Category: Secular Humanism

Is there such a thing as ‘Christian’ music, writing, art, etc?

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.

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C.S. Lewis on Universal Health Care and the Love of Some

I was reading CS Lewis’s The Four Loves and came across the quote below. Obviously, Lewis is not specifically addressing universal health care or liberalism or the question of using the government to administer love. Even Christians can be found thinking that it is a noble expression of a loving society to have the government do the loving… and this with no apparent thought to the actual effect that this ‘loving’ will have on the people ‘loved’ and the attitude it fuels in the people-government doing the ‘loving.’ The most important thing seems to be that, well, people’s intentions are good, and it’s better to do something rather than nothing. Here is the quote:

This [is] Gift-love, but one that needs to give; therefore needs to be needed. But the proper aim of giving is to put the recipient in a state where he no longer needs our gift. We feed children in order that they may soon be able to feed themselves; we teach them in order that they may soon not need our teaching. Thus a heavy task is laid upon this Gift-love. It must work towards its own abdication. We must aim at making ourselves superfluous. The hour when we can say “They need me no longer” shall be our reward. But the instinct, simply in its own nature, has no power to fulfil this law. The instinct desires the good of its object, but not simply; only the good it can itself give. A much higher love- a love which desires the good of the object as such, from whatever source that good comes- must step in and help or tame the instinct before it can make the abdication. And of course it often does. But where it does not, the ravenous need to be needed will gratify itself either by keeping its objects needy or by inventing for them imaginary needs. It will do this all the more ruthlessly because it thinks (in one sense truly) that it is a Gift-love and therefore regards itself as “unselfish.” (pgs 50-51)

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Presentation: Abortion is Just Politics and Pro-Life is Just Religion; and Apologetics

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.

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Comparing Apples to Oranges Without Even Knowing it

To begin with, Mr. Pulliam, the blogger, says, “even if the gospels do record eyewitness testimony, that is no guarantee of their accuracy.” Responding to a book on the subject, Mr. Pulliam says, “Bauckham maintains that the gospels are reliable history because the accounts contained in them are either from eyewitness testimonies or very close to eyewitness testimonies.”

If Bauckham really presents his argument in this fashion it will be the first that I’ve heard it that way. I would think that it is pretty foolish to infer that simply because the gospels are (or are derived from) eyewitness testimonies that makes them reliable. That would be pretty dumb. Eyewitness testimony needs to be checked out, just like we need to check out the information that comes to us by any other epistemological method.

Who has suggested otherwise? Bauckham? On Mr. Pulliam’s telling… but given the weakness of eyewitness testimony which Mr. Pulliam putatively has proven- Mr. Pulliam’s recounting of Bauckham’s position cannot be simply trusted since this recounting is, of course, eyewitness testimony: Mr. Pulliam’s.

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Dorothy Sayers on class and category warfare

From Dorothy Sayer’s lecture titled, “Are Women Human?” 1938.

To oppose one class perpetually to another- young against old, manual labour against brain-worker, rich against poor, woman against man- is to split the foundations of the State; and if the cleavage runs too deep, there remains no remedy but force and dictatorship. If you wish to preserve a free democracy, you must base it- not on classes and categories, for this will land you in the totalitarian State, where no one may act or think except as the member of a category. You must base it upon the individual Tom, Dick and Harry, and the individual Jack and Jill- in fact, upon you and me.

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I am my child’s advocate; you aren’t.

I am my child’s advocate.

He cannot speak for himself. She cannot understand the issues. Yet the choices we make today will impact them forever. I know my children. I know the issues. You are not my child’s advocate. I am.

You are quite certain my child should be socialized according to your dictates.

For thousands of years civilization got along just great without your professional opinion.

If I choose to make use of your services, it is as my instrument exerting my authority as my child’s advocate. My family is not the arbitrary tool of the state to achieve the state’s ends. My family uses the state- or doesn’t- as its tool. I dispense with it as I determine.

Turn your own family into a machination of the state. Leave mine alone.

I am my child’s advocate.

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Do Christians Oppose Universal Health Care Because They Think People are Lazy?

Someone directed me to this gentlemen here who labels himself a conservative, the feral conservative, in fact. I’m not impressed. One of the articles is called “The Ten Things You Must Believe in order to Oppose Universal Health Care.” It is filled with nonsense. This notion that the only way you can care for people is by supporting and implementing universal health care is positively ridiculous. I’m seeing it so much lately that I wonder if there are talking points somewhere. My blog (which you are reading now) is just one example of a place where it is affirmed that we should like to take care of those who need help and proposes other mechanisms to do it.

You may contend that these mechanisms would not be effective, but it cannot be said- as people are insisting- that Christian conservatives don’t care. Of course, people are saying it. It is up to the reasonable person to challenge insinuations to the contrary. Good intentions employing bad arguments that are essentially sentimental propaganda should not be tolerated.

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Why don’t Christians care about people who need health care?

The Christian Church has a PR problem.

In the first place, any regular reader of this blog knows that I take the Church to task like the best of them. The Church could, and should, do much more. But let’s be honest: they actually are doing quite a lot.

Historically, it has been the Church at the forefront in doing good works. For example, Julian the Apostate in the fourth century realized that if he didn’t enact government programs to take care of the poor he’d never be able to make the claim that Christians were pernicious. Slavery was ended by Christians standing up against other Christians. Institutions of higher learning like Harvard and Yale (and hordes of others) were all founded by Christians. Hospitals and medical clinics were founded first by Christians with Christian charity in mind. What tends to happen, though, is all of the good things that Christians have done end up getting secularized. You cannot call Harvard and Yale ‘Christian,’ any more. Nor can you call the local Lutheran-in-the-name hospital in my area, ‘Lutheran.’

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Methodological Naturalism, Falsifiability, and Evolution: A Challenge

# In order for something to be considered robust science, it needs to be falsifiable.
# Modern evolutionary theory is usually presented so that it entails unintelligent operations.
# To falsify the claim that something is driven by unintelligent forces one would have to show how intelligent forces were at work.
# Evolutionary apologists insist (with heapings of derision) that such a showing is outside the bounds of science.
# But if showing design is outside the bounds of science than there is no reliable and objective way to conclude scientifically that something is not designed.
# Therefore, macroevolutionary theory cannot be scientifically falsified at the point that it is the result of unguided natural processes since they reject as unscientific the very things that could falsify it.

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Why Christians are against Universal Health Care

“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).

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To prison I go?

It is my hope that in facing possible imprisonment I will be able to call attention to the shredding of the Constitution and alter some perspectives. Of course, I should say, the continued shredding of the Constitution, as this is only one of the clearest violations of the rule of law and the ‘consent of the governed’ to come down the pike. It is my hope that maybe, just maybe, we’ll decide that the Constitution matters and that if we want to make society-wide changes we’ll at least have the decency to do it the right way, by amending the Constitution if necessary.

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The Culture War is Over and We Lost? So… guerrilla warfare…

Something I’ve been pondering for awhile is this: Is the culture war over? And did we lose it?

I part company with those who seek to Christianize the culture as though this in itself is a noble goal. It seems to me that this would in effect merely make our culture a ‘white washed tomb.’ More important than the culture are the people within it and their state of mind and eternal fates. Nonetheless, people are strongly influenced by the culture at large whether they know it or not or admit it or not. An unfriendly culture will make it harder for people to receive the Gospel.

I believe that. To an extent. I note, however, that the Christian Church itself exploded into existence within a culture that was not yet, by virtue of the fact that there wasn’t a pervasive Christianity to Christianize, Christian.

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Video rebuts charge Hitler was a Christian in under three minutes

ACM intern Abby put together this video on behalf of Joseph Keysor’s “Hitler, the Holocaust, and the Bible” that effectively shuts down the argument that Hitler was a Christian by a simple little piece of logic. Learn more and see how you can win up to $300 and a free copy of the book by […]

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Questions for Pillow-Marriage Advocates

In my last entry I felt compelled to clarify that I was married- and that, to a woman, and not a pillow.

I felt this need because of this article I just read talking about a guy in Korea marrying… well, a pillow.

Far be it from me to prohibit anyone from living out the rest of their lives in a committed, monogamous relationship. But I do have some questions.

Q. Does the pillow consent? If consent is no longer one of the important elements constituting real ‘marriage’ where does it end? Will people be marrying shoes next? If shoes, why not toddlers? [More…]

Q. Obviously, with all of the kids needing loving parents these days it would be abhorrent to not allow this loving couple to adopt children. But I am curious to know… if the guy dies, does custody revert to the pillow? Who gets his assets?

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