Friday, February 26, 2010

The Slippery Slope: From Victorian Values to Beastiality . . . And Beyond - Part 2

The slippery slope only applies to cultures who have a faulty foundation for ethics. We live in such a culture. The foundation by which we determine our values, ethics, and morality is relativism. Relativism is the ethical belief that morality is subject to the ever evolving beliefs of a culture or community. In other words, there is no universal things as right and wrong. Rather, right and wrong are determined by a progressive society; what was wrong yesterday is not necessarily wrong today.

Such a moral foundation opens the doors to virtually anything . . . over time. It is illogical to say moral upheavals like bestiality will be normalized shortly after the broad adoption of homosexuality. Relativism oftentimes takes time. Only with a constant onslaught of academic elites lecturing the people about how small they are to hold a certain ethic; TV comedies, reality TV, and movies constantly portraying such a lifestyle as free, open, funny, and "just like everyone else;" a theological reassessment of what God really things about the subject; a re-eduction of the young through government schools; and an increasing boldness upon those who live in a questionable lifestyle will morality be changed. This, obviously, takes time.

This is exactly the sort of pattern that the fight for homosexuality took. It began with an academic elite lecturing us about how stupid and empty headed we "little people" really are. And then, slowly over time, more and more producers and actors began to include and promote the homosexual lifestyle as something that is funny (but not in a demeaning way, but rather as something that can be enjoyed), non-freakish (getting the audience to say, "hey, he/she is not different than me"), and getting the audience to truly enjoy and respect homosexuality.

At the same time, many in the theological community began to question what the Bible and other religious texts said about the subject. Theological liberals, in particular, began to question the Bible's inerrancy saying that it is an ancient document and thus irrelevant for our times. Others accused its writers, like the Apostle Paul, as being unaware of things like sexual orientation and thus unqualified to speak for God authoritatively on the subject. Many simply ignored the texts and moved on. Others argued that the Bible condemned heterosexuals practicing homosexuality because it goes against their nature. This implies that the Bible favors homosexuality so long as the homosexual was born with such a sexual bent.

Another important advocate in the social evolution of morality is the public school system. Public schools are oftentimes the forefront of cultural wars. The government oftentimes pushes an agenda that many parents are not in favor of. Then come court cases, legislation, elections, school board rulings, hearings, newspaper articles, academia weighs in, etc. All along nothing in the school system actually changes. Public school is the only institution where parents do not have much of a choice on what their child is taught by strangers, thus robbing parents of their primary responsibility of educating and training their child. Public education allows indoctrination oftentimes without the parents even knowing about it.

Finally, there was the "coming out of the closet" movement that continues to this day. Increasingly, it is becoming more and more common for people to openly admit and parade their sexuality. This reveals that society is more open to the idea and have gone beyond the "yuck factor." Thus, seeing two men or two women hold hands at the mall is not as gross as it used to be. Eventually, society gets used to and eventually asks, "what's the big deal? Its their business."
This is the pattern of how morality gets changed in a society whose moral foundation is relativism. Relativism is the branch of Darwinian evolution and secularism. If life itself and everything that surrounds us is nothing more than an accident, then is there really such a thing as right and wrong? Naturalism implies moral relativism

Take this pattern and the shaky worldview in which it is based on and one can easily see how our society, over time, will embrace almost anything. If there is no such thing as objective and universal morals, then anything is permitted once people get used to it. This opens the door to anything being permitted and embraced.

Contrast this with the Christian worldview. Orthodox Christians affirm the immutability of God. Since God does not change, neither does truth. If truth is fixed, so are moral convictions. If an immutable God declares unimpeachable truth with moral convictions, then regardless of the changes in the culture, morality remains the same. God's immutability, and thus moral convictions, transcend culture, technology, language, customs, or governments.

Too often people see the moral convictions of Christians as being ancient and out of date. In reality, taken to its logical end, transcendent morality founded on an immutable God remains several steps ahead of a relativistic culture.

Take divorce for example. When Christians were crying foul, many accused them of being out of touch and irrelevant. And yet, looking back at the no-fault divorce experiment, can anyone truly argue that the increase numbers of failed marriages and broken homes is a good thing? Fathers are robbed of being fathers while other men are encouraged to become nothing more than the man who pays child support. Women are forced to leave the home in order to pay the bills and children are oftentimes left raising themselves. Many do not get to know their parents and do not receive the necessary balance of male and female influence in their lives.

No wonder we're a confused society. Relativism criticized Christians of being behind the times, while Christian morality warned, "you'll be sorry." And those accused of being behind, have been proven to be ahead of the times.

This is why Christians must not play the game of moral relativism. Theological liberalism and cultural accommodation does not make us more relevant, but less. By chasing the culture, we prove that we have no better answers than what the culture is pulling out of a straw hat. The culture has no answers, only guesses. The gospel is transcendent and the Christian worldview must be as well. If we buy into the cultural game, then we have no gospel only relativism. We never need to be afraid of the accusations of being behind because we already know that we are ahead.

Relativism opens the doors to anything especially in regards to sex whether it be divorce, homosexuality, polyamory, polygamy, incest, pedophilia, or even bestiality. After all, who is to say what's right and wrong, especially when people get used to the idea and get tired of talking about it? The gospel however has a different message. God has revealed Himself and His message does not change. If the sinfulness of sexual sin has not changed, then neither has the love God shows when he forgives those who seek it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Where the Gospel and Politics Collide: The Separation of State and Church

January 1, 1802, the President of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson, wrote a letter to a group of Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut in response to their complaints that though the Constitution guaranteed them their religious freedom, they were not given the sort of freedom they felt they were entitled to. They felt that their religious liberty originated from God and thus immutable and not just privileges granted to them by their state. At this time, many US States were engaged to a particular religion or denomination. Connecticut was run by Congregationalists which meant that many Baptists (and other religions and denominations) were given limited rights and freedoms.*

In response, President Jefferson penned what would forever be misunderstood. He wrote that the Constitution build "a wall of separation between Church & State." Many have since abused this phrase to justify their argument that the United States government is inherently secular and should thus be free from any religious influence. Oftentimes, the religious establishment (in particular the Christian right) are criticized for supporting candidates or policies at all levels of government as an intrusion of President Jefferson's words. If there is a wall of separation between the Church and State, the argument goes, then religion should not play a role in the State.

But that is not Jefferson's point. What Jefferson meant could be better summed up as a wall separating between the State and Church. This is the whole point of the first amendment, of which Jefferson quotes just prior to his infamous statement: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ." Both clauses, taken at their word, clearly limits the legislative power of the Federal government against particular a religion. By clear implication, the Founders refrained the Federal government from meddling into the realm of religion not the other way around.

This is an important point and one that is too often misunderstand and misapplied. The Founders never intended on government being limited to the influence of secularism. For government to be purely secular flies in the face of democracy. The Founders established a system of government that intended on every walk of life, including the faith community, to be active and influential in their local, state, and federal governments. With limited government, the people would be free to practice and influence their society.

The reason I bring this up is because Christians oftentimes find themselves confused as to how the Christian worldview affects their political convictions, partisan loyalty, and votes. When we confuse what the Founders intended and established it is tempting to think that biblical foundations, gospel convictions, and religious leanings are unwelcomed guest in the public square. To the secularists (who are inherently intolerant, especially in the realm of politics and religion) the faith community (in particular Christians) are unwelcomed guest and are oftentimes pressured to check their religious leanings at the door. But to the Founders, the fundamental and national belief in a Provident God (whom they frequently referred to as "Nature's God") was foundational to America remaining the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Without a belief in God, freedom is an illusion. No secular or atheistic culture and government can survive will allow religious liberty. Atheism must be enforced. Secularism must be enacted without any religious strings attached because secularism is itself a religious establishment. Secularism is a theology with a political worldview much like every other theology and religion. When government becomes secular, it ceases to insure freedom. Where there is no God, and government does not protect and encourage the belief in God, there is no freedom. The Founders understood this, thus protecting the faith community from the coercive hand of government. Government must tolerate and celebrate religion, but religion does not have to tolerate, celebrate, support, or condone any policy, politician, or legislation. When religion becomes an unwelcomed guest in the hall of Congress, freedom comes under assault.

It is imperative for Christians to understand that when it comes to political engagement, the Founders are on their side regardless of what judges or secular, political pundits and politicians may say or argue. We must not forget that secularism is itself a religion that is fighting for their own religious causes, just as Christians, Jews, and Universalists do. Government must endorse and protect religious freedom, even in the political realm. To silence the Christians worldview from its political implications is to run contrary to the wishes and demands of the Founders and from what makes America great.

In the posts that follow, we will explore how the gospel affects our vote. Until then, it is imperative that we understand the original intend of the Founders and reject any notion of the Constitution as a living document that changes with the secular times. The Founders where clear: the State must protect religion, not coerce it.

*Many early Baptists were persecuted for their faith. Virginia Baptist, for example, were so persecuted that many left Virginia and traveled to Kentucky where they could practice their faith free from tyranny, government, and imprisonment. These Baptists were known as The Traveling Church and established many of the first churches in Kentucky.

For more:
The Letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist can be viewed here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Slippery Slope: From Victorian Values to Beastiality . . . And Beyond - Part 1

Many traditional marriage proponents raise the issue of the slippery slope regarding the legalization and normalization of homosexuality and other lifestyles. Gay activists cry foul and say that such an argument is unfounded. They claim that homosexuality is a civil right and they should have the right, privacy and moral freedom to practice their sexual lifestyle. But they offer no evidence to support the argument that opening the doors for homosexuality would not lead to other sexual deviances like pedophilia, sodomy, polygamy, polyamory, and bestiality.

The slippery slope argument, however, does hold water and we have seen this already take place in America. The very fact that we are even debating same-sex relationships is proof of the slippery slope. Just a few centuries ago, adultery, lust, fornication, sex before marriage, and certainly divorce were social ills and embarrassments. No one divorced except in the worst of circumstances, and even then no one talked about it. But slowly, overtime, persons began to compromise on the ethics of divorce until eventually no-fault divorces were passed throughout the United States. Now, not only was divorce becoming common, it became much easier to attain one.

Where this will lead us is inevitable. The children of a divorced generation are left with two choices. Either they will get married and fight for their marriages because of what they experienced in their childhood or they will refuse to marry. And as the days go by, it seems that the current generation has chosen the latter. Marriage has become nothing more than a certificate with loaded baggage instead of a covenant made before God and man. Since divorces are so ugly, why marry? If one can attain civil unions with their partner, live with one another, enjoy the same benefits as those who are married, yet without as much legal formalities, then why ever get married in the first place?

Furthermore, the sexual revolution radically changed how our culture views sexual ethics. The sexual revolution, at its heart, was an Utopian dream of liberation and peace. It was believed that if we would be liberated from traditional morality and experience sexual ecstasy, there would be no more need for war (thus the "make love and not war" slogan), violence, or injustices. But instead of peace and tranquility, the sexual revolution led to increased sexually transmitted diseases, broken homes, divorce, rape, increase pornography, sexual confusion and experimentation, and an increase demand for contraceptives and abortion.

This ideal continues with us today. Though the philosophy of the sexual revolution is not as common and most hippies have traded their guitars for ballot boxes, the slippery slope was well on its way. The stonewall riots took place in 1969 and is considered the beginning of the modern homosexual movement. So much so, that President Barack Obama gave a major speech before the gay community on the 30th anniversary of the riots noting the riots significant and how he will fight to give homosexuals their rights.

The sexual revolution introduced the culture to sexual extremes long ignored and left unpracticed. What was once considered extreme lifestyles has now entered into the mainstream were every TV show and movie involves at least one homosexual or some other alternative sexual lifestyle. Beginning with experimentation, the sexual revolution has led to sexual choices, then to sexual lifestyles, to now to sexual orientations. The slippery slope of "sexual orientation" is especially dangerous. Without a shred of evidence, the homosexual community has convinced Americans that sexuality is not a choice, but a gene. Therefore, homosexuality is not morally wrong, but natural. And if it is natural, then homosexuality should be compared with the civil rights of blacks and women. Just as one does not choose their race or gender, and the sexual orientation argument suggests, neither does one choose their preference for the same-sex.

If homosexuality is an orientation and not a choice or a lifestyle, then what else is predetermined? See the slippery slope? Already many are promoting other sexual lifestyles as polyamory and polygamy and it will not be long before persons claim that they did not choose these other sexual preferences. With these will come a push to lower the age of consent and to loosen laws regarding incest. Though this seems far fetched now, let us not forget where we were a few decades ago when homosexuals were among the most marginalized and rare in America. Now, however, they are a serious voting block and are a cultural movement who are pushing for their right to marry. Decades before the sexual revolution, it would have been inconceivable that fifty percent of marriages would end in divorce, but now one cannot attend a wedding without trying to guess how long the couple standing at the altar will remain together.

The slippery slope is in full effect without any signs of slowing down. The normalization and legalization of homosexuality will be the cultural revolution in which there will be no end. It will, inevitably, open the doors to all other sexual lifestyles including an even greater increase in pornography access, polamory, polygamy, pedophilia, incest, and yes, even bestiality.

The slippery slope is in full effect without any sign of ending.

Monday, February 1, 2010

We're a Bunch of Idiots: The Extent of Vanity Fair's Argument Against Creationism

We're a bunch of idiots.

That's the argument put forth by a recent Vanity Fair article regarding the Creation Museum in Petersburg, just outside of Cincinnati, OH. Though Vanity Fair is primarily a magazine of fashion and cultural dialogue, it apparently thinks it is qualified to tackling a difficult issue of immense implications and proportions as origins. Should we really take such a resource, with no qualifications in this area, serious on matters of truth, origins, science, theology, revelation, faith and God? Is Vanity Fair really the best place for such a debate?

The answer become obvious in the the magazine's sophomoric understanding of the issues. Of course, to borrow Alvin Plantiga's famous critique of the New Atheists, such a statement would be an insult to sophomores. The author, A. A. Gill, presents no real defense of evolution. Instead, he only assumes evolution to be true thus spending the all of his time mocking all views contradictory to his. That is bigotry and closed-mindedness. His aim of attack is young-earth creationists. This seems to be the only way to win an argument these days. Rather than give your opponent a platform, it would be better to mock them and make them look like a buffoon instead. This way you'll be protected from actually having to defend your own beliefs and plus it prevents others from hearing your opponents. That seems to be the goal of the Vanity Fair article.

Take for example these early paragraphs from Gill:

The next things I noticed were the very illiberally accoutred security guards. They are absurdly over-armed, overdressed, and overweight. Perhaps the museum is concerned that armed radical atheists, maddened by the voices of reason in their confused heads, will storm in waving the periodic table, screaming, “I think, therefore I am!”

The Creation Museum isn’t really a museum at all. It’s an argument. It’s not even an argument. It’s the ammunition for an argument. It is the Word made into bullets. An armory of righteous revisionism. This whole building is devoted to the literal veracity of the first 11 chapters of Genesis: God created the world in six days, and the whole thing is no more than 6,000 years old. Everything came at once, so Tyrannosaurus rex and Noah shared a cabin. That’s an awful lot of explaining to do. This place doesn’t just take on evolution—it squares off with geology, anthropology, paleontology, history, chemistry, astronomy, zoology, biology, and good taste. It directly and boldly contradicts most -onomies and all -ologies, including most theology.

I am left wondering if Mr. Gill actually went to the museum. I have been there myself and I can only wonder if the author is trapped in his blind devotion to Darwin to at least consider the argument and worldview of the museum seriously. The museum is not just about the first eleven chapters of Genesis but in fact covers the entire Bible. Furthermore to say that the museum and the ministry that runs believes and promotes what is contrary to "most -onomies and all -ologies, including most theology" is equally absurd considering that the ministry itself is ran and influenced by Ph.D's scientists experts in fields like "geology, anthropology, paleontology, history, chemistry, astronomy, zoology, biology, and good tastes."

Furthermore, I am left wondering if this article is more of a hit piece, like a drive-by shooting, than an actual critique and review of a museum. By the punch of his keyboard, Mr. Gill manages to pop off many smartelic remarks regarding a worldview he knows nothing about nor takes seriously enough to at least critique as would be expected from a major magazine editor. Why am I bothering with this again?

Here are the facts. Evolution is not written in stone as its many proponents suggests. To say, believe, and assume so is foolishness to say the least. The book is not closed. The debate is not over. For one, the fossil record remains incomplete and presents a serious challenge to Darwinism. Darwin himself knew this but trusted that through further discovery, the fossil record would validate his beliefs. So far his wishes have not come true despite the many efforts of scientists and the media who print front page reports on fossils who are trumped as proof of the missing link, but always turn out to be complete jokes (Ida and the Hobbit are two great recent examples).

Despite the fact that the fossil records show major gaps in evolution (which evolutionists simply pencil in to make it appear there are no gaps), there are a number of fossils that clearly suggests that fossilization took place immediately; not over a period of thousands of years as evolution demands. Take for example the two pictures on the left. There we see fossils of fish in the process of eating or digesting another fish. This clearly demands that fossilization is not the result of million of years, but the result of a cataclysmic event. Christians point to the Flood as Biblical proof that such an event took place. But again, instead of critiquing such an argument with facts, Vanity Fair just laughs it off and moves on.

Another hole in the "science" of evolution that Vanity Fair beholds is the elephant in the room it refuses (because it can't) to address: the origins of species. It is interesting that the holy grail and Bible of naturalism is a book with a title whose thesis never gets answered. Darwinism has yet to answer the question, "how did life begin?" When did we go from inorganic to the organic? At what point, after the great cosmic belch by which (millions of years later of course) we crawled out of a cest pool of organic vomit, did living cells spring into existence?

The answers proposed by many evolutions are more laughable than Intelligent Design or Creationism; the very worldviews that Gill mocks. ID and Creationists believe that God is the originator and creator of life. Period. Evolution on the other hand is left grappling for the wind. There is no way to explain the existence of life scientifically because living organisms can not come from inorganic matter. No matter how hard you try, a rock will never produce a cell or photosynthesize.
This does not mean that Darwinists haven't tried. Nobel prize winner Francis Crick proposed that aliens brought life to the planet (Richard Dawkins has also suggested similar things). Aliens? Where's the proof? What evidence does Crick and others have for such nonsense? They don't. They make it up. The same mockery Gill directs towards Creationists could just as easily be directed to his fellow believers in naturalism. Instead of offering proof, Crick and company offer an unsubstantiated theory. In other words, they are making it up because they do not have an answer. Much of what constitutes as fact in the evolutionary theory is really a guess or a pencil drawing to give the illusion of fact.

The alien theory poses yet another problem (despite its lunacy): where did the aliens come from? How did they go from the inorganic to the organic? Dawkins admits that they likely arose from a similar Darwinian process but fails to explain where the aliens came from. But aliens aren't the only proposed answer to this riddle. Some have suggested that life sprang off the backs of crystals which is just as foolish. And the list goes on and on. The riddle remains unanswered, as it always will. The question that evolution has claimed to answer from the very beginning remains a mystery; at least to the Darwinist.

The reason I bring all of this up is to make the point that Creationism is not as foolish as Gill suggests. But that is the point of the article. Instead of allowing open debate, secular Darwinists ban any talk of creation, God, or the Bible. It is not banned because they do not present serious arguments or that evolution does not have holes, but because evolution is a worldview and a theology first and foremost. The reason persons like Gill and magazines like Vanity Fair go out of their way to mock creationists, Christians, and places like the Creation Museum is because they understand the implications of the Christian worldview. If Christians are right, then secularism is an absurdity.

But a pleasant absurdity it is. Secularism allows intolerance and open bigotry against those that challenge their worldview. It promotes rampant immorality and licentiousness which explains their devotion to the sacrament of abortion. It undermines any religious institution and calls it process. And the greatest gift of all, secularism is without God. The debate over evolution and design is not about science or interpretations of ancient texts; its a debate over a worldview. Evolution is a worldview and always has been. Creationism is a worldview and always has been. And when the established religion of Darwinism is attacked the gloves come off. Rather than debate the issues, secularists drown out all opponents out of fear that their worldview might be undermined and their numbers might dwindle under the pressure. Therefore, rather than debate fossils, they mock museums. Rather than listen to serious critiques of their theory, they write tasteless articles in tasteless magazines about matters that they don't understand.

But at the end of the day we should not be surprised of such foolishness. And it seems to me that even the secular left have acknowledged the short end of their stick by placing such an article in a magazine called Vanity. I would call it Asinine.
For more:
Vanity Fair - Roll Over, Charles Darwin!
World Magazine Blog - Vanity Fair Visits the Creation Museum