Monthly Archives: January 2012

What a Glorious Choice!

It is January 22, the anniversary of the worst Supreme Court decision ever — the decision granting a woman the right to kill her unborn baby in the womb as a matter convenience.  This day is used by NARAL to celebrate this grotesque choice, and they encourage bloggers and tweeters to  talk about the woman’s right to “choose.”

But what are these women really getting to “choose?”

Abortion advocates say that this “choice” advances the cause of womankind and empowers the woman with freedom over her own body.  She is no longer a slave, she doesn’t have to be forced to surrender her vital organs to sustain something she may not have wanted in the first place.

So, those who hold the unopposed power of life and death over another human being are justified in using that power to kill someone who is a mere inconvenience?

Let’s get real.  As much as the pro-abortion crowd likes to belly-ache about situations like rape, incest, or saving the life of the mother, few abortions are actually performed for those reasons.  Most abortions are performed for convenience.  An unexpected pregnancy might be detrimental to the plans of the woman and/or man who would be the parents of the resulting child, so they kill the child.  It’s as simple as that.

Or the child is the wrong sex.

Or the child has a deformity or has the markers for a mental handicap.

This means that most women who have abortions are doing so out of selfish reasons.

An old episode of He-man and the Masters of the Universe illustrated this exact situation, with fantasy elements (of course).  In this episode, Skeletor (the villain) has learned the location of the Starseed.  This artifact is a piece of the singularity that resulted in the Big Bang — and whoever possesses it has the power of God.  Total omniscience along with omnipotence.

Let’s see what happens when He-man and Skeletor battle to possess it:

Do you agree that He-man made the correct decision?

Holding the power of life and death over another person in your hand and not using it is far more powerful than using it.  In the cartoon here, as well as in real life, holding someone’s life in your hands and ending it is always an evil act.

Reality check for my fellow pro-lifers: Our side makes a big deal about electing only pro-life officials to Congress or the Presidency, over getting the right mix of Justices in the Supreme Court to overthrow Roe v. Wade.  The government isn’t where we are going to win the battle, nor where we are going to make the greatest impact.  It is with this power of choice.

The powerful testament to He-man’s character in that clip comes from the fact that he has the power to obliterate Skeletor, but he chooses not to.  For all his evil scheming, Skeletor surely deserves nothing less than annihilation.  However, He-man chooses to preserve Skeletor’s life — and when faced with the chance to kill his greatest enemy he reacts with mercy and forgiveness.

As Zodac points out, He-man’s refusal to use the power of the universe for selfish gain demonstrated his goodness.

Pregnancy is a responsibility handed to the pregnant woman by God, and abortion is the coward’s way to duck that responsibility.  How much of a testament to a woman’s character would it be if she were in dire straits, became pregnant, had the option of aborting the child, yet still chose life for her unborn child?

The battle for abortion won’t be won in sweeping, preventative legislation.  It will be won in the trenches with individual women, one choice by life-affirming choice at a time.

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Reductio Ad Absurdum

I’m going to pick on BibleAlsoSays, Twitter phenom, one more time tonight then I am going to bed.

Though I know that what I’m about to do commits the same fallacy, allow me to do it anyway:

https://twitter.com/#!/BibleAlsoSays/status/159482750057988096

Which, apparently, means that we should close every school.  Because they inculcate our kids with math, science, history, language arts, and other truth.  If it was true, it wouldn’t require so much inculcation, after all!

Okay, now that I’m done engaging in reductio ad absurdum, let’s unpack this a little bit better.

We need to look at inculcation.  According to dictionary.com:

[T]he act of inculcating, or teaching or influencing repeatedly or persistently and repeatedly so as to implant or instill an idea, theory, attitude, etc. (source)

I fail to see why religion is wrong for doing that.  Ever been to school?  They drill math into your head, make you memorize dates in history, practice handwriting the same letters again and again; and frequently you are penalized for creativity or outside-the-box thinking.

I remember once I wrote a poem about the sunrise in English class.  I tried to coin a word, which poetry is the medium for doing that.  I got marked off for it!

This tweet fails as an argument against religion because it commits a category error.  It assumes religion is self-evident truth.

There are truths that are self-evident, such as 2 + 2 = 4.  No argument.  A baby can see that if you take two walnuts, and put two more walnuts with it, you will have four walnuts.

On the other hand, a claim like E = mc2 requires a defense, or a persistent (and perhaps in-your-face) teaching or influencing to implant the theory.  Matter is really energy?  It defies casual observation.  Yet, upon much, much, much examination and experimentation it does wind up being true.

Religion, or more specifically religious concepts, are not necessarily self-evident.  The existence of God, I think, is self-evident.  But that fact alone becomes a war of semantics to define God.  Which god really exists, therefore, is not self-evident.

The deity of Christ is also not self-evident.  It must be examined and wrestled with, as scientists did for years with E = mc2.

There is no education required for self-evident truth.  However, there is much required for more subtle truths, and the truth of the Christian religion is one such subtlety that requires both a solid education and a firm defense.

Twittering Away at Philosophical Naivety

I’ve addressed philosophically naive statements before.  They always seem to come from Twitter, which is why I had to absolutely laugh at the recent issue of Writer’s Digest when it suggests writing dialogue in Twitterspeak (140 characters or less) as an exercise in creativity.

Sure.  That might work for a good writer, but not for Average Joe Twitterhead.

Enter BibleAlsoSays, a frequent contributor to mass ignorance. He has struck again with two statements.  First:

https://twitter.com/#!/BibleAlsoSays/status/159474512163897344

Then:

https://twitter.com/#!/BibleAlsoSays/status/159474546288762881

Well, let’s break this down a little bit.

First, BAS is operating from a faulty definition of the word “faith.”  Faith is not “belief without evidence,” but loyalty based on prior performance.  That loyalty is manifested in the actions of the believer; which means both belief and practice are required for a truly biblical faith.

We see now that BAS’s statement misses the mark entirely.  I take ownership of my faith by my actions, regardless of who passed the knowledge to me.  My wife brought me to faith through seeds planted years earlier by my grandpa, and the church, the Bible, and influences too numerous to name have taught me what it means to own the faith I was given.

My actions — primarily through my writing, but also through a local youth ministry co-op and by assisting in the presentation of church services — have made my faith my own.

Second, even if we allow for BAS’s faulty definition of “faith,” he’s still off-base.  Taking ownership of abstract ideals is the same as taking ownership of concrete objects.

The computer I’m typing this on is a perfect example, as it came from my church.  I didn’t build this computer, I didn’t load the original software on it, and I didn’t use it for the first few years of its existence.  The Dell factory built it, loaded the software, and shipped it to my church, where it sat on the secretary’s desk for a few years.  They sold it to my father-in-law, who then gave it to my wife and I after he realized that he didn’t need it.

I didn’t build it.  I didn’t use it at first.  But it is my computer now.  It served many before me, now it serves me.

Same with a belief.  It becomes my belief when someone shares it with me, and I accept it as true.  So it is now mine in a sense, yet it still resides with the original person — the advantage abstract ideals have over physical objects.

A belief is never really “owned” by anyone.  Rather, it is shared by a group of like-minded people.

A belief will pass from one to another, from generation to generation.  Each generation is free to question and discard it.  Religion is not immune to this — in fact, the growing number of nonreligious is testament to the fact that many do question religious belief and eventually discard it.

But to say that no one can take ownership of a religious belief because it was passed from parent to child is philosophically naive.  No belief is really one’s own, since all or most of our most fervently held beliefs were taught to us by someone at some point.

Yet, despite this, people take ownership of beliefs all the time.  And we let them, never questioning the source of the belief.  If I say, for example, that I believe Mercury is the first planet from the sun, no one scolds me by saying, “You discover that yourself, there, Copernicus?”

Whoever discovered it, it was taught to me by a science teacher and is my belief now.

Religious belief is not in a special category by itself.  What applies to it applies to every belief under the sun — though I much doubt BAS wants that to be true.  His hatred of religion blinds him to a lot of philosophical truth.  In sum, if faith is solely equal to belief, we can still claim it as our own in the same semantic sense we claim any belief our own despite it being part of a collective body knowledge that we did not personally discover.

Interesting Twitter Exchange

I haven’t been on Twitter since November.  I decided to check in because I got an e-mail saying that Lee Strobel, author of The Case for series of apologetics introductory books, followed my Ratio Christi account.

Nothing much on my main account, so I thought I’d put up a tweet just for ole time’s sake.  I posted why I even checked Twitter at all.  And that elicited a fascinating reply:

Twitter.  Where else can the ordinary everyman gab with best-selling authors?

Which brings my “Authors I’ve Chatted With on Twitter” total to 2.  I also had a brief interaction with Greg Boyd, author of The Jesus Legend.  Mostly I was warning him to stop interacting with a particular Twitter user who shows no love of truth — only a desire to squash Christianity and persist in his fervent unbelief.  Mr. Boyd took my warning, I’m happy to say.

Now, if only Rachel Vincent will respond to me!

Contradiction Tuesday: Jesus in the Pecking Order

Better late than never, right?

I skipped the next contradiction in line.  It’s easy to resolve, but I’m saving it for Easter.

So for today’s contradiction Tuesday, we have another both/and resolution.

I and my Father are one. (Jn 10:30)

set against

Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. (Jn 14:28)

The Trinity is the most misunderstood doctrine of Christianity.  Atheistic challenges to it amount to little more than “I don’t understand the Trinity, so it must be false.  Now I shall mock it to appear clever.”

Jesus and the Father share an essence.  But they do not share an identity.  Meaning they are ontologically the same, but still separate people.  John 10:30 refers to sharing the essence, while the pecking order established by 14:38 refers to the separate persons.