I think that this blog entry might be useful as a beginning of a series. I should just post examples as I come across them. It’s the kind of thing that you’ll notice more once you see a few examples. What I’ve noticed is that there are quite a few areas out there where arguments …
The planet isn’t going anywhere. The planet doesn’t care if it is polluted. In fact, ‘polluted’ is a term that is only meaningful relative to we human-folk. Indeed, ‘save the planet’ can, on the best construction, only mean something to the effect, “save the habitats that we consider important to life.” Presumably, with all the expressed fear that the ocean levels will rise, etc, what we mean by ‘life’ actually is ‘human life.’ [More…]
The slogan ‘save the planet’ is an attempt to make the endeavor bigger and broader than our own selfish interests so it is ironic that the statement is only meaningful in the context of our own selfish interests. After all, if ocean levels rise and swamp creatures (for example) lose their habitat other creatures- marine ones- will gain habitat.
We live in a world that has witnessed the Holocaust, the gulags, and the Killing Fields. It is no longer possible- if it ever was- to wholly distance ourselves from politics. The stakes are too high. However, it is probably coming to the point (if it isn’t there already) that we finally and fully part company with a party that has parted with us at some indefinite point in the recent past.
On the other hand, the idea that politics could replace other things that we should have been doing all along was dangerous and the current climate makes people more willing to hear that then they used to.
What are the things we should have been doing all along? My short answer is Love. My long answer is that most of the things that Christians contend with each other about pointless in the grand scheme of things. A future day is coming when we will look back at this time and wish we would have invested our time on more pertinent issues. These things will be more obvious when we are fighting compulsory education (no longer able even to home school), treated as deviants (religion is a delusion, you know), punished as child abusers (for teaching our children about hell), and bred out in the next rise of eugenicists who with fanfare announce the discovery of the ‘religion gene.’
The wisest thing in the world is to cry out before you are hurt. It is no good to cry out after you are hurt; especially after you are mortally hurt. People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late. It is often essential to resist a tyranny before it exists. It is no answer to say, with a distant optimism, that the scheme is only in the air. A blow from a hatchet can only be parried while it is in the air.
The above quote is not actually what annoyed me. Instead, it was his classification of people who keep their children instead of aborting them when they have been diagnosed with ‘devastating’ diseases (again, as defined by whom?) as being akin to one who believes in a flat earth. Here is the extended quote:
If one reads about reproductive issues in the conservative media-which I often do-one is bombarded with tales of mothers who have sacrificed personal and professional opportunities to bring fetuses to term. The implication is that while bearing a child when one is ready is a blessing, bearing a child when one is not prepared garners one extra moral credit in the cosmos. Similarly, while having a healthy baby is a cause for joy, some opponents of abortion profess that having a baby with a devastating or even fatal birth defect is proof of the mother’s fortitude and character. If one believes that human life begins at conception, this is logically the case. However, if one believes that life begins after conception-as do a wide majority of Americans, if polls on such issues as embryonic stem cell research are to believed-then the suffering caused by transforming an unwanted embryo into a living baby, who will either endure debilitating disease or will enter a deeply inhospitable home environment, is not at all a cause for pride. It more is akin to deciding that the world is flat and then boasting of not falling off the edge.
As readers of this blog know, my wife and I are examples of what he is talking about here
In light of what I have said above it may come as a surprise that I have a very high view of science. But it’s true. I believe that you need the right tool for the job and in many cases that tool is empirical scrutiny. But other jobs require other tools and no hemming and hawwing will change that. For some jobs a hammer, for others a screwdriver and others, pliers. You may have found that sometimes one gets lucky- a screwdriver is best for screws but at last resort a hammer did the trick. But try changing your lightbulb with a hammer and tell me how that goes. 😉
Let the hammer pound nails and the screwdriver drive screws and air compressor pump up the tire: the right tool for the job, and be wary of anyone who insists on using just one tool for all jobs, and watch out especially if they don’t want anyone looking over their shoulder while they are ‘at work’ and even berate you for suggesting other approaches.
These types of considerations drive me to paint a different picture of the current situation in America on the subject of abortion than normally presented. What if aiming at passage of pro-life legislation is only a small component of the solution? What if aiming to persuade people to a pro-life position is aiming too low? What if in fact we Christians should be focusing on creating more Christians and retaining the ones we’ve got?
A Christian does not believe, like the atheist, that he is god. A Christian understands that he is the product of a Creator and that Creator has the right and privilege of defining right and wrong and defining ‘personhood.’ A Christian knows that he cannot dispense with another person because it is inconvenient to someone or to a nation. All this comes in automatically once one adopts the Christian worldview. Even Christians who vote pro-choice don’t generally approve of abortion, generally, and would like it reduced.
What I mean is this: we know that the Church in America is in decline by survey and personal experience, and we can suppose that this is because of ‘the way we are doing things’ but we can’t be sure what is producing strong Christians or weak Christians unless we have some sort of assessment.
Of course, you have to actually want to know, don’t you? If a 100 kids leave your congregation and 98 of them fall from the faith within 5 years and 90 never return that is something that I would want to know if I was the leader of a congregation. Then I would want to know what kind of framework those kids had when they left and how they received it. If I learned that my programs were actually setting them up to get smacked around like a pinata at college, I’d want to know.
What I really wanted to address was the ramifications and implications of discovering conclusive proof of an extraterrestial intelligent agent relative to Christian theism.
Already you should be chuckling, because if the atheists are to be believed, it is not scientifically possible to reliably detect intelligent agency. Intelligent Design, we are assured, is pseudoscience at best and closet creationism at worst. On this view I suppose space aliens could land in Richard Dawkins lap at which time they begin wheeling out some of their rumored probes, and Mr. Dawkins would be unable to recognize that something out of the ordinary was happening. Anyway, as funny and as fun as that thought is, I have no doubt that hard core philosophical naturalists will have little trouble ‘reliably detecting intelligent design’ when the chips are down.
I think this is because they will expect these little green critters with big skulls to support them in their atheistic worldview. But I think that will be the atheist’s undoing. They would have been safer denying that a sentient being is conversing with them because what that sentient being actually says might compromise the atheist’s philosophical foundations.
Due out on Hitler’s birthday (April 20th, 2009), Joe Keysor’s book, Hitler, the Holocaust, and the Bible: A Scriptural Analysis of Anti-Semitism, National Socialism, and the Churches in Nazi Germany is an important book counteracting the growing clamor that Christianity was the driving ideology behind Hitler, the Nazis, and the Holocaust. It is very important- for obvious reasons- for secular humanists and atheists to show that brutal tyrants were not operating on their principles but rather on Christian principles. In some cases such as Mao and Pol Pot the operation cannot even be attempted. In others, such as Lenin and Stalin, more headway is made. In Hitler, secularists consider the matter a slam dunk.
In the end, Shaun gets the girl, but it isn’t Shaun the wuss panzy. It’s Shaun that has gone through the trial by ordeal- and for that matter, the girl has discovered that being a girl does not mean being ‘soft’ either. I am convinced that Christianity contains the best explanation for all of this and why even though I abhor horror movies and blood and guts, I feel compelled to suggest this movie.