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Israel – Good or Evil? Is the world confused?

April 14, 2011 Leave a comment
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Moral Relativism : Practical? Liveable? Threatening?

February 7, 2011 3 comments

How important is this issue? After all, it’s just philosophy, and philosophy is just ideas. But ideas have consequences. Sometimes these consequences are as momentous as a holocaust, or a Hiroshima. Sometimes even more momentous. Philosophy is just thought, but sow a thought, reap an act; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny. This is just as true for societies as it is for individuals.

Moral relativism usually includes three claims: That morality is first of all changeable; secondly, subjective; and third, individual. That it is relative first to changing times; you can’t turn back the clock. Secondly, to what we subjectively think or feel; there is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so. And thirdly, to individuals; different strokes for different folks. Moral absolutism claims that there are moral principles that are unchangeable, objective, and universal.

Here, two contributions to this topic are presented, that of Dr Peter Kreeft and the following video by Dr William Lane Craig.

Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day defined a good society as one that makes it easy for you to be good. Correlatively, a free society is one that makes it easy to be free. To be free, and to live freely, is to live spiritually, because only spirit is free—matter is not. To live spiritually is to live morally. The two essential properties of spirit that distinguish it from matter are intellect and will—the capacity for knowledge and moral choice. The ideals of truth and goodness. The most radical threat to living morally today is the loss of moral principles.

Moral practice has always been difficult for fallen humanity, but at least there was always the lighthouse of moral principles, no matter how stormy the sea of moral practice got. But today, with the majority of our mind-molders, in formal education, or informal education—that is, media—the light is gone. Morality is a fog of feelings. That is why to them, as Chesterton said, “Morality is always dreadfully complicated to a man who has lost all his principles.” Principles mean moral absolutes. Unchanging rocks beneath the changing waves of feelings and practices. Moral relativism is a philosophy that denies moral absolutes. That thought to me is the prime suspect—public enemy number one. The philosophy that has extinguished the light in the minds of our teachers, and then their students, and eventually, if not reversed, will extinguish our whole civilization. Therefore, I want not just to present a strong case against moral relativism, but to refute it, to unmask it, to strip it naked, to humiliate it, to shame it, to give it the wallop it deserves, as they say in Texas, America’s good neighbour to the south.

How important is the issue? The issue of moral relativism is merely the single most important issue of our age, for no society in all of human history has ever survived without rejecting the philosophy that I am about to refute. There has never been a society of relativists. Therefore, our society will do one of three things: either disprove one of the most universally established laws of all history; or repent of its relativism and survive; or persist in its relativism and perish.

How important is the issue? C.S. Lewis says, in The Poison of Subjectivism, that relativism “will certainly end our species and damn our souls.” Please remember that Oxonians are not given to exaggeration. Why does he say “damn our souls?” Because Lewis is a Christian, and he does not disagree with the fundamental teaching of his master, Christ, and all the prophets in the Jewish tradition, that salvation presupposes repentance, and repentance presupposes an objectively real moral law. Moral relativism eliminates that law, thus trivializes repentance, thus imperils salvation.

Why does he say, “end our species,” and not just modern Western civilization? Because the entire human species is becoming increasingly Westernized and relativized. It is ironic that America, the primary source of relativism in the world today, is also the world’s most religious nation. This is ironic because religion is to relativism what Dr. Van Helsing is to Count Dracula. Within America, the strongest opposition to relativism comes from the churches. Yet a still further irony, according to the most recent polls, Catholics are as relativistic, both in behavior and in belief, as non-Catholics. Sixty-two percent of Evangelicals say they disbelieve in any absolute or unchanging truths, and American Jews are significantly more relativistic and more secular than Gentiles. Only Orthodox Jews, the Eastern Orthodox, and Fundamentalists seem to be resisting the culture, but not by converting it, but by withdrawing from it. And that includes most Muslims, except for the tiny minority who terrorize it. When Pat Buchanan told us in 1992 that we were in a culture war, all the media laughed, sneered, and barked at him. Today, everyone knows he was right, and the culture war is most essentially about this issue.

See the links below for further detail on this argument against moral relativism.

1. Argument for Relativism:  Psychological
2. Argument for Relativism:  Cultural
3. Argument for Relativism:  Social Conditioning
4. Argument for Relativism:  Freedom
5. Argument for Relativism:  Tolerance
6. Argument for Relativism:  Situations

7. Argument for Absolutism:  Consequences
8. Argument for Absolutism:  Tradition
9. Argument for Absolutism:  Moral Experience
10. Argument for Absolutism:  Ad Hominem
11. Argument for Absolutism:  Moral Language

Postscript: Cause and Cure

Science : Implicitly Bound To Facts Beyond Suspicion?

November 22, 2010 Leave a comment

“A powerful riposte to atheist mockery and cocksure science, and to the sort of philosophy that surrenders to them. David Berlinski proceeds reasonably and calmly to challenge recent scientific theorizing and to expose the unreason from which it presumes to criticize religion.”
—Harvey Mansfield, Professor of Government, Harvard University

Militant atheism is on the rise. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens have dominated bestseller lists with books denigrating religious belief as dangerous foolishness. And these authors are merely the leading edge of a far larger movement–one that now includes much of the scientific community.

“The attack on traditional religious thought,” writes David Berlinski in The Devil’s Delusion, “marks the consolidation in our time of science as the single system of belief in which rational men and women might place their faith, and if not their faith, then certainly their devotion.”

A secular Jew, Berlinski nonetheless delivers a biting defense of religious thought. An acclaimed author who has spent his career writing about mathematics and the sciences, he turns the scientific community’s cherished skepticism back on itself, daring to ask and answer some rather embarrassing questions:

Has anyone provided a proof of God’s inexistence?
Not even close.

Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here?
Not even close.

Have the sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life?
Not even close.

Are physicists and biologists willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought?
Close enough.

Has rationalism in moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral?
Not close enough.

Has secularism in the terrible twentieth century been a force for good?
Not even close to being close.

Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy of thought and opinion within the sciences?
Close enough.

Does anything in the sciences or in their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational?
Not even ballpark.

Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt?
Dead on.

Berlinski does not dismiss the achievements of western science. The great physical theories, he observes, are among the treasures of the human race. But they do nothing to answer the questions that religion asks, and they fail to offer a coherent description of the cosmos or the methods by which it might be investigated.

This book explores the limits of science and the pretensions of those who insist it can be–indeed must be–the ultimate touchstone for understanding our world and ourselves.

David Berlinski is an American educator and author of several books on mathematics. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University and was later a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics and molecular biology at Columbia University. He has authored works on systems analysis, differential topology, theoretical biology, analytic philosophy, and the philosophy of mathematics, as well as three novels. He has also taught philosophy, mathematics and English at Stanford, Rutgers, the City University of New York and the Université de Paris. In addition, he has held research fellowships at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria and the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques.

“My Genes Made Me Do It”

November 9, 2010 Leave a comment

My Genes Made Me Do It, Homosexuality and the Scientific Evidence shows homosexuality is not inborn or biologically innate and that sexual orientation naturally undergoes huge change.

The book argues for a roughly 10%/90% nature/nurture effect in homosexuality while asserting that any genetic effect is very indirect eg: any physical characteristic making a person feel gender-atypical. The book shows that homosexual orientation is not biologically driven or fixed but that change toward heterosexuality frequently occurs naturally without any therapeutic interventions. It contains arguments not found elsewhere. Using orthodox science and summarising over 10,000 scientific publications and papers, it is nevertheless very accessible to the average reader.

The book is available for free (or to purchase) online at http://mygenes.co.nz

Contents:

Table of Contents
Introduction
Chapter 1. Can genes create sexual preferences?
Chapter 2. The genetic implications of SSA population percentage
Chapter 3. Are heterosexuals born that way?
Chapter 4. How strong are our instincts?
Chapter 5. What produces the sexual identity of intersexes?
Chapter 6. What do different cultures tell us about homosexuality?
Chapter 7. Pre-natal hormones? Stress? Immune attack?
Chapter 8. Are brains gay?
Chapter 9. The “discovery” of the “gay gene”
Chapter 10. Twin Studies: the strongest evidence
Chapter 11. Path Analysis – social factors do lead to homosexuality?
Chapter 12. Can sexual orientation change?
Summary
Index

Categories: Culture, Deception, Science

Child Brides Worldwide

November 1, 2010 Leave a comment

There is no need for commentary. The pictures & videos tell this story…

Mass Marriage in Gaza:

Debate on child marriage in Yemen:

Extracts from two videos below:

Pro-Hamas Broadcast:

Non-translated video footage:

Categories: Culture, Deception, News

Yoga, Mohler & his Mailbox

October 8, 2010 Leave a comment



Mohler’s title above – he touched on this topic and was quite shocked by the response. Note that stronger criticism starts more in the second interview. Click below to listen, or download MP3 here. The audio is well worth listening to if you have ever wondered about how compatible Yoga is with Biblical faith.

Quote from Mohler’s site:
Well, you never know what a day holds. This morning, Yahoo put the Associated Press story about my article on yoga on its front page. The rest, as they say, is history. My mail servers are exhausted. Messages have been coming in at a rate of about a hundred an hour. The first lesson — count the cost when you talk about yoga. These people get bent out of shape fast.

Today, Dylan Lovan of the Associated Press titled his story, “Southern Baptist Leader on Yoga: Not Christianity.” Well here is the appropriate next headline: “Christian Concerns About Yoga: Not News.” You would think that Christians had never asked the question before. To Lovan’s credit, he framed his story on the controversy that followed my original article, published back on September 20, “The Subtle Body — Should Christians Practice Yoga?.”

Lovan documents the controversy and quotes me as saying: “I’m really surprised by the depth of the commitment to yoga found on the part of many who identify as Christians.” Well, double or triple that now.

Here are the lessons I have learned thus far from the controversy:

1. I have received hundreds of emails and comments against my article from those identifying as Christians. Not one–not a single one–has addressed the theological and biblical issues. There is not even a single protest communication offering a theological argument.

2. Evidently, the statistics reported by the yoga community are right. This is a female dominated field of activity. More than 90 percent of the protest communications come from women.

3. Sadly, almost every protest email makes my point better than I ever could myself. I have heard endless claims that there is no incompatibility between yoga and Christianity because it makes people feel better, it helps spirituality, it is a better way to know God, etc. There is no embarrassment on the part of these hundreds of email writers that they are replacing biblical Christianity with a religion of their own invention.

4. The kind of thinking represented by this avalanche of emails is perfectly illustrated by the comments of Stephanie Dillon, a local yoga instructor here in Louisville who attends the best-known church in our area:

Stephanie Dillon, who has injected Christian themes into her studio in Louisville, said yoga brought her closer to her Christian faith, which had faded after college and service in the Army.

“What I found is that it opened my spirit, it renewed my spirituality,” Dillon said. “That happened first and then I went back to church.” Dillon attends Southeast Christian Church in Louisville and says many evangelical Christians from the church attend her yoga classes.

She said she prayed on the question of whether to mix yoga and Christianity before opening her studio, PM Yoga, where she discusses her relationship with Jesus during classes.

“My objection (to Mohler’s view) personally is that I feel that yoga enhances a person’s spirituality,” Dillon said. “I don’t like to look at religion from a law standpoint but a relationship standpoint, a relationship with Jesus Christ specifically.”

Now, in fairness to Ms. Dillon, she might have said or have meant to say more than is reported here, but taking her comments at face value, we see Exhibit A of the problem. She comments that yoga “renewed my spirituality,” with no reference to anything remotely Christian and Gospel-centered about this renewal. She insists that yoga “enhances a person’s spirituality” without any recognition that this is not what biblical Christianity is all about. But, she prayed before deciding “to mix yoga and Christianity,” so everything must be just fine.

5. I have heard from a myriad of Christians who insist that their practice of yoga involves absolutely no meditation, no spiritual direction, no inward concentration, and no thought element. Well, if so, you are simply not practicing yoga. You may be twisting yourselves into pretzels or grasshoppers, but if there is no meditation or direction of consciousness, you are not practicing yoga, you are simply performing a physical exercise. Don’t call it yoga.

6. We are in worse shape than we thought. I have heard from a myriad of souls who have called me insane, incompetent, stupid, vile, fundamentalist, and perverted. Some others are best left unrepeated. These souls claim to be Christian, but offer no biblical argument nor do they even acknowledge the basic fact that yoga, as a spiritual practice, runs directly counter to the spiritual counsel of the Bible. Instead, I have been treated to arguments like these. From a “devoted Southern Baptist church member who resents your ignorance”: I get much more out of yoga and meditation than I ever get out of a sermon in church. From “a Christian who goes to church every service”: My favorite image I use in yoga is that of Jesus assuming a perfect yoga position in the garden of Gethsemane as he prays. And, to cap it all off: How do we know that the apostles and early Christian guys did not use yoga to commune with Jesus after he left?

My email box is filling back up as we speak. This is going to be a very long day.

Categories: Apostasy, Biblical, Culture, Deception, History Tags:

Almost Christian

September 25, 2010 Leave a comment


A large-scale departure from a biblical understanding of what living as a follower of Jesus looks like in the lives of modern adults has brought about an epidemic of young people whose basic concept of religion is centered around a sense of enhancing their own, and others’ emotional well-being, which has almost created a new religion, though its “followers” still outwardly identify with the name of an existing religion. Kenda Creasy Dean, a professor at Princeton’s theological seminary, published a book called  Almost Christian: What the Faith of our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church that explores the emerging ramifications of the lack of passion and faith in God in previous generations.  This book is based on the National Study of Youth and Religion by Christian Smith and Melinda Denton which gave this new religion the name of moralistic therapeutic deism:

As described by Smith and his team, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism consists of beliefs like these:

1. “A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.”

2. “God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.”

3. “The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.”

4. “God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.”

5. “Good people go to heaven when they die.”

These recent studies testify to the fruit that decades of a consumer-driven, therapy mentality have brought into our churches.  Dr. Michael Brown’s books, How Saved Are We and The End of the American Gospel Enterprise, point to a very similar attitude that was already entrenched in the American Church over twenty years ago:

The American Church at the end of the twentieth century is experiencing a crisis. For years we have preached a cheap gospel and peddled a soft Savior. We have taught salvation without self-denial and the crown without the cross. We have catered to the unsaved and compromised with the world. Now we are paying the price.  (How Saved Are We.)

Our contemporary gospel has bred complacency instead of compassion, success instead of sacrifice, prestige instead of prayer.  We no longer ask what we can do for Him, but rather what He can do for us.  (American Gospel Enterprise.)

Dean says there are four things that deeply religious teenagers, whose faith affects their day to day lives have in common:

Dean says committed Christian teens share four traits: They have a personal story about God they can share, a deep connection to a faith community, a sense of purpose and a sense of hope about their future.

Recapturing a passionate, articulate faith in teenagers and young people requires not simply a new “method” to reach them, but rather a revitalization of faith and devotion in the day-to-day living of adults.  According to Dean,

Since the religious and spiritual choices of American teenagers echo, with astonishing clarity, the religious and spiritual choices of the adults who love them, lackadaisical faith is not young people’s issues, but yours… So we must assume that solution lies…in modeling the kind of mature, passionate faith we say we want young people to have… We have successfully convinced teenagers that religious participation is important for moral formation and for making nice people… Yet these young people possess no real commitment to or excitement about religious faith.

What is the one thing that truly differentiates faith from religion?  Dean says this:

Faith is a matter of desire, a desire for God and and a desire to love others in Christ’s name…Love gives Christianity its purpose and meaning.  Religion functions as an organized expression of belief… Yet Christianity has always been more of a trust-walk than a belief system…Faith depends on who we follow, and that depends on who we love.

John Wesley, whom Dean quotes, experienced in his own life a time when he called himself “almost a Christian,” while living with the same kind of approach many do today:

I did…good to all men; constantly and carefully using all the public and all the private means of grace…and…doing all this in sincerity… Yet my own conscience beareth me witness in the Holy Ghost, that all this time I was but almost a Christian... The great question of all, then, still remains.  Is the love of God shed abroad in your heart?  Can you cry out, “My God, and my All”?… Is he your glory, your delight, your crown of rejoicing?

Another crucial question is this: how can we experience this passionate love of God if we have not seen the man Jesus tortured, bleeding, dying, and abandoned because of the depths of sin in our own hearts?  The only true knowledge of the incredible love of God that evokes such devotion can come through a changed heart which has been wrung by a deep conviction of sin and repentance, and has seen the cost God afflicted on Himself in order to rescue us from the power of sin and bring us into fellowship with Himself.

Dr. Michael Brown reviewed the first few chapters of Almost Christian on his Line of Fire Radio show, and here is a quote from his closing remarks:

We are fundamentally off: with much of our preaching, with much of our emphasis…we’ve been in the wrong direction for years. We have soft-peddled the gospel, we have by-passed the cross.  We haven’t preached a faith which is glorious and wonderful, and a savior who is so extraordinary, who delivers us from a wrath which is so terrible, that we JOYFULLY give up everything to have Him!

Changed hearts in the church as a whole is the only way to see the transformation that so many adults in the church have said they desire to see in their children, as Dr. Brown stated in The Jesus Manifesto:

The dawning of the 21st century finds the church of America in a moral and spiritual crisis. Decades of self-centered living and worldliness have taken their toll. Years of compromise and toothless gospel preaching have had their effect. And now we have reached the moment of truth: Either we wake up, stand up, speak up, and act up, or we run the risk of becoming a mere historic curiosity, an irrelevant religious sideshow, an entertaining, harmless spectacle. Something must change, and it must change now. There is no other choice.

Original review here.

Categories: Apostasy, Biblical, Culture, Deception Tags:
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