I think that this blog entry might be useful as a beginning of a series. I should just post examples as I come across them. It’s the kind of thing that you’ll notice more once you see a few examples. What I’ve noticed is that there are quite a few areas out there where arguments …
The above quote is not actually what annoyed me. Instead, it was his classification of people who keep their children instead of aborting them when they have been diagnosed with ‘devastating’ diseases (again, as defined by whom?) as being akin to one who believes in a flat earth. Here is the extended quote:
If one reads about reproductive issues in the conservative media-which I often do-one is bombarded with tales of mothers who have sacrificed personal and professional opportunities to bring fetuses to term. The implication is that while bearing a child when one is ready is a blessing, bearing a child when one is not prepared garners one extra moral credit in the cosmos. Similarly, while having a healthy baby is a cause for joy, some opponents of abortion profess that having a baby with a devastating or even fatal birth defect is proof of the mother’s fortitude and character. If one believes that human life begins at conception, this is logically the case. However, if one believes that life begins after conception-as do a wide majority of Americans, if polls on such issues as embryonic stem cell research are to believed-then the suffering caused by transforming an unwanted embryo into a living baby, who will either endure debilitating disease or will enter a deeply inhospitable home environment, is not at all a cause for pride. It more is akin to deciding that the world is flat and then boasting of not falling off the edge.
As readers of this blog know, my wife and I are examples of what he is talking about here
Thanks go out to my friend Dannyboy whom I have known through forum debate for I think 15 years now. Danny also graciously hosted me on a trip to England where he and I tipped back a pint (or two) at the Oxford inns where the Inklings (Lewis, Tolkien, etc) would meet. Here are some pics from that affair. WIthout further ado here is his review:
“Spero” – Book II of the Birthpangs series by AR Horvath.
‘Spero’ (Hope) is one of those Latin words that you sort of know, even if you were lucky enough to attend a school which didn’t obstinately prioritise fluency in dead languages. It is incorporated in quite a few modern English words, most obviously ‘desperate’, or ‘de – sperate’, meaning literally ‘without hope’. Fortunately, although the times that AR Horvath is writing about may indeed be desperate, the quality of the writing itself is far from it.
These types of considerations drive me to paint a different picture of the current situation in America on the subject of abortion than normally presented. What if aiming at passage of pro-life legislation is only a small component of the solution? What if aiming to persuade people to a pro-life position is aiming too low? What if in fact we Christians should be focusing on creating more Christians and retaining the ones we’ve got?
A Christian does not believe, like the atheist, that he is god. A Christian understands that he is the product of a Creator and that Creator has the right and privilege of defining right and wrong and defining ‘personhood.’ A Christian knows that he cannot dispense with another person because it is inconvenient to someone or to a nation. All this comes in automatically once one adopts the Christian worldview. Even Christians who vote pro-choice don’t generally approve of abortion, generally, and would like it reduced.
“Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” GK Chesterton
I was thinking to myself how hard it is to be ‘good’ and how easy it is to be ‘bad.’ For the introspective nonChristian, especially in today’s day and age where great pains are expended to eliminate both concepts, that nagging voice of conscience is still quite audible. Have you ever actually tried to follow through on everything your own conscience demands? Never mind the words of an old book or the collective pronouncements of a bunch of religious wingnuts, what about your own conscience? Try to be entirely good, even by your own standards, for just a day. I think you will discover that it is extraordinarily difficult. But not living up to your standard is easy. So easy. Doesn’t this require an explanation that covers all the facts?
I am just a lone voice out in the wilderness, on the front lines between belief and unbelief, a scout if you will. I am reporting to you generals that that situation is dire, and worse, you are currently sending troops to fight over hills that the Enemy has long abandoned. You continue to defend the Maginot Line while the Enemy blitzkriegs right around it. The only difference is that the French knew they had been flanked, while you continue to face the troops east. They’ll be in Paris before you know it and I am convinced many leaders of the church will be shocked: “What? Didn’t we send reinforcements to our line of fortresses? How can this be?”
In the face of this counsel I have been accused of all sorts of things- legalism, self-righteousness, hubris, and even heresy. Well my friends, the proof is in the pudding. Barna has been warning us about this for some time and as the article above illustrates, he isn’t the only one.
Here is an excerpt of a blog entry I posted at the ChristianPost. It was probably a good time to poke the boys at Godisimaginary.com in the ribs, anyway. I know, cheap thrills.
In Judges 12, the Gileadites find a way to distinguish between friend and foe by compelling captured refugees to say the word ‘Shibboleth.’ Evidently, Ephraimites couldn’t pronounce it correctly, saying instead ‘Sibboleth.’ Those that said that latter were struck down while those who said the former were allowed to pass.
‘Shibboleths’ abound in society, including among Christians. Unfortunately, even among Christians, a Shibboleth isn’t simply a quick way to distinguish where a person stands in relation to you but is used in a manner akin to the Gileadite’s use, thankfully, of course, without the resulting slaughter.
In other words, Christianese is a Shibboleth in the ears of the nonBeliever. The moment you begin engaging in Christianese you are at risk of being dismissed or marginalized in the eyes of the person you are talking to.
The Internet is filled with skeptics and scoffers poking fun at various aspects of Christianity as though they were the substance of Christianity when in fact they are slogans and phrases that are more part and parcel of Christianese- how the things are communicated- rather than the actual substance of Christianity.
Atheists and secular humanists quite obviously argue that we humans are all alone and that humans themselves determine their worth, their value, their ‘intrinsic’ dignity. The problems with this ought to be self-evident but atheists are crafty folks. History reveals clearly that humans can change their minds about the ‘worth,’ ‘value,’ and ‘rights’ of humans (usually other humans). For example, the Nazis depersonalized the Jews with consequences I need not expand on. Atheistic communist regimes depersonalized dissidents and capitalists with consequences I need not expand on. The atheistic apologetic on the point is that actually this goes to show the dangers of ‘religion.’ For, you see, anyone who ever does anything nasty, no matter what their ideology, is, by definition, acting religiously. In this way, atheists can always keep their hands clean.
However, it misses the point. The fundamental point has to do with our basis for decrying what the Nazis and communists did. If humans themselves are the sole and final arbiters for determining and dictating human value then no one can complain about what humans decide. Oh sure, the do complain. But in doing so they betray the inconsistency of their position.
I am hereby issuing an open invitation to Christian apologists to upload their video content to my new site: http://www.apologeticsvideos.net
One of my chief goals in starting this site was to meet some of my own video sharing needs- namely, Youtube’s 10 minute video limit was killing me. 🙂
Henceforth, I will post all of my videos to Apologeticsvideos.net and if they are lucky enough to be under 10 minutes long, I will also upload them to Youtube.com.
Some questions you may be having:
Q. Can Christians other than Christian apologists post videos?
Q. Can atheists and nonChristians post videos?
A. Um. At this point I am going to tentatively say yes, but I reserve the right to change my mind.
Q. Can content be uploaded that has nothing to do with religion, philosophy, Christianity, etc, like for example using Mentos to blow up innocent pop bottles?
A. No. At least make some effort, even if scant and in passing, to make sure the content ‘fits’ the site.
All in all it was an interesting exchange. I thought his explanation for his disbelief confirmed what I’ve been saying for some time about the church actually creating atheists. In fact, let me take a minute to single out a correspondent from a church in Indiana- is that specific enough?- who recently complained about my ‘law’ posts attacking the state of the church and how we are transmitting the faith and just ask him: do you ever even talk to people who are not Christian? It must be nice to operate in a little bubble where you figured you did your job after you confirmed all the kids in your youth group but then 48 out of 50 of them fall away in college- and you hardly are aware and are happily willing to go on doing everything the same way you’ve always done it. Meanwhile, we apologists strive to clean up the mess. It is a mess made worse, often, I think, then if they had never been raised in the faith at all. (Matthew 12:43-45) Yes, if it’s law, it is a law message that you need to hear.
But I digress.
The conversation I had last night raised a number of lines of thoughts for me
This weekend I read one of the scariest things I have heard coming out of the Global Warming crowd. That is saying something. I have documented elsewhere on this blog some other things they’ve said, like comparing denying man-made Global Warming to denying the holocaust. This is so disgusting I almost sat down and wrote a book exposing the various principles at work in it but stopped when I thought of at least one that is already written: C.S. Lewis’s The Abolition of Man.
In summary, the London Times article references a certain Jonathon Porritt, a Global Warming burearucrat who reportedly says,
“I am unapologetic about asking people to connect up their own responsibility for their total environmental footprint and how they decide to procreate and how many children they think are appropriate,” Porritt said.
“I think we will work our way towards a position that says that having more than two children is irresponsible.
We knew it was coming: the accusation that my paraphrase was a strawman.
Indeed, virtually every aspect of my ‘paraphrase’ was reflected in the answers that spewed forth, from the hypersensitivity to perceived insults “lay off the ridicule” “that’s just arrogance” while barbs are flying from their own side “are you just some smart a– 12 year old kid who got a certificate in your local church “Defense of Christianity” Sunday School Class?” to the random ‘catch-all’ argument that proves atheism right, the smug reference to ‘ancient books’ such as “You base your thought process on a 1900+ year old set of desert scribblings.” Throw in the knee jerk attempt to force the theist to argue in the terms that the atheist himself is dictating, not the terms the theist is actually presenting, “what in the world does bible god have to do with the Big Bang?!? It is not in your bible, stop trying to hijack the BB theory and pretend that your god caused it.” Let’s not forget the constant ‘rebuttals’ that in fact we ‘don’t know’ and ‘can’t know’ from people who apparently are atheists, and not agnostics.
All these are variations of my paraphrasing.
I recently had a conversation with some gents that I thought I would paraphrase for my blog. I think I’ve had the same kind of conversation a dozen times in the last three months. I have combined all the conversations into one paraphrase. Enjoy.
Them: We believe science is the only way to learn about the world and religion is just faith-mongering superstition. There is no scientific basis for believing in the existence of God. Belief is just irrationalism. I know what you’re going to say. That there had to be something that has always existed. Why not the universe?
Me: Well, science says that the universe had a beginning. So I guess the universe can’t be the thing that has always existed. Surely that means we can explore other options.