Category Archives: Everyday Apologetics

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

Remember Who We Celebrate

Advent is a good time to read about the tiny child born in a manger, the humble beginnings of a remarkable life. But I am reading the omega of that story.

Let’s not pass thoughtlessly by the images in the Book of Revelation. Let’s not glaze over when we read the uncompromising declarations of Who He Is.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord,

“who is

and who was

and who is to come, the Almighty.”

“One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.  His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;  His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters;   He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.  And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.”

I am the First and the Last.  I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

“Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.”

“To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,  and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.”

And that’s only the first chapter!

The passages are visually astounding. The book is so visually strong. When we read Revelation, we feel like we’re strangers dropped off in a foreign country. That’s because we are. We are meant to feel overwhelmed, awed, small, lost. It is the place to open the eyes wide and be quiet, and to listen.

There are no grey areas in the declarations of His identity.

This Jesus-God from Revelation is the baby whose first cradle was a feeding trough. The all-powerful one is who He is now, without the disarming personas  He wore in his obedience and humility before His Father while on the earth. This One of the Book of Revelation is the One with whom we must make our peace.

There is only one response possible in heaven toward this One.

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands,  saying with a loud voice:

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:

“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.

Jesus of Nazareth was among us on earth as a humble wanderer, a simple teacher who yet could not be suffered to live by the powers that were. These are the things He told us:

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you

You are my friends if you do what I command.

This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

 

Let us remember Whose incarnation we are celebrating at this joyous Christmastime.

He came first as a newborn baby, as helpless and meek a creature as possible, in order to become one of us. The people of the world are at a disadvantage when we celebrate the lowly child’s birthday. It’s a comforting image; whether we regard the manger story as myth or history, we feel good about celebrating the poor underdog babe and congratulate ourselves on our insight about the disadvantaged child who would become the great teacher.

In the carol “We Three Kings,” each of the magi tells of his gift to the promised king. This verse from the third foreshadows Jesus’ life as a man:

Myrrh is mine: it’s bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom.
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying,
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.

We who believe celebrate the tiny babe. And we remember that he is also the simple teacher, the willing martyr and the Resurrected One. He is the one to whom we are absolutely accountable. Ultimately we must remember the One who revealed himself to John and showed us who He is and will ever be.

He will not be disregarded by anyone. This babe is really the one with all power, the One who will be the Judge of all the earth, the one with the Keys to Hell and Death.

Kiss the Son lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him

 

 

 

 

God Laughs

Even we believers think that the devil is the god (small g) of this world.  He certainly believes it. We surrender to this discouraging scenario, and sigh at the uphill battle before us.

But we ought to laugh at this because our experience actually proves otherwise.

You have a conversation with a fellow church attender which seems to you unremarkable, more than chit-chat but no heavy lifting on your part. You walk away and go on with your life. Later, this same friend tells you that you had been the voice of God, saying to her precisely the words she needed, at exactly the right time. And you had casually dropped that verse which seemed to you like a good fit, but which confirmed God as the author of your advice, because it was the secret verse at the center of her lonely turmoil all along.

Were you in a trance or controlled by a remote irresistible force? Did you feel anything? Of course not: you only thought you were having an easy conversation with a friend. You didn’t know you were being a conduit for words from heaven to a needy soul. God did that.

Have you noticed how easy it is for Almighty God to work in and through you in this supposedly Satan-controlled world?

Satan is called the prince of this world. He is called a lion wandering about seeking whom he may devour. He is permitted some time and some freedom to work his will.

“I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming, and he has no claim on Me.”

The prince is a pretender to the throne and he will be cast out.

“Now judgement is upon this world; now the prince of this world will be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”

Because of the discouraged worldview we borrow, we convince ourselves that God has to break through! or work some magic in conflict with the natural flow and the laws of physics to make Himself known. Like it’s a super-supernatural feat for the Creator of the universe to make something happen in the universe He designed. That’s ridiculous.

It is actually effortless and seamless for God to work in our interactions and in the world.

It ALL belongs to Him, his fingerprints are on every atom, He’s everywhere. He can move and connect people effortlessly. It’s ALL His and the devil is a deceived fool.

The only thing standing in His way is our free will, and that’s negotiable. Ask Jonah.