Letters for April 5, 2018

Letters for April 5, 2018

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Did Jesus really rise from the grave?

That is the question upon which Christianity stands or falls. Christianity began in Jerusalem, the very place where Jesus was crucified, as confirmed by Josephus, and several other extra-biblical sources. If Jesus had not risen from the tomb, it would have been easy for unbelieving Jews to have opened the tomb and revealed the rotting body, thus ending the movement they so despised. But they couldn’t do it, because the tomb was empty.

Did the disciples steal the body? First they would have had to overpower the Roman guards to gain access to Jesus’ grave. They had all forsaken him and fled, after he was arrested, as they no doubt were afraid they would be next to be arrested and crucified. If they had stolen the body, why would they be willing to die for what they knew was a lie, as all but one of the 12 did?

Did the disciples hallucinate, believing they had seen the risen Lord, when He was actually still dead? One of them could have, but it is highly unlikely that all 12 would have that same experience. That still would not explain the conversion of the Christian-hating Saul of Tarsus. He had been dragging Christians away to be killed, until he himself met up with the risen Jesus.

Jesus’ life, death, crucifixion, and resurrection had all been predicted for hundreds, even thousands of years by the Old Testament prophets. Jesus fulfilled all of these very specific prophesies, including being born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), dying to save His people from their sins (Isaiah 53), exactly when it would happen (Daniel 9:24-27), what his suffering would be like, before crucifixion had been invented (Psalm 22), and many others.

Jesus continues to change alcoholics, drug addicts, criminals and ordinary peoples’ lives by the millions, 2000 years after his earthly life. Where would such power and influence come from if He were still in a grave just outside Jerusalem?

Your life can be changed also. Why not read the Gospel of John for yourself, and consider the claims of the Man who has transformed millions? You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain if it turns out to be true, as so many others have found over the centuries.

Ed Hill – Franklin, N.C.

News outlet sinks to a new low

I’ve always taken pride in the fact that I listen to all sides of a debate and that applies to watching the news on television as well.  I figure I’m smart enough to  weed out the fluff and twisted facts to make up my own mind of what the truth is.  No one could accuse me of having a closed mind.

Sorry to say, but I will have to break my own rules and never watch CNN again.

The recent prime time CNN show, hosted by Anderson Cooper, interviewing Stormy Daniels who claimed to have sex with Donald Trump was just plain sick.  I can think of many other descriptions to call it but suffice to say that it demonstrates just how low a television channel can stoop to attract viewers.

Here we had a self-professed gay man telling the world that a man may have had sex with a, believe it or not, a woman.  Big Woof!

Demonstrating the extremely liberal CNN views you may recall that when President Clinton was charged with numerous sexual assault crimes, including rape, the talking heads on CNN simply sloughed off the accusations and told us the  women involved were probably lying.

Picture this if you will:  I just bought your home for $10 and I have a signed contract to prove it.  No, you didn’t sign it but I did and I want your home.

Gee, isn’t this the same sort of contract the porn star Stormy Daniels has?

She signed it but no one else signed it.

One must wonder if the Democratic Party is paying her a pile of money to come up with that story about President Trump?  Recent activities from the Democrats suggest they would.

I will continue to watch ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox and absorb their variety of political views. 

There are those who love to read tabloid trash and for those of you who enjoy such stuff, please continue if it gives you pleasure.

But for me, although I’ve watched CNN since its inception in the 1980’s, it has now become a trash television channel of pure filth.  And frankly, I don’t think I’ll be missing much if I quit watching.

Bob Wilson – Franklin, N.C.

A letter to our loved ones: Yes, you can do it!

The frustration, fear and yes, anger were apparent in the words of brave young students who stood up before the world to say: Enough is enough.  When adults won’t stand up to protect their children, then the only thing left is for those children to become the adults and take charge.  And these students are not shy to say: We are the change; our voices are powerful and in a few short years we will have the vote.

When politicians refuse to give up the handouts (bribes) from corporations of greed and terror, then it is up to the next generation to take their place and be the Change they want to see happen.  And they let us know by saying, “We won’t forget.”  In their determination to create a better world, no matter how long it takes, they are confident, capable, savvy, and know how to use social media to further their cause.  When one pundit attacked one of the student activists, the student came back with a list of advertisers for her show.  When advertisers started pulling their ads, she then apologized.  What these young people are demanding is a better world, and who are we to stand in the way of their future? Are we willing to stand with them?

Students refuse to let “thoughts and prayers,” from the president on down, be the end of their story because they own this story. As student Cameron Kasky so eloquently spoke, “The people of this country now see past the lies.  We’ve seen this narrative before. For the first time, the corrupt aren’t controlling our story. We are. The corrupt aren’t manipulating the facts. We know the truth.  Shooting after shooting, the American people now see one thing they all have in common: the weapons.”  And,  they are putting America on notice: “Today is a bad day for Tyranny and Corruption.”  Corruption by politicians who take bribes from the gun lobby, and tyranny, in its many forms, that keep Americans fearful and complacent, and accepting of the status quo. 

Martin Luther King’s granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King, stood up to say, “I have a dream that enough is enough. And that this should be a gun-free world.”  Others were more cautious in only asking for common sense gun laws, background checks, and raising the age of buying a gun. This is a young movement and it lacks the maturity that comes from seeing the bigger picture that violence at home is just a reflection of violence that America inflicts on the world as a whole. And half measures won’t bring the results they want.

Violence is not limited to gun violence in our schools and streets.  The face of violence is all around us, in the way we treat the environment by strip mining, fracking, and by the release of green house gases that propel climate change. Young people are demanding the right to a stable climate and livable future.  There is violence in our justice system that makes being poor a crime; violence in jailing addicts instead of providing adequate health care; violence in an economic system that rewards the wealthy few while impoverishing the greater majority; and the violence exported to other countries in the form of undeclared wars and regime change which returns home in the broken lives of soldiers. We seem unable or unwilling to acknowledge that the greater harm we do is not to others but to ourselves. Martin Luther King rightly connected the civil rights movement to a global peace movement:  That the three evils of America: racism, materialism/poverty, and militarism are connected.  Racism oppresses and dehumanizes people whether they are persons of color, immigrants, or those who hold different religious beliefs.  Materialism impoverishes the human spirit while poverty leads to many of the problems we see in our society.  An insatiable military appetite impoverishes Americans by failing to provide for such basic human rights as health care, housing, jobs and adequate food,  while inflicting unconscionable human suffering throughout the world through our vast war machine.  As King said: No one will be free until everyone is free. More succinctly, no one will be safe in a world where there isn’t peace and safety for all. We continue to support repressive dictatorships throughout the world.

So isn’t is surprising that Yolanda, the very youngest child to speak, was perhaps the only one who was brave enough or had the audacity to suggest the possibility of living in a world without guns? Is this naivete or does it reflect that the older students have already been co-opted by the system? That somehow the idea that we could actually live in a world free of guns and gun violence is unimaginable?  Does it takes an 11-year-old mind to hold such an idea?  However, this is exactly what students in March For Our Lives are asking for: that we have a safe place to live and go to school and go about our lives, and that a world without guns would be much safer.More guns in schools isn’t the answer when students live in a world of gun violence from the moment they wake up until they go to bed. Only in a more privileged white community do students only feel unsafe in schools.  

Neither do the poor believe that the militarized police are there to protect them. And that our system of (in)justice and privatized prisons is just another form of racism directed against being poor. Some realize the most successful recruiter for terrorists is the American Military.  For people around the world don’t see causalities inflicted by our military as collateral damage. They see America as the greatest terror threat to their peace and safety in the world. It is only through our perception of our moral imperative that we perpetuate a foreign policy based on death and destruction. This is what King tried to get us to see and why he so vehemently opposed the Vietnam war. It is the way we think that gets us into conflicts around the world.   

To imagine a world without conflict and suffering requires rethinking how we go about our daily business of living. There is only so much money. Do we want to spend it on the tools of war or on improving the well being and ultimately the peace and security of the world.  Education can reduce population growth,  local economic incentives can improve peoples lives and reduce poverty. Sharing the world’s resources can prevent war.  

We have a choice for what kind of world we want in the future, but it will only come about if we act today. It will, however, take leaders who can visualize such a world free of war, poverty, and yes, gun violence.  And all indications are that the next generation sees clearly the hope for a better world and are acting on that faith.  They are demanding a society that respects their human right to peace and safety. And they don’t accept the idea that more guns is the answer.  And no, they won’t sit down and be quiet (and learn CPR), unless that means resuscitating what they must see as a system that is not only broken but on the verge of dying.  They see a hope and a light to guide their way.  If we can’t lend them a hand, we should at least get out of their way.  

  

Paul Chew – Otto, N.C.

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