The Trumpet Herald
Giving the trumpet a certain sound
Attempting to Create Life
Craig Venter, the controversial DNA researcher involved in the race to decipher the human genetic code, has built a synthetic chromosome out of laboratory chemicals and is poised to announce the creation of the first new artificial life form on Earth. ...
Mr. Venter told the Guardian he thought this landmark would be "a very important philosophical step in the history of our species. We are going from reading our genetic code to the ability to write it. That gives us the hypothetical ability to do things never contemplated before." ...
Pat Mooney, director of a Canadian bioethics organisation, ETC group, said the move was an enormous challenge to society to debate the risks involved. "Governments, and society in general, is way behind the ball. This is a wake-up call - what does it mean to create new life forms in a test-tube?"
He said Mr. Venter was creating a "chassis on which you could build almost anything. It could be a contribution to humanity such as new drugs or a huge threat to humanity such as bio-weapons". ...
"We are not afraid to take on things that are important just because they stimulate thinking," he said. "We are dealing in big ideas. We are trying to create a new value system for life. When dealing at this scale, you can't expect everybody to be happy." ("I am creating artificial life, declares US gene pioneer," the guardian (www.guardian.co.uk), Oct. 7, 2007.
In what should be an ominous warning, inspiration observes:
But if there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast which defaced the image of God, and caused confusion everywhere. God purposed to destroy by a flood that powerful, long-lived race that had corrupted their ways before him. (Spirit of Prophecy, v.1, p. 69).
Muslim Peace Letter
Muslim scholars recently sent an open letter to some Christian leaders:
The "survival of the world" is at stake if Muslims and Christians do not make peace with each other, leaders of the Muslim world will warn the Pope and other Christian leaders today.
In an unprecedented open letter signed by 138 leading scholars from every sect of Islam, the Muslims plead with Christian leaders "to come together with us on the common essentials of our two religions" and spell out the similarities between passages of the Bible and the Koran.
The scholars state: "As Muslims, we say to Christians that we are not against them and that Islam is not against them - so long as they do not wage war against Muslims on account of their religion, oppress them and drive them out of their homes." ...
The letter, addressed to Pope Benedict XVI, to the Orthodox Church's Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew 1 and all the other Orthodox Patriarchs and to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams and the leaders of all other Protestant churches worldwide, will be rolled out around the world this morning in a series of press conferences beginning in Jordan. It is supported by the Bishop of London, the Right Rev Richard Chartres.
It is expected to be followed by a joint conference between Muslim and Christian world leaders at on "neutral" ground, such as at a university in America. ("Pope told 'survival of world' at stake if Muslims and Christians do not make peace," www.timesonline.co.uk, Oct. 11, 2007)
Two passages come to mind:
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 1 Thes. 5:2, 3
And regarding the leadership to be exercised by the papal system:
And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. . . . Rev. 13:3
A recent Barna Research study indicated that the number of Americans who consider themselves "non-Christians" is growing. Also negative impressions about Christianity also were reported to be increasing.
Barna polls conducted between 2004 and this year, sampling 440 non-Christians (and a similar number of Christians) aged 16 to 29, found that 38% had a "bad impression" of present-day Christianity. "It's not a pretty picture" the authors write. Barna's clientele is made up primarily of evangelical groups.
Kinnaman says non-Christians' biggest complaints about the faith are not immediately theological: Jesus and the Bible get relatively good marks. Rather, he sees resentment as focused on perceived Christian attitudes. Nine out of ten outsiders found Christians too "anti-homosexual," and nearly as many perceived it as "hypocritical" and "judgmental." Seventy-five percent found it "too involved in politics."
Not only has the decline in non-Christians' regard for Christianity been severe, but Barna results also show a rapid increase in the number of people describing themselves as non-Christian. One reason may be that the study used a stricter definition of "Christian" that applied to only 73% of Americans. Still, Kinnaman claims that however defined, the number of non-Christians is growing with each succeeding generation: His study found that 23% of Americans over 61 were non-Christians; 27% among people ages 42-60; and 40% among 16-29 year olds. Younger Christians, he concludes, are therefore likely to live in an environment where two out of every five of their peers is not a Christian.
Churchgoers of the same age share several of the non-Christians' complaints about Christianity. For instance, 80% of the Christians polled picked "anti-homosexual" as a negative adjective describing Christianity today. And the view of 85% of non-Christians aged 16-29 that present day Christianity is "hypocritical — saying one thing doing another," was, in fact, shared by 52% of Christians of the same age. Fifty percent found their own faith "too involved in politics." Forty-four percent found it "confusing." ("Christianity's Image Problem," www.time.com, Oct. 2, 2007) (emphasis added)
To identify Christians as being anti-homosexual is actually positive from the standpoint of fidelity to the Bible if the understanding is nuanced to recognize that God loves everyone, but hates homosexual behavior. The perception is correct that a lot of Christianity (especially among the evangelical groups mentioned) is too involved in politics, probably particularly in regard to candidates rather than just issues, especially moral issues. The growth in the numbers of non-Christians, probably rejecting the inspiration and authority of the Bible, should be a concern, but not a surprise given the warnings of Jesus.
And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. Matt. 24:12-14.
And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:7, 8).