Category: theology

Do Christians Need to Think Theologically about Economics?

We also have to ask about those who are doing the taxing. They obviously believe they have the right to take your resources from you. They must believe that they can obtain some good that you, and perhaps few others, would have subsidized if left to your own devices. They must believe that they know how much they can fairly extract from you. They must believe that they have the right, if you protest, to incarcerate you and take your possessions by force if need be. In sum, they are almost indistinguishable from tyrants.

Christians should not support tyrants or adopt their methods and so become tyrants ourselves. If there is a cause we wish to support, we ought to do so from our own resources out of the free expression of our own hearts (2 Corinthians 8).

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Congregations and their Facilities and Love

hat I did dwell on there but would like to spend just a moment speaking to here is this premise: “Congregational facilities should reflect the mission of the church. Where you put your money says something about what you value. You can tell a lot about a church and the Church by looking at its buildings and where it puts its money.”

Now, I don’t think this is a controversial premise. Moreover, I don’t think it applies only to the Church. I think this is just a general truism about money and people. But I ask: if true, what message is being communicated about what the Church values in view of the property usage by many, if not most, churches in America?

I think clearly the emphasis is in three places: 1. Church services. 2. Fellowship. 3. Classroom instruction.

The standard configuration of most congregations in America is Sanctuary+Fellowship Hall+Classroom Instruction+Office space for pastor and program administers.

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Strongly Recommended: Maafa 21- Evolution, Eugenics, and Abortion

I recently viewed Life Dynamics’s documentary, Maafa 21. I wrote a review and posted it to the Christian Post.com. Below is an excerpt. Read the whole review here. I strongly recommend purchasing and viewing this documentary, especially if you want the truth behind the modern abortion ‘pro-choice’ movement and its connections to eugenics philosophies that led to the Holocaust.

Maafa 21: Black Genocide in 21st Century America demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that organizations like Planned Parenthood have their origins in eugenics movements which in turn were formed to deal with the ‘problem’ created to society by the end of slavery. Using primary source material throughout the 2 hour documentary, Maafa 21 details how birth control measures such as abortion and sterilization were originally presented in the context of eliminating ‘undesirables’ from society. Highest on that list for the original eugenicists: black people.

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Another V Reaction as a Christian apologist

The beginning of the episode starts off with a Catholic priest taking confession from one person after another that has been knocked around a bit by the implications of the arrival of Visitors from space. Their faith has been rattled, for example. Or, they are impressed by the ‘miracle cures’ that the Visitors are able to perform. I have already touched on this in my two previous posts but I’d like to approach it again from a different angle.

Is it really the case that space Visitors will serve as a stumbling block to faith in God? I contend that we cannot actually know that until they arrive (if they exist and if they come) and that our speculations in the meantime are inferences from what we already believe about reality.

In light of the Visitor’s ability to perform miracle cures, I would like to reflect on a quote common in atheistic thought (If I recall correctly, even Dawkins cites it in his Delusion). Arthur Clark said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

This sort of feeds into chronological snobbery of our modern age (and perhaps some past ages) which tries to dismiss the views and experiences of those in the past as being from an “ignorant gaggle of Bronze age fishermen and peripatetic, militant, marauding, murdering, genocidal goat-herders.”

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Should Christian Non-profits Consider Giving up their Tax Exempt 501(c)3 Status?

It is true that this is very rare, but that is only because many churches try to abide by the law on this point. The Government helps by keeping the financial carrot close by; the stick is rarely necessary.

The main question we need to ask is whether or not, and to what degree, should the Christian Church ever adjust its message for anything, let alone the Government.

But surely it will be pointed out that Jesus said “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Yes, there is no question that God has appointed the government to handle certain duties (Romans 13) and there is no warrant anywhere for the Church to take those on. Indeed, we Christians are to submit to these authorities. It does not follow, however, that the Church can ever subvert its mission and message, even if the authorities say you must. Moreover, Matthew 22 (the passage alluded to above) explicitly states that people of faith ought to pay taxes if Caesar so requires it.

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How the Placebo Effect Proves there is a God

We are all aware of the placebo effect. This is often described as being the result of ‘sham’ or ‘fake’ treatments or pills with the fact being that the body would have ‘healed itself on its own’ or has its effect because the illness was ‘only in their mind.’

All of these attitudes represent a materialistic outlook, if not outright reductionism. This hard core atheistic outlook has been at the bottom of scientific development in all fields since the early 1900s, and this has certainly spilled over into medicine. This has sometimes been to the detriment, and even the embarrassment, of scientific progress as described in a book that is still one of my favorites, Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz’s The Mind and the Brain. The book charts the history of brain science up to the point where it was finally admitted that thought itself appeared to be able to shape the matter of the brain.

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It is not about health care insurance coverage, it is about health care COSTS

But, besides all this, there is something which is not seen. The fifty millions expended by the State cannot be spent, as they otherwise would have been, by the tax-payers. It is necessary to deduct, from all the good attributed to the public expenditure which has been effected, all the harm caused by the prevention of private expense, unless we say that James B. would have done nothing with the crown that he had gained, and of which the tax had deprived him; an absurd assertion, for if he took the trouble to earn it, it was because he expected the satisfaction of using it, He would have repaired the palings in his garden, which he cannot now do, and this is that which is not seen. [… etc] He would have become a member of the Mutual Assistance Society, but now he cannot; this is what is not seen. (Frederic Bastiat, 1850)

Mr. Bastiat does a terrific job in showing how taxes put to the socialist’s ends only serves to diminish freedom but what I want the reader to note the connection he draws here between taxation and ‘mutual assistance.’ It is agreed by all that we should like to help our fellow man. Liberals and socialists believe they can do that better by collective administration of coerced funds than individuals can do through churches, charities, and the like.

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Some More Thoughts on ABC’s Visitors

So ABC’s “V” was on again tonight. I enjoyed it. It lacked the same punch as the first episode but I still liked it. It seems a little hurried to me. Maybe there are too many commercials? I’ve seen other hour long shows that seemed to really carry a narrative so I know its possible. I can’t put my finger on it with “V” but it isn’t enough (yet) to push me away from future viewings.

In my previous post, I hoped that I would see some metaphysical conversation. Perhaps its too early in the series, but there wasn’t much in that regards. Ie, unlike the first episode, this one seemed to lack substance. It still got me thinking anyway. I will now outline some of those thoughts.

The visual effects are far superior to the previous incarnation of the series. Indeed, far superior to any show from the 80’s and earlier. The miracle of CGI!

But isn’t it interesting that we are able to recognize that just because the space ships we see hovering over American cities in this show, despite their incredible life like detail, are fictional? This uncanny ability (most) people have is interesting given our “Seeing is believing” society. There is a great deal on television, movie, and computer screens that appears to be absolutely real. Yet, we know it isn’t.

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Five Things Killing Christianity: Is the End of Christianity At Hand?

The number one thing killing Christianity in America today:

Lovelessness.

All the rest of the things on the list tie back to this. The Christian Church exhibits constant lovelessness in much of what it does. Many readers will jump to the idea that Christians are very loving, and to an extent, I agree. Many readers will find the assertion nauseous because they think of ‘love’ as some wishy washy sentiment. Both sets of readers misunderstand me. One of my contentions is that Love itself is misunderstood, because unlike other doctrines, this one has not been systematically explored from the Scriptures. We all act as though we intuitively know what ‘love’ is. In fact, we have culturally driven notions that are derived from hundreds of years of romanticism. The Bible- the New Testament in particular- portrays a love that is much different. It is earth shattering, and embodied in the activities of the early Christian Church.

None of this should be construed (though it will be, to my chagrin) as a repudiation of all the things we currently do to ‘show’ we love God. It isn’t. If we were doing those things AND loving our fellow Christians… to the death… there would be no problem.

But, I contend, we aren’t doing that. God tells us that if we love him, we’ll love the brothers. We have it stuck in our head that if we love him, we’ll love him.

But that’s not what he said, and that is why outsiders, ultimately, do not find Christianity credible. Indeed, it is why Christians themselves are dubious, and in fact, sometimes falling away altogether.

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A theological basis for rank individualism in society and elsewhere

In short, dear Christian, I contend that we already have in front of us all the ‘higher level organisms’ we need: the community of the family and the community of the faithful. Here and only here are individuals respected, welcomed, and free. Here only are individuals understood to be forever, and here only do we see the context in which they will be forever- in community through Christ.

It is therefore with great caution that we must approach the efforts of the Statists. True, very often they propose programs that we can in good conscience get behind. However, even then they do not share our views about the individual, and so, they can, quite unexpectedly, change things. They would only be acting on their own values, and so we should not be shocked. Thus it should be evident that the more power we give them to help us the more power we give to them to hurt us.

As such, it is worth positing that we should give them no power at all, and the power that we do give them come with very robust checks and balances. Our trust in their sincere intentions seems, increasingly, to be poised to do us all great harm- or at least, the weakest among us, and those who are the heaviest burden on society. In the name of the “Most good for the most people” great evil is being inflicted, and history tells us a great deal more is possible.

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We have no rights, health care or otherwise, unless…

One purpose of the post is to highlight the obvious dangers, illustrated over and over again throughout history, and in the last century in particular, of having secular humanists and atheists in charge of bestowing rights. What they giveth, they can taketh. And they have often taketh.

But another purpose of this post is to point out to the many Christians calling for ‘universal health care’ that if you are claiming that God has bestowed certain rights such as health care, you’ve got to back that up somehow. Your sentimental arguments, sincere and well meaning, have as much weight to me as sentimental arguments like “God makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, don’t you want that, too?” have weight with atheists. In short, none.

Why? Does it mean that I am indifferent to those who struggle to receive adequate health care? Not at all. It does, however, have important implications as to how we proceed to address that issue

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The Christian and his God Appointed Sphere of Influence

Important caveat: the following is written BY A CHRISTIAN and pertains ONLY TO CHRISTIANS, and then, ONLY THE CHRISTIANS THAT TAKE THE BIBLE AS THEIR FINAL AUTHORITY. I hope that is sufficiently clear.

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1 Peter 4:17: “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”

Sprinkled throughout the Scriptures is evidence of God’s fondness for a certain order of interaction with the human race. The idea that judgment begins with the family of God is not isolated to Peter and the idea that there are stages in judgment is not isolated to the apostles. For example, Jesus himself alludes to it in Mark 7 when he at first refuses to minister to the Syrophoenician Woman, saying, “First let the children eat all they want.”

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Rebuttal Part 2 of Barker’s Rebuttal of Kingsley’s Answer to Barker’s Easter Challenge

This is the second and hopefully last installment in a rebuttal of Dan Barker. Barker’s Easter Challenge was taken up by Pastor Stephen Kingsley, and Barker issued forth a 70 page answer. Here is my review of Kingsley’s ‘Answer.’ Here is my first reply to Barker’s rebuttal. You are reading my second. Barker has not, to my knowledge, publicly released his rebuttal. If he ever does, I will link to it.

Barker’s response could have easily been slimmed down to 5 to 10 pages, easily. It is filled with inaccuracies, diversions, and tangents. The main objection is not easy to pick out against all of the background, but we can sum it up I think this way:

Pastor Kingsley achieves his harmonization by breaking up Matthew 28:1-8 in a way that is unsustainable given Matthew’s use of time. On this basis we can see that Matthew 28:1-8 “is a discrete, unbreakable element of Matthew’s story.”

There is an obvious flaw in this objection.

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Missing Link, Scopes Monkey Trial, Science, Secularism, and Education

For you see, there was a day when the implications of evolutionary theory were more obvious and more openly admitted. Margaret Sanger, the founder of the aforementioned Planned Parenthood, openly urged abortion as a method of eugenics. And of course, since this was all science, and science is ‘neutral’, it should follow naturally that religious people can raise no objections.

Today of course eugenics has a bad rap. We can thank Hitler for that. But that doesn’t mean the implications have changed or that there aren’t ‘neutral’ scientists and secularists who advocate for eugenics today. People aren’t as dumb as secularists would like them to be. When you promote ‘survival of the fittest’ as the guiding biological principle the inevitable conclusion is that we have the moral obligation to utilize that principle according to our own terms. You just aren’t supposed to say it out loud…

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