argument (in which you completely ignore this factor...).

- creeper

Anonymous said...

"There is no tree ring data that proves to be older than 6,000 years."

Could you point out where these guys are going wrong?

-- creeper

radar said...

Looks like I will have to do a posting on ice cores and perhaps do a reprise on tree rings. Opinions vary but let us be very clear. Dating methods require presuppositions and often the results are simply because of the decisions made about formulas and methods before data is even considered. I will post on this within the week. So, for now back to our movie...

Anonymous said...

"Dating methods require presuppositions and often the results are simply because of the decisions made about formulas and methods before data is even considered."

You mean presuppositions such as the ironclad conviction that everything has to fit into a 6,000 year window no matter what?

I look forward to your post on ice cores and tree rings. Will you be refuting the basis for your claims about climate cycles in the same post? Because once you're done adjusting ice cores and tree rings to match a YEC worldview, all you'll have left are the written records that go back a century or two.

radar said...

I look forward to your post on ice cores and tree rings. Will you be refuting the basis for your claims about climate cycles in the same post? Because once you're done adjusting ice cores and tree rings to match a YEC worldview, all you'll have left are the written records that go back a century or two.

Comments like the above illustrate why you post anonymously...so you don't think weather notes and measurements and other evidences have been recorded during the history of mankind? That we have no clues as to the nature of the weather 500 years ago, 1000 years ago, even 2000 years ago? Wow. You probably think the world was black-and-white before WWII because based on the old movies you've seen. I presented evidence that had nothing to do with old age methods, which you would know if you read those posts and understood them.

Mazement said...

There is no big push to bring about a "hate crimes bill" to protect me and those of my creed.

That's because you're already protected under the existing hate crimes bills from 1969 and 1994. Here's a link with a basic overview.
http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_hat3.htm


Anyway, as to the Oregon bill....I think we should look through the text before we talk about it. Here's a PDF:
http://www.leg.state.or.us/07reg/measpdf/sb0001.dir/sb0002.intro.pdf


I think the nice people at World Net Daily were confused when they said that religious organizations would be forced to hire gay people. They have an exemption, in lines 39-45.

I'm not really happy about the exemption. It seems like it gives special rights to religious organizations. If we're going to have anti-discrimination laws, then I think they should be applied equally.

Other than that, I don't see anything objectionable about the bill. It looks like it's just adding "sexual orientation" to all the existing anti-discrimination laws.

First They Came (Pastor Martin Niemoller)

Yikes! I'm not sure how the Oregon bill would lead to heterosexuals getting carted off to concentration camps, but I'd sure hate to see that happen!

I'm having trouble making the connection, though. Can you explain it in a little more detail?

Anonymous said...

"Comments like the above illustrate why you post anonymously..."

I forgot to sign my name at the bottom - it was me, creeper. Why does that strike you as significant?

"so you don't think weather notes and measurements and other evidences have been recorded during the history of mankind?"

To the precision of a degree or so? Nuh-uh. That's a pretty recent thing - and that's what's needed for the kind of calculations you would need to present to provide coherence for your worldview (= YEC + global warming bogus due to there being cycles in the past).

I may well be wrong and perhaps there are such records that allow such precision and do not indicate an old Earth, but given your well-established history of making boastful erroneous claims that you can't back up, I'm afraid I can't take your word for it. Looking forward to any factual info you can provide on the subject. An easy fix if you've got the goods.

"That we have no clues as to the nature of the weather 500 years ago, 1000 years ago, even 2000 years ago?"

No, I do think we have definite clues about those, but they happen to involve methods that also indicate an old Earth, which is fine by me but presents a problem for your intellectual coherence.

"Wow. You probably think the world was black-and-white before WWII because based on the old movies you've seen."

Not sure what you're getting at here. After all, you're the one ignoring scientific data if they don't fit your preconceived notions.

Data up to 6,000 years ago that happens to fit your existing notions = sound scientific data.

Data indicating anything older than the magical 6,000 year cut-off point = dismissed based on vague mumblings about multiple tree rings per year (no doubt soon to be followed by some notion of ice cores being off by a factor of more than 100).

Such claims would carry a bit more traction, Radar, if they were actually followed up to form a consistent alternative explanation that takes into account all these exceptions of which YEC has to avail itself to survive. A simple dismissive wave of the hand doesn't do the trick, of course. For example: if trees form multiple rings per year under certain circumstances, then what are those circumstances and what is the alternative explanation for the continuous record of such tree rings spanning a rather large geographical region and period?

And once you've squared all of that, what is the impact of this on the conclusions you posted regarding climate change? Obviously, those conclusions are toast if you pull the rug out from under them. So what are the alternative explanations that do fit the scientific data based on your worldview? A simple "multiple tree rings per year" is not enough - to be convincing, it has to convincingly account for the data.


"I presented evidence that had nothing to do with old age methods, which you would know if you read those posts and understood them."

Once you exclude any methods that also indicate an old Earth (such as tree rings and ice cores), what evidence did you present? Bear in mind it must allow us to deduce rather specific information. By all means point it out.


Questions evaded in this post so far:

1. Could you back up your claim that "recent studies show that trees often produce multiple rings in one year's time"?

2. Could you explain in what ways the same logic is supposed to apply to ice cores? Keep in mind that in order to adhere to your YEC ideology, in this case you'll need to squash something like 800,000 years into a mere 6,000. This would mean that ice core dating is vastly, vastly unreliable.

3. Could you explain on the basis of this as well as your observation that "[s]ince none of us go back more than 80 years or so and studies of ice cores don't go back thousands of years, the science is uncertain and assumptions must be made", how you can conclude anything at all about climate cycles outside the past century and a half or so of actual written record?

4. Which is it: is the US an overwhelmingly Christian nation, or are Christians a persecuted minority?

5. Has the US evolved into a more secular society?

6. "There is no tree ring data that proves to be older than 6,000 years."

Could you point out where these guys are going wrong?



There's a substantially longer list of your evaded questions regarding evolution, of course, and your unwillingness to address them speaks volumes.

-- creeper

radar said...

Creeper, half of your "evasions" are the result of your being unwilling to read through entire posts or, simply ignore the responses. Otherwise, I promised to do a post on the subject next week rather than carry on in the comments of this unrelated posting...

Anonymous said...

"Creeper, half of your "evasions" are the result of your being unwilling to read through entire posts or, simply ignore the responses."

Which 3 of the 6 questions do you think you have answered? I checked through them all, and they remain unanswered.

Perhaps you intend to answer them in your upcoming post on tree ring dating, but then don't blame me for not having read something that you haven't even posted yet.

-- creeper