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By Dr. Howdy, Ph.D.
A.P.E., N.U.T.

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Humor + Letters From Readers
Add Something Yourself



*Grading Wars
by Roman Martinez
Everyone knows Harvard students are smart. But are they all really that
smart? One professor challenges the inflated status quo.
Doing the Devil's Work:
Spinning Yarns that Deceive

The Harry Potter phenomenon is the biggest thing to
happen to children's literature in decades. And
plenty of ink has been spilled arguing about the
underlying worldview of these books.

But right behind Harry Potter on the bestseller
lists are the books of another author whose worldview
is perfectly clear -- and that's the problem. Philip
Pullman's "Dark Materials" trilogy illustrates that
stories may be used for ill as well as good, and
reminds us of the importance of having a well-
developed worldview critique.

Philip Pullman is a teacher and a storyteller who
delights in capturing kids' imaginations -- and he's
very good at it. His fantasy series, the "Dark
Materials" trilogy, has been translated into 21
languages and has sold more than a million copies.

Some have compared this English author to J.R.R.
Tolkien and C.S. Lewis -- and there are parallels.
Not only are his stories immensely popular, he lives
and writes in Oxford. What's more, he's very
conscious of the relationship between literature and
worldview. For him, children's stories are about
questions like: "Where did we come from?" and "Where do we go?"

By all accounts, Pullman's trilogy is quite
sophisticated: Even adults are attracted to the way
he weaves together elements from Star Wars, quantum
mechanics, John Milton, William Blake, and other
literary sources.

But that's where the similarities end. As Pullman
himself puts it, Tolkien would have "deplored" his
writing and "Lewis would think [he] was doing the
Devil's work." Why? Well, by his own admission
Pullman is writing stories to "undermine the basis of
Christian belief."

In a perverse twist on Milton's Paradise Lost,
Pullman creates a fantasy universe in which God is
weak and deceitful, and the biblical Fall is the
origin of human liberation. What's more, Pullman's
version of the war in heaven ends with God's defeat and death.

Are these stories a challenge to the Christian faith?
Yes, they're a direct assault. But they are also
utterly transparent.

Think about it. Pullman claims he's trying to
undermine Christianity. But the Christian faith
doesn't appear in his novels. The god he depicts is
feeble, not omnipotent. The religion he describes is
petty and malicious, not the faith that inspired
almost every significant humane and charitable
endeavor in Western culture.

Pullman is using Christianity as a straw man to make
his case. But no matter how flawed and incoherent
these books may be, they are still dangerous. Just as
writers like C.S. Lewis used stories to "smuggle"
Christian theology into readers' minds, secularists
like Pullman slip misinformed prejudices into the
minds of unsuspecting -- and uncritical -- readers.

Obviously I don't recommend that your kids read these
books. But their growing popularity makes it likely
they'll run into them. So you need to take the
occasion of these books' popularity to sit down and
explain these issues to your kids. Preparing
ourselves and our kids to respond to books like these
forces us to hone our own worldview.

What's more, Pullman's books will likely be on the
same shelves with tales of Narnia and Middle Earth.
You've got to be sure that your kids and grandkids
can distinguish the counterfeit from the real thing.

Try Narnia instead...
Dear Howdy,

Can you picture Jesus celebrating the Passover with his disciples in the
upper room? The scene is a familiar one, especially because it is
recalled in most churches each time the Lord's Supper is celebrated. But
after Jesus had washed his disciples' feet, after they had eaten the meal,
after Judas had slipped out to betray Jesus, the Gospel writers record a
detail that makes the scene even more vivid and even more moving. We read
in Matthew 26 and Mark 14 that, before going up to the Mount of Olives,
those who were gathered with Jesus sang a hymn.

Jesus knew what lay ahead. He would spend a night in prayerful agony. He
would be betrayed, beaten, tortured, and forsaken, all in the next
twenty-four hours. Yet he prepared himself to bear the dreadful weight of
the sins of all the world by singing a hymn. Why?

I believe that Jesus was able to sing in spite of what he knew lay
ahead. He was able to see past his agony, for he knew that his death
would not be the end of him. We are told that "[F]or the joy set before
him [he] endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right
hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus could see ahead to that
day when a loud voice will cry out "Now the dwelling of God is with men,
and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will
be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old
order of things has passed away" (Revelation 21:3-4). Because he looked
forward to this joyful resolution, he could lift up his voice in a song of
worship to his Father.

I also believe that Jesus was able to sing because of what he knew
lay ahead. He knew that his death was not an accident of history or a
politically expedient sacrifice. Through this death that had been decreed
before the foundation of the world, he would make all things new. Just as
through one man, death entered the world, through one man life would be
made available to all. He knew that the justice of God would be
satisfied, and that the veil separating God from man would be torn in two.
The fulfillment of God's perfect plan was at hand, and this was reason to

I imagine that as the Son of God sang in the face of death, Satan felt a
shiver go down his spine. He was about to fire his sharpest arrow at God,
to maul his only son, but the son could look in the face of death with

We will never have to endure the agony that Christ endured because he
suffered for us. But we all face suffering and deaths of many sorts.
Whether you are facing the death of a dream or the wasting away of your
physical body, you can join Jesus in lifting your heart to worship. We
know that because of these trials, we are drawn closer to Christ
and made more and more like him. We can pray as Paul did, "I want to know
Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in
his sufferings, becoming like him in his death and so, somehow, to attain
to the resurrection from the dead." (Philippians 3:10-11).

We can also sing in spite of our trials, because we know that
"[N]either height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be
able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord"
(Romans 8:39). This world is not our home, and compared with the glory
that we will have, the troubles of this life will seem "light and
momentary." That, my friends, is cause for singing.

Betsy Childs
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* * * Four important things to KNOW: #1) For ALL (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) have sinned & fall short of the glory of God. #2) For the wages of above (see #1) are DEATH (Hell, eternal separation from God, & damnation) but the Gift (free & at no charge to you) of God (Creator, Jehovah, & Trinity) is Eternal Life (Heaven) through (in union with) Jesus Christ (God, Lord, 2nd Person of The Trinity, Messiah, Prince of Peace & Savior of the World). #3) For God so greatly loved & dearly prized the world (Americans, Muslims, Jews, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhist, Asians, Presbyterians, Europeans, Baptist, Brazilians, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc.) that He even gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, that whosoever (anyone, anywhere, anytime - while still living) believes (trust in, relies on, clings to, depends completely on) Him shall have eternal (everlasting) life (heaven). #4) Jesus said: "I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, & THE LIFE. No one (male/female - American, Muslim, Jew, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Asian, Presbyterian, European, Baptist, Brazilian, Mormons, Methodist, French, etc. ) comes (arrives) to the Father (with GOD in Heaven) EXCEPT BY (through) ME (no other name). *** This wonderful loving GOD gives you the choice - - - (Rev. 3:20) {Please note that church membership, baptism, doing good things, etc. are not requirements for becoming a Christian - however they are great afterwards!!!} *** Jesus said, "Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction (Hell, damnation, eternal punishment), and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life (Heaven, eternal happiness, forever with God), and only a few find it.

D I S C L A I M E R If someone should ask if it's legal to download songs
found on various non-commercial sites, such as this one.

Well, I'm neither a lawyer nor a technician,
and I've begun to wonder if it was legal for
us to tape music off the radio back when
tape recorders first came into being.

And were we committing a crime when we recorded
a movie shown on TV with our VCRs? And was it
really legal to buy a dual-deck recorder for the
express purpose of duplicating cassettes?

My answer to all of the above is, "I don't know."

Nonetheless, here is a formal statement in
some kind of legalize that appears to apply
to this kind of file availability:

The songs on this site are copyrighted by their respective artists and are placed here
for evaluation purposes only. No profits or sales are made on this site from their use.

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