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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