Category: Living Church of God Reviews

Genes and Religious Beliefs

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It’s called the God gene or the religiosity gene — and it may play a significant role in a person’s religious path.

While religion has long been considered a personal choice, it turns out that genetics may make an individual embrace a certain religion naturally. Could religious belief actually fall under the umbrella of nature vs. nurture?

Living Church of God reviews what’s being discovered:

Genetic Strength

Genetics is endlessly fascinating and powerful. Genes dictate everything from eye color to hair color to flavor preferences and stature. They are also increasingly thought to reflect present and future inclinations.

Just 25 years ago, the majority of scientists believed that religious choices were based more on one’s environment and socialization than the person’s genetic makeup.

A religiosity gene means an individual has an above-average chance of becoming and staying a person of faith. The best evidence so far for such a gene is a study involving twins that contend that around 40% of variables related to religiousness can be attributed to genes.

Additional research has found that nature vs. nurture may also evolve over time. As a person becomes an adult, the study finds that genetics tied to religiousness become more dominant.

Landmark Studies

Research regarding religious inheritance took off when a 1996 study in the “American Sociological Review” found that exposure to a particular faith in parents meant one is more likely to share those ideals.

In his 2004 book “The God Gene,” Dean Hamer attempts to link a predisposition to religion and spiritual experiences to genetic variants in vesicular monoamine transporter 2, but that theory was later disproved.

A more accepted study is “Religion, Fertility and Genes,” published in 2011 by The Royal Society. Guided by the belief that religious people tend to have more children than secular people, the study found that “genetic endowment” is linked to religious predisposition.

The study also suggests that the so-called God gene may become dominant over the decades because the population tied to religious sects such as the Amish is growing thanks to larger families. That potentially means that genes that determine a person’s faith may also grow as well.

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Dominant Gene

More research is clearly needed to make a God gene a fact — or not. The theory remains controversial for both those who identify as religious and those who do not.

Many religious people reject the notion that faith is dictated by DNA. Non-religious people often scoff at the thought that religion is hard-wired in humans. Hamer’s hypothesis centers around natural spirituality, what he calls transcendence, but opponents say there is no way to empirically prove the genetic link to transcendence.

He continues that everyone has a certain capacity to gravitate toward religion, but that some groups have higher capacities than others.

It’s variants in 100 genes that make each human different from another human. One study found that when there are environmental factors that support free thought, there is a greater likelihood that biology plays a role in religious predispositions, while those living in strict religious-based environments are less likely to have a link between faith and genetics.

In the end, the social factors in religious predisposition may be too hard to ignore.

Social Influence and God’s Wisdom

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In a post-Enlightenment world, it was long assumed that man is driven by his own reason and that reason is entirely individual and born through self-determination. However, the Living Church of God reviews that in an age of post-modernism, when all things exist together at the same time through global connectivity, social media, and the Internet’s endless cache of webpages, it’s become clear that our views and opinions are largely shaped by forces outside our control.

Social psychologists have even studied and named these effects, highlighting how circulating societal pressures can warp individual views at a subconscious level. This explains how universities often breed extremist politics among young and easily manipulated students. Yet, God’s wisdom has the power to cut through the interference and guide us toward truth.

The Psychology of Social Influence

Social influence is a general term used in the social sciences—psychology, sociology, anthropology—to describe the way in which individuals react to and change in the presence of other people. These interactions are often unspoken, existing at an intersubjective level. They can be as simple as a friend agreeing to see a movie they don’t want to see or as complicated as a peer pressuring a friend to try a drug.

The fascinating thing about social influences, though, is that they also exist on a societal level, not just intersubjectively. A prime example of this is the rise of fascism in Nazi Germany. Just a few years prior to Adolf Hitler’s ascension to the rank of Chancellor, Weimar Germany was renowned as a progressive, hyper-sexualized, modern-day Babylon. Yet, within the span of two years, it transformed into an authoritarian regime.

This can be directly linked to the societal pressure the Nazis imposed on the population. Initially through violence and later through indoctrination, the Nazis played on feelings of societal discontent, economic failure, and a loss of identity to create raging extremists controlled by the state.

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Forces of Change Surround Us

Today, we can see similar forces influencing what we should and shouldn’t believe. Between a dishonest media, money-grabbing influencers, and an immoral political system, the voices bellowing around us have convinced the nation that we are at odds with each other, divided by hate. These forces seek to tear the nation apart and lead us into evil.

Yet, we do not have to succumb to the pressure of ideas that are not our own. Instead, we can rise above and listen to what we know is true—the word of God. As written in Proverbs, “Blessed is he who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands among sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.”

We can overcome and walk through life free from the shackles of forces beyond our control. We are not forced to follow in the false words of unrighteous influencers.

God’s Wisdom Guides All

The message is clear—social influences can have a major effect on people’s lives, leading them astray and into extremist views that are not their own. Yet, by carefully considering the company we keep and following in God’s wisdom, we can live free of these influences and find a path to peace amidst the chaos.

History and Lessons from The Frank Slide

The Frank Slide is Canada’s most deadly rockslide in history. Unfortunately, many lives were lost, and harsh lessons were learned.

The Frank Slide occurred on April 29th, 1903, and killed close to 100 people. This disaster taught the world critical lessons: Namely, the importance of proper land use management and planning, as well as the monitoring of natural hazards and heeding their warnings.

Below, Living Church of God reviews just what happened during the Frank Slide and what we’ve learned from this preventable disaster as people of faith.

What Happened

In the Canadian Rockies, there lies Turtle Mountain. On April 29, 1903, an avalanche occurred that was heard all the way from Calgary some 200kms away. Here are some facts of the Frank Slide:

  • How long did it last? Over 100 seconds
  • How fast did the avalanche move? Up to 120kms/hour
  • How big was the rockslide? Approximately 1km wide, half of a km high, and 150m thick
  • How much did the avalanche weigh? 110 million metric tons
  • How big was the affected area? 3 square kilometers, up to 45m deep
  • How many people were killed? More than 90, though most bodies were never recovered

What Caused the Slide

There are three main factors that led to the Turtle Mountain avalanche known as the Frank Slide: an unstable geological structure, human mining activity, and weather patterns.

Geological Instability

Turtle Mountain unfortunately featured nearly vertical sedimentary rock layers, which should be horizontal. This is one of the most dangerous conditions a mountain can develop. As if that’s not enough, a major fault running through the mountain further weakened its integrity. Additionally, the bottom layers of the mountain were softer sandstone or shale supporting much denser limestone above.

Weather Patterns

The bottom half of the mountain had large surface cracks that allowed water to enter. As weather conditions changed, the cycle of water and ice widened the cracks over time.

Mining Activity

For two years before the slide, coal miners were rapidly draining the coal veins inside the mountain. This further weakened the supporting structure of the mountain.

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What We’ve Learned – Prevention for Future Collapse

There were three main lessons learned from the Frank Slide: land use planning and management, monitoring of natural hazards, and heeding the warning signs of God. The slide was unstoppable, but the severity of the consequences, such as the death count and destruction of the town, could have been mitigated.

Many of the warning signs of the avalanche went unheeded, such as the sounds of the mountain moving for 6 months prior and the unusual weather patterns in the weeks leading up to the slide. Technology now monitors a variety of factors so that those warning signs are noticed right away, fully understood, and steps are taken to reduce risk.

The Frank Slide also taught us how important it is to analyze the potential consequences of our actions. Unlike this collapse, the coming collapse – of economic, political, and environmental proportions – will bring the entire world to the point of destruction. Jesus Christ once spoke of catastrophe coming suddenly, swiftly, and without warning.

Today, we know how to minimize the risks to the environment we work in and the surrounding communities. Proper land use planning reduces risk by assessing potential hazards, regulating activity, educating communities, and conducting surveillance. However, we have yet to truly embrace the warnings of God. Like the Frank Slide, indications of our global collapse have made their appearances known. We must as a society heed the warnings. We can even make a difference individually by rejoicing in the word of God, accepting His sacrifice, being baptized, and receiving the Holy Spirit. Collapse is coming, but you may be one of those He protects.

The Reign of Queen Elizabeth

It’s inarguable that most of the world would agree that there’s only one woman who comes to mind upon hearing the words “The Queen.” The reign of Queen Elizabeth II in the United Kingdom was nothing short of an era, her passing serving as a tremendous loss for the modern world.

Living Church of God reviews how Elizabeth II and her epoch of leadership will not soon be forgotten, for reasons far more notable than just the span of time she spent on the throne.

Her Fated Reign

Upon her birth, Elizabeth II was actually third in line for her place on the throne. At the age of 10, in 1936, her life changed drastically. Her grandfather passed, causing her uncle Edward VIII to be anointed as king, but he abdicated his position to marry divorcée Wallis Simpson. Of course, this changed the course of history, and Elizabeth II was suddenly thrust into being first in line to the throne.

The lives of Princess Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret, changed dramatically upon this shift, the pair of them being trained into a world with far greater expectations than the one they left behind. Sadly, it would not take long for another uprooting.

In 1952, her father passed at only 56 years old, causing 25-year-old Elizabeth to be anointed queen.

A Lifetime of Dedication

Elizabeth II, in spite of the flux of her life, took her place as Queen of the United Kingdom with grace. In fact, five years prior to her taking the throne, she was famously quoted as saying that her “whole life, whether it be long or short,” would be dedicated to her service to the lands she ruled.

And it is undeniable that her vow was unshakeable. Having sworn upon the Bible during her coronation, Queen Elizabeth approached her duty as a leader with the kind of steadfastness held only by those who believe in their vocational responsibilities. She was known to be a religious woman and often turned to prayer in times of national and personal strife.

Her reign was hallmarked by her adaptability during times of pressure, the respect she silently demanded as she walked into the room, and the comfort she brought whenever she attended events. She upheld the vow she made at 21 throughout her 70-year reign and set a royal standard that will be remembered forever.

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Her Passing and Future of The Monarchy

On September 8, 2022, Queen Elizabeth II passed at the age of 96 years old. In spite of her selective public appearances during her later years, she remained a symbol of the nation up until her death. To say she fulfilled her calling and vocation would be a minimization of her accomplishments: she is the longest-reigning monarch in British history.

Her eldest son, Charles III, continues on the lineal reign, now serving as King of England—a title that, like his mother’s, is one of spiritual providence.

Critical Race Theory

Over the past few years, critical race theory has become a hotly debated topic, with many critics fearing that it promotes greater racial division rather than social healing. From the New York Times to former President Donald Trump and several state legislatures, seemingly everyone with a platform has broached the topic, leading many to wonder what critical race theory is all about.

With diversity training trickling down from the university system into secondary and primary schools, many parents worry that their children are being exposed to what some call the “new racism.” While it’s hard to deny that the United States is a nation affected by racial inequality, the Living Church of God reviews critical race theory to objectively decide whether it’s in line with God’s word.

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Undeniable Racial Divisions in the United States

At its core, critical race theory is a worldview that history was built on racial division. It argues that the world is divided into systems of power based on race and that those belonging to certain races were able to construct a society in a way that systematically disenfranchised other races to their own benefit.

Proponents of this theory regularly claim that American culture was built on similar institutionalized racism and that its centuries of freedom are insincere. This obviously raises the question of whether there’s any validity to this theory. To answer this question, the Living Church of God turns to statistics.

Although the United States is by far one of the freest nations in the world, there are undeniable and startling divisions between people’s experiences based on race. According to data from the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances:

  • White families’ median annual incomes were roughly $150,000 higher than those of black and Hispanic families
  • White families were 3x more likely to earn an inheritance than black families
  • Young white families were 2.7x more likely to own a home than young black families and 1.6x more likely than young Hispanic families

Additionally, black men make up a disproportionate number of arrests for non-fatal crimes, despite making up just 13% of the total US population. These numbers point to a truth at the heart of American society—that people of color do experience a vastly different life than their white neighbors. But is critical race theory the answer to these problems?

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What Critical Race Theory Really Says

If we trace critical race theory (CRT) back to its origins, we find that it’s rooted in the ideology of the now-disdained Frankfurt School, which espoused Marxist beliefs throughout the mid-20th century. In today’s strain of the belief, we find a few important tenets:

  • Race is a purely social construct designed to uphold white society’s power over people of color.
  • Racism is systemic and baked into the backbone of our nation’s institutions, not just general bigotry.
  • Anti-racism is a violent movement to destroy institutions deemed racist.
  • Whiteness is a set of cultural traits that allow white people to maintain their position as the “dominant” race.

To many, this worldview puts far too much emphasis on division and seeks to destroy the current world rather than working to repair what has been passed down through generations. As a professor at Columbia University puts it, CRT takes power away from minority communities and insists that they are at the bottom.

The One True Solution to Racial Division

At the end of the day, only one judgment truly matters—God’s. Although God’s teachings do argue against racism in all its forms, it’s not man’s place to question power and institutions without first embracing God’s wisdom. Rather than making race the basis of one’s worldview, we should all, instead, turn to the word of God and built society from there.