The Bible in 90 Days

A month ago I began preparing to lead a Bible in 90 Days class at church by (surprise) reading 12 bible pages a day ... the class started this morning. I have been surprised by the joy that I am having in reading 45-60 minutes a day. This brisker reading pace has brought a new biblical perspective.

I started seeing the bible more as a story than anything. I have been realizing that it is a book of families, pain and redemption. The first family experienced pain in the garden when Cain killed Abel ... a nightmare for the first parents. Noah prevailed in desperate times and saved His family. Joseph turned the pain of rejection into the rescue of his family. God brought redemption to exiled Israel as they cried out to Him. Go here for more about The Bible in 90 Days.

Pastoral Calling

12/31: This past week the conversation on this post has gone from pastoral calling to women, leadership and authority. I coudn't let the topic pass by without pointing you all to my post on authority.

An interesting discussion about calling is going on over at Andy Bryan's place. Rick (Quipper) brings up a real issue when he comments:
"If the Pastor is acting as the CEO, then he is not a preacher; he is a business owner."
This comment seems to focus on what the role of a Pastor really is. Some would say that he is a mainly a preacher and some would say that he is mainly a shepherd. A shepherd may sometimes look more like a CEO than a Preacher. I'd be interested in hearing what you all think that the role of a Pastor is.

What's Wrong with this Picture?

People are drowning and shouting for help in the rear of the picture.
No one hears or sees them because they are busy doing other things!

Grim Predictions and the Second Coming

Poll: Americans see gloom, doom in 2007
By DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Another terrorist attack, a warmer planet, death and destruction from a natural disaster. These are among Americans' grim predictions for the United States in 2007.

These are among the findings of an Associated Press-AOL News poll that asked Americans to gaze into their crystal balls and contemplate what 2007 holds for the country.

Six in 10 people think the U.S. will be the victim of another terrorist attack next year, more than five years after the Sept. 11 assault on New York and Washington. An identical percentage think it is likely that bad guys will unleash a biological or nuclear weapon elsewhere in the world.

There is plenty of gloom to accompany all of that doom.

Seventy percent of Americans predict another major natural disaster within the United States and an equal percentage expect worsening global warming. Fewer than one-third of people, or 29 percent, think it is likely that the U.S. will withdraw its troops from Iraq.

Among other predictions for the U.S. in 2007:

Slightly more than one-third, or 35 percent, of Americans predict the military draft will be reinstated.

One in four, 25 percent, anticipates the second coming of Jesus Christ.

The telephone poll of 1,000 adults was conducted Dec. 12-14 by Ipsos, an international polling firm. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus three percentage points.

AT&T, Western Electric and Lucent

Western Electric died at the age of 137. She was given life in 1869 by Elisha Gray, Enos Barton, and Anson Stage and laid to rest on November 30, 2006 by Patricia Russo. Read more here.

Wired News 2007 Predictions

Internet Traffic Doubles: to 5,000 petabits per day by the end of 2007.

Year o' the Laptop: Half of all new computers sold in 2007 will be laptops and 20 percent of those will be Apple's MacBooks.

Spam Doubles: No-brainer but no one cares because we're all using IM, especially at work.

Print to Web: A major newspaper gives up printing on paper to publish exclusively online.

Implantable Contact Lenses: Synthetic corneas will be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, allowing the shortsighted to have artificial contact lenses transplanted right into their eyes. No more popping out!

For more predictions read here.

What Does This Say?

It was my foundational passage for 2006!

Team Hoyt

It doesn't get more inspirational than this!
Catch Dick and Rick's video story here

The Amero

My son told me about the push by some to exchange the dollar for a currency that would be similar to the European euro. Here is the wikipedia segment on the American currency union. I don't see it happening. Do you?


This cartoon put life in perspective for me. The year my commando son was in Iraq was a very difficult one for my wife and I. Recently, the Army extended his 4 year commitment by 6 months (via the war act) so that they could send him back to Iraq. He heads back to Iraq in February. I need your prayers.

The Pursuit of Happyness | ★★★★★★

My wife and I saw this movie last night and I was glad that we had free passes for it (popcorn included). Not that it was a bad movie but it was just so predictable. If you have seen the clips and trailers for the movie then you basically know the story and will find very little surprise in it.

That said, I have to also say how much I liked and admired Chris Gardner, the man that Will Smith portrayed. In Chris we see a nobleness and persistence in hardship that is inspiring. Unfortunately we never really get a chance to rejoice with him until the last paltry few minutes.

There are many great scenes in the movie where we get a peek into another part of Americana. We get a glimpse of what it is like to be poor, spend nights in a homeless shelter and fight for every dime you make. We also get a chance to see these events through the eyes of a little boy. I cried as I watched.

I disagreed with a subtle message of the movie that says that you cannot be happy when you are in hard times. On several occasions Chris gave us the impression that he would be happy when he 'got the job'. My experience tells me that, though it is often difficut, you can find happiness (small though it may be) in times of great difficulty and changing your circumstances will not always bring happiness. On a scale of ten I give this movie ★★★★★★.

Baptism Cannonball

Makes me want to believe in sprinkling :)

An Answer to Invictus

A Selfless Leader

Selfless Leader. You don't hear those words much these days in the context of government. It was nice to hear them associated with President Ford. To honor him I am posting some of his quotes:

“I am a Ford, not a Lincoln.”

“I promise my fellow citizens only this: To uphold the Constitution, to do what is right as God gives me to see the right, and…to do the very best that I can for America.”

“I am not a saint, and I am sure I have done things I might have done better or differently, or not at all. I have also left undone things that I should have done. But I believe and hope that I have been honest with myself and with others, that I have been faithful to my friends and fair to my opponents, and that I have tried my very best to make this great Government work for the good of all Americans.”

“A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.”

“We are bound together by the most powerful of all ties, our fervent love for freedom and independence, which knows no homeland but the human heart.”

“As we are a nation under God, so I am sworn to uphold our laws with the help of God.”

“Some people equate civility with weakness and compromise with surrender. I strongly disagree. I come by my political pragmatism the hard way, for my generation paid a very heavy price in resistance to the century we had of some extremists -- to the dictators, the utopians, the social engineers who are forever condemning the human race for being all too human.”

“The ultimate test of leadership is not the polls you take, but the risks you take. In the short run, some risks prove overwhelming. Political courage can be self-defeating. But the greatest defeat of all would be to live without courage, for that would hardly be living at all.”
Read more from the Associated Press here in their story entitled "Ford remembered as steady, selfless".

Manifest Destiny

I checked Wikipedia for "manifest destiny" and found this note:
The phrase was coined in 1845 by journalist John L. O'Sullivan, then an influential advocate for the Democratic Party. O'Sullivan argued that the United States had the right to claim "the whole of Oregon" saying:
And that claim is by the right of our manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty and federated self-government entrusted to us.
That is, O'Sullivan believed that God ("Providence") had given the United States a mission to spread republican democracy ("the great experiment of liberty") throughout North America.
President Bush seems to have erroneously embraced this same mission for Iraq and perhaps much of the world. I wonder if such thinking is a natural offshoot when we try to involve Providence in national and world affairs ... just wondering.

Mark Twain Proverbs

"Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand."

"It is better to deserve honors and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them."

"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up."

"Sacred cows make the best hamburger."

"Let us live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry."

"Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see."

"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog."

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."

Saddam and the Death Penalty

I thought I'd bring up something that we all can agree on :)
As of July 1, 2006, the Death Penalty was authorized by 38 states, the Federal Government, and the U.S. Military. Most presidents have been supporters of the death penalty, including the last ones; Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton and George W Bush. Yet despite this I was surprised to find that my internet search for quotes didn't surface pro-death penalty quotes by anyone of note. Here are a few of the quotes I found:
I always say that I don't criticize anybody's position on the death penalty because I've held all of them. -- Scott Turow

"I was personally opposed to the death penalty, and yet I think I have probably asked for the death penalty more than most people in the United States." -- Janet Reno

"The death penalty is a poor person's issue. Always remember that: after all the rhetoric that goes on in the legislative assemblies, in the end, when the deck is cast out, it is the poor who are selected to die in this country." -- Sister Helen Prejean

"We oppose the death penalty not just for what it does to those guilty of heinous crimes, but for what it does to all of us: it offers the tragic illusion that we can defend life by taking life." -- Most Rev. Joseph A. Fiorenza

"I do not believe any civilized society should be at the service of death. I don't think it's human to become an agent of the Angel of Death." -- Elie Wiesel
I have to admit that I am on the fence about this one but lean to a pro-death penalty position for extreme cases like that of Saddam. I am interested in what you think about the death penalty and if you have any interesting quotes on it.

Glory to God in the Highest

While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. "This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us." So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them. (Luke 2:6-20)

Last Meter Standing

The last New York City mechanical parking meter — an emblem of street life, an object of motorist frustration and endless source of fascination for city children since 1951 — was withdrawn from service at 10:25 a.m. December 20th in Coney Island. The city now uses theft-resistant meters with sealed coin canisters and multispace meters, called Muni-Meters, that accept parking cards. About 600 of the 2,100 Muni-Meters also accept credit cards. Read more here.

$150 Laptop sans Intel and Microsoft

Amazing what you can do without the big guys. Here is an excerpt from the article:

Lite Appliances says its Lite Computer will be based on Analog Devices' Blackfin processor and a custom-built OS that will include Web browser, media player, IM and VoIP functions and work with online services such as Google Docs. There will be no built-in hard drive, but you can attach external storage via USB.

Bushbot or Bushbasher?

This post from Wired News reminded me of many dicussion that I have had with people - especially evangelicals. I don't seem to have as many as I did a few years ago though. The preisdent's popularity has really quieted many Bushbots but (as a friend recently reported) some will still say something like "we just don't hear about the good things happening in Iraq!" I am glad that I am not around when peole say such things.

With my son going back to fight on the frontlines of Iraq in February I don't have much good to say about the administration's military policies. What I am most disapponted with though is the state of our national debt and how we have mortgaged our children's future to help a country that is overtly against Christianity and exclusively for Islam. I do not know why anyone in power thinks that we can create a democracy in Iraq without freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Maybe it is just mass delusion on an astronomical scale. Read more of my views on 21st Century Conservatism here.

Your unbiased opinions (if there are such things) are welcomed because I am very biased on this one :)

I Am Sickened by Holocaust Deniers

12/24 Update: From an AP article on the Nazi Archives.
Holocaust historians are only now piecing together the scattered research in many languages to understand the vast scope of the camps, prisons and punishment centers that scarred German-ruled Europe, like a pox on the landscape stretching from Greece to Norway and eastward into Russia.
12/19 Update: Here is the 60 minutes segment that aired Sunday.

You can watch the rest of the video here.

The archives are proof positive of the abuse by the Nazis of 17 million victims of the holocaust.

Where Holocaust denial is welcomed
By Frances Harrison
BBC News, Tehran

Iran has been severely criticised for hosting a conference questioning the Holocaust. Delegates included not only some of the world's best-known Holocaust deniers, but also white supremacists and anti-Semites.

Iran frequently plays host to those who criticise Israel.
In the BBC there's a lot of talk about impartial broadcasting. I've always wondered how that would work if you were the BBC correspondent in Nazi Germany reporting on Hitler.

Would you not have to take sides? Well I got closer than ever before to this problem reporting on Iran's Holocaust conference. Read more here.

Civil Unions

N.J. governor signs gay civil unions law
TOM HESTER Jr., Associated Press Writer

TRENTON, N.J. - New Jersey's governor signed legislation Thursday giving gay couples all the rights and responsibilities of marriage allowed under state law — but not the title.

When the law goes into effect Feb. 19, New Jersey will become the third state offering civil unions to gay couples and the fifth allowing gay couples some version of marriage.

Connecticut and Vermont also offer civil unions for gay couples, while Massachusetts allows gay couples to marry, and California has domestic partnerships that bring full marriage rights under state law. Read more here.
I tend to be somewhat sympathetic on this one but haven't really thought about it enough to have an informed opinion. Anyone have an opinion on this?

Late Term Kansas Abortions

Kan. abortion doctor charged, atty says
By JOHN HANNA, Associated Press Writer

TOPEKA, Kan. - Kansas' attorney general, a vocal abortion opponent, has filed criminal charges against Wichita abortion provider George Tiller, the doctor's attorney said Friday.

Tiller's clinic, known for being one of the few in the country to do late-term procedures, has been a high-profile target of anti-abortion protesters for decades. Read more here.
I am amazed at how many people run to George Tiller's defense on late term abortions. For me, I would like to immediately see legislation enacted in Kansas that brings the viability of the baby into account before an abortion is performed. It seems that reasonable people (on both sides of the political aisle) can agree on that. Sad that some people don't.

Kansas Susan?

"Any man who voted against female suffrage was a blockhead," Susan B. Anthony declared in an address at Manhattan (Kansas) on September 7, 1867. Forty-five men, twelve women, and a few boys were present. Although several of the men disagreed with Anthony, few attempted to argue with her. Questioning her femininity, The Kansas Radical, in reporting the event, wrote that the men were unsure of what she would do if cornered. Later in her speech, she modified her blockhead remark to exclude farmers. Read more here.

Nights Are Gettings Shorter

From Liz at kingdom musings:
This has been a really long day, full of both incredible joys and incredible pain. Somehow it seems fitting that today is the longest night. As we get closer to Christmas, it seems especially important to remember thsoe for whom the holidays hold grief and sadness. Jesus came into the world, mostly unnoticed and in the midst of real dangers. His birth, at least in Matthew's version, is accompanied by death and destruction. Weeping and mourning soon joined the shouts of jubilation.

But this night is also a reminder that daylight is coming. If we make it through the night, we will begin to explore more light. The days will grow longer, and with it, hope will be restored. What seemed impossible will begin to give way to new life and rebirth. In the meantime, we light candles as individual and corporate acts of defiance against the darkness.
Last night our church had our first Longest Night service. It was a sweet time of soft worship, meditation, candle lighting and prayer. I hope it becomes a tradition for us. Terri, one of our pastor's wives, read The Longest Night Meditation ... I think that it was so powerful because Terri has been through so much pain in the past few years. Blessings to you as the nights get short and the days shine longer.

Prayer Quotes

"God will do nothing except in answer to prayer." - John Wesley

"You must go forward on your knees." - Hudson Taylor

"We are too busy to pray, and so we are too busy to have power." - R.A. Torrey

"Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused." - Charles Spurgeon

"How many dry prayers, how few wet ones, do we offer up to God!" - Matthew Henry

"Bear up the hands that hang down, by faith and prayer, support the tottering knees. Have you any days of fasting and prayer?
Storm the Throne of Grace and persevere therein, and mercy will come down." - John Wesley

"You must pray with all your might. That does not mean saying your prayers, or sitting gazing about in church or chapel with eyes wide open while someone else says them for you. It means fervent, effectual, untiring wrestling with God...This kind of prayer, be sure, the devil and the world and your own indolent, unbelieving nature will oppose. They will pour water on this flame." - William Booth

Virtual Candles Fight HIV/AIDS

From Scott at Spiritual Tramp:

Today, Bristol-Myers Squibb, the pharmaceutical monolith that charges nearly $1,000 for a 30 day supply of one of its HIV/AIDS medications, is donating $1 to the National AIDS Fund for each person who simply visits their website and "virtually lights a candle."

Please take a minute to light a candle.

Believer in Second Chances

How about you? Do you believe in second chances?

Half Empty or Full?

Growing up in the Half Empty Land of New York City definitely skewed my life with a predisposition towards cynicsim. I am challenged every day to believe that the cup is half full. I used to cloak my cynicism saying that "I am a realist" ... pretty funny when I think of it because the ultimate reality is that God loves me and keeps me every day. For more of my thoughts on reality and relativism read here.

Beta is Dead

The new version of Blogger in beta is dead!
Long live the new version of Blogger!
They also said:

Battlestar Galactica with Lorne Greene :
Battlestar Galactica with Edward James Olmos

Old Blogger : New Blogger

I guess I am just glad that there aren't the same old beta problems anymore. Seems to be a whole new set of 'new version' problems now like commenting timeouts :(

Bagel and Cream Cheese

My morning Einstein Brothers' poppyseed bagel and strawberry cream cheese critiqued by

I wonder if I should switch to something else?
Biscuits and Gravy is looking pretty good these days :)
What do you eat for breakfast?

Marty Ends Chiefs Playoff Hopes

Chargers: 20, Chiefs: 9

I don't know about the rest of you Chief's fans but I am glad that our playoff hopes are finally over and I am glad that the coach that helped KC become winners again had a part of it. This excerpt from the KC Star gives us a peek into why Marty did so well in Kansas City:

When it was over, Marty Schottenheimer displayed a bit of the emotion that has made him an effective coach for three decades. “I loved him. I’m not ashamed to say it. I’m proud to say it. I loved him.” Schottenheimer said as he fought back tears during the news conference after San Diego’s 20-9 victory Sunday night over the Chiefs. Schottenheimer was not referring to his star running back, LaDainian Tomlinson, but rather his former colleague and friend, Lamar Hunt, the founder of the Chiefs.

On Fred, Wilma and Bygone Days

Today's news of the death of Joseph Barbera brought back many cartoon memories. It seems just yesterday that I was sitting in front of my folks TV watching The Flintstones - it aired in the evening back then. I loved that show and can still see that 'cat' lock Fred out of the house. I think that the Fred and Barney relationship must have been modeled after the Ralph/Norton one from The Honeymooners.

Hanna-Barbera also created some of my other favorites: Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound and The Jetsons. They also created Jonny Quest, Wacky Races, Scooby-Doo, and Smurfs which I never got around to watching ... I remember my kids liking Smurfs and Scooby. So, what are your favorite cartoons? Do you still watch them?

Bible Translations

From the CBA Website here is a list of the top 10 Bible translations sold in October (tracked by Christian retailers):
New International Version
various publishers
New King James Version
various publishers
King James Version
various publishers
New Living Translation
English Standard Version
Reina Valera 1960 (Spanish)
various publishers
Today's New International Version
Amplified Bible
The Message
Eugene Peterson, NavPress
New American Standard Bible update
various publishers

This list is based on actual sales in Christian retail stores in the United States and Canada during October, using STATS as the source for data collection. All rights reserved. Distribution and copyright ©2006 CBA and Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

In December I started reading The Bible in 90 Days (NIV) and I am already in Judges. It has been a great experience already. I am leading a Sunday School class around it starting December 31st.

I have read from all of these except the Spanish one. What translation do you enjoy most and which are you currently reading?

Answers to Unasked Questions

Some excellent excerpts from a post by Keith Giles at Subversive Underground:
Simply put, the Gospel of the Kingdom has been drowned out by the tele-vangelical version of the Gospel that says, "Repeat this prayer after me and you can go to heaven when you die".

Instead, I would urge us who follow Jesus to allow people around us to get to know Jesus first, and maybe then they can make an informed decision about whether or not to surrender their life to follow after Him.

I believe the decision to follow Jesus is more like a commitment to enter into a life-long marriage and less like the decision to rent a movie. We would never counsel someone to go into a marriage quickly, and yet we are sometimes over-eager when it comes to pushing people to enter into an eternal relationship with Jesus.

Let people have a chance to get to know Jesus before you push them into praying to receive forgiveness and follow Him. They need to know who He is first.

Jesus does not force Himself upon us. Do not force Jesus onto those who do not know Him yet or who are not ready to make this life-changing, eternal decision.

But first, let's live a life that provokes the question rather than throwing around the answers to questions that no one is really asking.
Read these excerpts in context here.


Anyone hanging mistletoe this year? When was the last time you did? Has to be 20 years for me.

Friendships and Relationships

Barbara recently used one of my comments and took it to the next level:
I've been thinking a lot about the topic of friendships and relationships recently. Until I read Bob's quote I hadn't thought too much about the difference, I kind of use those words interchangeably in my life which is incorrect, they are not the same, even though both can happen simultaneously.

Webster's says:
a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.
a connection, association, or involvement

Using Bob's definition, a friendship is based on the heart and because of that - it will endure the ups and downs of life whereas a relationships can come and go.
I suggest reading the rest of Barbara's thoughts ... she is one of the most transparent writers I know.

Happy Feet

12/18 Update: Matt posted an Unhappy Review on his blog. He said "The movie is blatantly anti-Christian. It's not even a subtle attempt to ridicule Christianity: It's obvious. In fact, it's central to the tone of the flick!"
11/29 Byevad recently posted a positive review. He liked it and said: "It's a cute story of a penguin named Mumble who is different from the rest of the penguin population and how he is treated. It follows some of the typical story lines of this genre: outcast hero, father wants him to conform to the rest of society, mother is supportive of child who is "different", hero leaves and finds a society who does things differently, and comes back home to save his society from outside destructive forces."

President Carter the Peacemaker?

Jimmy Carter's Mideast book polarizes opinion
By Matthew Bigg

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A new book by Jimmy Carter in which he compares Israel's treatment of Palestinians to South Africa's Apartheid system has sparked a bitter debate over the former U.S. president's reputation as a peacemaker.

Jewish groups have expressed outrage at the book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," arguing its comparison of Israel to the racist South African regime could undermine the perception of Israel's legitimacy.

Carter, 82, has been dogged by protests during a promotional tour and Ken Stein, a long-time advisor on Middle East issues who was also the first executive director at the Carter Center in Atlanta, resigned over the book's content. Read more here.

I can't believe that I voted for him in 1976.

Only 7 Shopping Days to the End

Stores count on holiday procrastinators
By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK - Get ready for the final showdown between the nation's retailers and consumers. With Dec. 25 only a week away, many stores are finding themselves in the same position as in recent years, counting on those procrastinators to meet their sales goals even amid early reports of a strong shopping weekend.

With some notable exceptions, stores have generally stuck to planned discounts throughout the holiday season, not buckling to pressures from shoppers who are waiting for the best deals. That's good news for retailers' fourth-quarter profits. Read more here.

Back to Biff

Check out Jared's post on Tom Wilson at Thinklings.
Here is the other Tom Wilson song:

Stoopid Signs

Signs courtesy of my friend Bob Smith

Seeing with Your Other Senses

Hat tip to Danny Sims for the link.

Blog Supper

A bunch of us Bill Tammeus blog
commentors got together Monday night (12/4) to meet and share our stories. Can you spot me in the crowd next to Mrs Kansas Bob? The food and conversation was great. I look forward to doing this again ... if only to put a face to name :)

12/16 Addendum: I used to think that one of the secrets of life was encapsulated in the word "relationship" ... not sure that I now think that. I think that a better word is friendship ... something that is built on a heart connection and not just a common interest. Friendships will survive when realtionships implode.

So sad that so many Christians only have friendships amongst themselves and not among others outside of their belief system. I think that is because of a deep insecurity that is challenged by people who are different.

The Biggest Inspiration

Rocky Balboa has nothing on Erik Chopin!

Mother of COBOL

In 1976 I learned a new language that I would use almost daily for the next 12 years. The name of the language: COBOL (Common Business-Oriented Language). The "Hello World" program on the left is a cherished memory for many of us.

This Saturday is the centennial of Grace Hopper, who was born on December 9, 1906. Often referred to as "the mother of COBOL," her contribution to the theory and practice of programming is commonly appreciated as enormous. She is credited, among other achievements, with being the first person to develop a compiled program in an age when computers worked by running programs that were interpreted one line at a time. Grace Hopper died January 1, 1992. Read more here.

Broken Oil Policy

Stuck On Oil Dependence
by John Gartner
Friday, 15 December 2006

A new report from the Department of Energy shows that by staying the course with our current energy policy we will be increasing our dependence on foreign oil well into the future. Despite the Bush Administration's rhetoric about breaking our addiction, a new energy projection from the DOE's Energy Information Administration says well we be importing 29 percent more petroleum in 2030. Read more here.

Finally, A Reason to Buy a Mac

Not that I would buy one :)

Thoughts and Prayers

Senator Tim Johnson, South Dakota's senior lawmaker and influential member of the U.S. Senate, remained hospitalized early today after suffering stroke-like symptoms, a sudden illness that could potentially change the balance of power in Washington.

The White House issued a statement wishing him a speedy recovery saying:.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Senator Johnson and his family," said White House spokesman Alex Conant.
I understand why people offer their prayers as prayer has the potential to bring good (peace, healing, etc.) into difficulty but why does someone offer their 'thoughts'? Is it just because they don't have anything else to say?

For news about Senator Johnson read more here.

Cell Phones and Meetings

You know that you have wanted to do this :)

I Predict: Chiefs Miss Playoffs Again

Chiefs remain alive – barely – in playoff chase
By ADAM TEICHER, The Kansas City Star

The Chiefs remain mathematically alive for a playoff spot despite Sunday’s 20-10 loss to Baltimore at Arrowhead Stadium.

But there’s no realistic equation that gets them to the postseason if they don’t win their final three games, beginning with Sunday’s meeting with the Chargers in San Diego.

Even at 10-6, the Chiefs would need plenty of help getting in. That realization was sinking in as the Chiefs’ two-game losing streak dropped them to 7-6. Read more here.

Peter Boyle Dies at 71

'Raymond' dad Peter Boyle dies in NYC
By DEEPTI HAJELA, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - Peter Boyle, the actor who transformed from an angry workingman in "Joe" to a tap-dancing monster in "Young Frankenstein" and finally the comically grouchy father on "Everybody Loves Raymond," has died. He was 71.

Boyle died Tuesday evening at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He had been suffering from multiple myeloma and heart disease, said his publicist, Jennifer Plante. Read more here.


Kevorkian to be paroled in June
By KATHY BARKS HOFFMAN, Associated Press Writer

LANSING, Mich. - After more than eight years in prison, a frail Dr. Jack Kevorkian will be paroled in June with a promise that he won't assist in any more suicides, a prison spokesman said Wednesday. Leo Lalonde, the corrections spokesman, would not provide further details.

Kevorkian, once the nation's most vocal advocate of assisted suicide for the terminally ill, is serving a 10- to 25-year sentence for second-degree murder in the 1998 poisoning of Thomas Youk, 52, Oakland County man with Lou Gehrig's disease. Michigan banned assisted suicide in 1998. Read more here.

Who Am I?

I was born in 1725, and I died in 1807. The only godly influence in my life, as far back as I can remember, was my mother, whom I had for only seven years. When she left my life through death, I was virtually an orphan.

My father remarried and sent me to a strict military school, where the severity of discipline almost broke my back.I couldn't stand it any longer, so I left in rebellion at the age of ten. One year later, deciding that I would never enter formal education again, I became a seaman- apprentice, hoping somehow to step into my father's trade and at least learn the ability to skillfully navigate a ship.

By and by, through a process of time, I slowly gave myself over to the devil. I determined I would sin to my fill without restraint, now that the righteous lamp of my life had gone out. I did that until my days in the military service, where once again discipline worked hard against me-- butI further rebelled.

My spirit would not break, and I became increasingly more and more a rebel.
Because of a number of things that I disagreed with in the military, I finally deserted, only to be captured as a common criminal and beaten publicly several times.

After enduring these punishments, I again fled. I entertained thoughts of suicide on my way to Africa, deciding that would be the place I could get farthest from anyone that knew me--and once again I made a pact with the devil to live for him.

Somehow, through a process of events, I met a Portuguese slave trader, and I lived in his home. His wife, who brimmed with hostility, took her anger out on me. I was at that time still in my teens. She often beat me, and forced me to eat like a dog on the floor of their home. If I refused to do that, she would whip me with a lash. I fled penniless to the shoreline of Africa, with only the clothes on my back. There I built a fire, hoping to attract a ship that was passing by.

The skipper thought I had gold or slaves or ivory to sell and was surprised to learn I was a skilled navigator. I lived in Africa for a very long time, working on that slave ship.

I went through all sorts of narrow escapes with death only a hairbreadth away. One time I opened some crates of rum and encouraged every man on the crew to get drunk. The skipper, incensed by my actions, beat me and threw me into the galley, where I lived on stale bread and sour vegetables for an unendurable length of time.

When I was brought up to be beaten again,I fell overboard. Because I couldn't swim, the skipper harpooned me to get me back on the ship. I lived with a scar in my side, big enough for my fist to fit, until the day I died.

On board, I was inflamed with fever and enraged with humiliation. A storm broke out, and I wound up again in the hold of the ship, down among the pumps. To keep the ship afloat, I worked alone as a servant of the slaves.

In the hold of that slave ship, bruised, confused, bleeding, and diseased, I was the epitome of the degenerate man. It was there I finally remembered and appreciated the words of my mother. The only glimmer of light I could see came through a crack in the ship's deck above me, so I looked through it and cried out to God. I asked Him Him to save me. God heard and delivered me through His mercy and grace.

Thirty-one years passed. I married a childhood sweetheart and entered the ministry. In every place I served, rooms had to be added to the building to handle the crowds that came to hear the Gospel and the story of God's grace in my life.

The tombstone above my head reads: "Born 1725, died 1807. A clerk, once an infidel and libertine, a servant of slaves in Africa, was by the rich mercy of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, preserved, restored, pardoned, and appointed to preach the faith he once long labored to destroy."

I decided before my death to put my life's story in verse.

And that verse has become a hymn.



Getting into the Christmas Spirit

Therese presents the following Christmas list:
1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just place them under the tree? He wraps them.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White - we bought a lighted tree last year. No house lights though.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No and I don't know why.
5. When do you put your decorations up? Mid-December
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Turkey
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child? Opening presents on Christmas morning ... my Dad would play a Christmas song signalling that it was okay to come downstairs on Christmas morning.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? In first grade on a school bus.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? My wife leads the way and I provide a supporting role.
11. Snow? Love it or Dread it? A little is okay.
12. Can you ice skate? Yes but not any more.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Model trains, a bike and a football (seems that I got several of these)
14. What’s the most exciting thing about the Holidays for you? Seeing my grandchildren.
15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Pie
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Being with my wife and sometimes watching "It's a Wonderful Life"
17. What tops your tree? An angel.
18. Which do you prefer – giving or receiving? Both when the gift is a thoughtful one.
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? O Holy Night
20. Candy canes? Not really
I thought that I would play along in hopes of getting into the Spirit of Christmas! Join in - it might help you get into the season!


Quaid at Thinkings posted a movie review here. A few outtakes from his review:

The film is quite breathtaking. The cinematography places you right in the midst of a civilization hundreds of years old. The authenticity is magnificent - right down to the squirting veins. Yes, the film is quite violent and deserves its “R” rating, but the film would not be as good without it.

The acting by complete unknowns is never an issue as every character, especially Jaguar Paw, the focus of the film, exquisitely crafts an incredible performance. The action in the later half of the film simply is the best film chase I have ever seen. The 2+ hours went by quickly as I was completely engrossed by this movie.

Apocalypto is told passionately and I highly recommend it, especially to husbands and fathers who might further be able to identify with the characters.

Outsourced Santa

The Nativity Story | ★★★★★★★★★☆

Wow! My wife and I saw the movie yesterday will some friends from our small group. Many scenes moved me at a very deep level and engaged me emotionally. Watching Joseph help Mary give birth to Jesus was an amazing experience. Seeing the responses of Mary and Joseph to angelic visitations was moving. Watching Joseph tell Mary that he believed her and would be a father to Jesus was spectacular. Three words: Go See It ... and see it before Christmas ... it will help your heart ... it did mine!

On a scale of 10 I give this movie ★★★★★★★★★☆

Steve starts his movie review here with these words:
Yesterday, we went to see “The Nativity Story” here in our local theater. I had not heard a whole lot about this movie prior to going, so I wasn’t absolutely sure what we would end up seeing. (Tim Challies had reviewed the book version of the screenplay, but I hadn’t heard a lot about the actual movie.)

Overall, I was very pleased with this movie. It was a rather simple telling of the birth of Christ. From a production standpoint, I thought it was excellent. The acting was very good (Joseph was perhaps my favorite character from an acting standpoint), the locations and scenery were great — all in all, it was very well-done.
Another update from the Movie Guide ministry:
THE NATIVITY STORY has one of the best scripts ever for a biblical story. What makes a movie compelling is a sense of jeopardy, and that sense of jeopardy is present throughout this movie. The dialogue, the plot development, the turning points are refreshingly dramatic, so good in fact that they will elicit tears at certain points. THE NATIVITY STORY is compelling drama that carefully avoids gruesome, graphic violence. Even the slaughtering of the ox at the temple does not show the blade entering the animal, yet it causes the audience to wince.
Update: The NY Times Review

You can catch some early reviews of this movie at Rotten Tomatoes. I will probably see this one and post a quazi-review after I do ... but don't wait for me ... go see and let me know what you think.

Also, you might want to check out the discussion about (the gal who plays Mary) Keisha's pregnancy over at Jesus Creed. Julie talks about it at her place as well.

Brokeback Mountain

Barbara recently shared her reaction to Brokeback Mountain at Prodigal Daughter. This is what Barbara took away from the movie:
Sometimes love hurts. Sometimes love and lust become so intermingled that they become two halves that make up a whole and can't be separated.

Is it worth it to love with such intense passion if you know you will end up devastated in the end?

The one time I had that kind of relationship it lasted two years - and it took over two years to get over it. I still carry pain and fond memories. Would I do it again? No, not if I knew it would have the same outcome.
I so appreciate Barbara. Her posts are some of the most real words that I have ever read. If you haven't already I recommend that you subscribe to her blog. It is insightful reading.

Barack Obama and Faith

A few excerpts from his Call to Renewal speech:

"Faith doesn't mean that you don't have doubts.

You need to come to church in the first place precisely because you are first of this world, not apart from it. You need to embrace Christ precisely because you have sins to wash away - because you are human and need an ally in this difficult journey.

It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street in the Southside of Chicago one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn't fall out in church. The questions I had didn't magically disappear. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt that I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth."

"Imagine Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address without reference to "the judgments of the Lord." Or King's I Have a Dream speech without references to "all of God's children." Their summoning of a higher truth helped inspire what had seemed impossible, and move the nation to embrace a common destiny."

"I am not suggesting that every progressive suddenly latch on to religious terminology - that can be dangerous. Nothing is more transparent than inauthentic expressions of faith. As Jim has mentioned, some politicians come and clap -- off rhythm -- to the choir. We don't need that.

In fact, because I do not believe that religious people have a monopoly on morality, I would rather have someone who is grounded in morality and ethics, and who is also secular, affirm their morality and ethics and values without pretending that they're something they're not. They don't need to do that. None of us need to do that.

But what I am suggesting is this - secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King - indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history - were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their "personal morality" into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition."

"And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let's read our bibles. Folks haven't been reading their bibles."

"And that night, before I went to bed I said a prayer of my own. It's a prayer I think I share with a lot of Americans. A hope that we can live with one another in a way that reconciles the beliefs of each with the good of all. It's a prayer worth praying, and a conversation worth having in this country in the months and years to come. Thank you."

Combat Veterans Abused Stateside

Soldiers Say Army Ignores, Punishes Mental Anguish

Army studies show that at least 20 percent to 25 percent of the soldiers who have served in Iraq display symptoms of serious mental-health problems, including depression, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Administration officials say there are extensive programs to heal soldiers both at home and in Iraq.

But an NPR investigation at Colorado's Ft. Carson has found that even those who feel desperate can have trouble getting the help they need. In fact, evidence suggests that officers at Ft. Carson punish soldiers who need help, and even kick them out of the Army.

Soldier Tyler Jennings says that when he came home from Iraq last year, he felt so depressed and desperate that he decided to kill himself. Late one night in the middle of May, his wife was out of town, and he felt more scared than he'd felt in gunfights in Iraq. Jennings says he opened the window, tied a noose around his neck and started drinking vodka, "trying to get drunk enough to either slip or just make that decision."

Five months before, Jennings had gone to the medical center at Ft. Carson, where a staff member typed up his symptoms: "Crying spells... hopelessness... helplessness... worthlessness." Jennings says that when the sergeants who ran his platoon found out he was having a breakdown and taking drugs, they started to haze him. He decided to attempt suicide when they said that they would eject him from the Army.

"You know, there were many times I've told my wife -- in just a state of panic, and just being so upset -- that I really wished I just died over there [in Iraq]," he said. "Cause if you just die over there, everyone writes you off as a hero."

Services Out of Reach for Soldiers
Jennings isn't alone. Other soldiers who've returned to Ft. Carson from Iraq say they feel betrayed by the way officials have treated them. Army files show that these were soldiers in good standing before they went to Iraq, and that they started spinning out of control upon their return...

Intimidated by Superiors
Almost all of the soldiers said that their worst problem is that their supervisors and friends turned them into pariahs when they learned that they were having an emotional crisis. Supervisors said it's true: They are giving some soldiers with problems a hard time, because they don't belong in the Army...

Disciplined, Then Purged from the Ranks
Evidence suggests that officials are kicking soldiers with PTSD out of the Army in a manner that masks the problem.

For the rest of the story read here.

USS New York

A friend emailed this to me today.

USS New York
It was built with 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center.

It is the fifth in a new class of warship designed for missions that include special operations against terror ists. It will carry a crew of 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines to be delivered ashore by helicopters and assault craft.

Steel from the World Trade Center was melted down in a foundry in Amite , LA to cast the ship's bow section. When it was poured into the molds on Sept. 9, 2003, "those big rough steelworkers treated it with total reverence," recalled Navy Capt. Kevin Wensing, who was there. "It was a spiritual moment for everybody there."

Junior Chavers, foundry operations manager, said that when the trade center steel first arrived, he touched it with his hand and the "hair on my neck stood up." "It had a big meaning to it for all of us," he said. "They knocked us down. They can't keep us down. We're going to be back."

The ship's motto? - 'Never Forget'

Combat Stress

Women face emotional wounds of war
By SHARON COHEN, AP National Writer Sun Dec 3, 10:57 PM ET

CHICAGO - The nightmares didn't start until months after Alicia Flores returned home. The images were stark and disturbing: In one dream, a dying Iraqi man desperately grabbed her arm. In another, she was lost in a blinding sandstorm.

Sometimes, Flores awakened to discover her mouth was dust-dry — as if she were really stumbling through the scorching, 120-degree desert. The nightmares bring Flores back to
Iraq and her service in the Army's 92nd Chemical Company. She was just 19 when her unit arrived there. Now 23, she's left with memories of women and children being killed, of hauling bodies, of shooting a teenage Iraqi fighter. ("It was him or me," she says.)

"I'm fine with what I did over there ...," Flores says. "In my eyes, I did a good thing. It really doesn't bother me. The only thing that bothers me is I just want to sleep more."

Read more here and pray for our wounded troops when you do.

Dilbert Outs Contractors

This Dilbert exposed me. I often thought about making more or less money those 3 years that I did contracting work at AT&T and Sprint. It was a time when my workaholic tendancies were finally brought under control ... or maybe I just got too old and tired :)

31-28: Chiefs' pitiful loss to the Browns

CLEVELAND (AP) — Derek Anderson and the Cleveland Browns came out of nowhere. Cleveland's backup quarterback threw two touchdown passes in the final nine minutes of regulation and ran 33 yards in overtime to set up Phil Dawson's 33-yard field goal, giving the Browns an improbable 31-28 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Anderson had never thrown an NFL pass and had taken only one snap before Sunday. However, he replaced injured starter Charlie Frye and rallied the Browns (4-8), who capped a dysfunctional week with only their second December win at home since 1999.

Dawson's winning kick with 7:25 remaining in OT came after the gangly Anderson scrambled right, broke a tackle and lumbered his way down the Browns sideline to the Kansas City 12. Read more here.

Do Nothing Congress

From Reuters:
Congress prepares to wrap up unproductive year

Ridiculed as the "do-nothing" 109th U.S. Congress, the Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on Monday begin a brief session to wrap up whatever work they can, install a new defense secretary and approve money to prevent a shutdown of government services. More here.
It is no secret to those who know me that I have been dissatified with the lack of fiscal conservatism in Washington, DC. For more of my thoughts on this you can check out my 21st Century Conservatism post from January last year. Well, maybe the Democrats will do better ... could they be fiscally worse?

New Bible Translation

Can you find the newest translation of Psalms 150:1?

Praise ye Jehovah. Praise God in his sanctuary: Praise him in the firmament of his power. (ASV)

Hallelujah! Praise *God in his sanctuary; praise him in the firmament of his power. (Darby)

Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! (ESV)

Praise the LORD! Praise God in his Temple! Praise his strength in heaven! (GNB)

naD joH'a'! naD joH'a' Daq Daj Daq QaD! naD ghaH Daq Daj chal vaD Daj ta'mey vo' HoS!. (KLINGON)

Praise ye the LORD Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. (KJV)

Praise Jehovah! Praise God in His holy place; praise Him in the expanse of His might. (LITV)

Hallelujah! Praise God in his holy house of worship, praise him under the open skies; (MSG)

Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. NASB)


According to Seinfeld, Festivus is celebrated each year on December 23, but many people celebrate it other times, often in early December. Its slogan is "A Festivus for the rest of us!!" An aluminium pole is generally used in lieu of a Christmas tree or other holiday decoration, shedding holiday materialism. Those attending participate in the "Airing of Grievances" in which each person tells each and everyone else all the ways they've disappointed him/her over the past year, and after a Festivus dinner, The "Feats of Strength" are performed. Traditionally, Festivus is not over until the head of the household is wrestled to the floor and pinned.

This Seinfeld episode first aired on December 18, 1997 and featured this intriguing dialog:
Frank Costanza: Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.

Cosmo Kramer: What happened to the doll?

Frank Costanza: It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born … a Festivus for the rest of us!

Cosmo Kramer: That must've been some kind of doll.

Frank Costanza: She was.

And so began the another weird TV tradition.

Michael Richards: Will Apologize Next Month

From the BBC:

Ex-Seinfeld actor Michael Richards has pledged to apologise in person to four black audience members he targeted in a recent racist outburst. A retired judge will mediate at the meeting, Richards' spokesman and an attorney for the customers have said.

"My client hopes to put it behind him," said Richards' representative Howard Rubenstein. A cash settlement may be part of any eventual resolution.

A time and place for the meeting has yet to be set, according to reports.

However, the patrons' attorney Gloria Allred said it was likely to take place in January. Read more here.

Does anyone else think that it is weird to wait a month to apologize?

Wally and the CEO

Wally asks the question that we all want to ask
... anonymously of course!

Summit on AIDS

This just in from Jesus:
"Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me." (Matthew 25:40)
Update from the LA Times:
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois told more than 2,000 evangelical leaders in Orange County on Friday that he "respectfully but unequivocally" disagrees with those who oppose condom distribution to fight the AIDS pandemic. But he said a solution to the worldwide spread of AIDS would also come from churches guiding people to make moral decisions.

Obama, a Democrat weighing a run for the White House, made his remarks at an evangelical AIDS conference sponsored by Saddleback Church in Lake Forest.

Some conservatives, offended by Obama's support for legal abortion, had called on the mega-church's pastor, Rick Warren, to rescind his invitation to the senator.

Yet Obama drew a standing ovation from the 2,072 pastors and others who came from 39 states and 18 nations to explore church solutions to the AIDS pandemic, which has killed 25 million people worldwide. In measured words, he dismissed the notion that simply discouraging promiscuity could stop the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
Update from CBN:
I believe Rick Warren is making the right call by inviting people like Obama to be part of the conversation on AIDS. We already speak to ourselves as evangelicals. It's time to start a dialogue in this country -- and around the world -- with those who may not agree with the evangelical position, but who are willing to talk about ways to find solutions to the problems we face.
I am glad to see Rick Warren sponsoring an AIDS Summit even if he is catching flack from conservatives for inviting Obama to speak. I wonder if he will get any kudos from liberals or if they will just point to the division amongst the conservatives?

AIDS has been a divisive issue amongst conservatives for a few years. Some folks didn't like it when Pat Robertson's Operation Blessings endorsed "the responsible use of condoms".

Mark Driscoll, Peacemaker not Streetfighter

In her post entitled "Meeting with Mark Driscoll" Rose discusses the discussion. I particularly liked her take-away from the meeting:

Words on a blog or on a paper are one thing—people in a room who those words touch are quite another

Truth and mercy – a powerful combination

We are all life long learners on this journey where confession, forgiveness, and reconciliation is one of our highest callings.

That Mark and I may have serious theological differences but at the end of the day we have both given our lives for the sake of the gospel

I am hopeful that reconciliation has begun and will continue – time will tell.

I want to thank Mark for coming to the conversation as a peacemaker and not a street fighter. I pray God’s best for him and for Mars Hill Church.

Atheism Kills

An excerpt from the November 21, 2006 edition of The Christian Science Monitor.

Atheism, not religion, is the real force
behind the mass murders of history
By Dinesh D'Souza

The best example of religious persecution in America is the Salem witch trials. How many people were killed in those trials? Thousands? Hundreds? Actually, fewer than 25. Yet the event still haunts the liberal imagination.

It is strange to witness the passion with which some secular figures rail against the misdeeds of the Crusaders and Inquisitors more than 500 years ago. The number sentenced to death by the Spanish Inquisition appears to be about 10,000. Some historians contend that an additional 100,000 died in jail due to malnutrition or illness.

These figures are tragic, and of course population levels were much lower at the time. But even so, they are minuscule compared with the death tolls produced by the atheist despotisms of the 20th century. In the name of creating their version of a religion-free utopia, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong produced the kind of mass slaughter that no Inquisitor could possibly match. Collectively these atheist tyrants murdered more than 100 million people.