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10 comments | Monday, March 27, 2006

Every once and a while, an atheist makes more than an incorrect statement; they make a complete distortion of an issue. I came across on of these incidences recently on this post on abortion. I want to make a couple comments, and then link to some recent posts on abortion that will cover the topic more in depth.

From the Post:

“There is a dangerous cult in this country and around the world. This cult attracts not just the naive religious types, but also those who consider themselves to be critical thinkers. The cult is that of the "Fetus Worshipers".”
Notice the terminology of “dangerous” here. Who is it exactly that supports killing a living being and tearing it out of the womb in pieces? Also notice that if you attempt to preserve the unborn child you are now a cult “fetus worshipper”—more below.
“This cult lives under the delusion that early stages of embryonic human life are full grown human beings - living and breathing and due rights that no one else in our society hold.”
This statement is another distortion; in fact it’s a straw man. Nobody is claiming that the unborn are “full grown human beings.” They are human beings in the early stages of development, but still human beings. Apparently, according to this atheist, “nobody” in society holds that the unborn are human beings that deserve right (like not to be murdered), I guess all the debate that’s been going around has just been my imagination! Also notice that this assertion is made without the benefit of a supporting argument.
“Most of the members of this cult are religious, with some exceptions, and most are conservatives.”
What does this have to do with anything? Most arguments used by pro-life advocates are not ‘religious’ arguments. Just because someone may be “religious” does it automatically follow that they do not have the right to speak out on an issue?

“Most of the members of this cult are religious, with some exceptions, and most are conservatives.”
Again, there is no supporting argument for either the pro-choice position or any form of “worship” here; the author is just trying to poison the well against anyone who is pro-life. Secondly, we don’t “disdain” women’s rights. This another diversion tactic often used by the pro-choice advocate. If the child is a human being; then the mother does not have the “right” to murder the child—just as she doesn’t have the right to molest, or abuse the child. The “woman’s rights” argument only works if the child is not a human being—that’s the issue—nothing else.

“In the view of many fetus worshipers, the fetus has the right to take the life of a woman if it is inside her body. Rapists are encouraged by the fetus worshipers to impregnate women and form more glorious fetuses which a woman must carry within her body for nine months. It is a bizarre cult indeed.”
This is a bizarre argument indeed. Before I address this, all these statements are not the primary reason that abortion is legal; the author is bringing in severe cases that put a spin on the issue. Primarily (with some exceptions), abortions are performed due to the inconvenience of having a child—an absolute selfish ideal.

It’s my view that during the pregnancy of the woman, if a medical issue arises (even during birth) that threatens the life of the mother and a decision has to be made to either save the mother or the child; I say save the mother.

The author states that pro-life advocates encouraged rapists to impregnate women—this is the most idiotic statement I have ever heard; only a true unethical and immoral person would state that about the opposing position. Dealing with the rape issue can get lengthy because of the ordeal the woman has to go through—but, the bottom line is, we must ask ourselves if we would abort a two year old for the same reason. If a pro-choice argument doesn’t work fro aborting a two year old child, then it doesn’t work for the unborn child.

“The cult has the idea that premature human forms have desires and thoughts. They do not. They do not desire to be born. They do not desire to destroy their mother or endanger her life. They are not rational, thinking, fully formed humans. They are fetuses. Get it?”
It’s unlikely that the unborn have thoughts as we do; however, none of these listed attributes are possessed by new born children either—so according to the same logic, we can kill newborn children and legalize infanticide—eight month olds are not “rational, thinking, fully formed humans,”. Why don’t pro-choicers’ check their own logic?

“This cult is personal to me because most of my fundaMentalist family belongs to this cult. My sister, who is just over 40 years old, recently remarried and decided to try to have a second child. She knew the risks and made the decision to try anyway realizing that the odds were substantial that the pregnancy would not mature. She became pregnant, but after about 2 months began having complications. She prayed. She went to the doctor and was told that the fetus was dead. It was not alive. She was devastated. She was told that she would need to have the dead tissue which was this fetus removed in order to avoid serious health risks. But being a fetus worshiper, she could not bring herself to have it removed. She bled for over a week before the majority of the tissue exited her body. She could have died because she worshiped this fetus so much and believed, I suppose, that 'God' could somehow bring it back to life. Having the procedure was too much like having an abortion in her view. She would have rather died than have this dead tissue taken from her body. It makes me so angry and so sick. This fetus could have robbed me of my little sister.”

What does this have to do with abortion? If the child is dead then it’s not abortion to have is removed—her choice to let the child naturally exit her body is a personal choice she made. Nothing follows form this. I will say, though, that I’m sorry this happened to her.

“Here is my view on 'Fetus Worship'. If the fetus is so grand that it actually the right to prosecute an assault (look it up here) , then I say let it appear in court as a witness. Let it walk right out of that uterus and state it's views. Ridiculous you say? Isn't this what fetus worshipers believe?”

Ehhh, NO! Here is another attempt to distract from the issue. Can a (born) baby “appear in court as a witness” or “State it’s views” No? Oh, okay—then it’s okay to kill the baby right? This pro-choice case is, well, it’s stupid.

“That the fetus is a consciousness – a thinking human with as many rights as an actual living breathing person? If you want to save a fetus, then we will have aborted fetuses sent to you and you can have them put into YOUR body. Women who are denied to right to end a pregnancy and control their body will send you their unwanted children and YOU can raise them. Or the state can just send all of you fetus worshipers the bill for all the unwanted and uncared for children.”

This is another attempt to distraction from the issue. This is all the pro-choice people can do, because they have no argument; so they try to distract from the issue. Whether or not one could, or did take all the fetuses and put it in their body, foot the bills, or care for the children; it says nothing of the “rightness” or “wrongness” of abortion.

“So what does this have to do with atheism as atheism has no one view on the subject and obviously some atheists are as rabid anti-abortionists as the most idiotic believer? In my view, if you don't believe in the idea of a 'soul' and you understand basic biology, then you would have to understand that a fetus is not a fully formed human.”

Who’s the idiot here? Pro-life does not claim the fetuses are “fully formed”, but we do claim they are human. There is no such thing as partially human or fully human—just ‘HUMAN.’ And if you understand basic biology, then you would understand this.

“It is at it's essence a parasite of the host - its mother. It is what it is. It is not what it might become. It has no potential outside of its mother’s body.”
A parasite? Notice the missing supporting argument? That’s because this author just likes to make irrational assertions. It’s not a “potential” human being—it is a human being. Show me some biology that shows otherwise.

“ If you believe that 'God' is the only one who decides what life should live or die (unless of course he directs his followers to murder), then you would be inclined to have a child you might not want or to coerce or force a woman to bear an unwanted child.”

If you believe in rational coherent thought, and are a moral person, then you should not support the massacre of innocent unborn children and support infanticide with your pro-choice arguments.
“Also, if you are religious, you are taught that sex is bad.”
Wrong again. God created sex for married men and women; not for pass time fun from anyone that comes around—then use abortion as birth control.
“Pregnancy, for many, is the unintended result of sex. So to make sex less of a risk with birth control or even abortion is wrong. While I would not condone abortion as a first line means of birth control, it is odd that the anti-abortionists almost all oppose trying to prevent the pregnancies in the first place.”
What? I don’t know where this person gets his info, but he’s talking the wrong people.
“Growing up as little Baptist conservative, I was naturally a rabid anti-abortionist. I understand the naive views of those who worship the fetus because I have been one of them. I am glad that as an adult I have managed to care more for my fellow living and breathing human beings, my family and my wife, and worry less about all of the fetuses.”
I think it’s more accurate that the people who support the massacre of millions of unborn children every year are the dangerous cult members—The Cult of Fetus Murderers. It gets old hearing the same old week arguments by pro-choice advocates. Why don’t we stop the petty talk and discuss the real issue—Are the unborn human beings? The answer to this question will be the deciding factor in the issue.

Recommended reading:

The Illogic of "Pro-Choice"
The magnificent Wedge

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1 comments | Sunday, March 19, 2006

I just recently finished Loving Monday: Succeeding in business without selling your Soul, by John Beckett; so I thought I would give it a quick review. There are some good points made in the book that everyone could take advantage of:

John Beckett is what you might call an “average guy” that lives a fulfilled and spiritual life. His book, Loving Mondays, brings fourth the humility and dependence that every Christian should embrace. Beckett has been fortunate enough to be able to operate his business and incorporate his spiritual values into the very essence of the work environment. As we will explore further in this review, Beckett has managed to harmonize Christian values, practices and teachings with the work atmosphere; making the Bible, the compass of all his decisions.

Early on, Beckett was not a Christian; in fact he was an exceptionally reluctant convert. There were certain intellectual difficulties that Beckett dealt with. However, as time moved on, he realized how much he relied on God for the things he didn’t know or couldn’t see (49). This seems to be the most contemporary factor for the unbeliever. There are so many misconceptions, misrepresentations, and misunderstandings about Christianity itself, that it becomes a barrier to honest inquiry. This is where Beckett didn’t take it far enough. He gives credit to “faith” for making his heart and mind subservient to Gods ultimate supremacy, but leaves it there. Though faith (through grace) is the ultimate salvation for our souls, there are an abundance of intellectual reasons why the God of Christianity is true. The area of intellectual progression is an act of worship and the defense of the faith is not only condoned, but commanded (1 peter 3:15).

It became clear early on that Beckett was living in two different worlds for the beginning parts of his career as a business owner (53). Christians know this dichotomy all to well. In fact, it may seem that Christianity is the antithesis to life on the job. However, this is a false dichotomy; one that Christians have imposed on themselves. Faith does not start when you walk in the Church door on Sunday and stop when you walk out the door; faith is lived 24 hours a day 7 days a week and evidenced throughout all that you do. One must ask themselves if Christianity were illegal, would there be enough evidence to convict them? Faith is just not prayer, Bible reading, and fellowship; its how one expresses it in their everyday lives—their walk.

As a Christian, Beckett wanted to make a difference not only to his family and employees, but to the community around him (20). This desire of Beckett’s is virtuous by nature, but difficult to achieve. God has put him in the position to achieve this objective. As a business owner, he had the authority to set hiring practices, policies, implement values and oversee and influence all aspects in the business. For many people, the liberty to make decisions is confined by rigid protocol and horrendous red tape. In other words, most people work with what leverage they have to express Biblical principals in decision-making, but sometimes the leverage is not enough to control the environment, let alone affect the community.

Beckett, on the other hand, has gracefully implemented true Biblical business and even if the average employee cannot make the critical decisions that influence the environment, one can still excel in the excellence and glory of Christ. To do so, is by your humble walk in Christ; to set an example for those around you and to be blameless. For most people, Christians are the walking gospel of Christ, their interaction with Christians will be the only reading from the Scripture they get. Consequently, there are instances where Christians unconsciously blemished the true picture of the gospel by abiding in the false dichotomy of everyday life and the walk of their faith.

Throughout Beckett’s book emerged a model of convergence between faith and occupation. There are 10 noted prominent themes in the book that leads to Beckett’s success. These themes are the kind of principals that jump of the page and bite you; they are the very essence of what must be done to bridge the gap of the world of faith and the world of work. Perhaps unknowing, Beckett left nuggets of truth to be discovered by the reader that can be immediately implemented into everyone’s life.

The following chestnuts from Beckett are in no essential order or modal formula; their just unadorned necessities:

1.) The first thing one need to do is submit to God, find out his will and do it (23).

2.) Finding mentors like Max is an essential way to glean from the indispensable principals of integrity, humility, and justice to emergent business men like Beckett (28).

3.) One must realize the things of this world are temporary and not to become too comfortable with them, for we are never fully secure without God (40).

4.) Give your work to God and take the role of a steward (51).

5.) Harmonize your faith with your daily walk and your work (73).

6.) Make the Bible applicable to your life by utilizing it as a compass in your decision making (78).

7.) Treat people as valuable, important and worthy; one who is in the Image of God (92).

8.) Reconcile situations immediately, rather than prolonging an issue (103).

9.) Become a servant of others, rather than being served by others (116).

10.) Order your priorities: “First, our relationship with God; then commitment to family; and only then commitment to our work and vocations” (130). The aforementioned 10 principals are ones that not only can help one to be successful, but glorify God; our ultimate purpose in life.


3 comments | Sunday, March 05, 2006

It’s been about two years since I have heard the name “Screwtape.” I remember first reading The Screwtape Letters and Screwtape Proposes a Toast by C.S. Lewis and being completely taken by Lewis’ amazing ability to captivate spiritual warfare in fiction. And of course, who can forget Screwtape’s nephew Wormwood; with a name like that—the book must be good, right? Though the book is fiction, there is a backdrop of eternal significance to the letters; that being, the perpetual disposition of the soul. With the guidance of Screwtape, Wormwood will devour you. However, the consumption of your soul is not sudden, but leisurely. It’s intriguing the way Screwtape takes a person piece by piece like a game of chess. Slowly the pawns of each day’s decisions are persuaded for the taking; until the higher ranks of your fortification are left overpowered—not by brute force, but by the tickling misguidance of Wormwood and his uncle Screwtape.

Now I must confess, as much as I loved how Lewis brilliantly developed the correspondences, when I read Walter Martin’s Screwtape Writes Again, I found my self far more indulged by Martin’s book. Martin’s display of the correspondences between Screwtape and Wormwood seemed more provocative (and personal). I remember hardly being able to set the book down. Most likely, this was because Walter Martin was not only brilliant, but had the ability to bring passion and vibrancy into any discussion.

I’m reminded of Screwtape because of Steve Hays over at Triablogue. He has skillfully succeeded in appropriating Screwtape’s agenda into contemporary apologetics. Taking the fashionable notions of today’s most common delusions of Christianity, Hays pens (so to speak) a small post of Screw Tape Strikes Again! In a little more satirical approach, Screwtape guides Wormwood into the entire family of misconceptions, delusions, tactical divergences and blunt lies. If anyone is familiar with Screwtape, it’s a must read.


7 comments | Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The ‘Reluctant Atheist’ (RA) over at biblioblography has claimed to defeat the Watchmaker teleological argument. His approach; however, is somewhat dissimilar than the usual rebuttals offered by opponents. Also, he seems exceptionally confident that his argument points out a “huge” deficiency—which vanquishes the teleological argument.

In His confidence, he says:

I’m going to attempt to hamstring the damn thing (it’s only a concept, so I can be as brutal as I like), by pointing out a huge deficiency in the theory.
Okay, this should be interesting. RA has made a confident assertion here—Lets take a look at what RA has presented:

Creators are bound by the same laws as their creations.
This somewhat of a general statement; if were talking about a God (since “it’s only a concept”), we must make the distinction between natural creation, and supernatural creation. In natural creation we have man creating things such as houses, buildings etc (even animals such as birds can create nests). These creations start with preexistent materials and laws. Supernatural creation does not necessarily start with these confinements.


Bear with me here: I can keep this simple.

An architect needs design a building according to specifications. Read: laws of physics. More often than not, the building itself will go upwards. The shape of said building can vary widely, but it would be a foolish builder indeed, to hoist a skyscraper into the sky in the shape of a sail (especially in, say, Chicago, the windy city). It could be done, theoretically, but the cost would be enormous. There are of course other factors brought into consideration: cost, materials, foundation (location, location, location is apparently not restricted to retailers), earthquake safety regulations (in any area prone to such variables), etc.

But of course, the law of gravity comes first.

Everything about this example is certainly true; but RA, seems to fail to make the distinctions I made above and is equivocating natural and supernatural creation, the crux of the teleological argument

Now the core of RA’s argument:

The point here is simple enough: every watch made by a human is restricted by the same laws the creator of said device is prone to. Heat, leverage, gravity (have I mentioned gravity yet? Sorry), pressure, in short, long laundry lists of physical law. Oh, and of course, time.
There are a couple ways to approach this. First, we can point out the Christian attributes of God (can’t speak for other religions). We know that physical laws affect physical things. Given that God is not a physical ‘thing’ (so to speak)—there would not be a necessary affect on God. It can be formulated this way:

P1: The Laws of Physics affect Physical Things
P2: God is not a Physical Thing
C: Therefore, God is not affected by The Laws of Physics

Secondly, as I pointed out to RA, in his post, the laws of physics are contingent on the existence of the universe. For the sake of argument, if God created the universe, he is not contingent upon it—he would have existed prior to it (in order to create it); hence, before the laws of physics. Thus, if God existed prior to the beginning of the universe, He is not bound the laws of physics, which are contained only within the universe.

Continuing with RA’s argument:

If you throw the watchmaker and the watch off the Empire State building, not only will they fall at approximately the same rate, the end result will be remarkably similar on impact: the insides will go everywhere. One will be more liquid, but both will come apart at the seams.

Likewise, the creator will eventually wear out. As will the watch (though the latter may last somewhat longer, contingent on its design, how often it needs to be wound, when the battery wears out, etc).

I couldn’t help but express amusement at the above analogy. Really, go ahead and throw God off the Empire State building!. If you throw a bird off the roof it will fly away, how much more could God do? Anyway, my above refutations address this.

RA continues his argument against God with the “Where, then, is this mysterious stranger…” rant, but I’ll spare the digression since it’s an entirely different issue.

Of course, I pointed out the deficiency of RA’s argument, but he had some objections to what I had to say. Lets see:

Ah, I see: you thoroughly ignore the way things are, as opposed to your romantic notions. How...very typical. There had to be some structure, for this non-existent deity to build from: materials, a greater creator, a creator before that...infinite regression

…if we look at the example of the architect, the architect existed before the building, ergo, the builder isn't bound by the same laws as the building is? Sorry, sophistry doesn't get the kewpie doll.Who's next?
Who’s next? RA is over confident. Obviously RA does not understand what I was saying (I thought it was simple). To further explain, God can create 'ex nihilo', this is neither a philosophical or theological problem. Moreover, since God is “outside” the universe, ‘ergo’, He is eternal, hence there’s no problem of gods after god’s ad infinitum (categorical fallacy).

I also pointed out that the ‘universe had a beginning’ so, if God designed it, He’s not confined by it (He’s outside of it).

Following, RA tries to squirm out of his dilemma and makes a foolish mistake and says: “Most amusing. However, as far as anyone knows, matter has always existed.” In addition he adds his sardonic slogans to try to deflate my argument (never addressing it) throughout our exchange:

“Your argument is fairly non-existent, as far as I can tell. Subtract a deity, & you have nothing”

“Sorry, sophistry doesn't get the kewpie doll. Who's next”

“I'm reminded of all those Frankenstein movies & their clones: "You can't kill/harm your creator! I gave you life!" Dunno why it reminds me of that. It just does. & I apologize if you take issues w/my calling things the way I see them.”

“There's no real issue - there's no real god - we're just here. Get used to it”

“stop wasting people's time w/your claptrap”

“It’s here [the universe]. Stop trying to reverse the argument. Prove there's a god - conclusively , I might add. I'm not the 1 making ridiculous claims here.”

“Approach this argument by subtracting your deity, and the house of cards comes tumbling down. Please try to do better.”

“All my arguments are pared down to this: everything just is. You're the 1 doing the special pleading here.”

“You missed. God NEVER EXISTED”

“Hey, I'm not swimming in that ole river in Egypt. Need a towel?”

“I'm not answering your questions because very simply, I don't believe in a deity”

“Hey, I go by the Lockian dictum: reality is measured by the 5 senses. All else is guesswork.”

“I'm not sure I really care about your questions.”

“Hey, the post speaks for itself. Res ipsa loquitor” [Latin gives the full affect]

“I'm pretty much guessing now, but I'd put you in high school. Am I close?”
These are some great treasures for the “Atheist Tool Box” as my friend Jim Jordan documents. Of course, it’s difficult not to exchange smut for smut; so I may have slipped out a couple good ones.

Now, back to the universe (pun intended) RA says in response:

“Neither did I say the universe had no beginning - my EXACT words were matter. Until you can give me proof that matter DIDN'T exist prior (what did your sky daddy create it all out of, anyways), stop wasting people's time w/your claptrap.”
My response was that if matter is contained within the universe and the universe had a beginning then matter had a beginning; elementary logic. If your going to claim that matter was “always there” then your claiming the universe is “always there”.

RA doesn’t really want to fess up to his flawed argument; he retorts with:

"Unless you can give me CLEAR proof of an example where a creator stands OUTSIDE the laws of physics, w/o positing an unprovable deity. You've proven nothing."
So RA, wants me to prove God stands outside the universe (where I guess he completely ignored everything I have present thus far); however I cannot posit God. So RA wants me to do the following:

Prove A is outside of B
However, you cannot posit A

So I guess RA is asking for me do X and simultaneously refusing to let me do X.

At this point, RA makes the same mistakes over and over, he says: “If matter has always existed (until this can be proved otherwise, then perhaps the universe has always existed?” I have a niece in 8th grade that can tutor anyone who thinks the universe is stagnate.

The discussion ended fruitlessly; I suspected it would. RA, refused to support his claims and offered to surrender if, and only if A. I could provide empirical proof that there is indeed an entity that exists outside of the boundaries of natural (physical) law.B. Provide an example, real-world, where a creator exists independently from the same natural laws as the (designed) creation.

So, I guess I’m back to square 1—never mind!

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