All posts by Alvin Plummer

About Alvin Plummer

I'm working to build a better world, a world that blesses Christ and is blessed by Him. I hope that you're doing the same!

Getting More Christian Justice, Today

Christianity is not about loving feelings, or giving us comfort, or even an information dump on the nature of reality.

Christianity is about building a just, righteous, and fair world: that is, a world that obeys the commands of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

To build the Kingdom of God, there must be justice. American Christians, in love with the safety of pious retreat and escape from reality — *waves to the Rapture People* — have forgotten this, and are suffering the consequences.

Gary North remembers, and — in addition to his many works, notably the book Victim’s RIghts — gives us a tool to expand the Kingdom of God below.

(Cheerfully reposting his work below)

—-[Cut-n-paste from North’s article,
How to Get Justice Back into the Criminal Justice System, below]—-

The criminal justice system in America really is criminal.

There are multiple reasons for this.

The main reason for it is that it substitutes incarceration for restitution. In California, it costs something in the range of $60,000 a year to incarcerate a prisoner in a state prison. The victims of his crimes get to pay the taxes to keep him housed, fed, and learning new criminal techniques from his peers.

What if he were given the option of paying restitution to his victims instead of going to jail? What if he had to get a job, and 20% of his earnings were used to reimburse his victims? Would that be better for society? Obviously, it would be. It would be better for the victims. It would clearly be better for the criminal. It would be better for the taxpayers. But the system does not acknowledge this.

Lois Forer was a trial judge in Philadelphia. She died in 1994. I quoted her in my book, Victim’s Rights (1990). She got a New York Times obituary here. She wrote these books:

Criminals and Victims: A trial judge reflects on crime and punishment
The Rage to Punish: Unintended Consequences of Mandatory Sentencing
Money and Justice: Who Owns the Courts?

The second problem is this: the court system is a free good. There is an old economic rule: at zero price, there is greater demand than supply. The courts are clogged.

Almost no cases ever go to trial. It costs too much to run a trial. It takes weeks. Then there are all of the appeals. So, the prosecutors and the defense lawyers try to figure out ways of settling criminal cases before they go to trial. The prosecutors offer plea-bargaining, and defense attorneys pressure clients to accept a plea bargain, especially if the defense attorney is court-appointed. He is a free resource. He has way too many cases to defend.

A public defender does not have the time or the resources to do a thorough investigation of each of the defendants he is required by law to defend. He does not have enough knowledge of the specifics.

What if it were possible to supply missing information on the defendants free of charge to the criminal justice system? In other words, what if this information were donated to the court? This would be a tremendous advantage for the defense attorney, and would also be an advantage for the judge. The trial would go a lot faster.

An incredibly creative man has come up with an idea to use the division of labor to supply this information. He has developed a system of criminal defense that can be used by poor people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer. At present, the system he has developed is being used across the country in a relative handful of jurisdictions. It is being used primarily to defend Blacks and Hispanics. But there is nothing inherent in the system that would keep it from being effectively used by poor white people, who in fact constitute a majority of criminal cases in the American court system.

I want you to watch this video. It is a very effective talk. There are no histrionics. There is no visible manipulation of the audience. It is a classic example of the phrase that Jack Webb never actually uttered on Dragnet: “Just the facts, mam.”

What we need is a cadre of lawyers who are willing to devote time and effort to investigating this system, re-working it for their own jurisdictions, and implementing it in local churches where there are volunteers available to do the necessary research.

—-[Cur-n-paste ends]—-

He also links to a TED video. My weak web skills only lets me link to the same video, “How community transforms the courts | Raj Jayadev | TEDxBinghamtonUniversity” on YouTube, instead of the TED site.

Watch, learn, do.

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The Case for Black Optimism

Good News

After covering the major problems facing Black America, Coleman Hughes writes:

Nevertheless, there are reasons to be optimistic. From 2001 to 2017, the incarceration rate for black men declined by 34 percent. Even this statistic, however, understates progress by lumping black Americans of all ages together. When you look at age-specific incarceration outcomes, you find two opposing trends: Older black Americans are doing slightly worse than previous generations, but younger black Americans are doing better—so much better that they more than offset, in statistical terms, the backslide of their elders. To put the speed and size of the trend in perspective, between my first day of Kindergarten in 2001 and my first legal drink in 2017, the incarceration rate for black men aged 25–29, 20–24, and 18–19 declined, respectively, by 56 percent, 60 percent, and 72 percent. For young black women, the story is similar: a 59 percent drop for those aged 25–29, a 43 percent drop for those aged 20–24, and a 69 percent drop for those aged 18–19.

As a result of the divergent generational trendlines, the black prison population is not only shrinking; it’s aging too. In 2017, nearly three in ten black male prisoners were 45 years of age or older, up from one in ten in 2001. That may not seem like good news, but it is. The incarceration trendline for young blacks in the recent past predicts the trendline for all blacks in the near future. So the fact that the post-2001 incarceration decline for blacks in general was entirely caused by the plunging incarceration rate for young blacks in particular suggests that, as generational turnover occurs, the black prison population will not only continue to shrink, but will shrink at an accelerating rate. To paraphrase the economist Rick Nevin, our prison system may be overflowing today, but the “pipeline” to prison is already starting to run dry.

The great incarceration decline for black youth has been matched by a decline in teenage motherhood. Between 2001 and 2017, the birth rate for black women aged 15–19 declined by 63 percent. In fact, the black teenage birth rate in 2017 was lower than the white teenage rate as recently as 2002.

Nor has progress been confined to the younger generation. Between 1999 and 2015, the mortality rate for black Americans aged 65 and over shrank by 29 percent for cancer, 31 percent for diabetes, and 43 percent for heart disease. What’s more, all of those percentage drops were larger than the drops experienced by comparable whites over the same period. As deaths from disease have plummeted, black lives have extended. In 2017, black female life expectancy was 78.5 years, up from 75.1 years in 2000. Life expectancy for black men increased from 68.2 to 71.9 years over the same timespan.

Not only are black Americans healthier and longer-lived than they were two decades ago, they’re also more educated. Between the 1999–2000 and 2016–2017 school years, the number of black students who earned bachelor’s degrees increased by 82 percent, from 108,018 to 196,300. Over the same period, the number of associate’s and master’s degrees awarded to black students more than doubled, rising from 60,208 to 129,874, and 36,606 to 89,577, respectively (population growth accounts for some, but not all or even most, of this growth). 2018 census data showed that 37 percent of black Americans aged 25–34 had some kind of college degree. If black America were its own country, that would place it in between Germany (31 percent) and Spain (43 percent) in terms of educational attainment. What’s more, the economist Raj Chetty has found that black women, though less likely to attend college than white women, are now more likely to attend college than white men from similar socioeconomic backgrounds.

Along with more education has come more upward mobility. The Federal Reserve recently reported that over 60 percent of blacks at every level of educational attainment say they’re doing better financially than their parents—a higher percentage than either whites or Hispanics. And although black men still lag behind white men in terms of upward mobility, Chetty has found that black women now go on to earn slightly higher incomes than white women from similar socioeconomic backgrounds.

All told, there is more than enough data with which to tell an optimistic story about the recent history of black America. However, the same data that justify this optimism can appear to justify pessimism if you look at it differently. Recall, for instance, the 72 percent drop in the incarceration rate for black men aged 18–19 from 2001 to 2017. Framed as such, it looks like progress. But here’s the same data framed differently: In 2001, black men aged 18–19 were nine times more likely to be behind bars than comparable white men. By 2017, they were twelve times more likely to be behind bars. Framed as such, it looks like regress.

This particular framing effect is just one example in a larger pattern: The evidence against racial progress tends to compare black-white gaps today to black-white gaps in the past. Here, white metrics are used as benchmarks against which to measure black progress. By contrast, the evidence in favor of progress tends to compare black metrics today against black metrics in the past. White metrics do not enter the equation. Crucially, the same data can often be made to look like either progress or regress depending on which framework is chosen.

Coleman Hughes, in The Case for Black Optimism

I tend to agree with the idea of general improvement in Black America, not only because of my post-millennial assumptions, but more technology leads to both more choices (a decent definition of wealth) and more ways to generate wealth.

AND the cost of technology continues to fall!

A Warning

As Black America gets more wealthier, the temptations of wealth begin to replace the temptations of poverty. While the wickedness of depraved poverty are obvious and brutal, it’s the evils of corrupt wealth that bring down entire civilizations.

Satan is as happy to dig the grave of Black America, as he has for White America, all the while weaving flattering and pleasing, well-tailored lies. Indeed, I can hear the shoveling now.

Beware!

Hew closer to the Lord God and His Commandments, and drive out the evils the cling to you, if you want your success to be more than just a flash in a pan Black America!

Forgiveness as Blight, Mercy as Curse, Love as Contempt of God

Cheap Forgiveness

Michael W. Waters
October 3 at 9:02 AM

Let me further explain.

The church has used Christian forgiveness to send spouses back to their abusers, and their abusers have killed them.

The church has used Christian forgiveness to mute victims of incest, rape, and other forms of sexual assault and harassment.

The church has used Christian forgiveness to quell quests for justice from the days of American slavery to today.

The church has used Christian forgiveness to opt out of its’ responsibility to stand for justice and righteousness.

Beware of those whose call for forgiveness comes at the cost of justice.

#Resist #StayWoke

Joel McDurmon rightfully adds: “I fully support this. Abusers always demand cheap forgiveness.”

It’s time that abusers got what they earned, as opposed to what they want.

Your Eye Shall Not Pity

But if anyone hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and attacks him and strikes him fatally so that he dies, and he flees into one of these cities, then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there, and hand him over to the avenger of blood, so that he may die. Your eye shall not pity him, but you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, so that it may be well with you.

Deuteronomy 19, ESV

Rape and sexual abuse are forms of hatred of your neighbour. And not just merely ‘run-of-the-mill’ hatred, like malicious lies, gossip, and theft: but hatred worthy of execution by the hand of the magistrate.

It’s time that abusers got what they earned, as opposed to what they want.

How Materialist Fundamentalists Are Like Islamic Fundamentalists

From Uncommon Descent, below:


A few weeks ago I posted How Materialist Fundamentalists Are Like Christian Fundamentalists in which I argued that Christian and Materialist fundamentalists are alike in this respect:  Their religious/metaphysical commitments come first and the evidence comes second.  If the evidence seems to contradict conclusions compelled by their faith commitments, they will either reject the evidence or try to explain it away. 

A few weeks after I posted my article, O’Leary for the UD News Desk posted an article about a philosopher who had dumped Darwinism because of its proponents’ open advocacy of using deception to push the Darwinian line.  She linked to “I’m with stupid” by J. Budziszewski in which he wrote:

Philip Kitcher, a philosopher of biology and a supporter of natural selection, chastises Darwin for “appeasing his critics,” writing that “If the presence of particular goals can interfere with the epistemic evaluation of a novel proposal, then it is epistemically desirable for the proposer to respond to those goals, even if it requires deception.”

In other words, you may have to lie to the stupid people to get them to take Darwinism as seriously as we smart people do.

A more elaborate argument in favor of deception is offered by philosopher Phillip L. Quinn, who says that sometimes, in public debate over Darwinism, the only arguments that have a chance of convincing policymakers are bad ones.  He argues that presenting arguments one knows to be faulty is morally permissible, but only “provided we continue to have qualms of conscience about getting our hands soiled.”  He does worry that after presenting effective but bad arguments has become easy and second nature, one’s hands “become dirty beyond all cleansing and one suffers from a thoroughgoing corruption of mind.”  But perhaps scholars could “divide up the labor so that no one among us has to resort to the bad effective argument too frequently.”  That way, “we can succeed in resisting effectively without paying too high a price in terms of moral corruption.”

This got me to thinking.  Where have I heard “it’s OK to lie to further the true religion” before? Oh, yes, some Islamic fundamentalists say this. 

Reliance of the Traveler and Tools of the Worshipper (also commonly known by its shorter title Reliance of the Traveler) is a classical manual of Islamic jurisprudence written in the 14th century by scholar Shihabuddin Abu al-‘Abbas Ahmad ibn an-Naqib al-Misri.  In a famous passage al-Misri writes:

Speaking is a means to achieve objectives.  If a praiseworthy aim is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish through lying because there is no need for it.  When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible (N:i.e. when the purpose of lying is to circumvent someone who is preventing one from doing something permissible), and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory . . . it is religiously precautionary in all cases to employ words that give a misleading impression . . . One should compare the bad consequences entailed by lying to those entailed by telling the truth, and if the consequences of telling the truth are more damaging, one is entitled to lie.


Reliance of the Traveler, sec. r8.2, 745-746.

For the Islamic fundamentalist, truth is a conditional good at best, and whether to tell the truth or lie in a given situation is a prudential consideration driven by larger objectives, most importantly, the propagation of the faith. 

For the Materialist fundamentalist, truth is a conditional good at best, and whether to tell the truth or lie in a given situation is a prudential consideration driven by larger objectives, most importantly, the propagation of the faith. (I use the same word advisedly). 


Since God actually did make the universe in seven days, less than 10,000 years ago, then we are merely getting our view of the universe wrong. In this case, the issue of starlight and radioactive dating (which is what the author above is referring to) has been warped by the Establishment desire for a universe of billions of years, to

  • give time for random chance to create life
    • And, mathematically speaking, billions of years is still not enough time!
  • to deny God’s creation, ownership, and lawful authority over heaven and earth
    • The serpent slyly said, “Hath God said?”
      YES, God has spoken!
      And we, the followers of Christ, will heed and obey the Word of God!

For one of the interesting implications of a young universe, I offer the quote below:

Of all of the limits to growth, time is the one that humanists do not regard as a threat. They have a vision of something approaching unlimited time. The heat death of the universe may be as close as 2.8 billion years, but they really do not worry about this. They see mankind’s evolutionary process in terms of tens of thousands of years. The possibility of an imminent end to time is low on their priorities. It could come through a devastating nuclear war, but even in a war, there would be millions of survivors outside the war zones. So, humanists focus on limits imposed by depleted natural resources, low-cost living space for mankind, and the possible replacement of mankind by robots.

For those people who hold to the six-day creation, time is the obvious limit to growth. They see mankind’s future in terms of as few as a thousand years, and probably no more than a few thousand years. “Here today. Gone the day after tomorrow.” As the acceleration of economic development continues, they become more aware of the temporal limits to growth. They are not afraid of these limits. On the contrary, they rejoice in them. They imply a temporal limit on the reign of sin.

Chapter 5: Temporal Limits to Growth, by Gary North

North sees the main temporal limit being how many people can live on the Earth at one time, and considers it impossible to have trillions on the planet. He also assumed that mankind will not expand beyond the Earth, as only the Earth has been given to man as his dominion.

I am of a somewhat different opinion: I see technological acceleration as the fast-approaching temporal limit to our existence as mortal humans, with the end of death as the transition point that comes before the Second Coming and the Final Judgement.

But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.”

I Corinthians 15:23-27a

Every nation & tribe, race, belief system, ideology, and power will be made to kneel to Christ: by the power of His word, and then by His obedient, Spirit-filled servants.

The last of the enemies to be made to kneel, and be destroyed, is Death.

THEN Christ arrives, to judge the living and the dead, and then to deliver the world to the feet of God the Father.

Later — and this is just my opinion, not Scripture — the rest of the dead universe can be brought to life.

In any case, wherever I be right or wrong about interstellar expansion, there will be no place in the New Creation for liars.

Except in the Lake of Fire.

*Waves to the Darwinians and Muslims…

…with the biggest shout-out to those Christian leaders who lie about God, His Word, and His Commandments.*

Addendum

Population

North, like many people, considers a world with trillions of people to be impossible.

With fusion power, it is certainly doable: even without draining the seas, leveling the mountains, and adding underground levels to our living space, we can certainly handle a population of a trillion people, with about 1/4 of the world’s surface given to arcologies with Bombay-level densities (30,000 people per square kilometer) and a rather comfortable way of life. There’s lots of room, once you start building up and down!

This can leave most of the planet’s current land surface uninhabited, is desired.

Of course, Issac Arthur has gone in-depth with his invaluable videos — you are watching them, yes? — with his high-population Visions of Earth and Earth 2.0 playlists.

I suspect that what is more important to North is that the Dominion Mandate of Genesis only covers the Earth, not the heavens. But there is no particular reason why it can’t be expanded by God, once we prove to be good stewards of the Earth (finally!).

This idea ties in with the restriction of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was initially a temporary restriction, which may well have been lifted after we ate of the Tree of Life, and had a communion meal of fellowship with God. As opposed with breaking God’s one single (and possibly temporary) restriction, stealing His stuff, and having a communion meal of fellowship with demons and snakes.

Dumb move, Adam.

Time and Technology

Like North, I see humanity’s future to be fairly short, a matter of a few thousand years. After all, the Creation is only a few thousand years ago!

Like North, I see the accelerating technology curve as pointing to a rather short stay as humans. Despite our differences regarding space colonization, I agree that the population rate is slowing down, at least for now.

(I am confident that the current anti-natal culture will destroy itself, leaving the future to those who fear God… and like big families. Throw in long lifespans/agelessness, and we will once again see rapidly increasing numbers.)

The real issue with accelerating technological growth is that it gives more tools, and more powerful tools, in the hands of men. This means ever greater amounts of responsibility, and harsher consequences for failure. Eventually, with even death destroyed (I Corinthians 15), and with the failure of AI to become a new god (exactly how algebraic computations was supposed to make a leap into self-awareness is beyond me).

Fortunately, the conquest of death marks the end of the rule of mortal, sinful men. Regardless of our ethics, or our faith in God, even repentant, God-fearing sinners would not be able to handle the enormous powers coming to our hands without killing ourselves in assorted ways. After a certain point, ANY mistake, ANY flaw, ANY ethical lapse will mean devastation at best, Noahic levels of extinction at worst.

So, we will cease to mortal, cease to have flaws, and cease to be sinners.

And it is only right that an immortal, sinless people be led by the first immortal, sinless man Jesus Christ!

A Small Incident in a Big War

An interesting moment in World War II was noted in God Reports: A Marine was saved on Okinawa during World War II, because his hidey-hole was covered by a spider’s web. A very weak door: but the patrolling Japanese thought that no one was hiding there, due to the unbroken web.

When God’s people gain the victory over their enemies, it won’t be because of superior intelligence, or political power. It will be due to the power of prayer, and God’s delight in using weak and frail things to gain His victory over powerful and the strong.

Pray. Fight always, hide if you must, but always pray.

And live righteously, so God will hear your prayers!

Chalcedon on Religious Institutions

Quote from Christ’s Army of Royal Priests:

The church is God’s covenant people; these people are the recipients and channels of God’s real presence and glory on earth; they are soldiers in God’s war against the powers of darkness, the heirs of God’s Kingdom, and the possessors of eternal life.[1]

Do you think the church views itself this way? Consider the modern megachurch who bears the enormous financial burden of a multi-million dollar budget to sustain sizable property, extensive buildings, and staff expenses. It stands to reason that their primary battle is bringing in revenue which rarely leaves much else for advancing against the powers of darkness.

Or consider Roman Catholicism where we see the most clear distinction between clergy and laity to where the main clerical objective is the guarding and administration of sacraments. This produces an “ecclesiastical pietism” in which the sacred is kept as far away from the secular as possible.

Other churches can be equally handicapped by their own points of emphasis. This does not discount the valuable work that many churches are doing, but it’s difficult for any institution to emphasize something greater than itself if it expects to survive. For the denomination, the focus is on the denomination. For the local church, the focus is the same only on a smaller scale.

The end result is a de-emphasis on the work of the laity which can be construed as a weakening of one of the cries of the Reformation: “the priesthood of all believers.” If you consider the way ecclesiastical power operates today, you’d see that such an emphasis upon an empowered laity would represent a potential threat to the institution:

The church has by and large paid lip service to the priesthood of all believers, because its hierarchy has distrusted the implications of the doctrine, and because it has seen the church as an end in itself, not as an instrument.[2]

If all of God’s people are priests, then all of life must be made holy. Therefore, the emphasis must be on the empowering and equipping of the laity and not the institution:

The work of the laity must be seen as a chaplaincy, a carrying of the life of the faith into every area of life and thought. The layman does not leave the church when he walks out of the building; if it is not his life in his calling, then he is never in the church on Sundays either.[3]

Quote from Christian Reconstruction Is Not Dead:

To the critic, Christian Reconstruction or dominionism is a political doctrine in which fundamentalist Christians are encouraged to pursue a takeover of the existing civil government in order to impose Biblical law on an unwilling population. Under the two-terms of George W. Bush this conspiracy theory about the threat of Christian theocracy filled left-wing periodicals and blogs, but has since died down after two-terms of Barack Obama and now the preoccupation with the populist Donald Trump. And since the Religious Right has lost its prowess, should one assume that Christian Reconstruction is dead?

Christian Reconstruction is not dead, and it was never a political doctrine. In fact, the great mistake made by most critics is that since they themselves are statist and politically-driven, they assume all opposing parties have the same goals. And in the case of Christian Reconstruction, they stumble over the stumbling stone of the foundation of Rushdoony’s thought. For example, critics never reference his simple concept of government:

When people today speak of “government,” they mean the state, whereas in truth government begins with the self-government of the Christian man, and government means the family, church, school, our vocation, our society and its many institutions and agencies, and only partially the state.[1]

However, Rushdoony was no anarchist, and he wrote plainly about his views of civil government in his book Christianity and the State in which he focuses on the religious nature of law and government:

Not only is every church a religious institution, but every state or social order is a religious establishment. Every state is a law order, and every law order represents an enacted morality, with procedures for the enforcement of that morality. Every morality represents a form of theological order, i.e., is an aspect and expression of a religion. The church thus is not the only religious institution; the state also is a religious institution. More often than the church, the state has been the central religious institution of most civilizations through the centuries.[2]

[…]

If the critics were honest with themselves, it’s not a Christian politician they fear but rather a strengthening of Christianity itself because they know that at the heart of the culture war is religion. It’s not an issue of church and state but rather that the state as a religious institution disestablished its biggest competitor—Biblical law.

Two Points from the Quotes:

  • The institutional church needs to build up the spiritual might of the layman and laywoman, and not centralize power into itself. THIS is the way to expand the Kingdom of God, to all of life, everywhere humans tread.
  • Biblical Law is the enemy of humanism.

I would add that Biblical Law is not just the enemy of humanism, but also the enemy of many Christians… most definitely including the clergy.

Time to purge the pulpits.

JOHN’S “MANY WATERS”: ROME OR JERUSALEM? (1)

A strong argument for identifying Jerusalem as the Babylon of the Revelation: mainly, in the strongly hebraic style of John’s writing. Also noted is the strong missionary component of Judaism at the time.

Postmillennial Worldview

PMW 2019-075 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

In my 9/5/19 post regarding Babylon as an image of Jerusalem in Revelation, Fred V. Squillante responded:

“Revelation 17:1 says that the woman sits on many waters. Verse 15 says The waters where the harlot sits are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. The woman is sitting on the beast (many waters). This can only mean the Roman Empire.”

Rev. 17:1 and 15 rare the two texts in question, and they read:

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters” (v. 1).

And he said to me, “The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues” (v. 15).

This is a frequent challenge brought against the Babylon=Jerusalem interpretation…

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