Our Tax Dollars Still Fund the Destruction of Embryos

BreakPoint Daily

Today’s BreakPoint: Our Tax Dollars Still Fund the Destruction of Embryos

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And There’s not a Single Good Reason Why

JOHN STONESTREET

In 2001, President George W. Bush limited federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research to already-existing lines of embryonic stem cells. While it wasn’t a complete ban on the research itself, it did prevent any further federally funded destruction of human life, and instead prioritized funding for research into adult stem cells…

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COVID Is Causing Increase in Suicidal Thoughts and Decrease in Mental Health

COVID-19 has caused a myriad of problems in the U.S. and around the world. The obvious physical attacks on the human body, the loss of income from inability to work but an even greater ISSUE is the toll it has taken on the mental health of a large number of children and adults. 

There have been renewed calls from certain parties for further lock-downs, but is this wise? The bible says Proverbs 18:1 ESV Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. I would say whomever forces said isolation they break out against all sound judgment.


 

BreakPoint Daily

Today’s BreakPoint: COVID Is Causing Increase in Suicidal Thoughts and Decrease in Mental Health

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JOHN STONESTREET WITH ROBERTO RIVERA

According to recent report from the Centers for Disease Control, “40 percent of American adults have reported struggling with mental health or substance abuse” during the COVID-19 pandemic. One-third reported feelings of anxiety and/or depression, and one-quarter said that they were struggling with trauma-related issues. One in eight reported either developing or increasing substance-abuse problems.

Worst of all, 11 percent reported that they seriously considered suicide in the last few months. Two years ago, by comparison, that number was just one in twenty-five. And, the CDC study revealed that certain segments of the population have struggled more than others. For example, one in five “essential workers” reported suicidal ideation, as have one in three unpaid caregivers for adults, and one in four 18- to 24-year-olds. And of course, there are others who don’t fit into categories like these, but who were already struggling with mental health issues before the pandemic…

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Gender-Transition Surgery Does Not Improve Mental Health after All

BreakPoint Daily

Today’s BreakPoint: Gender-Transition Surgery Does Not Improve Mental Health after All

 

JOHN STONESTREET WITH ROBERTO RIVERA

Last fall, the American Journal of Psychiatry published a study entitled “Reduction in Mental Health Treatment Utilization Among Transgender Individuals After Gender-Affirming Surgeries.” According to the study’s authors, people with “gender incongruence” (that means they struggle to identify with their biological sex) have higher risk of mental-health disorders. In fact, they are “more than six times as likely to have been hospitalized after a suicide attempt” as others.

This study was not the first to highlight the significant rates of depression and suicidal ideation among those who struggle with gender dysphoria. In fact, the high correlation between mental health struggles and the transgender community is agreed upon by all sides…

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Planned Parenthood Should Cancel More than Margaret Sanger

BreakPoint Daily

Today’s BreakPoint: Planned Parenthood Should Cancel More than Margaret Sanger

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JOHN STONESTREET WITH MARIA BAER

Last week, Planned Parenthood of Greater New York announced that the name of the organization’s founder, Margaret Sanger, would be removed from its clinic. They also asked the city to rename a local street known as “Margaret Sanger Square.” Sanger is being cancelled because of her advocacy of eugenics, a movement that began in the early 1900s and promoted the idea that the human race could be “improved” by selective breeding.

Proponents of eugenics, like Sanger, wanted wealthy, healthy and strong people to have more babies, and poor, sick, disabled and minority people to have fewer (or no) babies. In 1939, in fact, Sanger and Planned Parenthood launched something called the Negro Project, whose aim was to push birth control on black women…

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COVID 19 is an Opportunity to Re-Define the Human Species?

BreakPoint Daily

Today’s BreakPoint: COVID 19 is an Opportunity to Re-Define the Human Species?

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Lessons from the Coronavirus Part 12

JOHN STONESTREET WITH ROBERTO RIVERA

Recently, the world learned that researchers at London’s Francis Crick Institute used CRISPR technology to genetically edit 18 embryos. Around half of the embryos suffered the kinds of major mutations and genetic damage that could lead to birth defects and life-shortening medical problems. The horrifying results led one gene-editing expert to call for “a restraining order for all genome editors to stay the living daylights away from embryo editing.”

Unfortunately, the desire to play god with the human genome is not easily discouraged. For example, consider the title of a recent article at Wired which proclaimed a “Neobiological Revolution,” –  Covid-19 Is Accelerating Human Transformation—Let’s Not Waste It.”…

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The Link Between Marijuana, Psychosis, and Suicide

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The Link Between Marijuana, Psychosis, and Suicide

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JOHN STONESTREET WITH ROBERTO RIVERA

Recreational marijuana is legal in 11 states and another 21 states permit the use of so-called “medical marijuana.” I say “so-called” because, as NYU drug policy expert Mark Kleinman has put it, “the vast majority of ‘patients’ buying ‘medical marijuana’ aren’t doing so under any sort of active medical supervision . . . Many of them aren’t ‘treating’ anything but their desire to get high . . .”

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COVID-19, Depression, and Suicide

BreakPoint Daily

COVID-19, Depression, and Suicide

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Lessons from the Coronavirus Part 8

JOHN STONESTREET WITH ROBERTO RIVERA

From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts warned of its impact on people with mental illnesses. For those with mood disorders, the pandemic packed a “one-two” punch: the depression and anxiety caused by the fear of contracting the coronavirus itself, and the depression and anxiety accelerated by measures taken to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Even the wide use of the term “social distancing” instead of the more accurate “physical distancing” communicated isolation and the loneliness.

Add to all that canceled appointments with psychiatrists and therapists, and we should expect a steep decline in mental health. Which is exactly what happened…

CONTINUED AT: SOURCE

 

 

 

 

A Christian View of Suffering

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Worldview Lessons from the Coronavirus Pt. 6

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JOHN STONESTREET

In the whirlwind of moral balancing as the globe reacts to Coronavirus, we face pressing questions, from if and how to triage patients in the face of limited medical supplies, to how long we ought hobble the economy to curb the spread of the disease.

These immediate questions are essential, but there are others, too: eternal and existential questions endemic to our humanity that tend to emerge in times like these. Why are we suffering? How can we deal with suffering? What does suffering mean?

At this time, as the world deals with the spread of the Coronavirus, Christians have an opportunity to share one of our faith’s most unique pillars: Suffering is shocking, but it’s meaningful. Suffering is viewed quite differently within other religions, and it’s important to know that difference since every religion and every worldview must explain the world as it is.

A fundamental premise of Buddhism, for example, is that life is suffering. As creatures of desire, we attach ourselves and tend to cling to things such as stuff, health, youth, love, and even life itself. Thus, in Buddhism, we are only delivered from suffering by ridding ourselves of the attachments of our desire.

Not only does such a view deny any real distinction between what’s good and what’s bad—such as health and sickness, love and loneliness, or even life and death—it necessarily denies two things Christianity affirms: The goodness of creation and the possibility that the creation will be, as St. Paul put it, set free from corruption.

While many Westerners play around with a sort of pop-Buddhism, the secular view of suffering is far more common here. In this view, suffering is real, and we certainly don’t like it, but we don’t really have the worldview foundation to make sense of it. Suffering interrupts our pleasure and happiness, but in a world without purpose or design, we can’t really say that’s wrong or bad or that it shouldn’t be.

We believe, as those with the most resources in human history to avoid sickness and disaster and certain sufferings, that we somehow have a right not to suffer or, for that matter, to feel dissatisfaction or distress of any kind. But why would that be so, if the world is, as Richard Dawkins once put it, a place of “blind, pitiless indifference” and we are, as he also put it, merely “dancing to our DNA”?

As Dr. John Lennox pointed out on a recent BreakPoint Podcast, suffering is utterly meaningless for a true atheist. It’s not good. It’s not bad. It’s just there.

What about Christianity? Unlike Buddhism, Christianity doesn’t deny the objective goodness of the world, the objective nature of our suffering, nor the objective potential of restoration. St. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15, called death “the last enemy,” which will be destroyed at Christ’s return.

The author of Hebrews called the fear of death the means by which Satan enslaves men. And, most of all, Jesus seemed to identify with human suffering as something He literally felt in His guts. He entered the suffering of others, such as the mourning sisters of Lazarus in John 11, and He prayed to avoid suffering Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The Bible is clear, as is the example of Jesus, that suffering is bad and avoiding it isn’t possible. At the same time, suffering is not seen as meaningless (unlike in secularism). On both the personal and cosmic levels, suffering points to the realities of higher truths and greater goods but is ultimately not the story of creation.

The One through whom all things were made drank from the same cup of suffering and death as all of us. The author of Hebrews says that He “tasted death for everyone.” And yet, rising from the grave three days later, Christ shows us that while suffering and death are real, they do not have the last word.

As John Lennox writes in his marvelous new book “Where Is God in a Coronavirus World?” a Christian “is not a person who has solved the problem of suffering, but one who has come to love and trust the God who has suffered for them.” Christianity teaches neither resignation to suffering nor detachment from the world. Christianity neither denies the realities of suffering nor gives it more than its due. And so, Christianity alone offers a basis for hope, a true and firm “anchor for the soul.”

We’ve compiled a set of resources offering a Christian view of suffering and hope, including the recent BreakPoint Podcast interview with Dr. John Lennox. We’ll also send you his outstanding new book, “Where Is God in a Coronavirus World,” with a gift of any amount to BreakPoint and the Colson Center this month. And you can see the video of a recent Facebook Live presentation by my friend and mentor, Dr. Bill Brown, on “How Can a Good God Allow Suffering?”


We Can Only “Imagine” a Utopia: Worldview Lessons from the Coronavirus Pt. 1

John Stonestreet | BreakPoint | March 23, 2020

Deciding Who Gets Treated and Who Doesn’t: Worldview Lessons from the Coronavirus Pt. 2

John Stonestreet & Roberto Rivera | BreakPoint | March 25, 2020

Gender Transition Surgeries in a Global Crisis: Worldview Lessons from the Coronavirus Pt. 3

John Stonestreet & Roberto Rivera | BreakPoint | April 1. 2020

The Viral Pandemic of Distrust and Misinformation: Worldview Lessons from the Coronavirus Pt. 4

John Stonestreet & Shane Morris | BreakPoint | April 17, 2020

The Non-Essential Church: Worldview Lessons from the Coronavirus Pt. 5

John Stonestreet | BreakPoint | April 20, 2020

The Non-Essential Church?

BreakPoint Daily

The Non-Essential Church?

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Worldview Lessons from the Coronavirus Pt. 5

JOHN STONESTREET

  • Note Bold and Italics emphasis through out is from me. 

Crises reveal much about us as individuals: our courage, our faith, our resiliency. They also reveal much about the health and strength of a community, a society, even a nation. Like that gold star or little yellow arrow on the map at the mall, certain moments in a crisis tell us, “You are here.”

Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was asked during a press briefing why the coronavirus infection rate was slowing in his state. Governor Cuomo said: “The number is down because we brought the number down. God did not do that. Faith did not do that. Destiny did not do that. A lot of pain and suffering did that.” To be clear, he wasn’t asked about God or prayer, he just said it. This was a “you are here” moment for us.

After all, acknowledging God and providence has been a common theme throughout our nation’s history, whether through declaring solemn days of prayer and fasting in the midst of a crisis or a day of thanksgiving after. Today, it’s more common for officials to just ignore God and any role He might play in our world.

But there’s a world of difference between leaving God unmentioned and outright denying He deserves any credit at all for anything, from miraculous intervention to strengthening medical professionals to acknowledging He gave some the minds to develop therapies and technologies.

Even more telling, other than a few atheist “amens,” Governor Cuomo’s comments didn’t even make much of a stir. It’s almost as if his words were the culmination of the last few years, where the “don’t offer us prayers and thoughts, just do something” response to other tragedies moved from Twitter to media personalities to elected officials.

Cuomo’s comments, even more than any  we might see, reveal that a certain kind of secularism is now firmly embedded in our culture. To be clear, this isn’t the kind of secularism that takes Christianity and its claims about truth and morality head on, but the kind that dismisses and relegates them as personal, private commitments, irrelevant to public life and maybe even in the way. Despite being Catholic, the Governor seems to believe we live in a world where, at the end of the day, it’s our efforts, our knowledge, and our will that will see us through this and any future pandemics.

Though President Trump recently declared a “National Day of Prayer for All Americans Affected by the Coronavirus,” it’s clear that, as a people, we don’t take seriously God’s place in this world anymore, beyond being a source of personal encouragement and maybe inspiration. We are no longer the kind of people who really turn to God in times of trouble.

The growing conflict between churches and local governments only confirms this analysis. I’m thinking, for instance, of the people ticketed and fined for attending a drive-in church service, while fully complying with social distancing guidelines, listening to the sermon on radio in the church parking lot with windows rolled up. And this was in Mississippi.

Apparently, the mayor, like so many other officials we are hearing about, had signed an order deeming churches “non-essential.” Though he reversed course (thanks to the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Justice Department, and public backlash), the larger point is that the church has long been relegated to the category of “non-essential” for so much of our lives as Americans, well before COVID-19. What else can explain the fact that in most states and according to many judges, abortion is an essential service, but worship is not?

Long gone are the “Little House on the Prairie” days, where churches were central to life in American communities, when school, community meetings, festivals, and local governments all happened at the church; where sermons were printed in newspapers and pastors were community leaders.

How churches became non-essential in our cultural imagination is quite a long story, but the primary fault is our own. If we think and talk of our faith as if its grounded in personal experience only instead of universal truths about the world, if Christianity is described within our own walls as an alternative self-help therapy, then we haven’t done such a great job catechizing our own people as to why Church is “essential.”

C.S. Lewis pointed out that people shouldn’t become Christians to be happy, since a good bottle of port can do that. In the same way, Christians shouldn’t go to church if there’s nothing there that they can’t get online, or in a fun reading club, or on a TED Talk, or at an AA meeting. In other words, if the Church is already non-essential to Christians, a pandemic is more than enough to make it official.


Resources:

We Can Only “Imagine” a Utopia: Worldview Lessons from the Coronavirus Pt. 1

John Stonestreet | BreakPoint | March 23, 2020

Deciding Who Gets Treated and Who Doesn’t: Worldview Lessons from the Coronavirus Pt. 2

John Stonestreet & Roberto Rivera | BreakPoint | March 25, 2020

Gender Transition Surgeries in a Global Crisis: Worldview Lessons from the Coronavirus Pt. 3

John Stonestreet & Roberto Rivera | BreakPoint | April 1. 2020

The Viral Pandemic of Distrust and Misinformation: Worldview Lessons from the Coronavirus Pt. 4

John Stonestreet & Shane Morris | BreakPoint | April 17, 2020

The Viral Pandemic of Distrust and Misinformation

BreakPoint Daily

The Viral Pandemic of Distrust and Misinformation

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Worldview Lessons from the Coronavirus, Part 4
JOHN STONESTREET  WITH SHANE MORRIS

The information age is full of both plusses and minuses, especially during a time of national crisis. Among the blessings we should count is the ability of many of us to work from home, and the ability to stay in touch with people we cannot visit. Another, at least in my line of work, is that so many more of the teachers contributing to our virtual Truth, Love, Together event now know how to use Zoom.

The main minus, though certainly not the only one, is the constant flow of news, headlines, and social media posts, some true and some false, some helpful and some very unhelpful and even misleading. Information comes at us in waves, with conjecture in the place of facts and assertions in the place of arguments.

Even before the coronavirus was given the name pandemic, misinformation was passed on by both major media outlets and personal social media accounts. In most of these cases, political ideology masqueraded as certainty about things that were, at the time, unknown, such as how deadly Covid-19 would be, whether or not it was like the flu, and whether scientists and experts were misleading us.

Misleading voices on both the left and the right confidently asserted the virus really wasn’t that bad. More than one conservative talk show host, motivated to keep the President’s wins front and center, compared Covid-19 to the common cold or seasonal flu. And more than a few liberal voices also downplayed the seriousness of Covid-19, apparently hoping to seize an opportunity to portray Trump’s travel restrictions to China as racist or otherwise misguided.

Having now mostly pivoted on the seriousness of the virus across the board, many of the same voices continue with speculations, assertions, and analysis that are proclaimed with all the undeserved confidence as before. After Samaritan’s Purse set up a temporary hospital in Central Park to treat coronavirus patients, The Daily Beast ran a hit-piece warning of “sub-standard care and “discrimination,” chiding the Christian ministry and its president, Franklin Graham, for their allegedly “spotty record.”

Given the actual record of Samaritan’s Purse, the article was pure fear-mongering. Still, it paled in comparison to a horrendous op-ed by Katherine Stewart in the New York Times which blamed evangelicals for “paving the way to coronavirus hell” by “denying science.” She also accused us of looking to faith-healers and miracle cures instead of medical experts. It was vicious, historically ignorant slander, and published in America’s newspaper-of-record.

The Times’ decision to publish such a ridiculous article was not only poor, it’s ironic, given the paper’s commitment to expose fake news and conspiracy theories about the virus. They keep a full list: Covid-19 is caused by 5G cell phone towers. It’s a foreign attack. It’s a plot by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. All ridiculous claims, of course, but no more ridiculous than the Nero-like claim that evangelicals are to blame for this pandemic.

Brad Littlejohn made a key point over at Mere Orthodoxy, “This virus has surely come as a judgment on our divided, post-truth society. Judgment does not merely punish,” he points out, “it reveals…what Covid-19 has revealed in America is a society that has reached a point of crippling mutual incomprehension and distrust…that runs so deep that it leaves few if any shared handholds for common knowledge informing common action.”

At all times, but especially during a pandemic, some degree of common knowledge and common action are essential for a society. How can Christians, people who are to be committed to truth, navigate this (mis)information age? Who is right, who is not, and how do we know? And, how can we be catalysts toward the renewal of a critical national resource: trust?

An essential part of the answer, and an essential part of a Christian worldview, is discernment. According to Paul’s prayer for the church at Philippi, love “abounds” best when accompanied by truth and discernment. And in an information age, discernment is the only true antidote to deception.

Eighteenth century British author Samuel Johnson called discernment “the supreme end of education,” before offering the best definition I know of discernment: “the power to tell the good from the bad, the genuine from the counterfeit, and to prefer the good and the genuine to the bad and the counterfeit.”

In other words, discernment involves both wisdom and will. The wisdom to evaluate truth claims, and the will to understand the reality of our fallen world, which includes evaluating truth claims beyond whether or not it will make our side look good and their side look bad. Bearing false witness is a sin, and truth must take precedent over wanting something to be so or not wanting it to be so.

And finally, a necessary ingredient of Christian discernment is confidence in God’s sovereignty. Fear, on the other hand, often spoils discernment.

Discernment won’t end put an end to misinformation overnight, but it can slow its infection rate. And as with the actual pandemic, that could make a world of difference.


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