Category Archives: Everyday Apologetics

Who Will Stand?

We are lost in an unfamiliar town. We are–all–looking for familiar reference points. But in our search for home, we are only getting more lost.

The world where we grew up is long gone. The world we felt we had mastered as adults is past. The world we recognized as changing quickly–but still secure–is quickly vanishing. The world you depended on just last year, obliterated by a furious need for quixotic social micromanagement, gone.

The culture of the left is imploding. Hollywood, no longer content with lecturing the Man and its audience, has turned its newfound strident sanctimony inward and is cannibalizing itself.

And the sanctimony will not be satisfied until every molecule of what we called culture–sports, entertainment, social media–is policed, weighed, and certainly found wanting. According to whose scale no one really knows.

Many commenters left and right have observed that progressive culture is eating itself as well. Upholding unexamined faith in a hundred contradictory premises is exhausting. The political left is splitting into increasingly smaller and increasingly self-important factions. Substitute tribes for families, congregations, and communities–and you get war.

Washington culture is sick and highly contagious. The political right is ineffectual because it is complicit.

Some on the right may cheer the downfall of the culture of the left. But let’s think about this for just a minute. What will replace it?

If it is true that our progressive elites are going down, if we are about to enter a new paradigm…what will that be? If it is true that the chickens have come home to roost, that the world that the change agents worked for is unsustainable, that the practically-atheist context is about to collapse under its own weight of illogic and to vanish in its thin moral vapor…

Are we who watched and shook our heads and abstained, we who prayed and criticized from the margins, we who talked good games about the world we would prefer…are we prepared to come into the vacuum and be what we were meant to be?

We gratefully accepted those margins because that little space gave us cover. It’s much easier to feel righteous when you can shake your heads at the unrighteous from the CCM-approved safe space.

Are we, the faithful, ready to take dominion over the earth, not in any political or socially-engineered sense, but as living representatives of the Creator? The people whom He has redeemed and called His own, the people who are called by His name, the people who He has commanded to represent who He is to an uncomprehending world—we have a calling. And it may be that, instead of hiding our lights under bushels in our contemporary Christian ghetto, we will soon have an opportunity to refresh the culture with His presence.

Are we ready?

 

 

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Truth and One Application

Truth matters absolutely. The nature of truth requires that I value truth before my own preferences. Truths are true no matter that I ignore or disagree with them.

Here is a simple truth on a particular subject. Human life has intrinsic value and meaning. Its Creator and Designer has clearly expressed this truth, in both word and action. *

Here is a conclusion which I draw from that truth: if you are a supporter of legal abortion or Planned Parenthood, you are making a truth claim against the intrinsic value of all human beings.

You are claiming that human beings receive their value extrinsically; that we each are granted value from another party outside of ourselves. You are claiming that value is granted by an outside entity according its own standard.

You are a defender of the belief that some people are valuable, and that other people are not valuable. Which means that human lives are not valuable in themselves.

Indeed you are claiming that no human being is intrinsically valuable.

Not the unborn fetus, not you, not me, not anyone.

This won’t be news to those pro-abortion supporters who are honest or who rise above the virtue-signaling level of activism. They will say that  the unborn have no rights that we are bound to respect. Dred Scott meet Hillary Clinton.

And so, you and I are living in a world in which we each receive our value from something outside of ourselves. I have some limited power to assert that I matter; some people are better at convincing others of their value than other people are; some people have no power at all. Compare a charismatic sociopath to a disabled newborn–who wins?

One who negates the value given by the Creator of all things is in a difficult place when asked to justify human life in an objective way.

People who are thoughtful believers in Jesus Christ have a fundamental understanding that every single human being who was ever conceived has intrinsic and equal value. That value is not subjectively granted or acquired.

You who are pro-choice believe you’re virtuous because you care about the rights of women so much that you assert that they have an absolute right to societal approval and public funding of their abortions. Even while this right is exercised at the cost of many millions of human lives.

I believe it is virtuous to value the lives of all women and all unborn, that they all have intrinsic value, that they all have the right to life that has been given by their Creator; and that when we deprive any of that life, we violate an eternal law. We deny an eternal truth.

But let’s put aside the divine element for a second, as you would have it.

You pit one life against the other.  You must do that if you believe that value is conferred rather than already present. Whose rights win the contest? is your context. You believe in a zero-sum proposition: one has value or the other does, and we must choose. But what is your solution if both have equal value that we must honor?

And since there is no absolute or objective conferrer of value, who will we respect as worthy to grant worth to us? This is a question you cannot dismiss. Someone will come along and claim that right, and assert the power we’ve given him. We’ve seen that movie many times, and the results are always tragic, ugly, and anything but virtuous.

  • God stating that human beings have value:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Romans 13: 8-10

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. Psalm 127

“Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe to shed innocent blood.” And all the people shall say, “Amen.”  Deut 27:25

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  Psalm 139: 13

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:16

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2: 3-4

 

The Golden Rule is Like Gold

 Do unto other as you would have them do unto you.

The first thing to understand about the Golden Rule is that God invented it. Which god?  The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, The Almighty, The Father in the Trinity which also includes the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ.  The God whom Jews and Christians worship.

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12

I know I have some potential readers who will take issue with this specific God’s authorship, citing holy writings from other faiths which predate the Tanakh and certainly the New Testament. No matter. That is moot.

The One True God wove His perfect ethic into the fabric of the universe. The true moral law is in every facet of creation. Many seekers the world over from many faiths or none have discovered it. But terminally self-oriented human beings will always twist and bend this perfect treasure, and their moral eurekas will be handed down agendized and neutered to fit their cultural uniforms.

The One God poured His own perfect nature into the universe He created ex nihilo. It cannot but reflect His perfect goodness. There is one God, and one moral ethic.

Detractors like to assign other authorships to righteous morality but no one has found an alternative rubric, or a better one. All other ethical systems are remarkably similar to this one, and always <_.

This moral meme is found the world over because it is fundamental to any ethical system. It can be found everywhere. Indeed the fact that this law is ubiquitous lends validity to its being the genesis of ethical formation.

“That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another.”

“Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.” — Confucius

If people regarded other people’s families in the same way that they regard their own, who then would incite their own family to attack that of another? For one would do for others as one would do for oneself.” — Mozi

“Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.”

The true moral ethic is found in us.

For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

There is no one who does not know that there is right and wrong. That’s easy to demonstrate. We may not all agree on the details, and we may rationalize our own preferences and favorite sins into the good category, but we all run up against items that we’re indignant about when we see them. Even an existentialist, even a nihilist, declares objectively wrong or unjust his possession taken from him. Even a morally relativist atheist is quick to condemn evil when he ascribes it to the Judaeo-Christian God.

The second thing we all know is that there is some non-subjective moral mean. If right and wrong were truly relative, that would mean that nothing was truly wrong, and that nothing was truly right. Everyone still recognizes some acts as morally atrocious and has an expectation that everyone should agree.

You may argue endlessly without agreement with an atheist about the origin of an objective moral standard. He will one moment deny that fixed morals exist, and the next moment proudly declare his objective repugnance at some perceived injustice of which religion is guilty. In asserting a subjective origin such as cultural consensus, yet asserting that there are objective morals which derive from a subjective source, the only thing he proves with certainty is that his own personal morals are totally subjective, and that he believes in spite of himself in an objective morality.

The Golden Rule is the right reason for all righteous behavior. The implications of the Golden Rule are endless and everywhere.

If I am to treat every person with the treatment I desire for myself, it must mean that there is an objective measure which applies to all human beings (me and others= all). The Golden Rule implies that there is an overarching code that all should recognize and obey. That leaves no room at all for relativism.

It must mean that it is objectively right that everyone else ought to receive the best treatment which I want for myself. But what imposes those objective “oughts‘?

A Code Originator, a Golden Rule Author, is inescapable. No impersonal process is capable of requiring accountability.

It follows that each person, according to that measure, is of equal value, and that each and every person is entitled to equal and just treatment. When we acknowledge that every single person is equal in value, and equally entitled to rights which God has given, all lawful and kind and just behavior is then is the only response.

As soon as you allow that some persons may have more value than others, or that some persons must have greater rights than others, tragedy and injustice follow as night follows day.

As soon as you allow, for instance, that a tiny human in a womb may be negated and erased, because her mother’s perceived rights may be diminished; as soon as you pit one person’s rights against the other’s, which in itself is anathema to the honoring of a Golden Rule; you have opened the door and invited inside injustice, lawlessness, brutality, elitism, and oppression. The right of some to kill, the necessity of others to die.

 

 

Guest Post: “Life Privilege”

The following was written by a young friend of mine, Christopher Plumberg. He is a family man and a Postdoctoral Scholar at a major university. I cannot say this better than he has. Enjoy.

Privilege is real.

I hear a lot about male privilege. I hear a lot about heterosexual privilege. I hear a lot about white privilege. And I readily confess that I, sometimes unconsciously, enjoy many of the rights, benefits, and privileges concomitant with being a white, heterosexual male in our society, while many others – women, ethnic minorities, and the LGBTQ+ community, to name a few examples- have been wrongly deprived of those very same rights, benefits, and privileges. I get it: I enjoy real privilege, and it’s not okay.

Can I say that again? I really have it: honest-to-goodness privilege that I don’t deserve, that a truly just society would not afford to me without affording it to everyone else too. It’s not right that I have privilege which others do not. It’s awful, and it’s wrong. I get it.

But here’s an even greater privilege that I enjoy: I am alive.

I call it “life privilege.”

And, tragically, it’s not a privilege that our whole community has access to. See, whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, you enjoy one privilege that many other people have not had: being born. Whether or not you believe a woman has the right to terminate her pregnancy at her own discretion, you can necessarily only see the issue from one perspective: the perspective of a person who is already alive. There is, by definition, no other perspective that you can see it from.

And just like white privilege or heterosexual privilege or male privilege, the person who enjoys “life privilege” is often blind to the privilege itself. In fact, “life privilege” is much greater than other forms of privilege, because it is a necessary precondition for enjoying any other kind of privilege. It is the difference between having only some rights and having no rights at all. You cannot enjoy the right to vote or the right to worship or the right to marry if you have not first been given the right to breathe.

Abortion does not merely take away a person’s right to express themselves or to be paid a fair wage; it takes away his or her right to live. And those who advocate for a mother’s right to choose are necessarily advocating for it from an intrinsically privileged position, by having mothers who have already chosen in their favor. Every pro-choice advocate already enjoys the privilege of life.

See, the real privilege of life is the privilege of having at least one person who thought you would be more than a mere inconvenience. Someone who thought you were worth having around. Someone who loved you enough to keep you, despite the potential threat you posed to her career. To be pro-choice, when you have enjoyed so much privilege as to be breathing at this very moment, is like being a white, heterosexual male who uses his privilege to oppress those less privileged than himself. Whether or not it is with the best of intentions, the oppression is no less devastating in one case than the other.

Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Today, we remember the nearly 59,000,000 human beings who never enjoyed the privilege of life outside the womb. You and I enjoy the incredible privilege of being alive. Who are we to deny that same privilege to anyone else?

#SanctityOfHumanLife #LifePrivilege #ProLife