Is Truth Relative? Two Classic Presentations (+ Relativised Young People)

The above is an example of relativism run-amock with young people in downtown Durham after the Pride Festival at Duke University Sept 28th 2013. Another interview here.

(This post is updated, as the video from the “Thrive Apologetics Conference” was deleted. New information was substituted in its place.) Posted below are three presentations. The first presentation (audio) is Dr. Beckwith’s classic presentation where high school and college kids get a 2-week crash course in the Christian worldview.

The following two presentations are by Gregory Koukle. The first is a UCLA presentation, the second is an excellent presentation ay Biola University entitled “The Intolerance of Tolerance.” Enjoy this updated post.

Here is — firstly — a classic presentation by Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason.

Moral Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Midair from Veritas [3] on Vimeo.

Below this will be another presentation that is one of Koukl’s best yet, and really is a video update to the excellent book, Relativism: Feet Planted Firmly in Mid-Air… a phrase common to Francis Schaeffer, “feet planted firmly in mid-air.”

To wit, Humanism:

Since present day Humanism vilifies Judeo-Christianity as backward, its goal to assure progress through education necessitates an effort to keep all mention of theism out of the classroom. Here we have the irony of twentieth century Humanism, a belief system recognized by the Supreme Court as a non-theistic religion, foisting upon society the unconstitutional prospect of establishment of a state-sanctioned non-theistic religion which legislates against the expression of a theistic one by arguing separation of church & state. To dwell here in more detail is beyond the scope of this article, but to close, here are some other considerations:

“We should note this curious mark of our own age: the only absolute allowed is the absolute insistence that there is no absolute” (Schaeffer)

In the earlier spirit of cooperation with the Christian church the ethics or values of the faith were “borrowed” by the humanists. In their secular framework, however, denying the transcendent, they negated the theocentric foundation of those values, (the character of God), while attempting to retain the ethics. So it can be said that the Humanist, then, lives on “borrowed capital”. In describing this situation, Francis Schaeffer observed that: “…the Humanist has both feet firmly planted in mid-air.” His meaning here is that while the Humanist may have noble ideals, there is no rational foundation for them. An anthropocentric view says that mankind is a “cosmic accident”; he comes from nothing, he goes to nothing, but in between he’s a being of supreme dignity. What the Humanist fails to face is that with no ultimate basis, his ideals, virtues and values are mere preferences, not principles. Judging by this standard of “no ultimate standard”, who is to say whose preferences are to be “dignified”, ultimately?

See more quotes HERE

Exclude Religion Arguments Fail Miserable ~ Illusory Neutrality

In conversations since the decision I get the, “you are defending your religious point of view… what about others religious or non-religious viewpoints?” Firstly, I use — typically — non-Biblical responses. My Same-Sex Marriage Page makes one point using the Bible, the other five and secular worries that should make one consider the issue. I have written an entire chapter in my book dealing with the natural law response to the issue. I also note that at no time in history has this idea of same-sex marriage ever been even contemplated to be of equal value to society. No religious leader or major moral thinker that helped shape sour society or others ever thought different.

So, while I try to stay away from either expressly or even using my faith in the majority of the argument… lets say I were to do so? So What! Here is [lesbian] Tammy Bruce:

Even if one does not necessarily accept the institutional structure of “organized religion,” the “Judeo-Christian ethic and the personal standards it encourages do not impinge on the quality of life, but enhance it. They also give one a basic moral template that is not relative,” which is why the legal positivists of the Left are so threatened by the Natural Law aspect of the Judeo-Christian ethic…

…these problems don’t remain personal and private. The drive, especially since this issue is associated with the word “gay rights,” is to make sure your worldview reflects theirs. To counter this effort, we must demand that the medical and psychiatric community take off their PC blinders and treat these people responsibly. If we don’t, the next thing you know, your child will be taking a “tolerance” class explaining how “transexuality” is just another “lifestyle choice”…. After all, it is the only way malignant narcissists will ever feel normal, healthy, and acceptable: by remaking society – children – in their image.

Tammy Bruce, The Death of Right and Wrong: Exposing the Left’s Assault on Our Culture and Values (Roseville: Prima, 2003), 35; 92, 206.

Justice Without Absolutes?

The French Revolution was fueled by rhetoric about the “rights of man.”  Yet without a foundation in the Judeo-Christian teaching of creation, there is no way to say what human nature is.  Who defines it?  Who says how it ought to be treated?  As a result, life is valued only as much as those in power choose to value it.  Small wonder that the French Revolution – with its slogan, “Neither God Nor Master,” quickly led to tyranny accompanied by the guillotine. The American Revolution had its slogan as well, and it goes to show how different the understanding of human nature was in these two revolutions.  The end result of our freedom also goes to show the validity in “the eternal foundation of righteousness” in which they were set.  (Tellingly, the Revolutionary slogan of the U. S. was, “No King But King Jesus!”)

According to C. S. Lewis (professor of medieval and Renaissance literature at Oxford and Cambridge universities, and a philosopher in his own right) one source of the “poison of subjectivism,” as he called it, is the belief that man is the product of blind evolutionary process:

“After studying his environment man has begun to study himself.  Up to that point, he had assumed his own reason and through it seen all other things.  Now, his own reason has become the object: it is as if we took out our eyes to look at them.  Thus studied, his own reason appears to him as the epiphenomenon which accompanies chemical or electrical events in a cortex which is itself the by-product of a blind evolutionary process.  His own logic, hitherto the king whom events in all possible worlds must obey, becomes merely subjective.  There is no reason for supposing that it yields truth.”

First mock Conversation

  • First Person: “You shouldn’t force your morality on me.”
  • Second Person: “Why not?”
  • First Person: “Because I don’t believe in forcing morality.”
  • Second Person: “If you don’t believe in it, then by all means, don’t do it. Especially don’t force that moral view of yours on me.”

Second Mock Conversation

  • First Person: “You shouldn’t push your morality on me.”
  • Second Person: “I’m not entirely sure what you mean by that statement. Do you mean I have no right to an opinion?”
  • First Person: “You have a right to you’re opinion, but you have no right to force it on anyone.”
  • Second Person: “Is that your opinion?”
  • First Person: “Yes.”
  • Second Person: “Then why are you forcing it on me?”
  • First Person: “But your saying your view is right.”
  • Second Person: “Am I wrong?”
  • First Person: “Yes.”
  • Second Person: “Then your saying only your view is right, which is the very thing you objected to me saying.”

Third Mock Conversation

  • First Person: “You shouldn’t push your morality on me.”
  • Second Person: “Correct me if I’m misunderstanding you here, but it sounds to me like your telling me I’m wrong.”
  • First Person: “You are.”
  • Second Person: “Well, you seem to be saying my personal moral view shouldn’t apply to other people, but that sounds suspiciously like you are applying your moral view to me.  Why are you forcing your morality on me?”

(Francis Beckwith & Gregory Koukl, Relativism: Feet Planted in Mid-Air (Baker Books; 1998), p. 144-146.)

SELF-DEFEATING

“Most of the problems with our culture can be summed up in one phrase: ‘Who are you to say?’” ~ Dennis Prager

So lets unpack this phrase and see how it is self-refuting, or as Tom Morris[1] put it, self-deleting.

➤ When someone says, “Who are you to say?” answer with, “Who are you to say ‘Who are you to say’?”

This person is challenging your right to correct another, yet she is correcting you.  Your response to her amounts to “Who are you to correct my correction, if correcting in itself is wrong?” or “If I don’t have the right to challenge your view, then why do you have the right to challenge mine?”  Her objection is self-refuting; you’re just pointing it out.

…Such “exclude religion” arguments are wrong because marriage is not a religion! When voters define marriage, they are not establishing a religion. In the First Amendment, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” the word “religion” refers to the church that people attend and support. “Religion” means being a Baptist or Catholic or Presbyterian or Jew. It does not mean being married. These arguments try to make the word “religion” in the Constitution mean something different from what it has always meant.

These arguments also make the logical mistake of failing to distinguish the reasons for a law from the content of the law. There were religious reasons behind many of our laws, but these laws do not “establish” a religion. All major religions have teachings against stealing, but laws against stealing do not “establish a religion.” All religions have laws against murder, but laws against murder do not “establish a religion.” The campaign to abolish slavery in the United States and England was led by many Christians, based on their religious convictions, but laws abolishing slavery do not “establish a religion.” The campaign to end racial discrimination and segregation was led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist pastor, who preached against racial injustice from the Bible. But laws against discrimination and segregation do not “establish a religion.”

If these “exclude religion” arguments succeed in court, they could soon be applied against evangelicals and Catholics who make “religious” arguments against abortion. Majority votes to protect unborn children could then be invalidated by saying these voters are “establishing a religion.” And, by such reasoning, all the votes of religious citizens for almost any issue could be found invalid by court decree! This would be the direct opposite of the kind of country the Founding Fathers established, and the direct opposite of what they meant by “free exercise” of religion in the First Amendment.

Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 31.

Historian Alvin Schmidt points out how the spread of Christianity and Christian influence on government was primarily responsible for outlawing infanticide, child abandonment, and abortion in the Roman Empire (in AD 374); outlawing the brutal battles-to-the-death in which thousands of gladiators had died (in 404); outlawing the cruel punishment of branding the faces of criminals (in 315); instituting prison reforms such as the segregating of male and female prisoners (by 361); stopping the practice of human sacrifice among the Irish, the Prussians, and the Lithuanians as well as among other nations; outlawing pedophilia; granting of property rights and other protections to women; banning polygamy (which is still practiced in some Muslim nations today); prohibiting the burning alive of widows in India (in 1829); outlawing the painful and crippling practice of binding young women’s feet in China (in 1912); persuading government officials to begin a system of public schools in Germany (in the sixteenth century); and advancing the idea of compulsory education of all children in a number of European countries.

During the history of the church, Christians have had a decisive influence in opposing and often abolishing slavery in the Roman Empire, in Ireland, and in most of Europe (though Schmidt frankly notes that a minority of “erring” Christian teachers have supported slavery in various centuries). In England, William Wilberforce, a devout Christian, led the successful effort to abolish the slave trade and then slavery itself throughout the British Empire by 1840.

In the United States, though there were vocal defenders of slavery among Christians in the South, they were vastly outnumbered by the many Christians who were ardent abolitionists, speaking, writing, and agitating constantly for the abolition of slavery in the United States. Schmidt notes that two-thirds of the American abolitionists in the mid-1830s were Christian clergymen, and he gives numerous examples of the strong Christian commitment of several of the most influential of the antislavery crusaders, including Elijah Lovejoy (the first abolitionist martyr), Lyman Beecher, Edward Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin), Charles Finney, Charles T. Torrey, Theodore Weld, William Lloyd Garrison, “and others too numerous to mention.” The American civil rights movement that resulted in the outlawing of racial segregation and discrimination was led by Martin Luther King Jr., a Christian pastor, and supported by many Christian churches and groups.

There was also strong influence from Christian ideas and influential Christians in the formulation of the Magna Carta in England (1215) and of the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the Constitution (1787) in the United States. These are three of the most significant documents in the history of governments on the earth, and all three show the marks of significant Christian influence in the foundational ideas of how governments should function.

Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 49-50.

The New Normal… Censorship (Plus: Family Guy) [UPDATED]

Censorship is the new norm, and this is with thanks to the left. See for instance Jerry Seinfeld talking about censorship in comedy.

To even write that Bruce Jenner is a man and not a woman is hate speech.

Pittsburgh ‘News’ Room, Lobbyists Demand Columnist Firing for ‘Jenner Still a Mister’ Piece

Stating an anti-transgender opinion is close to forbidden in today’s “news” pages and “news” rooms, especially after the Bruce Jenner fawning frenzy. Exhibit A? Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist and associate editor Jennifer Graham (no relation to me) wrote a column truthfully titled “Caitlyn Jenner is still a mister.” 

JimRomenesko.com notes Jay Brown of the so-called Human Rights Campaign demanded in a letter that she be fired for “hate speech, plain and simple”: 

I am writing to you regarding a despicably offensive and inaccurate column by your employee, Jennifer Graham. Simply put, after submitting a piece so utterly lacking truth or decency, she should be relieved of her role as a columnist….

There is still time to make this right, but the solution involves taking action now. Ms. Graham has no business serving as a columnist at a publication with a reputation as sterling like yours. Instead, lift up a  Pittsburgh voice that has something meaningful to say on the issues of the day.”   

…read more…

I posted the above on my FaceBook and got the following response from a gal I adore… but who is just mimicking pop-culture:

How is it anyone’s business other than Caitlin Jenner’s to decide what/who to be called?

Here is my response to the above… and it is in the hopes to create sound thinking/reflection on how she, we, encapsulate thoughts… and thus meaning. (I AM HERE including slightly more information than in the original response):

You are making my point. So let’s change this around: “How is it anyone’s business other than ‘the Pittsburgh columnist to comment on Jenner’.”

You see, when a baker decides to not make a cake for a specific event, the power of the state gets involved. Likewise, we will soon see the state get involved in issues like these… like pastors being fined and even threatened with jail for preaching from Romans.

Also, there is a growing movement of people who had operations to become a woman speaking out against fellow “prospective” transgenders from getting the operation and deluding oneself into thinking they are the opposite sex (See my “Transgender Page” for some examples)

Again, using your premise said another way:

Self Refuting (Alvin Plantinga’s “Tar Baby”)

Again, relativism claims that all so-called truth is relative, that there really is no absolute truth, but that different things (whatever they may be) may be true for me but not for you.  This is at times called perspectivalism.

  • Statement: There is no such thing as absolute truth; [or alternatively, there are many truths.]

Is this philosophy of relativism making the statement that this is the ultimate, absolute truth about truth?  In that case, it actually asserts what it denies, and so is self-deleting, simply logically incoherent as a philosophical position[1] and in violation of the Law of non-contradiction (LNC), one of the most important laws of logical thought.[2]  I will show some common – everyday – rebukes that show how people contradict themselves, thus undermining what in fact they are trying to assert.

Some Examples ~ You Shouldn’t Force Your Morality On Me![3]

  • First Person: “You shouldn’t force your morality on me.”
  • Second Person: “Why not?”
  • First Person: “Because I don’t believe in forcing morality.”
  • Second Person: “If you don’t believe in it, then by all means, don’t do it. Especially don’t force that moral view of yours on me.”

  • First Person: “You shouldn’t push your morality on me.”
  • Second Person: “I’m not entirely sure what you mean by that statement. Do you mean I have no right to an opinion?”
  • First Person: “You have a right to you’re opinion, but you have no right to force it on anyone.”
  • Second Person: “Is that your opinion?”
  • First Person: “Yes.”
  • Second Person: “Then why are you forcing it on me?”
  • First Person: “But your saying your view is right.”
  • Second Person: “Am I wrong?”
  • First Person: “Yes.”
  • Second Person: “Then your saying only your view is right, which is the very thing you objected to me saying.”

  • First Person: “You shouldn’t push your morality on me.”
  • Second Person: “Correct me if I’m misunderstanding you here, but it sounds to me like your telling me I’m wrong.”
  • First Person: “You are.”
  • Second Person: “Well, you seem to be saying my personal moral view shouldn’t apply to other people, but that sounds suspiciously like you are applying your moral view to me.  Why are you forcing your morality on me?”

Self-Defeating

  • “Most of the problems with our culture can be summed up in one phrase: ‘Who are you to say?’” ~ Dennis Prager

So lets unpack this phrase and see how it is self-refuting, or as Tom Morris[4] put it, self-deleting. When someone says, “Who are you to say?” answer with, “Who are you to say ‘Who are you to say’?”[5]

This person is challenging your right to correct another, yet she is correcting you.  Your response to her amounts to “Who are you to correct my correction, if correcting in itself is wrong?” or “If I don’t have the right to challenge your view, then why do you have the right to challenge mine?”  Her objection is self-refuting; you’re just pointing it out.

The “Who are you to say?” challenge fails on another account.  Taken at face value, the question challenges one’s authority to judge another’s conduct.  It says, in effect, “What authorizes you to make a rule for others?  Are you in charge?”  This challenge miscasts my position.  I don’t expect others to obey me simply because I say so.  I’m appealing to reason, not asserting my authority.  It’s one thing to force beliefs; it’s quite another to state those beliefs and make an appeal for them.

The “Who are you to say?” complaint is a cheap shot.  At best it’s self-defeating.  It’s an attempt to challenge the legitimacy of your moral judgments, but the statement itself implies a moral judgment.  At worst, it legitimizes anarchy!

[1] Tom Morris, Philosophy for Dummies (IDG Books; 1999), p. 46
[2] “…is considered the foundation of logical reasoning,” Manuel Velasquez, Philosophy: A Text with Readings (Wadsworth; 2001), p. 51.  “A theory in which this law fails…is an inconsistent theory”, edited by Ted Honderich, The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, (Oxford Univ; 1995), p. 625.
[3] Francis Beckwith & Gregory Koukl, Relativism: Feet Planted in Mid-Air (Baker Books; 1998), p. 144-146.
[4] Tom Morris, Philosophy for Dummies (IDG Books; 1999), p. 46
[5] Francis Beckwith & Gregory Koukl, Relativism: Feet Planted in Mid-Air (Baker Books; 1998), p. 144-146.

(See more at my SCRIBD)

I then mentioned that the first part of this “two-part import” from my old blog to my new one may fit the applications as well:

Agree or Not?

This is a combination of two posts, the first was a question I posed to someone in a forum. Below you see what that question was and where I led that person. The second is a bit of political science. Both repeat some of the same idea, but both are different.

So let’s highlight the first question by a court case that has, well, institutionalized the “post-modern” society. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1996), the 9th District Appeals Court wrote:

“At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.”

In other words, whatever you believe is your origin, and thus your designating meaning on both your life and body is your business, no one else’s. If you believe that the child growing in you – no matter at what stage (Doe v. Bolton) – isn’t a child unless you designate it so. You alone can choose to or not choose to designate life to that “fetus”. It isn’t a “potential person” until you say it is first a person. Understand? That being clarified, do you agree with this general statement:

“If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth… From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own reality…”

Sounds really close to the 9th Courts majority view doesn’t it. The above is basically saying that your opinion is just as valid as another persons opinion because both are your’s and the other persons perspective on something is formed from influences from your culture and experiences. So someone from New Guiney may have a differing view or opinion on eating dogs than an American.

Let’s compare a portion from both statements:

  1. “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe and of the mystery of human life…”
  2. “…the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own reality…”

Whether you’re an atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian or Muslim, it doesn’t matter. Your reality is just that… your reality, or opinion, or personal dogma. I want to now complete one of the quotes that I left somewhat edited, not only that, but I want to ask you if you still agree with it after you find out who wrote it.

Ready?

“Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition…. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth… then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity…. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.”

Mussolini, Diuturna pp. 374-77, quoted in A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist (Ignatius Press; 1999), by Peter Kreeft, p. 18.

The Dalai Lama Borrows from Christianity To Support Buddhism

(Jump to comparison of manuscripts)

I want to suggest that the Lama’s use of “love” and “compassion” are not found in Buddhism, but used in the Judeo-Christian sense (borrowed in other words) because Eastern metaphysics lack such thought. The Dalai Lama may do this out of ignorance of his own belief, or out of wanting to pull on Western heart strings of compassion (honed itself by the Judeo-Christian ethic), which is often followed by monetary support. Here is a discussion I had with a Buddhist apologist about such thinking, it is taken from my chapter, Reincarnation vs. Laws of Logic:


My initial engagement:

Does the idea of “violence” as a moral good or bad truly exist in the Buddhist mindset? What I mean is that according to a major school of Buddhism, isn’t there a denial that distinctions exist in reality… that separate “selves” is really a false perception? Language is considered something the Buddhist must get beyond because it serves as a tool that creates and makes these apparently illusory distinctions more grounded, or rooted in “our” psyche. For instance, the statement that “all statements are empty of meaning,” would almost be self refuting, because, that statement — then — would be meaningless. So how can one go from that teaching inherent to Buddhistic thought and say that self-defense (and using WWII as an example) is really meaningful. Isn’t the [Dalai] Lama drawing distinction by assuming the reality of Aristotelian logic in his responses to questions? (He used at least three Laws of Logic [thus, drawing distinctions using Western principles]: The Law of Contradiction; the Law of Excluded Middle; and the Law of Identity.)  Curious.

They Call Him James Ure, responds:

You’re right that language is just a tool and in the end a useless one at that but It’s important to be able run a blog. That or teach people the particulars of the religion. It’s like a lamp needed to make your way through the dark until you reach the lighthouse (Enlightenment, Nirvana, etc.) Then of course the lamp is no longer useful unless you have taken the vow to teach others.  Which in my analogy is returning into the dark to bring your brothers and sisters along (via the lamp-i.e. language) to the lighthouse (enlightenment, Nirvana, etc.)

I respond:

Then… if reality is ultimately characterless and distinctionless, then the distinction between being enlightened and unenlightened is ultimately an illusion and reality is ultimately unreal. Whom is doing the leading? Leading to what? These still are distinctions being made, that is: “between knowing you are enlightened and not knowing you are enlightened.” In the Diamond Sutra, ultimately, the Bodhisattva loves no one, since no one exists and the Bodhisattva knows this:

 “All beings must I lead to Nirvana, into the Realm of Nirvana which leaves nothing behind; and yet, after beings have been led to Nirvana, no being at all has been led to Nirvana. And why? If in a Bodhisattva the notion of a “being” should take place, he could not be called a “Bodhi-being.” And likewise if the notion of a soul, or a person should take place in him. (Diamond Sutra, Sura 14)

So even the act of loving others, therefore, is inconsistent with what is taught in the Buddhistic worldview, because there is “no one to love.” This is shown quite well (this self-refuting aspect of Buddhism) in the book, The Lotus and the Cross: Jesus Talks with Buddha. A book I recommend with love, from a worldview that can use the word love well.  One writer puts it thusly: “When human existence is blown out, nothing real disappears because life itself is an illusion. Nirvana is neither a re-absorption into an eternal Ultimate Reality, nor the annihilation of a self, because there is no self to annihilate. It is rather an annihilation of the illusion of an existing self. Nirvana is a state of supreme bliss and freedom without any subject left to experience it.”

My Final Response:

I haven’t seen a response yet. Which is fitting… because whom would be responding to whom? Put another way, would there be one mind trying to actively convince the other mind that no minds exist at all?

Here’s another way to see the same thing, Dan Story weighs in again:

 Here’s another way to see the same thing. It may be possible that nothing exists. However, it is impossible to demonstrate that nothing exists because to do so would be to deny our own existence. We must exist in order to affirm that reality doesn’t exist. To claim that reality is an illusion is logically impossible because it also requires claiming that the claim itself is unreal—a self-defeating statement. If reality is an illusion, how do we know that pantheism isn’t an illusion too?[1]

Another author put it thusly, “if pantheism is true (and my individuality an illusion), it is false, since there is no basis by which to explain the illusion.”[2]  The challenge then becomes this: “if reality is an illusion, how do we know then that pantheism isn’t an illusion as well?”[3]


[1] Dan Story, Christianity on the Offense, 112-113.

[2] Francis J. Beckwith and Stephen E. Parrish, See the Gods Fall: Four Rivals to Christianity (Joplin, MO: College Press, 1997), 210.

[3] Dan Story, Christianity on the Offense, 112-113.


“One who has taken a vow to become a Buddha.” David Burnett, The Spirit of Buddhism: A Christian Perspective on Buddhist Thought (Grand Rapids, MI: Monarch Books, 2003), 329.  “Celestial” Buddha’s and bodhisattvas are said to be able to assist in guiding believers towards salvation as supernatural beings.  These bodhisattvas vary in their rolls and offices as the many gods of Hinduism, from which Buddhism comes.  See: Michael D. Coogan, Eastern Religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Toaism, Confucianism, Shinto (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2005), 133-139.

One of my very favorite quotes deals with the founders of the great religions and the consistency found in these founders:

The nine founders among the eleven living religions in the world had characters which attracted many devoted followers during their own lifetime, and still larger numbers during the centuries of subsequent history. They were humble in certain respects, yet they were also confident of a great religious mission. Two of the nine, Mahavira and Buddha, were men so strongminded and self-reliant that, according to the records, they displayed no need of any divine help, though they both taught the inexorable cosmic law of Karma. They are not reported as having possessed any consciousness of a supreme personal deity. Yet they have been strangely deified by their followers. Indeed, they themselves have been worshiped, even with multitudinous idols. All of the nine founders of religion, with the exception of Jesus Christ, are reported in their respective sacred scriptures as having passed through a preliminary period of uncertainty, or of searching for religious light. Confucius, late in life, confessed his own sense of shortcomings and his desire for further improvement in knowledge and character. All the founders of the non-Christian religions evinced inconsistencies in their personal character; some of them altered their practical policies under change of circumstances. Jesus Christ alone is reported as having had a consistent God-consciousness, a consistent character himself, and a consistent program for his religion. The most remarkable and valuable aspect of the personality of Jesus Christ is the comprehensiveness and universal availability of his character, as well as its own loftiness, consistency, and sinlessness.

Robert Hume, The World’s Living Religions (New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1959), 285-286.

An example of a self-refuting/incoherent worldview that deals a bit with Eastern philosophy/religion comes from A Handbook for Christian Philosophy, by L. Russ Bush. After giving a basic definition of what a worldview is,[1] Dr. Bush goes on to explain how differing worldviews can interpret reality and then he applies some first principles to the matter:

…most people assume that something exists. There may be someone, perhaps, who believes that nothing exists, but who would that person be? How could he or she make such an affirmation? Sometimes in studying the history of philosophy, one may come to the conclusion that some of the viewpoints expressed actually lead to that conclusion, but no one ever consciously tries to defend the position that nothing exists. It would be a useless endeavor since there would be no one to convince. Even more significantly, it would be impossible to defend that position since, if it were true, there would be no one to make the defense. So to defend the position that nothing exists seems immediately to be absurd and self-contradictory.[2]


[1] “A worldview is that basic set of assumptions that gives meaning to one’s thoughts. A worldview is the set of assumptions that someone has about the way things are, about what things are, about why things are.” L. Russ Bush, A Handbook for Christian Philosophy (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1991), 70.

[2] Ibid.

I will say here that Buddhism and Christianity agree that the proper relation in a marriage situation is a male and female. But many “Western “adherants” to Buddhism do not know what they are saying when statements are made about Buddhism being “such-and-such.” Two short videos are perfect for setting up an excerpt from my book:

So here is a portion of my chapter dealing with Eastern Thought:

Pantheism

Now that we have defined what the Law of Noncontradiction is, lets apply it to some basic Eastern thinking.  All Hindus, Buddhists, New Agers (etc), are pantheists.  The term Pantheist “designates one who holds both that everything there is constitutes a unity and that this unity is divine.”  Most pantheists (Hindus, Buddhists, New Agers, etc.) would hold that physical reality, and all the evils it produces, is merely an illusion.  This holds true for the personality of man as well.  This distinction explains why, in both Hinduism and Buddhism, the personality is seen as an “enemy” and is finally destroyed by absorption into Brahmin or Nirvana. Not only is the material creation absorbed, but human existence are either an illusion, as in Hinduism (maya), or so empty and impermanent, as in Buddhism (sunyata), that they are ultimately meaningless.

But is an impersonal “immortality” truly meaningful when it extinguishes our personal existence forever? Is it even desirable? As Sri Lanken Ajith Fernando, who has spoken to hundreds of Buddhists and Hindus, illustrates:

“When I asked a girl who converted from Buddhism to Christianity through our ministry what attracted her to Christianity, the first thing she told [me] was, ‘I did not want Nirvana.’ The prospect of having all her desires snuffed out after a long and dreary climb [toward ‘liberation’] was not attractive to her.”

In the end, man himself is a hindrance to spiritual enlightenment and must be “destroyed” to find so called “liberation.” As Dr. Frits Staal comments in an article entitled, “Indian Concepts of the Body,” “Whatever the alleged differences between Hindu and Buddhist doctrines, one conclusion follows from the preceding analysis. No features of the individual[‘s] personality survive death in either state”

With the above in mind, take note of a major problem that faces the pantheist visa viz, “that there is no reality except the all-encompassing ‘God’.”  Using the Law of Noncontradiction we can see that this is a nonsensical statement that is logically self-refuting.  If everything is illusion, then those making that statement are themselves illusions.  There’s a real problem here.  As Norman Geisler pointed out, “One must exist in order to affirm that he does not exist.”  When we claim that there is no reality except the all-encompassing God, we are proving just the opposite.  The fact that we exist to make the claim demonstrates that there is a reality distinct from God, which makes this key doctrine of pantheism a self-defeating proposition.  It is an untruth – by definition.

Reincarnation

Another belief that is accepted by all Eastern philosophies as well as the New Age movement is that of reincarnation.  I will explain the concept with some examples, after I define the term.  Reincarnation is a “belief in the successive rebirth of souls into new bodies, as the soul progresses toward perfection.”

Some examples of this “karmic law” are warranted: first, lets assume I beat and abused my wife horribly, treated her like the dirt on my shoes, I would be storing up some pretty bad karma.  When I come around for my next human life, after, of course, traveling through the insect, and animal lives, I would come back as the woman being beat.  This is karma’s answer to evil, which is really no answer at all.  In fact, it perpetuates evil.  How so?  It necessitates a beatee,” which mandates a “beater.”  Karma, then, creates a never-ending circle of violence, or, “evil.”  In addition it states (emphatically I might add) that we choose our current destiny (or events) in this life due to past life experiences and choices.  This is why the holy men in Buddhist and Hindu nations generally walk right by the maimed, injured, starving, and uneducated, and do not care for them.  This next true story drives this point home.

Ron Carlson, while speaking in Thailand, was invited to visit some refugee camps along the Cambodian border.  Over 300,000 refugees were caught in a no-man’s-land along the border.  This resulted from the Cambodian massacre under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in the mid-70’s (which is known as the “killing fields”) and then subsequently by the invasion of the Vietnamese at the end of the 70’s.  One of the most fascinating things about these refugee camps was the realization of who was caring for the refugees.  Here, in this Buddhist country of Thailand, with Buddhist refugees coming from Cambodia and Laos, there were no Buddhists taking care of their like-minded brothers.  There were also no Atheists, Hindus, or Muslims taking care of those people.  The only people there, taking care of these 300,000[+] people, were Christians from Christian mission organizations and Christian relief organizations.  One of the men Ron was with had lived in Thailand for over twenty-years and was heading up a major portion of the relief effort for one of these organizations. Ron asked him: “Why, in a Buddhist country, with Buddhist refugees, are there no Buddhists here taking care of their Buddhist brothers?” Ron will never forget his answer:

“Ron, have you ever seen what Buddhism does to a nation or a people? Buddha taught that each man is an island unto himself. Buddha said, ‘if someone is suffering, that is his karma.’ You are not to interfere with another person’s karma because he is purging himself through suffering and reincarnation! Buddha said, ‘You are to be an island unto yourself.’” –  “Ron, the only people that have a reason to be here today taking care of these 300,000 refugees are Christians. It is only Christianity that people have a basis for human value that people are important enough to educate and to care for.  For Christians, these people are of ultimate value, created in the image of God, so valuable that Jesus Christ died for each and every one of them.  You find that value in no other religion, in no other philosophy, but in Jesus Christ.”

Do you get it now?  It takes a “Mother Teresa” with a Christian worldview to go into these embattled countries and bathe, feed, educate, care for these people – who otherwise are ignored due to harmful religious beliefs of the East.

Another example is a graphic one, but it drives the point home.  While at home on my day off, my work calls me in due to an emergency.  I cannot find a sitter for my youngest son, so I call a family member, say, uncle Steve.  While I am at work, uncle Steve rapes and sodomizes my son.  Should I call the authorities??  If I am a believer in reincarnation, then I must realize that this “evil” is an illusion, number one, and number two, this “evil” was brought on my son most likely because of something my son did in a previous incarnation.  Something my son did in a previous lifetime demands that this happened to him in this lifetime.  (Or something I did, or my wife did, whomever.)  Only recently have some Indian people rejected reincarnation and started to kill the massive infestation of disease-ridden rodents that inhabit India’s cities.  These rodents carry and transmit many diseases as well as destroying and infecting large portions of food that could have made it to the starving population.  Most, however, continue to nurture or ignore these disease-carrying animals in the belief that they are a soul stuck in the cosmic wheel.  This is just one example of a horrible religious practice that is part of the many destructive practices that are hurting precious people.  The caste system mentioned before is another that promotes and encourages racism, malnourishment, lack of education, and death….

(…all material referenced in my chapter…)

So to say the Dalia Lama or the Buddha are “Christ like” is to wholly misunderstand the chasm of differences in the two completely different leaders of these religions… and their logical conclusions. Also worth noting is that the date between writings, and so the possibility of corruption of the text is vastly different between the two faiths. For instance, the Buddha is said to have dies around (using the earliest date) 400 B.C.. The earliest portion of a Buddhist writing is dated at about 179 A.D. So let us compare this:

...Compare/Contrast

Buddhist Text Compared Final

References for the above dating of the Buddhist fragments: 

  • Richard Salomon, Ancient Buddhist Scrolls from Gandhara: The British Library Kharosthi Fragments (PDF summation, book);
  • Ingo Strauch, The Bajaur collection: A new collection of Kharoṣṭhīmanuscripts:  A preliminary catalogue and survey (PDF).

Diamond Sutra Compared to Book of John

The most complete copy that dates early is the Gospel of John (Bodmer Papyrus II – 150-200 A.D.). That is 127 years after Christ, for the Gospel of John. The earliest fragment is dated to 120 A.D. And Clement of Rome quoted from it about 95 A.D., and Polycarp quoted from it around 110 A.D. [+]. So we KNOW John is older.

The oldest full book key to Buddhist thought is the Diamond Sutra, dated at about 868AD. That is 1,268-to-1,468 years after Buddha’s death. We KNOW the Diamond Sutra is older… but the fragments and quotes of the Gospel of John match up well with earliest text. The earlier quotes of the Diamond Sutra and it’s fragments show drastic change.

Another example. The earliest copy of Isaiah the church had was dated to about 900AD. They found a copy of Isaiah dated to 1,200 years earlier. Because of how the Jewish scribes copied text… there were only a few letters in the entirety of the text that were different. Most were in a word known to be “light” No meaning or concept was changed in those letters being different. (Sources: here, here, and here.)

The change in meaning in the Diamond Sutra from earlier Buddhist teaching as well as fragments is great:

Since at least the fifth century, generations of Buddhists have memorized and chanted the Diamond Sutra, a short Mahayana Buddhist scripture. The work, which offers meditations on illusion and perception, was originally written in Sanskrit and first translated into Chinese in 402 A.D. Despite the text’s longevity, Stanford religious studies professor Paul Harrison’s latest research suggests that previous translations may have incorrectly interpreted certain words in a way that affects the entire meaning of the text.

For the last seven years Prof. Harrison has been working on re-editing and re-translating the Diamond Sutra. Though he is a professor of religious studies his translation work falls squarely in the field of philology. Harrison is often surrounded by a large semicircle of previous translations and dictionaries that he consults as he combs through the sutra one word at a time.

The Diamond Sutra is one of the most historically important texts in the Buddhist faith, in part because a copy of it is the oldest surviving dated printed book in the world (868 A.D.). Also known by its Sanskrit title Vajracchedika, the Diamond Sutra posits that something is what it is only because of what it is not. The text challenges the common belief that inside each and every one of us is an immovable core, or soul—in favor of a more fluid and relational view of existence. Negative, or seemingly paradoxical statements by the Buddha abound in the text, such as “The very Perfection of Insight which the Buddha has preached is itself perfection-less.”

Professor Harrison elaborated, “I think the Diamond Sutra is undermining our perception that there are essential properties in the objects of our experience….

(Sources: here and here)

I write about the early attestation to the New Testament in the first 16-pages of my chapter on Gnosticism and Feminism. But I reworked Kenneth Boa’s graphic on comparing dating of ancient texts with some updated information not only cataloged via the aforementioned chapter from my book, but also from here, and the books:

  • Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books/Academic, 1999);
  • Carsten Peter Theide and Matthew d’Ancona, The Jesus Papyrus: The Most Sensational Evidence on the Origins of the Gospels Since the Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (New York, NY: Galilee DoubleDay, 1996).

(I edited the last column under “Date Written” and “Time Span”)

manuscript comparison AGAIN 700

Below is some of the evidence for the early dating of the New Testament.

More on this from Dr. Geisler:

...Earliest Attested Fragments

[DSS stands for Dead Sea Scrolls]

….Light on the New Testament. Some DSS frag­ments have been identified as the earliest known pieces of the New Testament. Further, the mes­sianic expectations reveal that the New Testa­ment view of a personal messiah-God who would rise from the dead is in line with first-century Jewish thought.Geisler 188 CHART

The New Testament fragments? Jose *O’Callahan, a Spanish Jesuit paleographer, made headlines around the world in 1972 when he announced that he had translated a piece of the Gospel of Mark on a DSS fragment. This was the earliest known piece of Mark. Fragments from cave 7 had previously been dated between 50 B.C. and A.D. 50 and listed under “not identified” and clas­sified as “Biblical Texts.” O’Callahan eventually identified nine fragments. The center column in the following chart uses the numbering system established for manuscripts. For example, “7Q5” means fragment 5 from Qumran cave 7.

[RPT’s Note: 7Q5 matches up well with Mark 6:52-53 ~ see below, sources for graphic: here, here, as well as this chapter and the aforementioned books.]

Both friend and critic acknowledged from the beginning that, if valid, O’Callahan’s conclusions would revolutionize current New Testament the­ories. The New York Times reported: “If Father O’Callahan’s theory is accepted, it would prove that at least one of the gospels—that of St. Mark—was written only a few years after the death of Jesus.” United Press International (UPI) noted that his conclusions meant that “the peo­ple closest to the events—Jesus’ original followers—found Mark’s report accurate and trustwor­thy, not myth but true history” (ibid., 137). Time magazine quoted one scholar who claimed that, if correct, “they can make a bonfire of 70 tons of indigestible German scholarship” (Estrada, 136).

7Q5 Dead Sea Scroll FinalOf course, O’Callahan’s critics object to his identification and have tried to find other possi­bilities. The fragmentary nature of the ms. makes it difficult to be dogmatic about identifi­cations. Nonetheless, O’Callahan offers a plausi­ble, albeit revolutionary, possibility. If the iden­tification of even one of these fragments as New Testament is valid, then the implications for Christian apologetics are enormous. It would be shown that the Gospel of Mark was written within the life time of the apostles and contem­poraries of the events.

A date before A.D. 50 leaves no time for mythological embellishment of the records. They would have to be accepted as historical. It would also show Mark to be one of the earlier Gospels. Fur­ther, since these manuscripts are not originals but copies, it would reveal that the New Testa­ment was “published”—copied and disseminated—during the life time of the writers. It would also reveal the existence of the New Testa­ment canon during this early period, with pieces representing every major section of the New Tes­tament: Gospels, Acts, and both Pauline and Gen­eral Epistles.

The fragment of 2 Peter would argue for the authenticity of this often disputed epistle. The absence of fragments of John’s writings might in­dicate that they were written later (A.D. 80-90) in accordance with the traditional dates. With all these revolutionary conclusions it is little wonder that their authenticity is being challenged.

First-Century Jewish Messianic Expectations. The DSS have also yielded text that, while not re­ferring to the Christ of the New Testament, have some interesting parallels, as well as some signif­icant differences. The similarities that confirm the New Testament picture accurately describes Jew­ish expectation of a personal, individual Messiah who would die and rise from the dead. A frag­ment called “A Genesis Florilegorium” (4Q252) re­flects belief in an individual Messiah who would be a descendant of David. “Column 5 (1) (the) Government shall not pass from the tribe of Judah. During Israel’s dominion, (2) a Davidic descendant on the throne shall [not cease . . until the Messiah of Righteousness, the Branch of (4) David comes” (see Eisenman, 89).

Even the deity of the Messiah is affirmed in the fragment known as “The Son of God” (4Q246), Plate 4, columns one and two: “Oppression will be upon the earth . . . [until] the King of the people of God arises, . . . and he shall become [gre]at upon the earth. [ . . . All w]ill make [peace,] and all will serve [him.] He will be called [son of the Gr]eat [God;] by His name he shall be desig­nated. . . . He will be called the son of God; they will call him son of the Most High” (ibid., 70).Geisler 189

“The Messiah of Heaven and Earth” fragment (4Q521) even speaks of the Messiah raising the dead: “(12) then He will heal the sick, resurrect :he dead, and to the Meek announce glad tidings” (ibid., 23; cf. 63, 95).

The Dead Sea Scrolls also confirm that Qum­ran was not the source of early Christianity. There are significant differences between their concept of the “Teacher of Righteousness,” ap­parently an Essene messianic hope, and the Jesus revealed in Scripture and early Christianity. The differences are enough to show that early Chris­tianity was not just an offshoot of the Essenes, as has been theorized (see Billington, 8-10). The Essenes emphasized hating one’s enemies; Jesus stressed love. The Essenes were exclusivistic re­garding women, sinners, and outsiders; Jesus was inclusive. The Essenes were legalistic sabbatarians; Jesus was not. The Essenes stressed Jewish purification laws; Jesus attacked them. The Essenes believed two messiahs would come; Christians held that Jesus was the only one (see Charlesworth).

Conclusion. The DSS provide an important apologetic contribution toward establishing the general reliability of the Old Testament Hebrew text, as well as the earliest copies of parts of Old Testament books and even whole books. This is important in showing that the predictive prophe­cies of the Old Testament were indeed made cen­turies before they were literally fulfilled. Further­more, the DSS provide possible support for the New Testament. They may contain the earliest known fragments of the New Testament, and they definitely contain references to messianic beliefs similar to those taught in the New Testament.

Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books/Academic, 1999), 188-189.

Take note as well that the earliest Church Fathers quoted Scripture… which would need to be completed and widely used by then:

  • You write “All four gospels are quoted in patristic writings (a technical term which means writings by the early church “fathers.”) before AD 100 in books such as the Epistle of Barnabus, the book of Clement of Rome and the Didache.” There is nothing said about the four Gospels in the “Clement of Rome”. It is really pathetic that you must base supernatural ideas on false evidence and then you show this false evidence to the masses. I’d really like to get a response as to where I can find the gospels mention in the “Clement of Rome”. I’m curious to know what words you rummaged through to come up with this ridiculous accusation.

Answer:

I sense a lot of anger here. The use of words like “pathetic” and “ridiculous” are really not helpful if you want to engage in honest conversations. I want to encourage you to use a more respectful tone, even with those with whom you do not agree. In any case, I just gave a very quick little read of the Letter of Clement to Rome. I found a few quotations from the gospels as well as ones from the letters. Below is a sampling. Besides these, I found a number of allusions to the gospels and other New Testament Books. After each quote, I will have a very short comment.

1Clem 13:1 Let us therefore be lowly minded, brethren, laying aside all arrogance and conceit and folly and anger, and let us do that which is written. For the Holy Ghost saith, Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, nor the strong in his strength, neither the rich in his riches; but he that boasteth let him boast in the Lord, that he may seek Him out, and do judgment and righteousness most of all remembering the words of the Lord Jesus which He spake, teaching forbearance and long-suffering.

This is a quote from 1 Corinthians 1:31

1Clem 13:2 for thus He spake Have mercy, that ye may receive mercy: forgive, that it may be forgiven to you. As ye do, so shall it be done to you. As ye give, so shall it be given unto you. As ye judge, so shall ye be judged. As ye show kindness, so shall kindness be showed unto you. With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured withal to you.

This is a quote from Matthew 7:2

1Clem 15:2 For He saith in a certain place This people honoreth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.

This is quoting from either Matthew 15:8 or Mark 7:6

1Clem 16:1 For Christ is with them that are lowly of mind, not with them that exalt themselves over the flock.

This is an allusion to Luke 22:26 or Matthew 23:11

1Clem 34:8 For He saith, Eye hath not seen and ear hath not heard, and it hath not entered into the heart of man what great things He hath prepared for them that patiently await Him.

This is a quote from 1 Cor 2:9

1Clem 36:2 Through Him let us look steadfastly unto the heights of the heavens; through Him we behold as in a mirror His faultless and most excellent visage; through Him the eyes of our hearts were opened; through Him our foolish and darkened mind springeth up unto the light; through Him the Master willed that we should taste of the immortal knowledge Who being the brightness of His majesty is so much greater than angels, as He hath inherited a more excellent name. 1Clem 36:3 For so it is written Who maketh His angels spirits and His ministers aflame of fire 1Clem 36:4 but of His Son the Master said thus, Thou art My Son, I this day have begotten thee. Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the Gentiles for Thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Thy possession. 1Clem 36:5 And again He saith unto Him Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet.

These are quoting from Hebrews Chapter one….

(EVIDENCE FOR CHRISTIANITY)

Ignatius of Antioch would be another prime example.

Effectively the above information updates this older Josh McDowell graph here. In other words, we know the early history of Christianity because of the wealth of evidence behind certain events. For instance:

“Pharisaic Judaizers come down to Antioch (Acts 15:1, 5) in the late summer of 49 A.D. and teach that circumcision is necessary before a person can be saved. Paul, Barnabas, Titus and certain others (Galatians 2:1-2) are sent to Jerusalem to confer with other apostles, elders and brethren concerning the relationship between circumcision and salvation. This gathering is commonly referred to as the Jerusalem Conference. This conference occurs in the Fall of 49 A.D. around the time of the Feast of Tabernacles (Acts 15:2).”

We know this because of the evidence… the same evidence to say that two letters describing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius are considered history.

SCRIPTURE NEGATIVE

Buddhism lacks this historical attestation and predictive power that the New Testament has in that the original texts are much closer to the events that happened. In fact, the New Testament is superior to ALL ancient documents in this respect.


“…but test all things. Hold on to what is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21);
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1);
“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless you fail the test[a]” (2 Corinthians 13:5 — [a] “unless you are disqualified” or “you are counterfeit”).

`To Judge, Or Not To Judge` ~ Weiner Opts for the Later

Pragerism

“Most of the problems with our culture can be summed up in one phrase: ‘Who are you to say?’” ~ Dennis Prager.

(This comes via a h/t to Libertarian Republican) I thought this exchange between Weiner and a fellow Jew (who was very wise in his summation), but Wiener’s relativism comes screaming through. Let’s deal with this self-refuting statement first, and then let CARM jump in on the ethics wagon. The question becomes, if looking at Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s famous maxim, “If there is no God, all things are permissible,”

“If there IS a God, are all things still permissible?”

Even the right to walk the streets without consequences for one’s actions? This aside, let us unpack a bit the challenge with three mock conversations from, Relativism: Feet Planted Firmly in Mid-Air, and is taken from a larger paper incorporating a wide variety of sources on this:

First Person: “You shouldn’t force your morality on me.”

Second Person: “Why not?”

First Person: “Because I don’t believe in forcing morality.”

Second Person: “If you don’t believe in it, then by all means, don’t do it. Especially don’t force that moral view of yours on me.”


First Person: “You shouldn’t push your morality on me.”

Second Person: “I’m not entirely sure what you mean by that statement. Do you mean I have no right to an opinion?”

First Person: “You have a right to you’re opinion, but you have no right to force it on anyone.”

Second Person: “Is that your opinion?”

First Person: “Yes.”

Second Person: “Then why are you forcing it on me?”

First Person: “But your saying your view is right.”

Second Person: “Am I wrong?”

First Person: “Yes.”

Second Person: “Then your saying only your view is right, which is the very thing you objected to me saying.”


First Person:You shouldn’t push your morality on me.”

Second Person: “Correct me if I’m misunderstanding you here, but it sounds to me like your telling me I’m wrong.”

First Person: “You are.”

Second Person: “Well, you seem to be saying my personal moral view shouldn’t apply to other people, but that sounds suspiciously like you are applying your moral view to me.  Why are you forcing your morality on me?”

Self-Defeating

  • “Most of the problems with our culture can be summed up in one phrase: ‘Who are you to say?’” ~ Dennis Prager.  So lets unpack this phrase and see how it is self-refuting, or as Tom Morris[1] put it, self-deleting. When someone says, “Who are you to say?” answer with, “Who are you to say ‘Who are you to say’?” [2]

This person is challenging your right to correct another, yet she is correcting you.  Your response to her amounts to “Who are you to correct my correction, if correcting in itself is wrong?” or “If I don’t have the right to challenge your view, then why do you have the right to challenge mine?”  Her objection is self-refuting; you’re just pointing it out.

The “Who are you to say?” challenge fails on another account.  Taken at face value, the question challenges one’s authority to judge another’s conduct.  It says, in effect, “What authorizes you to make a rule for others?  Are you in charge?”  This challenge miscasts my position.  I don’t expect others to obey me simply because I say so.  I’m appealing to reason, not asserting my authority.  It’s one thing to force beliefs; it’s quite another to state those beliefs and make an appeal for them.

The “Who are you to say?” complaint is a cheap shot.  At best it’s self-defeating.  It’s an attempt to challenge the legitimacy of your moral judgments, but the statement itself implies a moral judgment.  At worst, it legitimizes anarchy.[3]


[1] Tom Morris, Philosophy for Dummies (IDG Books; 1999), p. 46
[2] Francis Beckwith & Gregory Koukl, Relativism: Feet Planted in Mid-Air (Baker Books; 1998), p. 144-146.
[3] Via SCRIBD

Defining Relativism ~ Dr. Beckwith

Dennis Prager, quite a few years ago, points out quite well that what the Left wants is NOT to be judged, in contradistinction to a ethical norm in human behavior:

  • Personal responsibility means you could be judged guilty.

  • We never want to be judged guilty.
  • So we must stop people who make such judgments.
  • We stop them by calling them judgmental.

He continues

We have substituted normal and sick for good and evil, and that, again, means no personal responsibility. How can you be held responsible if you did what you did because you are sick?…. There is no one standard to which all people are accountable any more. And that’s what Race-Gender-Class does. It subverts responsibility.

CARM rightly makes the point that — especially those who believe in the Bible (as Wiener seemingly professes in the above video)

…Without a standard of morality, there is no way to judge what is good or bad. Atheists, for example, might decry what is the behavior of God in the Old Testament when he orders the destruction of people groups. But, by what standard does any atheist have to judge what is morally correct? At best, an atheist would only have the ability to express an opinion since he cannot offer any objective standard of morality.

Religious people can appeal to a higher power from which they can ascertain what is good and bad…. God does and he has communicated his standard of righteousness. This communication is found in the Bible. Take the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20. We see a codification of moral standards. We are told not to lie, not to commit adultery, not to covet, etc.  These are standards given to us by God and though there are other cultures that don’t believe in the biblical God, they might have similar moral codes.  But, for the Christian the Bible is the supreme authority that judges what is moral.

We can only judge what is moral if we have a standard given to us by God, not some standard that is based on emotion, opinion, or the changing morals of society.  Even though atheists, agnostics, Muslims, and non-Christians might not approve of standards found in the Scriptures, we Christians believe that the Bible is the revealed and inspired Word of God and that within its pages are the moral standards by which we are to model our behavior. Therefore, the right to we have to judge what is moral comes from God as is revealed in his Word….

So Wiener’s summation in this back-and-forth show most of all his lack of deep thought on the important issue of public morality… and the consequences of violating it. Becoming a laughing stock!

Even Gay Patriot couldn’t pass this example of narcissism up!

It shows one of life’s classic moral confrontations.

  • The normal person (“normal” just meaning, “takes for granted that there are norms of personal behavior”) expresses a viewpoint like: There are norms; you are aware that you violated them when you repeatedly betrayed and humiliated your wife with your deviance, right? I’m not judging you, you can go home and have a good life, but you really don’t belong in the public eye. Have a nice life, but please stop bothering us here in the public square.
  • While the malignant narcissist expresses a viewpoint like: How DARE you tell me that I don’t belong in the public eye, being adored (e.g., voted for – and given power)?! You small person, you coward, you ignoramus, you self-appointed judge, you [insert names of choice]!

Hat tip, Michelle Malkin.

And Moonbat makes the point that some are attacking Obama’s positions just like they did Bush’s, but the difference this time is the media is ignoring it. Hmmmm… “naw, this isn’t more proof of a media bias” — says lemming:

The Incoherence of the Cultural Relativist Making Moral Pronouncements ~ Conversation Series

Here is a great conversation that stemmed from another story — as debated on FaceBook. I commented on a story someone posted on their FaceBook about an Iraqi woman who was killed in her home, and whoever murdered her left a note calling her a terrorist and they (the family) should go back to the Middle-East. (THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED!) The person posting the story did so to try and show that there is a bias against Muslims. I often wondered why the liberal does this, that is, find stories to showboat as against the status-quo showing America or our culture as racist by finding rare stories of victims to make some point of racism, sexism, homophobia, islamophobia, imperialism, bigotry, or intolerance. David Mamet answered this for me. After he laid the premise of the protagonist in a play who is typically afflicted by a condition not of their making, thus, drawing a similarity to the political realm of someone “afflicted” with homosexuality, illness, being a woman, etc, saying they had merely acted and thusly could not have sinned, he furthers his point by saying:

These plays were an (unfortunate) by-product of the contemporary love-of-the-victim. For a victim, as above, is pure, and cannot have sinned; and one, by endorsing him, may perhaps gain, by magic, part of his incontrovertible status.

So the liberal, by emphasizing these “victim-hood” stories, absorbs to their psyche innocence, proving that they are peaceful, fair, tolerant, stand for the poor, disenfranchised, and care about the environmentThus, better than those whom they just labeled. While many of these people will label religious folk as “holier than thou,” it is these priests of the victicrats [whether directed towards human plight or a perceived environment plight] that are replacing spirituality with “concern.” They are not just as religious, but are in fact fanatical in their positions.  (Larry Elder defines a “victicrat” as someone who “blames all ills, problems, concerns and unhappiness on others.”) At least the religious person is being honest and keeping the categories straight. But I digress.

I posted a quick response that this story is fresh and that it could be that this is a cover up for an honor killing, or the like.  This got things kicked off! As evidence that countered the story came out I would post it… (glass busted out, not in; that a dark skinned man was seen running from the house [by-the-way, this effectively stopped part of the conversation… why?… because how could one victim group/minority commit a hate crime against another? There has to be a racist white guy in the story to represent imperialistic, xenophobic, bigoted America. It just doesn’t compute!]). This led to another person, Michael H., jumping in the conversation, taking it another place entirely! Wee will pick it up from the point where he jumped in

Michael H.

Maybe someone killed her because she hates our freedoms. Its sad whatever the reason.

Pat O

No matter, if it was a relative, neighbor, enemy or stranger. It takes a lot of hate to kill someone like that.

Me

Crimes like this are typically familial. Not to mention that the Islamic influence debases women’s humanity and allows for men to “honor” kill them. Now, the question becomes why Nick would post this story and not ones found here? http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/honor_killings/

Now, mind you, I do not frequent Nick’s FB all that much (and in fact I just popped in to see if he uploaded a picture of him wearing a hoodie, or something), but I would guess that he posted the story because it was thought of first as a representation of intolerance towards Islam… showing America’s depravity in some way. Why do extreme liberal orgs support women rapists/killers? (http://youtu.be/IecSOR36CMA). There seems to be some inversion going on here… some moral equivalency, some lack of looking at history, objectively (how people from Saudi Arabia (the home of Wahhabism) treat women. The long list of honor killings. But I am sure a recalling of some Crusade or crime done in the name of Christianity from a 1,000 years ago will hold the faith of those who protect madness and debase Western culture and its influences.

Me

Michael H., maybe someone killed her because she started to fall in love with our freedoms, and her own possibility in those freedoms.

Michael H.

I was joking just so you know. Her family had been in the states for a long while, and her husband was a contractor for the US Army. So I think its unlikely that they were fundamentalists.

Nick N.

Lets go over the facts: She was a devout muslim and mother of 5 children. There was a note found near her body saying “go back to your country you terrorist.” She lives in a neighborhood where other muslims have reported “descriminatory hate incidents”. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that a hate crime is still on the table… If you’d rather deny that possibility be my guest.

But know that it’s not just the far left that are worried about incidents like these. Libertarian Anthony Gregory commented that “even though the Iraqi people did nothing against the United States, only to see their country destroyed, hundreds of thousands of their people slaughtered, millions displaced in two decades of murderous U.S. wars and sanctions, somehow these people are still seen as the dangerous ones. But of course, if it’s morally justifiable to treat people as subhuman by the millions—a principle necessarily implicit in the U.S. warfare state—what’s one more dead mother count?”

I understand you have a particular.. view… of muslims as dangerous or irrational people who would murder another for simply being happy or loving freedom, and i have to say this is worrysome to me….

Me

QUOTE:

If the “hate crime” narrative is going to work in describing the brutal beating of Shaima Alawadi, can it be maintained if a man with a dark skin color is a suspect? When was the last time you heard of a Hispanic or African-American attacking a Muslim in America? Could it be that this man was also from Iraq? From UT San Diego:

El Cajon police continue to stress that the possibility of a hate crime is only one avenue they are pursuing, and that they believe the attack to be an isolated incident.

A neighbor told police a dark-skinned man was seen running from the house, according to police records obtained by KFMB/Channel 8. Family members have said in media interviews that a similar note had been found weeks earlier posted on their front door, but they did not notify police.

If the death is determined to be a hate crime, it would be highly unusual.

Of the county’s 136 hate crimes reported in 2010, El Cajon police reported one, according to data gathered by the state Attorney General’s Office. None was reported in 2009, one in 2008 and one in 2007… (UT San Diego)

UNQUOTE

Maybe she wanted to not wear her Hijab anymore? … I like facts Nick N.

Michael H.

I would be extremely worried about us if I was not one of us, but I’m actually still extremely worried about us even though I am on of us. Right or wrong, most of the world has a million reasons to fear and despise the United States. If someone is not able to see that, then they are another reason as far as I’m concerned. I would love to turn all that around if we can. The first step to that is seeing all humans as being created equal and worthy of respect.

Me

All people created equal, but not all ideologies Michael. So an ideology can make good people bad, yeah? So starving 15-million people to death is actually seen as a good thing.

‎…. or having the older sons help the father kill his daughter who is becoming too “Western.”

‎…. or his wife?

Michael H.

Or half the fucking country who claim to be Christians advocating the murder of millions of people over and over again because they are fooled into thinking these said people are worth less than other people. Does “Hitler” ring a bell. We kill people for breaking rules all the time. Its called the death penalty. Whats your point?

Me

Please Michael, be calm, I know leftism is a bit emotional and you are proving my point, but lets work through this. Do you wish to talk about your figure of millions, or, your statement about Hitler {since it was not clear maybe you can correct me if I am wrong] being a Christian?

Also, are you morally equivocating the death penalty (which is typically applied with a jury of peers and many appeals to courts/upper courts) to the killing of a woman or girl for wanting to be free from a cultural mandate from 640 A.D.? Please, take your time and be clear… because if that is not what you said you should make sure we all understand it.

Michael H.

First off, I do not claim a leftist ideology. So sorry to not prove your point. My point is simple and clear. You actually proved it. You sound like you value the morality from your own institutions and culture as superior to others. What the hell is wrong with the ideology of a culture that has vastly more history and cultural significance than our own? To be clear I am not advocating honor killings or anything else for that matter. I am however wondering where the authority to claim that the morality and customs of another country are somehow inferior to our own comes from. I do think that other peoples customs need to respect ours if they are in this country and they need to follow our laws but we are certainly not superior to anyone else. It is clear you believe we are better or superior or more educated or civilized or what ever the fuck you want to call it. My point is, this has happened throughout history. This is the kind of thinking that gave power to Hitler and slavery and every war America engages in. Yes millions; in the last century. Millions of people have been killed in the wars we have fought. But its ok because they were communists, or uncivilized people or terrorists, or the axis of evil, or different and bad in some way. So to be perfectly clear, I do not support anyone that thinks they are superior to any other group of people. To do so shows ignorance and a contempt towards humanity. I was not implying Hitler was a Christian, there is an overwhelming support of wars against Islam by Christians though. This kind of thinking in my opinion shows a clear moral bankruptcy. So yes I am morally equivocating the death penalty and common law to other forms of law that have existed since the dawn of civilization. I appreciate ours much more and i am very happy I live here, but I certainly respect the traditions of those who came before us. All the evil horrible things that have happened throughout history were allowed to occur because people viewed their own cultures as superior to another. This kind of thinking needs to stop. The truth if you can handle it is that those dirty primitive cave people belong to some of the most culturally rich groups of people on earth who happened to invent modern agriculture, civilization, mathematics and Astronomy just to name a couple things. Sorry you did not have me all figured out thinking I was a liberal. I know that would have made it easy. Really I am just sick of war and I am sick of people thinking that we belong to some righteous culture, because we don’t. But we could if we stopped acting like fools. That’s all I got to say. See ya later.

Me

QUOTE YOU

“To be clear I am not advocating honor killings or anything else for that matter. I am however wondering where the authority to claim that the morality and customs of another country are somehow inferior to our own comes from.”

UNQUOTE

There is a self-contradiction going on here, between the two sentences/ideas. I wish to offer a single book for those interested in taking the understanding of “cultural relativism” to task, just one book to counter the many hours in classes and hearsay thinking. It is entitled RELATIVISM: FEET PLANTED FIRMLY IN MID-AIR (you may have to order a used copy… cheaper that way). Its under 200 pages long, and explains well the idea that one cannot speak against a meta-narrative without replacing it with another:

Here is how I deal with it in my opening chapter to me book:

Anthropologist William Sumner argues against the logical position when he says that “every attempt to win an outside standpoint from which to reduce the whole to an absolute philosophy of truth and right, based on an unalterable principle, is delusion.” [81] Authors Francis Beckwith and Gregory Koukl respond to this self-defeating claim by showing that Sumner is making a strong claim here about knowledge:

He says that all claims to know objective moral truth are false because we are all imprisoned in our own cultural and are incapable of seeing beyond the limits of our own biases. He concludes, therefore, that moral truth is relative to culture and that no objective standard exists. Sumner’s analysis falls victim to the same error committed by religious pluralists who see all religions as equally valid.[82]

The authors continue: Sumner’s view, however, is self-refuting. In order for him to conclude that all moral claims are an illusion, he must first escape the illusion himself. He must have a full and accurate view of the entire picture…. Such a privileged view is precisely what Sumner denies. Objective assessments are illusions, he claims, but then he offers his own“objective” assessment. It is as if he were saying, “We’re all blind,” and then adds, “but I’ll tell you what the world really looks like.” This is clearly contradictory.[83]

Philosopher Roger Scruton drives this point home when he says, “A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ‘merely negative,’ is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.” [84]

For references: http://www.scribd.com/doc/34407776/Introduction-Technology-Junkies?in_collection=2649254

May I also mention, again, that I am still offering Michael to support a single claim out of the many he presents in “shotgun form” (what some people refer to as the “Gish Gallop” ~ http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Gish+Gallop) to try and make a point seem valid by offering a string of bumper sticker platitudes connected together. For instance, just saying “Hitler did ‘A'” does not connect his refutation of the main subject. Do you wish to, Michael, camp on this single topic out of the many (now more points you have entered into the conversation) and do the hard work of dissecting your perception of history, culture, and religion, and discuss (dialogue) these great ideas or do you simply wish to monologue them by endless streams of quips and bad thinking? (I refer to “bad thinking in the self-contradictory aspect of his two sentences together).

For instance, lets go to the sources themselves and see who is closer to the point Michael is making:

“I freed Germany from the stupid and degrading fallacies of conscience and morality…. We will train young people before whom the world will tremble. I want young people capable of violence — imperious, relentless and cruel.” Adolf Hitler, A sign of his quote hangs on the wall at Auschwitz; Ravi Zacharias, Can Man Live Without God, p. 23. (from: http://religiopoliticaltalk.com/a-starbucks-encounter-michael-berryman/)

“Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism by intuition…. If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and men who claim to be bearers of an objective, immortal truth… then there is nothing more relativistic than fascistic attitudes and activity…. From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy of which he is capable.” Mussolini, Diuturna pp. 374-77, quoted in A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist (Ignatius Press; 1999), by Peter Kreeft, p. 18. (From: http://religiopoliticaltalk.com/what-is-fascism-two-posts-combined-imported-from-old-blog/)

So as simple as you try and make it sound Michael, you have an opportunity to lay aside your “machismo” and either continue the conversation here, focusing like a laser beam on one of your statements to see if they pan out to reality, or, continue it with me privately. Both ways are getting out of your sound-room/group of like thinking persons you (we all do this) surround yourself with. My email is: rpt@r-pt.net

I will post a videos and an audio of some of the thinking found in that recommended book below.

Michael H.

I do not posses a sound group of like thinking persons. If you find one be sure to let me know. I appreciate the reading material, but I do not need justification for my ideals or yours, I prefer to keep myself free from dogmas and proclaimed ideologies. My opinion is my own and I do not feel the need to defend it or prove it correct by quoting text from another persons attempt to validate their own ideas. I am not going to get into this conversation with you trying to prove that I am right through logic or prove what you are saying is fallacious. My opinion is not factual or provable or even necessarily correct for that mater, its just my opinion, and I refuse to paraphrase the ideas of religious philosophers in a dueling match of circular reasoning. I wholeheartedly believe in the concept of relativism, and will never even consider the possibility of one ultimate truth, god, philosophy or religion. I will check out what you sent me. Thanks.

Me

“My opinion is my own and I do not feel the need to defend it or prove it correct by quoting text from another persons attempt to validate their own ideas” Then you are posting here because you are a narcissist? Or a masochist?

You see, every theory, model, religious position, political ideal (whatever!) needs to be internally consistent. I appreciate that you will pursue the ideas I expressed, but I wish to point out again where your statements are nonsensical, or, incoherent. For instance, when you say, “I wholeheartedly believe in the concept of relativism, and will never even consider the possibility of one ultimate truth, god, philosophy or religion.” Do you see the contradiction in your statement? A great example comes from a philosophy 101 class I took. The teacher had just graduated with a masters in poli-sci and philosophy (a double major). She mentioned before starting our first class that this was her first teaching position/class. She then, within minutes of that wrote on the white board the following:

✪ “There is no absolute truth.”

I felt bad raising my hand and pointing out the inherent contradiction… because she had just stated her “greenness.” But if what she was true, then it refutes her statement, if it is false, it is false. You are essentially saying the same thing. Your denial IS AN ABSOLUTE. In fact, my chapter on karma and reincarnation was born from a paper I wrote for her class. What was her main problem? I think she only read things in her belief structure and never expanded her thinking beyond what she wanted to study and what was hand fed to her by her professors. What was the result? Being embarrassed by something that a first year student knows (Aristotelian logic) at Biola.

You should put two books on your bookcase and keep them there for reading when you get a “bug” under your skin – the RELATIVISM book I already recommended, and “Unshakable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions about the Christian Faith.” Just add some thinking that challenges your entrenched position. That is all I can encourage you to do Michael.

Cheers.

One should take note that many of Michael H.’s positions are moral claims or authoritative claims to knowledge. He just refuses to tie in any epistemology to his claims thus invalidating anyone taking him seriously… which he admits to: “my opinion is my own and I do not feel the need to defend it…” I doubt he has read my posts thoughtfully (maybe he has?), but the relativist position (his) is just as absolute as the communist/Marxist or the conservative evangelical… he just thinks his position is benighted thinking, thusly adopting a “hollier than though” mentality. Which he rejects in other persons.

Really, then, Michael’s position can be summed up as follows:

Homosexuality: Is it good for society? For the individual?

This essay is borrowed from multiple sources and is dated as well…

the stats may have changed (NOT necessarily towards the best outcome either)

I want to preface this paper with the challenge from one of the board members to “prove” that homosexuality is immoral. In today’s pluralistic society, controversial public policy questions, such as homosexuality, must be decided on evidence rather than on sectarian religious belief. For what one person may find sinful according to his or her religious perspective, others may find perfectly appropriate according to theirs. However, our common morality – The Moral Law/Natural Law – tells us not to harm others or ourselves. Therefore, the best way of finding common ground and a sensible policy is to investigate the objective data (of which I will only briefly touch on. If you want a good chapter on the subject, I suggest the book Legislating Morality: Is it Wise? Is It Legal? Is It Possible?) on the healthfulness of the homosexual lifestyle. Just what does the evidence show? Is it really harmless, or is it actually harmful? [Take note that although I deal with the 1972 homosexual platform, I will show, as well, briefly the 1993 march on Washington’s demands.]

The 1972 gay rights platform contained the following:

  • Amend all federal Civil Rights Acts, other legislation and government controls to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and public services.
  • A presidential order prohibiting the military from excluding for reasons of their sexual orientation, persons who of their own volition desire entrance into Armed Services; and from issuing less than fully-honorable discharges for homosexuality; and the upgrading of fully honorable all such discharges previously issued, with retroactive benefits.
  • A presidential order prohibiting discrimination in the federal civil service because of sexual orientation, in hiring and promoting; and prohibiting discrimination against homosexuals in security clearances.
  • Elimination of tax inadequacies [favoring traditional families].
  • Elimination of bars to the entry, immigration and naturalization of homosexual aliens.
  • Federal encouragement and support for sex education courses, prepared and taught by [homosexuals], presenting homosexuality as valid, healthy preference and… a viable alternative to heterosexuality.
  • Federal funding of aid programs of [homosexual] organizations designed to alleviate the problems encountered by [homosexuals].

The document made similar demands of states, including:

  • Repeal of all state laws prohibiting solicitation for private voluntary sexual liaisons; and laws prohibiting prostitution, both male and female.
  • Legislation prohibiting insurance companies and any other state-regulated enterprises from discrimination because of sexual orientation, in insurance and in bonding or any other prerequisite to employment or control of one’s personal demesne.
  • Legislation so that child adoption, visitation rights, foster parenting, and the like shall not be denied because of sexual orientation or marital status.
  • Repeal of all laws prohibiting transvestitism and cross dressing.
  • Repeal of all laws governing the age of sexual consent.
  • Repeal of all legislative provisions that restrict the sex of the number of persons entering into a marriage unit; and the extension of legal benefits to all persons who cohabit regardless of sex.

Now the 1993 platform:

  • The implications of homosexual, bisexual, and transgendered curriculum at all levels of education.
  • The lowering of the age [12 years old to be exact] of consent for homosexual and heterosexual sex.
  • The legalization of homosexual marriages.
  • Custody, adoption, and foster-care rights for homosexuals, lesbians, and transgendered people.
  • the redefinition of the family to include the full diversity of all family structures.
  • The access to all programs of the Boy Scouts of America.
  • Affirmative action for homosexuals.
  • The inclusion of sex-change operations under a universal health-care plan.

As of today, most of these demands have been met. Nor do signs look good for a quick reversal of this trend: The descriptive word “homosexual” has been replaced by the perfectly nondescriptive word “gay.” Opponents of homosexuality are said to be afflicted with “homophobia.” “The love that dare not speak its name” is fast becoming “the love that no one dare question.”

Homosexuality and the Public Health

While AIDS has destroyed the lives of non-homosexuals through intravenous drug use, blood transfusions, or promiscuity, until recently the disease has been primarily spread among homosexuals. The U.S. Department of Health of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control Reports that 65 percent of all adult/adolescent AIDS cases and 79 percent of AIDS cases among Caucasians in the U.S. were acquired through homosexual contact. Ninety-one percent of American AIDS cases have been traced to homosexual sex, intravenous drug use, or some combination of the two (Centers for Disease Control report, “HIV/AIDS Surveillance”; Also, “Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome – 1991,” Journal of the American Medical Association; and the book, The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS).

Homosexuals also continue to contract and spread other diseases at rates significantly higher that the community at large. These include syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, hepatitis A and B, a variety of intestinal parasites including amebiases and giardiasis, and even typhoid fever (David G. Ostrow, Terry Alan Sandholzer, and Yehudi M. Felman, eds., Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Homosexual Men; see also, Sevgi O. Aral and King K. Holmes, “Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the AIDS Era,” Scientific American). This is because rectal intercourse or sodomy, typically practiced by homosexuals, is one of the most efficient methods of transmitting disease. Why? Because nature designed the human rectum for a single purpose: expelling waste from the body. It is built of a thin layer of columnar cells, different in structure than the plate cells that line the female reproductive tract. Because the wall of the rectum is so thin, it is easily ruptured during intercourse, allowing semen, blood, feces, and saliva to directly enter the bloodstream. The chances for infection increases further when multiple partners are involved, as is frequently the case: Surveys indicate that American male homosexuals average between 10 and 110 sex partners per year (L. Corey and K. K. Holmes, “Sexual Transmission of Hepatitis A in Homosexual Men,” New England Journal of Medicine; and, Paul Cameron et al., “Sexual Orientation and Sexually Transmitted Disease,” Nebraska Medical Journal).

Not surprisingly, these diseases shorten life expectancy (http://tinyurl.com/px9wpcd). Social psychologist Paul Cameron compared over 6,200 obituaries from homosexual magazines and tabloids to a comparable number of obituaries from major American Newspapers. He found that while the median age of death of married American males was 75, for sexually active homosexual American males it is 42. For homosexual males infected with the AIDS virus, it was 39. While 80 percent of married American men lived to 65 or older, less than two percent of the homosexual men covered in the survey lived as long (Omega Study and Social Origins of Sexuality Study). To add to this problem of health, monogamous homosexual men tend to die earlier. Why? They feel that the exchange of fluids is the most compassionate act in the relationship. Ironically, this is the same act – (unprotected sex) – that infects their partner at a higher rate than “single” counterpart. The exact opposite is true for heterosexual men who are single. They tend to average 57 years old. But the monogamous American male, as stated above, lives a much healthier life.

In the face of these facts, it is reprehensible that Americans, and especially American schoolchildren are being told today that homosexual behavior can be safe (as a parent, I am furious!). Because smokers don’t live as long as nonsmokers, society considers smoking harmful and discourages the use of tabacco. By the same logic, aren’t homosexual practices deserving of social disapproval (considering that tax payers are footing the health bill that is considerably higher than that 75 year old American male getting ill and passing on?).

Civil Rights and Special Rights

The gay rights movement’s main rhetorical ploy is to liken itself to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ‘60s. the extent to which is successful reflects a confusion about the meaning of “rights” in the public mind.

The charter of the American liberty, the Declaration of Independence, explains that human beings are born with “certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (not the pursuit of hedonism mind you). These rights belong to people equally. No human being is so superior to another that he may treat the other as he would treat an irrational beast. This is the argument that Abraham Lincoln hearkened back to during the Civil War, and Martin Luther King, Jr. during the 1960s. Unlike people in most countries, Americans have been able to enjoy these rights, because the American Constitution sets up a government that is limited in what it can do (this is itself a subject of controversy, and demands attention elsewhere).

Consider the claimed comparison between the gay rights movement and the civil rights movement in light of this. An obvious difference is that the former is centered around type of behaviors, namely sodomy. Is there a constitutional right to sodomy such as there is, say, to practice our religion or speak our mind? No.

At the time of the American founding, and following the tradition of English common law, sodomy was a criminal or common law offense in each of the 13 states. Until 1961, all 50 states considered sodomy a punishable offense. It remains illegal today in 23 states and the District of Columbia, and in many of these stands as a felony offense. At the federal level, the question was dealt with in the Supreme Court’s 1986 decision, Bowers v. Hardwick. The defendants in the case had asked the Court to proclaim, in effect, “a fundamental right to engage in homosexual sodomy.” “This,” wrote Justice Byron White in developing the Court’s decision, “we are quite unwilling to do.”

More deeply, sodomy is unnatural and, as such, incompatible with any notion of natural rights. We know that human beings are entitled to their liberty because they are, by nature, capable of reasoning and choosing. This is precisely the faculty that identifies a human being, among all other beings in nature. We are entitled to civil rights, because we are the one creature equipped by nature to exercise them.

Human beings also have other aspects to their nature, aspects that are not such noble features of their makeup. One is their method of sexual reproduction. And make no mistake: despite astonishing denials of organized homosexuality, human beings, as surely as deer or elephants, come equipped with a natural method of reproduction. Unlike in other species, however, these lower aspects in man share in man’s higher aspect, reason. The result is the virtue of temperance or self-control. The Founders of America understood that our rights stem from this capacity, the capacity for moral virtue.

Homosexuals like to argue that, since people are by nature free to choose, the choice of sodomy should be protected, at least as much as any other choice. However, the fact that people are free by nature to make choices does not mean that any choice they make is good or that all choices should be equal before the law. Some people choose to steal and lie. Some abandon their children or their wives or husbands. Some sink into the grip of drugs. Some evade the draft at their country’s need, or abandon their duty in the face of battle. These are bad choices, and when they are made, the rest of us must bear part of the cost. These things are wrong in a constitutional democracy, as much as they are wrong anywhere else.

On the other hand, liberal societies recognize that all sins cannot be, and must not be, punished under the law. A state powerful enough to do that is too powerful to control. That is why we are cautious in a free country, about telling others what to do. That is why Presidents often appeal to us to be upright, moral citizens, but they do not bring charges against us unless we break the law.

Still, we must not forget that democracies have the greatest in the practice of virtue by citizens, because in democracy the citizens themselves are the rulers. So it is that George Washington, one of the greatest moral examples in history, said in his First Inaugural Address: “There is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness…”

A liberal society might, then, find it prudent to ignore homosexuality. It might well deem it unwise to peer into private bedrooms. However, this is not the issue before us. Today the demand is that homosexuality be endorsed and promoted with the full power of the law. This would require us to abandon the standard of nature, the one standard that can teach us the difference between freedom and slavery, between right and wrong.

Once we abandon the standard of nature, what is to forbid us from resorting to any violation of nature that we please? Why should we not return to slavery, if we find it convenient? Or the practice of incest or adultery or cannibalism? Without an understanding that there is a higher law that limits human will – whether divine law or the “law of Nature or Nature’s God” which we can grasp through our reason – there is no basis to prohibit any activity. Anything becomes possible (which is why some [me included] refer to murder and homosexuality in the same stroke of the pen/keyboard, this analogy is now detailed in a more exhaustive manner above).

In fact, the rights sought by homosexual activists are not natural or constitutional rights (for the best chapter on this subject – why homosexuals should be fighting to keep the traditional definition of family – I suggest the book Relativism: Feet Planted Firmly in Mid-Air). They are the special rights granted ethnic minorities by affirmative action policies. These special rights would force businesses, schools, and virtually every institution in the land, public and private, to open their doors to homosexuals, and allow lawsuits to be brought against those that refuse.

To be considered a specially protected minority under the law, a group must meet several tests, as determined by a series of Supreme Court decisions. Its members must be identifiable by an unchanging physical condition (I’ve known ex-gays, but I have never met an ex-black… well, maybe except for Michael Jackson) – e.g., skin color, gender, handicap. They must be able to demonstrate that they suffered discrimination to the extent that they are unable to earn an average income, receive an adequate education, or enjoy a fulfilling cultural life (see appendice). In addition, they must show that their members are politically powerless to change their predicament. [The gay lobby was one of the most powerful in Washington for the 1992 elections, giving multiple millions to the Democratic National Committee and having homosexual[s] put into key positions in the Clinton Cabinet.]

To date, the homosexual lobby has been unable to prove that its members meet these requirements. There is no evidence – statistical or otherwise – that homosexuals are suffering any practical or political disadvantages. They have never been denied the right to vote or other constitutional rights, nor have they suffered segregation under the law, nor have they been denied access to public facilities. Several U.S. Congressman, Senators, and prominent state legislators are openly homosexual, as are high-level members of recent presidential administrations. Statistically, homosexuals enjoy higher economic status than average Americans do. Any claim to political powerlessness is belied by how politicians today – especially Democratic politicians – court the “homosexual vote.”

It is easy to see the difference between civil and constitutional rights and the special rights sought by homosexuals by considering the controversy over “gays” in the military. People are refused entrance for numerous reasons, e.g., age, intelligence, physical handicap, criminal record [me! And broken bones in my past, broken neck and fractured back!]. Second: the racial integration of the armed forces (to which proponents of “sexual preference integration” like to point) was part of the proper expansion of constitutional rights because race was an irrational (hence unconstitutional) basis of discrimination. Those who thought blacks were different in behavior were simply prejudiced – they were wrong. Those who think homosexuals behave differently are self-evidently right. The word “homosexual,” unlike the words “black” or “brown” or “yellow,” denotes precisely a different behavior. In this case, those who deny a difference are being irrational.

As summed up by a veteran of the civil rights movement: “The road to Selma was not the road to Sodom.”

Conclusion

The case against organized homosexuality is twofold. First, nature rewards healthy living habits with good health. It is abundantly clear that homosexuals behavior is unnatural and unhealthy. Secondly, Americans are exceedingly tolerant. They are not as a rule inclined to dig around in each other’s private lives. Nevertheless, they reject the absurd claim that the Constitutional principle of equality before the law means that all behavior, no matter how heinous, is equally okay. And on no basis of this distinction [e.g., I could claim to be gay at my next job interview and they would have to accept my testimony, but a black person is evidently black], they can be mobilized against laws that give homosexuals special legal standing to bully the rest of us, thus forcing their moral position on us, which is the claim they make against us.

Appendix

Average Household Income:

Homosexuals – $55,430      /      African Americans – $12,166

Percentage of College Graduates:

Homosexuals – 60%      /      African Americans – 5%

Holding Professional Positions:

Homosexuals – 49%      /      African Americans – 1%

Taken Overseas Vacations:

Homosexuals – 66%      /      African Americans – 1%

Ever Denied the Right to Vote:

Homosexuals – No      /      African Americans – Yes

Ever Faced Legal Segregation:

Homosexuals – No      /      African Americans – Yes

Ever Denied Access to Public Restrooms:

Homosexuals – No      /      African Americans – Yes

Ever Denied Access to Businesses and Restaurants:

Homosexuals – No      /      African Americans – Yes

(Wall Street Journal, 7/18/91, B1)

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Biography


Some recommended reading (* means source material for paper, you can find in-depth references in these two texts):

  1. *Legislating Morality: Is It Wise? Is It Legal? Is It Possible?, by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek.
  2. Are Gay Rights Right?: Making Sense of the Controversy, by Roger Magnuson.
  3. *Do the Right Thing: A Philosophical Dialogue on the Moral and Social Issues of Our Time, Francis Beckwith, editor.  (Part of this paper is from a chapter from this book, however, the entire chapter can be found on the Internet if you use a good search engine.)
  4. Gays in the Military: The Moral and Strategic Crisis, George Grant, editor.
  5. Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, Jeffrey Satinover.
  6. Relativism: Feet Planted Firmly in Mid-Air, by Francis Beckwith.

Society As the Whole (Excerpted from the book, Relativism: Feet Planted Firmly In Mid-Air)

If Society, the will of all or the will of the majority [society says], is the final measure of morality, then all its judgements are moral by definition. Such a concept is an oxymoron – a contradiction in terms. An attorney once called a radio talk show with a challenge. “When are you going to accept the fact that abortion is the law of the land?” she asked. “You may not like it, but it’s the law.” Her point was simple. The Supreme Court has spoken, so there is nothing left to discuss. Since there is no higher law, there are no further grounds for rebuttal. This lawyer’s tacit acceptance of conventionalism suffers because it confuses what is right with what is legal.

When reflecting on any law, it seems sensible to ask, “it’s legal, but is it moral?  It’s law , but is the law good; is it just?” There appears to be a difference between what a person has the liberty to do under the law and what a person should do. Conventionalism renders this distinction meaningless. There is no “majority of one” to take the higher moral ground. As Pojman puts it, “Truth is with the crowd and error with the individual” (much like Rousseau). This is tyranny of the majority.

When any human court is the highest authority, then morality is reduced to mere power – either power of the government or power of the majority. If the courts and laws define what is moral, then neither laws nor governments can ever be immoral, even in principle.

Another absurd consequence follows from the society says line of thought. This view makes it impossible to reform the morals of a society. There are actually two problems here; the first is called the reformer’s dilemma. Moral reformers typically judge society from the inside. They challenge their culture’s standard of behavior and then campaign for change. But when morality is defined by the present society’s standard, then challenging the standard would be an act of immorality. Social reformers would be made moral outcasts precisely because they oppose the status quo.

Corrie ten Boom and other “righteous gentiles” risked their own lives to save Jews during the Holocaust. William Wilberforce sought the abolition of slavery in the late eighteenth century in the United Kingdom. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for civil rights in the United States in the 50’s and 60’s. in Germany during World War II, Martin Niemoller and Dietrich Bonhoeffer challenged Christians to oppose Hitler.

We count these people as moral heroes precisely because they had the courage to fight for freedom. According to Society Says thought, however, they are the worst kind of moral criminals because they challenged the moral consensus of their own society. This view faces another difficulty with moral improvement of society. If society’s laws and cultural values are the ultimate standards of behavior, then the notion of moral improvement on a legal or cultural level is nonsense. A social code can never be improved; it can only be changed.

Think of what it means to improve something. Improvement means an increase in excellence by raising to a better quality or condition. How do we know if we have increased the quality of something? Only by noting that some change has brought it closer to an external standard of improvement. A bowler improves when she raises her average closer to 300, the perfect game. A baseball pitcher increases his skill by decreasing the number of batters he allows on base. If he strikes out every batter, he’s attained perfection. In either case, an outside standard is used as the measure of improvement.

To improve a society’s moral code means that the society changes its laws and values to more closely approximate an external moral ideal. If no such standard exists, if cultural values are the highest possible law, then there is no way for those standards to be better than what they are at any given moment. They can only be different. A society can abolish apartheid in favor of equality. It can adopt policies of habeas corpus protecting citizens against unjustified imprisonment; it can guarantee freedom of speech and the press. But according to this view, no one could ever claim that these are moral improvements but only that society changed its tastes. There is no moral ideal to emulate. Moral change is possible, but not moral improvement. Improvement means getting better, and there’s nothing better – in this view – than any society’s current assessment of morality. And moral reformers actually turn out to be unethical.