The mainstream media refuses to cover this story because it shows abortion for what it is; infanticide, or baby murder. The story at the following link is indeed graphic. Swallow it, folks, this is what abortion has wrought.
Category Archives: Religion and Politics
As a philosophy instructor I’ve of course learned and taught about Ayn Rand, but only recently have I really looked at her, as a person, instead of “just” the philosophy she adopted as her own and presented to the public. Ayn had a lot of interesting philosophies, and many of those philosophies have a place in our current society, and could even be embraced by Christians; however, Ayn also had many personal and psychological issues that get in the way of her own philosophy.
Contrary to Ayn’s own apparent belief, her philosophy had been around for thousands of years before she was born; her objectivism wasn’t so much a new philosophy, as it was a mix of philosophies that could be found in the annals of philosophy that came before her. She also lacked a logical basis for her philosophy, though that idea would insult her very much.
First, a run down of what “objectivism” is, according to Ayn. Objectivism is espoused to be an answer to subjectivism. Objectivists like Ayn believe that our senses actually and accurately inform us about reality. Human logic stands in for God (which is an illogical position that I’ll address later); meaning Ayn believed that human reason alone could result in absolutes. For example, we can rationally conceive of a morality totally defined via human reason and have it be absolute.
One of the hallmarks of Ayn’s morality was the idea of selfishness; that selfishness is morally right. She was fond of bashing (and misunderstanding) altruism, as well as Christianity. And, the one big thing we’ve heard recently because of the state of our economy and country; she pushed for laissez-faire capitalism with extraordinarily limited gov’t interference in the business world.
Ayn’s philosophies never caught on in any academic sphere. One reason; she disliked academics, so there was her strike against the liberals. She disliked religion and denied there was a God, so there was her strike against the conservatives. She effectively cut off both routes to respect and implementation of her philosophies (this is important because one reason she wrote what she did when she did was to try to change the directions of the U.S.). While her philosophies are popular amongst college/high school students, it is her stories that are popular amongst the “common folk” whom she often complained did not understand the deeper implications of her work.
Surprisingly enough, Ayn was anti-feminist and anti-homosexual, finding both positions to be immoral and disgusting. She had odd ideas about sex and sexuality that are apparent just by reading her fiction stories. To be a “good” objectivist was to believe that it was the man’s place to be worshiped, and a woman’s place to be submissive and to be owned. Authors tend to write themselves into certain characters and by reading Ayn’s descriptions of her female characters, we can see a common thread that is both sad and disturbing. I intend to take a look at this in my next blog post as well as discussing her take on altruism and morality.
There’s a lot going on within Christianity today. God seems to be working overtime shaking things up, denying anyone a status-quo , making sure believers know what they believe and why. It has much to do with our relationship with each other as believers. I honestly believe that one of the things becoming clearer and clearer to me is that internal politics, hierarchy, and egotism have no part to play in Christianity amongst believers.
As always, definitions first, and thank-you to Dictionary.com. Politics: 1) the science or art of political government. The politics I’m talking about here are formal politics; the control and manipulation in a hierarchical setting of the individual members of an organization. Hierarchy: 1) any system of persons or things ranked one above another. Notice in this definition that the emphasis is on a ranking “one above another.” Egotism: 1) excessive and objectionable reference to oneself in conversation or writing; conceit; boastfulness. 2) selfishness; self-centeredness; egoism.
I hope, dear reader, that you are starting to get a sense of my point. The idea of hierarchy is addressed several times in scripture. The apostles themselves were not originally above jockeying for position, fighting amongst themselves to see who was the preeminent disciple. Jesus made His point even more clear by stooping physically to wash the feet of his friends and disciples. There is no “above” position in the body of Christ, besides Christ being the head of the church, and also the foundation. We are to serve one another even while we, as individuals, are called to certain positions. We are indeed called to different things; preachers, teachers, evangelists, deacons, elders, etc… but these things are organic to the body, not hierarchical in nature…I should say, “these things SHOULD be organically understood, not hierarchical.”
Listen to Peter: 1 Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
Christ is clearly the cornerstone, and we are all stones of the same house, we are all a holy priesthood. One has to watch, in any church, a hierarchical structure that places one “type” of believer over another, whether it be a protestant church such as Lutheran, UMC, etc… or the Roman church system with the Pope, cardinals, etc… that are over, and “ordained” above the other believers in Christ. The actual, biblical positions mentioned in scripture are ones of servitude, even the “teaching” positions. Even “servants” are not “below” other members, but rather we are all on the same level and should lean on one another and rely on each other.
1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: 25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
Notice the context of these passages; they are about Spiritual gifts; the emphasis is on the fact that we are all part of the body of Christ, each important. When there is emphasis on position, the emphasis is on the gift, NOT the person. Again, notice it talks of coveting the best gifts, not coveting the position. Why? Because the better gifts serve the whole body. Formal hierarchy, such as we see in secular circles that have invaded church consciousness, separates the “leaders” from the rest of the people. Hence, formal hierarchy breeds politics, and a quest for power within whatever system is set up.
Egotism is also rampant in the church amongst leaders and members both. There is this odd emphasis on certain “famous” individuals instead of on the message. Joel Osteen, Rick Warren and the like are the focus of news stories, books, TV shows, etc… The Pope gets the attention in the Roman church. There is a centering on the self. What kind of floors me is the fact that we still have people struggling to make a name for themselves by finding the next gimmick or the next new marketing tool…there is nothing new under the sun. Pastors out there desire not just to teach the flock the Truth from scripture, but a truth that no one has ever discovered, something they can pat themselves on the back about. Also, there is a horrible trend of the leadership totally abandoning humility, and also self-awareness. It can become easy for the leadership to play the “I’m a better Christian” game.
There is just as much egotism amongst the congregants of many churches. Legalism, backstabbing, gossiping, judgmentalism, etc… springs from pride. Our call is to love God and love one another; in fact Christ is clear that when the world sees these things they will know we are HIS disciples. If we have not love, we are clanging symbols. Love doesn’t boast, it isn’t proud or self-serving. Love serves others, and focuses on God. If Christ is to be our ultimate role model, isn’t that what we see most in Him? Love God, Love our neighbors. Servant-hood. Brotherhood. Egotism picks at people, it constantly says, “I could do better than so-and-so” with pride and very little action, if any.
This is by NO means a call to a social gospel, or a call for churches not to have pastors or church boards; it is a call to view it all a little bit different. How much momentum is lost by all the gossip, infighting, playing politics, and competition in our churches? Isn’t that a sad thing? Supporting one another, learning together, praying for one another in sincerity (not fake one-upsmanship), focusing on the word and on God, worshiping together, studying together, eating together… If anyone here thinks I’m putting myself above all this; I’m not, I need to hear this type of thing and to read scripturally accurate articles and sermons about such too. I do believe we’ve been given a lot to think about by what is happening across Christendom, so let’s think about it, pray about it, pray for one another, search scripture, and discuss it with kindness and humility!
1 Corinthians 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. 6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. 7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
I talked briefly about Religion and politics in an earlier blog post. This time I want to shift the conversation to God and politics. Many people have reacted in one of two ways to the outcome of the election; with great joy or with great sadness.
Regardless of our personal feelings, there is one thing to always keep in mind; God is in control. Ultimately it is His will that indeed will be done, and He does influence and move certain individuals and nations at certain times to see that His will is carried out (ex: Romans 13).
Now, that in no way means that we are to follow a civil law or command that goes against our Christian faith or belief; there is plenty of scripture quite to the contrary(ex: Acts 5:29). However, we all know that even when Satan, or even just human folly places the wrong person in a position of power, God can enter into all things to turn it to good.
In history, there have even been those enemies of Israel that God did indeed use for His own purposes. Even those that set themselves against God and His people can and will be a part of His will.
So, either way; if God chose the next president and put him in that position, or if other forces were in play, God will indeed bend the present, and history to His use, it is all in His control. As always we are told to fret not, and also that regardless of person positive or negative feelings that God’s will is what is important, and that we should all pray that it be carried out here in our current lives.
This post was meant for yesterday; on September 11th, but due to the weather knocking out my wireless, I’m posting it today. I believe the delay on my part was meant to be, because that delay made me realize my own point; we cannot forget what happened on September 11th, even when it is not the anniversary of that day.
People have psychological defense mechanisms for good reason; they help us cope with life. One of those mechanisms is repression. We can push thoughts aside that cause us pain, or distraction. Sometimes, though, it is helpful to override that mechanism for important issues; and the attack on our country on September 11th is one such issue.
We must never forget it, never become complacent, and never forget for an instant that there are those who wish to do this type of thing again. I do not advocate fear; far from it. We just have to have common sense, and a memory…
vid by Madgoat1621 over on youtube
It’s been a while since I gave a miniature logic lesson, so today I thought I’d talk about Euphemisms and Dysphemisms. Rhetorical devices, and rhetoric in general, are often employed to try to “slant” the hearer’s or reader’s perspective on something. Remember, rhetoric employs psychological or emotionally persuasive language, without giving an actual reason for a conclusion.
Euphemisms and Dysphemisms are two rhetorical devices that are quite common. A Euphemism is a “positive” spin; it takes a word, phrase, or concept and makes it sound either neutral or more positive. For example, we spin “death” and “died” more positive or neutral by phrases like, “bought the farm,” or “he’s pushing up daisies.” Car dealerships no longer sell “used cars” they sell “pre-owned vehicles.”
On a more serious note, you can see it in politics, and political situations. I once saw a news cast about a band of militia in some country where there was an uprising, within about fifteen minutes, three different people were interviewed; to one person the militia was referred to as a group of “freedom fighters.” The next person interviewed referred to them as “guerrillas” and the final person referred to them as “terrorists.” Three different words evoking different emotional and psychological reactions within the hearer.
That brings me to dysphemisms; they are the “negative” slant. So in the above example, the “freedom fighter” phrase would be a euphemism, and the “terrorist” phrase would be a dysphemism, just as an example. Notice that the phrased could be considered accurate as long as the idea or word in question truly meets the definition of those words; for example, there is a time and a place to truly label someone a terrorist, as long as the definition is truly met.
Also, just because they are rhetorical devices doesn’t mean you can dismiss whatever argument that they are used in out of hand; it is just important to note that people do use terms to sway hearers’/readers’ emotions as that is a part of being a critical thinker.
How does this apply to the Christian, or Christian Apologist’s POV? There are a lot of dysphemisms that non-believers employ…oftentimes just to insult, or try to get a rise out of Christians. One of the more popular ones in this day and age amongst atheists online, for whatever reason, is labeling Christianity a “death cult.” How is this a dysphemism? Because it employs emotionally and psychologically charged language, and has no evidence to back it up, and in fact, the evidence clearly contradicts the label.
Be on the lookout for these two rhetorical devices, and even look up some more examples so that you can more easily spot when someone is attempting to sway you with words…and remember that words do indeed have power to get people to react. This is something that politicians have known for a long long time; we will surely get treated to many examples of euphemisms/dysphemisms in the upcoming presidential election coverage; especially at the conventions.
Religion and politics; they are both hot topics, even separately they are two areas that stimulate a large amount of discussion but when you mix ‘em together…whoa buddy, just watch out.
I observed a particular point-of-view that I found highly interesting after watching Jesus Camp, a documentary that followed a group of kids to an evangelical Christian summer camp. After watching the movie, I knew people online would be all over it, in terms of discussion, so I looked up a discussion board, and sure enough everyone was getting worked up talking about it. Amongst all the discussion, there was a group of people from the liberal side of the aisle who were horrified that people would let their religious beliefs influence which candidates or laws they would or would not vote for…scandalous I know.
There was an odd undercurrent of thought that if people voted their religious morals, then we’d magically turn into a Theocracy…showing that the slippery slope fallacy is alive and well. What baffled me was the seeming lack of acknowledgment that we live in a republic and that we (at least used to) take democracy quite seriously. That means we get to attempt to elect people that will represent us in government. They were also making an odd fuss over “legislating morality.” Folks, we legislate morality all the time, that’s why we have laws against things like murder, theft, and rape…
I can understand why someone might be upset by this, because maybe their view might not be represented…well, yes, that’s why people need to get out and vote, as well as to make their voices heard to their representatives in the different levels of government. So, anyway, I filed this type of thought away for further analyzing, thinking that it would be a liberal gripe because of its religious nature. Fast forward about a year and I’m discussing various laws from a religious perspective with some fellow Christian conservatives, and wouldn’t you know it, the same line of reasoning cropped up, only in a different form. Turns out that there are some conservatives out there that do indeed think you should vote with your religious based morals as long as your thoughts on various laws line up with their thoughts, if not, all bets are off.
For the laws they like, oh, say, the death penalty…one that perhaps other Christians don’t support, all of a sudden they use the argument that God enters in and has set up rulership over others to keep the peace, work out His divine plan, etc… (which I believe) and we shouldn’t try to shift things too much…you know, like voting the way you feel lead to as a Christian. I pointed out that the law of our land also says things like abortion is legal, so, should we not try to change that? For some reason, no one wanted to touch that with a ten foot pole. Yes, God sets up certain national leaders and directs history, no doubt about it. But, He also lays a charge on us as individuals to be responsible within our own situations and cultures, and He happened to bless the USA with a representative republic…doesn’t that mean that it too is a part of His plan that we get to vote how we feel lead to in this great country of ours, even if my opinion on a law is different than yours?
Should we vote our religious convictions? Can we vote our religious convictions? I would think the answer to those questions would be obvious… I vote “Yes,” to both.