All the following are used by permission of John Clayton ( These excerpts are from the Jan/Feb 2012 issue.

BELIEVING IN GHOSTS. One of the areas we have gotten involved in studying recently has been claims of the paranormal. Ghosts are a part of that, and we have tried to point out that there is no evidence scientifically or biblically that ghosts are real. There are always relatively simple scientific or cultural explanations for claims of ghosts. In Reader’s Digest (October 2011, page 94) there is a survey of belief in ghosts by country. The leading country for belief in ghosts is Malaysia where 57% of the people say they believe in ghosts. Number two is the United States and number 3 is Canada — with 47% of Americans and 43% of Canadians saying they believe in ghosts. We have frequently quoted the adage that “when you don’t believe in something you’ll believe anything,” and as people reject God the substitute is frequently ghosts or aliens.

IS OUR WORLD MORE VIOLENT? On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik managed to kill 77 people in Norway. Because the media now reports things from anywhere in the world, we frequently get the idea that our world is more violent than it has ever been. A long study by Steven Pinker has been released which shows this is not the case. In fourteenth century England violent deaths were at a rate of 110 per 100,000 people and today in the same area the rate is one death per 100,000. Violent deaths of all kinds have declined from 500 per 100,000 in pre-state societies to 50 per 100,000 in the Middle Ages to 8 per 100,000 today. Pinker has an 832-page study entitled The Better Angels of our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined published in 2011 by Viking Press. There is a reference with some of the data in the October 2011 issue of Scientific American, page 90.

ABUSE OF WOMEN CONTINUES IN  CHINA. In the October 2011 issue of Christianity Today there is an article by Chai Ling who escaped from China 22 years ago and has been working to expose the abuse of women in that country. The data she reports is astounding: 500 Chinese women commit suicide every day, child brides number in the hundreds of thousands, 35,000 baby girls are aborted every day. We hear so much in the media about cooperation between the United States and China on trade and manufacturing issues, but the human rights issues connected with the one-child policy are not addressed and will not be addressed by the mainstream media.