One of the things I’ve come to realize is the truth of this statement: As the dead do not know the living, or even that they themselves are dead, so too irrationality does not know rationality. Augustine argued that evil was not a ‘thing-in-itself’ but always some good thing that has been corrupted. Evil is …
I try mightily to keep myself from having unexamined beliefs. I turned one up, though, in the last month or so, no doubt because of the writing contest and online apologetics conference I was working on. The writing contest, for example, is labeled as a Christian writing contest. I began to think about how an endeavor like writing, or any endeavor at all, could justify being termed ‘Christian’ and realized I had never really thought about it much before, and had rather accepted the presumptions that had been handed down to me. I hate it when I do that! Even if the presumptions are right!
However, what I turned up when I began my examination may surprise the reader. In Evangelical circles, the Christian sub-culture is a constant temptation and Christianese the prevailing language, which I myself attack in this post warning about Christianese and shibboleths. There is a silly sense within Christendom that you can slap the label ‘Christian’ on front of something and you’ve sanctified it. The truth usually is that it’s merely been rendered more marketable within the Church.
The reader would be wrong if he thought that the presumption handed down to me was the one I just described, however.
God has chosen to operate through people and tangible, physical stuff like sound waves (the Word), water (baptism), and bread and wine (the Eucharist). (Some will object to baptism and the Eucharist, but at least people and the Word should be conceded). To attack such things in the name of spirituality is to attack that which the Spirit is actually using. In fact, this line of attack sounds an awful lot like Gnosticism, which considers matter inherently corrupted and only the spiritual things pure.
As a quick, pointed example, the accusation that the Christian community abhors all things concerning sex isn’t an entirely fabricated. There are indeed Christians who will talk about sex as though it were some base, physical act that only serves to get in the way of spiritual pursuits. But God made us as sexual beings, and marriage was God’s way of creating godly children (Mal. 2). One gets the idea for some Christians that God permits people to have sex, but only reluctantly- so we should try very hard not to enjoy it and participate in it only as duty requires. Yea, compare and contrast that with the Song of Solomon, why don’t you!
But sometimes they just get all in a fit all the same if you include people as agents carrying out God’s mission. That is when you see the ‘hyper-defense’ on display, as if by acknowledging the fact that God uses people to carry out his will, that takes away from the credit that God rightly deserves.
The simple fact is that the Biblical witness is pretty clear: God does tend to use people to carry out his plans on earth. He could have delivered the Israelites from Egypt without involving Moses at all. Sure enough, it was by God’s power that the people were delivered, but he still brought Moses in. Then of course Jesus appointed disciples to go out after his death and resurrection to spread the word. God certainly could have just personally appeared to each and every person on the planet and delivered his message directly. For that matter, he could speak into our minds and be done with it. But he doesn’t do that. Not only does he work through ‘means,’ but he works through people- that is, people themselves are means.
Tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. CST I will be presenting on this topic:
Just Politics? Religion and Abortion and Apologetics: Examining the idea that supporting abortion is merely a political view but opposing it is a religious view and the role of world view in the question.
Summary: Pro-choicers often frame their argument by casting their position as a civil rights issue and the pro-life position as a religious issue- and people should not impose their religion on others. Common sense would suggest that as two sides of the exact same coin, if one position is a religious issue so too is the other. Lying beneath the issue is this question: “Is there any belief that is merely political? What separates a ‘religious’ ‘belief’ from any other?” This leads into a conversation about apologetics, and whether or not the Christian faith is grounded in reality- and the consequences whether one answers in the affirmative or the negative.
“the “right” within the church attempt to leverage the gov. to legislate morality. The “left” within the church attempt to leverage the gov. to legislate compassion. Both approaches fail miserably and are an abdication of our responsibility to be the voice, hands and feet of Jesus in this world.” – spoken by a friend.
Someone slid this article across my desk that inquires as to why evangelical Christians are against universal health care. Now, strictly speaking, I’m not an evangelical. Also, I don’t think that all Christians oppose universal health care, and I will not presume that Christians who do will share all my reasons. I hope this caveat spares me the litany of comments accusing me of ‘generalizing.’
I will take the article as my foil as it is one of the finest expressions of liberal hubris and arrogance that I’ve seen in a while. The author begins by indicating he seriously wanted to know why Christians who are supposed to be all about love would oppose health care. The end includes a long screed:
(p.s. this opinion is reserved for those Christians who have not actually thought about the consequences, and decided that more people are harmed than helped by the new law. They are being consistent with their beliefs. That being said, if you think you are in that camp of people excluded, you probably aren’t. You probably are just being geedy, selfish and jerkish, but convincing yourself that this is why you oppose it, while the truth remains you just dont want taxed, or adhere to some abstract notion of how this bill is UnGodly).
I’ve been thinking about the culture wars lately. I have a real problem with Christians who seem to be driving for a change in the culture just for the sake of having a ‘holy’ culture. I think we’d have to call that a legalistic culture. I believe that the Christian church should be about something more than creating white-washed tombs.
On the other hand, the nature of ‘culture’ is that it perpetuates itself, feeds itself, fuels itself. The culture is the air we breathe and the water in which we swim. It has the ability to mold us into its image, and once so molded, we mold others in that same image. Resistance isn’t exactly futile, but it is difficult. Conformity to the culture is the path of least resistance. It would behoove us, therefore, to ensure that the culture is not toxic. If the culture is healthy, the path of least resistance will more likely result in healthy beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.
You all will have experienced this. I remember when I worked construction for awhile. After just a month or so, I found myself talking like those guys.
If Mr. Terry is to be believed, we made the absolute wrong decision, here. Since abortion was legal, there was no value to choosing life. By choosing life and refusing to take part in a silent holocaust, we were, in fact, presuming that it is ethical and legitimate to choose murder.
This is absurd; dare I say, it is stupid.
There is just something about this Tebow Superbowl ad that seems to have really gotten under the skins of the pro-abortionist groups like Planned Parenthood and others. I think its because they perceive that their whole agenda has been called out and they were left rocking backwards on their heels. A lot of the pro-choice groups are crying foul that we have to be ‘exposed’ to something as damnable as a story about a mother who was advised to have an abortion… but chose not to… in “contravention doctors’ orders” (ala Rachel Maddow).
Apparently, such divisive matters should not be presented to us during the Superbowl… far better to focus on what unites us: clever beer commercials and scantily clad women and the occasional wardrobe malfunction.
I was recently invited to be a columnist on a Christian news site called the CypressTimes. One of my first articles was on this very topic.