Friday, March 23, 2018

Here We Go into the Dark and the Deep

Transhumanism may become the not-so-fictitious science reality of the future. As I put it on page one of Wake the Dead—the near future. Some of my readers are troubled by the deep, dark world of altered humanity. Others consider my rendering of a new world order the more frightening prospect. But the two society-shifting events—operative AI and revolutionary government— must be closely intertwined. At least, that’s how I wrote it.
I’m deep into writing another novel now. One set in current time. No transhumans. My research intent for this new story was to read a couple of books outside my comfort zone as a Christian—books by Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett—outspoken atheists who’ve written on the subject. But I wanted to write about a likeable atheist, one who would rouse empathy, and I wasn’t sure I could do that with too much information. Some may disagree with my decision to skip the research once they’ve read the new book, but I’m okay with that.
Now that my imagination is occupied by someone other than Chase Sterling, I'm not always as judicious about the shifts in technology and how they affect our lives. For instance, after hearing the term “dark web” at least a hundred times, I decided to look into it. Not literally—I still don’t know how to pull it up on my computer. But I do know that most people refer to the “dark web” when what they really mean is the “deep web.” I started to read a beginner’s guide to accessing the “dark web” but decided to save it for after the apocalypse.
Along with the web growing dark and deep is the state of the media growing deeply unclear. The “deep fake” has surpassed “fake news” with undeniable creations of real people saying real things. Only they didn’t actually say what they said. If we can't believe our own eyes and ears, then we can't believe anything reported by any source. And if we lose all faith in the media, what will be the outcome? Somebody will need to take charge. In my books, it’s the media and entertainment conglomerate called SynVue, which gains control over both politics and the reporting of politics. Prior to this widely accepted takeover, the Constitution loses all power, and the United States dies as the Western Republic is born. Fringe groups of dissenters form and Christians begin meeting underground. But it's a gradual process and most people adjust to their new existence. That is, until SynVue turns a celebrity into a transhuman and inadvertently creates its own worst enemy. Of course, it’s only a story, the plot of my trilogy.
But the truth waiting around the bend of our reality may be just as subtle, just a weird, and just as defeating. As a Christian still enjoying the freedoms of being an American, still attending packed worship services in a publicly designated facility, still getting this blog out there on the not-so-dark web, what am I supposed to do to prepare for the future? If I learned anything from Chase Sterling, it comes from this quote at the end of Transfusion: “We will not hide. Love is too strong and judgement too certain for us to remain a whisper of weakness.” (Yes, I realize I wrote those words, but a character worth writing becomes real to the writer. So in my mind, Chase said it.)
While I’ve got the chance to share the hope of the gospel, and even if I lose the privilege, I will not hide. It’s all I have to offer, now and in the future.

Articles of interest:
New Malicious AI Reports Biggest Threats of the Next 5 Years
Deep State Panics: America No Longer Believes Us!
Alarming Advances Made In Digital Media Manipulation

Friday, March 2, 2018

How to Terminate Your Testimony

A few subjects not pertinent to the Gospel.

I once wrote about the witness of a pretend Christian. A laughing matter—said Christian was a sitcom character. Her testimony of forgiveness and her dependence on God rallied my hope in network TV’s ability to present Christianity in a truthful manner.

But the make-believe believer failed the test. Or rather, whoever wrote the script didn’t know a Christian from a crow. But it was a comedy and it served its purpose, I suppose, of entertaining the viewers. The motivation of the collective writers, directors, actors, producers, and sponsors was not to share the Gospel. That’s somebody else’s job. The TV preacher, right? The independent channel airing one show after another directed at a Christian audience? Who do you think watches those shows? Some Christians do, but it’s typically not where my finger stops when I’m station hopping. Occasionally an unredeemed soul ends up on the right channel at the right time. God can use those air-wave missionaries if He wants to. But…

You know where I’m going with this. Real people giving it straight to other real people is what it takes. We’ve got an opportunity the pretend Christian didn’t have. When the half-hour tale supplied all her desires, her fictitious friends found their reason to go to church. God was a good idea after all. Say a prayer, sing a song, and get yourself a new car. But the TV Christian’s misdirected focus terminated her testimony.

Okay, most of us aren’t that out of touch with true Christianity, although some TV preachers come across like sitcom characters. But if you’re living in God’s grace, you aren’t going to suggest to the lost that God is nothing more than a means to get their wishes fulfilled.

However, there are others ways we mislead people, or shut down their interest, or brush them off. Or tell them they’re not worth it. Some of the things we insinuate about Christianity terminate our testimony. Here are a few subjects NOT pertinent to the Gospel: Money, music, race, religious upbringing, habits, body art, hair style, clothing, belief in a young earth, the number of children at your dining table, the number of Bibles on your coffee table. Church attendance? No. Morality? No. 

Are any of these matters redirected in the minds and lives of the redeemed? Sure, some of them. Obviously redemption doesn’t change everything. You’re still who God made you to be and race still doesn’t matter. If your tattooed, come as you are. If you want a tattoo, talk to your mother. Will your financial focus shift? If God leads you in that direction, then yes. Music? Old hymns are great. But they were a movement in Christian culture just like the post-contemporary praise & worship style is today. The Bible teaches that whatever we do, we should do it for the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31). Just respect others while you’re doing it. The age of the planet? Don’t even bring it up. God didn’t. (I know, I know, it’s an interpretation thing, but seriously, save that conversation for later.)

As for church attendance, better to tell the unredeemed you don’t care if they go to church—you care if they go to Hell. As for morality, God will deal with every part of the redeemed soul’s life. And it will take a lifetime.

So how do you converse with the unredeemed? What kind of person deserves your judgment-free, sweet time? Well, he needs to be alive. Doesn’t he need to be called by God? Are there some people we just shouldn’t bother with because God probably isn’t calling them? The lip-pierced freak? The evolutionist? No, and here’s why: We don’t know what God knows!

Any other requirements at all? None. The work of redemption is Christ’s. Nothing else matters. So sideline the other stuff. Don’t be a terminator.