Category: theology

Violence is never the answer: Except when it is…

The platitude is dangerous. On the one hand, when we transmit it, we transmit something we know is not actually true. That’s bad policy right there. On the other hand, it shuts down an important area of human experience that requires extensive critical thinking. In a world filled with evil and malignant men, every good person must be prepared in their mind for what they should do given certain eventualities… because we know from the newspaper and history book that these things do happen. Another danger to the platitude is that it sets people up for guilt after they perform a violent- but righteous- act. Finally, if someone has never actually thought about the matter before and all they’ve been fed is the platitude, they might freeze up and do nothing, or flee when they should fight.

I can think of no better example then the story that emerged out of the Virginia Tech massacre of Liviu Librescu. Here is a survivor of the holocaust, gunned down through the door that he refused to open for the gunman.

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KFUO AM radio interview on the existence of God

Yesterday I was on KFUO AM radio out of St. Louis, MO. You can listen to the segment here:

KFUOInterviewJune17 (12.5 MiB, 1,159 hits)

I believe I’m in the first half of the segment.

Topic: “Can you prove there is a God?”

We could tackle this topic another 3 times before we’ve covered a fraction of what could be said.

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They Hyper-Defense of God: Reprise

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!

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Love and the Incarnation and the Hyper-Defense of God

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.

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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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Video of pro-life presentation in Sparta Topic: Be a Hero

This is the video of the presentation I delivered in Jan, 2010. The pro-life topic title was: “Be a hero.”

Direct link to video.

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Antony Flew Goes to Heaven: A Parable

Readers of this blog know that I have an interest in Antony Flew, having even had the honor of corresponded with him.   Click here for a list of posts I’ve written regarding Dr. Flew.  The short story below may be understood better by some if you read this particular post of mine where I discuss […]

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A Call to Churches to Create Careers in Apologetics

This article discussing emerging church staff positions crossed my desk and caught my attention. According to the article, prevailing trends in society and in the Church (Institutional) we can see these positions being developed or created:

The Network Administrator
The Multicultural Children’s Director
The Chief of Staff
The Operations Pastor
The Creative Arts Director
The Boomer Director
The Spiritual Growth Pastor

I think this list, though not portrayed as comprehensive, is probably pretty accurate. Given my background, I noticed that one position is not mentioned: Apologetics Director. I think that is pretty accurate, too.

I find this to be pretty interesting and indicative of the state of the Church, Inc. today. Not to take away anything from the positions mentioned above or positions that may already exist, but we live in a society where Christianity is being deliberately attacked at a number of levels. At the same time, the culture itself represents challenges to Christianity less intentionally, in the form of hundreds and even thousands of new world views for Christians to encounter and have to deal with.

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Essay published on Apologetics315.com on Christianity and the nature of Judaism

Apologetics315 is publishing an essay series on the veracity of Christianity. I was asked to contribute an essay. That essay was published today. You should take some time to check out the other essays, too.

Much ink has been spilled in defense of the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus, and I myself have spilled my fair share. Similarly, the stunning explosion of the Christian Church within the Roman Empire has been raised as a phenomenon that requires explanation and a dead man rising from the dead is the best one. These efforts are valid, but their weight cannot be appreciated without first knowing the context behind the arguments. We must understand the Jewish people, their history and religion.

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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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Living Epistles

The Bible says to not think it strange when a fiery trial comes along. How come we do? Because as “advanced” as we are in this new millenium, we are made of the same stuff as those who lived in the first century. Hebrews 11 speaks as loudly today as it did when it was […]

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We Were Made For Relationship

We were made for relationship. Online social networks, reality television programs, Twitter, IM, email, blogs, texting, sports and entertainment events… we are wired to connect. Christians explain that we need this connection, first with God. We say that people are trying to fill an empty place in their hearts and often look for other things to satisfy […]

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Is social justice a Christian doctrine?

While any Christian can agree that the first Christians held all things in common and virtually forbade owning any personal property, we find no mention that a theocracy should be established by Christians to enforce this socialism on others. And those who insist that Christian socialism must be enforced by political means are in fact endorsing a form of theocracy not less rigid than that of Muslim countries.

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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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