Monthly Archives: June 2009
For those of you that don’t follow WordPress news, the blogging company has partnered with SocialVibe to use our blogs to help raise money for charity. You will notice on the left that I have a SocialVibe widget that donates money to Stand Up 2 Cancer, a cause with which I (as a cancer survivor) have much sympathy for. JCM is sponsored by Sprint, which means that for every click that my SocialVibe widget receives, Sprint will donate money to Stand Up 2 Cancer! It won’t cost you anything, so please click away and help stand up to cancer!
My laugh for today is this comment, from a reader who identifies himself as Steve:
How in God’s name are you going to publish a book? You work in fast food and don’t have the credentials or credibility to even think about a book. It’s almost insulting to the people who have spent much time and money in their education and relevent [sic] work experience. You can’t just say “I’m going to write a book” There are prerequisites.
I have to wonder if this guy would have said the same thing to a fashion editor publishing on the history of religion (Christopher Hitchens), an evolutionary biologist publishing on philosophy (Richard Dawkins), or someone with a high school education becoming a fellow of an academic think-tank (Tom Verenna, aka Rook Hawkins).
Atheists, when they publish, are granted free license to write about any topic they so choose. As long as it serves the name of atheism or anti-theism, they are granted credibility by their audience of admirers whether they have it or not.
The site that I’m answering in my proposed book, God is Imaginary, is allegedly written by Marshall Brain, founder of HowStuffWorks.com. According to Wikipedia, Brain has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s in computer science. This qualifies a person to maintain websites debunking religion? Yet, that site is often referred to as a resource for debunking Christianity by many atheists online. The site has a credibility that it should not have.
As academic layman in the category of religion, Brain and I are equals. No one would take on these sites from the academic community because they aren’t argued from an academic perspective. Having an academic, such as William Lane Craig, I take on these sites would be overkill. Therefore, I’m the perfect candidate to write a rebuttal, since I am an academic layman also.
What happens if the credibility factor does become a problem, and agents and publishers reject the proposal based on that? No problem, I have other writing projects that I am working on at the moment where credibility isn’t a problem. I can always try again with this proposal in a few years, when I will have the academic credibility.
That said, I would like to welcome long-time reader John C back! I hope that you find this blog more to your liking. I promise not to focus so much on Rey’s replies, as I should be taking on the best arguments from the other side, not the worst arguments from our own.
My laugh of the day happened as I was scanning what searches generated traffic for me:
Of course I can see how my blog would pop up for most of those, but two made me laugh out loud. The first was “‘air force 1 plane’ remote control.” Where have I ever mentioned Air Force One? Maybe I referenced the movie once?
The second laugh was “calvinism’s evil heresy, 2009.” I can see how my blog would come up with a search on calvinism, but as part of an evil heresy? Mabye I should re-think Calvinism again?
Though it has long been my position that homosexuality is nature, there is new scientific evidence to suggest otherwise. There may, in fact, be more environmental factors than genetic factors in the homosexual lifestyle.
More to the point, it appears that there is simply a lack of evidence to prove that there is a so-called “gay gene,” and that same sex attraction (SSA) is an environmentally induced decision. At least that is what Joseph Nicolosi, founder and director of the Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinic says.
His message to gays: You can change. He has had success in reparative therapies for homosexual persons, and believes that we, as Christians, should witness to our gay brothers and sisters and let them know that they don’t have to be homosexual. That homosexuality is nature rather than nurture is actually a political statement by the American Psychological Association (APA), and has no basis in scientific fact.
Read the entire article here.
Rey wonders out loud: “Where in the Bible does God declare that he is omniscient?” He then answers his own question: Nowhere. God never declares himself to be omniscient, or all-knowing. So we have to ask ourselves, must God declare something about himself for it to be true about himself? And, must something directly appear in the Bible for it to be true about God, or is it acceptable to deduce it from related Scriptures and/or natural theology?
Before we dive into these questions, it must be stated that I believe in the plenary inspiration of Scripture: that the Bible we possess is inspired and inerrant, and sufficient for all of the activities listed in 2 Timothy 3:16-17. The problem in this entry is that Rey, the target of the criticism that I will present, doesn’t believe in inerrancy, nor does he believe in the plenary inspiration of Scripture. Rey cherry-picks verses as inspired and uninspired to fit with what he believes about God. This is idolatry of the highest order.
That means that this criticism will likely fall under heavy fire from Rey in the form of rejecting the verses that I use as inspired.
It is not, mind you, that Rey rejects inspiration. He rejects plenary inspiration. He doesn’t believe that all of what we possess of the Bible is inspired, but he has yet to explain his system for accepting or rejecting verses.
Why on earth would an individual who is a committed pro-lifer think that it is okay to slay another person in cold blood? Inherent in the pro-life position is respect for the sanctity of all human life, as we are all bearers of God’s image. That includes people who are living in unrepentant sin.
What is repugnant to me are Christians who are actually enjoying this fiasco, saying that Tiller got what he deserved. The most common expression of this sort I hear is “What goes around comes around.” VJack of Atheist Revolution linked to this article listing tweets about Dr. Tiller. At the time of writing, 12% of respondents to a WorldNetDaily poll said they cheer the fact that Dr. Tiller is dead. Even two bloggers that I respect and like have applauded the fact that Dr. Tiller is dead, see here and here.
The fact of the matter is that God made all human beings in his image, male and female (Gen 1:27), saint and sinner. God prohibits murder (Ex 20:13). The apostle Paul said not to repay evil for evil (Rom 12:17; 1 The 5:15; see also 1 Pet 3:9), to let God administer justice in his own way in his own time (Rom 12:19; see also Prv 20:22). Therefore, we must conclude that vigilante justice of this sort is wrong.
What about people like Dr. Tiller, who live in abject and unrepentant sin? Did God not order the Israelites to commit mass genocide on the Canaanites, the Midianites, and the Amaelkites, all of whom lived in that same abject and unrepentant sin? That was Old Testament times, when the Israelites held the power to enforce God’s law. We hold no such power under the New Covenant of grace. Like Romans 12:19 teaches, leave it to God’s justice.
What further amazes me is that people are also rejoycing that Dr. Tiller is in hell. This is an affront to me for two reasons. First, we don’t know the condition of his soul; that is between him and God. We can’t know the state of someone else’s election. Second, as I’ve stated before, we should never rejoice in a soul going to hell. Hell isn’t a place we should wish on people; instead, we ought to focus on making our own calling and election sure (2 Pet 1:10).
If a Christian is haughty about the fact that he is going to heaven, while a baby-killer like Tiller is rotting in hell, this “Christian” ought to wonder if he is actually going to heaven. True devotion to God brings humility, not pride. No one is going to heaven on his or her own merit, but by imputed righteousness through faith in Christ. Think about that for just one moment. The Christian isn’t in heaven because he followed the right path; he’s in heaven because God had mercy on him! This ought to be humbling, for as Paul repeatedly has stated, boasting is excluded.
How much more to God’s glory would it have been to see Dr. Tiller repent of his sins and stop performing abortions? Alas, he was in a church that appears to tolerate his sins enough to let him serve. All too often, the American church tolerates sin and doesn’t challenge people to repent. This creates a false assurance of salvation for many people. That false assurance creates the haughtiness that we just talked about.
A real assurance of salvation, as the apostle Peter wrote, produces faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. Lacking these qualities, people forget that God cleansed them of their former sins (2 Pet 1:5-9).
So, Christians, look at your reaction to the Dr. Tiller killing. Are you pleased that a baby-killer’s life was ended, and he is now in hell for his unrepentant sin? If so, you might have to do some growing as a Christian. If you believe that this sort of thing undermines the pro-life position, and you mourn that Dr. Tiller may have yet had a chance to repent, then you’re probably on the right track.
For those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter, I wanted to take the time to make a very special announcement.
My wife and I are expecting our second child! I don’t have a due date yet, but I will post later with more information. This is almost a surprise, as we weren’t going to start trying until this month. We are certainly not disappointed that God has chosen to do things this way. His way is always better than our way!