I posted a blog entry at the Christian Post recently. The reported death of Bin Laden generated crowds of people on the street wrapped in American flags and cheering. A casual look at the reaction to this reaction revealed to me that many people shared my apprehension with such a response. Different reasons for the …
I fear that this post is going to be construed as sexist. Let me assure the reader that I love women. Some of my best friends are women. In fact, I’m even married to one (and she is not a pillow). People have noted that the female characters in my Birth Pangs series are really strong, independent ladies. But I think I’m still going to be called a sexist.
I had the misfortune to see the movie Twilight this weekend with my wife. I had heard that it was a chick flick. That’s not the misfortunate part. The misfortune consisted in it being, in my estimation, a poorly made movie. Maybe the book is better. It wasn’t a surprise exactly but after the movie was over I asked my wife what she thought and she liked the movie. I asked why and she said something to the effect of the guy showing complete and utter devotion to the girl in the show.
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).
In light of what I have said above it may come as a surprise that I have a very high view of science. But it’s true. I believe that you need the right tool for the job and in many cases that tool is empirical scrutiny. But other jobs require other tools and no hemming and hawwing will change that. For some jobs a hammer, for others a screwdriver and others, pliers. You may have found that sometimes one gets lucky- a screwdriver is best for screws but at last resort a hammer did the trick. But try changing your lightbulb with a hammer and tell me how that goes. 😉
Let the hammer pound nails and the screwdriver drive screws and air compressor pump up the tire: the right tool for the job, and be wary of anyone who insists on using just one tool for all jobs, and watch out especially if they don’t want anyone looking over their shoulder while they are ‘at work’ and even berate you for suggesting other approaches.
So you see, either way you go, either rejecting the existence of the Christian God or accepting it, the atheist possesses some sort of moral standard by which to measure the conduct of God and the terms he lays out. But I find this all very ironic. After all, the whole point of disgust has to do with people being eternally punished by God and how unfair and indecent that is but when it is pointed out that the Bible further describes this eternal punishment as an eternal separation from God (relationally), shut out from his presence forever, they are not satiated? I mean, isn’t that what they wanted? If God turns out to be real and they hate him so much don’t they actually want there to be something like ‘hell’ where God will leave them to their own devices?
Yes it is. Here you see one of those classic “there is no pleasing them” scenarios. Even if there is a God they don’t like him and would rather in that case spend eternity separate from him, but when that actual opportunity is presented to them from the same texts they reject God as being unloving and Christianity (and religion in general) as fear mongering. Dudes. You’re getting what you want. Why complain?
Of course, we Christians understand that getting what you want isn’t all it is cracked up to be.
Orthodox Christianity holds that God is both a transcendent entity and immanent. If you understand what Christians propose to be true about God, you understand why both attributes follow necessarily. All religions boil down to some expression of one of these two attributes, usually to the exclusion of one to the other. Deism, for example, emphasizes transcendence and despises immanence. Various forms of paganism emphasize immanence, that is they identify ‘God’ with the universe and reject that there is a God ‘outside’ it. Even atheism takes a position here: naturalism is just another variation on immanence and ‘God’ is just another label for the ‘universe.’
Christianity insists that God is both transcendent and immanent.
At any rate, there are some implications of this and I think it would be helpful to understand some arguments regarding Christian theism. I can begin with by trotting out the old ‘Can God create a rock that he cannot lift or move?’ line. The contention is that if God is all powerful he should be able to do this but in doing so he would simultaneously undermine his own omnipotence. Most of the time this is answered by pointing out that some statements are just nonsense and God’s omni-characteristics do not require him to be able to achieve the nonsensical. To understand how this is nonsensical we might take on the next line in this attack, “Can God make a round square?” We see in this case that what is involved is simply definitional. If round is properly and consistently defined and asked to apply to a square, also properly and consistently defined, then the request is nonsensical. Something doesn’t become reasonable just because you insert ‘Can God’ in front of it.
I suppose a lot of you have already heard about this new advertising campaign? The purpose of the campaign is to “to plant a seed of rational thought and critical thinking and questioning in people’s minds.” If they succeed, they will initiate a wave of conversions to Christianity. Why? Check out the slogan:
Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness sake!
Any rational person will immediately ask himself just how one knows what ‘good’ is, anyway.
The Obama victory offers us a grand opportunity. Let’s face it, Obama can make the matter only slightly worse, at least in the near term. We are all already acclimated to a world in which a million unborn children die each year in America alone. For so long we pursued legislative means to change this and as legitimate and as important as these efforts were, and are, legislative efforts are successful by persuading more individuals to support your views then there are against them. This individual persuasion is the area where the ultimate solution lies and the area that has chiefly been lacking.
The dreadful reality is that we are always only a moment away from the collapse of civilization. We act as though we have a right to peace and security, prosperity and plenty. We do not. It is true that we had peace and prosperity in large part because of our Christian heritage. This is a blessing, not a right. It was a gift, not an inevitability. And it never was the case that it could substitute the church acting out in a Love so fierce and noble that none could mistake it for something other than supernatural.
At the very least, then, Mr. Curtis has faith in reason. As do I. But I understand that reason brings us always to a point of decision where the consequences of that decision might conceivably be other than we suppose. It is always possible that even after a thousand times my chair will break. Technically, it is even possible that all of the atoms will align and I’ll simply pass through it. Yet I sit. Likewise, faith in God is not simply the belief that there is a God, but rather trust in God. Whether or not that is a reasonable trust or an unreasonable one is a separate question but at least let us acknowledge that faith as the Christians present it is not only compatible with reason, but essential when it comes to acting on reason.
So last night was the season opener for the NBC series Heroes. Am I the only person left scratching his head? I had hoped that the series would start making sense again but instead it seems to have become even more convoluted. I want to enjoy the show but there is just way too much …
More than 60% of Californian voters affirmed that marriage meant what it has traditionally meant in virtually all places at all times. Judges came in discovered somehow that this determination was unconstitutional. If words mean anything at all, if you are a homosexual activist and you are honest you must admit that there is absolutely no basis for that determination.