A brief response to “14 Wacky ‘Facts’ Kids Will Learn in Louisiana’s Voucher Schools”

http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/07/photos-evangelical-curricula-louisiana-tax-dollars

After reading many comments given in response to this article, I’m more convinced that one clear sign of anti-intellectualism is when people resort to insults and derogative terms to describe their comprehension of this article, meanwhile not even one of the articles “Wacky Facts” that the author has chosen to cariacature by deemphasizing the context, has even been challenged or debated. It is irrational to continue with this notion that we all emanated from nothing. This kind of thinking would not be tolorated as a solution to any of the problems at our places of work and yet this is what people embrace so that they do not have to deal with the moral consequences that arise from thier actions.  It is ironic, many folks on this thread disdain their “bible thumping” counterparts, meanwhile their arguments against these “southerners” must rely on standards that have been lifted from Christian scriptures. Standards like honesty, taking care of others, and the primacy of knowledge. In a world that is the result of natural processes why is there such outrage over the way other biological organisms have chosen to live their lives? After all, we are just biological machines that are living out our chemical reactions; isn’t that what we have been taught in school (i.e. behaviorism). No one gets upset when Chloride and sodium ions react with one another to form salt; that’s just what these elements do, yet, folks are all worked up as if there should be uniformity in the way people think and it is that type of thinking that betrays the liberal to be a closet theist rebeling against rationality.

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Does the Old Testament condone polygamy?

polygamy

While I was reading an NPR article entitled: Same Bible, Different Verdict On Gay Marriage I ran across a claim that I have encountered one to many times and that has galvanized me into responding with this blog entry. An excerpt from the article states:

LaBerge resigned her post as minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) after the denomination voted last year to ordain non-celibate gay clergy. She says the Bible is clear.

“From the Old Testament and throughout the New Testament, the only sexual relationships that are affirmed in scripture are those in the context of marriage between one man and one woman,” she says.

Actually, the Old Testament does condone polygamy. Still, LaBerge says, from Leviticus to Paul’s writings in Romans and First Corinthians, homosexual acts are called vile and detestable, and legalizing same-sex relationships does not change the sin.

As the author (Barbara Bradley Hagerty) interjects the phrase: “Actually, the Old Testament does condone polygamy,” I am left thinking to myself, Really? Where in the Old Testament is the reader told that God allows polygamy? To be sure, there are several accounts of Old Testament men who had multiple wives (1 Samuel 1:1-2, 2 Samuel 5:13, Judges 8:30, 2 Chronicles 11:21, 13:21, 1 Kings 11:3 etc.) but then there are also several accounts of Old Testament men who worshiped idols (1 Kings 11:5, 1 Kings 16:30-31, 2 Kings 21:1-3, Judges 2:11-13, Hosea 13:2 etc.), yet no one in their right mind would claim that the Old Testament condones idol worshiping. Continue reading

To whom much is given, much shall be required. Really?

Imagine that you are a student in your freshman year at college and you are among a group of high achievers called the ‘A group’ that are consistently earning straight As in all of your course work. You are the envy of the freshman class and all the college professors marvel at how you and this group of high achievers are able to effortlessly, it seems, attain to these consistently high grades while the majority of the class is struggling to get by with some Cs, but mostly Ds and Fs. It doesn’t matter that some of the folks that are in the A group are naturally gifted while others just have a ridiculously efficient work regiment, all members in this group always achieve high grades and it is very evident to all onlookers. Then suddenly, in walks the President of the college declaring:

I’m going to take a portion of those in the A groups’ grades and give it to those at the very bottom who need this help to survive academically. After All, you guys should be willing to give something up as people who’ve been extraordinarily blessed academically, you should be willing to give up some of the good grades that you enjoy, and,  I actually think this is going to make academic sense. But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’ teaching that ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.’

What would you do? Is this a sound argument? What right does the President have to muck with your grades, after all, he didn’t earn them, did he? He does not own your grades, does he?

This analogy may not be a perfect representation of the “wealth redistribution” argument; in fact, all analogies break down at some point; however, I believe it is a good illustration of the difficulties that lie in the belief that one entity has the right to exact “social justice” on behalf of whomever they deem to be society’s victim. (see Did God give the government the right to redistribute wealth)

In a recent news article (Obama says his policies are extension of his faith) President Obama claims that the biblical God endorses his attempts to redistribute the wealth of those that are “extraordinarily blessed” to help those that are poor. One of the methods that he has proposed to achieve this goal is to implement “fairness” in the tax code. The president claims that his “fairness” agenda which aims to enact punitive policies against the wealthy, stems from the biblical passage that states: ‘for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.’

Of the many problems that arise from this article, one of the most glaring is President Obama’s unapologetic eisegesis of the Luke 12:48 (But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more) bible verse. He completely takes the verse out of context to make a point that is not mentioned or supported by the text. The particular idea that President Obama would have us believe is supported by this verse of scripture is: there is a biblical mandate for the government to force those with more money to pay more taxes. That the President would dare suggest such a thing without studying to ensure that such a conclusion is approved by scripture underscores the glaring disconnect between our president’s policies and the intent of God’s word. This verse has nothing whatsoever to do with taxes or money. Furthermore, God isn’t into forcing people to do anything, let alone, paying taxes. The bible is clear that the involuntary transfer of a property title from one party to another, without receiving title to other property in return (i.e. paying taxes) is not a good thing. This is deducible from biblical passages such as: 1 Samuel 8:10-19, Matthew 17:25-26. However, the bible commands us to pay taxes so as not to offend those in power (Matthew 17:27). Similarly, in Matthew 5:44 we are told to do good to those that hate us, but no one would argue that it is therefore perfectly fine for those persons to hate us.

Anyway, for those that care to know the truth, the context of the Luke 12:48 verse that President Obama quotes is not about taxes or wealth management; it’s about the judgement that occurs when Christ returns. Specifically, this verse’s purpose is to convey that there are different degrees of punishment (for the unbeliever) which are based upon the knowledge of God that each one has received. Therefore, this verse has absolutely NOTHING to do with how governments should calculate taxes and everything to do with what a person does with the knowledge of God that their lifetime has afforded them. According to Dr. Henry Morris of the New Defender’s Bible Commentary, in the Luke 12:48 parable: “[b]oth servants represent lost sinners, and both are punished, with neither saved. The intensity of suffering, however, is inflicted in accordance with degree of sinfulness in relation to degree of light received or truth known.” For example, “those born in Christian homes, in Christian lands, with abundant access to Bibles, churches, and schools, as well as other privileges, will be evaluated more critically than those” unbelievers who perished without such advantages.

Of course, Romans 1:18-20 conveys the idea that the innate knowledge of God possessed by each and every person is sufficient to condemn that person at the judgement should they decide to do nothing with that knowledge. There are no exemptions for the blind, deaf, dumb, or the mentally challenged, so this knowledge is not a knowledge that is gained through the senses, rather, it is already implanted into our minds at birth. This knowledge is what renders all men inexcusable should they choose to leave this world in a state of ignorance or unbelief (disobedience). Consequently, if all (of the unsaved), by default, are subject to condemnation for this innate knowledge, of how much more condemnation shall they be thought worthy of, who in addition to this innate knowledge were immersed into a society inundated with churches, bibles, Christian schools, Christian organizations, Christian friends, Christian neighbors and Christian websites? Therefore, to whom much is given, much is required.

One may ask in response, can’t we extrapolate a generic principle from this saying of Christ and apply it to financial stewardship? The answer is NO! We do not arrive at principles about financial stewardship by extrapolating verses that have nothing to do with financial stewardship. For Christians, the bible is our unreformable starting point; therefore, if God doesn’t explicitly mention a similar principle (i.e. to whom much is given much is required) in regards to financial stewardship elsewhere in scripture, and if this principle cannot be deduced by good and necessary consequence from the verses that comprise the Luke 12:48 parable, then we haven’t any justification for arbitrarily extrapolating a financial principle from this verse in scripture that is tethered to an entirely different context. Scripture is not a wax nose. We could just as easily require the reader to extrapolate a Luke 12:48 principle that applies to those that are stewards of excellent class grades or excellent health. Neither of these extrapolations would have scriptural warrant.

Of course, one could easily use President Obama’s own hermeneutics to demonstrate the absurdity of his hermeneutics, in fact, I’m fortunate in this quest since the verse that he chose to take out of context has a counterpart somewhere out there just waiting to be equally misused. For instance, in Matthew 25:29 (For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath) it appears that I have found all the justification I need to argue that the bible supports taking from the poor and giving to those that are rich. This, of course, is not the intended context, but there is no way President Obama could ever accuse me of taking this verse out of context without incriminating himself. Therein lies the problem with being fast and loose with the scriptures. I guess when the President takes time off from accusing God’s word of being inferior, it’s only to twist those same words to support his unbiblical ideas of social justice and wealth redistribution. Incidentally, I find it ironic that on the one hand, Obama scoffs at the idea of using God’s word to influence policy, then on the other hand (i.e. Obama says his policies are extension of his faith), he claims that his fairness policy is the result of scripture. That this unfortunate propensity to flip-flop should befall President Obama will not surprise those that are familiar with his other about faces (i.e. he was against homosexual marriage but now his views are “evolving”, letting Sudan off the hook for the Darfur genocide after promising sanctions as a candidate, redefining his grounds for abortion under public duress etc).  I also consider it ironic that the other bible verse that President Obama quotes; Proverbs 31:8 (Speak for those who cannot speak; seek justice for all those on the verge of destruction), is one of the most galvanizing verses for those that espouse the rights of the aborted babies (who incidentally cannot speak for themselves and are ever imminently on the verge of destruction) yet it’s being used as a proof text for taxation and wealth distribution by arguably the most pro-death president in our country’s history. If you want real social justice, just wait until Christ returns to enact justice on all those that have ignored or disobeyed His word (2 Thessalonians 1:8). It is only then that you will see true social justice. Until then, President Obama needs to stop handling scripture in such a sloppy manner; otherwise, folks will keep doubting whether his profession of faith is genuine or just socially/politically convenient. Of course, if the idea of social justice had any merit, one would wonder why Christ has to come back to straighten up the world, in the first place.

Regarding Obama’s plans of wealth redistribution, according to Dr. John Robbins of http://www.TrinityFoundation.org:

“No one can seriously deny that private property is one of the basic values of both the Bible and American society. It has been under heavy attack in the twentieth century by atavistic and criminal collectivists who wish either to abolish it or to redistribute it by political means. “Thou shalt not steal” applies to all, both rulers and private citizens. Rulers routinely violate the commandment by taxation, expropriation, and inflation.” – The Ethics and Economics of Health Care

As a result of the above, I strongly believe that President Obama’s ideas amount to theft. You may have the right to be jealous but you do not have the right to steal from the rich in order to enact the justice that your jealousy demands. If the rich have violated some law then the President has the authority to punish them for whatever wrong that they have committed but he does not have the right to alter their status by removing some of their property no matter how small. If the president wants to quote scripture he should start by adhering to the ten commandments, specifically the one that states “Thou shalt not steal!”

In conclusion, I have no problem with individual citizens giving to the poor and Christians should instinctively know that to do such is our (and NOT the government’s) prerogative and duty; however, I object to an immoral government (that thinks it is OK to kill babies but it’s not OK to have poor people) stealing other folks money under the guise of “fairness.” Of course, if the government were really concerned about fairness, the tax rate would be the same across the board and all persons would be required to pay taxes regardless of socioeconomic status. If we as a nation implement inept, socialistic laws that are doomed for failure, when things start falling apart, we do not have the right to start targeting the affluent merely because they are affluent. Besides, there exists no objective, non-arbitrary, definition for the word “fair” outside of a moral lawgiver who owns everything (and thus has the authority to enact standards); to date, the only moral lawgiver that fits this criteria is YAHWEH, the Almighty God of the Bible.

Analyzing a silly media response from the Harold Camping debacle…

What can Christians learn from Harold Camping’s failed May 21, 2011 prediction?

By Gabe Lyons and Jonathan Merritt

“…Christians need to recognize that fear-based conversion tactics may work on young children, but they rarely resolve rational thinkers’ long-term concerns about faith. Those who went running for the rapture must now sit to wrestle with the serious questions that plagued them before. We must learn that it’s easy to rile people up with future headlines of destruction, but it’s better to inspire people with God’s will for our lives in the present…When Christians succumb to thinking that sees escape as the answer to the world’s brokenness, we know we’ve taken a wrong turn.” – Read More

If the writers of the above excerpts have a problem with a fear based message then they’re definitely going to have a problem with Christ’s fear-based admonition in Matthew 10:28 – And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. The problem with Camping’s false prophecy has nothing to do with it’s fear based message but rather his blatant disregard for Christ’s teaching in the Matthew 24:42 section of the Olivet Discourse when he states: Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. No one, I repeat, NO ONE knows when Christ will return (except obviously for God the Father);  Christ said this many times (Matthew 24:36, Matthew 24:44; Mark 13:33) so it’s hard to understand how Camping could have missed it and how the media could give Harold’s baseless utterances so much attention. One explanation I suspect is that the media will relish and exploit any excuse to defame the Christian religion. To underscore how uneducated the media is about Christianity, how come they failed to understand that if Harold Camping’s prediction was right then that would actually mean that God is a liar and that Christianity is false? Mere logic requires us to reach this conclusion since it’s Camping’s words versus God’s! The real headlines should have read: Harold Camping claims that God is a liar, the May 21st showdown will reveal the winner!


Westboro Baptist Church

Friend:
So, are these really Christians that go to funerals and say “fags” are going to
hell and that God loves dead soldiers.  I see where the Supreme Court upheld
their right to say these things—and per the Bible, homosexually is an
abomination.  So, is this group really behaving as “good” Christians?

James:
Their behavior (and some of thier messages) is certainly not Christian. It is true that the bible says homosexuals are going to hell (1 Corinthians 6:9) but the bible compels Christians to communicate this message gently and in love (1 Peter 3:8, James 3:17, 2 Timothy 2:24-25). A more profound question that arises from their (WBC) signs is: Can or does God actually hate certain people? It is not a simple answer. God certainly and unconditionally loves everyone (all humans); He demonstrated this by dying on the cross for EVERYONE’s transgressions of His law (2 Corinthians 5:19). According to the Bible, the greatest demonstration of love is to give one’s life for a friend (John 15:13). God outdid this pinnacle by dying for us (Adam’s children) while we were alienated from Him and enemies with Him (Romans 5:10). On the other hand, He does hate those that reject Him but I should probably qualify this assertion with verses from scripture before I develop the idea any further.

It is probably better to say that God loves and hates the unbeliever simultaneously. This is not a contradiction since He doesn’t love and hate them in the same way. He gives unbelievers an earthly life that includes the free (contrary to what the Catholic Church teaches) offer of salvation and everlasting life (which requires no human effort) and it is available to all (Titus 3:4-5). On the other hand, God’s wrath abides on all those who have not believed the gospel (John 3:36).

Honoring ‘a Baby No One Loved’

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/17/AR2008111703016.html?nav=hcmoduletmv

There is presumably no procreation in Heaven, as we know that there is no marriage in Heaven (Luke 20:35). In light of this, every child that we bring into this world is either someone that will spend eternity in Heaven or Hell. The gift of childbirth is arguable the most underrated blessing under the sun. As I read the news article above, while thinking about how horrible this crime was I began to realize that this pales in horror when compared to what millions of women in this country do every year, namely abortion. The “choice” to kill the most helpless humans when their existence is deemed inconvienient is perhaps the most henious crime ever desensitized in the history of the world and an action that every perpetrator (saved or unsaved) will give an account for on the day of judgement.

There is a verse in Hebrews that I was thinking about the other day. The verse starts out by describing the word of God but ends up talking about Jesus as if the two were the same thing. Incidentally, they are.

Hebrews 4:12-14
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. 14Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God …

The relevant part of this passage is really 13b which in the NIV (for clarification of the meaning) states: “to whom we must give account.” So we must give account to the word of God and the word of God is Jesus. Christian need to think hard about this the next time we try to waffle on why the Word of God doesn’t really mean what it so clearly says. Hope we have a better excuse for God than the one we give our peers.

New U.S. dollar coins designed to omit the motto “In God We Trust.” — Well, not exactly…

New email gossip has made the rounds (perhaps you the reader are a recipient of such a warning) from the information superhighway to many inbox-es advising the prudent faithful to “boycott” new government issued dollar coins due to the omitting of the phrase “In God we trust.”
However, according to the purported myth-debunking website, Snopes.com, the phrase “In God we trust” was not omitted, but relocated from the front/back of the coin to the side of the coin. While this discovery may avert the inevitable brouhaha, I’m not entirely convinced that sinister motives are not afoot. To this end, I must take this opportunity to point out that this is indeed the height of irony. In the email above that was circulated, we read “If there was ever a reason to boycott something, this is it” yet the same folks probably voted for one of the most ungodly (if not the most, as even B. Clinton was less liberal) presidents ever; a person who is directly working against the kingdom of God.

While Obama assembles his anti-God administration and policies, his Christian well wishers obliviously hope that God will change him from someone who has rejected God’s commandments to someone who will suddenly embrace them. As one article has put it (http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=79393) “Were Obama to support overturning every law against theft but argue that his plan to teach people how to avoid pickpockets would result in less theft, we would call him crazy” or “were Obama to support overturning every law against rape but argue his plan to teach women how to fend off rapists would result in fewer rapes, we would call him not only crazy but sick. Yet, such is the thinking of optimistic Christians who perhaps will reap the results of an Obama administration many years after the man leaves office. Perhaps, their children will return home with a gay or lesbian partner having learned of these abominable relationships in their public school education or even worse will themselves partake in the killing of an innocent human for the sake of convenience, after all, Obama will enact policies that will cause these two abominations to flourish.
Considering Obama’s actions and admissions, it would be unprecedented for God to grant such a person wisdom, after all, he is not acting “ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Timothy 1:14) as Saul was before he became Paul, but actually the very opposite (full awareness in “belief”). He is someone who identifies with God but has rejected God’s knowledge and therefore qualifies as a recipient of God’s rejection. If this sounds familiar it is because this is precisely what happened to the Isrealites in Hosea 4:6 (My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee).