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I'm no longer writing on this blog. The new blog is over here: Pursuit of Redemption.

Category: Religion

My New Facebook Page

Posted by – 3/24/10

I’ve been hesitant to connect this blog to my personal Facebook profile because I’ve always seen Facebook as something personal (despite swarms of evidence to the contrary, I know). It was very different from MySpace in that way: I never would accept people as friends unless I’d actually gotten to know them in real life.

Then I started gaining some public traction in the world of politics, and I began to see a huge increase in the number of people who wanted to friend me on Facebook just to connect with me politically. (And to be honest, the number of event invitations, group invitations, and page invitations I receive now is absurd.) Well, this weekend I made sure that followers of my writing can follow me on Facebook and I can keep my Facebook profile separate and personal. Does that mean I’ll never post something political to my personal profile again? Of course not. But the majority of the dialogue (and I really do want it to be a dialogue) on current events, politics, philosophy, religion, etc., will take place on my new Facebook Page.

The Transformative Gospel

Posted by – 6/4/09

The true Gospel is a unique, life-altering thing. It is not merely some philosophical angle to which a person might direct his attention for a time. Not at all a high moral standard to which we must strive for redemption; this is just a new, impossible law. No, the Gospel is the truth of a doomed humanity, a God who requires perfection, and the reconciliation of two such disparate conditions that this very perfection-requiring God Himself has given each of us. (I have only far too recently realized that the often used analogy of a drowning man is woefully insufficient here. We are not merely drowning. We are not each a man adrift to whom a life preserver must be thrown. In this imperfect analogy, it is much more like we are cold and dead on the sea floor, requiring something extraordinary enough to both retrieve us and bring us to life.) The “good news” of the Gospel is that God has come into time and space to take upon Himself, in our stead, the punishment that His very nature requires of us, justifying us in His presence.

What we see in the Gospel presented is the truth of God revealed, a man’s acceptance in faith of that now startlingly undeniable truth, and Christ’s free justification of that man. What follows is God’s transformative work of remaking that man with new desires, a new purpose, and a new mind. Can a person accept the Gospel and be left unchanged? I do not think this is possible. It is only since Christ yanked me from my depravity that I have experienced the inner struggle of desires and behavior that Paul refers to in Romans 7. I have never, since my conversion, not believed the Gospel; I have just spent my most painful hours actively ignoring it and wishing it weren’t so.

Deepak Chopra on Belief

Posted by – 3/30/09

I just watched a Nightline Face Off special tonight that presented to a panel the question, “Does Satan exist?” In one incredible encounter at the end, the irony of which Deepak seemed not to appreciate, an audience member recalled a statement the guru made earlier in the debate.

Audience member: “Did you say that belief is used to hide insecurities?”

Chopra: “Yes.”

Audience member: “Do you believe that?”

Chopra: “Yes.”

Audience member: “Thank you.”

"Prove to me that God exists."

Posted by – 2/17/09

No. I will not.

I will gladly and openly discuss with anyone the many different aspects and ramifications of gravity, but when a man begins demanding proof that gravity is true, it is precisely at that very moment that my genial conversation with him is finished. It has become apparent to me that this man is merely a contrarian, and I’ve much more valuable ways of spending my time than proving to a person who seems barely able to make use of all their senses that a force which clearly acts upon him does, in fact, exist. It has been said that those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still. I quite agree and do not see myself as a champion of persuasion. 

I find it much the same with attempting to prove God.

I am not shaken by the arguments against God, no matter how watertight they seem. At the end of the day, my own inability to prove existence—or the far better attempts made by men much greater than this author—does not in itself prove non-existence. And while there are compelling theological and philosophical arguments lending to a god, it is simply impossible to prove that God does not exist. A negative can never be proven, thanks to the simple truth that everything cannot be known. To claim definitively that God does not exist is really a very bold claim: it is a person’s assertion that they cannot at any point henceforth gain knowledge. The agnostic I can respect; the atheist I cannot.

A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him, than can a lunatic put out the sun by scrawling the word “darkness” on the walls of his cell.

C.S. Lewis

It is ridiculous for a person with a non-belief to take umbrage with another man’s belief. Not the social ramifications of that second man’s belief, mind you, but merely the belief itself. It is merely a symptom of our unholy compulsion to rank ourselves above others. Only a backwards rube could believe such a thing. You still believe old fairy-tales, and I do not. I must be more advanced than you.

Having never seen a particular city, could you rightfully become enraged at another man’s day-dreams, songs, speeches, and social gatherings, the object of which is the admiration of this city? Not at all. At best, you would be wasting your time. At worst, you would be seen as a complete lunatic.

On the other hand, if you had been the city visitor and the man who doesn’t believe in the existence of this city were to challenge you on it, could you become rightfully enraged? Perhaps so, but what is the point? You’ve seen it, you’ve experienced it. He has not. If he persists in causing a ruckus after a friendly explanation, my recommendation is to let him go about his rabid way. His unbelief does not suddenly cause that city to be swallowed up in the earth, and bringing yourself to foment for the purpose of persuasion is just a waste.

Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.

G.K. Chesterton

Violently protesting an assertion that you are violent?

Posted by – 2/15/09

Doesn’t make much sense, but then again, Islamic extremists haven’t been accused of an abundance of reasoning as far as I can recall. Indian newspaper columnist Johann Hari has been lambasted by the extremists for offending, and the publisher and editor who reprinted his commentary have both been arrested on the grounds of “deliberately acting with malicious intent to outrage religious feelings.” Mind you, India is the world’s largest democracy, and their constitution protects freedom of speech as well. Hari’s response:

Offending fundamentalists isn’t my goal – but if it is an inevitable side-effect of defending human rights, so be it. If fanatics who believe Muslim women should be imprisoned in their homes and gay people should be killed are insulted by my arguments, I don’t resile from it. Nothing worth saying is inoffensive to everyone.

You do not have a right to be ring-fenced from offence. Every day, I am offended -– not least by ancient religious texts filled with hate-speech. But I am glad, because I know that the price of taking offence is that I can give it too, if that is where the facts lead me. But again, the protestors propose a lop-sided world. They do not propose to stop voicing their own heinously offensive views about women’s rights or homosexuality, but we have to shut up and take it – or we are the ones being “insulting”.

Indeed. Read the whole response here.

William Happer, Another Denier!

Posted by – 2/2/09

Meet William Happer. He’s one of the latest official additions to the list of dissenters in a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee report. He was the former director of the Office of Energy Research in the U.S. Department of Energy before V.P. Gore fired him for not toeing the party line, and he is the current Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics at Princeton. He’s a Denier.

He’s a scientist who rightly understands that correlation does not equal causation, an elementary fallacy that Al Gore does not yet grasp.

He’s a former director of an organization responsible for doling out non-weapons research grants from a budget of $3 billion, and he saw the writing on the wall in the late 80′s and early 90′s with the “give me money and I’ll get the answer you want” global warming crowd.

He’s watched the analysis of average global temperatures decline over the last decade, all the while fighting the droning claims of global warming coming from less than upright scientists and self-aggrandizing politicians.

He’s noted the impossibility for climate change models to even accurately predict past weather conditions, much less predict future conditions. Some major periods of history cannot even be accounted for given current models:

Happer cited an ice age at the time of the American Revolution, when Londoners skated on the Thames, and warm periods during the Middle Ages, when settlers were able to farm southern portions of Greenland, as evidence of naturally occurring fluctuations that undermine the case for anthropogenic influence.

He publicly notes the ridiculousness of claiming that something every one of us breathes out second-by-second could be polluting the earth, especially given that plants are our direct counterpart in this exchange.

The response from the global warming climate change alarmist crowd? We have a lot of evidence you’re not allowed to pick apart or argue with. We’ve got a very popular thing going on (haven’t you noticed the consensus?). So you just read our convincing report and tell us why we’re wrong. No, really:

Oppenheimer, director of the Wilson School’s Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy [and the lead author of the fourth report of the IPCC], stressed that the preponderance of evidence and majority of expert opinion points to a strong anthropogenic influence on rising global temperatures, noting that he advises Happer to read the IPCC’s report and publish a scientific report detailing his objections to its findings.

A response to criticism of the report’s claims is a challenge to read the report and publish his objections? Is this Oppenheimer even paying attention?

I am eager for the day we can look back on this age of scientific/religious environmental alarmism and smile at the futility and lunacy of the whole mess. My hope is that we do not oppress too many, spend too much wastefully, or drag too many whole nations down on the road to enlightenment.

The Goracle and His Prophecies

Posted by – 1/29/09

Finally, a journalist who understands that Global Warming Climate Change should be covered like the religion that it is: oracles, prophets, appeasing the gods and all.

What did you envision When You Were Young?

Posted by – 1/4/09

He doesn’t look a thing like Jesus 
But he talks like a gentleman 
Like you imagined when you were young

I just heard these lyrics of The Killers’ “When You Were Young” like it was the first time. Wow. Check out the lyrics to the whole song. Interesting…

Misunderstanding of Iran, Hamas Not Their Fault

Posted by – 12/31/08

The reason that the West remains ignorant of the views and goals of the likes of Hamas and Iran is not that the latter have hidden their views and goals. It is because the leading political leaders and foreign policy practitioners in the West refuse to listen to them and deny the significance of their actions.

A great op/ed from an Israeli writer concerning the Iran/Hamas vs. Israel conflict.

In this season of giving, the stinginess of Liberals comes to light

Posted by – 12/27/08

“When I started doing research on charity,” Mr. Brooks wrote, “I expected to find that political liberals – who, I believed, genuinely cared more about others than conservatives did – would turn out to be the most privately charitable people. So when my early findings led me to the opposite conclusion, I assumed I had made some sort of technical error. I re-ran analyses. I got new data. Nothing worked. In the end, I had no option but to change my views.”

Excellent op/ed by a surprised and disappointed liberal.