Monday, November 23, 2015

Love By Itself Does Not QUITE Conquer Everything

Some Christians, although they are not at all cowards where facing death is concerned, are in a sense afraid of ever having to TAKE SIDES in any conflict. As regards the present worldwide crisis of Islamic aggression, they maintain that literally NOTHING is required BUT loving the terrorists, forgiving them and praying for them, "just like Jesus and His Apostles." Yet there is a distinction between our situation and the first Christian century.                                                                                                                                                                  
  When the Apostles and other first-generation disciples went forth to proclaim the good news, although it was a cruel pagan world they faced, NOT ABSOLUTELY EVERY PERSON THEY EVER MET was dedicated specifically to a program of killing Christians. By contrast, Islamic terrorist forces ARE consciously dedicated to killing Christians, along with killing Jews and other non-Muslims. Try telling a fanatical Sharia enforcer that you love him and forgive him, and he will just laugh at you and murder you -- not necessarily in that order. Then he will keep right on waging jihad, not the least bit troubled in his deadened conscience.                                                                                                    
There has to be some DEFENSE against the expanding Muslim empire, or else we will simply all get killed off before we can reach even one Muslim in a thousand with the gospel of Jesus.

Monday, November 2, 2015

The Book Review That Never Got Written

  I keep having to explain things again, because so many people just want to go on believing what makes them _feel_ good. For some of my fellow Christians, the dirty secret is that they actively _desire_ to feel superior to, and angry at, non-Christians generally. Accordingly, they _want_ the first chapter of Romans to have the most relentless application conceivable, so they can say to _every_ unbeliever: "You really _know_ I'm right, you're just being stubborn because you're so evil!"

But part of the answer to this is looking them in the face, always _has_ been looking them in the face, even if they can't read Paul's original Greek text. Romans one speaks of people turning homosexual in a way EQUALLY AS UNIVERSAL-SOUNDING as the part about clearly seeing God's presence in creation. Therefore, if all non-Christians everywhere are already _fully_ aware of God's existence, then it is _equally_ true that absolutely every non-Christian in the world, with NO exceptions ever, is a practicing homosexual.

Add to this the fact that *I* did not "always really know" God was real. As a boy, I was cast adrift, left to _wonder_ every night whether there was a God or not, whether death was total annihilation or not. I laugh bitterly at smug evangelists who claim to know what they're talking about when they say that ALL unbelievers fear death specifically because they know they deserve God's judgment. *I* was afraid that there _wasn't_ any God to do any judging. Because I had this experience before coming to know Jesus, I can communicate with lost people who are as I was in that respect.

None of this, however, is meant to say that there _aren't_ plenty of unbelievers resisting truth! People who are aware of God and just don't want to obey Him are obvious enough; but there are also people who exist in the zone of uncertainty, and _become_ dishonest by insisting that there _isn't_ any reliable truth to be found. It could be plain laziness, a wish not to be obligated to search out the truth.

I have the impression that writer Anne LaMott is a case of this. A while back, I picked up a copy of her book "Plan B: Further Thoughts On Faith." I had in mind reviewing it in depth, but real life just has not _allowed_ me to have time for every such project I would like to have carried out. So all I can do is say what her attitude _seems_ to be, based on the small amount of her book that I found time to read.

Without passing any definite verdict on Mizzzzzz LaMott, I believe that she is one who prefers not to believe that there could be some firm, authoritative doctrine already available to be followed. She says vague things about God in her book, notably saying she isn't sure whether to call God a He, a She, or an It. If she believed Jesus to be God Incarnate and therefore infallible, she would realize that He would not have lied to us about God's nature. That is to say, Jesus would not have _called_ God "Father" if there _hadn't_ been something about God's nature which made it appropriate to call Him a Him.

So, at best, Anne LaMott is not Biblically sound. But I really can't say _how_ far estranged she is from the facts of God's Word. She might be starting from a point of extenuating ignorance, and actually be slowly moving _toward_ a saving knowledge of Jesus. Maybe someone else will critique "Plan B" in my stead. I simply do not have the time for that job -- nor even the _space_ in my cluttered house to keep my copy of her book. It is about to become recycled paper, but this does not mean that I feel any hatred for her.                                             

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Vandalism By Diversity

When a vandal draws mustaches on paintings, he doesn't need to use any imagination. It was the artists who did all the work of creating unique portraits; the vandal can simply make the same defacing movement for each and every picture. Yet the vandal chooses to delude himself that somehow he is being clever.    

That's how it is with those who "vandalize" God's design for human affections. God did the work of creating a system which would actually function, a system upon which whole viable societies could be built. Those who deny God's design don't have to make the effort (really impossible anyway) to create an alternative system which would work equally well; they can simply contradict God, over and over, like drawing mustaches over and over, and choose to agree among themselves that they are being clever.        

The world of live-stage theater in America has long been heavily populated with moral anarchists who want to deny God's plan. So they do deny it, over and over; but no matter how many times they make the exact same denial, they compulsively insist that their LATEST redundant denial is "a daring breakthrough." Recently in Denver, a theater company produced a musical play titled "My Mother's Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding." The same old thing, denying the real God and His natural order YET AGAIN as pop culture has been denying it for most of my lifetime; but the newspaper announcing the show predictably called the play "unusual." It was in fact just one more superfluous mustache scrawled over God's artwork, identical in spirit to the other defacings.                                                                                                                          

It will of course be argued that fiction or drama about normal relationships must be many times more overdone and redundant than fiction or drama that praises deviancy. But normal relationships are many times MORE NECESSARY to humanity than chaotic "alternatives," and so are that much more worthy to be depicted. I say this as one who believes in cutting all possible slack for sexually abnormal persons, as when a woman goes lesbian because men raped her and left her literally unable to feel any desire for a male. But the mustache-drawing vandals are not about merely making allowances for hard cases; they are about fighting to destroy ALL standards everywhere, so that they personally can either feel good about their own crazy self-indulgence, or be LIKED BY other persons who are crazy and self-indulgent.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

On The "Einstein's God" Facebook Page

  I commented on this group's atheistic mission statement. What I said was:
   This is "a place to question religious belief systems." There is an implied presupposition here -- admittedly justified in many cases -- that persons with a supernatural faith must _never_ have questioned it before. But in my own case, I _wasn't_ raised in any faith. My arrival at Christian beliefs was the _result_ of questioning, of questioning the agnostic views I had been living by.                  

God-believers are constantly accused of self-deception; but I can attest that self-deception _precedes_ any organized religion. All of us are born hard-wired with a tendency to believe what we want to believe; this does not just suddenly appear _when_ some faith-system is presented to us.            
While I was in second grade, completely devoid then of any supernatural dogma, I had a lot of difficulty with arithmetic. It was embarrassing to me; I didn't _want_ to believe that I was inferior in mental ability to the other children. Therefore, with my little ego uber alles, I tried to _make_ myself believe that the teacher was "against" me. I tried to believe that she was secretly _giving_ answers to all the other children, so that _only_ I would be baffled, and _only_ I would look stupid.                              
I didn't need to go to a Sunday school to learn how to be delusional. I had a built-in readiness to fool myself. And the very fact that this instinct of automatic self-justification exists in people is _part_ of the reason why the doctrine of "sin" makes sense to me now. In my agnostic years I, as much as anyone supporting this group, would have insisted that I already was "good without a god." This bias toward believing in my own rightness was as blind and stubborn as anything you could point to in churches. And as a skeptic, I had a convenient advantage: I could simply _choose_ to believe that _whatever_ sort of behavior I felt like doing anyway, _was_ the enlightened, highly-evolved moral code I was living by.                                          
It's easy to say that one is morally consistent when one is allowed to make up one's own rules. Like hitting a golf ball, _digging_ a hole wherever it happens to fall, and then _claiming_ to have scored a hole-in-one. But how many of us, if hearing that a business firm or government agency is accused of corruption, will trust that firm or agency to "investigate" _itself_ without answering to any outside authority?                                                                                
I did not become a Christian without first spending years thinking about matters like this. And I do give this group credit for having politely invited my comments on a previous occasion. _Anyone_ can scoff, but anyone _should_ be willing to consider that the scoffing might prove no more honest than the thing scoffed at.                                                                                                    

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ducklings and Gay "Marriage"

It is a widespread human behavior to say to oneself, "I desire this outcome, therefore _every_ argument, no matter how bogus, is brilliant wisdom if it helps me to _reach_ the outcome I want." Persons of all groups and persuasions can be guilty of this willful self-deception; but NOT EVERYONE, at any given time period, can rely on the popular culture to _support_ his or her self-deception. And every adult who pays the slightest attention to the real world knows that _currently_ it is the social-political left that enjoys a green light for its delusions and mind-games.                                  

In the present Supreme Court case of Self-Serving Redefinition versus Actual Biology, the homosexual faction has advanced an argument about the childhood experience of emotional bonding. They say (approximate quote, addressing the opposition): "You have said that only opposite-sex couples can provide bonding to children, but that is not true. Same-sex couples  can also provide bonding." This line will be wildly applauded by advocates of "marriage equality" (which is itself an intentionally deceptive term). Knowing themselves to be the ones now in favor with pop culture, they will call persons like me "homophobes" if we dare to contradict their sacred doctrine; but no matter how stridently they deny it, there IS a flaw in their argument. It is a flaw of willful omission.

Infants of _every_ warm-blooded animal species need protection and care if they are to survive to maturity. Because of this, bird and mammal  infants have an instinct which _tells_ them that they need to be with a caregiver. Their instinct, however, does not give them detailed information about what is the _best_ possible bonding for them.  If newly-hatched baby ducklings see a human being before they see anything else, they will _assume_ this human being to be their Mommy, and they will follow the human around. If the human in question is willing to take care of the ducklings, they obviously are better off than if they were left on their own to be devoured by the first carnivore that found them. But although some bonding is better than no bonding, this doesn't mean that being with an actual mother duck would not have been the optimum situation for the ducklings.

At this point, gays may shriek, "That's hate speech! You're saying that gay parents aren't even the same _species_ as heterosexual parents!" But in this as in so many things, the gays will be mistaken. Most analogies are only partially applicable, used only for illustration. My illustration about animals was only to show that a baby's absolute need for connection is no guarantee that the connection which occurs will be the best of all possible connections. Now to address the issue more directly.

Many of us cultural conservatives have said long before now that we _realize_ that gay caregivers may genuinely love children, and genuinely wish to do them good. But _anyone's_ feelings of love and goodwill for others will be affected by _what_ the person believes IS good for others. And whenever you've got "two mommies" or "two daddies," they _will_ choose to believe that there _cannot_ be anything about homosexuality which is detrimental to the children. So they will close their eyes to a reality which, again, many of us have pointed out.

"Children learn what they live." Liberals themselves will repeat this when it suits them; but they don't want us to consider what it means in _this_ context. If a boy is raised by two lesbians, his very _life_ with them will tend to make him  expect that women will have no use for him when he grows up. If a girl is raised by two gay men, her very _life_ with them will tend to make her expect that men will have no use for her when she grows up. If a boy is raised by two gay men, his very _life_ with them will teach him that HE has no use for women. If a girl is raised by two lesbians, her very _life_ with them will teach her that SHE has no use for men.


I just heard about a school in my own state forbidding a child to eat Oreos which had been packed in the child's lunch at home. The mother or maybe father who put in those Oreos WAS NOT intending to injure the child, but the school exercised its _external_ authority to claim that the parental action _was_ harmful nonetheless. This governmental interference is practiced very selectively.

Heterosexual parents like me _don't_ enjoy immunity against "progressive" theorists claiming that something is fundamentally wrong with our manner of parenting. So where do gay couples get the right to have _their_ ideas of parenting be immune to criticism? The answer, of course, is that they have NO moral right to be thus immune to criticism. But they don't really care about the moral right. As long as they can have the governmental  _power_ to gag and  silence  all dissent, they can just _tell_ themselves that  all of _their_ actions are "loving" actions. Reflexive self-justification can be remarkably convenient.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

I Have Called Catholics Brother, But Will THEY Call ME Brother?

When Catholicism  is discussed, I can't please anybody. I do not accept the assertion that everyone _inside_ the Church of Rome is damned. Still _less_ do I accept the assertion which Catholics used to make, and which some of them are trying to revive, that everyone _outside_ the Church of Rome is damned.

I just acquired a book published by Most Holy Family Monastery in Fillmore, New York, bearing the humble and diplomatic title "Outside The Catholic Church There is Absolutely No Salvation." Its author, one Brother Peter Dimond, offers an excellent example of the way fanatical Romanists shoot themselves in the foot. Before I go on, my readers must understand that the Vatican system is dependent on the presupposition that, when Jesus created the church, He desired and intended _everything_ that the Catholic church would do and command _throughout_ all the future history to follow. On this view, _every_ currently-existing  feature of Catholicism that can truly claim approval on Catholic terms, is _exactly_ what Jesus wanted all along. Of course, there are pray-in-Latin-and-eat-fish Catholics who discount _recent_ Popes, and Brother Dimond appears to be one of these; but even they still attribute Scripture-equivalent authority to decrees uttered _centuries_ after the Apostolic era. Everybody still with me?

In Chapter 29, Brother Dimond cites the Apostle Paul in Galatians 1:8: "But though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema." This quote is given to justify Dimond's adherence to a body of commands whose composition extended MORE THAN A MILLENIUM BEYOND THE LIFETIME OF THE APOSTLE PAUL. For Dimond's use of Galatians to make any sense, one of the following _must_ be true:

1) Paul actually continued in earthly life right up through the latest point in time when Dimond would agree that the Vatican still was on message, and really wrote Galatians no earlier than the early 20th century.

2) God specially and secretly  told Paul everything that the Roman church _would_ decree ex-cathedra in future times; Paul included the future Papal commands in a separate appendix which only church leaders got to see; but _this_ was what Paul _really_ meant by "that which we have preached to you."

3) Paul had the use ot a time machine, so he went into the future to find out what future Popes would decree; then he proceeded the same way as in the previous alternative.

If none of those three possibilities is true (bets, anyone?), then we cannot escape the conclusion that when Paul wrote Galatians 1:8, he intended to say and did say that ALL OF THE NECESSARY ESSENTIALS OF THE GOSPEL WERE CONTAINED IN MESSAGES WHICH HAD ALREADY BEEN SHARED as of the time when Paul was writing. Thus, Dimond is refuting himself by quoting Paul. Dimond wants us to agree that doctrines uttered long _after_ Paul's lifetime are _necessary_ for our relationship with Jesus, yet Paul is saying exactly the opposite.

I certainly do not mean that _nothing_ written or spoken after the completion of the Bible can have _any_ merit; but I do say that nothing written or spoken after the completion of the Bible CAN HAVE EQUAL AUTHORITY as the Bible. Peter Dimond is not satisfied to argue that post-Biblical writings can have _some_ value; if that were all he said, I would concede him the point. He wants us to believe that post-Biblical doctrines are _necessary_ for us; and by trying to "prove" his case with a Scripture that _contradicts_ his case, all he proves is his own intellectual bankruptcy.  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Violating the Valentines

American leftists, when  it suits them, will speak vehemently about collective responsibility and everyone's actions affecting everyone else. If you eat meat, you're starving poor people; if you drive a car, you're poisoning Mother Gaia.  But the _same_ leftists, when it suits them, will suddenly switch to a highly _individualistic_ view of right and wrong. Hold that thought, it will be expounded further.

I am writing this on Valentine's Day. Homosexuals are using this day as an occasion to promote their unilateral redefinition of the very _most_ fundamental human relationships. And it's worth noting who is _helping_ them do so.  This morning, the _conservative_ radio station I routinely listen to, KNUS-AM of Denver, did a broadcast _praising_ same-sex couples to the skies. This makes utter nonsense of the claim by gays that they are still an oppressed, persecuted minority; the _reality_ is that the gay minority is close to enjoying an absolute _monopoly_ on being able to say anything about what marriage is.

The gay spokesman invited to speak on KNUS did the individualistic thing, by arguing that the one-on-one love between two gay partners is, all by itself, enough to constitute marriage. As long as there's love, love love, love, love, there _can't_ be any problem for society at large. But now remember the meat-eater and the car-owner: _they_ are not allowed to be so simplistic in self-justification. The meat-eater _isn't_ allowed simply to tell the angry vegan, "It's just about my being hungry;" and the car-owner _isn't_ allowed simply to tell the angry environmentalist, "It's just about my wanting to go someplace." Why, then, should _homosexuals_ be specially immune to challenge over the possibility that _their_ actions might affect the world adversely?

Until technology advances farther than it has yet, human reproduction will still require _both_ a male gene-source and a female gene-source. Therefore, any child raised by a same-sex couple will, by definition, be raised _without_ one of the biological parents being a _primary_ caregiver. Yes, that biological parent who _isn't_ in the gay couple may still be _present_ in the child's life; but unless we're talking about a commune, the child won't have both birth parents in a _central_ custodial role. Now, _even_ in the present collapsing condition of education, a child _will_ eventually learn how he or she came into existence.... which means that the child raised by gays will _know_  that his or her actual mother or father _didn't_ step into the primary parental slot (and in  some cases, felt no interest).

Yes, the custodial gay couple may have good intentions; they may love the child to pieces. But it will _still_ be a fact that the child is aware of one _actual_ parent being at a distance, if not completely absent. Add up millions of children growing up this way, and the specific bond of _biological_ parents to their children will be eroded. These children might nonetheless grow up feeling as loved as anyone else; but what they might NOT have is the full sense of obligation to any future children _they_ may beget. Which adds to the tidal trend in which self-contained natural families are ever less and less valued in society. And in turn, Big Government has less need to worry about anyone being _loyal_ to anything other than Big Government.

Gays will now harrumph at me, "Well, by _your_ homophobic reasoning, _every_ adoption, including by straight couples, is _also_ disrupting the natural order!" They will believe themselves to  be right when they say this, because their enslavement to their own emotions will have prevented them from thinking the issue all the way through. But there IS more to it.

When my now-deceased Mary and I adopted our daughter, we were adopting a girl who had already _been_ deprived of conventional biological parenting, by circumstances which Mary and I had not in any way created. So what we were doing was providing the nearest possible _substitute_ for the ideal model of husband, wife, and blood-related offspring. But we are now being asked -- actually, we are being _commanded_ by the pampered homosexual elite -- to accept arrangements in which gay couples intentionally _cause_ a child to live without the most normal of parenting. And that makes a difference, because the children _will_ eventually realize what was done.

So no, saying "Love, love, love!" _isn't_ a complete answer to this large-scale social concern. There _will_ be far-reaching  consequences from training a new generation to believe that the _genetic_ parent-child connection is trivial and easily dispensed with. Possibly most gays honestly _haven't_ considered this.... but you can bet that there are some arrogant, narcissistic, cynical social engineers who _have_ considered it, and who _desire_ the damage to occur.