Monday, March 30, 2009
Dr. Jerry Rueb, pastor of Cornerstone Church in Long Beach California, speaks on how we can tell who is the real communicator of truth and who is a false teacher.
The first portion of his sermon includes interview with a former lesbian activist Yvette Schneider, now current women's Ministry Director of Exodus International. Schneider explains her perception of Christians as a former lesbian activist and how she came to know Christ.
Listen Online here
Full MP3 Audio here
Friday, March 27, 2009
Some atheists, such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, insist that morality is simply the product of evolution. Common moral sensibilities (Don't murder, rape, steal, etc.) help ensure our evolutionary survival. There are a number of problems with this view:
1. Rape may enhance the survival of the species, but does that make rape good? Should we rape?
2. Killing the weak and handicapped may help improve the species and its survival (Hitler's plan). Does that mean the holocaust was a good thing?
3. Evolution provides no stable foundation for morality. If evolution is the source of morality, then what's to stop morals from evolving (changing) to the point that one day rape, theft, and murder are considered moral?
4. Dawkins and Hitchens confuse epistemology with ontology (how we know something exists with that and what exists). So even if natural selection or some other chemical process is responsible for us knowing right from wrong, that would not explain why something is right or wrong. How does a chemical process (natural selection) yield an immaterial moral law? And why does anyone have a moral obligation to obey a chemical process? You only have a moral obligation to obey an ultimate personal being (God) who has the authority to put moral obligations on you. You don't have a moral obligation to chemistry.
As I mentioned in an earlier post (Atheists Have No Basis for Morality), several atheists at a I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist event at UNC Wilmington struggled greatly when I asked them to offer some objective basis for morality from their atheistic worldview. They kept trying to give tests for how we know something is moral rather than why something is moral. One atheist said "not harming people" is the standard. But why is harming people wrong if there is no God? And what if harming people enhances your survival and that of most others?
Another said "happiness" is the basis for morality. After I asked him, "Happiness according to who, Mother Teresa or Hitler?," he said, "I need to think about this more," and then sat down. This says nothing about the intelligence of these people--there just is no good answer to the question. Without God there is no basis for objective morals. It's just Mother Teresa's opinion against Hitler's.
See also Neil's post: Does our Morality come from our DNA?
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
1. America Is Good.
2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
9. The government works for me. I do not answer the them, they answer to me.
9. Hard Work
11. Personal Responsibility
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
1. A postmodernist deconstructs the sign (that is, knocks it over with his car) ending forever the tyranny of the north-south traffic over the east-west traffic.
2. Similarly, a Marxist sees a stop sign as an instrument of class conflict. He concludes that the bourgeoisie use the north-south road and obstruct the progress of the workers on the east-west road.
3. A serious and educated Catholic believes that he cannot understand the stop sign apart from its interpretive community and their tradition. Observing that the interpretive community doesn't take it too seriously, he doesn't feel obligated to take it too seriously either.
4. An average Catholic (or Orthodox or Anglican or Methodist or Presbyterian or Coptic or whatever) doesn't bother to read the sign, but he'll stop if the car in front of him does.
5. A fundamentalist, taking the text very literally, stops at the stop sign and waits for it to tell him to go.
6. A preacher might look up "STOP" in his lexicon and discover that it can mean: (1) something which prevents motion, such as a plug for a drain, or a block of wood that prevents a door from closing; or, (2) a location where a train or bus lets off passengers. The big idea of his sermon the next Sunday on this text is: "When you see a stop sign, it is a place where traffic is naturally clogged, so it is a good place to let off passengers from your car."
7. An orthodox Jew takes another route to work that doesn't have a stop sign so that he doesn't risk disobeying the Law.
*Taken from Playing With Fire: How the Bible Ignites Change in Your Soul, by Walt Russell, pg. 49
Monday, March 23, 2009
The following is from Christian Philosopher William Lane Craig’s recent article “God is not Dead Yet” in Christianity Today. I encourage you to read the entire article. I include this section on the moral argument because of our recent discussion here about how the existence of objective morality requires God– a claim that atheists have yet to refute.
The moral argument. A number of ethicists, such as Robert Adams, William Alston, Mark Linville, Paul Copan, John Hare, Stephen Evans, and others have defended “divine command” theories of ethics, which support various moral arguments for God’s existence.
One such argument:
1. If God does not exist, objective moral values and duties do not exist.
2. Objective moral values and duties do exist.
3. Therefore, God exists.
By objective values and duties, one means values and duties that are valid and binding independent of human opinion. A good many atheists and theists alike concur with premise (1). For given a naturalistic worldview, human beings are just animals, and activity that we count as murder, torture, and rape is natural and morally neutral in the animal kingdom. Moreover, if there is no one to command or prohibit certain actions, how can we have moral obligations or prohibitions?
Premise (2) might seem more disputable, but it will probably come as a surprise to most laypeople to learn that (2) is widely accepted among philosophers. For any argument against objective morals will tend to be based on premises that are less evident than the reality of moral values themselves, as apprehended in our moral experience. Most philosophers therefore do recognize objective moral distinctions.
Nontheists will typically counter the moral argument with a dilemma: Is something good because God wills it, or does God will something because it is good? The first alternative makes good and evil arbitrary, whereas the second makes the good independent of God. Fortunately, the dilemma is a false one. Theists have traditionally taken a third alternative: God wills something because he is good. That is to say, what Plato called “the Good” is the moral nature of God himself. God is by nature loving, kind, impartial, and so on. He is the paradigm of goodness. Therefore, the good is not independent of God.
Moreover, God’s commandments are a necessary expression of his nature. His commands to us are therefore not arbitrary but are necessary reflections of his character. This gives us an adequate foundation for the affirmation of objective moral values and duties.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
"Luca Era Gay" (Luca Was Gay) is the name of an Italian pop song performed by Giuseppe Povia. The song tells a story of a man named Luca who developed a homosexual orientation as a result of negative childhood experiences. Later in life he was able to overcome his struggles and effectively change his sexual orientation to heterosexuality. It should be no surprise that the song has sparked controversy in Italy and has been labeled by gay activists as "homophobic."
You can watch the video here with subtitles.
Also, read the article telling the story of the song and the reaction before and after it was performed at Italy's "Festival di San Remo."
Roberto Marchesini, the writer of the article, notes, "The popularity of 'Luca Era Gay' has given courage and dignity to the ex-homosexual community in Italy, who, until now, have been thoroughly intimidated by gay activists. The text's real-life insights regarding the ex-gay experience are undeniable."
NARTH (National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality) is an organization which "upholds the rights of individuals with unwanted homosexual attraction to receive effective psychological care, and the right of professionals to offer that care." Check out their additional articles and resources.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
"I'm very impressed with your blog...I think you all have done a marvelous job of putting it all together and covering the hot subjects of the day."
- Donna, Bryan TX
"I have read a couple of the blogs...one of the blogs has led me to a British documentary against global warming. I know it is a bit off track on apologetics but, it does show the media's place in shaping public opinion against truth. Now that's apologetics...Very impressed."
- Dave, Lakewood CA
"Great job, I think I will tax it."
- Barack Obama, Washington DC
Thanks to all our readers. We appreciate all the feedback and comments!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
UPDATE- The President is saying he is going to remove the conscience clause that has been in place.
The Conscience Clause protects physicians and nurses choice not to participate in abortion procedures if it goes against their conscience. By reversing this clause, doctors will be forced to perform these procedures regardless of their individual beliefs. This is a freedom issue and a right to life issue. Here is a great artilce from Stand To Reason on the problem with this decision: "Pro-Choice? Only for One Choice"
YOUR OPPORTUNITY -The President has called for comments on the issue and 30 days were given starting on March 6th. Please consider taking action by being apart of the Be Heard Project.
Sign the petition that has already been siged by over 14,000 people. All it requires is your Name, Age and an email address. or you can call the ACLJ at 877-989-2255 where you can talk with person over the phone.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
But what is the purpose of government form a Biblical worldview? If you're a Christian, that means you seek to understand the world the way God does and you conduct your life according to God's priorities. And if you’re a Christian living a biblical life, then God's purposes for government should be a concern.
In Romans 13:3-4 we read these statements:
"Rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it [authority] is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil." (NASB)
So, what is the goal of government? The main purpose of government is to exercise justice as the arm of God. It’s for the punishment of evil-doers and the praise of those who do right. That's the main purpose, justice. No mention of a money issue.
In 1Timothy 2:2 it states:
"Pray for kings and all who are in authority in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity." (NASB)
Why are we to pray for out leaders? So that they will provide an atmosphere of tranquility and quietness, so that we may live in godliness and dignity. There is no mention of money issues here either.
Recently, I saw another image of President Obama depicted to look like Robin Hood. This particular image was shown by protesters to the president’s economical plans.
Others, however, agree with Obama’s notion of using government to redistribute wealth. It’s thought to be an issue of fairness that the government take money from the rich and give to the poor. Just like the heroic Robin Hood.
But what did Robin Hood actually do?
The government had extorted money from the people. The government took it from them through unfair taxation. Robin Hood simply took it back.
The people who had the money were the rich, who were associated with government. These people used the machinery of government for illicit and unjust purposes and made the middle class poor through stealing their money.
Robin Hood stole from the rich and give it back to the people it had been taken from that were now poor. He did not take from the rich and give to the poor. He took from the government who stole it from the middle class, making them poor, and returned it to the rightful owners. This was not leveling the social playing field this was returning money back into the hands of the rightful owners. To make President Obama out like Robin Hood on either side of the argument does not seem to be an accurate parallel.
Scripturally, the purpose of government is actually narrow. But it is clear the goal of government is to do justice, not injustice.
The goal of government is not to redistribute wealth who earned it. In many cases, if not all, government has been illicit in its power to take from people and give it to others. That’s not charity, that's theft and that’s unjust.
When it comes to taking care of the poor I think it's the purpose of the church to help the poor. I also think it's a moral responsibility, if not obligation, for individuals to voluntarily help the poor.
Remember in Acts 5 when the church was sharing all things. Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit concerning how much they sold their possession for and died as a result. They were not punished by God because they didn’t give a particular amount of money. They were punished because they lied about what they were giving.
Peter said and interesting thing in verse 4 when confronting Ananias:
“The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was yours to give away...” (NLT)
We have a moral responsibility to care for the poor and not to be greedy. However, the choice is up to you and the government should not force people to be charitable.
Government is not the answer to these problems. It may be valuable for the government to be involved to some degree. But the answer I believe is in morality and personal responsibility.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Here were the three main arguments the Supreme Court was hearing:
1) Does Proposition 8 amount to a violation of human rights or does it fall within the limits of people's power to change the state's Constitution?
2) Does Proposition 8 constitute an amendment or a revision of the state Constitution?
3) And, if Proposition 8 is upheld, how does it affect the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed in the 4 1/2 months prior to the November Election?
The state attorney's office had asked the court to invalidate the measure, on the ground that certain fundamental rights, including the right to marry, are inalienable, and cannot be put up for a popular vote. It was also charged that Proposition 8 is a revision to and not an amendment of the constitution. (Note: voters do not have power to make revisions)
Kenneth Starr, however, argued that Proposition 8 does not revise the constitution or allow a majority to take rights away from same-sex couples because it leaves intact California's domestic partner laws. He also argued that California voters have an inalienable right to amend the constitution.
The Court must make a ruling within 90 days.
Watch a news clip of what went on, here.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
In his acceptance speech Sean Penn said the following:
I think it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone.You can watch a video clip of it here:
Frank Schubert, Campaign Manager of ProtectMarriage.com, made the following observations about the Oscars:
...viewers weren’t two categories into the awards show when a gay screen writer bashed the Mormon Church, as much as said that supporters of Prop 8 are hateful bigots and promised that, soon, gays would have the right to marry. He even promised that the Obama Administration would make sure gays could marry “federally.” That brought a big round of applause.Frank Schubert is right. Myths die hard in Hollywood. This particular myth which is so prevalent is the myth of "equal rights." This is the myth that says the issue of same-sex marriage is about equal rights and that homosexuals are being discriminated against. Nothing could be further from the truth. I addressed this issue a few months ago in two different blogs: the first part is here and the second part here. The two main related points were as follows:
It is perhaps not surprising that Hollywood liberals would use their “awards” show to campaign in favor of gay marriage. After all, many of these same liberals donated or raised millions of dollars to attempt to defeat Proposition 8.
What is perhaps surprising is their brazen attempt to influence public opinion against traditional marriage by manipulating people into thinking that this is a “human rights” issue, or a “civil rights” issue, or even an “equal rights” issue. What they don’t tell people is that gay couples in domestic partnerships in California already have equal rights! Gay domestic partners in California enjoy the same legal rights as married spouses.
The same-sex marriage debate has absolutely nothing to do with civil rights, especially here in California due to California Family Code 297.5. Same-sex couples are afforded the same rights, benefits, and protections under California law. It's just not called "marriage." And that brings us to what this debate is really about. This is not about civil rights. It is about a piece of paper called a "Marriage Certificate" which the gay community desperately wants in order to have their lifestyle legitimized and validated in the eyes of the government and society. It is about redefining marriage. But no one person or society has the right to redefine this institution based on their own personal desires. Same-sex relationships will never be equal to monogamous, long-term, committed, heterosexual relationships, no matter how hard one might try to make them. Simply redefining the word "marriage" to include your relationship doesn't make it a marriage. Marriage is something in particular. And it cannot be redefined to include unnatural relationships any more than one can redefine the nature of a carburetor to include a water pump and expect the two to function equally for the same task.These two observations alone completely destroy the myth of "equal rights." I have yet to hear any proponent of same-sex marriage adequately address these points. Yet the "equal rights" myth is continually perpetrated by agenda-driven individuals, organizations, and Hollywood, in an attempt to indoctrinate the naive and vilify critics. It is understandable why supporters of same-sex marriage want to make this an issue of "equal rights." The public is much more likely to be sympathetic toward the cause if they feel there is unfair treatment. Frank Schubert notes:
Even without this California Family Code, same-sex couples would still have equal rights. There is NO unequal protection under the law. The same definition of marriage applies to all, regardless of your sexual preference. Homosexuals CAN get married. They just can't marry someone of the same sex. And neither can a heterosexual. The same law applies to all equally. This point seems to be completely missed by same-sex marriage advocates.
Liberal Hollywood activists like Sean Penn know a thing or two about reaching audiences. They make millions – tens of millions – learning how to connect with an audience. One audience they no doubt hoped to influence on Sunday night was the California Supreme Court, which is hearing challenges to invalidate Prop 8 in just ten days. Another audience probably watched the show from the upstairs of the White House in Washington. Still another audience is made up of voters here in California, enough of the 7 million of whom they hope to shame into repudiating their votes cast in favor of traditional marriage the next time the issue is on the ballot. Traditional marriage has served society well, and there are many sound reasons why people support one man, one woman marriage – including continuing the best institution to give children both a mother and a father. Prop 8 wasn’t an attack on gay couples, it was an affirmation of traditional marriage – but you didn’t hear that at the Academy Awards.Again, Frank Schubert is right. Notice how Hollywood attempts to win the debate. Hollywood doesn't say, "We believe so strongly that supporting same-sex marriage and homosexual behavior is the morally superior and intellectually defensible position that we are going to sponsor 100 national debates in an attempt to persuade the public through sound reasoning and argumentation." No, instead, Hollywood spends millions of dollars creating sitcoms and movies which constantly portray homosexual characters and the homosexual lifestyle in a positive light. Think of shows like Will and Grace, The L Word, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and Boy Meets Boy. After our celebrity-obsessed society has watched these programs for several years they have formed emotional attachments and bonds with the characters. They begin to associate the homosexual lifestyle with the easy-going, fun-loving homosexual character portrayed on their television.
In other words, I have noticed that people often reach a moral conclusion regarding homosexual behavior based on how they perceive the individual practicing that lifestyle. If the individual is a decent, hard-working, "nice" person, these positive caricatures are often carried over and applied to homosexuality itself. Never mind the facts or inherent dangers associated with the lifestyle. Our culture has essentially been indoctrinated through slick rhetoric. And when you combine this type of emotion-filled rhetoric with the prevalent philosophy of moral relativism (which says there are no moral absolutes that apply to all people, in all places, at all times) you have a recipe for disaster. This was no more evident then in my discussions with supporters of same-sex marriage this last election year. I asked one relative why she supports same-sex marriage. Her response: "I have friends who are gay." The implication was that having gay friends somehow morally justifies the homosexual lifestyle and warrants the redefinition of marriage. This is the kind of sloppy thinking that results when you give up reason and morality for rhetoric and relativism.
Conclusion: Whenever someone says that same-sex marriage is about "equal rights" you can be sure of one thing: that person has no idea what this issue is really about. Furthermore, we need to be aware of how Hollywood portrays this debate in an attempt to persuade our society, especially younger generations. Ironically, for all his talk about "shame," it is actually Sean Penn who should be ashamed. Shame on you Mr. Penn. Shame on you for misleading the public and continuing in willful ignorance regarding what this debate is really about.