Thursday, August 28, 2008

We Are Sparta: Pelosi Skews Catholic Teaching On Abortion

Did you know that throughout it's 2,000 year history, the Catholic Church has been unsure what it's stance on abortion is? I didn't know that either until Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told us so. Being Speaker of the House, one would assume that she would check her facts before speaking on such an issue that divides Americans and is an issue that involves great emotion on both sides.

Pelosi is pro-choice. She has made that clear throughout her entire political career. That is not my complaint. My complaint is her ability to lie to the camera with a straight face and speak on things that she knows nothing about. Pelosi claims to be a Catholic, and if so, she has much left to learn about her denominational faith.

Since her comments, many Catholics, and Christians in general, have come out in attack mode setting the record straight. Washington Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl has come out swinging correcting the Speakers comments saying, "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable.” Similarly, Rev. Charles J. Chaput has made it clear where the church stands on the issue saying, "Abortion kills an unborn, developing human life. It is always gravely evil, and so are the evasions employed to justify it. Catholics who make excuses for it - whether they're famous or not - fool only themselves and abuse the fidelity of those Catholics who do sincerely seek to follow the Gospel and live their Catholic faith."

Likewise, others have come out attacking Presidential candidate Barack Obama and his vice-president candidate Senator Joe Biden for their stance on abortion. Though Biden claims that his views are consistent with the Catholic Church, the Catholic Church disagrees. Chaput added to his previous comments and said, “I certainly presume his good will and integrity, and I presume that his integrity will lead him to refrain from presenting himself for Communion if he supports a false ‘right’ to abortion.”

I want to provide a number of quotes from Church History to illustrate the absurdity of her statements. I have gathered these on various websites and from my own research. Some websites include In Light of the Gospel and Cranach.

“You shall not kill the child by obtaining an abortion. Nor, again, shall you destroy him after he is born.” (Barnabas, 70-80 AD, 1.148)

“You shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill one who has been born.” (The Didache, 80-140 AD, 1.377)

“We say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit murder. And we also say that we will have to give an account to God for the abortion.” (Athenagoras, 175 AD, 2.147)

“In our case, murder is once for all forbidden. Therefore, we may not destroy even the fetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a speedier way to kill a human. It does not matter whether you take away a life that has been born or destroy one that is not yet born.” (Tertullian, 197 AD, 3.26)

“Indeed, the Law of Moses punishes with appropriate penalties the person who causes abortion. For there already exists the beginning stages of a human being. And even at this stage, [the fetus] is already acknowledged with having the condition of life and death, since he is already susceptible to both.” (Tertullian, 210 AD, 3.218)



“Are you to dissolve the conception by aid of drugs? I believe it is no more lawful to hurt a child in process of birth, than to hurt one who is already born.” (Tertullian, 212 AD, 4.57)


“There are some women who, by drinking medical preparations, extinguish the source of the future man in their very bowels. So they commit murder before they bring forth.” (Mark Minucius Felix, 200AD, 4.192)


"The womb of his wife was hit by a blow of his heel. And, in the miscarriage that soon followed, the offspring was brought forth, the fruit of a father’s murder.” (Cyprian, 250AD, 5.326)


The soul is not introduced into the body after birth, as some philosophers think. Rather, it is introduced immediately after conception, when the divine necessity has formed the offspring in the womb.” (Lactantius, 304-313AD, 7.297)


“You shall not slay your child by causing abortion, nor kill the baby that is born.” (Apostolic Constitutions, 390 AD, 7.466)

"They bear children, but they do not destroy their offspring" (Letter to Diognetus c. 125-200)


"What cause is there for the exposure of a child? The man who did not desire to beget children had no right to marry at all. He certainly does not have the right to become the murderer of his children, because of licentious indulgent" (Clement of Alexandria, 195)

"First of all, you [pagans] expose your children, so that they may be taken up by an compassionate passer-by, to whom they are quite unknown!" (Tertullian, 197, W)

“Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed on this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was not a Catholic but a Lutheran, but nonetheless in line with Catholic teaching on this issue throughout the centuries)


More could be given, but this should get the point across. After reading the early church fathers and others throughout history on this issue, I am amazed at their unity in this issue. Tertullian even describes both chemical abortions and abortions done by the use of medical tools where the doctor kills the baby and then pulls it out of the mothers wound.

I find it hypocritical how politicians can claim to believe one thing, in this case Catholicism, and yet turn around and ignore the clear teachings of their church. As a Protestant, I do not have to do such a survey of the Church Fathers in order to find out what I believe, the Bible is enough. But in this case, both Scripture and the Church Fathers are in unity on this issue: abortion is nothing short of murder.

One more point must be made here regarding abortion: though we consider ourselves enlightened, we are no more sophisticated than the ancient Spartans that would murder the infants that they did not want. Abortion is being used as a form of birth control and personal decision making on who lives and who doesn't. Doctors are even told to encourage parents to abort their children if they have Down Syndrome or other ailments.

Are we that much better than Sparta? Have we come full circle and become barbaric. Like Hitler, we are debating on who should live and who shouldn't. We are relabeling murder with "choice."

Like the Christians in the opening centuries of the church, Christians are standing united against the culture of death and defending life. It is amazing how little things have changed over the centuries. Sinful man still seeks to legislate it's barbaric ways while at the same time, the redeemed seek to protect those on our murder list.

Yes, Pelosi is dead wrong when it comes to understanding her Church's teaching on the issue of abortion. Therefore, she should either go back to church and get her facts straight, or she should refrain from speaking on the subject at all. At the very least, maybe we should give her credit for speaking on what is below her pay grade.

At the same time, America and the West must realize that we aren't as sophisticated as we think we are. Like the ancients, we are obsessed with death and our hands are caked with the blood of the unwanted, the old, the handicap, and the unborn. Let America repent of it's death streak staining the fabric of this great nation. And let those who speak out of both ends of their mouth either keep silent or get their facts straight.



Thursday, August 21, 2008

Above Our Pay Grade: What The Candidacy of Barack Obama Says About Our Culture of Death

The recent debate at Rick Warren's megachurch in California revealed one thing: abortion remains to be a major issue in politics and this years Presidential election is no different. The two candidates could not be more drastically different than when it came to the question, when does life begin? The Republican candidate, Senator John McCain, was very clear, "at conception." The Democratic candidate, Senator Barack Obama, was less clear claiming that an answer with precision would be above his "pay grade." The answer is stunning.

This answer created several problems for the Senator. First, there is the abortion problem. In his answer, Senator Obama claimed that abortion rates in America have increased while a very pro-life President was running the country. The problem with that statement is that it's not true. According to statistics, abortion rates are at an all-time low. The Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit organization that focuses on reproductive issues, show that abortion rates have dropped. They report:


The actual number of abortions dropped to a new low, with 1.2 million abortions in 2005, compared to a high of 1.6 million abortions in 1990.

And so, it would seem that the Senator is wrong. The answer to our abortion problem isn't more programs or a new approach to the subject, but to continue down the road we are traveling. Whatever the reasons for the decline, it is obvious that it is working. I want to believe that it is a change in our culture, from the fact that no one can deny that a fetus is a human being, and also through the teaching of abstinence in schools. To treat abortion as birth control only leads to increase in abortion rates.

Obama has repeatedly called for a new policy on abortion. Rather than argue over whether or not the infant is subject to human rights, many are beginning to fight for a reduction in abortions. One such proponent of this is a leader in the emerging church, Tony Campolo, and he makes this proposal in his book, "Red-Letter Christians: A Citizens Guide To Faith and Politics." Campolo has taken this message to the Democratic party and they are beginning to adopt this policy.

But does reducing abortion solve the problem? Certianly we should celebrate in the falling numbers, but should we be satisfied with massacre regardless of the numbers? One innocent child murdered because of a "choice," that it is life unworthy of life by the young one's parents is one too many. Persons who call themselves Christians, like Campolo and Obama, should know better.

Secondly, the ghosts of Senator Obama's past are beginning to haunt him. Needless to say, Obama's stance on the issue of abortion (and beyond as we will see) is extreme. First, Obama has repeatedly refused to vote against partial-birth abortion. This approach to abortion is so barbaric that even some pro-choice advocates do not support it's practice. The idea of sucking out the brain of an unborn infant making it go limp and then pulling it out of the mother is perhaps the most grotesque thing in modern medicine. And yet, Obama's record is equally apalling.

When a bill came before Congress to ban the practice of partial-birth abortion, Obama showed his support of the barbaric practice by voting against it. The bill, nonetheless, passed 281-142 in the House and 64-34 in the Senate. Obama went on to criticize the Supreme Court for upholding the legality of the bill.

But the madness doesn't stop there.

According to reports, while a State Senator in Illinois, Barack Obama refused to support a bill that would declare infants that survived abortions to have human rights. I have previously commented on this issue, and so I will not add to it here. A vote against this bill, and several bills were brought before the State Senate, however, equals a vote for infanticide. It would seem that the answer to Pastor Warren's question, when does life begin, for Obama isn't even at birth.

Recently, transcripts of Obama's reasoning behind his votes on the subject have surfaced. In it, Obama said:

As I understand it, this puts the burden on the attending physician who has determined, since they were performing this procedure, that, in fact, this is a nonviable fetus; that if that fetus, or child – however way you want to describe it – is now outside the mother's womb and the doctor continues to think that it's nonviable but there's, let's say, movement or some indication that, in fact, they're not just coming out limp and dead, that, in fact, they would then have to call a second physician to monitor and check off and make sure that this is not a live child that could be saved.

The campaign's many attempts to downplay this event have utterly failed. At one point, they declared such accusations as lies, only to admit later that they were true. And yet, after all of this the candidate refuses to recant of his votes and remarks regarding the issue. This can only mean that he remains steadfast in support of infanticide, partial-birth abortion, and abortion in general and does not intend on changing his views whenever he gets to the Whitehouse. Rather, the campaign wishes to simply downplay the signficance of the votes in the past writing them off as irrelevant.

This is not an attack on Senator Obama, though he is the main subject of this article. Rather, it is an attack on America. Obama is not the only politician that supports abortion, partial-birth abortion, and even infanticide. What's worse, politicians don't arrive at power by accident but are elected by persons who are fully aware of the candidates stances and by casting their vote are declaring their agreement with them on that issue. That means millions of Americans find the murder of the innocent unborn to be acceptable and the right course of action.

This is a condemnation on our culture as a whole that we have come to this point. Who would have thought that America would stoop so low as to nominate a person for our nations highest office whose views on life are haunting. Prior to the general election, I thought men like Peter Singer were the only ones in support of infanticide but now we have nominated such policies to the highest office. What does this say about our culture? What does this say about America? And what does this say about where we're headed?

I am not concerned with who you will vote for. Rather, I am most concerned with were we stand as a nation on this subject. The debate at Saddleback revealed that abortion remains a hot-button issue that won't likely go away. But perhaps there is hope. The recent outrage over the Senator's position seem to be a positive sign that our nation is beginning to rethink this issue. Maybe I'm wrong. But I pray that I am not.




Friday, August 15, 2008

The Missing Gene: The Failed Search For the Gay Gene

Homosexuality continues to be a divisive issue in America. Though a small percentage of Americans consider themselves gay, many have rallied behind their cause and fought for equal protection, equal rights (such as marriage and civil rights), and the like. One of the arguments made by proponents of homosexuality is that homosexuality is not a choice but a birthright.

Here in lies our societies obsession with trying to find a genetic or pychological scapegoat for everything. It is argued that if a gene can be found proving that sexual orientation is determined at birth, then one's sexual lifestyle is not only morally permissible, but should is a civil right. With such a gene homosexuality cannot be considered as an abomination against God, but rather the outworking of who we truly are.

The argument is nice, but there remains no evidence. Unless we make a "gay of the gaps" hypothesis, the argument remains ludicrous because not a shred of evidence has been found. One scientist calls the gay gene theory "bad science" (to read the full argument of this scientist, click here). Francis Collins, a leading geneticist and the former head of the National Human Genome Research Project, concludes that "homosexuality is not hardwired."
The evidence is so lacking that even homosexual activist are admitting it.

Peter Tatchell, a UK homosexual activist, has recently commented that there is no evidence whatsoever that the homosexual lifestyle is determined at conception. In fact, Tatchell seems to find the idea of a "gay gene" preposterous. He writes:


[Sexuality is] far more ambiguous, blurred and overlapping than any theory of genetic causality can allow...

Examples of sexual flexibility... don't square with genetic theories of rigid erotic predestination.

Despite obvious theoretical and empirical weaknesses, the claims that certain genes cause homosexuality have been seized upon and vigorously promoted by many in the lesbian and gay rights movement (especially in the US).

The haste with which these unproven, questionable theories have been embraced suggests a terrible lack of self-confidence and a rather sad, desperate need to justify queer desire. It's almost as if those pushing these theories believe we don't deserve human rights unless we can prove that we are born gay and that our homosexuality is beyond our control: 'We can't help being fags and dykes, so please don't treat us badly'. This seems to be the pleading, defensive sub-text of much of the pro-gay gene thesis...

The homophobes are thus, paradoxically, closer to the truth than many gay activists.


His argument is interesting. The fact that people suddenly change in the middle of their life, he argues, suggests that a gay gene does not exist. It is an interesting argument, but activist will likely ignore it. "Sexual flexibility," as he calls it, is an argument nonetheless. If we are hardwired toward a certain sex then it seems that mankind has done a very good job hiding it. It would imply that there have been millions, if not billions, of persons born gay who have lived a heterosexual lifestyle their entire life and did not know that they were actually gay.

Tatchell gives an example of this sexual flexibility:


Some years later, the Kinsey researchers famously reported the case of a happily married young woman who, ten years into her marriage, unexpectedly fell in love with a female friend. Divorcing her husband, she set up house with this woman. Many years later, despite a fulfilling on-going lesbian relationship, she had an equally satisfying affair with a man. Examples of sexual flexibility, like that of this woman, don't square with genetic theories of rigid erotic predestination.
Tatchell also distinguishes between genes that influence and genes that cause. I am not going to debate whether or not there are genes that "influence" one's sexual lifestyle. Sexual drive, maybe, but lifestyle, I'm not so sure. But nonetheless, Tatchell's distinction is significant. Despite the hopes of homosexuals everywhere, there remains no credible evidence of a gene that causes one to be gay, straight, bisexual, or other. As Tatchell points out:


The relative influence of biological versus social factors with regard to sexual orientation is still uncertain. What is, however, certain is that if gayness was primarily explainable in genetic terms we would expect it to appear in the same proportions, and in similar forms, in all cultures and all epochs. As the anthropologists Clellan Ford and Frank Beach demonstrated in Patterns Of Sexual Behaviour (1965), far from being cross-culturally uniform and stable, both the incidence and expressions of same-sex desire vary vastly between different societies.

They found, for example, that young men in some tribes (the Aranda of Australia, Siwan of Egypt, Batak of Sumatra, Anga of Melanesia and others) had relationships with boys or older male warriors, usually lasting several years, often as part of manhood initiation rituals. Eventually ceasing homosexual contact, they subsequently assumed sexual desires for women.

If sexual orientation was genetically prefixed at conception, as the proponents of the gay gene claim, these young men would never have been able to switch between heterosexual and homosexual relations with such apparent ease.

He makes a good point. The inconsistencies of the evidence make one important point: no one is born gay or straight. No such gene exists nor will one be found. If the hopes of finding such a gene persists, I assume that scientists will begin to look for transvestite genes, pedophilia genes, polygamy genes, bestiality genes, and all the rest.

This whole debate illustrates one important thing: man will do whatever he can to excuse the sin he wants to get away with. The search for the gay gene is man's attempt to tell God it's not his fault, it's God's. This is no different than what Adam and Eve did in the garden in Genesis 3. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. The trend continues today. Rather than confess our sin and turn from it, we seek to blame it on others, on our society, and now, on our genes. "It's not my fault God," we say, "you made me this way." It is amazing what man will do to excuse himself.

I do not want to paint Tatchell as someone on the "religious rights" side. In fact, in the same article, Tatchell attacks the religous right homophobes and goes on to argue that though we are not born with a predetermined sexual lifestyle, choice has very little to do with our sexual orientation. He rather argues that our early years determine our later sexual orientation.

Though Tatchell and I disagree on this and on homosexuality being a sin, we can at least agree that there is no homosexual birthright. Gay gene proponents have been dealt a mortal wound by which they may never recover. Christians must remain steadfast on this issue knowing that God has declared His verdict and it is not up for debate, no matter who or what man may blame their sinful lives on; even if they try to blame it on their Creator.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Re: Survival of the Moral: Can Man Be Moral Without God?

Last year, I wrote an article pointing out that atheism and, more specifically evolution, cannot explain morality. It is this point that persons like CS Lewis and now Francis Collins have become believers (both being Christians). Evolution fails to explain where morality comes. It is obvious that everyone everywhere have some form of morality. It seems that we are born with an innate sense of morality.

This is one of the many things that separate us from the animal world. It would be foolish to take a lion to court for practicing cannibalism (against other lions, animals, and even humans) and for other crimes against others. At the same time, it would be outright appalling if a society ignored cannibalism among it's citizens. We are born with a standard that animals never even contemplate. I guarantee you, my parents dog aren't thinking about this issue.

Evolution is inadequate in explaining morality. The best it can do is trace the source of morality, say a mother jumping into a lake in order to save her children, to survival of the fittest. They would argue that we want our species to continue to exist, especially our own flesh and blood.

I say, let's give them that argument. But what explains animal rights activist? What explains environmental wackos that live in trees in order to save them? if fact, what explains liberalism? What explains the man who volunteered himself to be killed rather than another person who had a family during the Holocaust? There is no survival of the fittest here. Evolution, then, is inadequate in explaining why we went from immoral primates to moral beings.

And that is the argument that Dinesh D'Souza makes in a recent article that was also the primary discussion in a debate between D'Souza and Peter Singer. Singer is very controversial because he has argued that it is moral to practice infanticide. Singer is much more radical than the typical atheist, but Singer tries to explain morality from an evolutionary point of view and radically fails. At the bottom is the debate between these two, and you will see the many problems with arguing for morality with an evolutionary worldview.

Here is my original article:

There are two difficult problems with Darwinist that they cannot solve by evolutionary means: religion and morality. The two are obviously related. Evolution argues that everything happened by chance and progresses by survival of the fittest. But when it comes to morality and faith, Darwin is left without an answer.


RELIGION


Let's begin with religion. Nowhere can Naturalist explain where religion has come from. The first homosaphians (if there was ever anything before them) that were on earth were inherently religious. It is argued that the Sumerians were among the first "civilized" people. If this is the case, then then it is arguable that the first civilized people were also very religious. They had an explanation for the origins of the world, they had gods they worshiped, and they practiced morality.


Mankind has always been religious. It is embedded in our souls (or for the evolutionists: genes) to believe in something greater than ourselves. Since this is the case, the atheist is, in reality, out of the mainstream. There is no ration explanation from evolution that explains why people are born with an inclination for religion.
Religion teaches man that he is not great, he was created for something more than this earth, there are consequences for our actions, obedience is not an option, and faith is a necessity. Evolution teaches that man is on his own, every man for himself, and get what you want because this is all there is to existence.


Then please explain, dear atheist, why we are religious. The common response we get from such naturalist is that there is a religion gene that we are born with. This is simply laughable and grasping for air. No evolutionist, to date, has been able to figure out where, in line with their faith in evolution, can explain why people continue to believe in folly and not embrace the truth of nothingness.


In fact, I would argue that evolution and even atheism itself is a religion. For example, if atheism was unbelief, then why are Dawkins, Harris, Hitchenson, and others (not to mention Freud, Marx, Nietzsche, etc.) trying to "convert" us to their own beliefs? 2007 has been a year for atheists with the release of many bestselling books defending the rationale for atheism. Why are they trying so hard to convince us that they are right? If they are true postmodern atheist, they would disappear and remain silent because none of it matters. The atheist would see the religions of this world as mere chance and part of the evolutionary process soon to be weeded out by something greater and better. Why are they trying so hard to convert the religious to be "unreligious?"


Secondly, atheism, naturalism, etc. have their own doctrines in which they believe. Call it postmodernism, secularism, or whatever, they do have a set of believes in which they follow. They see man's problem (sin) as being religion and it's oppression on truth. Therefore, they seek to weed out all religions as mere frauds. Secondly, their source of "divine" authority is obviously 'Charles Darwin's "The Origins of Species." Their god is themselves. And their eschatology is a Utopian world void of religion, poverty, strife, war, and pain.


If this is not a religion, then please tell what is. And therefore, we must conclude then asking the question, not why are "believers" so religious, but what can explain why so-called "unbelievers" are so religious? That, my friends, defies all explanation evolutionary rationale!!


MORALITY


Why in the world, in a naturalistic worldview, would people be moral, give up themselves for somebody else, and contradict survival of the fittest? That is the problem with evolution and it's (lack of) explanation for the issue of morality. We've established that atheism and Darwinism (oftentimes the same thing) are religions just the same as Christianity and Islam, we will also establish that evolution gives no rationale for morality.


In the animal world most (not all) parents (whether one or both) will abandon their child and family. Very few in the animal world create "families." Although some do, most do not. I have never seen anyone discipline their dog for being a "playa." I've never seen anyone yell at their pet rabbit for cheating on their first partner. Nor have I seen anyone condemn the female praying mantis for eating the father of her baby (I'm guessing that the feminist really love the praying mantis. But it's just a guess).


There seems, to me, a world of difference between humans (who can actually read these words) and the animal world.


Just look at it this way, who do humans protect the most? The young, the handicap, and the old. Those are the three groups that predators like to kill. Why? Because the young are inexperienced, the handicap can't get away, and the old are too slow. Therefore, they are easy prey.


As humans, we are appalled by this line of thinking. To take advantage of anyone in one of these groups gets you labeled as one of the worst in society. Pedophiles are among the most evil in society, as are those that take advantage of these other groups. So please explain to me where such morality comes from if we are no different than the common animal?


You do not see monkeys forming societies to protect the handicap, or passing bills that allow the elderly to retire. You do not see monkey pedophiles in monkey jail. So, why do we see these things in human society? The simple answer is that we are born with a sense of morality that even the stanches of atheists cannot deny.


Where does this natural conscience come from? God (that is, the devil for the atheists out there). And this is exactly what we see in Scripture. Paul writes:


(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. -Romans 2:14-16


Paul is clear that even the Gentiles, who do not have God's special revelation, have a natural law that leads them to practice morality. Even the most ardent of atheist mothers tell their children not to push, not to steal, and not to run with scissors. Why? Wouldn't pushing establish territory and authority like most animals? Wouldn't stealing give them the greater advantage? And wouldn't running with scissors be a lot of fun? :o) Just like every animal in the animal kingdom?


The question must be asked of the Darwinist, what explains your lack of explanation? Why are atheist so moral if it doesn't serve our own means of survival and advancement? Survival of the fittest?....or God's Natural Law?


Even Darwin would be forced to admit, the latter seems to more probable. Just when we thought man had gotten rid of God, God shows up in the most unexpected of places!


CONCLUSION


Though Dawkins and others can try, they are unable to explain why man is moral and has strong convictions and inclinations towards faith. We have established that atheism and naturalism is just as religious as other worldviews and we have established that evolution cannot explain why humans (who are just mere animals) do not act like mere animals. Morality and faith negate the very claims of evolution.


There is only one conclusion then: evolution, as currently understood, must be false. Evolution cannot explain these things, and others, because it is false. A theory, yes, but truth, it is not.


Rather, our discussion proves one thing: every human being is made in the image of God. This explains why the religious (this includes atheism who themselves practice morality and the various doctrines of religion) were among those appalled by slavery, oppression, who help the poor, defend the weak, etc. They see equality and God's image being oppressed, not billions of years of accidental survival of the fittest.

If the naturalist were consistent, they would look at slaves, the oppressed, the poor, and the unwanted, not as victims of their times who deserve better, but rather people who just didn't make it. "Don't worry," they would argue, "in a million years, their kind will be weeded out."


Welcome to a more accurate view of the doctrines of evolution. The very fact that atheist and naturalist don't act this way proves my point: we are made in the image of God, and He holds us accountable for our actions, beliefs, or the lack their of.








Monday, August 11, 2008

99 Balloons: Finding God's Grace In Life's Tragedies

We are a culture obsessed with death. Though we consider ourselves enlightened, we are returning to our barbaric roots. The Spartans were known for leaving their infants outside to die if the baby didn't meet the fathers criteria. The Romans, too, were known to practice abortion and infanticide. It was the Christians that stood counter-culture against this movement. Christianity has always been a worldview that believed that all life was worth living and society should protect life.

Christianity continues that legacy. With the advancement in abortion and euthanasia (and the rise of infanticide) Christianity continues to be the worldview that stands against the tide. Christians believe that all life, the sick, the handicap, the healthy, everybody, is made in the image of God and God's glory is seen in them.

My wife and I are pregnant and some of our closest friends are pregnant. One such couple is having to deal with Trisomy 13, a disease found in infants similar (but not the same) to Down Syndrome. In Down Syndrome cases, most parents abort the child out of "compassion," and "mercy," for the child. Christianity stands against this trend.

Those born with the various forms of Trisomy usually die shortly or within a couple of days after their birth. Our friends have been encouraged to abort their baby and try again. We are trying to stand against that trend. Yes, the child may die, but God's glory is seen in all life, no matter how long that life lives. God does not make mistakes, and shame on us for thinking so.

One of the biggest encouragement to me as I think about this issue is a video titled "99 Balloons" documenting the 99 days on earth that Eliot Moonery, a baby born with Trisomy, lived. It is a powerful video that shows why every life is worth living and though life may be cut short for some, we should celebrate that life rather than discard it as a mistake.

I strongly encourage you to watch this video. And after you do, perhaps you will be a defender of life rather than an enemy to life. I pray that those who are dealing with death issues find encouragment here. Man is made in the image of God and sometimes it takes those whom we consider unworthy that we find the beauty of God's creation a little more.






Thursday, August 7, 2008

And Cinderella Was Gone: Healing From Tragedy and the Chapman Family

When my wife and I were dating, we went and saw the movie John Q. In the movie, the child of the main character, John Q, is rushed to the hospital whenever he collapses during a baseball game. The boy needs a new heart and his parents can't afford the expensive surgery. And out of desperation, the father holds the hospital hostage. While talking to the police, John Q announces, "I am not going to bury my son. My son is going to bury me!" And with that, the hostage situation continues.

This is the feeling of every parent. But what happens whenever a parent is forced to bury their child? How does a family overcome such a tragedy? Well, recently, Stephen Curtis Chapman and family have had to overcome such a tragedy.

On May 21, 2008, Chapman's oldest son was returning home and stuck their youngest daughter (adopted from overseas) with their car. The young daughter, Maria, was killed. Once the story broke, Christians immediately began to pray for the Chapman family.

And it seems that God answered their prayers.

In several major interviews, the first since the tragedy, the Chapman family are discussing the process of grieving and the hope they have in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here we have faith trialed by fire on display for the world to see. Only Christ on the cross that brings hope of eternal life can bring promising comfort. This isn't wish fulfillment, but a reality that brings the best comfort available.

Sometimes a parent has to bury their child, and it is at those moments that we must run to God, and not from Him. The Chapman family shows us the reason why.





We are currently going through the book of Habakkuk in youth and the conclusion of Habakkuk is appropriate here. In context, the book of Habakkuk is essentially the prophet questioning God about what has happened, what is happening, and what is about to happen. And at the end, Habakkuk learns to trust in God's Sovereignty. We should learn to do the same, even whenever life doesn't go our way.

LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy. God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth. His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden. Plague went before him; pestilence followed his steps. He stood, and shook the earth; he looked, and made the nations tremble. The ancient mountains crumbled and the age-old hills collapsed. His ways are eternal...

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.

UPDATE: Recently, the Chapman's appeared on Larry King Live. To see that interview, click here.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Freud's Wish Fulfillment: Why Atheism Can't Explain Atheism

Since the rise of the new atheist, many new nicknames have been created including the Brites, the New Atheist, and even, the Four Horsemen (a reference to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in Revelation). These Four Horsemen include Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Samuel Harris. They are not the only atheist with recent best-selling books arguing against the existence of God, but these are nonetheless the main four.

Though there have been many books released recently responding to the Four Horsemen, some of the best that I've read include "What's So Great About Christianity?," "The Delusion of Disbelief," "the End of Reason," and the soon-to-be-released Dr. Mohler book, "Atheism Remixed."

But these men are not the real Horsemen. If we were honest, the real ground-breaking atheist of the modern period are Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud. Dawkins and crew don't even compare to these men. These four men, without a doubt, shaped Western, secular culture. Charles Darwin obviously laid the foundation for the other three, but all four are critical thinkers.

Two of them, I believe, are still applicable (Darwin and Nietzsche) in today's world. Marx and Freud are being left behind. First, history has proven Marx's theories concerning social revolution and economic reform to be disastrous. Marxism doesn't work. All one has to do is look at those nations that have adopted atheistic Marxism, and we see a failed system run on control. Dissenters, in such a culture, are arrested at best and executed at worst. Marxism creates a lazy society that reduces production to economic ruin. Why work whenever your not going to get paid more and everything is given to you? I knew that Marxism failed whenever the people of Cuba praised Castro for his giving everyone toasters and microwaves.

Freud's demise has been a bit slower and it is the subject of a recent article written by Dinesh D'Souza. Freud laid the foundation for modern psychology (built on the assumption of Darwinian evolution). Without a doubt, Freud had some weird ideas. Before I knew much about all of this stuff and was being introduced to Freudian thought, I knew this guy was a bit of a quack whenever he argued that those who were breast fed too long were going to be neat and clean and those who weren't breast fed long enough were going to be messy. True, Freud had some good insights, but many of his ideas were farfetched.

In the realm of faith, Freud is being passed by. He developed the idea that religion was nothing more than wish fulfillment. He argued that we have invented religion as a way to escape from the hardships of this world. D'Souza points out:

Imagine a bunch of people who have gathered in a room because they want to avoid life's difficulties--sickness, suffering, death--by making up a religion that will make them feel better

And so, D'Souza goes on to add, the invention of heaven was made up by man in order to escape the hardships of the world. Freud's argument makes sense whenever it comes to explaining why people believe in a place without suffering or hardships. No more pain. No more suffering. No more crying. No more uncertainty. No more confusion. No more death. We all wish that. And religion has become the fulfillment of that.

But, as D'Souza points out, how does Freud explain concepts like hell, sin, damnation, judgment, and wrath? Most of the major religions include some form of retribution. In Christianity, hell is the eternal punishment for unrepentant sin. In other religions, retribution is seen in things like purgatory, reincarnation, etc.

How does Freud's wish fulfillment explain this? Heaven perhaps, but hell? D'Souza adds:


But I don't see why this group would come up with the concept of hell. (We are not talking about why priests might later use the concept to enforce doctrinal obedience or institutional loyalty. We are talking about why wish-fulfilling humans would invent the concept in the first place.) Hell is not only worse than sickness but also worse than death, because death is merely the end, while hell implies eternal separation from God. I also don't see why seekers of wish-fulfillment would come up with Christian morality. Who needs the Ten Commandments or other such rules which make our lives more difficult by asserting a series of "Thou Shall Nots"? A mandate for wish-fulfillment would seem to dictate a much more libertine social morality.

If evolution is true, then how do we explain the existence of hell and similar ideas? Evolution thrives on survival of the fittest. In other words, nothing is off limits. The name of the game is surviving. And then all of the sudden man makes up rules that limits their liberty and domination and invent a doctrine of worse suffering for eternity that what we face on earth. How can evolution or psychology explain such nonsense?

It can't. It only makes sense that revelation was given, someway and somehow. As Christians, we believe that revelation came from God through the Biblical writers, the prophets, the apostles, and through Christ. God's revelation is bound in the Bible.

And so, we find an argument for faith in those who deny it's existence. By looking into the holes of some of the great Horsemen of history, we find greater reason to affirm our faith. Man has yet to explain away the Christian faith. And as Christians, we must stand firm in the faith and know that fads like Marx and Freud will fade, but the Word of God will not.

D'Souza, continuing using secular arguments, concludes with the following:


Bottom line: Judaism and Christianity, not to mention the other great religions, hardly look like they are the product of mere wishful thinking. In fact, they posit a God and a moral universe that makes some fairly stern demands on humans. It's almost wishful to think that God does not exist, so that we can escape those demands. This is a point that does not seem to have occurred to poor Sigmund Freud.
And this is a significant point. If anything is a wish fulfillment it is atheism. How else could we explain the theory of wish fulfillment but by turning it on it's head. Freud is living in a world of wish fulfillment. He doesn't want God. He doesn't want to believe in God. Why? Because believing in God challenges our deepest desires. Therefore, in order to hold on to our lust, we must deny His existence. To put it another way, we must fulfill the wish that He does not exist and in so doing, we become define morality, and thus, return to the "anything goes," mentality. It is clear that man will do whatever he can to normalize sin so that he can get lost in it. And one of doing that is to deny the existence of a divine being.

Though men like Freud and Marx contiue to impact society, their voices are beginning to fade. History has kissed the arguments of Marx goodbye. His only remnants can be found in academic elite, class envy persons, and the far left. Freud, though influention, continues to fail to explain the psychology of the believer. And in so doing, has made belief more rational making Freud's ideas nothing more than wish fulfillment.