News Articles Week of January 3rd-7th

  • Thursday, January 06, 2022 4:37 PM
    Message # 12245378
    Valentino Travieso (Administrator)

    Thought for the day: The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    How Giving Back Boosts Your Brain, Mind, and Life

    Many centuries ago Jesus told us it’s more blessed to give than to receive, and modern research has confirmed the truth of his statement. Here is a nice compilation of research studies that the Amen Clinic has pulled together of all the benefits of volunteering. Click here to read full article.

    Studies Suggest Why Omicron Is Less Severe: It Spares the Lungs

    This is from the New York Times, so you may not be able to access it. But the title makes the main point. This conclusion is based on animal studies, but shows that the Omicron variant of COVID seems to do less damage to the lungs. Previous variants sometimes caused permanent scarring of the lungs. Click here to read full article.

    Why I Set Goals, Not Resolutions

    Many Americans make resolutions, and often by the middle of January, many have given up on keeping those resolutions. Here’s some worthwhile on setting goals, rather than making resolutions. Click here to read full article.

    After two failed attempts, Canada bans conversion therapy

    I include this article from NPR because it includes important news, but I disagree with many of the statements made by its author. Conversion therapy is described as a widely-discredited therapy, which it is not. Any kind of psychotherapy which discusses with clients concerns about their sexual orientation or gender identity would fall under this definition, and yet we know that some people come to therapists with questions or desires to change either one, and there are ethical therapists who use totally acceptable therapy methods to help clients think through such issues. This Canadian bill, which goes into effect this week, would ban any such discussions that could help a client modify their sexual orientation or gender identity, even if the client requested them. The British bill would allow such conversations if the client requested them, the Canadian bill would criminalize any therapist discussing such change with a client, even if the client requested it.

    Evangelical leaders in both countries are raising concerns that this could extend to preaching from the pulpit or even conversations between parents and children about such issues. As Christian counselors, we need to be alert for such bills being enacted here in the United States. If we continue to support the idea that clients should have the right to discuss any issue with their therapist and to set their own therapy goals, we need to be alert to any legislation that seeks to deprive them of this right. Click here to read full article.

    What to Do When Loved Ones Don’t, or Won’t, Understand Bipolar

    This woman lived with misdiagnoses for 30 years. She tells how she deals with those who don’t or won’t accept her bipolar disorder. Click here to read full article. 

    Right-Based Mental Health Care—Advantages of Tax-Financed Universal Mental Health Care

    Lessons From Denmark

    Denmark has both socialized medicine and socialized mental health care. Interesting article. Even though the health care budget is lower than the U.S. (10% of GDP versus 17%), lifespan is longer and suicides have decreased since implementing universal health care. Perhaps something we should consider. Click here to read full article.

    If We Only Had a Leader Like This

    The Washington Examiner reports that North Koreans have been told that Kim Jong II (father of the current president), among other things, got five holes-in-one the first time he played golf. He also invented the hamburger, the burrito, and didn’t need to use the restroom. What a leader! Click here to read full article.

    Is Atheism Dead: Eric Metaxas (2021): A Book Review

    For Christmas I received a book that some of you might enjoy reading, and it could be a book that would be helpful to some of your clients. It’s a very comprehensive book (403 pages), but I believe it’s well worth the time needed to read it.

    Eric Metaxas is a highly respected evangelical who is an excellent communicator, even of scientific studies that are complex. The starting point for the book was an issue of Time magazine in 1967 which had the title Is God Dead? Many people have believed that science has advanced to a point where God is no longer necessary to believe in.

    The popularity of atheism has been strengthened by the writings and speeches of “The Four Horsemen of the Atheist Revolution”—Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett.

    Metaxas’ major thesis is to show that because of the advances in science in the last 55 years, there is now overwhelming evidence that the universe, and our planet, were designed by an Intelligent Creator whose mental capacity far outstrips anything even our most gifted scientists could have created.

    There is now wide acceptance that the universe began at a specific point in time (approximately 13.8 billion years ago), yet there is no materialistic explanation for how the entire universe, which contains billions of galaxies, each of which contains billions of stars and planets, could suddenly have come into existence from nothing. You may know that when the hypothesis of the Big Bang was first proposed there was significant opposition from secular scientists, since it contradicted every principle of materialism (e.g., matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed, etc.). However, eventually the scientific evidence for the Big Bang was so overwhelming that there is now gradual acceptance that the universe had a beginning, and one that is not explainable through normal materialistic processes.

    Metaxas also devotes several chapters to the fine-tuning of the universe and of our planet. There appear to be at least 200 characteristics that are so perfectly calibrated that they could hardly be coincidental, and if those characteristics are off by even the slightest amount, life would be impossible. Some of those characteristics appeared in the first millisecond after the Big Bang and have remained constant since that time. Again, more evidence that our universe and our world were designed by a super-intelligent Designer.

    Another mystery that science has not been able to solve is how life originate from non-life. Although some early experimentation had suggested that lightning had caused some of the early chemicals available in the primordial seas to unite in strings of proteins, the advances of science have shown that there are many steps between aligning of a few proteins and the creation of life that could have sustained itself and gone on to procreate. So in each of these areas the scientific evidence points to the conclusion that these situations could not have occurred through random processes, but that they required the activity of an Intelligent Designer.

    For many decades agnostics and even liberal theologians questioned the validity and accuracy or the Old and New Testament. Metaxas includes several chapters where he shows that archeology in the last 65 years has shown that the Bible is an amazingly accurate historical recounting of events as they occurred.

    By the time anyone finishes reading this book I think any genuinely open-minded person will agree that the scientific and archeological evidence strongly points to the conclusion that the message of the Bible is something that can be trusted. I heartily recommend this book to those who would be interested in learning more about these topics. 

    Best wishes for the New Year!

    Henry Virkler

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