Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cursing to bless

In partial answer to a question from an email correspondent:

The argument from evil has to identify examples of gratuitous evil to make its case. Not just any sort of evil will do.

Are there apparent examples of gratuitous evil? Not that I can see.

i) To begin with, I think one can come up with a theodicy that explains evil in general, even if I can’t explain why any specific evil occurs. I can explain why that kind of evil occurs.

ii) A lot of evils seem pointless, but we’d expect them to seem pointless. I don’t know for a fact why a promising young Christian student dies in a freak accident. But it’s not hard to explain how that seemingly pointless event might serve a purpose.

Cause and effect are all about timing. What happens in what order. A sequence of nested events.

It’s like traffic flow. If I turn onto the arterial a minute earlier or a minute later, then there will be different cars behind me or ahead of me. And that, for its part, affects when they will stop and go; what other cars will turn onto the next arterial.

Causation is a matrix or network of one event causing another event. Change one variable, and it triggers a chain reaction. Change one variable, and it realigns a set of variables.

We only see the present, isolated variable. We don’t see all the things down the line. All the things that will happen—or would happen if the variable had been otherwise.

Or, to vary the metaphor, it’s like conception. Conception is all about timing. A minute earlier or later, and a different child is conceived, or no child is conceived. And that, in turn, ramifies out in many different directions.

iii) Moreover, we wouldn’t expect God to explain the reason for every evil. God can’t have a plan if he tips his hand too often. For, if he let’s us in on too much of his plan, then that sets up a countersuggestive dynamic. We can’t rebel against what we don’t know. But if we know it, then we can do the opposite.

This brings me to a final point. I think some Christians mistakenly believe that every evil which befalls them must be for their personal gain. And this can strain their faith since, in some cases, it may be hard for them to see the benefit.

But I think they’re starting from a false premise. For I think that sometimes God afflicts one Christian to bless another.

Take the case of Warfield and his wife. While he was hiking with his newlywed, they were overtaken by an electrical storm. Apparently she was struck by lightening, which left her crippled for life. They never had children, so I suspect they never had conjugal relations after the accident. They probably figured that motherhood would be too arduous in her diminished condition. That’s my guess.

As a result, Warfield was “condemned” to a life of research and writing. Tethered to Princeton, NJ, year in and year out. A celibate marriage. A childless marriage. To have that happen on your honeymoon would be a tremendous blow to a normal man or woman.

Yet we can see how their hardship benefited the church. We profit from his writings.

That’s not to say there can’t be any compensations. All that time he spent reading and speaking to his bed stricken wife may have enriched their marriage in other ways. Still, that’s not the life they chose for themselves. Rather, that’s the life God chose for them.

Dishonesty about dishonesty

"As for diagnosing intellectual dishonesty, as Obama said in another context, that's above my pay grade. It's enough to show someone is mistaken, if you can. Showing that they are somehow dishonest requires abilities beyond the capacities of mere mortals. At least that's how I see it."

"Palin can do herself a world of good by putting an end to the boasting about her stand on the Bridge to Nowhere and admitting quite honestly that she is a relatively new convert to the McCain anti-earmark gospel. In doing so, she needs to admit that her little one-liner about the bridge is highly misleading."

"Her misleading statements about going to Iraq and the Bridge to Nowhere (which I would call lies) are another area of concern."

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Tale of Two Americas

I can't think of anybody in political history who has rubbed me the wrong way as much as Sarah Palin has. It may be my intellectualist bias; I expect my political leaders to have thought-through positions on issues. Maybe that's asking too much, I don't know. I know some would say that even if she doesn't have thought-through positions, at least she doesn't take the wrong positions. But from the first time she opened her mouth and tried to grasp the mantle of Hillary Clinton and the 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling, despite complete opposition to everything Hillary stands for, I have found this choice to be an insult to the intelligence of the American people.

One of the greatest appeals of Governor Palin, to me, is she isn’t wealthy and she’s the first person in my memory (which dates back to JFK) running for the oval office who isn’t wealthy. I want change as much as the next person and the change I want is to get an honest, straight talking, bright, middle class patriotic American from outside the beltway into the oval office. A fresh faced Governor from the state of Alaska with the highest approval rating of any current governor in the nation, with a hard working blue collar husband, is just what the doctor ordered.


If you had asked me even a month ago, I would have told you that I am not voting for president in this election. There are sufficient ballot issues that would have gotten me to the booth, but I’d simply have written in a candidate for the presidential election.

I can stand neither McCain nor Obama. I view both as pompous windbags (that is, “politicians”) who have no one’s interests but their own in mind.

But as Election Day 2008: A Shiver Runs Up My Leg® draws nearer, it becomes more and more obvious that this election has important implications well beyond simply deciding the next president. And I don’t mean the Supreme Court or legislation passed in Congress either. America is big enough that it will be quite difficult for any radical changes in the next four years, although it is of course possible that it would be a necessary first step toward that radical change in, say, 20 years or so.

What I am referring to is the rampant fraud, the illogical ranting, and the obvious bias of the media’s reports. This election has torn open the cesspool that is Washington politics. It has exposed the rot that’s been beneath the surface for years in the form of ACORN. It has shown us the fallacy of trusting in a system that one party refuses to allow to be examined.

We have seen that if you ask The Chosen One a question that he accidentally answers truthfully, the media will ruin you. We now know more about Joe the Plummer’s taxes than we do about Obamessiah’s connection to William Ayers. We will see supposedly erudite philosophers defend this attack, despite the fact that Joe is not running for office, Obama approached him, and it is Obama’s ANSWER that is problematic. Any attack on Joe is an obvious ad hominem, and in fact is the definition of the “Politics of Personal Destruction” but nevertheless it is justifiable to destroy Joe because Obama forgot to lie.

We have seen that voter irregularities don’t matter if they are irregular to the benefit of the Chosen One. We have seen that people who whine about voter suppression couldn’t care less that a certain group is registering the same person dozens of times. What’s the big deal? We all know who ACORN voters trend toward (ein Politiker der Höpenchange), so this is really a good thing. America must be saved from itself.

In fact, we’re told that voting registration irregularities don’t translate into actual voting irregularities. Despite the fact that they do. And have. Indeed, the GOP has been in the unusual position of defending none other than Hillary Clinton in New Mexico because they’ve found the ACORN voting irregularities translated into votes for Obama in the Democratic primary.

But the mainstream media doesn’t want to investigate anything that could possible harm The One. Unfortunately (for Neo, anyway), they’re not the only game in town. The bloggers are doing the job the MSM can’t be bothered with. Which is okay for the MSM since they can claim: “It’s just in the blogs and not in any serious publication.” (Forget for a moment that Monica Lewinsky was broken by Drudge, the first real blogger; that the Dan Rather bogus Bush/National Guard story was cracked by bloggers who took all of fifteen minutes to type up the forged letters in Microsoft Word to determine they were identical to Word’s format. Throw that in the Memory Hole and trust the Media. We Know What’s Best For You™)

From biased “moderators” of debates to the New York Times whitewashing (RACIST OVERTONES ALERT®) Obamessiah’s record, the media has proven itself to be the most vacuous institution on Earth. Given the overall hatred of President Bush and Congress, my own instinctive feeling is that if we polled the average person about their approval of the media, the media would score a single-digit percentage. This is probably why that poll is never done.

Democrat supporters and the media (but I repeat myself) have ruined elections in America forever through their tactics. And therefore, despite the fact that I still despise John McCain, I will be voting for him on November 4 if for no other reason than because the media tells me I shouldn’t and I’m fed up with them. If the media takes time to stop crucifying plumbers, they just might discover the extent to which they are held in contempt. In fact, they might realize they just earned McCain another vote that would have gone to Khan from Star Trek II instead.

Then again, I’m an obvious closet McCain supporter , so what can you believe?

Suffer the little children

In response to my post on anger management, an anonymous commenter has posted some quotes from Mt 5:22, Jn 13:34-35, 1 Cor 13:1-8, Col 3:8, 12-14, 2 Pet 1:5-9, and 1 Jn 4:20-21. There are several problems with this move:

1.As I said recently, if you want to see how the principles of Jesus or the apostles apply in general, then the obvious way of answering that question is to see how they themselves apply their principles in different settings.

What do they mean by “love, “gentleness,” and “respect”? If you want to see how they understood the scope of their own principles, then you need to see how they put their principles into practice.

How did they actually speak about their opponents? How did they actually treat their opponents? Watch them in action.

That’s my harmonistic principle. That’s a frame of reference I use for interpreting one set of passages in relation to another.

By contrast, the anonymous commenter simply opposes one set of passages to another. Of course, that proves nothing one way or the other.

2.Apropos (1), I regard inspired Biblical discourse as a model of Christian discourse. I don’t assume that Scripture teaches a two-tiered morality: one for apostles, prophets, and Bible writers, but another for garden-variety Christians like you and me.

Scripture doesn’t use the same language for everyone. It uses different types of language for different types of people, calibrated to their level of culpability.

3.Apropos (2), Scripture uses harsh language for false teachers. False teachers profess to be true believers. But their pious claims don’t insulate them from harsh criticism.

4.However, the most striking feature of this debate is the inversion of values we see on display. Remember the context: we’re talking about a blogger who supports a candidate who supports mass murder. If you support someone who supports mass murder, then you support mass murder. It’s not as if he has no alternative.

Now we have folks quoting Biblical injunctions about love and kindness and all that good stuff. And how are these being applied? Are they being applied to the fate of infants? Are folks quoting these passages to prove that we ought to show more love to infants by opposing those who support their mass murder?

Wouldn’t that be the logical application of these passages to the case in hand? In defense of babies, born and unborn?

But, instead, we see these passages cited in defense of those who support mass murder. Who is telling Reppert, “Victor, you should show your love for babies by opposing a man who supports the mass murder of babies. Victor, you’re being unkind to the victims of abortion and infanticide by plugging a candidate who supports the mass murder of infants”?

No, it’s all about how Reppert is being wronged, and not how he’s wronging the future victims of the candidate he’s plugging. He’s the injured party, not the baby in the dumpster.

These people have a lot to answer for. The moral inversion is almost surreal. It’s like walking into the living room of Ted Bundy while he’s in the process of murdering his latest victim and telling her that she ought to be nicer to Ted. Can’t we all sit down and have a civilized little chat with Ted Bundy about the pros and cons of serial murder?

Why Arminians (Like "Robert") hate Steve Hays and the Apostle Paul

Robert the Pelagian never misses a chance to slam Calvinists. He thinks he's doing the Lord's work.

His comments are a window into the psyche of an Arminian and help explain why he hates both Steve Hays and the apostle Paul, teacher of Calvinism. Let's note the nature of his attacks on Hays:

"Coming from Steve Hays who repeatedly engages in this kind of intentionally offensive rhetoric." - Bob

"As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!" - Apostle Paul

Bob says, "I think part of the problem, part of his bitterness, comes from his life circumstances:" (not very libertarian of him, by the way):

Of course Paul notes that God gives us these thorns in the flesh (which is what Bob is implying Steve has):

"To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me." - Apostle Paul

Now, what are these "circumstances"?

"If I were ... unmarried and without children" - Bob

"Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. ... I wish that all men were as I am. - Apostle Paul

"living with my ailing mother" - Bob

"Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God." - Apostle Paul

See, Robert just hates what the apostle Paul has to say and that's why he hates Calvinism.

He's also ignorant:

"He fancies himself a writer but his stuff lacks quality and so likely will only appear on his own blog." - Bob

Steve has published in Evangelical Quarterly. John Frame also heavily footnotes his well-respected Doctrine of God book with some of Hays's thoughts and comments on matters. His stuff has also appeared on Chalcedon. And hundreds of blogs have linked to thousands of his posts. What's "Bob's" CV?

It's also funny that Bob engages in gossiping about Steve's private family life. His love to make ears itch possibly explains further his hatred of the apostle Paul since Paul says things like: "And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to."

And it is quite ironic that Bob complains about Hays's personal attacks (Bob doesn't substantiate, though, he just emotes) by personally attacking and mocking Hays. Bob's hypocrisy possibly further explains his hatred of all things Paul for Paul says, "The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray," clearly indicating his disdain for hypocrites.

At the end of the day I think we can thank Bobby for giving us a window into his psyche. His hatred of Calvinism is all the more clear now.

See, Bob has nothing left in the intellectual gas tank, so all he can do now is try his hardest to turn the tide of public opinion against Hays. We should be thankful for Bob’s anti-intellectualism, though. At the end of the day all he’s doing is showing that he’s the paradigmatic internet Arminian warrior. Pure, raw emotionalism drives his comments and thoughts. His hatred for the Bible and Paul’s teachings are suppressed to him, but every once and awhile they pop to the surface with examples like these.

Obama and Infanticide

Obama and Infanticide

What Is the Freedom of Choice Act?

Pious lip-service

“I don't think either party has a monopoly on good or on evil.”

“I don't know what to say to people who think that anyone to the left of John McCain is an intellectually dishonest evildoer.”

This is yet another example of Reppert’s constitutional inability to honestly and accurately represent his opponents. Because he’ll lose the argument if he has to address the actual issues, he finds it more convenient to erect a straw man.

In my exchanges with Reppert, did I cast the issue as a choice between Obama and McCain? Did I make this an issue of party affiliation?

To the contrary, I’ve explicitly drawn the very distinctions that Reppert is trying to blur.

For example, in one response to Reppert, I said: “To begin with, I’m a conservative first and a Republican second. My ideological identity is primary, not my partisan identity. My ideology selects for my party, not vice versa.”

And in another response to Reppert I said: “Christians can have a good faith disagreement about whether to vote for McCain. For a number of conservatives, McCain is one or two or three compromises too many. Christians cannot have a good faith disagreement about voting for a man like Obama.”

Finally, let’s put “tone” into Biblical perspective. There are lots of folks in the church today who judge a person by his tone rather than his substance. It doesn’t matter what he says or believes. The only thing that matters is how he says it. Using nice words. Being polite.

The Bible has a term for this: “lipservice.”

“And the Lord said: “…this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me’” (Isa 29:13).

Beware of Beowulves in sheep's clothing


Christians interpret the Old Testament by the New, not the New by the Old. The New is concealed in the Old and the Old is revealed in the New.

Of course, that truism doesn’t distinguish Arminianism from Calvinism.

Calvinism is nothing more than an extension of the ethnic argument of the Jews that Paul is arguing against in Romans.

Nothing more? In Calvinism, unconditional election and reprobation cut across ethnic lines, family lines, and social class. Calvinism is so “extended” that it’s become the polar opposite of the Jewish argument.

In Romans, Paul is arguing against Jews who say that God arbitrarily chose to save all Jews.

“Arbitrarily” is your word.

And Jews didn’t believe that all Jews were saved. Jews regarded some of their fellow Jews as damnable apostates.

And damn all Gentiles,

Jews didn’t believe that all Gentiles were damned. Jews thought that Gentile Godfearers and proselytes could be saved.

And that the sin or even unbelief of the Jews cannot change that (i.e. once saved always saved).

i) In your ignorance of Calvinism, you’re confusing Calvinism with an antinomian, Sandemanian variant of fundamentalism. According to the doctrine of perseverance, God preserves the elect in faith and fidelity, and he restores elect backsliders to the faith. That’s completely different than “eternal security.” Try not to be such an ignoramus.

ii) Even more to the point, you’ve misidentified the issue Paul is addressing. In Rom 9-11, the question at issue is whether God can be trusted to keep his promises. If God’s calling and election of Israel is apparently revocable, then God’s calling and election of the church is apparently revocable. If God’s word failed the Jews, it may just as well fail the Christians.

That’s the bone of contention. And Paul resolves the apparent tension by appealing to the OT doctrine of the remnant. Not all Jews are true Jews.

Calvinist just take the same WRONG Jewish theory and apply it to individuals rather than nations.

i) Of course, shifting from collectivism to individualism wouldn’t be “nothing more than an extension” of the Jewish argument. To the contrary, that would involve an opposing principle.

ii) I’d add that Arminians typically stress corporate election, which they oppose to individual election, so you could better argue that the Arminian model of election is a nothing more than an extension of the view you impute to Paul’s opponents.

But Paul shows that all hinges on God's foreknowledge of faith.

You haven’t shown that Paul conditions election on foreseen faith. Even if we accept your fallacious interpretation of proegno, Paul doesn’t say, “for those whose faith he foreknew, God predestined them…”

So your prooftext, even if we grant your fallacious interpretation of proegno, is missing the key condition that you position requires.

Maybe conditional election is contingent on green eyes.

And election is not arbitrary, not for individuals nor for entire nations as if God would save all the Jews despite their unbelief.

Of course, Calvinism doesn’t take the position that God saves the elect "despite their unbelief." In Calvinism, God endows the elect with saving faith through the grace of regeneration. Hence, Calvinism can’t be “nothing more than an extension” of the view you impute to Paul’s Jewish opponents.

All is predicated on faith.

No, all is predicated on grace, of which faith is one result.

And God elected by foreseen faith.

You have yet to produce a single prooftext actually says that. Your assertions are a sorry substitution for evidence.

Calvinists will do anything to redefine the term prognosis.

By “anything,” do you mean the fact that I cited the standard Greek lexicon of the NT, as well as citing a Jesuit commentator, an Arminian commentator, a Barthian commentator, and a proponent of the New Perspective?

I didn’t cite a single Calvinist to support my “redefinition” of prognosis.

I’ve responded to you own your own grounds. You raised an objection, and my reply was pegged to your objection. I notice that you haven’t attempted to offer a single counterargument to the specific arguments I offered, even though I was tracking your objections in my reply.

But it is particularly cheap and stupid to appeal to heretical Jewish racist Judaizing views to try and save your God-hating deterministic accusation that God is the author of your sins.

Now you’re lapsing into demagoguery because you don’t have a rational rebuttal.

Every passage that seems to teach Calvinism in Romans is a quotation of a Jewish opponent.

You mean to say that Rom 1:1-16:27 is nothing more than an extended quotation of Paul’s opponents? I should think that would call its canonical status into question.

Not to mention the canonical status of the OT. By your reckoning, Moses is Paul’s “heretical racist Judaizing” opponent (Rom 9:15,17; cf. Exod 9:16; 33:19), Isaiah is Paul’s “heretical racist Judaizing” opponent (9:27; cf. Isa 10:22-23), and Malachi is Paul’s “heretical racist Judaizing” opponent (9:13; cf. Mal 1:2-3)—to name a few.

You must have a pretty small canon of Scripture.

However, I’ll admit that there are practical advantages to your hermeneutical approach. Here I used to think that when Paul said “flee fornication” (1 Cor 6:18), he was enjoining Christians to refrain from fornication; but now I realize, under your tutelage, that he was simply quoting his heretical opponents. So now I can fornicate to my heart’s content. I need to upgrade my cable service to include the Playboy channel.

Come to think of it, maybe Moses was quoting his heretical Jewish opponents in the Decalogue. Just think of the possibilities!

A "Stunning" And "Off The Charts" Bias

The liberal bias of the American media has been documented for a long time. A study was recently released concerning the bias of a particular segment of the television industry, late-night comedians. The Drudge Report recently linked to a story that reports:

"A study shows the Kings of Late Night are not equal-opportunity destroyers this year when it comes to telling jokes about the candidates for president and vice president -- they're hammering Republicans a stunning seven times more often than they skewer Democrats. The Center for Media and Public Affairs, a media analysis group, kept a tally of jokes told about the presidential contenders on the 'Late Show' and 'The Tonight Show With Jay Leno' in the five weeks after McCain chose Sarah Palin to be his running mate and vaulted the little-known Alaska governor into the national spotlight. The total: Republicans, 286. Democrats, 42. 'Generally the Republicans get targeted much more often than Democrats, but this election is driving it off the charts,' said CMPA Executive Director Donald Rieck."

The story goes on to suggest some possible reasons for the discrepancy, such as the fact that Obama is "boring" in comparison to other politicians and a fear of being perceived as racist for making jokes about Obama. But, as Donald Rieck notes above, "Generally the Republicans get targeted much more often than Democrats". That general trend can't be explained by factors associated with Obama in particular, such as his race. And as the story goes on to note, Obama's running mate, Joe Biden, is "gaffe-prone". Yet, Biden "was hit only 16 times, not even one-tenth the number of jokes told about Palin over the five-week period". The story quotes Robert Thompson noting that Obama "doesn't misspell words like Dan Quayle did". But Biden makes such mistakes frequently, and he isn't criticized nearly as often as Quayle was or nearly as often as McCain and Palin are.

Apparently, a lot of people get their news from and are highly influenced by late-night comedians. I suspect that the better treatment Obama and Biden have received is part of the explanation for Obama's current lead in the polls.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Anger Management

Hays Has “Anger Issues”

At 11:59 AM , Jim S. said...

Victor, I tend to disagree with your politics more often than I agree with them, but I have no respect for those who belittle the debate by demonizing those they disagree with. I was frustrated in the 90s when the Republicans treated the President disrespectfully. I've been frustrated for the last eight years with how Democrats not only treat the President disrespectfully, but even publically engage in assassination fantasies about him. If this pattern of oneupmanship continues, it worries me.

At any rate, don't let the demonizers get you down. They have anger issues and their just channelling it through you.

St. Peter Has “Anger Issues”

2 Peter 2:12-14,17, 22

12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed, blaspheming about matters of which they are ignorant, will also be destroyed in their destruction, 13suffering wrong as the wage for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, while they feast with you. 14They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!… 17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm… 22What the true proverb says has happened to them: "The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire."

St. Paul Has “Anger Issues”

Acts 13:9-11

9But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10and said, "You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time." Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand.

The Saints Have “Anger Issues”

Revelation 6:10

10They cried out with a loud voice, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"

Christ Has “Anger Issues”

John 2:13-17

13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16And he told those who sold the pigeons, "Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade." 17His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me."

John 8:44

44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

2 Thessalonians 1:5-10

5This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— 6since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

Revelation 6:15-17

15Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, 16 calling to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"

Matthew 23:1-36

1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3so practice and observe whatever they tell you— but not what they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, 6and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues 7and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
13"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. 15Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
16"Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.' 17You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? 18And you say, 'If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.' 19You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. 21And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. 22And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.
23 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!
25 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, 30saying, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' 31Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. 33You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? 34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

God Has “Anger Issues”

Romans 1:18,33

18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Numbers 11:1,33

1And the people complained in the hearing of the LORD about their misfortunes, and when the LORD heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp…33 While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck down the people with a very great plague.

Isaiah 30:27-30

_ 27Behold, the name of the LORD comes from afar,_ burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke;_his lips are full of fury,_ and his tongue is like a devouring fire;_28 his breath is like an overflowing stream_ that reaches up to the neck;_to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction,_ and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads astray.
29You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel. 30And the LORD will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones.

Ezekiel 7:8-9

8Now I will soon pour out my wrath upon you, and spend my anger against you, and judge you according to your ways, and I will punish you for all your abominations. 9 And my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. I will punish you according to your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the LORD, who strikes.

"Obama Distorts His Abortion Record in Third Debate"

The NRLC has the lowdown.

Irons in the fire

Lee Irons started blogging last year. I notice that his stock has been rising in the Christian blogosphere.

To some extent this is merited. Lee is a fine Bible scholar. And he frequently stakes out conservative theological positions.

However, his political views are something else, and I noticed a commenter over at Justin Taylor’s fine blog who used Lee’s position on Obama as cover.

Therefore, I think it’s worthwhile to put Lee’s political views in perspective, discussing the presuppositions and influences on his ideology, as well as some of the specific positions he has taken.

On a personal note, I happen to know Lee and Misty, though not very well. Lee is a very nice guy, and his wife is a charming lady.

Lee is a protégé of the late Meredith Kline, and that’s a major influence on his ideology. Kline was a brilliant, but eccentric OT scholar. Kline is one of those men who, when he’s right he’s very right, and when he’s wrong he’s very wrong.

In relation to Reformed tradition, Kline held a number of idiosyncratic positions, including his idiosyncratic position on common grace—which is quite germane to Lee’s political outlook.

Kline was well aware of the fact that some of his views were controversial in Reformed circles. I remember having lunch with him at the home of the missions’ professor. In the course of our conversation, Kline admitted that he had never transferred his membership from his old presbytery to the presbytery where he was now residing since that would subject him to questioning before he was admitted to the new presbytery.

Now, I’m not saying that there’s anything ipso facto wrong with bucking Reformed tradition. As Protestants, we don’t want to exchange one blind tradition for another blind tradition. Reformed tradition must be open to exegetical examination and reexamination.

My immediate point is that if some Christians are trying to justify their political positions by citing Lee Irons simply because Irons has a conservative Christian reputation, then they should be aware of the fact he’s just as iconoclastic as Kline on statecraft.

If you want to cite Lee because he makes a good argument for his position, fine. But don’t cite him to simply give yourself cover, as if the mere fact that Lee has a particular opinion on some social issue automatically legitimates his opinion because he’s a conservative Christian. Let’s not turn this into an argument from authority.

Now, what about Kline’s position? Kline radically redefined the traditional notion of common grace. In particular, Kline secularized the notion of common grace, thereby driving a wedge between church and state, Christian and profane.

Mind you, Kline himself avoided the word “secular,” since that’s a loaded word. He was too cagey to use the word “secular.” Instead, he drew a distinction between common/culture and holy/cult.

By his own admission, Lee’s political views are governed by this rubric:

“Little did I know at the time that Schaeffer was playing an influential role in shaping the theocratic underpinnings of the Religious Right that I would later reject under the influence of Kline’s common grace approach.”

Here’s a fuller statement of his position:

“By the same token, [N.T.] Wright sacralizes the city of man so that it loses its character as part of God’s common-grace, non-holy order for the provision of a temporary field upon which the operations of soteric grace may be played out via the gospel mission of the church. Common grace is the key here! Kline has taught us that God established a common grace order that began after the fall and which will be terminated at the second coming. Civil rulers belong to this common grace order. They are neither sacred nor sinful, although individual rulers can usurp god-like prerogatives and become sinful, even Satanic in their opposition to the kingdom of God. But as ordained by God civil rulers are merely given to promote temporal justice, to protect the life, liberty, and property of its citizens. They are not agents of the eschatological kingdom. They are not means of bringing in the eschaton.”

However, Lee, unlike Kline, tips his hand about the secular implications of Klinean common grace when he posted this approving quote from Andrew Sullivan:

“It may well be that support for a piece of social policy emerges from religious reasons. But in a secular society, it is vital that when making the argument for your position in public, you do not deploy arguments that depend on or invoke religiously-revealed truths. The essential civic discipline in a pluralist democracy is to translate your religious convictions into moral arguments - arguments that can persuade and engage people of all faiths or none.”

Now, the best-known exponent of common grace was Abraham Kuyper. But although Kuyper believed in sphere sovereignty, he didn’t believe in secularizing the political sphere.

And notice the arbitrary character of Sullivan’s dichotomy, which Lee endorses. What does it matter how we classify a truth as long as it’s true? If it’s true, then why shouldn’t it figure in public policy?

How does Lee’s position on common grace translate into political positions? Here’s an example:

“For me, with pressing issues like the future role of American troops in Iraq, the instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the possibility of a nuclear Iran, as well as the most recent developments in the financial crisis, we do not have the luxury of voting solely on the basis of a candidate’s stance on abortion or other social issues. I understand the deep biblical conviction that drives some to this position, but it is ultimately a zeal that is not according to knowledge. The values of the kingdom of God are eschatological and heavenly, and cannot be so simply translated into the earthly transitory realm of public policy and civil law. To vote solely on the basis of a single-minded zeal to implement heaven on earth while overlooking the urgent, temporal problems of the city of man is not only to neglect the common grace arena but is, ironically, to work for its premature destruction.”

On the face of it, this is simply incoherent. On the one hand, it’s okay to vote for a candidate based on foreign policy/national security or domestic economic policy considerations.

But, on the other hand, it’s not okay to vote for a candidate based on social issues like abortion, infanticide, eugenics, euthanasia, or organ farms or homosexual adoption because that would be too “eschatological” and “heavenly-minded.”

How does he justify this compartmentalization? How does he assign foreign policy/ national security, and domestic economic policies to the “common,” “civil” realm, but relegate social issues to the “eschatological” realm? What are his criteria to warrant this radical fact/value dichotomy?

On the fact of it, it looks like he is trying to simply “define” certain issues as out of bounds, not on any principled basis, but on an ad hoc basis because of his own moral priorities.

Here’s another example:

“When picking a doctor or a car mechanic, I want the most competent person I can find. His or her religion is irrelevant.”

Isn’t this terribly naïve? Even if we play along with his illustration, the religion or irreligion of a doctor can be quite germane to medical care. What if you physician subscribes to involuntary euthanasia? What if he wants to harvest your organs because your quality of life doesn’t meet his standards?

Or what about Muslim physicians who perform genital mutilation on prepubescent girls?

Hasn’t Lee ever heard of bioethics? Does he seriously imagine that one’s religious or irreligious outlook is irrelevant to bioethics?

What about an auto mechanic? Would you want your car serviced by an auto mechanic who was a moral nihilist? Wouldn’t he be more likely to cut corners?

Lee was using these examples to shoot down the candidacy of Mike Huckabee. But even if we assume, for the sake of argument, that medical science and automechanics are value-free disciplines, can we say the same thing for the presidency?

The Executive is partly responsible for formulating public policy. Executive orders issued to executive agencies tasked with various social programs.

Or what about a Congressman? Don’t our laws have moral presuppositions, for better or worse? Doesn’t a law code enact a social code of conduct? Can we sequester religious truths from moral truths? Isn’t that implicitly atheistic? Is atheism morally neutral?

Once again, how does Lee’s view of common grace translate into specific political positions? One example is his support for Obama. This, in turn, betrays him into special pleading about Obama’s view of abortion.

Another case in point is his position on sodomite civil unions, which (to my knowledge) he shares in common with Misty. You’ll find Misty’s site on Lee’s blogroll. And if you mouse over to her blog, you’ll find, among other things, a link to the “Independent Gay Forum,” her infamous article on “A Conservative Christian Case for Civil Same-Sex Marriage,” as well as her opposition to Prop. 8.

Consider the implications of sodomite civil unions. If sodomites have a right to marry, then they have a right to adopt children. It would be impossible to confer on them the right to marry (“civil unions”), but then deny them the right to adopt children. Do Lee and Misty support homosexual adoption? Do they think that children should be placed in that environment?

Another influence on Lee is Andrew Sullivan. Lee has Sullivan’s site on his blogroll. Also, if you do a search of “Sullivan” or “Andrew” on Lee’s blog, you’ll pull up several references.

Who is Andrew Sullivan? He’s a homosexual activist. It’s odd that Lee would allow himself to get so much of his news or news analysis filtered through the jaundiced lens of a homosexual activist.

To take one example, Sullivan circulated the scurrilous rumor that Palin faked her fifth pregnancy to cover up her daughter’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy.

Lee even turns to Sullivan for his wisdom on what constitutes a Christian witness to the world:

“[Quoting Sullivan] The social and cultural witness to certain values is a long way from the use of politics to impose them on others. It seems to me that our society needs Christian witness - on charity, on caring for the environment, on protecting the vulnerable, on seeking peace, on opening dialogue - as much as it doesn’t need Christianist intolerance, politicking and campaigning. It’s especially important, it seems to me, that Christian witness also regain humility and an indifference to power. Forsaking a partisan identity is critical to this. On abortion, for example, serious and sustained efforts to highlight the life of the fetus, and to appeal to the conscience of a free people to make a free choice against it is a more authentic Christian witness than taking control of one political party in order to ban it.”

A bitter, homosexual activist like Sullivan is hardly an expert on what constitutes a Christian witness to the world. To the contrary, Sullivan is trying to reconstruct Christianity to conform to his immorality.

Consider some of Lee’s other political positions:

“If it’s Hillary versus any other Republican, I’m in a quandry. Do I hold my nose and go with Hillary as the lesser of two evils? At this point, I think she may be the lesser evil, given the fact that Giuliani, Romney, and most Republicans seem to believe that we should continue the Bush approach to Islamic terrorism, namely, using torture (waterboarding) when interrogating terror suspects, detaining prisoners without Habeas Corpus, and increasing executive power at the expense of civil liberties - all in the name of national security, when in fact these things hurt national security by taking away our moral high ground and alienating Europe.”

“We have had enough of the Bush-Cheney junta, the despicable rationalization of torture, the suspension of habeas corpus, the joke military tribunals at Gitmo, the secret extraordinary renditions, and the failed attempt at nation-building in Iraq. Not only have these deeply un-conservative, coercive, tyrannical techniques not worked, they have shredded the Constitution, destroyed our moral credibility, inflamed anti-Americanism around the world, and alienated valuable allies.”

Now, the Bush record on counterterrorism is hardly faultless, but this is an utterly skewed and lopsided evaluation of the Bush record. Where is Lee getting his information? From the likes of Andrew Sullivan?

Has Lee ever studied the other side of the argument? Has he read Richard Posner or J. Daryl Charles or Keith Pavlischek or Keith Burgess-Jackson or Lee Casey and David Rivkin—to name a few?

Or take the following statement:

“I heard Douglas Kmiec today on Larry Mantle’s Air Talk discussing his new book Can a Catholic Support Him? Asking the Big Questions about Barack Obama. Douglas Kmiec is a Roman Catholic, a Republican (he worked in the Reagan administration), and a con-law professor at Pepperdine.”

Once again, this is very one-sided, and disregards abundant evidence to the contrary, such as:

Lee exhibits a willful blindness regarding Obama’s social agenda.

Or consider what he said about the death of James Kennedy, quoting another writer who had “a nice commentary” that “pretty accurately sums up my feelings to:

“Born in 1930, Kennedy lived in a world so distant from our own that it may well have been possible to believe in a Christian America. Churches stood on every public square; members of the clergy shaped public opinion on every issue; schoolchildren uttered Protestant prayers and read Protestant scriptures daily. Many people from Kennedy’s generation remember—or imagine they remember—a vanished Christian world, an ordered society with Protestant faith at the center. Much of the Religious Right’s energy derives from a desire to restore that world, or to “reclaim America for Christ.” To that end, Kennedy mixed evangelicalism with classical Reformed theology and a kind of soft Christian Reconstruction, creating the spiritual fuel for a right-wing political and media empire that meshed with the longings of a certain age.”

Wasn’t Calvin a political activist? Wasn’t John Knox a political activist? Wasn’t Samuel Rutherford a political activist? Wasn’t Abraham Kuyper a political activist?

Presbyterian ministers were involved in the Revolutionary War. Charles Hodge was, among other things, a social critic.

And on and on. There’s nothing novel about a Reformed churchman who’s a political activist.

On improving the moral tone of political debate

Victor Reppert is upset with me:

I don't know if any of you have been going over to Triablogue, but I have been treated over there to the harshest personal attacks I have ever received from anyone from Steve Hays.

Of course, the Bible often employs harsh language to characterize certain people or classes of people.

The problem with Reppert’s complaint is his inverted sense of moral priorities. He’s only concerned with improving the rhetorical tone of the debate, not the moral tone of the debate. And he’s only concerned with the words which people use on him rather than the actions which are used on the innocent victims of secular social policies.

…and even someone too stingy and selfish to help his own parents in their old age, since I said I was sure glad they got Social Security and Medicare when they advanced in age.

A blatant falsehood. That is not all Reppert said on the subject. I have to keep quoting his own words back to him. Reppert doesn’t like it when someone holds him to his own words.

Reppert insinuated that we only need Social Security and Medicare because Christians are too stingy. When I applied his own yardstick to himself, using his own illustration (of his parents), he took umbrage. Fine for him to smear Christians in general as long as you don’t tar him with his own broad brush.

I am quite sure I don't deserve this treatment.

I wouldn’t expect him to. That would require a capacity for self-criticism and moral consistent as well as intellectual consistency which he’s never exhibited.

Reppert is like an advertising executive for a company that sells tainted baby formula to third world countries. How could anyone dream of saying anything bad about him. He doesn’t make the tainted baby formula or sell it. He just makes the commercials touting the tainted baby formula.

He’s personally opposed to tainted baby formula. He’d never feed it to his own kids. But if it someone else’s kids, well, that’s unfortunate, but the company he works for also donates money to the United Way, so that makes it all okay.

This is a blog, not a set of publishable essays.

Of course, that’s viciously circular. He is appealing to his policy to justify his policy.

And it’s not as if he has an editor who dictates the content of his blog. He sets his own policy. Nothing in the world prevents him from composing and posting an essay waterboarding (to cite a hobbyhorse of his).

Why shouldn’t he, as a philosophy prof., occasionally take the time to present a sustained argument for his position?

And there are other philosophical bloggers like Jeremy Pierce, Bill Vallicella, and Alexander Pruss who operate at a far higher level of analysis. The medium of blogging doesn’t prevent you from adequately researching an issue and presenting a thoughtful and thorough argument for your position.

In the philosophy of religion, I would like to think that my efforts have created a more civilized playing field, where people on both sides can discuss their differences. I may not have done so well on political matters.

Once again, this illustrates his inverted sense of moral priorities. He doesn’t c are about civilized positions, just civilized discourse. Let’s present a civilized defense of an evil candidate with evil policies.

Away from the screams from the blood-spattered room next door, we’ll sit down with our bourbon and cigar and have a nice, civilized talk about health care.

I expect my political leaders to have thought-through positions on issues. Maybe that's asking too much, I don't know.

Does Obama have “thought-through” positions? Feel free to point me to Obama’s long paper trail of “thought-through” positions on the major domestic and foreign policy positions of our age.

What Obama has are either instant positions which his advisors have written for him, or liberal boilerplate positions ripped from the pages of the party platform.

I do support him for President. I'm not a simon-pure pro-lifer, but I would like to see more commitment to the value of unborn life than he has shown so far.

Could Reppert come up with a more halfhearted statement if he tried?

Reppert’s major problem is not that he’s an intellectual slouch. That would be a merely personal failing.

Reppert’s major problem is that he is using his blog, in the name of Christ, as a propaganda tool to advance the career of an antichristian politician with antichristian policies.

And abortion is just the beginning. Does he think the only affect of having Obama elevate liberal judges to SCOTUS would be to keep Roe v. Wade intact?

Liberals are social engineers. They will use their judicial position to impose a eugenic agenda on the nation. It may be an incremental strategy, but it’s well under way.

Liberals also want to redefine the family, and they’re making steady inroads.

Moreover, liberals want to minimize parental rights, giving the state ever more control over your children. A culture in which judges, social workers, and school counselors have the final say.

Furthermore, liberals want to classify “offensive” speech as hate-speech. It’s only a matter of time before Christian expression is criminalized, if the liberals have their way. We already see this in Europe and the UK.

Putting the three branches of gov’t in the hands of radical totalitarian social engineers will hasten these developments.

But because Reppert is a naïve, shortsighted dupe, he is cheering them on. And he’s doing this in the name of Christ. Another “Christian” quisling who collaborates with the forces of darkness.

The Wisdom Of The American People

It's anecdotal evidence, but I think it represents the mindset of a large percentage of the American population. Jim Geraghty of National Review posts the following comments from a Republican consultant discussing a recent focus group:

Yes, they believed the charges against Obama. Yes, they actually think he's too liberal, consorts with bad people and WON'T BE A GOOD PRESIDENT...but they STILL don't give a [expletive]. They said right out, "He won't do anything better than McCain" but they're STILL voting for Obama.

The two most unreal moments of my professional life of watching focus groups:

54 year-old white male, voted Kerry '04, Bush '00, Dole '96, hunter, NASCAR fan...hard for Obama said: "I'm gonna hate him the minute I vote for him. He's gonna be a bad president. But I won't ever vote for another [expletive] Republican. I want the government to take over all of Wall Street and bankers and the car companies and Wal-Mart run this county like we used to when Reagan was President."

The next was a woman, late 50s, Democrat but strongly pro-life. Loved B. and H. Clinton, loved Bush in 2000. "Well, I don't know much about this terrorist group Barack used to be in with that Weather guy but I'm sick of paying for health insurance at work and that's why I'm supporting Barack."

I felt like I was taking crazy pills.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008



There are two "fore-" verbs in Romans 8:29. There is proegno which is a conjugation of proginosko meaning "to foresee" and there is prowrisen which is a conjugation of proorizo "to predetermine." You are confusing the two. Now, because they mean different things, the passage says "whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate" (KJV) and "whom He foreknew, He also predestined" (NASB) and "whom he foreknew he also predestined" (NRSV) and "those God foreknew he also predestined" (NIV) and "whom he foreknew he also predestined" (ESV).

i) The meaning of proegno isn’t determined by Greek usage, but Hebrew usage. Paul is using a Greek word with a Hebrew connotation.

One doesn’t have to be a Calvinist to see this. All the major commentators appreciate this nuance regardless of their theological commitments, viz. Fitzmyer (Jesuit), Wright (NPP), Cranfield (Barthian), or Witherington (Arminian), to name a few.

As even Ben Witherington admits, “OT references to God knowing someone or his people, that is, to his inclination toward or love for them, sometimes refer to a concept of election (Amos 3:2; Deut 9:24; Exod 33:12,17; Gen 18:19; Deut 34:10), and such passages lie in the background here,” Paul’s Letter to the Romans (Eerdmans 2004), 246-47.

So Witherington, although a doctrinaire Arminian, doesn’t challenge the Calvinist reading on semantic grounds.

It’s a pity when theological opponents can’t even keep up with their own literature.

This is also corroborated by standard lexical reference works. When I say that proegno in Rom 8:29 means “to choose beforehand,” that’s exactly the definition which is supplied by BDAG for Rom 8:29. Cf. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (U of Chicago, 3rd ed., 2000), 866b.

ii) Even on a Calvinist reading, the two verbs are not synonymous. Both verbs carry a deterministic import, but proegno has a covenantal connotation while proorisen has a teleological connotation.

According to your MISINFORMATION, however, the passage ought to be translation "whom he predestined he also predestined" which is just plain asinine.

Not only are you ignorant of basic lexical semantics, you’re equally ignorant of basic syntax. How do these two clauses go together?

Paul uses proegno to establish the divine initiative in salvation. But that leaves open the question, for what did God elect those whom he called according to his purpose (8:28)?

Paul then uses proorisen as part of a purpose-clause to supply the goal of God’s initiative: to reproduce the image of Christ.

Therefore, the second clause advances the argument. This is the train of thought:

Before the foundation of the world, God chose those who are called according to his purpose.

And to what end were they so chosen?

They are predestined to reproduce the image of Christ.

And only those so chosen are predestined to reproduce the image of Christ.

Hence, God is responsible for both the origin and outcome of salvation.

Every translation cited above shows that there was both foreknowledge and predestination, and the predestination was based on the foreknowledge.

Popular translations are no substitute for Greek lexicons or learned commentaries.

Whether Obama Wins Or Loses, The American People Need To Be Criticized

I still expect McCain to win, but the chance that he'll lose is higher than I expected earlier this year. If he loses, he and his campaign will be criticized for their mistakes, and that's appropriate. But the criticism probably will be out of proportion. The party most guilty for the election results, the people who voted for Obama, most likely won't be criticized nearly as much as they ought to be. And even if Obama loses, the fact that so many people supported him in the polls and on election day is remarkable and inexcusable. Criticism of those people, criticism on a large scale and for a long period of time, is warranted, regardless of whether Obama wins. We don't have to wait for election day to know whether a large percentage of Americans are so undiscerning as to support Obama. The polls have already proven it.

It's common among conservatives to refer to the wisdom of the American people. When an election is drawing near, conservatives will often comment that they trust the American people, even if the polls are currently favoring a candidate who isn't a conservative. When Americans contribute money to disaster relief in foreign nations or do something else that's virtuous, we hear about the goodness of the American people. Supporters of third parties often suggest that the American people are waiting for the right candidate to come along, one who represents them, then they'll vote in large numbers for that third-party candidate. Supporters of conservative third parties, for example, often suggest that the American people in general are conservatives at heart, but that the two major parties aren't representing them.

Sometimes such comments are accurate, depending on the context. On some issues, most Americans are right. But the majority is often wrong. The same Americans who give money to charity also pay for their daughter to get an abortion, spend several hours a week at pornographic web sites, or can't name the four gospels. Remember, the same Pharisees who murdered Jesus were monotheists and gave money to charity.

I don't think the American people need their ego stroked. They get more than enough of that from advertisers, politicians, etc.

Here's what I think is going on with this election. Among those likely to vote, a large minority is liberal and committed to Obama, and a large minority is conservative and committed to McCain. Another large minority is less knowledgeable of the issues, can and sometimes does keep going back and forth between the two candidates, and is currently favoring Obama. The primary reason why that third group supports Obama most likely is laziness. The current president is a Republican. They're dissatisfied with the economy and some other things, to the point of wanting some sort of significant change. They haven't thought through the issues enough to logically hold George Bush responsible for such problems. But blaming Bush is a simple solution, and it's a solution the Democrats, the media, and other segments of society are encouraging. Bush is a Republican. McCain is a Republican also. Therefore, we should vote for Obama. I think that sort of easy, lazy approach toward the election, in which little effort is put into researching and thinking through the issues, is the primary explanation for what's going on. That sort of laziness has benefited Republicans in the past, but it's benefiting a Democrat this year. Sometimes that laziness leads people to vote correctly, despite the fact that they arrived at the correct vote by the wrong means. But other times the laziness leads people to vote wrongly.

People often refer to how a large percentage of the population is dependent on the government (welfare, etc.), and I think that's a factor as well. The more dependent you are on the government, the more likely you are to vote for a Democrat. Much the same can be said about the sexually immoral. Misery loves company, and so do sinners (Romans 1:32). The teenager who spends several hours a week at pornographic web sites and is having sex with his girlfriend probably is going to tend to vote Democrat once he's old enough to vote. And the Republican businessman who gets involved in an adulterous relationship, and is unrepentant about it, probably is going to become increasingly sympathetic to the claims of the homosexual community and other politically active groups with a sexually immoral agenda. In an interview with Christianity Today, the New Testament scholar N.T. Wright made the following assessment of many of the modern critics of the Christian view of Jesus:

"'Probably they learned to disbelieve in the miracles of Jesus at the same time they first had sex. For them this stuff is part of liberation. To say maybe the conservative position is right is really to undermine their lives.' I asked Wright whether that would describe a younger generation of scholars. 'Oh, no,' he said, laughing; 'they have sex much earlier.'"

Robert Funk, a deceased Biblical scholar and founder of the Jesus Seminar, said that one of his reasons for wanting to "reinvent Christianity" was to have a Christianity that would support "protected recreational sex among consenting adults" (U.S. News & World Report, August 4, 1997, p. 55).

I think that sex plays a large role in Biblical scholarship. I also think it plays a large role in how Americans vote. For example, abortion is commonly used as birth control, and one party is much more likely to keep legal abortion available.

And the American voter lives in a society that's been largely secularized and trivialized, in addition to being more sexualized than in the past. David Wells, in his book God In The Wasteland (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1995), writes:

"It is one of the defining marks of Our Time that God is now weightless. I do not mean by this that he is ethereal but rather that he has become unimportant. He rests upon the world so inconsequentially as not to be noticeable. He has lost his saliency for human life. Those who assure the pollsters of their belief in God's existence may nonetheless consider him less interesting than television, his commands less authoritative than their appetites for affluence and influence, his judgment no more awe-inspiring than the evening news, and his truth less compelling than the advertisers' sweet fog of flattery and lies. That is weightlessness. It is a condition we have assigned him after having nudged him out to the periphery of our secularized life....Weightlessness tells us nothing about God but everything about ourselves, about our condition, about our psychological disposition to exclude God from our reality." (pp. 88, 90)

John Piper comments:

"Where is God in your daily newspaper or in your talk radio show or the network TV programming or Time and Newsweek or the theater or the public school classroom? God is the most important reality in the universe. But he is almost totally ignored. And if not, he is as likely belittled as reverenced....Disregard for God is the greatest evil in the West today. It is as though an ant on his anthill should disbelieve in the earth." (A Godward Life, Book Two [Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, 1999], p. 19)

I don't think Obama represents where the American people are at the moment. Neither does McCain. Most Americans are less liberal than Obama and less conservative than McCain. But if we don't want them to go even further in Obama's direction, we need to spend less time criticizing conservatives like McCain for not winning and more time criticizing the American people for voting the wrong way.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Obama's Abortion Extremism

From Steve:
I don't think Obama's position on abortion is by any means the only reason to oppose his candidacy. There are many good reasons to oppose his candidacy. However, some "Christian" bloggers are trying to deceive readers regarding Obama's true position. Here's another corrective.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Seraphim Has Been Banned

In another thread, Seraphim has been making a lot of unsupported assertions. He replies to arguments against his position or requests for documentation of his claims with comments like the following:

"LOL, its in the tradition."

"Obviously, Arianism is something Orthodoxy is well aware of. So how can that be a good argument?"

"The Jews are big into veneration anyway. They kiss everything, their doorposts when they leave the house, their prayer shawls, their scrolls and so forth. There's no doubt in my mind Orthodox inherited veneration from the Jews. The alternative is your mysterious force which changed Jews and Christians alike."

That's his level of argumentation.

At one point, he criticized Protestants for not having held a council within the last ten years in order to settle their disagreements. Supposedly, the failure to hold a council within ten years proves a lack of concern for unity. After I explained that the church fathers didn't hold councils within ten years to settle their disagreements, nor has Eastern Orthodoxy, he replied:

"Let's say 100 years then."

As you can see, Seraphim doesn't give his arguments much thought, and he'll change his standards in the middle of a discussion without even attempting to offer any justification.

He equated historical evidence with Eastern Orthodox Tradition. I cited some examples of portions of the historical record that can't be equated with Eastern Orthodox Tradition, such as archeology. He replied:

"Archeology is the study of history via artifacts as far as I know. Orthodoxy is big on artifacts."

How does the fact that "Orthodoxy is big on artifacts" interact with my point that archeological evidence isn't equivalent to Eastern Orthodox Tradition?

His posts are largely characterized by comments like the ones I've cited above. He makes threads significantly lengthier by posting such comments over and over again. Thus, it's probably less likely that people will read the threads, and the threads are significantly more difficult to read for those who choose to do so. It's my judgment that Seraphim's presence is doing more harm than good. I've deleted his latest post in the thread linked above, and he's now banned from Triablogue.

Victor Reppert: all-purpose dupe for democrats

“I will have to admit that I don't understand this story. If I were trying to steal votes for the Democrats, this is not the way I would go about doing it.”

This isn’t hard to grasp, Victor. Voter fraud can be quite successful. It goes like this:

i) By the time it takes to investigate and prosecute voter fraud, the fraudulent votes have already been cast. So the fraudulent outcome is irreversible.

ii) A party that successfully steals an election through voter fraud becomes the party responsible for investigating and prosecuting voter fraud. And the party in power has a disincentive to indict itself for voter fraud.

If you’re still too dense to see how it works, study the electoral process under Vladimir Putin.

Reppert is a good example of how a stupid worldview can make smart men stupid.

Half-baked philosophy


You are quite right to suppose that it can sometimes be rational to accept a less-qualified candidate who agrees with you on the major issues over a more qualified candidate who is in the opposite camp.

I didn’t concede that Palin is less qualified than Obama or Biden. I’ll concede that she’s less qualified than, say, Gingrich or John Bolton.

So if I were someone who believes in the right-wing agenda across-the-board, these Palin problems would not prevent me for voting for McCain.

Of course, McCain is not a rightwing Republican. He’s a purple politician. But he’s to the right of Obama and Biden, while Palin is probably to the right of McCain.

I even doubt that Palin is a rightwing ideologue. She’s not that intellectual. Presidents are rarely intellectuals. And intellectual presidents don’t necessarily make good presidents (e.g. Wilson).

Still I would find her ignorance of the major issues troubling.

It would be nice if she knew more about domestic and foreign policy. It would also be nice if I could design my own candidate for president.

Take a pristine brain. Upload the military prowess of David Petraeus; upload the eloquence and social values of Huckabee; upload the theological outlook of Kuyper; upload the economic acumen of Thomas Sowell or Ben Stein—and so on and so forth.

But we don’t get to choose an abstract ideal. It comes down to concrete candidates.

The veep isn't a policy maker? Sure. McCain could assign her the job of making coffee and christening boats if he wants to.

Vice Presidents don’t make policy. At most, they serve in an advisory capacity.

And, traditionally, veeps were chosen, not for their “qualifications,” but for bringing a key voting block to the ticket. Helping the presidential candidate get elected.

But she's supposed to be able to ascend to the Presidency in case McCain passes.

Worst-case scenario: McCain dies or suffers a massive stroke two months into office and she assumes the presidency. She would still be better than either Obama or Biden.

You consistently seem to think that someone hasn't thought through any issues unless they have considered the points you would put forward and answer them. You presuppose that I have the burden of proof on every question and am open to personal attack if I don't shoulder it to your satisfaction.

I presuppose that, as a philosopher, you have a duty to adequately research an issue and present a serious argument.

For example, I offered a substantial argument against the use of waterboarding, which of course you found unsatisfactory. Fine. Shoot, I even numbered my premises.

That’s a wonderful illustration of what low standards you set for yourself.

Compare your performance to the sustained argument of Keith Pavlischek:

Who is doing the heavy-lifting here: you or Pavlischek? Hint: it isn’t the philosophy prof. from Arizona.

Or compare your performance to the meticulous analysis of Keith Burgess-Jackson:

Once again, which one of you is moving the heavy lumber? Hint: it isn’t the philosophy prof. from Arizona.

A good deal of my political discussions have to do with why I support Obama in spite of what I consider to be a morally deficient response to the abortion issue.

Actually, you’ve tried to minimize his position on abortion. And it’s a reflection of your moral blindness that you think that’s the only major problem with Obama.

Do we need to be demonizing opponents here? That's quite a step, and it's a perilous one. It's the first step on the road to the Spanish Inquisition.

Once again, silly statements like that reveal your inability to discuss politics from a philosophically respectable standpoint.

Feel free to show us how, by extrapolating from the current ideological balance of power, the reinstitution of the Spanish Inquisition is a live option in the foreseeable future. I look forward to your “substantive argument” with “numbered premises.”

Is Obama the enemy of faith and family? Even if he's wrong on abortion, his intention, it seems to me, is to help families.

You could say the same thing for Karl Marx, Peter Singer, or Margaret Sanger. Evil people can be very idealistic in their twisted way. They actually think they’re doing good.

Is he a real Christian?

Clearly not.

Is McCain a real Christian.

I have no idea.

One of these men is a known adulterer. Which one is it?

i) As I’ve said before, I vote for candidates based on their policies. I’m not looking for a personal role model. As a middle-aged man, I internalized my role models a long time ago, and politicians were never my role models in the first place.

ii) But since you bring up the issue of sexual ethics, both adultery and fornication are sins. Are you prepared to stipulate that Obama was a virgin on his wedding night?

I do sometimes back off and say "oops" in the course of discussion, and try not to overstate my case.

Concessions have to be beaten out of you. And you wouldn’t have to back down so often if you did your homework the first time around.

I never see you do that.

I’m not as careless as you are.

Am I an evil person?

When you support evil candidates with evil policies, when you support the greater of two evils, when you indulge in special pleading to minimize their evil policies, then, yes, that makes you an evil person, too.

Is my contribution to philosophy mostly evil?

You’ve made some positive contributions to Christian apologetics. Your political philosophy is mostly evil.

Like many people, you are logically and morally compartmentalized.

Incestuous kinism

“Blood ties are the only natural and workable basis for a healthy society not subject to the ideologies of fallen man. We believe this is the normative system for our people.”

I take it from this statement that the only marriages which kinism sanctions are incestuous marriages.

To marry someone who is not a close blood relative would not be a natural and workable basis for a healthy society.

So what types of incestuous marriage does kinism favor? Maternal incestuous marriage? Paternal incestuous marriage? Sibling incestuous marriage?

Whitewashing racism

Since “kinism” has reared its ugly head again, let’s comment on what passes for a serious argument in “kinism.”

Segregation of animals, including man, is the law of God and the teaching of Christ. “Thou shalt not let thy cattle render (mate) with a diverse (different) kind. Lev. 19:19.

Of course, that says precisely nothing about interracial mating.

Everything after its kind is the fiat of God and the practice of the jungle. Genesis I:21,25. Genesis VI:19,20. Genesis VII:14.

Bestiality doesn’t produce offspring. The fact that interracial mating can produce offspring is, itself, definitive evidence of reproduction after one’s kind. So this example actually disproves the kinist contention.

There is no amalgamation, or interbreeding, of man and beast, the eagle and the buzzard, the lion and the leopard, the eel and the snake, or of different species of eagles or different species of eels, with each other, or the birds of different kinds with each other.

Of course, the Bible speaks of natural kinds, not species.

The American and the English eels breed in less than two miles of the same place. Throughout the thousands of years there has been no intermingling or amalgamation of the two.

A silly example since geographically isolated species of the same kind can interbreed if brought into contact. Crossbreeding wouldn’t be possible in the first place unless two species (or subspecies) were sufficiently alike.

When God directed the building of the Temple of King Solomon, at the time when He communicated direct with man, He directed that there should be separate courts, or apartments, for the Jew and the Gentile.

Here, ethnic distinctions are incidental to religious distinctions. And it was quite possible for an outsider to convert to Judaism and thereby become a full-fledged member of the covenant community.

Intermarriage was forbidden between certain tribes of the children of Israel.

i) Of course, that either proves too much or too little since the 12 tribes of Israel were racially homogenous.

If we applied this restriction to modern times, then it would forbid intermarriage between members of the same race unless they belonged to the same clan.

ii) This argument also ignores the fact that Israelite marriage was endogamous because ancient Israel was a tribal society in which the land holdings were common property of the clan. Therefore, you married within your clan to keep the property in possession of the clan.

When Joseph made that noon-day meal for his brothers he set them by themselves, and the Egyptians by themselves, “Because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians.”

i) Which illustrates the prejudicial attitude of the Egyptians. We’re dealing with historical narrative. It describes various events. That’s doesn’t imply editorial approval of the events thus narrated.

ii) Moreover, appealing to the patriarchal narratives either proves too much or too little. Remember that Abraham recruited a wife for Isaac by going outside his clan.

He preached to the Jews and to no other nationality or race. This proves that the principle of segregation was the law of God and the teaching of Christ.

That’s a perfectly absurd inference. It disregards Jn 4. And it also disregards the multiethnic character of the church in the Book of Acts.

This being true, segregation of the white man and the Negro has scriptural authority and may be carried out with a clear conscience.

That doesn’t follow from his own examples. If blacks and whites are both human, then they are members of the same natural kind, in which case they can intermarry.

God made the white man white and He made the Negro black.

No, he made Adam and Eve, from whom we all descend.

This was not an accident, it did not “just happen.” He did this according to His purpose just as surely as He raised Pharoah up “for a specific purpose.” Inscrutable though this may be, and is, it is true nevertheless. This was not an experiment of God nor a temporary expedient. It was intended by Him to last till “time shall be no more.”

If you’re going to equate creation with providence, and then use providence to validate a particular outcome, then that argument either proves too much or too little since everything that happens is providential. Miscegenation is providential rather than accidental.

It would charge God with folly to say that He created the white man white, and the Negro black, and then “purposed” that they should amalgamate, and thus destroy the work of His own hand by amalgamating the two races, and thus destroy the identity of both races.

Do we charge God with folly when lions and tigers successfully interbreed?

And since, as a matter of fact, different races do interbreed, then if you’re going to invoke providence, you would have to charge God with folly for that providential outcome.

God says through Jeremiah 13:23, that the Ethiopian, the Negro, can not change his skin, and He implies thereby that he should not want to change his color, or in any way destroy the handiwork of God.

Of course, that verse has reference to individuals. The racial identity of an individual is fixed.

I am unable to understand how these “uplifting do-gooders” can think that they can improve on the work of the Almighty, the builder of Heaven and earth, by destroying all racial distinction.

i) But if he’s going to equate creation with providence, then a providential outcome like biracial marriage with biracial offspring is the handiwork of God.

ii) Likewise, racial diversity is not the original condition of mankind. That’s a result of racial diversification over time and space.

How can you oppose a change in racial identity when racial diversity is, itself, the result of racial mutability?

iii) Kinism would only make sense under the thesis of polygenism. If God originally created separate races which represent different kinds.

But, of course, Scripture teaches monogenism.

God did not say that He had made “all skin of one color,” nor does the scripture anywhere intimate that such would be desirable.

A red herring.

Intermingling of the two races on terms of social and friendly equality inevitably leads to intermarriage. Intermarriage leads to amalgamation. Amalgamation leads to racial suicide for both races.

Even if it came to that, what, exactly, is so bad about “racial suicide”?

Some people seem to believe that you can have religious intermingling and stop at that. Religious intermingling in the churches would lead to intermingling at social gatherings, which would inevitably lead to intermarriage.

What’s wrong with that progression? As long as the couple is religiously compatible, so what? Scripture opposes interfaith marriage, not interracial marriage, per se.

To say that the Negro shall not be permitted to worship in the white man’s church, but that he shall be permitted to worship God in his own church according to the dictates of his own conscience, does not deprive him of access to heaven or to church worship.

Notice the multiethnic character of Temple worship during Jewish holidays (Acts 2:5ff.; 8:27ff.).

As a matter of fact, he can worship God better in his own church with his own people in the environment that he himself provides.

i) Sometimes, although churches and denominations can become too insular and ingrown.

ii) In any case, that’s a matter of taste, not morality. And it’s voluntary, not obligatory.

It is an unwarranted assumption on the part of the white man to take the position that salvation must come to the Negro through the white man’s tutelage.

That’s true. Salvation can also come to the white man through a black man’s tutelage. You can have black pastors of white churches. Or Latino/Asian/Indian pastors of white churches, &c.

Some people say that the Negro is the equal of the white, at least, religiously, and entitled to full equality in all things, and then in the next breath, so to speak, say that he is the white man’s responsibility. That is blowing both hot and cold at the same time. That is a contradictory statement. He simply can not be our equal and at the same time be our responsibility.

True, but an incoherent, compromise position can be resolve in more than one direction.

The only way to improve the lot of the Negro is to imbue him with racial pride.

Why not imbue everyone with a sense of Christian duty? Wouldn’t that be a real improvement?

Teach him to be proud that he is a Negro. Help him to go to the height of his ambition and ability as a Negro.

Translation: try to brainwash him into thinking this is the way things ought to be.

And above all, be fair and just with him in all your dealings with him.

In terms of how to fairly treat someone you regard as your inferior.

One of the evils of “kinism” is that it tarnishes Christianity by association. It also tarnishes Calvinism by association.

Like many other cults, it piggybacks on something respectable to legitimate its disreputable position. That’s why Christians need to reprove it and disown it.

Post-Confederate Derangement Syndrome

“Steve at Triablogue continues to annoy me with his white guilt.”

BJ bandies the phrase “white guilt” the way a sodomite bandies the word “homophobia.” People who can’t articulate a reasoned defense of their position fall back on tendentious buzzwords.

“And his attempt to paint me as a racist.”

Gee, what did BJ ever do to leave me with the misimpression that he was a racist? Well, it might have something to do with the fact that he has a kinist site on his blogroll. In addition, when he got into a debate with me, he posted some comments at the kinist blog to draw them into the debate and elicit their support.

This suggests that BJ is either a kinist or a kinist sympathizer. Is kinism racist? Here are some gems from the kinist site:

By Dr. J. Rice Williams of Houston, Mississippi. An article that appeared in the November 9, 1950, issue of the Pontotoc Progress.
Segregation of animals, including man, is the law of God and the teaching of Christ. “Thou shalt not let thy cattle render (mate) with a diverse (different) kind. Lev. 19:19. Everything after its kind is the fiat of God and the practice of the jungle. Genesis I:21,25. Genesis VI:19,20. Genesis VII:14.
There is no amalgamation, or interbreeding, of man and beast, the eagle and the buzzard, the lion and the leopard, the eel and the snake, or of different species of eagles or different species of eels, with each other, or the birds of different kinds with each other. The American and the English eels breed in less than two miles of the same place. Throughout the thousands of years there has been no intermingling or amalgamation of the two.
When God directed the building of the Temple of King Solomon, at the time when He communicated direct with man, He directed that there should be separate courts, or apartments, for the Jew and the Gentile.
Intermarriage was forbidden between certain tribes of the children of Israel. “And Moses commanded the children of Israel according to the word of the Lord, saying, The tribe of the sons of Joseph hath said well. This is the thing which the Lord doth command concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying, Let them marry to whom they think best; only to the family of the tribe of their father shall they marry.” Numbers 36:5,6.
When Joseph made that noon-day meal for his brothers he set them by themselves, and the Egyptians by themselves, “Because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians.” Genesis 43:32. Then when Joseph’s family was located in Egypt, he colonized them, he placed them in the land of Goshen; “For every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.” Genesis 46:34.
Christ obeyed the law. He practiced it Himself and taught it to His disciples. When He sent His disciples out on their first preaching mission, He commanded them to “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 16:5,6. Christ did all of His earthly work among the Jews [meaning Hebrews]. He preached to the Jews and to no other nationality or race.
This proves that the principle of segregation was the law of God and the teaching of Christ. This being true, segregation of the white man and the Negro has scriptural authority and may be carried out with a clear conscience.
God made the white man white and He made the Negro black. This was not an accident, it did not “just happen.” He did this according to His purpose just as surely as He raised Pharoah up “for a specific purpose.” Inscrutable though this may be, and is, it is true nevertheless. This was not an experiment of God nor a temporary expedient. It was intended by Him to last till “time shall be no more.”
It would charge God with folly to say that He created the white man white, and the Negro black, and then “purposed” that they should amalgamate, and thus destroy the work of His own hand by amalgamating the two races, and thus destroy the identity of both races. God says through Jeremiah 13:23, that the Ethiopian, the Negro, can not change his skin, and He implies thereby that he should not want to change his color, or in any way destroy the handiwork of God.
I am unable to understand how these “uplifting do-gooders” can think that they can improve on the work of the Almighty, the builder of Heaven and earth, by destroying all racial distinction. God did not say that He had made “all skin of one color,” nor does the scripture anywhere intimate that such would be desirable._Intermingling of the two races on terms of social and friendly equality inevitably leads to intermarriage. Intermarriage leads to amalgamation. Amalgamation leads to racial suicide for both races.
Some people seem to believe that you can have religious intermingling and stop at that. Religious intermingling in the churches would lead to intermingling at social gatherings, which would inevitably lead to intermarriage.
To say that the Negro shall not be permitted to worship in the white man’s church, but that he shall be permitted to worship God in his own church according to the dictates of his own conscience, does not deprive him of access to heaven or to church worship. As a matter of fact, he can worship God better in his own church with his own people in the environment that he himself provides. It is an unwarranted assumption on the part of the white man to take the position that salvation must come to the Negro through the white man’s tutelage.
Some people say that the Negro is the equal of the white, at least, religiously, and entitled to full equality in all things, and then in the next breath, so to speak, say that he is the white man’s responsibility. That is blowing both hot and cold at the same time. That is a contradictory statement. He simply can not be our equal and at the same time be our responsibility.
The only way to improve the lot of the Negro is to imbue him with racial pride. Teach him to be proud that he is a Negro. Help him to go to the height of his ambition and ability as a Negro. And above all, be fair and just with him in all your dealings with him. BUT “everything after its kind”—or chaos.
Segregation is scriptural and right in principle and in practice.

I’ll leave it to the reader to decide if that’s racist or not. (For now I’ll pass on the Mickey Mouse exegesis).

“I love all races, just as God made them.”

God didn’t make “races.” God made Adam and Eve. Racial differentiation is a result of climatic adaptation and inbreeding.

“This is so odd to me, escpecially since I wasn’t referring to him. Although I did site one post he did only to point out his use of the term ‘Black’ as a designation for certain christians. Maybe he is talking about that. Hays must be a glutton for attention.”

Notice BJ’s dissimulation. He claims to be referring to Gene. When I point out that his claim is false since he is also referring to me, his response to my correction is to say I’m a glutton for attention.

That’s the best he can do when someone falsifies his claim using his own evidence.

“Yes, it is ironic. It’s ironc that Bridges would say I was UnChristian, yet, have no problem supporting a blog that classifies christians in racial terms. For instance this link on Triblogue. Why not send them an email stating they are unchristian for calling themselves Reformed Blacks?”

This is BJ’s bait-and-switch tactic. Did we ever claim that racial identity is never a form of individual or social identity? No. The point at issue, rather, is the relative importance of that identification. Is BJ just too dense to absorb this elementary distinction?

There are many forms of individual and/or social identity. I have unique fingerprints. Should I therefore inveigh against intermarriage between men and women with different fingerprints? Is digital miscegenation a sin? The iniquitous intermingling of different fingerprints?

What about left-handed and right-handed people? Should they intermarry, or would that violate chiral identity?

“Again, I was on talking about Bridges comment towards me.”

You used plural forms. You referenced a post by me. And you referenced a site on our blogroll (Gene isn’t responsible for the blogroll). So by your usage and examples, you were talking about more than Bridges. If your intention was to single out Bridges, then you’re too muddleheaded or illiterate to accurately express your intentions.

“Racial characteristics are not a right. I said racial identity, and all that implies.”

So, on BJ’s definition, racial characteristics are irrelevant to racial identity. I suspect that will make kinism difficult to implement.

“For instance, Mexicans should not be ashamed for wanting to eat “cow tounge”, or drive low riders. Blacks should revel in their track & field superiority in the Olympics, NBA, and NFL. And whites should be able to bask in the knowledge of having explored and settled an entire civilization, The West. If the other groups enjoy their accomplishments in culture, so will I. If that makes me rascist then so is everybody else.”

So he now limits racial identity to cultural identity? Let’s see, isn’t the modern dominance of Western civilization the partial result of its military might? Conquest and colonialism? And isn’t that largely due to the use of gunpowder? And didn’t the Chinese invent gunpowder?

Western civilization is also dependent on math and science. East Indian mathematicians made key contributions to math.

Or what about American Indians who taught the first white settlers how to survive in the New World?

BJ is big on Southern pride. Is the South racially homogenous? Did Southern blacks make no contribution to Southern culture?

Isn’t Western civilization a multicultural achievement, involving more than one race?

This is one of the practical problems with racism. There are no pure races and there are no pure cultures.

It’s sometimes convenient to distinguish a member of one race from a member of another race, but these are rough-and-ready categories. Racial boundaries are fuzzy boundaries. Overlapping boundaries.

Once you try to harden these climatic adaptations into a rigid classification scheme, then the ambiguities of racial differentiation immediately assert themselves.

“I hate that Steve sat in his Western Civilization college class and let some liberal ‘white’ historian pound him into his white guilt.”

I quoted from Thornwell and Dabney. Are those the white, guilt-ridden historians that BJ is referring to?

Because BJ isn’t a very bright white, he thinks that you have to choose between white pride or white guilt. But those are hardly the only alternatives.

If you reject white pride, that doesn’t mean you embrace white guilt. I have a unique set of fingerprints. Am I proud of my fingerprints? No. Am I ashamed of my fingerprints? No.

“Now Steve hates it that God ordained his skin color and legacy. Now Steve hates it that God ordained his skin color and legacy. He hates that others enjoy theirs, that being every race on earth!”

But BJ earlier said: “Racial characteristics are not a right. I said racial identity, and all that implies…If the other groups enjoy their accomplishments in culture, so will I.”

Is skin color a cultural achievement? Or is skin color a racial characteristic (especially for BJ)? So, for BJ, radial identity is not synonymous with cultural identity. What he really cares about is racial identity rather than cultural identity.

“Now Steve hates it that God ordained his skin color and legacy.”

God also ordained my fingerprints. Should I “bask” in my fingerprints?

And while we’re on the subject of providential events that God ordained, God ordained the War of Northern Aggression. Does B.J. “bask” in the War of Northern Aggression?

God also ordained Sherman’s March. Does B.J. “bask” in Sherman’s March?

God also ordained the Reconstruction Acts. Does B.J. “bask” in the Reconstruction Acts?

God also ordained a certain amount of miscegenation. Does B.J. “bask” in miscegenation?

If Obama is elected president, then God ordained that outcome as well. Will B.J. “bask” in the election of Obama?

“If you bubble in the ‘white’ circle on a job application under the ‘affirmative action section’ than you are white.”

Notice that BJ is ducking the question. If you’re going to argue for segregation, then you need to lay down some precise criteria to demarcate one race from another.