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Concepts: “The God-Factor in Science” ~ Science & Faith

I have been too busy as-of-late to keep up with “Concepts,” an article in a local small paper. This recent article did, however, peak my interest and awoke me from my slumber. (As usual, you can click the graphic to enlarge to be able to read the article if so desired [below].) Per John’s modus operandi he conflates separate issues and then makes his point at the end that has nothing to do with his previous points or set-up. I myself will jump around Mr. Huizum’s article a bit, clarifying and expanding [correcting mainly] his thoughts as space surely does not allow him but it does me.

Let’s jump into this statement and where I think John, as an atheist, puts all his cookies into the “science” bag, otherwise known as “scientism.”

  • “To my knowledge, science has not yet discovered a purpose for the universe,…”

This is key (*Big Booming Voice w/Echo Effects*): science will NEVER find a purpose for the universe.

“Purpose” — as such, is the area exclusively reserved to that of philosophy and theology, not science. From reading previous article’s by John, he seems to have a distorted view of epistemology and how one expresses “truth statements” with a coherent foundation/worldview. Let us define some words and concepts as we continue on our journey brought to us by “Concepts.”

Epistemology – “the branch of philosophy concerned with questions about knowledge and belief and related issues such as justification and truth.”

C. Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2002), 39.

What John seems to place as his “ultimate truth” is science. This view is commonly referred to as “scientism.” What is scientism, you ask?

Scientism constitutes the core of the naturalistic understanding of what constitutes knowledge, its epistemology. Wilfrid Sellars says that “in the dimension of describing and explaining the world, science is the measure of all things, of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not.”‘ Contemporary naturalists embrace either weak or strong scientism. According to the former, nonscientific fields are not worthless nor do they offer no intellectual results, but they are vastly inferior to science in their epistemic standing and do not merit full credence. According to the latter, unqualified cognitive value resides in science and in nothing else. Either way, naturalists are extremely skeptical of claims about reality that are not justified by scientific methods in the hard sciences.

William Lane Craig and Chad Meister, God is Great, God is Good: Why Believing in God Is Reasonable and Responsible (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2009), 35.

In another article scientism is explained as well as naturalism and the differences:

CODE ~ Accidental?

One gram of DNA – the weight of two Tylenol – can store the same amount of digitally encoded information as a hundred billion DVD’s. Yes, you read correctly, I said a hundred billion DVD’s. Every single piece of information that exists on the Earth today; from every single library, from every single data base, from every single computer, could be stored in one beaker of DNA. This is the same DNA/Genetic Information/Self-Replication System that exists in humans and in bacteria (which are the simplest living organisms that exist today and have ever been known to exist). In short, our DNA-based genetic code, the universal system for all life on our planet, is the most efficient and sophisticated digital information storage, retrieval, and translation system known to man.

(Rabbi Moshe Averick)

…scientism (an epistemological thesis) with naturalism (an ontological thesis). Scientism is the view that we should believe only what can be proven scientifically. In other words, science is the sole source of knowledge and the sole arbiter of truth. Naturalism is the view that physical events have only physical causes. In other words, miracles do not happen; there are no supernatural causes.

William Lane Craig, Is Scientism Self-Refuting, Q & A #205

One should keep in mind that a coherent worldview answers at least four important questions about life that science (especially “scientism”) cannot, getting back to purpose. Ravi Zacharias makes accessible these questions by stating that a “coherent worldview must be able to satisfactorily answer four questions: that of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny” (Ravi Zacharias, Deliver Us From Evil [Nashville, TN: Word Publishers, 1997], 219–220). Science can be used, and should be used, as a tool in making a reasonable case for purpose and meaning in life.

Science, then, is merely a handmaiden of these richer studies in life’s ultimate meaning, not the determining factor.

“Scientism is the view that all real knowledge is scientific knowledge—that there is no rational, objective form of inquiry that is not a branch of science” (Edward Feser, Blinded by Scientism [March 9th, 2010]). Which is one reason that it is self refuting, because, it itself is a philosophical proposition ABOUT science while claiming not to be. Which two philosophical naturalists admit in a moment of honesty:

  • Lewontin: “we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”
  • Searle: “There is a sense in which materialism is the religion of our time, at least among most of the professional experts in the fields of philosophy, psychology, cognitive science, and other disciplines that study the mind. Like most traditional religions, it is accepted without question and it provides the framework within which other questions can be posed, addressed, and answered.”

Again, the belief that science alone gives us knowledge is a philosophical statement, not a scientific one.  This is no longer science, but the scientistic worldview of naturalism, which affirms that nature is all there is and that only science can give us knowledge.  As the late astronomer Carl Sagan put it:  “The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”Dawkins, like Sagan, speaks more as an amateur metaphysician than as a scientist.

(Parchment & Pen Blog)

I dealt a little with origins in a previous review of one of his articles in the past, but the point is that John places on science’s plate a proposition that it will never be able to answer. Maybe a Tennyson poem will assist in explaining to John the meaning of the universe without God:

In writing the poem, Tennyson was influenced by the ideas of evolution presented in Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation which had been published in 1844, and had caused a storm of controversy about the theological implications of impersonal nature functioning without direct divine intervention. The fundamentalist idea of unquestioning belief in revealed truth taken from a literal interpretation of the Bible was already in conflict with the findings of science, and Tennyson expressed the difficulties evolution raised for faith in “the truths that never can be proved”.

Are God and Nature then at strife,
That Nature lends such evil dreams?
So careful of the type she seems,
So careless of the single life;

That I, considering everywhere
Her secret meaning in her deeds,
And finding that of fifty seeds
She often brings but one to bear,

I falter where I firmly trod,
And falling with my weight of cares
Upon the great world’s altar-stairs
That slope thro’ darkness up to God,

I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope,
And gather dust and chaff, and call
To what I feel is Lord of all,
And faintly trust the larger hope.

This poem was published before Charles Darwin made his theory public in 1859. However, the phrase “Nature, red in tooth and claw” in canto 56 quickly was adopted by others as a phrase that evokes the process of natural selection. It was and is used by both those opposed to and in favor of the theory of evolution. However, at the end of the poem, Tennyson emerges with his Christian faith reaffirmed, progressing from doubt and despair to faith and hope, a dominant theme also seen in his poem “Ulysses.”

…Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation’s final law
Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek’d against his creed…

…So runs my dream, but what am I?
An infant crying in the night
An infant crying for the light
And with no language but a cry…

…If e’er when faith had fallen asleep,
I hear a voice ‘believe no more’
And heard an ever-breaking shore
That tumbled in the Godless deep;

A warmth within the breast would melt
The freezing reason’s colder part,
And like a man in wrath the heart
Stood up and answer’d ‘I have felt.’

No, like a child in doubt and fear:
But that blind clamour made me wise;
Then was I as a child that cries,
But, crying knows his father near…

(Wiki)

Atheists themselves say that nothing matters in a universe without God giving it meaning:

Which leads me into another statement John makes near the end of the article, and, has in it a self-refuting statement of sorts. I will explain, John says:

  • I do not think atheists are more or less happy than believers, so it is possible to live a useful life without a belief in a god. Scientists may not know what the purpose of the Universe is, but we the living find our own purpose for living, which is often just to help or be interested in others.

The mass murderer or tyrant may find his purpose in doing what he does. The rapist as well. Those actions we rightly abhor may be the ones that provide purpose or fulfillment in theirs. You see, John has no code that he can ascribe to himself and expect others to follow… outside of wish fulfillment that is.

He says that life’s meaning is “often just to help or be interested in others.” What a trite explanation of existence! Mussolini explains to John the related topic of relativism and John trying to impose HIS MEANING onto the masses, or think that the masses should agree with him when Tennyson so pointedly says that nature’s purpose is “red in tooth and claw” ~ here is another view that lines up more with John’s view rather than the Judeo-Christian ethic:

“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.

Again, let us see what another person who may understand the complexities of the issue a bit more than John shows us, and that is Malcolm Muggeridge (a British journalist, author, satirist, media personality, soldier-spy and, in his later years, a Catholic convert and writer), who said:

“If God is ‘dead,’ somebody is going to have to take his place. It will be megalomania or erotomania, the drive for power or the drive for pleasure, the clenched fist or the phallus, Hitler or Hugh Heffner.”

Ravi Zacharias, The Real Face of Atheism (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2004), 32.

I know John HOPES people see reality like he does, but he does not have a meta-narrative that is internally consistent to express to mankind the need to “help or be interested in others.” The Nazi’s thought they were doing this? Why are they wrong and John right? He has no epistemology that is internally consistent to help him ask these non-scientific questions. So while he can feel that the atheist can have a happy life, aside from this Epicurean goal, happiness is not synonymous with moral, or meaningful in the ultimate sense.

Epicurean ~ “Epicurus (341-271 B.C.) was a Greek philosopher who was born on the isle of Samos but lived much of his life in Athens, where he founded his very successful school of philosophy.  He was influenced by the materialist Democritus (460-370 B.C.), who is the first philosopher known to believe that the world is made up of atoms…. Epicurus identified good with pleasure and evil with pain.” He equated using pleasure, diet, friends, and the like as “tools” for minimizing bad sensations or pain while increasing pleasure or hedonism.

Taken from Louise P. Pojman, Philosophy: The Quest for Truth, 5th ed. (New York: Oxford Press, 2002), 499; taken from a chapter from my book dealing with homosexuality and natural law, footnote #42.

I will zero in on a point that John makes, but that is lost on him in his making an either/or distinction in the extremes.

  • “If God created the natural laws and if God were omnipotent, I would have to assume that God could also destroy them or make them unworkable or eliminate them.”

True enough, but, we can ad a third understanding to John’s statement: He [God] could intervene from-time-to-time in nature. For example, the virgin birth. The miracle was in no way the development and birth of Jesus, the miracle was in the conception.  God introduced unique genetic material to Mary’s womb.  The Laws of Nature took over from there.  There was a standard nine month pregnancy followed by a normal birth.

Lewis defines a miracle thus: “I use the word Miracle to mean an interference with Nature by supernatural power.” He describes the integration of miraculous intervention and the natural world in this way: “It is therefore inaccurate to define a miracle as something that breaks the laws of Nature. It doesn’t. … If God creates a miraculous spermatozoon in the body of a virgin, it does not proceed to break any laws. The laws at once take it over. Nature is ready. Pregnancy follows, according to all the normal laws, and nine months later a child is born. … The divine art of miracle is not an art of suspending the pattern. … And they are sure that all reality must be interrelated and consistent.

John-Erik Stig Hansen, M.D., D.Sc., Do Miracles Occur? (Academic Papers) Into the Wardrobe

Now, I think John also confuses some laws that he uses all the time. The Law of Morality for instance.

John Huizum has complained about the evils done in the name of religion in the past, and so posits a “law” that he expects others to see and adhere to, namely, murder in the name of God is morally, or absolutely wrong. However, in the naturalist view of the world, evil is not absolutely wrong… just currently taboo.

Books like, Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence (New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 1997), and,  A Natural History of Rape: Biological Bases of Sexual (Coercion Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000), make the point that rape — for instance — was a tool of survival in our evolutionary past, and so not “morally wrong” in any absolute sense. Not morally wrong because it aided the only real principle of nature, survival. If not absolutely wrong in the past, than theoretically rape is useful for our survival in the future. A position taken by Islamists in some part of our world surely.

Here are three short examples by atheists themselves making my point… er… really their point:

E X H I B I T ~ A

Atheist Dan Barker Says “Child Rape Is Morally Okay”

Richard Dawkins Says Rape Is Morally Arbitrary!

Evolution and the Meaning of Life

You see, who can REALLY say Hitler was wrong? “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question” ~ Richard Dawkins. Ahh, no its not. Granted, it is for the person (John) who looks to nature alone for meaning, and his HOPE is that others see his view of life.

“Some unfortunate humans—perhaps because they have suffered brain damage—are not rational agents. What are we to say about them? The natural conclusion, according to the doctrine we are considering, would be that their status is that of mere animals. And perhaps we should go on to conclude that they may be used as non-human animals are used—perhaps as laboratory subjects, or as food.”

James Rachels, Created from Animals: The Moral Implications of Darwinism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 186.

Um, in other words, the evolutionist has no way to say that the mentally ill cannot be made into chum/food, or NAZI like experiments.

But this “hope” wasn’t the basis for important decisions in our nations history, thank God! Like the writing of the Constitution for instance, written in the language of Natural Law, or in the Nuremberg Trials. A great example for what we are talking about here.

At the Nuremburg trials, when the judges/magistrates from Germany were being defended, one of the strongest arguments was that they were operating according to the law of their own land (cultural relativism). To that, a legitimate counter-question was raised, “But is there not a law above our laws?” John Warwick Montgomery, in his book The Law Above The Law, describes their argument:

“The most telling defense offered by the accused was that they had simply followed orders or made decisions within the framework of their own legal system, in complete consistency with it, and that they therefore ought not rightly be condemned because they deviated from the alien value system of their conquerors”

John Warwick Montgomery, The Law Above the Law (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1975), 24.

Nevertheless, the tribunal did not accept this justification. In the words of Robert H. Jackson, chief counsel for the United States at the trials, the issue was not one of power – the victor judging the vanquished – but one of higher moral law. Mr. Huizum has no foundational ethic or moral to make life meaningful in this ultimate sense. Which is the inclusion that real justice truly exists.

Men do not make laws. They do but discover them. Laws must be justified by something more than the will of the majority. They must rest on the eternal foundation of  righteousness.

Calvin Coolidge, “Have Faith in Massachusetts,” Massachusetts Senate President Acceptance Speech (Jan. 7, 1914)  ~ 30th President of the United States (1923–1929).

So far from John not seeing “the God-factor expressed in any law of nature he is aware of,” the Laws of Logic, the Moral Laws, Mathematics, and the like are glimpses into the “God-Factor.” Whether John admits to this or simply defines the proposition out of being considered (see below) is his convoluted lot in life of competing/self-refuting propositions guided by a metaphysical assumption about reality… not mine.

Professor: “Miracles are impossible Sean, don’t you know science has disproven them, how could you believe in them [i.e., answered prayer, a man being raised from the dead, etc.].”

Student: “for clarity purposes I wish to get some definitions straight. Would it be fair to say that science is generally defined as ‘the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us’?”

Professor: “Beautifully put, that is the basic definition of science in every text-book I read through my Doctoral journey.”

Student: “Wouldn’t you also say that a good definition of a miracle would be ‘and event in nature caused by something outside of nature’?”

Professor: “Yes, that would be an acceptable definition of ‘miracle.’”

Student: “But since you do not believe that anything outside of nature exists [materialism, dialectical materialism, empiricism, existentialism, naturalism, and humanism – whatever you wish to call it], you are ‘forced’ to conclude that miracles are impossible”

Norman L. Geisler & Peter Bocchino, Unshakeable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions About the Christian Faith (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House, 2001), 63-64.

This leads me to my final correction of some bad thinking on John’s part. When he says, “No scientific formula ever needed an asterisk or a caveat that said ‘God willing,'” the asterick merely precedes the formula and is next to the word “science.” Without the Judeo-Christian metaphysic, science would not be possible:

…as Whitehead pointed out, it is no coincidence that science sprang, not from Ionian metaphysics, not from the Brahmin-Buddhist-Taoist East, not from the Egyptian-Mayan astrological South, but from the heart of the Christian West, that although Galileo fell out with the Church, he would hardly have taken so much trouble studying Jupiter and dropping objects from towers if the reality and value and order of things had not first been conferred by belief in the Incarnation (Walker Percy, Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book

To the popular mind, science is completely inimical to religion: science embraces facts and evidence while religion professes blind faith. Like many simplistic popular notions, this view is mistaken. Modern science is not only compatible with Christianity, it in fact finds its origins in Christianity… 

(Columbia University, “The Origin of Science” [also here in non-PDF form])

Besides this, what are some of the philosophical presuppositions foundational to “science” that were birthed from Christianity?

  1. the existence of an objectively real world
  2. the comprehensibility of that world
  3. the reliability of sense perception and human rationality
  4. the orderliness and uniformity of nature
  5. and the validity of mathematics and logic.

(The Historic Alliance of Christianity and Science, Reasons.Org)

Again, Mr. Huizum seems to have strayed — as usual — far away from rational inferences based on a good understanding of the issues, rooted in history, easily accessible to him. Again, he just opines in the hope that others will dote over his “wisdom.” Not me, someone has to keep him honest.

reality

Concepts: “Is Reality Merely a Perception?” (UPDATED)

(As usual you can enlarge the article by clicking on it.) I enjoyed this weeks Concepts by John Van Huizum. While he showed the usual lack of deep study and merely expresses opinion as such, he is right about one thing… reality is perception. 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.”

 I have a feeling that John would agree with the following 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…”

More on Johns Relativism (cultural relativism/subjectivism, relativism, pluralism) later.

In Christian apologetics, often times the person doing the perceiving is said to have a pair of colored glasses on:

The right eyeglasses can put the world into clearer focus, and the correct worldview can function in much the same way. When someone looks at the world from the perspective of the wrong worldview, the world won’t make much sense to him. Or what he thinks makes sense will, in fact, be wrong in important respects. Putting on the right conceptual scheme, that is, viewing the world through the correct worldview, can have important repercussions for the rest of the person’s understanding of events and ideas… Raising one’s self-consciousness [awareness] about worldviews is an essential part of intellectual maturity.

Ronald H. Nash, Worldviews in Conflict: Choosing Christianity in a World of Ideas (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992), 17-18, 9.

After this mentioning of “perceptions,” or, really one’s worldview, John starts down his normal rabbit trail of ideas stuck together, his straw-men “set-ups,” and the like. For instance, perceptions are often changed… usually when an unprepared youth of faith goes off to college and finds a university teaming with…

evolutionary psychology (for instance, atheist defender Sam Harris makes the Darwinian psychological statement that “…there’s nothing more natural than rape. Human beings rape, chimpanzees rape, orangutans rape, rape clearly is part of an evolutionary strategy to get your genes into the next generation if you’re a male.”);

ϟ science (often put forward in the classroom as “scientism“);

and militant skepticism.

…they will typically reject their childhood faith, and not set foot into a church till their thirties/forties. It is said that men stop going to church at 18 when their mom stops dragging them, and start back up when their wife drags em’ back (why men hate church).

People first became aware of the problem after hearing the results of a Barna Research Group study that said that between 67% and 94% of Christian students (depending on denomination), within 18 months of graduating high school, are no longer at church. This report was given in 2002 and showed that the largest protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, was losing an average of 88% of their students while in college. (Why Apologetics)

Typically though, later in life the person in question will start reading some scholarly Christian works, or family harkens them to their childhood faith, someone close dies, life hits em’ hard, something happens that draws them back into their faith. Even within someone’s faith there are levels of trust in believing. Professor Stokes points out that such doubt is natural to a person,

Often, however, the cause of our doubt isn’t what you might think. It isn’t necessarily the strength of the arguments that rattles us, but the way they resonate with the unbeliever in each of us (what the Bible calls the “old self”). We hear Tokyo Rose’s voice and she seems to make pretty good sense sometimes. Yet more often than not, if we look closely at the atheist’s arguments, we find that there is little substance. Seeing this can change the argument’s frequency and therefore break its spell. Believers often worry that their doubts signify the rapid approach of full-blown unbelief. But as pastor and author Tim Keller puts it,

Faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic.

All thoughtful believers—even those whose faith is mature—encounter doubt. Not a single person has had unadulterated faith. In any case, it certainly won’t do to ignore your doubts, and defusing them will only strengthen your faith. To be sure, doubts can be strong enough to become a trial in your life; but like all trials, they’re meant to refine faith, not stifle it.

Mitch Stokes, A Shot of Faith: To the Head (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012), xvii. (Emphasis added!)

So people are a bit more complicated than space could allow John to state, or that he cares to ponder. I will also agree with him that this conversation has been going on a very long time.* Cicero is a great example, he was born in 106 BC and died in 43 BC, and said the following in response to the skeptics of his day:

But if the structure of the world in all its parts is such that it could not have been better whether in point of utility or beauty, let us consider whether this is the result of chance, or whether on the contrary the parts of the world are in such a condition that they could not possibly have cohered together if they were not controlled by intelligence and by divine providence. If then the products of nature are better than those of art, and if art produces nothing without reason, nature too cannot be deemed to be without reason. When you see a statue or a painting, you recognize the exercise of art; when you observe from a distance the course of a ship, you do not hesitate to assume that its motion is guided by reason and by art; when you look at a sun-dial or a water-clock, you infer that it tells the time by art and not by chance; how then can it be consistent to suppose that the world, which includes both the works of art in question, the craftsmen who made them, and everything else besides, can be devoid of purpose and of reason? Suppose a traveller to carry into Scythia or Britain the orrery recently constructed by our friend Posidonius, which at each revolution reproduces the same motions of the sun, the moon and the five planets that take place in the heavens every twenty-four hours, would any single native doubt that this orrery was the work of a rational being? These thinkers however raise doubts about the world itself from which all things arise and have their being, and debate whether it is the product of chance or necessity of some sort, or of divine reason and intelligence;

Cicero, Nature of the Gods, Translated by H. Rackam, pp. 207-209

So yes, important topics and questions are new to every generation, but these queries have been asked for a very long time, and should continue to be. Believing that mankind will outgrow their “superstitious” faith is merely someone displaying their metaphysical naturalist presuppositions. Now on to another aspect of a statement by John. He said,

“Atheism has been aided by scientific discoveries and rigorous questioning.”

I think this is true if one looks at the situation wrongly. When people do not try on other pairs of glasses, become skeptical of their skepticism, do not use self-refuting propositions (similar to Vincent Bugliosi), or study to see which worldview offers a better explanation, they can become ideologues (religious or secular):

… a “coherent worldview must be able to satisfactorily answer four questions: that of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny.” He says that while every major religion makes exclusive claims about truth, “the Christian faith is unique in its ability to answer all four of these questions.” These questions are the bedrock of any worldview… that holds any weight at least.

Ravi Zacharias, Deliver Us From Evil (Nashville, TN: Word Publishers, 1997), 219–220; taken from the first chapter of my book.

For example, apologist Lee Strobel talks to a philosopher about the evidence that culminated in many atheists rejecting (or wanting to reject) science because of its implications FOR God, or origins [Side note… Einstein introduced the Special Theory of Relativity in 1905, when applied to the universe as a whole in 1915, it became known as the General Theory of Relativity]:

When Albert Einstein developed his general theory of relativity in 1915 and started applying it to the universe as a whole, he was shocked to discover it didn’t allow for a static universe. According to his equations, the universe should either be exploding or imploding. In order to make the universe static, he had to fudge his equations by putting in a facto that would hold the universe steady.

In the 1920’s, the Russian mathematician Alexander Friedman and the Belgium astronomer George Lemaitre were able to develop models based on Einstein’s theory. They predicted the universe was expanding. Of course, this meant that if you went backward in time, the universe would go back to a single origin before which it didn’t exist. Astronomer Fred Hoyle derisively called this the Big Bang — and the name stuck!

Starting in the 1920’s, scientists began to find empirical evidence that supported these purely mathematical models. For instance, in 1929, the American astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that the light coming to us from distant galaxies appears redder than it should be, and this is a universal feature of galaxies in all parts of the sky. Hubble explained this red shift as being due to the fact that the galaxies are moving away from us. He concluded that the universe is literally flying apart at enormous velocities. Hubble’s astronomical observations were the first empirical confirmation of the predictions by Friedman and Lemaitre.

Then in the 1940’s, George Gamow predicted that if the Big Bang really happened, then the background temperature of the universe should be just a few degrees above absolute zero. He said this would be a relic from a very early stage of the universe. Sure enough, in 1965, two scientists accidentally discovered the universe’s background radiation — and it was only about 3.7 degrees above absolute zero. There’s no explanation for this apart from the fact that it is a vestige of a very early and a very dense state of the universe, which was predicted by the Big Bang model.

The third main piece of the evidence for the Big Bang is the origin of light elements. Heavy elements, like carbon and iron, are synthesized in the interior of stars and then exploded through supernova into space. But the very, very light elements, like deuterium and helium, cannot have been synthesized in the interior of the stars, because you would need an even more powerful furnace to create them. These elements must have been forged in the furnace of the Big Bang itself at temperatures that were billions of degrees. There’s no other explanation.

So predictions about the Big Bang have been consistently verified by the scientific data. Moreover, they have been corroborated by the failure of every attempt to falsify them by alternative models. Unquestionably, the Big Bang model has impressive scientific credentials . . . . Up to this time, it was taken for granted that the universe as a whole was a static, eternally existing object . . . . At the time an agnostic, American astronomer Robert Jastrow was forced to concede that although details may differ, “the essential element in the astronomical and Biblical accounts of Genesis is the same; the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy”…. Einstein admitted the idea of the expanding universe “irritates me” (presumably, said one prominent scientist, “because of its theological implications”).

Lee Strobel, The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence that Points Towards God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004), 105-106, 112.

Here are just two (of the many examples I can provide) of an atheist and an agnostic commenting on the above evidence:

“The essential element in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis is the same; the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy…. The Hubble Law is one of the great discoveries in science; it is one of the main supports of the scientific story of Genesis.” ~ Robert Jastrow: American astronomer and physicist. Founding director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, he is the director of the Mount Wilson Institute and Hale Solar Laboratory. He is also the author of Red Giants and White Dwarfs (1967) and God and the Astronomers (2nd ed., 2000).

“Certainly there was something that set it all off. Certainly, if you are religious, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match with Genesis.” ~ Robert Wilson: is an American astronomer, 1978 Nobel laureate in physics, who with Arno Allan Penzias discovered in 1964 the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB)…. While working on a new type of antenna at Bell Labs in Holmdel Township, New Jersey, they found a source of noise in the atmosphere that they could not explain. After removing all potential sources of noise, including pigeon droppings on the antenna, the noise was finally identified as CMB, which served as important corroboration of the Big Bang theory.

Dr. George Smoot, Particle Physicist, Nobel Prize winner, and team leader from the Lawrence-Berkeley Laboratory, regarding the 1992 observations from COBE (the NASA satellite Cosmic Background Explorer): “It’s like looking at God.”(8)

A somewhat more “sober” assessment of the findings was given by Frederick Burnham, a science-historian. He said, “These findings, now available, make the idea that God created the universe a more respectable hypothesis today than at any time in the last 100 years.”(9)

Dr. Stephen Hawking (Theoretical Physicist) described the big bang ripples observations as “the scientific discovery of the century, if not all time.”(10)

Dr. George Greenstein (Professor of Astronomy at Amherst.): “As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency – or, rather, Agency – must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit?”(11)

Sir Arthur Eddington (British Astrophysicist): “The idea of a universal mind or Logos would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory.”(12)

Dr. Arno Penzias (Nobel Prize winner in physics, co-discoverer of the microwave background radiation from the Big Bang): “Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say ‘supernatural’) plan.”(13)

Sir Roger Penrose (Physicist, Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, and joint developer of the Hawking-Penrose Theorems): “I would say the universe has a purpose. It’s not there just somehow by chance.” (14)

Dr. Robert Jastrow (Founding director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies): “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”(15)

Dr. Frank Tipler (Professor of Math and Physics at Tulane University): “When I began my career as a cosmologist some twenty years ago, I was a convinced atheist. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that one day I would be writing a book purporting to show that the central claims of Judeo-Christian theology are in fact true, that these claims are straightforward deductions of the laws of physics as we now understand them. I have been forced into these conclusions by the inexorable logic of my own special branch of physics.”(16). Tipler since has actually converted to Christianity, resulting in his latest book, The Physics Of Christianity.

Dr. Alexander Polyakov (String Theorist, Princeton): “We know that nature is described by the best of all possible mathematics because God created it.”(17)

Dr. Edward Milne (British Astrophysicist, former Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics, Oxford): “As to the cause of the Universe, in context of expansion, that is left for the reader to insert, but our picture is incomplete without Him [God].”(18)

Dr. Arthur L. Schawlow (Professor of Physics at Stanford University, 1981 Nobel Prize in physics): “It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life and the universe, one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are religious…. I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life.”(19)

Dr. Wernher von Braun (German-American Pioneer Rocket Scientist) “I find it as difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science.”(20)

Dr. Frank Tipler (Professor of Math and Physics at Tulane University): “From the perspective of the latest physical theories, Christianity is not a mere religion, but an experimentally testable science.”(21)


Footnotes for this quote


8) Thomas H. Maugh, II (April 24, 1992). “Relics of Big Bang, Seen for First Time”. Los Angeles Times: pp. Al, A30.

9) The Los Angeles Times, Saturday 2nd May 1992.

10) Smoot, George, Wrinkles in Time, 2007 edition , cover.

11) Greenstein, G. 1988. The Symbiotic Universe. New York: William Morrow, p.27.

12) Heeren, F. 1995. Show Me God. Wheeling, IL, Searchlight Publications, p. 233.

13) Margenau, H and R.A. Varghese, ed. 1992. Cosmos, Bios, and Theos. La Salle, IL, Open Court, p. 83.

14) Penrose, R. 1992. A Brief History of Time (movie). Burbank, CA, Paramount Pictures, Inc.

15) Jastrow, R. 1978. God and the Astronomers. New York, W.W. Norton, p. 116.

16) Tipler, F.J. 1994. The Physics Of Immortality. New York, Doubleday, Preface.

17) Gannes, S. October 13, 1986. Fortune. p. 57

18) Heeren, F. 1995. Show Me God. Wheeling, IL, Searchlight Publications, p. 166-167.

19) Margenau, H. and R. A. Varghese, eds. Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the Origins of the Universe, Life, and Homo Sapiens (Open Court Pub. Co., La Salle, IL, 1992).

20) McIver, T. 1986. Ancient Tales and Space-Age Myths of Creationist Evangelism. The Skeptical Inquirer 10:258-276.

21) McIver, T. 1986. Ancient Tales and Space-Age Myths of Creationist Evangelism. The Skeptical Inquirer 10:258-276.

So, far from atheism being supported by science, the theistic worldview has been exemplified above all other models of interpretation (perceptions) of reality. Mind you this isn’t “proof” how the naturalist wrongly interprets the empirical method (scientific positivism), but it is a probability that exceeds others. (I suggest taking time, about an hour, and listen to this presentation by William Lane Craig on the evidences for theism over other worldviews.) Here John makes one of his signature jumps from one topic to a completely different one. I sometimes feel — shot in the dark again — he does this with the idea that he is saying something “scientific” and that everyone should credit his knowledge in on this particular topic (which is not the case), and then he brings that “trust” into a completely different topic.

Odd, to say the least. At any rate, freedom is something atheism does not account for, determinism is (enjoy the John Cleese video to the right). But that is a subject left for another day.

At this pivot point regarding freedom in one sentence to abortion in the following deserves some attention. Mr. Van Huizum seems to think that those who stand against abortion are doing so because God says. There are many atheists who are pro-life. How do they make their argument then? Science! Oooooh DRAT! Foiled by his own premise. If John had a grave to roll over in, he would. Here, for example, is model Kathy Ireland using the scientific laws to make her point:

Kathy Ireland, many years ago, was on Bill Mahers Politically Incorrectand the discussion that ensued shows the frailty of the liberal/relativistic position:

Bill Maher: Kathy, why do you oppose a women’s right to choose

Kathy Ireland: Bill, when my husband was going to medical school I underwent a transformation. Because I used to be in favor of abortion. But I noticed when I was reading through some of his medical teaching books, that according to a law in science known as the law of biogenesis, every living thing reproduces after it own kind. That means dog produce dogs, cats produce cats, humans produce humans. If we want to know what something is we simply ask what are its parents. If we know what the parents are, we know what the thing in question is. And I reasoned from that because human parents can only produce human offspring, unborn human fetuses could be nothing but human beings, because the law of biogenesis rules out every other alternative. And I concluded therefore that because human fetuses were part of our family, we should not harm them without justification.

Bill Maher: Well Kathy, that’s just your opinion!

In October 2002, Kathy Ireland made a compelling argument against abortion on the Fox News Channel’s Hannity and Colmes political debate show. Alan Colmes described Ireland’s opinions as religious, but Ireland said that her views on abortion do not stem from faith. She asserted that even atheists could realize that abortion is wrong. Kathy told Alan that her belief is founded in science and technology, which she says, “has come a long way since Roe vs. Wade.”

Ireland also defended her values as being pro-women, stating, “We need to support these women who are in crisis pregnancy situations.” She claimed that because scientific evidence proves that abortion is murder, “I have no choice but to defend the most vulnerable among us.”

Here is one the best presentations detailing some of the above by Scott Klusendorf, a guy who’s specialty is the pro-life position in contradistinction to the pro-choice one. [Actually, since one position is “pro-life,” the other one is rightfully the “pro-death” position.] (Audio presentation to the right, 30-minutes.) So John Van Huizum’s statement that the pro-life position is merely based on “God says so” seems to be — either out of ignorance or bias — a straw-man argument of what the other side truly believes. Again, John seems to cheapen these important issues, not giving the other side its proper due.

Right when you think Mr. Huizum is staying on one topic, he switches again in his last paragraph by quoting a verse about taxes, as if this verse has something to do with a letter from Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists. I dissect this position quite a bit in my paper found here, but this quote from a seminary level text that touches on the idea (separating the religious realm from the secular) John expresses:

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.

So you see that — again — John’s understating of theology, culture, philosophy and science is one that is the culmination (I suspect) of a life lived rejecting the other side of the issue as mere opinion… or worse yet, as delusional, without really taking into consideration the best of the opposing views scholarly arguments. All this evidence being shown I suspect that john rejects faith, God, conservative ideals for psychological reasons more than evidential. I will begin to end this critique with a presentation by Dr. Paul C. Vitz, Professor of Psychology at New York University (emeritus?).

Now, I promised to end with more on a quote I used from the 9th District Court that I thought John would agree with. 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, agnostic, [Democrat, Republican, Libertarian], 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.

______________________________________________________

*As the link points out, intelligent design is not a recent invention of creationists and their response to “lost” court case. Here is more:

Is intelligent design based on the Bible?

No. The idea that human beings can observe signs of intelligent design in nature reaches back to the foundations of both science and civilization. In the Greco-Roman tradition, Plato and Cicero both espoused early versions of intelligent design. In the history of science, most scientists until the latter part of the nineteenth century accepted some form of intelligent design, including Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-discoverer with Charles Darwin of the theory of evolution by natural selection. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, meanwhile, the idea that design can be discerned in nature can be found not only in the Bible but among Jewish philosophers such as Philo and in the writings of the Early Church Fathers. The scientific community largely rejected design in the early twentieth century after neo-Darwinism claimed to be able to explain the emergence of biological complexity through the unintelligent process of natural selection acting on random mutations. In recent decades, however, new research and discoveries in such fields as physics, cosmology, biochemistry, genetics, and paleontology have caused a growing number of scientists and science theorists to question neo-Darwinism and propose intelligent design as the best explanation for the existence of specified complexity throughout the natural world.

iraq-kuwait-map

Concepts: Are We Insane? Nope, Just You Van Huizum (Updated)

Yet another unfounded swipe at the Iraq War. John Van Huizum lives in a bubble where if he has come to a conclusion years ago… that’s it! History forever stays right where John wants it to stay. Here is an excerpt of John’s (click to enlarge it) article shows a complete lack of history. 

I doubt he think any differently about Vietnam based on his 1970’s conclusions. It wouldn’t matter that after 1990 — the fall of the Wall — 100,000 of thousands of Soviet era documents were now being translated and reviewed by military historians and good books based on MORE historical documents. Because these new documents support the traditional (and not the Left’s reasoning) for entering and fighting this proxy war of WWIII (the Cold War), this new information is rejected from the matrix of the left’s consciousness. But that is neither here-nor-there.

So, let’s deal with some of the contentions in John’s excerpted article. Firstly he notes that there were insufficient reasons for going to war.

May I remind him there were many U.N. Resolutions against Iraq that were almost all not met:

  1. UNSCR 678 – November 29, 1990
  2. UNSCR 686 – March 2, 1991
  3. UNSCR 687 – April 3, 1991
  4. UNSCR 688 – April 5, 1991
  5. UNSCR 707 – August 15, 1991
  6. UNSCR 715 – October 11, 1991
  7. UNSCR 949 – October 15, 1994
  8. UNSCR 1051 – March 27, 1996
  9. UNSCR 1060 – June 12, 1996
  10. UNSCR 1115 – June 21, 1997
  11. UNSCR 1134 – October 23, 1997
  12. UNSCR 1137 – November 12, 1997
  13. UNSCR 1154 – March 2, 1998
  14. UNSCR 1194 – September 9, 1998 (“Condemns the decision by Iraq of 5 August 1998 to suspend cooperation with” UN and IAEA inspectors, which constitutes “a totally unacceptable contravention” of its obligations under UNSCR 687, 707, 715, 1060, 1115, and 1154.)
  15. UNSCR 1205 – November 5, 1998
  16. UNSCR 1284 – December 17, 1999

….See Additional UN Security Council Statements…

Official U.N. resolutions aside, Bush went to Congress and made his case with these and many other points. One point being that Iraq was firing almost everyday on our fighter pilots in the no-fly zone. In the cease fire of the First Gulf War, this was enough — under international law — to RESUME aggression.

But I also argue very forcefully that WMDs (and AMDs) were found in Iraq. And I made a case for it via a debate with a professor of history from the University of Michigan. The ever growing case for it can be found here on my WMD PAGE. Another site that is more in-depth than my own is this one. On it we find an even more in-depth quoting of Democrats — in other words, not Cheney — making Bush’s case:

  • “One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line.”

~ President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998.

  • “Together we must also confront the new hazards of chemical and biological weapons, and the outlaw states, terrorists and organized criminals seeking to acquire them. Saddam Hussein has spent the better part of this decade, and much of his nation’s wealth, not on providing for the Iraqi people, but on developing nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them.”

~ President Clinton, Jan. 27, 1998.

  • “Fateful decisions will be made in the days and weeks ahead. At issue is nothing less than the fundamental question of whether or not we can keep the most lethal weapons known to mankind out of the hands of an unreconstructed tyrant and aggressor who is in the same league as the most brutal dictators of this century.”

~ Sen. Joe Biden (D, DE), Feb. 12, 1998

  • “It is essential that a dictator like Saddam not be allowed to evade international strictures and wield frightening weapons of mass destruction. As long as UNSCOM is prevented from carrying out its mission, the effort to monitor Iraqi compliance with Resolution 687 becomes a dangerous shell game. Neither the United States nor the global community can afford to allow Saddam Hussein to continue on this path.”

~ Sen. Tom Daschle (D, SD), Feb. 12, 1998

  • “Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.”

~ Madeleine Albright, Feb. 18, 1998.

  • “He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.”

~ Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb. 18, 1998.

  • “We urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.”

~ Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 1998.

  • “As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.”

~ Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998.

  • “Hussein has … chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies.”

~ Madeleine Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999.

  • “This December will mark three years since United Nations inspectors last visited Iraq. There is no doubt that since that time, Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to refine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.”

~ Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL) and others, Dec, 5, 2001.

  • “We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them.”

~ Sen. Carl Levin (D, MI), Sept. 19, 2002.

  • “We know that he has stored away secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.”

~ Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.

  • “Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.”

~ Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.

  • “We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.”

~ Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002.

  • “The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons…”

~ Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002.

  • “My position is very clear: The time has come for decisive action to eliminate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. I’m a co-sponsor of the bipartisan resolution that’s presently under consideration in the Senate. Saddam Hussein’s regime is a grave threat to America and our allies…”

~ John Edwards (D, NC), Oct. 7, 2002

  • “I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force — if necessary — to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.”

~ Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002.

  • “There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years …. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.”

~ Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002.

  • “He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do.”

~ Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002.

  • “In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members…. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.”

~ Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct. 10, 2002.

  • “We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction.

~ Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL), Dec. 8, 2002.

  • “Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime …. He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation … And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction …. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real ….”

~ Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003.

Nope, no one named Dick Cheney there.

Now, on to my second grievance with John’s ignorance of history. And it has to do with God’s existence and war. While I will grant him that Islam has inherent to it properties that make them go to war… constantly, their whole history.

John Quincy Adams is worth reading at greater length on the topic, as he provides some insight into what has been going on in Iraq now that Obama has prematurely removed our troops:

▼ In the seventh century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab of the lineage of Hagar [i.e., Muhammad], the Egyptian, […..] Adopting from the new Revelation of Jesus, the faith and hope of immortal life, and of future retribution, he humbled it to the dust by adapting all the rewards and sanctions of his religion to the gratification of the sexual passion. He poisoned the sources of human felicity at the fountain, by degrading the condition of the female sex, and the allowance of polygamy; and he declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind. THE ESSENCE OF HIS DOCTRINE WAS VIOLENCE AND LUST. – TO EXALT THE BRUTAL OVER THE SPIRITUAL PART OF HUMAN NATURE…. Between these two religions, thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. The war is yet flagrant … While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and good will towards men.

Winston Churchill deserves a longer hearing too:

▼ “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.

Islam has not changed over the centuries. All that has changed is that never before have we been ruled by people who take Islam’s side against us.

(Click to enlarge)

Other religions do not. But the Left typically will think religion is the main catalyst for war throughout history. This is not the case. Let me repeat that, this is NOT the case.

A recent comprehensive compilation of the history of human warfare, Encyclopedia of Wars by Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod documents 1763 wars, of which 123 have been classified to involve a religious conflict. So, what atheists have considered to be ‘most’ really amounts to less than 7% of all wars. It is interesting to note that 66 of these wars (more than 50%) involved Islam, which did not even exist as a religion for the first 3,000 years of recorded human warfare. Even the Seven Years’ War, widely recognized to be “religious” in motivation, noting that the warring factions were not necessarily split along confessional lines as much as along secular interests.

  • Alan Axelrod & Charles Phillips, Encyclopedia of Wars, Facts on File, November 2004
  • John Entick, The General History of the Later War, Volume 3, 1763, p. 110.

So I would argue the further you get from the Judeo-Christian ethic/God, the more violent a culture gets. As we become more secularized, we (Judeo-Christian adherents) meet snorts and ridicule: 

“No culture is perfect – far from it. But all healthy cultures reward virtue and punish vice, encourage what is noble and beautiful and discourage what is base and tawdry, promote liberty, and restrain license. [Every young man] must now dwell in a perverse anti-culture in which his attempt to practice the demanding virtue of purity meets less than approval. It meets snorts of disdain and ridicule.”

Anthony Esolen, Defending Marriage: Twelve Arguments for Sanity (Charlotte, NC: Saint Benedict Press, 2014), 54.

We know that our Constitution was founded for a particular people, which is what the left want a “living/breathing” constitution which is based in a different worldview than those who wrote it: “Living political constitutions must be Darwinian in structure and practice” ~ Woodrow Wilson.

“…we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

  • John Adams, first (1789–1797) Vice President of the United States, and the second (1797–1801) President of the United States. Letter to the Officers of the First Brigade of the Third Division of the Militia of Massachusetts, 11 October 1798, in Revolutionary Services and Civil Life of General William Hull (New York, 1848), pp 265-6.

All this is lost on John however… it is like teaching a new trick to a very old dog. But people are entitled to their opinions… just not their own facts.

Noh8

Concepts: Proposition 8 [NOH8] ~ Non-Sequiturs (EDITED)

(Originally posted 4-6-2013) Just a quick note on when John says (see below) that he doubts “the origin of homosexuality will be discussed,” he does not discuss it either (if there is even an “origin” to be discussed). And while I admit to not following John’s every contribution to mankind, I doubt John has ever talked about it either, or, if he has, he proffered internally contradictory points. Okay, diving right in… some points I will be working on throughout the post found in the article:

1) Classification by the leading psychiatric group in America (jump);

2) Native American “gays” (jump);

3) Socrates (jump);

4) Some final thoughts on the immutability of marriage and our culture (jump).

Okay, while trying to be understanding to John Van Huizum’s allotted space given to write within, he shows a lack of depth in his looking into the matter with anything other than his “prejudicial” view. While he tried to be non-prejudicial, he just cannot. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we are all prejudicial in our views.

That is why knowing about  worldviews is soo emphasized in Christian apologetics. A clear understanding of the prejudice in origins, for instance, can open up many avenues to learn about reality and you place in the universe. So while John may say he is trying to be more neutral, I doubt he has done the serious work to examine his own life outside of his prejudicial outlook.

Proverbs 21:2

“You may believe you are doing right [ Every person’s path seems right/straight in their own eyes], but the Lord judges your reasons [weighs your heart].”

But I ingress. Moving on.

POINT #1

Mental Disorder

This is taken from a large response to the Reverend Mel White, a gay man who tries to justify the practice of homosexuality via Christianity. (This distinction is important, the “person” is made in the image of God, as fallen as they are [we were/are], they deserve the same respect and love shown us from our Savior.) He uses the same tact that it is — homosexuality — is not considered a “malady” as well. Here is my response:


Jeffrey Satinover in his book, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth,[20] deals with this current position and how the APA got there:

A Change of Status

The APA vote to normalize homosexuality was driven by pol­itics, not science. Even sympathizers acknowledged this. Ronald Bayer was then a Fellow at the Hastings Institute in New York. He reported how in 1970 the leadership of a homosexual faction within the APA planned a “systematic effort to disrupt the annual meetings of the American Psychiatric Association” [R. Bayer, Homosexuality and American Psychiatry: The Politics of Diagno­sis (New York: Basic Books, 1981), p. 102.]They de­fended this method of “influence” on the grounds that the APA represented “psychiatry as a social institution” rather than a sci­entific body or professional guild.

At the 1970 meetings, Irving Bieber, an eminent psychoana­lyst and psychiatrist, was presenting a paper on “homosexuality and transsexualism.” He was abruptly challenged:

[Bieber’s] efforts to explain his position … were met with derisive laughter. . . . [One] protester to call him a . “I’ve read your book, Dr. Bieber, and if that book talked about black people the way it talks about homosexuals, you’d be drawn and quartered and you’d deserve it.” [102-103]

The tactics worked. Acceding to pressure, the organizers of the following APA conference in 1971 agreed to sponsor a special panel—not on homosexuality, but by homosexuals. If the panel was not approved, the program chairman had been warned, “They’re [the homosexual activists] not going to break up just one section” [104].

But the panel was not enough. Bayer continues:

Despite the agreement to allow homosexuals to conduct their own panel discussion at the 1971 convention, gay activists in Wash­ington felt that they had to provide yet another jolt to the psychi­atric profession. . . . Too smooth a transition . . . would have deprived the movement of its most important weapon—the threat of disorder…. [They] turned to a Gay Liberation Front collective in Washington to plan the May 1971 demonstration. Together with the collective [they] developed a detailed strategy for disruption, paying attention to the most intricate logistical details.[104-105]

On May 3, 1971, the protesting psychiatrists broke into a meet­ing of distinguished members of the profession. They grabbed the microphone and turned it over to an outside activist, who declared:

Psychiatry is the enemy incarnate. Psychiatry has waged a relentless war of extermination against us. You may take this as a declaration of war against you. . . . We’re rejecting you all as our owners.[105-106]

No one raised an objection. The activists then secured an appearance before the APA’s Committee on Nomenclature. Its chairman allowed that perhaps homosexual behavior was not a sign of psychiatric disorder, and that the Diagnostic and Statis­tical Manual (DSM) should probably therefore reflect this new understanding.

When the committee met formally to consider the issue in 1973 the outcome had already been arranged behind closed doors. No new data was introduced, and objectors were given only fifteen minutes to present a rebuttal that summarized seventy years of psychiatric and psychoanalytic opinion. When the committee voted as planned, a few voices formally appealed to the mem­bership at large, which can overrule committee decisions even on “scientific” matters.

The activists responded swiftly and effectively. They drafted a letter and sent it to the over thirty thousand members of the APA, urging them “to vote to retain the nomenclature change” [145]. How could the activists afford such a mailing? They purchased the APA membership mailing list after the National Gay Task Force (NGTF) sent out a fund-raising appeal to their membership.

Bayer comments:

Though the NGTF played a central role in this effort, a decision was made not to indicate on the letter that it was written, at least in part, by the Gay Task Force, nor to reveal that its distribution was funded by contributions the Task Force had raised. Indeed, the letter gave every indication of having been conceived and mailed by those [psychiatrists] who [originally] signed it. . . . Though each signer publicly denied any role in the dissimulation, at least one signer had warned privately that to acknowledge the organizational role of the gay community would have been the “kiss of death.”

There is no question however about the extent to which the offi­cers of the APA were aware of both the letter’s origins and the mechanics of its distribution. They, as well as the National Gay Task Force, understood the letter as performing a vital role in the effort to turn back the challenge.[146]

Because a majority of the APA members who responded voted to support the change in the classification of homosexuality, the decision of the Board of Trustees was allowed to stand. But in fact only one-third of the membership did respond. (Four years later the journal Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality reported on a survey it conducted. The survey showed that 69 percent of psy­chiatrists disagreed with the vote and still considered homosex­uality a disorder.) Bayer remarks:

The result was not a conclusion based upon an approximation of the scientific truth as dictated by reason, but was instead an action demanded by the ideological temper of the times. [3-4]

Two years later the American Psychological Association—the professional psychology guild that is three times larger than the APA—voted to follow suit.

How much the 1973 APA decision was motivated by politics is only becoming clear even now While attending a conference in England in 1994, I met a man who told me an account that he had told no one else. He had been in the gay life for years but had left the lifestyle. He recounted how after the 1973 APA deci­sion he and his lover, along with a certain very highly placed officer of the APA Board of Trustees and his lover, all sat around the officer’s apartment celebrating their victory. For among the gay activists placed high in the APA who maneuvered to ensure a victory was this man—suborning from the top what was pre­sented to both the membership and the public as a disinter­ested search for truth.

So this graphic by the Reverend White means nothing. Most women I know who are lesbians who have intimated family members of mine their past have all said they were abused by a man in the family. Likewise, the two homosexual men I know well enough to ask, both had a sexual encounter with an older man when they were 14 years old and younger. Lesbian author Tammy Bruce intimates this story in her book:

… and now all manner of sexual perversion enjoys the protection and support of once what was a legitimate civil-rights effort for decent people. The real slippery slope has been the one leading into the Left’s moral vacuum. It is a singular attitude that prohibits any judgment about obvious moral decay because of the paranoid belief that judgment of any sort would destroy the gay lifestyle, whatever that is…. Here come[s] the elephant again: Almost without exception, the gay men I know (and that’s too many to count) have a story of some kind of sexual trauma or abuse in their childhood — molestation by a parent or an authority figure, or seduction as an adolescent at the hands of an adult. The gay community must face the truth and see sexual molestation* of an adolescent for the abuse it is, instead of the ‘coming-of-age’ experience many [gays] regard it as being. Until then, the Gay Elite will continue to promote a culture of alcohol and drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, and suicide by AIDS.[21]

* By the age of 18 or 19 years, three quarters of American youth, regardless of their sexual orientation, have had sexual relations with another person. Gay males are more likely than heterosexual males to become sexually active at a younger age (12.7 vs. 15.7 years) and to have had multiple sexual partners. The ages at the time of the first sexual experience with another person are closer for lesbians and heterosexual females (15.4 vs. 16.2 years).

(New England Journal of Medicine)

Do you think… I am asking you… do you think this is psychological in nature? I mean, raping of boys and these boys growing into men confused, hurt, traumatized (often by a close family confidant) and expressing this confusion in unhealthy lifestyle choices? These men and women are hurting and need counseling, compassion, care, and understanding. But the best way to get this to them is not to normalize the actions done to them and they do to themselves. One author mentions the timing this “reclassification came about:

…it may be just a coincidence that just about at the height of the “sexual revolution” (or devolution) the “evidence from science” changed. Keep in mind that psychiatry and psychology are soft sciences and that secular counseling and education is largely based on the societal trends de jour.[22]

Which brings me to a point I left off with in premise four. Homosexuals make up one to three percent of the population, yet, almost 70% of serial killers are homosexuals… this non-diagnosis in lieu of political correctness and the sexual revolution seems a bit quick and non-scientific, considering the abuse that leads to this lifestyle and crime stemming from this lifestyle.

[20] (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996), 32-35.

[21] Tammy Bruce, The Death of Right and Wrong: Exposing the Left’s Assault on Our Culture and Values (Roseville: Prima, 2003), 90,99.

[22] Rev. Dr. Mel White on Christian Homosexuality, part 3 of 21 Mariano Grinbank,


I have shared in the past the story of Walt Haeyer, a man who through an operation “became a woman,” lived as such for 8-years, while getting a counseling degree dealt with his tragic childhood (as well as becoming a Christian), now lives as a man and is married with kids. Another touching story is by this young man that touched Ravi Zacharias during a Q&A portion of one of his talks:

Now, to be clear, my point is NOT TO POINT fingers at my gay friends and tell them to change. I cannot do that, nor, outside of loving advice, have the authority to do so. That is between them and their God. My point is that the “malady” may not be as immutable as some would have us think. Which then, in my minds eye, translates into harming more the gay man or woman if this reaction to trauma is accepted as completely normalized (given a rubber stamp of approval) by society. I deal with the loving ways to come at this in my official “Cumulative Case” on the topic. But the “bible” of psychiatry is defining new “illnesses” with each publication, and for homosexuality to be stricken from any analysis is harmful when the internet, grief, even thinking about anxiety are all being classified as an illness… but these often times traumatic experiences many face as children and the twisting of their sexual expression since this experience is not a malady. Something is up… and its called politics. I will let Tammy Bruce (a gay woman) take us out:

…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], 92, 206.)

POINT #2

Some acquaintances I have followed for a couple of years [their work], and have a meal or two with, make a great point about the Native-American dealing with homosexuality that is quite different than many in today’s culture care to admit into the dialogue, and that is: gender differences. The fine gentlemen at Gay Patriot, the afore mentioned acquaintances, mentioned his own research into the Native-American (NA) “two-spirits” designation, and I found this very enlightening:

In my grad school paper for my Native American class, I researched the legends of the berdache, or two-spirit.  Many cite the berdacge tradition as an example of cultures which accept and embrace homosexuality and same-sex relationships.  And while many American Indian tribes recognized same-sex marriages, they all required one partner in such a union to live in the guise of the other sex.  Thus, if one man married another man, one would wear men’s clothes and go hunting with the “braves” while the other would have to wear women’s clothes and live as a “squaw.”  The one who lived as a woman could not go hunting with his same-sex peers nor could he participate in activities, rituals etc reserved for his biological sex.


California, Massachusetts, and other liberal states are not only pushing for same-sex marriage as a societal equal to hetero marriage, but in the process doing away with gender distinctions. This is a travesty, and in agreement with me are many gay men and women.

I have a larger point though, that will tie into Socrates a bit, and it is this: just because NA’s had gay persons in their society does not answer the very real possibility of abuse of young persons in that society that may be the bedrock of this behavior. In other words, we know today that many people who consider themselves gay had “coming out” experiences when they were young. In fact, one person I know posted in a gay group this question based on one of my posts (see the discussion that ensued here) and ended up proving my point. This will lead into and combine with…

POINT #3

Very bluntly and plainly, Socrates was not “gay,” per se. He was a pedophile, most pedophiles in Grecian days slept with young boys, a homosexual act. Pedophilia became common practice for the well-ta-do, and it took the Judeo-Christian worldview to shake this “habit” from the world in outlawing such actions. “Many men in Ancient Greece had relations with young teens,” however, “being outright gay and having an equal relationship with a same-sex partner was not something that was socially approved of at all.” Plato speaks to the “mean state” that creates the best “by far the safest and most moderate” a society should promote to enhance its quality of life. One should take note that even Plato’s detractor in the end agrees:

Now, what lives are they, and how many in which, having searched out and beheld the objects of will and desire and their opposites, and making of them a law, choosing, I say, the dear and the pleasant and the best and noblest, a man may live in the happiest way possible

[….]

Speaking generally, our glory is to follow the better and improve the inferior, which is susceptible of improvement, as far as this is possible. And of all human possessions, the soul is by nature most inclined to avoid the evil, and track out and find the chief good; which when a man has found, he should take up his abode with it during the remainder of his life…. every one will perceive, comes the honour of the body in natural order. Having determined this, we have next to consider that there is a natural honour of the body, and that of honours some are true and some are counterfeit…. but the mean states of all these habits are by far the safest and most moderate;

[….]

…but they will not wholly extirpate [root out]the unnatural loves which have been the destruction of states; and against this evil what remedy can be devised?…

[….]

Either men may learn to abstain wholly from any loves, natural or unnatural, except of their wedded wives; or, at least, they may give up unnatural loves; or, if detected, they shall be punished with loss of citizenship, as aliens from the state in their morals. ‘I entirely agree with you,’ said Megillus,…

This is excerpted from The Dialogues of Plato, in 5 vols (Jowett ed.) [387 BC]

Another piece to the puzzle comes from an excellent apologetic about this very subject. In it we find this:

Aeschines (390-314? BC), in his work Against Timarchus, acknowledged that there were laws on the books that prohibited sexual harassment or assault of young boys.5

1. He further records that Greek law prohibited male prostitutes from holding office in civic affairs, or participating in religious observances.

2. He recognized that laws that regulate moral conduct are the best means of establishing and maintaining an orderly society.

3. This work indicates that there were laws prohibiting these things, and that the punishment was fine or death, depending on the severity of the offense.

So, even in Greece, you had a behavior that was rejected as unnatural, and never accepted in a moral category as “the norm.”  So nothing John cites or references would support Prop 8 or the peoples will in California to keep marriage what it has been, a relation between a man and woman (specifically, one man and one woman).

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Per John’s usual modus operandi, he has connected ideas that have no relation or equal to the current issue, and are by themselves arguments against his position. But I wanted to end with a recent response to a friend that deals with this “mean” that Plato references, the “good” that any society should strive towards. And while I am a Christian and think that theism gives the most powerful “mean” to the “best and noblest, a man may live in the happiest way possible,” one should keep in mind that one can do the same even as an atheist. Here is my response:

(Nature Uncaring) True. Dawkins for instance says rape being morally wrong in our current culture is as inconsequential as us evolving 5 rather than 4 fingers. So morally speaking nature is cruel, without — that is — a matrix placed on it that is above nature. Something only the theistic worldview can offer. That being said, we can access the “book of nature,” if you will, to codify things that exist, like: the “law of gravity,” the “law of conservation,” the “law of thermodynamics,” the “law of motion.” These have always existed, but at some point were “discovered,” or codified. Similarly the “laws of thought” (logic) have always existed, but Aristotle codified many of them.

Nature (if that is all you believe in) has created a “way,” an “institution” that mankind has always accessed, and was codified in the cultural sense throughout mankind’s history. So much like Calvin Coolidge saying the “men do not make laws – they do but discover them,” making laws an “ought” should be grounded in something larger than man (like the judges did in the Nuremberg Trials). But you can also merely describe, which I did in a series of questions from you many years ago (from one of my earliest posts: Marriage: Is It Hetero?):

However, there is a “created order,” or, even a natural order (if you do not believe in God). My argument for heterosexual (between a man and a woman) unions is usable both by the atheist (non believer in God) and the theist (a believer in God – in the Judeo-Christian sense). Here is the crux of the matter in regards to “nature’s order:”

✤ “…take gold as an example, it has inherent in its nature intrinsic qualities that make it expensive: good conductor of electricity, rare, never tarnishes, and the like. The male and female have the potential to become a single biological organism, or single organic unit, or principle. Two essentially becoming one. The male and female, then, have inherent to their nature intrinsic qualities that two mated males or two mated females never actualize in their courtship… nor can they ever. The potential stays just that, potential, never being realized…..

✤ “….Think of a being that reproduces, not by mating, but by some act performed by individuals. Imagine that for these same beings, movement and digestion is performed not by individuals, but only by the complementary pairs that unite for this purpose. Would anyone acquainted with such beings have difficulty understanding that in respect to movement and digestion, the organism is a united pair, or an organic unity?”

So you see, the two heterosexual organisms that join in a sexual union cease being two separate organisms for a short time and become one organism capable of reproduction. This is what the state and the church are sealing in a marriage, this intrinsic union. The homosexual couple can never achieve this union, so “natures order” has endowed the heterosexual union with an intrinsic quality that other relationships do not have or could never attain. Both the atheist and theist can argue from this point, because either we were created this way or we evolved this way. Either way, nature has imposed on the sexual union being discussed.

I will make the point as well, that as society moves away from the matrix our Founding documents are overlay’ed with, the human (the gay man/women specifically) will have his humanity threatened. You see, in the Judeo-Christian matrix, the homosexual has intrinsic worth. (The authors of the book “Relativism: Feet Firmly Planted in Mid-Air” make this point in deeper philosophical argument than I.) And as people move further away from nature’s order, a form of “worth” anarchy will break out. Two people that saw this first hand comment well on the matter. The first is the author of “The Gulag Archipelago,” by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn. He says this in his Templeton Address:

More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.

Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.

What is more, the events of the Russian Revolution can only be understood now, at the end of the century, against the background of what has since occurred in the rest of the world. What emerges here is a process of universal significance. And if I were called upon to identify briefly the principal trait of the entire twentieth century, here too, I would be unable to find anything more precise and pithy than to repeat once again: Men have forgotten God.

The failings of human consciousness, deprived of its divine dimension, have been a determining factor in all the major crimes of this century. The first of these was World War I, and much of our present predicament can be traced back to it. It was a war (the memory of which seems to be fading) when Europe, bursting with health and abundance, fell into a rage of self-mutilation which could not but sap its strength for a century or more, and perhaps forever. The only possible explanation for this war is a mental eclipse among the leaders of Europe due to their lost awareness of a Supreme Power above them….

Men have forgotten God.

Tammy Bruce, a lesbian, notes our current culture:

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.”

[….]

The moral vacuum did rear its ugly head during the 1960s with the blurring of the lines of right and wrong (remember “situational ethics”?), the sexual revolution, and the consequent emergence of the feminist and gay civil-rights movements. It’s not the original ideas of these movements, mind you, that caused and have perpetuated the problems we’re discussing. It was and remains the few in power who project their destructive sense of themselves onto the innocent landscape, all the while influencing and conditioning others. Today, not only is the blight not being faced, but in our Looking-Glass world, AIDS is romanticized and sought after…

Tammy Bruce, The Death of Right and Wrong: Exposing the Left’s Assault on Our Culture and Values (Roseville: Prima, 2003), 35, 97.

CHANGE OF DIRECTION AND QUESTION:

SO, LET US MOVE to what “matrix” you see as being the most beneficial to human worth [especially to the gay man/woman] out of the only available to mankind. The seven world views. But out of the biggies (pantheism, theism, and atheism), which do you see the one lifting mankind up to the pinnacle of an ontological worth not found in nature?

And this is key, which direction will afford the American experiment the maximum liberty COUPLED WITH what Nature and Nature’s Laws/Author has wrought for the happiest “mean” we can attain? This is the battle and question before mankind right now… however, as Gay Patriot pointed out in the post entitled, silencing and slurring those with politically incorrect views, much of the voting population are “low-info” (non-thinking) people who have lost the art to do anything other than “resort to name-calling and ostracism of individuals who oppose their cause.”

A liberal professor takes umbrage with this new wave of non-thinking, and even says it harms the intellectual “mean,” if you will, of the liberal person this thinking infects. And as you can see in two discussions I was in recently (here, and here — same person) any semblance of maturity in dialogue and learning and admitting, maybe, just maybe, the positions taken are in fact not a tenable position. but in our society where people elevate opinion as truth, and pride in Narcissism  is the prevailing guide… you will never get much beyond being called sexist, intolerant, xenophobic, homophobic, Islamophobic, racist, bigoted (S.I.X.H.I.R.B.). Or as Doug Mainwaring says in his article that Gay Patriot linked to, “anti-science, homophobic, misogynist, racist, xenophobic, Neanderthal.”

Political correctness seeks to silence all opposition to the advancement of progressive ideology. Those who manipulate the power of political correctness appear on the surface to be the good-hearted, the vulnerable, and the victimized. Whether as individuals, as organizations, or as cultural groups, they present a picture of innocence and goodness, of unparalleled magnanimity and empathy. Yet like Anthony, their appearance is deceiving. They demand total fealty. And if you don’t think the “happy thoughts” they want you to, their outward appearance gives way to vindictiveness and the same swift, disproportionate punishments that little Anthony meted out.

They want to be constantly affirmed, never challenged, never questioned, never judged. If they sense you don’t agree with them, you are immediately judged to be a “bad person, with bad thoughts.” They intimidate you into silence, until outwardly you only express happy thoughts, i.e., expressions of vigorous agreement with and the moral goodness of their will. For individuals and organizations who do not bend to their will, like Anthony, they wish their detractors out to the cornfield. Their version of the cornfield is the constant threat of social isolation, of being unloved and disrespected.

Pick any issue currently being advanced by progressives — same-sex marriage, state-mandated free contraception, abortion, man-made global warming and strict gun control, to name a few. Publicly question or resist any of these and be prepared to be judged as an anti-science, homophobic, misogynist, racist, xenophobic, Neanderthal.

(Read more at American Thinker)

Until people begin to inform themselves on how to think, we will never have good legislation in most states. States that have the “perfect storm” of rational thinking and dialogue (like New Hampshire) come up with the greatest liberty and “good” for their citizens in this experiment we call the States… however, John is far from this experiment’s stated goals by the authors of supporting the New Government and the Constitution:

“…we have no government, armed with power, capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” ~ John Adams

Indeed

Thirty Years War Figures

“Causes of Wars,” Concepts (ISIS Compared to Christianity)

Atheists often claim that religion fuels aggressive wars, both because it exacerbates antagonisms between opponents and also because it gives aggressors confidence by making them feel as if they have God on their side. Lots of wars certainly look as if they are motivated by religion. Just think about conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Middle East, the Balkans, the Asian subcontinent, Indonesia, and various parts of Africa. However, none of these wars is exclusively religious. They always involve political, economic, and ethnic disputes as well. That makes it hard to specify how much [of a] role, if any, religion itself had in causing any particular war. Defenders of religion argue that religious language is misused to justify what warmongers wanted to do independently of religion. This hypothesis might seem implausible to some, but it is hard to refute, partly because we do not have enough data points, and there is so much variation among wars.

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Morality Without God? (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2009), 33-34 (Walter is an atheist, BTW)

(As usual, if you wish you can enlarge the above by clicking the article.)

This is gonna be mainly raw text from two sources about the Thirty Years’ War. The first is a run-down of stats of the war from The Encyclopedia of WarEncyclopedia of wars

The authors are nine history professors who specifically conducted research for the text for a decade in order to chronicle 1,763 wars. The survey of wars covers a time span from 8000 BC to 2003 AD. From over 10,000 years… (source)…

…The second will be from the great resource The Myth of Religious Violence, and will answer two charges against the War. (Take note as well that I dealt with an aspect of this in a previous post/article by John, HERE.)

All this will be preceded by a summary of sorts from the following three sources:

  • Alan Axelrod & Charles Phillips, Encyclopedia of Wars (New York, NY: Facts on File, 2005);
  • The General History of the Late War (Volume 3); Containing It’s Rise, Progress, and Event, in Europe, Asia, Africa, and America (No Publisher [see here], date of publication was from about 1765-1766), 110;
  • William T. Cavanaugh, The Myth of Religious Violence (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2009).

Summary

A recent comprehensive compilation of the history of human warfare, Encyclopedia of Wars by Charles Phillips and Alan Axelrod documents 1763 wars, of which 123 have been classified to involve a religious conflict. So, what atheists have considered to be ‘most’ really amounts to less than 7% of all wars. It is interesting to note that 66 of these wars (more than 50%) involved Islam, which did not even exist as a religion for the first 3,000 years of recorded human warfare.

Even the Seven Years’ War, widely recognized to be “religious” in motivation, noting that the warring factions were not necessarily split along confessional lines as much as along secular interests. And the Thirty Years’ War cannot be viewed as “religious” in that you should find certain aspects if this were the case. For instance, professor Cavanaugh offers the following short critique after a long list of historical instances [included below] building-up-to and during the Thirty Years’ War.

Dr. Cavanaugh sets up the premise like John Van Huizum did, but then responds. (Again, the longer response follows the summary information):

A. Combatants opposed each other based on religious difference. The killing in the wars that are called religious took place between combatants who held to different religious doctrines and practices. We would expect to find, there­fore, in the wars of religion that Catholics killed Protestants and that Catholics did not kill fellow Catholics. We would likewise expect to find that Protestants killed Catholics, but we would not necessarily expect that Protestants did not kill each other without being more specific in differentiating those who are commonly lumped together as “Protestants.” Certainly, we would expect that Lutherans did not kill other Lutherans, Calvinists did not kill other Calvinists, and so on. But given that Lutherans had significant theological differences with Calvinists, Zwinglians, and Anabaptists—and those groups had great doctrinal differences among themselves—we should expect violence among different types of Protestants as well. We should expect, in Kathleen Sullivan’s phrase, a “war of all sects against all.”

[….]

Collaboration between Protestants and Catholics of the lower classes was also widespread in the French wars of religion, mainly in an effort to resist abuse by the nobility and the Crown. In Agen in 1562, the Catholic baron Francois de Fumel forbade his Huguenot peasants from conducting services in the Calvinist manner. They revolted and were joined by hundreds of Catholic peasants. Together, they seized Fumel’s château and beheaded him in front of his wife. Holt comments, “The episode shows above all how difficult it is to divide sixteenth-century French men and women into neat communities of Protestants and Catholics along doctrinal or even cultural lines.”

[….]

If the above instances of war making—in which members of the same church fought each other and members of different churches collaborated—undermine the standard narrative of the wars of religion, the absence of war between Lutherans and Calvinists also undermines the standard tale. If theo­logical difference tends toward a war of all sects against all, we should expect to find Lutheran-Calvinist wars, but in fact we find none. Although there were internal tensions in some principalities between Lutheran princes and Calvinist nobility or Calvinist princes and Lutheran nobility, no Lutheran prince ever went to war against a Calvinist prince. The absence of such wars cannot be attributed to the similarity of Lutheranism and Calvinism. There were sufficient theological differences to sustain a permanent divide between the two branches of the Reformation. Such differences were serious enough to produce sporadic attempts by the civil authorities to enforce doctrinal unifor­mity. In the decades following Phillip Melanchthon’s death in 1560, there was an effort to root out “Crypto-Calvinists” from the ranks of Lutheranism. The rector of the University of Wittenberg, Caspar Peucer, was jailed for Crypto-Calvinism from 1574 to 1586; Nikolaus Krell was executed for Crypto-Calvinism in Dresden in 1601. Many Crypto-Calvinists among the Lutherans were forced to relocate to regions friendlier to Calvinism, such as Hesse-Kasse1. However, the fact that Lutheran-Calvinist tensions played no part in the wars of religion indicates at minimum that significant theological differences in the public realm did not necessarily produce war in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe. There simply was no war of all sects against all….

B. The primary cause of the wars was religion, as opposed to merely political, economic, or social causes. Protestants and Catholics not only killed each other, but they did so for religious—not political, economic, or social—reasons.

[….]

There are two immediate reasons that this would not be an adequate response. First, the above list contains more than just a few isolated instances. In the case of the Thirty Years’ War, for example, the entire latter half of the war was primarily a struggle between the two great Catholic powers of Europe: France, on the one hand, and the two branches of the Habsburgs, on the other. Second, the above list contains more than just exceptions; if the wars in question are indeed wars of religion, then the instances above are inexplicable exceptions, unless other factors are given priority over religion. Why, in a war over religion, would those who share the same religious beliefs kill each other? Why, in a war over religion, would those on opposite sides of the religious divide collaborate? If the answer is that people prioritized other concerns over their religious views, then it does not make sense to call them wars of religion.

  • William T. Cavanaugh, The Myth of Religious Violence (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2009), 141-142, 146, 150-152.

Another thought. Assuming John’s position that the Thirty Years’ War was religious… it was religion fighting for more freedom. So the analogy John is making falls apart. ISIS is not fighting for freedom… they are fighting to enslave… like their predecessors:

(See more)

Okay, that short answer above now gets much more technical — and is geared toward the history buff or technical/in-depth response using history. I will include Dr. Cavanaugh’s 4-part list of issues in regards to the Thirty Years’ War, BUT ONLY his first two responses. His book is so good I recommend the person who has a stomach for history buy it. Here is the raw facts from The Encyclopedia of War:

Thirty-Years’-War 700

Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648)

PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: The Holy Roman Emperor, Spain, Bavaria and other Catholic German states, Saxony and other Protestant German states (after 1635), the Papacy and various Italian states vs. numerous Protestant states and groups in the Empire, Saxony and other Protestant German states (until 1635), Transylvania, the Dutch Republic, Denmark (1625-1629), Sweden (from 1630), and France (from 1636)

PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): Germany

DECLARATION: None

MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: Religious and political freedom for the Protestants of the Empire, and especially of the Hapsburg lands (the emperor and the states of the empire); the atomization of Germany, territorial gains in north Germany, and a war indemnity (Sweden); territorial gains in Alsace-Lorraine and reduction of assistance between the Austrian and Spanish Hapsburgs (France); security for the “Protestant cause” in Germany (Denmark, the Dutch)

OUTCOME: The Empire became fragmented, with the emperor losing most of his political authority within Germany but consolidating his hold over his own territories; religion ceased to be a major precipitant of political conflict; Germany, although devastated by 30 years of conflict, enjoyed internal peace for almost a century; the foreign powers all gained their objectives, although the cost of doing so provoked serious political strains in most of them; Sweden briefly became a great power.

APPROXIMATE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF MEN UNDER ARMS: The Imperial army commanded by Wallenstein in North Germany in 1628-29 probably approached 200,000 men; Gustavus Adolphus probably directed the operations of 120,000 men in 1631-32; France maintained some 130,000 men, at least on paper, in 1635-36. Total number of men in battle, however, rarely exceeded 20,000 per side and normally numbered 10,000 or less—roughly half of them cavalry.

CASUALTIES: Perhaps 500,000 soldiers took part in the war, of whom perhaps two-thirds died in service; in addition civilian losses amounted to perhaps 4 million-20 percent of the total population of the Empire.

TREATIES: Hague Alliance (December 9, 1625); Peace of Lubeck (July 7, 1629); Truce of Altmark (September 26, 1629); Heilbronn League (April 23, 1633); Peace of Prague (May 30, 1635); Treaty of Hamburg (March 15, 1641); Peace of Westphalia (October 24, 1648).

  • Alan Axelrod & Charles Phillips, Encyclopedia of Wars, vol III (New York, NY: Facts on File, 2005), cf, Thirty Years’ War, 1140-1141.

Okay, now for the in-depth items to deal with… remember, only “A” and “B” are responded to. Take note as well that the death toll of secular — non-religious — governments in the 20th Century alone are included (the graphic is linked) at the end.


Components of the Myth

In this section, I will lay out the basic components of the narrative of the wars of religion as used by the figures above. Subsequent sections of this chapter will examine the historical record to determine the plausibility of each component of the narrative. For the overall narrative to be true, each of the following components must be true:

  1. Combatants opposed each other based on religious difference. The killing in the wars that are called religious took place between combatants who held to different religious doctrines and practices. We would expect to find, there­fore, in the wars of religion that Catholics killed Protestants and that Catholics did not kill fellow Catholics. We would likewise expect to find that Protestants killed Catholics, but we would not necessarily expect that Protestants did not kill each other without being more specific in differentiating those who are commonly lumped together as “Protestants.” Certainly, we would expect that Lutherans did not kill other Lutherans, Calvinists did not kill other Calvinists, and so on. But given that Lutherans had significant theological differences with Calvinists, Zwinglians, and Anabaptists—and those groups had great doctrinal differences among themselves—we should expect violence among different types of Protestants as well. We should expect, in Kathleen Sullivan’s phrase, a “war of all sects against all.”
  2. The primary cause of the wars was religion, as opposed to merely political, economic, or social causes. Protestants and Catholics not only killed each other, but they did so for religious—not political, economic, or social—reasons.
  3. Religious causes must be at least analytically separable from political, eco­nomic, and social causes at the time of the wars. Although the historical reality is inevitably complex, and people’s motives are often mixed, we must be able, at least in theory, to separate religious causes from political, economic, and social causes.
  4. The rise of the modern state was not a cause of the wars, but rather provided a solution to the wars. The transfer of power from the church to the state was necessary to tame the disruptive influence of religion. As we have seen, there are two versions of this narrative. In one, the liberal state tames religion by separating church and state and removing religion from the public realm. In the other, the absolutist state enforces political unity by absorbing the church. For contemporary liberal political theorists of the latter type, absolutism is a necessary but temporary stage on the way to liberalism.

We will now see how each of these components stands up to recorded his­tory. This is important, given that the tellings of the narrative we examined above tend not to look very closely at history. Toulmin’s, Skinner’s, and Pocock’s books contain scattered references in the notes to contemporary histories of the religious wars. None of the other figures cites, either in the main text or the footnotes, any work by any historian of the European wars of religion.

The Historical Record

(A) Combatants Opposed Each Other Based on Religious Difference

The myth of the wars of religion is an uncomplicated tale of violence between religious groups who held to different theological doctrines. Historical records of these wars, however, show many examples of members of the same church killing each other and members of different churches collaborating:

  • If there truly were a war of all sects against all, one would expect that war would have broken out soon after Europe split into Catholic and Protestant factions. However, between the time that Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the church door at Wittenberg in 1517 and the outbreak of the first commonly cited religious war—the Schmalkaldic War of 1546-1547—almost thirty years would pass. The Catholic prosecutor of the Schmalkaldic War, Holy Roman emperor Charles V, spent much of the decade following Luther’s excommu­nication in 1520 at war not against Lutherans, but against the pope. As Richard Dunn points out, “Charles V’s soldiers sacked Rome, not Wittenberg, in 1527, and when the papacy belatedly sponsored a reform program, both the Habsburgs and the Valois refused to endorse much of it, rejecting especially those Trentine decrees which encroached on their sovereign authority.”93 The wars of the 1520s were part of the ongoing struggle between the pope and the emperor for control over Italy and over the church in German territories.94
  • The early decades of the Reformation saw Catholic France in frequent wars against the Catholic emperor. The wars began in 1521, 1527, 1536, 1542, and 1552; most lasted two to three years.95 Charles V was at war twenty-three of the forty-one years of his reign, sixteen of them against France.96 Although most of these wars predate what are commonly called the wars of religion, they come in the wake of the Reformation and underscore the fact that the first decades of religious difference in Europe did not produce war between sects. War continued to be based on other factors.
  • In a similar vein, starting in 1525, Catholic France made frequent alli­ances with the Muslim Turks against Catholic emperor Charles V.97 Until the Schmalkaldic War of 1546-1547, the Protestant princes of the Holy Roman Empire generally supported the Catholic emperor in his wars against France. In 1544, Charles granted wide control to the Protestant princes over the churches in their realms in exchange for military support against France.98
  • The first religious war of Charles V against the Schmalkaldic League found a number of important Protestant princes on Charles’s side, including Duke Moritz of Saxony, the Margrave Albrecht-Alcibiades of Brandenburg,99 and the Margrave Hans of Kiistrin.100 The Protestant Philip of Hesse had already signed a treaty to support Charles against the Schmalkaldic League, but he reneged in 1546.101 Wim Blockmans remarks, “The fact that a number of Protestant princes joined Charles’s army shows that the entire operation was based on sheer opportunism.”102
  • Catholic Bavaria refused to fight for the Habsburg emperor in the Schmalkaldic War, though Bavaria did provide some material assis-tance.103Already in 1531, Bavaria had allied with many Lutheran princes in opposing Ferdinand’s election as king of the Romans, and in 1533 Bavaria had joined Philip of Hesse in restoring Wurttemburg to the Protestant duke Ulrich.104
  • The popes were equally unreliable. In January 1547, Pope Paul III abruptly withdrew his forces from Germany, fearing that Charles’s military successes would make him too strong.105 As Blockmans com­ments, “[The pope found a few apostates in northern Germany less awful than a supreme emperor.”106 In 1556-1557, Pope Paul IV went to war against another Habsburg monarch, the devoutly Catholic Philip II of Spain.107
  • In alliance with Lutheran princes, the Catholic king Henry II of France attacked the emperor’s forces in 1552.108 The Catholic princes of the empire stood by, neutral, while Charles went down to defeat. As Richard Dunn observes, “The German princes, Catholic and Lutheran, had in effect ganged up against the Habsburgs.”109 As a result, the emperor had to accept the Peace of Augsburg, which granted the princes the right to determine the ecclesial affiliation of their subjects. Dunn notes that the German peasantry and urban working class “were inclined to follow orders inertly on the religious issue, and switch from Lutheran to Catholic, or vice versa, as their masters required.”110 Most of Charles’s soldiers were mercenaries; these included many Protestants. Some of Charles’s favorite troops were the High German Landsknechte, who commanded a relatively high wage but were good fighters, despite the prevalence of Lutheranism among them.111 The French wars of religion, generally dated 1562-1598, are usually assumed to have pitted the Calvinist Huguenot minority against the Catholic majority. The reality is more complex. In 1573, the gover­nor of Narbonne, Baron Raymond de Fourquevaux, reported to King Charles IX that the common people believed that the wars were rooted in a conspiracy of Protestant and Catholic nobles directed against the commoners.112 The Huguenot and Catholic nobles “openly help each other; the one group holds the lamb while the other cuts its throat.”113 Other contemporary accounts confirm that this view was widespread.114; Though the existence of such a grand conspiracy is doubtful, there were many examples of nobility changing church affiliation at whim115 and many examples of collaboration between Protestant and Catholic nobles. Instances of Protestant-Catholic collaboration among the nobility were generally aimed at asserting the ancient rights of the nobility over against the centralizing efforts of the monarchy. In 1573, the Catholic Henri de Turenne, duke of Bouillon, led the Huguenot forces in upper Guyenne and Perigord.116
  • In 1574, the Catholic royal governor of Languedoc, Henri de Mont­morency, Sieur de Damville, who had previously fought against the Protestants, joined forces with the Huguenot nobility to support a pro­posed antimonarchical constitution.117 He led the anti-Crown military forces in the west and south against the forces of Jacques de Crussol, duke of Uzes, a former Huguenot destroyer of Catholic churches.118 In 1575, the Catholic duke of Alencon, King Henry III’s brother, joined the Huguenots in open rebellion against the monarchy’s oppres­sive taxation.119 In 1578, as duke of Anjou, he sought the hand of the staunchly Protestant Elizabeth I of England in marriage, in an attempt to secure an English-French alliance versus Spain.120
  • A number of Protestants joined the ultra-Catholic duke of Guise’s war of 1579-1580) against the Crown. J. H. M. Salmon comments, “So strong was the disaffection of the nobility, and so little was religion a determining factor in their alignment, that a number of Huguenot seigneurs in the eastern provinces showed a readiness to follow Guise’s banners.”121
  • In 1583, the Protestant Jan Casimir of the Palatinate joined forces with the Catholic duke of Lorraine against Henry III.122
  • Catholic nobles Conti and Soissons served the Protestant Conde in the 1587 campaigns. 123
  • The Crown was not above making alliances with the Huguenots when it served its purposes. In 1571, Charles IX allied with the Huguenots for an anti-Habsburg campaign in the Low Countries.124
  • Henry III joined forces with the Protestant Henry of Navarre in 1589.125 The Catholic kings also made alliances with Protestants beyond France’s borders. In 158o, Anjou offered the French Crown’s support to Dutch Calvinist rebels against Spanish rule. In return, Anjou would become sovereign of the Netherlands, if the revolt should succeed. He took up his position in the Netherlands in 1582, though his reign lasted only a year.126
  • The fluidity of the nobles’ and the Crown’s ecclesial affiliations is cap­tured by Salmon in the following passage:

If the shift from feudal obligation to clientage had intensified the spirit of self-interest among the nobility of the sword, it was never more evident than in the years immediately before the death of Anjou in 1584. Ambition and expediency among the princes, magnates, and their followers made a mockery of reli­gious ideals. Huguenot and Catholic Politiques had co-operated in Anjou’s service in the Netherlands, just as they had at Navarre’s petty court at Nerac. Montpensier, once a zealous persecutor of heretics, had deserted the Guisard camp to advocate toleration. Damville had changed alliances once more and abandoned his close association with the Valois government to effect a rapprochement with Navarre. For political reasons Navarre himself had resisted a mission undertaken by Epernon to reconvert him to Catholicism. Not only his Huguenot counselors, Duplessis-Mornay and d’Aubigne, urged him to stand firm, but even his Catholic chancellor, Du Ferrier, argued that more would be lost than gained by a new apostasy. More surprising was a covert attempt by Philip II to secure Navarre as his ally, coupled with a proposal that the Bourbon should repudiate Marguerite de Valois to marry the Infanta.127

  • Collaboration between Protestants and Catholics of the lower classes was also widespread in the French wars of religion, mainly in an effort to resist abuse by the nobility and the Crown. In Agen in 1562, the Catholic baron Francois de Fumel forbade his Huguenot peasants from conducting services in the Calvinist manner. They revolted and were joined by hundreds of Catholic peasants. Together, they seized Fumel’s château and beheaded him in front of his wife. Holt comments, “The episode shows above all how difficult it is to divide sixteenth-century French men and women into neat communities of Protestants and Catholics along doctrinal or even cultural lines.”128
  • In 1578, the Protestant and Catholic inhabitants of Pont-en-Roians acted together to expel the Protestant captain Bouvier, who had refused to abide by the terms of the Treaty of Bergerac.129
  • In 1578-1580, the widespread Chaperons-sans-cordon uprising united Catholics and Protestants against the Crown’s attempt to impose a third levy of the taille tax in a single year. In 1579, an army of Catholic and Protestant artisans and peasants based in Romans destroyed the fortress of Chateaudouble and went on to capture Roissas. The combined forces moved throughout the region, occupying seigneurial manors. They were finally trapped and slaughtered by royal troops in March 1580.130 In 1579, Catholic and Protestant parishes actively collaborated in the revolt in the Vivarais against the violence and corruption of the ruling classes. In the spring of 1580, the Protestant Francois Barjac led a combined Catholic and Huguenot force from the Vivarais against the troops stationed at the fortress of Crusso.131
  • In 1586, Catholic and Protestant villages collaborated in an attack on Saint Bertrand de Comminges.132 In 1591, the peasant federation of the Campanelle, based in Comminges, joined Catholics and Protestants together to make war on the nobility.133
  • In the Haut-Biterrois in the 1590s, a league of twenty-four villages of both Protestants and Catholics arose to protest taxes and set up a sys­tem of self-defense and self-government.134
  • In 1593-1594, Protestant and Catholic peasants joined in dozens of uprisings in the southwest of France. Some of these consisted of a few hundred peasants, while others gathered up to 40,000.135 The most famous of these revolts was that of the Croquants, whose articles of association required the ignoring of ecclesial differences.136
  • If Protestants and Catholics often collaborated in the French civil wars of 1562-1598, it is also the case that the Catholics were divided into two main parties, the Catholic League and those called politiques, who often found themselves on opposing sides of the violence. The queen mother, Catherine de Medici, promoted Protestants like Navarre, Conde, and Coligny to positions of importance in order to counter the power of the ultra-Catholic Guises. In May 1588, the Guise-led Catholic League took Paris from the royal troops, and Henry III fled the city. In December of that year, Henry III had the duke and cardinal of Guise killed and made a pact with the Protestant Henry of Navarre to make war on the Catholic League. Henry III was assassinated in August 1589 by a Jacobin monk. With Henry of Navarre as successor to the throne, Catholics split into royalists who supported him and Leaguers who led a full-scale military rebellion against him and his supporters.137 The myth of the religious wars presents the Thirty Years’ War as one widespread unified conflict pitting Europe’s Protestants against its Catholics. There was indeed an attempt in 1609 to expand the Protestant Union created by eight German principalities into a pan-European alliance. However, only the counts of Oettingen and the cities of Strasbourg, Ulm, and Nuremburg responded. The elec­tor of Saxony, King Christian of Denmark, and the Reformed cit­ies of Switzerland—in short, the majority of Protestant princes and regions—refused to participate in the Protestant Union.138 When the Protestant estates of Bohemia rebelled against Emperor Ferdinand II in the opening act of the Thirty Years’ War, they offered the crown of Bohemia to Frederick V of the Palatinate, one of the founders of the Protestant Union. The other members of the Protestant Union refused to support him, however, and the union disbanded two years later.139 The Protestant Union attracted some Catholic support. The now-Catholic Henry IV of France sent troops to support the Protestant Union’s intervention in the succession crisis in Cleves-Julich in 1610, but he demanded as a condition of support that the union sever all con­tact with French Huguenots.140 The Catholic prince Carlo Emanuele I of Savoy made an alliance with the Protestant Union in 1619 because the Austrian Habsburgs had failed to solve the succession crisis in Monferrato in a way favorable to his interests. After the Bohemian Protestants were defeated at the Battle of White Mountain, Carlo Emanuele switched his support to the Habsburgs.141
  • The Lutheran elector of Saxony, John George, helped Emperor Ferdinand II to reconquer Bohemia in exchange for the Habsburg province Lusatia.142 In 1626, the elector of Saxony published a lengthy argument in which he tried to persuade his fellow Protestants to sup­port the Catholic emperor. According to John George, the emperor was fighting a just war against rebels, not a crusade against Protestants; what the emperor did in Bohemia and Austria was covered by the prin­ciple of cuius regio, eius religio. Those who opposed the emperor were guilty of treason. The elector of Saxony even cited Luther’s admonition to obey the powers that be.143 John George would later throw in his lot with the Swedes against the emperor.144
  • Catholic France supported Protestant princes from early in the war. France supported the Protestant Grisons in Switzerland against the Habsburgs in 1623.145 In 1624, the minister for foreign affairs, Charles de la Vieuville, made alliances and promises of aid to the Dutch and to multiple German Protestant princes. He also opened negotiations with England to restore Frederick to the throne of Bohemia.146
  • Cardinal Richelieu replaced Vieuville later in 1624 and demanded English and Dutch help in repressing the Huguenots. When such help was not forthcoming, Richelieu abandoned plans for an alliance with England; the Dutch, however, did send a fleet to aid in the defeat of the Huguenot stronghold La Rochelle in 1628.147
  • While the Calvinist Dutch were helping the French Crown to defeat the Calvinists at La Rochelle, Catholic Spain was supporting the Protestant duke of Rohan in his battle against the French Crown in Languedoc.148 The principal adviser of the Calvinist elector of Brandenburg, George William, was a Catholic, Count Adam of Schwarzenberg.149
  • One of the leading commanders of the Imperial Army under Albrecht von Wallenstein, Hans Georg von Arnim, was a Lutheran. Historian R. Po-Chia Hsia remarks, “To build the largest and most powerful army in Europe, Wallenstein employed military talent regardless of confessional allegiance.”150
  • Wallenstein’s foot soldiers included many Protestants, including, ironically, those fleeing because of the imposition of Catholic rule in their home territories. In April 1633, for example, Wallenstein gained a large number of Protestant recruits from Austria who left because of Emperor Ferdinand’s policy of re-Catholicization there.151
  • Private mercenary armies of flexible allegiance helped to perpetuate the Thirty Years’ War. Soldiers of fortune sold the services of their armies to the highest bidder. Ernst von Mansfield worked first for the Catholic Spanish, then for the Lutheran Frederick V, and subsequently switched sides several more times.152 Protestant Scots and English served as officers in Catholic armies, especially in France. Some, like Captain Sidnam Poyntz, switched sides several times.153 Sir James Turner acknowledged that he “had swallowed, without chewing, in Germanie, a very dangerous maxime, which military men there too much follow, which was, that soe we serve our master honestlie, it is no matter what master we serve.”154
  • Sweden’s king Gustavus Adolphus is sometimes presented as the champion of the Protestant cause upon his entry into the war in 1630. However, Gustavus found it difficult to gain Protestant allies. When Swedish troops landed in Germany, their sole ally in the empire was the city of Stralsund. Over the next few months, the Swedes gained only a few more small principalities as allies.155 The most powerful of the Protestant imperial diets saw the Swedish invasion as a threat. They met in the Convention of Leipzig from February to April 1631 in order to form a third party independent of Swedish and imperial control.156 After the initial Swedish victories in 1631, however, many formerly neutral territories were forced to join the Swedes. With Swedish troops approaching in October 1631, Margrave Christian of Brandenburg-Kulmbach, who had heretofore avoided any military engagement, swore his allegiance to Gustavus and agreed to quarter and subsidize his troops. The common people endured many hardships due to the pres­ence of the Swedish troops. When the Lutheran peasants attempted to drive out the Swedes in November 1632, they were massacred.157 France under Cardinal Richelieu signed a treaty with Sweden in January 1631, in which France agreed to subsidize heavily the Swedish war effort.158 Cardinal Richelieu also made a pact with the Protestant principality of Hesse-Kassel.159 The French began sending troops to battle imperial forces in the winter of 1634-1635, and the latter half of the Thirty Years’ War was largely a battle between Catholic France, on the one hand, and the Catholic Habsburgs, on the other.160
  • In March 1635, the troops of fervently Catholic Spain attacked Trier and kidnapped the Catholic archbishop elector. Catholic France subsequently declared war on Catholic Spain.I61
  • In May 1635, the Protestant principalities of Brandenburg and Saxony reconciled with the emperor in the Peace of Prague. Not only did hostilities between the parties cease, but the armies of the Protestant principalities were absorbed into the imperial armies. Within months, most Lutheran states made peace with the emperor on the same terms and proceeded to direct their energies against the Swedes.162 By 1638, the Scottish Presbyterian Robert Baillie could observe, “For the Swedds, I see not what their eirand is now in Germany, bot to shed Protestant blood.”163
  • The pope, on the other hand, refused to support the Holy Roman emperor and gave his approval to the Swedish-French alliance. Pope Urban VIII’s main interest lay in weakening Habsburg control over the papal states in central Italy.164
  • In 1643, Lutheran Sweden attacked Lutheran Denmark. King Christian IV had long harassed Swedish shipping in the Baltic and given asylum to political enemies of Sweden. When word reached Stockholm that Denmark was negotiating an alliance with the emperor, Sweden decided on a preemptive strike. The conflict lasted two years. Despite the Catholic emperor’s aid, Denmark was defeated and forced to sue for peace.165

It would be difficult to come up with a list similar to the one above for the English Civil War, in part because the major contestants—Puritans and Laudians—were factions of the same Anglican Church. However, Scottish Presbyterians entered the fray on the side of the Puritans, while Irish Catholics supported Scottish Presbyterians as a way of weakening the monarchy.166

If the above instances of war making—in which members of the same church fought each other and members of different churches collaborated—undermine the standard narrative of the wars of religion, the absence of war between Lutherans and Calvinists also undermines the standard tale. If theo­logical difference tends toward a war of all sects against all, we should expect to find Lutheran-Calvinist wars, but in fact we find none. Although there were internal tensions in some principalities between Lutheran princes and Calvinist nobility or Calvinist princes and Lutheran nobility,167 no Lutheran prince ever went to war against a Calvinist prince. The absence of such wars cannot be attributed to the similarity of Lutheranism and Calvinism. There were sufficient theological differences to sustain a permanent divide between the two branches of the Reformation. Such differences were serious enough to produce sporadic attempts by the civil authorities to enforce doctrinal unifor­mity. In the decades following Phillip Melanchthon’s death in 1560, there was an effort to root out “Crypto-Calvinists” from the ranks of Lutheranism. The rector of the University of Wittenberg, Caspar Peucer, was jailed for Crypto-Calvinism from 1574 to 1586; Nikolaus Krell was executed for Crypto-Calvinism in Dresden in 1601. Many Crypto-Calvinists among the Lutherans were forced to relocate to regions friendlier to Calvinism, such as Hesse-Kasse1.168 However, the fact that Lutheran-Calvinist tensions played no part in the wars of religion indicates at minimum that significant theological differences in the public realm did not necessarily produce war in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe. There simply was no war of all sects against all.

The long list above is almost certainly incomplete. It is gleaned from a reading of some standard histories of the wars of religion. Undoubtedly, a pro­fessional historian of this period could add more instances of war between members of the same church and collaboration in war among members of different churches. Undoubtedly as well, we could compile an even longer list of acts of war between Catholics and Protestants in the sixteenth and seven­teenth centuries. Nevertheless, we must at least observe at this point that the first component of the myth (A) must be significantly qualified by all of the above instances in which it does not hold. As we will see, once we consider the implications of the above list, problems arise with the other components of the myth as well.

(B) The Primary Cause of the Wars Was Religion, as Opposed to Merely Political, Economic, or Social Causes

May we not simply conclude that the above list contains exceptions to the gen­eral rule of war between different religions in this era, but the standard nar­rative of the wars of religion still holds? That is, may we not claim that the majority of violence was Catholic-Protestant, and so, granting the above excep­tions, the standard narrative is valid?

There are two immediate reasons that this would not be an adequate response. First, the above list contains more than just a few isolated instances. In the case of the Thirty Years’ War, for example, the entire latter half of the war was primarily a struggle between the two great Catholic powers of Europe: France, on the one hand, and the two branches of the Habsburgs, on the other. Second, the above list contains more than just exceptions; if the wars in question are indeed wars of religion, then the instances above are inexpli­cable exceptions, unless other factors are given priority over religion. Why, in a war over religion, would those who share the same religious beliefs kill each other? Why, in a war over religion, would those on opposite sides of the reli­gious divide collaborate? If the answer is that people prioritized other concerns over their religious views, then it does not make sense to call them wars of religion.

Imagine I am writing a history of World War I. I am telling the standard story of the war as a struggle between two sets of nations, fueled by com­plex national aspirations, when I uncover a startling fact: the English coun­ties of Somerset, Kent, Durham, Shropshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cumbria, and Cornwall entered World War I on the side of the Kaiser. Leaders in each of these counties declared their allegiance to the German cause, and thousands of troops were sent by ship to Hamburg to join the German forces fighting on the Western Front. I could respond to this discovery by noting these odd exceptions, but pointing out that the majority of English counties fought for the Allied powers, so the basic plotline of the war is unaltered. If I were a good historian, however, I would most likely drop everything and try to find a nar­rative that would take these cases into account. Perhaps nationalism was not the only force driving this war. What motivated the leaders of these counties? Did the troops from these counties go out of conviction or desperation? Were they volunteers, conscripts, or mercenaries? What grievances did these coun­ties have against London that made them unwilling to fight for the king? What other factors besides nationalism were at work in this war?

In the actual case of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century wars, histo­rians generally deal with the facts from the list above by acknowledging that other factors besides religion were at work in the wars of religion—political, economic, and social factors. The question then becomes one of the relative importance of the various factors. Are political, economic, and social factors important enough that we are no longer justified in calling these wars “of religion”? The above list consists of acts of war in which religion as the most important motivating factor must necessarily be ruled out. But once religion is ruled out as a significant factor from these events, the remainder of the acts of war—those between Protestants and Catholics—become suspect as well. Were other factors besides religion the principal motivators in those cases too? If Catholics killed Catholics for political and economic reasons, did Catholics also kill Protestants for political and economic reasons?

Historians take different positions on this question. Opinions range from those who think that religion was an important factor among other significant factors to those who think that religion was not important, except as a cover for underlying political, economic, and social causes. Since the Enlightenment, these wars have been labeled wars “of religion.” Since the wars occurred, however, there have been those who have doubted whether in fact they were actually religious wars.169 Michel de Montaigne in the sixteenth century remarked that, “if anyone should sift out of the army, even the average loyalist army, those who march in it from the pure zeal of affection for religion …he could not make up one complete company of men-at-arms out of them.”170

This divide is apparent if we look at twentieth-century historiography of the French wars. For much of the century, historians downplayed the role of religion in favor of supposedly more fundamental political, economic, and social causes. J.-H. Mariejol in 1904 stressed the role of the dissident nobility of the sword who joined the Huguenot movement to avenge grievances against the monarchy and the church: “Whether it wanted to or not, [the Huguenot church] served as a rallying point for all kinds of malcontents. It ceased being uniquely a church; it became a party.”171 Lucien Romier—whose two-volume 1913 study Les Origines politiques des guerres de religion set the tone for much further historiography of the period—also focused on the role of dissident nobility and found their theological bona fides wanting: “In short, the nobility were thinking of their own interest and were not particularly concerned with bringing it into accord with any precise doctrine. It cannot be denied that self­ish passion and sometimes unrestrained greed persuaded many of the nobil­ity and captains to join the Protestants.”172 James Westfall Thompson’s 1909 book, The Wars of Religion in France, which was for decades the standard text in English, took a similar approach. Thompson wrote, “Although the purposes of the Huguenots were clandestinely more political than religious, it was expe­dient to cloak them under a mantle of faith.”173 John Neale located the root of the religious wars in the weakness of the French monarchy.174 As for the dis­sidents who opposed the monarchy, he concluded, “Generally speaking, social discontent found an outlet for itself in religious and political unrest.”175 Henri Drouot’s 1937 work on the Catholic League in Burgundy saw religious factors as merely a cover for class tensions: “With the economic and monetary crisis [of the late 1580s], with civil war replacing foreign war and internal peace, social mobility ceased. Classes were more clearly defined, and above all, social tensions arose and festered, social tensions that religion could disguise in its own colors and intensify with fanaticism, but which were really the basis of local tensions at the time of the League.”176 Henri Hauser wrote of the outbreak of violence in 1562, “Elements of social and political discontent were to become much more significant than religious faith in the complex attitudes of the new Protestants, and thenceforth it became possible to speak of ‘political’ as well as of ‘religious’ Huguenots.”177 In the 19 6os, George Livet’s Les Guerres de religion identified the “economic and social crisis” of France in the sixteenth century as the principal cause of the wars.178 Hauser’s distinction between types of Huguenots indicates that religion was not entirely forgotten as a motivating force, and some mid-twentieth-century historians, such as Robert Kingdon and N. M. Sutherland, maintained the importance of religious factors.179 Until the 1970s, however, the dominant opinion tended to push aside religion in its search for the underlying material causes of the wars.

Natalie Zemon Davis’s 1973 article, “The Rites of Violence,” is consid­ered a watershed for bringing religious factors back into the study of the French wars. Davis objects to the standard practice of reducing religious fac­tors to, for example, class conflict, and identifies the cause of popular riots in sixteenth-century France as “ridding the community of dreaded pollution.”180 For Catholics, the rites of violence promised the “restoration of unity to the body social”; for Protestants, the goal was the creation of a new kind of unity in the body social.181 The rites of violence were drawn from a variety of sources: the Bible, the liturgy, the action of political authority, the traditions of folk justice.182 Their underlying function was the dehumanization of victims.183 Such riots were religious because they drew from the fundamental values of the community.184 Other factors, economic, social, and political, were at play in popular riots—pillaging was common, for example, indicating economic motives—but “the prevalence of pillaging in a riot should not prevent us from seeing it as essentially religious.”185

In his 1993 review article, “Putting Religion Back into the Wars of Religion,” Mack Holt identifies a number of other twentieth-century attempts to take religious factors seriously. According to Holt, the older Weberian approach is being supplanted by a more Durkheimian influence; rather than see material causes as more fundamental than religion, Durkheim identified religion with the rituals necessary to bind adherents to the social group. Holt sees this influence in the work of Natalie Davis, Carlo Ginzburg, John Bossy, Keith Thomas, and other historians who retain Durkheim’s emphasis on reli­gion as social, but give a greater role to human agency than did Durkheim. Holt then goes on to review several attempts to put religion back into the French religious wars. Denis Crouzet’s massive two-volume Les guerriers de Dieu: La violence au temps des troubles de religion, which appeared in 1990, finds the source of the wars in the prevalence of popular apocalyptic visions of the end times.186 The collective psychology of “eschatological anguish,” rather than political, economic, or social factors, was the principal engine of the wars. The Huguenot project of desacralization was a threat to the sacral monarchy and the purity of the entire social order. The threat was inter­preted in apocalyptic terms, as an attempt to create a new world. Holt also reviews Natalie Davis’s student Barbara Diefendorf’s 1991 book, Beneath the Cross: Catholics and Huguenots in Sixteenth-Century Paris. According to Holt, Diefendorf “shows how the normal socioeconomic tensions of the period were exacerbated by confessional strife.”187 Holt notes that Diefendorf is particu­larly effective in showing that Catholic eucharistic imagery was used to rein­force the boundaries of the social order and identify threats to that order. Holt writes that Diefendorf’s book underscores Crouzet’s attempt to “restore the centrality of religion” in the French civil wars,188 but Diefendorf herself positions her book as occupying a “middle ground” between Crouzet’s book, which offers “very little room for politics,” and more standard, “overly politi­cal” interpretations of the period.189 Holt also reviews books by Denis Richet and Michael Wolfe, which do not downplay the importance of religious fac­tors, and one that does, Iron and Blood by Henry Heller. Richet argues that “the ‘idea of nation’ was enfolded with religion during the civil wars”;190 Wolfe argues, “Although politics certainly had its place, as did questions of social interest and economic competition, these bitter conflicts were primarily reli­gious wars.”191 Holt applauds Richet and Wolfe, but takes issue with Heller’s view that the French civil wars of the sixteenth century were “from start to finish … a kind of class war from above.”192 In Heller’s avowedly Marxist approach, both the Huguenot movement and the Catholic League were seen as threats to monarchy and the nobility, who put them down with force. Holt objects to the reductionism implied by Heller’s blunt contention that “[r]eli-gion is beside the point.”193

We have, then, one group of historians that dismisses religion as an important factor in the French civil wars of the sixteenth century, and another group that wants to reclaim religion as an important driving force among oth­ers in these conflicts. (We should note that similar conflicts of interpretation are present in the historiography of the other wars of religion beyond France.) We must at least note that historians have given us ample reason to doubt the straightforward tale of theological zealotry run amok that Voltaire, Rawls, Shklar, and others tell. No academic historian, with the possible exception of Crouzet, tells the story that way. With regard to component (B) of the myth of the wars of religion, then, we must conclude that the myth is at best a distorted and one-dimensional narrative; at worst, it eliminates so many of the relevant political, economic, and social factors as to be rendered false.

But is the solution simply to seek balance among the various factors? Barbara Diefendorf’s question is an apt one: “Must we go from an overly polit­ical interpretation of the period to one that seems to offer very little room for politics, at least as traditionally viewed?” Should we, like Diefendorf, seek a middle ground between political and religious interpretations? Or is there a problem with the way politics and religion have been, in Diefendorf’s phrase, “traditionally viewed”?

  • William T. Cavanaugh, The Myth of Religious Violence (New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2009), 141-155.


Switching gears a bit… to how secular society is far worse off than any (save Islamic) religious culture prior. One must keep in mind the mass killings on a grand scals for the Twentieth Century was “prophesied” about by a well-known atheist, Frederick Nietzsche:

Nihilism can take more than one form. There is, for instance, passive nihilism, a pessimistic acquiescence in the absence of values and in the purposelessness of existence. But there is also active nihilism which seeks to destroy that in which it no longer believes. And Nietzsche prophesies the advent of an active nihilism, showing itself in world-shaking ideological wars. “There will be wars such as there have never been on earth before. Only from my time on will there be on earth politics on the grand scale.”

The advent of nihilism is in Nietzsche’s opinion inevitable. And it will mean the final overthrow of the decadent Christian civilization of Europe. At the same time it will clear the way for a new dawn, for the transvaluation of values, for the emergence of a higher type of man. For this reason “this most gruesome of all guests”, who stands at the door, is to be welcomed.

  • Frederick Copleston, S.J., A History of Philosophy, Volume VII (New York, NY: Doubleday, Image Books edition,1994), 405-405

Here is an adaptation of the linked article:

The Bible does not teach the horrible practices that some have committed in its name. It is true that it’s possible that religion can produce evil, and generally when we look closer at the details it produces evil because the individual people [Christians] are actually living in rejection of the tenets of Christianity and a rejection of the God that they are supposed to be following. So it [religion] can produce evil, but the historical fact is that outright rejection of God and institutionalizing of atheism (non-religious practices) actually does produce evil on incredible levels. We’re talking about tens of millions of people as a result of the rejection of God. For example: the Inquisitions, Crusades, Salem Witch Trials killed about anywhere from 40,000 to 80,000 persons combined (World Book Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Americana), and the church is liable for the unjustified murder of about (taking the high number here) 300,000-women over about a 300 year period. A blight on Christianity? Certainly. Something wrong? Dismally wrong.

A tragedy? Of course. Millions and millions of people killed? No. The numbers are tragic, but pale in comparison to the statistics of what non-religious criminals have committed); the Chinese regime of Mao Tse Tung, 60 million [+] dead (1945-1965), Stalin and Khrushchev, 66 million dead (USSR 1917-1959), Khmer Rouge (Cambodia 1975-1979) and Pol Pot, one-third of the populations dead, etc, etc. The difference here is that these non-God movements are merely living out their worldview, the struggle for power, survival of the fittest and all that, no evolutionary/naturalistic natural law is being violated in other words (as non-theists reduce everything to natural law — materialism). However, and this is key, when people have misused the Christian religion for personal gain, they are in direct violation to what Christ taught, as well as Natural Law.

(The above two paragraphs are a condensing of Gregory Koukl’s, “The Real Murderers: Atheism or Christianity?”)

“The stronger must dominate and not mate with the weaker, which would signify the sacrifice of its own higher nature.  Only the born weakling can look upon this principle as cruel, and if he does so it is merely because he is of a feebler nature and narrower mind; for if such a law [natural selection] did not direct the process of evolution then the higher development of organic life would not be conceivable at all….  If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.”

  • Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, translator/annotator, James Murphy [New York: Hurst and Blackett, 1942], pp. 161-162; found in: Norman L. Geisler & Peter Bocchino, Unshakeable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions About the Christian Faith [Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2001], 206.

20TH_C_MORTACRACIES

Coin God Trust Science

“Let There Be Light!” ~ Concepts (Points of Departure)

Opinions are bountiful, testing one’s opinions in today’s age? Not so much.

I will explain the issues I have with John’s latest article, and as usual, you can click it to enlarge the above. In this latest opinion slurry, John asks questions that I doubt he even has one single book by a leading philosopher/theologian/scientist from either the Intelligent Design camp or creation positions to search for how Christianity answers these questions. For instance, my favorite treatise to introduce people to ideas expressed above in a broad sense, “Unshakable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions about the Christian Faith.” Or a more in-depth treatise of the same, “I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist.” Or one more specific to his questions, “The Case For A Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God.” All are readable, and all answer his questions in a way that a mature seeker to these answers would do if seeking to inform one’s own opinion.

One of the queries proffered above is this one: “Of course, that interpretation invites the question, who or what created God.” I wonder if John has actually spent the time finding an answer to this position that has surely passed his lip many times in conversation. I do have a Power Point that deals with this in a very layman-like manner. Also, a more in-depth treatise of it as well HERE. But in a short conversation I had with another gentleman, I responded briefly this way — showing that this has been squarely dealt with many hundreds of years ago:

Tim, you asked:

“What created God? Who created the thing that created the thing that created the thing that created God? It’s an infinite regression.”

Again, “What created God.”

You are basically saying that:

“if everything needs a cause, then so does God, in which case he would not be God. And if God does not need a cause, then neither does the world. But if the world needs no cause then there is no God. Hence, whether everything needs a cause or does not need a cause, there is no God.”

Did I sum up the “gist” of the matter?  (Who made God, in other words.)

The criticism, “if everything needs a cause, then there must be an infinite regress” is built on a misconception of the principle of causality. Or better, it is a confusion of the principle of existential causality and the principle of sufficient reason. The latter affirms that everything needs a cause.

That it would seem, as atheists observe, leads to a contradiction of God being his own cause.

Aquinas dealt with this long ago. He held that only finite, changing, dependent beings need a cause. This does not lead to a contradictory self-caused being but to a non-contradictory un-caused Being. For if only finite beings need a cause then one arrives at a nonfinite (i.e. infinite) being that does not need a cause. Hence, from Aquinas’ principle of causality the series would legitimately stop at the first, un-caused Cause of all finite beings.

If one is confused in regards to the above: here is a response geared towards 5th grader; and one geared towards adults. John’s article[s] surely exemplify philosopher Mortimer Adler’s point about formulating good questions based on coherant starting point:

Mortimer J. Adler rightly points out that while many Christians are quick in responding to the conclusions in an argument often times the Christian is unaware that the point of departure is not in the conclusion, but in the starting premise, the foundational assumptions.

This “point of departure” is answered two separate times by Christian philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig ~ in less than 2-minutes in each case. I mention the time factor because it seems Mr. Huizum hasn’t even taken 2-minutes to get an answer to his “point of departure”:

John states that searching for answers to his questions in the article is “vital” in “‘knowing’ the truth.” That is fine, and he is right, it is an important question that from the Greeks to us has been a grand Western tradition. But even 1,000’s of years ago the Greeks thought it important enough to debate “how” even to ask the question properly. All that aside however, my last point that needs to be made in one that undermines John’s presuppositions. In John’s closing statement, he says this:

If science is right, there is no need for the existence of a supernatural being, which would in turn terminate all religions on earth and consequently a lot of insane wars.

In a previous installment I respond to John also writing that “Atheism has been aided by scientific discoveries and rigorous questioning.” In the much longer response I quote two agnostics as saying this;

“The essential element in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis is the same; the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply, at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy…. The Hubble Law is one of the great discoveries in science; it is one of the main supports of the scientific story of Genesis.”

~ Robert Jastrow: American astronomer and physicist. Founding director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, he is the director of the Mount Wilson Institute and Hale Solar Laboratory. He is also the author of Red Giants and White Dwarfs (1967) and God and the Astronomers (2nd ed., 2000).

“Certainly there was something that set it all off. Certainly, if you are religious, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match with Genesis.”

~ Robert Wilson: is an American astronomer, 1978 Nobel laureate in physics, who with Arno Allan Penzias discovered in 1964 the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB)…. While working on a new type of antenna at Bell Labs in Holmdel Township, New Jersey, they found a source of noise in the atmosphere that they could not explain. After removing all potential sources of noise, including pigeon droppings on the antenna, the noise was finally identified as CMB, which served as important corroboration of the Big Bang theory.

So John seems to be making the same misguided statements, maybe based on his misunderstanding of the weight of the logical conclusions found in a “non-God” universe, where truth cannot be known. Or not spending 2-minutes to see where his starting premise may be errant, and so his conclusions even worse. In other words, questions seeking a truthful response or statement of fact are impossible considering Johns epistemology (“the branch of philosophy concerned with questions about knowledge and belief and related issues such as justification and truth”).

To which I end with a call for John to internalize if he can even ask what he has in this column and others and expect to find an answer to his “probing” [sophomoric] questions:

Even Darwin had some misgivings about the reliability of human beliefs. He wrote, “With me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?”

Given unguided evolution, “Darwin’s Doubt” is a reasonable one. Even given unguided or blind evolution, it’s difficult to say how probable it is that creatures—even creatures like us—would ever develop true beliefs. In other words, given the blindness of evolution, and that its ultimate “goal” is merely the survival of the organism (or simply the propagation of its genetic code), a good case can be made that atheists find themselves in a situation very similar to Hume’s.

The Nobel Laureate and physicist Eugene Wigner echoed this sentiment: “Certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.” That is, atheists have a reason to doubt whether evolution would result in cognitive faculties that produce mostly true beliefs. And if so, then they have reason to withhold judgment on the reliability of their cognitive faculties. Like before, as in the case of Humean agnostics, this ignorance would, if atheists are consistent, spread to all of their other beliefs, including atheism and evolution. That is, because there’s no telling whether unguided evolution would fashion our cognitive faculties to produce mostly true beliefs, atheists who believe the standard evolutionary story must reserve judgment about whether any of their beliefs produced by these faculties are true. This includes the belief in the evolutionary story. Believing in unguided evolution comes built in with its very own reason not to believe it.

This will be an unwelcome surprise for atheists. To make things worse, this news comes after the heady intellectual satisfaction that Dawkins claims evolution provided for thoughtful unbelievers. The very story that promised to save atheists from Hume’s agnostic predicament has the same depressing ending.

It’s obviously difficult for us to imagine what the world would be like in such a case where we have the beliefs that we do and yet very few of them are true. This is, in part, because we strongly believe that our beliefs are true (presumably not all of them are, since to err is human—if we knew which of our beliefs were false, they would no longer be our beliefs).

Suppose you’re not convinced that we could survive without reliable belief-forming capabilities, without mostly true beliefs. Then, according to Plantinga, you have all the fixins for a nice argument in favor of God’s existence For perhaps you also think that—given evolution plus atheism—the probability is pretty low that we’d have faculties that produced mostly true beliefs. In other words, your view isn’t “who knows?” On the contrary, you think it’s unlikely that blind evolution has the skill set for manufacturing reliable cognitive mechanisms. And perhaps, like most of us, you think that we actually have reliable cognitive faculties and so actually have mostly true beliefs. If so, then you would be reasonable to conclude that atheism is pretty unlikely. Your argument, then, would go something like this: if atheism is true, then it’s unlikely that most of our beliefs are true; but most of our beliefs are true, therefore atheism is probably false.

Notice something else. The atheist naturally thinks that our belief in God is false. That’s just what atheists do. Nevertheless, most human beings have believed in a god of some sort, or at least in a supernatural realm. But suppose, for argument’s sake, that this widespread belief really is false, and that it merely provides survival benefits for humans, a coping mechanism of sorts. If so, then we would have additional evidence—on the atheist’s own terms—that evolution is more interested in useful beliefs than in true ones. Or, alternatively, if evolution really is concerned with true beliefs, then maybe the widespread belief in God would be a kind of “evolutionary” evidence for his existence.

You’ve got to wonder.

my-jealous-god

Concepts: Life and Death Matters (Misdefining God’s Attributes)

Firstly, as I am want to point out, John Van Huizum often gets ideas, precepts, and others understanding of a subject woefully wrong. Take for instance this small portion of a recent article by him entitled “A Question of Life and Death” (click to enlarge). 

“These words” in John’s limited understanding ~ wrongly attributing to God ~ that no “clergy” themselves attribute to God are the crux of the issue. And I do not post the many excerpts to follow to prove John wrong. I post them in the hopes that John reads what most clergy themselves study. Enjoy this seminary level reaction to attributing to God one’s own ignorance of a topic:

God’s Love and Justice—A Point of Tension?

We have looked at many characteristics of God, without exhausting them by any means. But what of the interrelationships among them? Presumably, God is a unified, integrated being whose personality is a harmonious whole. There should be, then, no tension among any of these attributes. But is this really so?

The one point of potential tension usually singled out is the relation­ship between God’s love and his justice. On one hand, God’s justice seems so severe, requiring the death of those who sin. This is a fierce, harsh God. On the other hand, God is merciful, gracious, forgiving, long-suffering. Are not these two sets of traits in conflict with one an­other? Is there, then, internal tension in God’s nature?[10]

If we begin with the assumptions that God is an integrated being and the divine attributes are harmonious, we will define the attributes in the light of one another. Thus, justice is loving justice and love is just love. The idea that they conflict may have resulted from defining these at­tributes in isolation from one another. While the conception of love apart from justice, for example, may be derived from outside sources, it is not a biblical teaching.

What we are saying is that love is not fully understood unless seen as including justice. If love does not include justice, it is mere senti­mentality. The approach that would define love as merely granting what someone else desires is not biblical. It runs into two difficulties: (1) Giving someone what would make him or her comfortable for the moment may be nothing more than indulging that person’s whim—such action may not necessarily be right. (2) This is usually an emo­tional reaction to an individual or situation that is immediately at hand. But love is much wider in scope—it necessarily entails justice, a sense of right and wrong, and all humankind. As Joseph Fletcher has correctly shown, justice is simply love distributed.[11] It is love to all one’s neighbors, those immediately at hand and those removed in space and time. Justice means that love must always be shown, whether or not a situation of immediate need presents itself in pressing and vivid fashion. Love in the biblical sense, then, is not merely to in­dulge someone near at hand. Rather, it inherently involves justice as well. This means there will be a concern for the ultimate welfare of all humanity, a passion to do what is right, and enforcement of appropri­ate consequences for wrong action.

Actually, love and justice have worked together in God’s dealing with the human race. God’s justice requires that there be payment of the penalty for sin. God’s love, however, desires humans to be restored to fellowship with him. The offer of Jesus Christ as the atonement for sin means that both the justice and the love of God have been maintained.

And there really is no tension between the two. There is tension only if one’s view of love requires that God forgive sin without any payment being made. But that is to think of God as different from what he really is. Moreover, the offer of Christ as atonement shows a greater love on God’s part than would simply indulgently releasing people from the consequences of sin. To fulfill his just administration of the law, God’s love was so great that he gave his Son for us. Love and justice are not two separate attributes competing with one another. God is both righ­teous and loving, and has himself given what he demands.[12]

[10] Nels Ferre, The Christian Understanding of God (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1951), pp. 227-28.

[11] Joseph Fletcher, Situation Ethics: The New Morality (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1966), pp. 86-102.

[12] William G. T. Shedd, Dogmatic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971 re­print), vol. 1, pp. 377-78.

Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books/Academic, 1998), 323-325.

II. GOD THE REDEEMER OF SINNERS

While reiterating the teaching of nature as to the existence and character of the personal Creator and Lord of all, the Scriptures lay their stress upon the grace or the undeserved love of God, as exhibited in his dealings with his sinful and wrath-deserving creatures. So little, however, is the consummate divine attribute of love advanced, in the scriptural revelation, at the expense of the other moral attributes of God, that it is thrown into prominence only upon a background of the strongest assertion and fullest manifestation of its companion attributes, especially of the divine righteousness and holiness, and is exhibited as acting only along with and in entire harmony with them. God is not represented in the Scriptures as forgiving sin because he really cares very little about sin; nor yet because he is so exclusively or predominatingly the God of love, that all other attributes shrink into desuetude in the presence of his illimitable benevolence. He is rather represented as moved to deliver sinful man from his guilt and pollution because he pities the creatures of his hand, immeshed in sin, with an intensity which is born of the vehemence of his holy abhorrence of sin and his righteous determination to visit it with intolerable retribution; and by a mode which brings as complete satisfaction to his infinite justice and holiness as to his unbounded love itself. The biblical presentation of the God of grace includes thus the richest development of all his moral attributes, and the God of the Bible is consequently set forth, in the completeness of that idea, as above everything else the ethical God. And that is as much as to say that there is ascribed to him a moral sense so sensitive and true that it estimates with unfailing accuracy the exact moral character of every person or deed presented for its contemplation, and responds to it with the precisely appropriate degree of satisfaction or reprobation. The infinitude of his love is exhibited to us precisely in that while we were yet sinners he loved us, though with all the force of his infinite nature he reacted against our sin with illimitable abhorrence and indignation. The mystery of grace resides just in the impulse of a sin-hating God to show mercy to such guilty wretches; and the supreme revelation of God as the God of holy love is made in the disclosure of the mode of his procedure in redemption, by which alone he might remain just while justifying the ungodly. For in this procedure there was involved the mighty paradox of the infinitely just Judge himself becoming the sinner’s substitute before his own law and the infinitely blessed God receiving in his own person the penalty of sin.

B.B. Warfield, Selected Short Writings of Benjamin B. Warfield (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 1970), 71-72.

(5) The ‘water and the blood’ of Christ, who thereby Himself overcame the world, is our power of victory (1 John 5 :4-6) . This depends on a right doctrine of the cross. Christianity in integrity means the orthodox Christology of Nicea and Chalcedon and the vicarious satisfaction of divine justice at Calvary, i.e. propitiation of the divine wrath as well as expiation of the evil of sin. Nothing can set the conscience free from the accusation of conscience and consequent weakness at the emotional and ethical center unless the sinner, having been made aware of the debt of sin he owes to God, is also made aware the debt has been paid in full by the vicarious sacrifice of the God-man at Calvary. There is no Christian moral victory without conviction that ‘Jesus paid it all.’ (See previous comments on revelation at Calvary and discussion of reconciliation and propitiation.) Francis Pieper commenting on ‘Christianity as the Absolute Religion’ says, `[T]he Christian religion is absolutely perfect because it is not a moral code instructing men how to earn the forgiveness of sin themselves, but rather it is faith in that forgiveness which was gained through Christ’s vicarious fulfillment of the Law and his substitutionary suffering of our punishment.’[10] Luther spoke often of this. As Calvin also remarked, our assurance that ‘God remains kindly disposed and favorable to our works is not grounded in some nebulous belief in the loving character of God, but specifically the love of God manifested at Calvary.’

`God’s unconditional love’ may be an unfortunate expression. I think it is. Calvary proves God’s love is great, but not unconditional at all. ‘[Y]ou hate all evildoers’ (Ps. 5:5); ‘The LORD is in his holy temple… his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence’ (Ps. 11:4, 5). ‘There are six things that the LORD hates…’ (Prov. 6:16-19— including a false witness and ‘one who sows discord among brothers’). God does not love the reprobate, as such, at all and He loves no one unconditionally. Even the elect He loves conditional upon His grace, which for reasons known only to H Him has not been equally extended to everyone on earth, granted the gospel is addressed to all without distinction. Let the unconvinced read the passages in Scripture about the eternal state of the lost and God’s jealous anger over unrestrained and unpunished murderers, idolaters, fornicators, etc. See notes herein on ‘sin to high heaven’ in hamartiology.

10. Francis Pieper, Christian Dogmatics i (St Louis: Concordia Publ., 1950s), pp. 33-40.

Robert Duncan Culver, Systematic Theology: Biblical and Historical (Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2005), 590-591. I highly suggest the section on “Universalism” on pp. 1088-1091.

GOD’S JEALOUSY AND PERFECTION

Two more of God’s moral attributes are jealousy and perfection. Admittedly, jealousy is a surprising attribute, yet it is one of only a few that the Bible declares is God’s “name,” a distinctive title of one of God’s essential characteristics. In fact, this raises the unique problem (discussed below) as to why what is a sin for creatures is a moral attribute of God.

THE DEFINITION OF GOD’S JEALOUSY

The root meanings of the basic Old Testament word for “jealous” (kan-naw) are “to be desirous of,” “to be zealous about,” “to be excited to anger over,” and “to execute judgment because of.”

The Bible speaks of man’s jealousy (“zealous envy,” “angry fury”) in many places. It talks of being jealous of one’s brother (Gen. 37:11); of having jealousy over a wife (Num. 5:14); of jealousy leading to rage (Prov. 6:34); of jealousy being as cruel as death (Song 8:6 Nagy); of jealousy and selfish ambition ( James 3:16); and of Paul’s jealous zeal for the church (2 Cor. 11:2—see below, under “An Objection to God’s Jealousy”).

As will be shown (in the texts cited below), jealousy is used of God in terms of His holy zeal and His angry wrath. God has holy zeal to protect His supremacy, and God has angry wrath on idolatry and other sins.

THE BIBLICAL BASIS FOR GOD’S JEALOUSY

God’s jealousy can be understood by looking at its nature, its subject, and its object.

The Nature of God’s Jealousy

God’s jealousy carries the connotation of anger, fury, and wrath. Anger (Deut. 29:20): “The LORD will never be willing to forgive him; his wrath and zeal will burn against that man. All the curses written in this book will fall upon him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven.” Fury (Zech. 8:2): “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her.’ ” Wrath (Isa. 42:13): “The LORD will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his ene­mies.”

The Subject of God’s Jealousy

God’s jealousy is vented on images, idols, other gods, and other sins. Images (Ps. 78:58): “They angered him with their high places; they aroused his jealousy with their idols.” Idols (1 Cor. 10:19-22): “Do I mean then that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God. . . . Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy?” Other gods (Deut. 32:16): “They made him jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with their detestable idols.” Other sins (1 Kings 14:22): “Judah did evil in the eyes of the LORD. By the sins they committed they stirred up his jealous anger more than their fathers had done.”

The Object of God’s Jealousy

The object of God’s jealousy is first and foremost His own nature, then His name, His people (Israel), His land (the Holy Land), and His city ( Jerusalem). His own nature (Ex. 34:14): “Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” His name (Ezek. 39:25): “Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will now bring Jacob back from captivity and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name.” His people (Zech. 8:2): “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her.’ ” His land ( Joel 2:18): “Then the LORD will be jeal­ous for his land and take pity on his people.” His city (Zech. 1:14): “Pro­claim this word: This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion.’ “

THE THEOLOGICAL BASIS FOR GOD’S JEALOUSY

A combination of other attributes forms the basis for God’s jealousy. Foremost among these is God’s holiness; God is particularly jealous about preserving His own uniqueness. Of course, all of God’s attributes are unique and comprise the one infinite, absolutely perfect, and supreme God. The theological argument for God’s jealousy can be formulated as follows:

(1)     God is unique and supreme (see His metaphysical attributes—chap-ters 2-12).

(2)     God is holy, loving, and morally perfect (see His moral attributes—chapters 13-17).

(3)     Hence, God is uniquely and supremely holy, loving, and morally perfect.

(4)     Whatever is supremely holy, loving, and perfect is to be preserved with the utmost zeal.

(5)     God’s jealousy is His zeal to preserve His own holy supremacy.

(6)     Therefore, He is eminently justified in His jealousy. Indeed, it is essential to His very nature: His name is Jealous (Ex. 34:14).

THE HISTORICAL BASIS FOR GOD’S JEALOUSY

The Early Church Fathers on God’s Jealousy

Although not one of the more noted attributes of God, His jealousy did not go unnoticed by the early church Fathers. There are considerable ref­erences to God’s jealousy.

Justin Martyr

They sacrificed to demons whom they knew not; new gods that came newly up, whom their fathers knew not. Thou hast forsaken God that begat thee, and forgotten God that brought thee up. And the Lord saw, and was jealous, and was provoked to anger by reason of the rage of His sons and daughters. . . . They have moved Me to jealousy with that which is not God, they have provoked Me to anger with their idols; and I will move them to jealousy with that which is not a nation, I will provoke them to anger with a foolish people. For a fire is kindled from Mine anger, and it shall burn to Hades. (DJ, 119 in Roberts and Donaldson, ANF, I)

Irenaeus

It is therefore one and the same God the Father who has prepared good things with Himself for those who desire His fellowship, and who remain in subjection to Him; and who has the eternal fire for the ring­leader of the apostasy, the devil, and those who revolted with him, into which [fire] the Lord has declared those men shall be sent who have been set apart by themselves on His left hand. And this is what has been spoken by the prophet, “I am a jealous God, making peace, and creating evil things”; thus making peace and friendship with those who repent and turn to Him, and bringing [them to] unity, but preparing for the impenitent, those who shun the light, eternal fire and outer darkness, which are evils indeed to those persons who fall into them. (AH, 4.40.1 in ibid., I)

Tertullian

Even His severity then is good, because [it is] just: when the judge is good, that is just. Other qualities likewise are good, by means of which the good work of a good severity runs out its course, whether wrath, or jealousy, or sternness. For all these are as indispensable to severity as severity is to justice. The shamelessness of an age, which ought to have been reverent, had to be avenged. Accordingly, qualities which pertain to the judge, when they are actually free from blame, as the judge him­self is, will never be able to be charged upon him as a fault. (FBAM, 2.216 in ibid., III)

Cyprian

There is no ground, therefore, dearest brother, for thinking that we should give way to heretics so far as to contemplate the betrayal to them of that baptism, which is only granted to the one and only Church. It is a good soldier’s duty to defend the camp of his general against rebels and enemies. It is the duty of an illustrious leader to keep the standards entrusted to him. It is written, “The Lord thy God is a jealous God” (EC, 72.10 in ibid., 5.787, V).

The Medieval Fathers on God’s Jealousy

Augustine

For Him doth “the friend of the bridegroom” sigh, having now the first-fruits of the Spirit laid up with Him, yet still groaning within him­self, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of his body; to Him he sighs, for he is a member of the Bride; for Him is he jealous, for he is the friend of the Bridegroom; for Him is he jealous, not for himself; because in the voice of Thy “waterspouts,” not in his own voice, doth he call on that other deep, for whom being jealous he feareth, lest that, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so their minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in our Bridegroom, Thine only Son. (C, 13.13 in Schaff, NPAT, 1.1)

Ineffable is therefore that patience, as is His jealousy, as His wrath, and whatever there is like to these. For if we conceive of these as they be in us, in Him are there none. We, namely, cancel none of these without been set apart by themselves on His left hand. And this is what has been spoken by the prophet, “I am a jealous God, making peace, and creating evil things”; thus making peace and friendship with those who repent and turn to Him, and bringing [them to] unity, but preparing for the impenitent, those who shun the light, eternal fire and outer darkness, which are evils indeed to those persons who fall into them. (AH, 4.40.1 in ibid., I)

Tertullian

Even His severity then is good, because [it is] just: when the judge is good, that is just. Other qualities likewise are good, by means of which the good work of a good severity runs out its course, whether wrath, or jealousy, or sternness. For all these are as indispensable to severity as severity is to justice. The shamelessness of an age, which ought to have been reverent, had to be avenged. Accordingly, qualities which pertain to the judge, when they are actually free from blame, as the judge him­self is, will never be able to be charged upon him as a fault. (FBAM, 2.216 in ibid., III)

Cyprian

There is no ground, therefore, dearest brother, for thinking that we should give way to heretics so far as to contemplate the betrayal to them of that baptism, which is only granted to the one and only Church. It is a good soldier’s duty to defend the camp of his general against rebels and enemies. It is the duty of an illustrious leader to keep the standards entrusted to him. It is written, “The Lord thy God is a jealous God” (EC, 72.10 in ibid., 5.787, V).

The Medieval Fathers on God’s Jealousy

Augustine

For Him doth “the friend of the bridegroom” sigh, having now the first-fruits of the Spirit laid up with Him, yet still groaning within him­self, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of his body; to Him he sighs, for he is a member of the Bride; for Him is he jealous, for he is the friend of the Bridegroom; for Him is he jealous, not for himself; because in the voice of Thy “waterspouts,” not in his own voice, doth he call on that other deep, for whom being jealous he feareth, lest that, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so their minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in our Bridegroom, Thine only Son. (C, 13.13 in Schaff, NPNF, 1.1)

Ineffable is therefore that patience, as is His jealousy, as His wrath, and whatever there is like to these. For if we conceive of these as they be in us, in Him are there none. We, namely, cancel none of these without molestation: but be it far from us to surmise that the impassible nature of God is liable to any molestation. But like as He is jealous without any dark­ening of spirit, wroth without any perturbation, pitiful without any pain, repenteth Him without any wrongness in Him to be set right; so is He patient without aught of passion. (OP, 1 in ibid., 1.III)

Because “the Lord our God is a jealous God,” let us refuse, whenever we see anything of His with an alien, to allow him to consider it his own. For of a truth the jealous God Himself rebukes the woman who commits fornication against Him, as the type of an erring people, and says that she gave to her lovers what belonged to Him, and again received from them what was not theirs but His. In the hands of the adulterous woman and the adulterous lovers, God in His wrath, as a jealous God, recognizes His gifts; and do we say that baptism, consecrated in the words of the gospel, belongs to heretics? (BAD, 3.19.25 in ibid., 1.IV)

The Reformation Leaders on God’s Jealousy

Martin Luther

“For Him Who once drowned the whole world in the Flood and sank Sodom with fire, it is a simple thing to slay or to defeat so many thousands of peasants. He is an almighty and terrible God” (WL, 4.226).

God says: “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God.” Now, God is jeal­ous in two manners of ways; first, God is angry as one that is jealous of them that fall from him, and become false and treacherous, that prefer the creature before the Creator; that build upon the favors of the great; that depend upon their friends, upon their own power—riches, art, wis­dom, etc.; that forsake the righteousness of faith, and contemn it, and will be justified and saved by and through their own good works. God is also vehemently angry with those that boast and brag of their power and strength; as we see in Sennacherib, king of Assyria, who boasted of his great power, and thought utterly to destroy Jerusalem. . . .

Secondly, God is jealous for them that love him and highly esteem his word; such God loves again, defends and keeps as the apple of his eve, and resists their adversaries, beating them back that they are not able to perform what they intended. Therefore, this word jealous com­prehends both hatred and love, revenge and protection; for which cause it requires both fear and faith; fear, that we provoke not God to anger, or work his displeasure; faith, that in trouble we believe he will help, nourish, and defend us in this life, and will pardon and forgive us our sins, and for Christ’s sake preserve us to life everlasting. (TT, 135-36)

John Calvin

But though in every passage where the favour or anger of God is mentioned, the former comprehends eternity of life and the latter eternal destruction, the Law, at the same time, enumerates a long cata­logue of present blessings and curses (Lev. xxvi. 4; Deut. xxviii. 1). The threatenings attest the spotless purity of God, which cannot bear iniq­uity, while the promises attest at once his infinite love of righteousness (which he cannot leave unrewarded), and his wondrous kindness. Being bound to do him homage with all that we have, he is perfectly entitled to demand everything which he requires of us as a debt; and as a debt, the payment is unworthy of reward. He therefore foregoes his right, when he holds forth reward for services which are not offered sponta­neously, as if they were not due. (ICR, 1.8.4)

Jacob Arminius

Hatred is an affection of separation in God; whose primary object is injustice or unrighteousness; and the secondary, the misery of the crea­ture: The former is from “the love of complacency”; the latter, from “the love of friendship.” But since God properly loves himself and the good of justice, and by the same impulse holds iniquity in detestation; and since he secondarily loves the creature and his blessedness, and in that impulse hates the misery of the creature, that is, He wills it to be taken away from the creature; hence it comes to pass, that He hates the creature who perseveres in unrighteousness, and He loves his misery. (WJA, II.44)

The Post-Reformation Theologians on God’s Jealousy

Jonathan Edwards

Those who come to Christ need not be afraid of God’s wrath for their sins; for God’s honor will not suffer by their escaping punishment and being made happy. The wounded soul is sensible that he has affronted the majesty of God, and looks upon God as a vindicator of his honor; as a jealous God that will not be mocked, an infinitely great God that will not bear to be affronted, that will not suffer his authority and majesty to be trampled on, that will not bear that his kindness should be abused. (WJE, 376)

For we see that when men come to be under convictions, and to be made sensible that God is not as they have heretofore imagined, but that he is such a jealous, sin-hating God, and whose wrath against sin is so dreadful, they are much more apt to have sensible exercises of enmity against him than before. (ibid., 1021)

William G. T Shedd

There is a kind of wrath in the human soul that resembles the wrath of God, and constitutes its true analogue. It is the wrath of the human conscience, which is wholly different from that of the human heart. That kind of anger is commanded in the injunction “Be ye angry and sin not” (Eph. 4:26). Were this species of moral displacency more often considered, and the Divine anger illustrated by it, there would be less of the common and unthinking opposition to the doctrine of the Divine wrath. (DT, 176)

Stephen Charnock

God is a jealous God, very sensible of any disgrace, and will be as much incensed against an inward idolatry as an outward: that command which forbade corporeal images, would not indulge carnal imagina­tions; since the nature of God is as much wronged by unworthy images, erected in the fancy, as by statues carved out of stone or metals. (EAG, 1.198)

J. I. Packer

God’s jealousy is not a compound of frustration, envy and spite, as human jealousy so often is, but appears instead as a [literally] praisewor­thy zeal to preserve something supremely precious.

Zeal to protect a love relationship or to avenge it when broken [is a good sort of jealousy]. This jealousy also operates in the sphere of sex; there, however, it appears not as the blind reaction of wounded pride but as the fruit of marital affection. As Professor Taylor has written, mar­ried persons “who felt no jealousy at the intrusion of a lover or an adul­terer into their home would surely be lacking in moral perception; for the exclusiveness of marriage is the essence of marriage” [The Epistle of James, 106]. This sort of jealousy is a positive virtue, for it shows a grasp of the true meaning of the husband-wife relationship, together with a proper zeal to keep it intact. . . . God’s jealousy is of this kind; that is, as an aspect of his covenant love for his people. The Old Testament regards God’s covenant as his marriage with Israel, carrying with it a demand for unqualified love and loyalty.

From these passages we see plainly what God meant by telling Moses that his name was “Jealous.” He meant that he demands from those whom he has loved and redeemed utter and absolute loyalty, and he will vindicate his claim by stern action against them if they betray his love by unfaithfulness. (KG, 170-71)

AN OBJECTION TO GOD’S JEALOUSY

Objection One—Based on an Alleged Inconsistency

This objection points to an apparent inconsistency: Why is jealousy right for God but wrong for us? All other moral attributes of God we are asked to emulate: God is love, and we should be loving (1 John 4:19); God is holy, and we should be holy (Lev. 11:45). Why, then, if God is jealous, should we not also be jealous?

Response to Objection One

The answer to this objection is simple: There is no inconsistency; jeal­ousy can be right sometimes and wrong at other times. Wrong jealousy for us is about being jealous for what does not belong to us. God cannot ever be jealous of what does not belong to Him, since He owns everything. Psalm 24:1 declares: “The earth is the LORD’S, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” Deuteronomy 32:21 adds, “They made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols. I will make them envious by those who are not a people; I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding.”

Everything belongs to God, even the things He has entrusted to the care of others; hence, it is not right for us to be jealous about what is not ours. Jealousy, as such, is not evil; what is evil is being jealous about what is not ours. Therefore, there is no inconsistency in it being right for God to be jealous for our affection (which belongs to Him) and it being wrong for us.

Note, however, that not all jealousy is wrong for human beings—godly jealousy is right. For example, Paul’s jealousy for the church was commend­able. He wrote, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him” (2 Cor. 11:2). Likewise, there is nothing wrong with a husband having appropriate jealousy over his wife (or vice versa), since she belongs to him (cf. Num. 5:14) and he to her.

Norman Geisler, Systematic Theology: Introduction: Bible, vol. I (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2002), 338-345.

david_v_goliath

David & Goliath in Politics ~ The Bible and the Koch Brothers

I haven’t done a Concepts in a while. I have been busy and honestly the stuff John writes he has mainly written in the past… just rehashed in a different form. But this one caught my eye, as even his analogy to David and Goliath is wrong, so too is his understanding of what undermines a Constitutional Democracy. (As usual, you can enlarge the article by clicking it.)

Firstly, let’s deal with David and Goliath.

GOLIATH

Mr Van Huizum says this:

  • The battle between David and Goliath was an unfair battle because their respective armaments were so one-sided, as were their physical size and strength.

Let us go more in-depth into this story via an interview with Malcolm Gladwell’s about his new book, “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants”

Never Bring a Knife To A Gun-Fight

There are limited historical accounts and archaeological evidence to verify what truly happened in the fight between David and Goliath, but the story as we know it could use a clarification as big as a gargantuan Philistine. Goliath was a heavily armored, slow-moving giant. David, not just a shepherd boy but perhaps also an official shield-bearer to King Saul, chose no armor and was equipped with a sling… with roughly the same power as a handgun, according to Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book. Just as you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight, you don’t bring a heavy bronze weapon to a sling fight. On top of all this, Goliath may not have even been that tall and may have been partially blind. Evidence of how this brief fight went down is scarce, but if Gladwell is right, you can imagine David would’ve been able to get an easy shot at the lumbering Goliath’s oversized head. (Text: 7 Biggest Buts)

What is ironic is that the left (Mr. Huizum) would have made it through legislation almost impossible for David to be “carrying.” That being said, it seems that David wasn’t all that defenseless or lucky to begin with, and knew exactly what he was doing and that he had God on his side to boot! So the analogy John tries o fob onto the public breaks down under scrutiny. Not to mention I doubt John believes much of the Bible anyway.

Now, on to the Koch Brothers.

Koch Brothers

(This is from a previous response to Mr. Huizum on the issue… as I said, he merely rehashes the same topics.) Any well thinking person should acknowledge that someone should “fear” government more than business. In fact, I made this point on my FaceBook discussion with a liberal friend:


...the was to show how the Obama admin is stacking the books with GM. You see, when the government chooses winners-and-losers instead of getting contracts with private companies (like Ford, GM, etc.), they are invested to [i.e., forced to] only choose a government run business and stock their fish (so-to-speak) with GM fleets… leaving the non-government company to flounder.

This next audio deals with the differences of the Koch brothers, in comparison to the Left’s version of them, Soros. There are many areas that one can discuss about the two… but let us focus in on the main/foundational difference. One wants a large government that is able to legislate more than just what kind of light-bulbs one can use in the privacy of their own home. Soros wants large government able to control a large portion of the economy (see link to chart below), and he has been very vocal on this goal. The other party always mentioned are the Koch brothers. These rich conservatives want a weak government.

And really, if you think about it, what business can really “harm” you, when people come to my door with pistols on their hip… are they a) more likely to be from GM, or, b) from the IRS?A government that cannot effect our daily lives nearly as much (personal, business, etc) as the Soros enterprise wants.

This great “short” comes via The Lonely Conservative:

The short answer to the question posed above is “Not even close.” It’s not the Koch Brothers or ALEC. Nope. The biggest spender in the dark money game is the Tides Foundation. Oh and by the way, Tides is a big liberal group.

Whenever “ALEC” and “dark money” are mentioned in the media, however, there ought to be a third name given at least equal attention – the Tides Foundation. That’s because Tides, the San Francisco-based funder of virtually every liberal activist group in existence since the mid-1970s, pioneered the concept of providing a cut-out for donors who don’t wish to be associated in public with a particular cause. It is instructive to compare the funding totals for Tides and ALEC.

A search of non-profit grant databases reveals 139 grants worth a total of $5.6 million to ALEC since 1998. By comparison, Tides is the Mega-Goliath of dark money cash flows. Tides received 1,976 grants worth a total of $451 million during the same period, or nearly 100 times as much money as ALEC. But even that’s not the whole story with Tides, which unlike ALEC, has divided and multiplied over the years. Add to the Tides Foundation total the directly linked Tides Center’s 465 grants with a combined worth of $62 million, and the total is well over half a billion dollars. (Read More)

So there.

The next portion is merely a re-posting of a MAJOR maligning of the Koch Brothers that often happens via the LEFT, and exemplifies the bias and hatred that cover-up reality:

The Washington Post just makes stuff up now… from whole-cloth! H/T to IOwntheWorld, via Powerline:

On Thursday, the Washington Post published an article by Steven Mufson and Juliet Eilperin titled “The biggest lease holder in Canada’s oil sands isn’t Exxon Mobil or Chevron. It’s the Koch brothers.” The article’s first paragraph included this claim:

The biggest lease holder in the northern Alberta oil sands is a subsidiary of Koch Industries, the privately-owned cornerstone of the fortune of conservative Koch brothers Charles and David.

The theme of the article was that the Keystone Pipeline is all about the Koch brothers; or, at least, that this is a plausible claim. The Post authors relied on a report by a far-left group called International Forum on Globalization that I debunked last October.

So Thursday evening, I wrote about the Post article here. I pointed out that Koch is not, in fact, the largest leaser of tar sands land; that Koch will not be a user of the pipeline if it is built; and that construction of the Keystone Pipeline would actually be harmful to Koch’s economic interests, which is why Koch has never taken a position on the pipeline’s construction. The Keystone Pipeline, in short, has nothing whatsoever to do with the Koch brothers.

Ethics Violations @ WaPo

Juliet

  • Koch is not the largest leaser of tar sands land;
  • Koch will not use the pipeline if it is built;
  • the Keystone Pipeline would harm the Kochs’  interest;
  • and the Koch brothers have not taken a position on the pipeline’s construction for that reason.

(Ethics Alarms)

My post garnered a great deal of attention, and Mufson and Eilperin undertook to respond to it here. It isn’t much of a response: they don’t deny the truth of anything Iwrote, and they don’t try to sustain the proposition that Koch is even in favor of the pipeline, let alone the driving force behind it. They lamely suggest that if Koch leased 2 million acres, rather than 1.1 million as they reported on Thursday, then Koch might be the largest leaseholder. But they make no attempt to respond to the official Province of Alberta maps that I posted, which clearly show that Canadian National Resources, Ltd., for example, leases more acreage than Koch.

The Post’s response attempted to explain “Why we wrote about the Koch Industries [sic] and its leases in Canada’s oil sands.” Good question! What’s the answer?

The Powerline article itself, and its tone, is strong evidence that issues surrounding the Koch brothers’ political and business interests will stir and inflame public debate in this election year. That’s why we wrote the piece.

So in the Post’s view, it is acceptable to publish articles that are both literally false (Koch is the largest tar sands leaseholder) and massively misleading (the Keystone Pipeline is all about Koch Industries), if by doing so the paper can “stir and inflame public debate in this election year?” I can’t top Jonah Goldberg’s comment on that howler:

By this logic any unfair attack posing as reporting is worthwhile when people try to correct the record. Why not just have at it and accuse the Kochs of killing JFK or hiding the Malaysian airplane? The resulting criticism would once again provide “strong evidence that issues surrounding the Koch brothers’ political and business interests will stir and inflame public debate in this election year.”

Read it all!

Threat to Democracy

This is both an update to and combination of another post… see a previous post for an update to this article:

Enjoy.

Kimberley Strassel wrote an excellent article in the Wall Street Journal about the imperial predilections of Obama’s “reign.” (Posted by Religio-Political Talk)

…Put another way: Mr. Obama proposes, Congress refuses, he does it anyway.

For example, Congress refused to pass Mr. Obama’s Dream Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for some not here legally. So Mr. Obama passed it himself with an executive order that directs officers to no longer deport certain illegal immigrants. This may be good or humane policy, yet there is no reading of “prosecutorial discretion” that allows for blanket immunity for entire classes of offenders.

Mr. Obama disagrees with federal law, which criminalizes the use of medical marijuana. Congress has not repealed the law. No matter. The president instructs his Justice Department not to prosecute transgressors. He disapproves of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, yet rather than get Congress to repeal it, he stops defending it in court. He dislikes provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, so he asked Congress for fixes. That effort failed, so now his Education Department issues waivers that are patently inconsistent with the statute.

Similarly, when Mr. Obama wants a new program and Congress won’t give it to him, he creates it regardless. Congress, including Democrats, wouldn’t pass his cap-and-trade legislation. His Environmental Protection Agency is now instituting it via a broad reading of the Clean Air Act. Congress, again including members of his own party, wouldn’t pass his “card-check” legislation eliminating secret ballots in union elections. So he stacked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) with appointees who pushed through a “quickie” election law to accomplish much the same. Congress wouldn’t pass “net neutrality” Internet regulations, so Mr. Obama’s Federal Communications Commission did it unilaterally.

In January, when the Senate refused to confirm Mr. Obama’s new picks for the NLRB, he proclaimed the Senate to be in “recess” and appointed the members anyway, making a mockery of that chamber’s advice-and-consent role. In June, he expanded the definition of “executive privilege” to deny House Republicans documents for their probe into the botched Fast and Furious drug-war operation, making a mockery of Congress’s oversight responsibilities.

This president’s imperial pretensions extend into the brute force the executive branch has exercised over the private sector. The auto bailouts turned contract law on its head, as the White House subordinated bondholders’ rights to those of its union allies. After the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Justice Department leaked that it had opened a criminal probe at exactly the time the Obama White House was demanding BP suspend its dividend and cough up billions for an extralegal claims fund. BP paid. Who wouldn’t?

And it has been much the same in his dealings with the states. Don’t like Arizona’s plans to check immigration status? Sue. Don’t like state efforts to clean up their voter rolls? Invoke the Voting Rights Act. Don’t like state authority over fracking? Elbow in with new and imagined federal authority, via federal water or land laws.

In so many situations, Mr. Obama’s stated rationale for action has been the same: We tried working with Congress but it didn’t pan out—so we did what we had to do. This is not only admission that the president has subverted the legislative branch, but a revealing insight into Mr. Obama’s view of his own importance and authority….

…read it all…

This first video is another wonderful Trey Gowdy anthem. Click his name in the “TAGS” to see other “music to your ears” speeches:

Video description: Rep. Gowdy’s floor speech in favor of H.R. 4138 the ENFORCE the Law Act.

And this is a recent Jonathan Turley statement before Congress (do the same, check out Turley in the “TAGS”):

Video description:

Via The Blaze ~ I did turn the volume up from the original file… so prep your volume control.

A constitutional law expert warned Congress during a hearing Wednesday that America has reached a “constitutional tipping point” under the watch of President Barack Obama.

Jonathan Turley, professor of public interest law at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., said the legislative branch of the U.S. government is in danger of becoming irrelevant in the face of continued executive overreach.

“My view [is] that the president, has in fact, exceeded his authority in a way that is creating a destabilizing influence in a three branch system,” Turley said. “I want to emphasize, of course, this problem didn’t begin with President Obama, I was critical of his predecessor President Bush as well, but the rate at which executive power has been concentrated in our system is accelerating. And frankly, I am very alarmed by the implications of that aggregation of power.”

“What also alarms me, however, is that the two other branches appear not just simply passive, but inert in the face of this concentration of authority,” he added….

Let God Allah Sort It Out

Concepts: “Let Allah Sort It Out” ~ Sarah Palin

Firstly, I must applaud John for saying something not too many on the left say, and that is when he slighted the U.N. properly, “The mere fact that it is not even on the United Nations agenda shows how impotent that organization is in enforcing its own Charter due to the Security Council’s veto power.” Awesome. For those reading this, I recommend a great documentary entitled, “U.N.Me.” A great and actually funny look at the uselessness of that body.

Now, to discuss quickly John’s ending sentence.

  • “I do feel sorry for Sarah though: she still thinks there is a difference between God and Allah.”

I know John is illiterate in his theology, comparative-religious studies, historical depth, and the like. Because there are huge differences between Allah and the God of the Bible. And they express themselves in their founders, Jesus, and Muhammad:

MUHAMMAD ordered his followers (and participated in) the cutting of throats of between 600-to-900 persons. Not all men, but women and children. He was a military tactician that lied and told others to use deception that ultimately led to the death of many people (taqiyya). We never see any depictions of Muhammad with children, we just know that he most likely acquired a gal at age 6 and consummated the “marriage” when she was 9. He was a pedophile in other words. While the Qu’ran states that a follower of this book should have no more than 4 wives, we know of course that he had many more. Many more.

JESUS, when Peter struck off the ear of the soldier, healed it. Christ said if his followers were of any other kingdom, they would fight to get him off the cross. Christ invited and used children as examples of how Jewish adults should view their faith… something culturally radical – inviting children into an inner-circle of a group of status oriented men as the Pharisees were and using them as examples to learn from. Jesus, and thusly us, can access true love because the Triune God has eternally loved (The Father loves the Son, etc. ~ unlike the unitarian God of Islam). Love between us then, my wife and I, the love in community/Body of Christ, has foundations in God. Even the most ardent Muslim still leaves his or her entrance into “heaven” as an arbitrary choice of “god.” The love of Christ and the relationship he offers is bar-none the center piece of our faith… something the Muslim does not have. Which is why the Church evolved because they have a point of reference in Christ to come back to. We would not want the Muslim to fall back to his point of reference but to look to Jesus as a referent.

Remember, in Christian theology, Jesus IS God. This is lost on an old-progressive soul like John however… so to my real reason for posting on this recent “Concepts.” And it is surely John’s, like most liberal Democrats, BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) that is driving this painting of history the wrong way.

  • “George W told us he obeyed a higher father than his earthly father, but we see what that accomplished: nothing.”

If you [the reader] are not familiar with this mantra John is referencing, deals with “Dubya” supposedly praying to God and getting confirmation to go into Iraq (the key back-and-forth begins at 1:35… listen to it all after that):

This mantra and myth is still alive in the likes of “Concepts,” where history and reasonable thought are something akin to the abundance of the Blackfin Cisco. The left leaning (really it fell over) Guardian Newspaper sums up the myth well:

George Bush has claimed he was on a mission from God when he launched the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, according to a senior Palestinian politician in an interview to be broadcast by the BBC later this month.

Mr Bush revealed the extent of his religious fervour when he met a Palestinian delegation during the Israeli-Palestinian summit at the Egpytian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, four months after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

One of the delegates, Nabil Shaath, who was Palestinian foreign minister at the time, said: “President Bush said to all of us: ‘I am driven with a mission from God’. God would tell me, ‘George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan’. And I did. And then God would tell me ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq’. And I did.”

Mr Bush went on: “And now, again, I feel God’s words coming to me, ‘Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East’. And, by God, I’m gonna do it.”

And another headline from a progressive site should sum it up, “Bush: God Told Me to Invade Iraq — President ‘revealed reasons for war in private meeting‘” This is the junk John is spreading, and people take him serious? Seriously?

I bet John is also confused on some other mantras, like “nation building.” I will let Larry Elder take us out of the Looney Tunes known as “Concepts.”

A Refutation of a Liberal Mantra About Dubya and Nation Building from Papa Giorgio

Glass-Ceiling-03

Concepts: `The Old But Better GOP` (Glass Ceilings)

Besides John van Huizum undermining his entire case to show that any of the supposed (granting him the idea that his positions are true) disparities he lists have any value in being “unfair,” or “wrongs” — see the last post on John’s thoughts — let us cherry pick just one example from his many above “bumper sticker” platitudes and dissect is a bit. (You may mouse over the pic to see the section.) In picking one seemingly true position and shedding some factual challenge to it should call into question John’s understanding of the rest.

“Assure equal pay for equal work, regardless of sex.”

Okay, I have written on this topic quite extensively, and this is just a portion from this larger writing:


(Alex Castellanos ended up writing a response to his above “tiff” with Maddow) This is partly an import from a previous post dealing with this topic via my old blog, and partly an update. In my original post entitle, Glass Ceilings, Veteran benefits, and Other Liberal Mantras, I chronicled the following:

The Glass Ceiling

President Clinton said that women make .73 cents on every man’s dollar. He used this as a campaign issue to try and smear Republicans. Kerry said that women make .76 cents on every man’s dollar, and likewise used this stat as a political smear. The question then is this, are these two persons correct?

YES! If you compare all men to all women, then yes, there is a disparage. This stat doesn’t take into account a few things. It doesn’t consider the fact that women tend to choose the humanities when entering college and men seem to choose the hard sciences. So by choice women tend to choose professions that pay less. Not only that, when you compare Oranges to Oranges, you get something much different than expected, or that we would expect from the liberal side of things. If a woman and a man have had the same level of education and have been on the same job for an equal amount of time, the woman makes $1,005 while a man makes $1,000, a difference of $5 dollars every thousand dollars a man earns.


So, the bottom line is that this platitude that John listed is a stat misused by the Left to portray [incorrectly] some disparaged class of people to rally around for political gain, not for gain of presenting truth. Sad.

Inquisition

Religious & Political Extremism Motivated Violence ~ Concepts

In this installment of my series dealing with a local small papers regular article, I respond to the misdirection of energies to ideas surrounding religious and political extremism. A proper understanding of both history and one’s own political leaders can direct one’s energies to properly deal with the issues that animate so many.

I only have the patience and time to correct a couple of items in the above (as usual, you may click the graphic to ENLARGE it). This will again fit into the category of Mr. Huizum not knowing history well, and based on such bad historical referencing making broad claims that hurt healthy dialogue. This is a common practice in higher education, and Professor Mike S. Adams comments on what affect this has on young students:

1. They motivate some students to dedicate their professional lives to finding solutions to non¬existent problems.

2. They cause many students to become angry over things that aren’t even true.

Letters to a Young Progressive: How to Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don’t Understand (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2013), 42-43.

“Life is too short to spend being angry about things that aren’t even true” (43). Similarly, one should put one’s energies towards the right area of focus. So for instance, when John states,

The Oklahoma bombing was perpetrated by a right-wing militia member, so politics was involved in that incident.

He has in his mind a picture of a religious right-winger. When in fact Timothy McVeigh was an atheist who renounced the Judeo-Christian God and said his “god” was science. So in reality, McVeigh’s motivations line up closer with John’s political (and some would say, religious… because “atheism” is a metaphysical viewpoint) views rather than the “religious-right.” And most of the violence has been committed by people who have left leaning political views.

(See bios of shooters here, and here; as well as the many Occupy stories here; as well as the violence in opposition to Bush and Palin.)

In other words, John Huizum’s focus is wrongly placed, and so his outrage in the past has not only been misplaced, but infective as well.

Another portion that I wish to point to along a similar vein is this statement:

The Crusades were motivated by Christians hating Muslims and vice versa, so a difference in religious beliefs caused those wars.

Again, some history will benefit the discussion. The following is from a recent post on Pope Francis canonizing some Christians who were killed in Muslim/Christian conflicts:


In case those here are not aware of this violent history intrinsic to Islam, here are some previous “clashes” that led to the West defending themselves:

The Third Crusade (1188-1192). This crusade was proclaimed by Pope Gregory VIII in the wake of Saladin’s capture of Jerusalem and destruction of the Crusader forces of Hattin in 1187. This venture failed to retake Jerusalem, but it did strengthen Outremer, the crusader state that stretched along the coast of the Levant.

The Politically incorrect guide to Islam (and the Crusades), by Robert Spencer, pp. 147-148.

The almost Political Correct myth is that the crusades were an unprovoked attack by Europe against the Islamic world are dealt with in part:

The conquest of Jerusalem in 638 stood as the beginning of centuries of Muslim aggression, and Christians in the Holy Land faced an escalating spiral of persecution. A few examples: Early in the eighth century, sixty Christian pilgrims from Amorium were crucified; around the same time, the Muslim governor of Caesarea seized a group of pilgrims from Iconium and had them all executed as spies – except for a small number who converted to Islam; and Muslims demanded money from pilgrims, threatening to ransack the Church of the Resurrection if they didn’t pay. Later in the eighth century, a Muslim ruler banned displays of the cross in Jerusalem. He also increased the anti-religious tax (jizya) that Christians had to pay and forbade Christians to engage in religious instruction to others, even their own children.

Brutal subordinations and violence became the rules of the day for Christians in the Holy Land. In 772, the caliph al-Mansur ordered the hands of Christians and Jews in Jerusalem to be stamped with a distinctive symbol. Conversions to Christianity were dealt with particularly harshly. In 789, Muslims beheaded a monk who had converted from Islam and plundered the Bethlehem monastery of Saint Theodosius, killing many more monks. Other monasteries in the region suffered the same fate. Early in the ninth century, the persecutions grew so severe that large numbers of Christians fled to Constantinople and other Christians cities. More persecutions in 923 saw additional churches destroyed, and in 937, Muslims went on a Palm Sunday rampage in Jerusalem, plundering and destroying the Church of Calvary and the Church of the Resurrection.

The Politically incorrect guide to Islam (and the Crusades), by Robert Spencer, pp. 122-123.

One person (my pastor at the time) said to paint a picture of the crusaders in a single year in history is like showing photo’s and video of Hitler hugging children and giving flowers to them and then showing photo’s and video of the Allies attacking the German army. It completely forgets what Hitler and Germany had done prior.

What did I mean by “intrinsic”? When I talk to a Muslim I make sure I compare Jesus to Muhammad, and the Trinitarian God to the Islamic unitarian god.

MUHAMMAD ordered his followers (and participated in) the cutting of throats of between 600-to-900 persons. Not all men, but women and children. He was a military tactician that lied and told others to use deception that ultimately led to the death of many people (taqiyya). We never see any depictions of Muhammad with children, we just know that he most likely acquired a gal at age 6 and consummated the “marriage” when she was nine. He was a pedophile in other words. While the Qu’ran states that a follower of this book should have no more than 4 wives, we know of course that he had many more. Many more.

JESUS, when Peter struck off the ear of the soldier, healed it. Christ said if his followers were of any other kingdom, they would fight to get him off the cross. Christ invited and used children as examples of how Jewish adults should view their faith… something culturally radical – inviting children into an inner-circle of a group of status oriented men as the Pharisees were and using them as examples to learn from. Jesus, and thusly us, can access true love because the Triune God has eternally loved (The Father loves the Son, etc. ~ unlike the unitarian God of Islam). Love between us then, my wife and I, the love in community/Body of Christ, has foundations in God. Even the most ardent Muslim still leaves his or her entrance into “heaven” as an arbitrary choice of “god.” The love of Christ and the relationship he offers is bar-none the center piece of our faith… something the Muslim does not have. Which is why the Church evolved because they have a point of reference in Christ to come back to. We would not want the Muslim to fall back to his point of reference but to look to Jesus as a referent.

The Quran, Haditha, and other sources make clear that Muhammad was a sinner, and had to repent FOR his sins… while the same sources say Jesus was sinless, confirming Biblical doctrine.

Which leads me to one of my favorite quotes:

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 strong-minded 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 worshipped, 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.


So the Crusades were motivated by Muslims hatred for civilization, and this political view entwined in Sharia is still stuck in the barbarism of the 600’s and is still at war with civilized society. I am not saying of course the Church is blameless, do not get me wrong. What I am saying is that people (fallen and infallible) responded at times wrongly in a correct situation that needed to be handled with military power… not ecumenism. Ecumenism was the root cause for Muslim’s to take over large swaths of land. Just war stopped this onslaught and many centuries later we are still reaping the net benefit of this larger good that kept a large portion of the world free enough to allow maximal liberty. Even if this liberty was slow and gradual, it sill allowed the laboratory for experiments in political and religious philosophy that led to our current situation.

Although there were some forms of democratic government in local areas in ancient and medieval history (such as ancient Athens), when the United States began as a representative democracy in 1776, it could be called the “American experiment,” because there were at that time no other functioning national democracies in the world. But after the founding of the United States, and especially in the twentieth century, the number of functioning national democracies grew remarkably. The World Forum on Democracy reports that in 1950 there were 22 democracies accounting for 31% of the world population and a further 21 states with restricted democratic practices, accounting for 11.9% of the globe’s population. Since the turn of the century, electoral democracies now represent 120 of the 192 existing countries and constitute 58.2% of the world’s population.

Therefore, when people today complain to me that they don’t want to get involved in politics because they think that politicians are too corrupt (or arrogant, greedy, power-hungry, and other forms of being “unspiritual”), I want to remind them that although democracy is messy, it still works quite well, and all the alternative forms of government are far worse. We should be thankful for those who are willing to be involved in it, often at great personal sacrifice.

Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 108-109.

Otherwise, most of the world would still practice keeping Africans in slavery, like in Muslim countries.

John, in the above and previous articles, has made clear he disdains political and religious extremism — explicitly and implicitly. Again, I will include a recent conversation from my Hawaiian vacation that speaks to John not applying his concerns to the proper areas — religious extremism:


….But every point of disagreement or complaint Walter had focused around racism. Which led me to my final point of the discussion with his. I asked him why he was so sensitive to the topic of race/racism. He responded that he had a family member who passed in a concentration camp during WWII, mentioning his Jewish roots. Awesome!

This led me to my favorite analogy, which I asked Walter to allow me time to build. He agreed, revealing ultimately his political inconsistencies:

Walter, I will use Bush in my analogy. Let us say for twenty years Bush attended a church that twice prominently displayed David Dukes likeness on the cover of their church’s magazine which reaches 20,000 homes, and a third time alongside Barry Mills (the founder of the Aryan Brotherhood). Even inviting David Duke to the pulpit to receive a “lifetime achievement award.” Even selling sermons by David Duke in the church’s book store. Authors of sermons sold in Bush’s church’s bookstore teach in accordance with Christian Identity’s view that Jews and blacks are offspring of Satan and Eve via a sexual encounter in the Garden of Eden. In the church’s bookstore, the entire time Bush attended, books like Mein Kampf, My Awakening (David Duke), and other blatantly racist books. Even members of the Aryan Brotherhood felt comfortable enough to sit in the pews at times… being that the pastor of the church was once a reverend for the group.

Now Walter, if Bush had gone to a church like that I would walk arm-n-arm with my Democratic comrades in making sure he would never be President. You would expect me to I am sure?

He confirmed my suspicion. I then shared my knowledge of Obama.

I purchased from Obama’s church’s bookstore online 3-books: A Black Theology of Liberation, Black Theology & Black Power, and Is God A White Racist?: A Preamble to Black Theology. In these books Walter, God is said to be against white people, and mirror in their hatred of whites to that of Jews in Mein Kampf, calling both devils.

“The personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew” ~ Adolf HitlerMein Kampf

“The goal of black theology is the destruction of everything white, so that blacks can be liberated from alien gods” ~ James Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation, p.62

“White religionists are not capable of perceiving the blackness of God, because their satanic whiteness is a denial of the very essence of divinity. That is why whites are finding and will continue to find the black experience a disturbing reality” ~ James Cone, A Black Theology of Liberation, p.64

(see more)

Obama’s pastor not only was a minister in The Nation of Islam, an anti-Semitic/racist group, but the church’s book store sells sermons by Louise Farrakhan, who teaches that the white man was created on the Island of Cyprus by a mad scientist, Yakub. (Mr. Farrakhan also believes he was taken up on a UFO to meet God, and was told he was a little messiah, take note also that he was directly involved in the deaths of police officers as well.) Louise Farrakhan was featured twice on the church’s magazine which reach 20,000[plus] homes in the Chicago area. Even placing on the cover with Louise Farrakhan a third time the founder of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad. Elijah Muhammad likewise taught that the white man was created by Yakub 6,600 years ago. Walter, Louise Farrakhan teaches that the Jews in Israel do not belong there, and that the true Jews are the black people. Louise Farrakhan was invited into Obama’s church, to the pulpit and given a “lifetime achievement award.” In fact, the New Black Panthers and members of the Nation of Islam often times sat in the pews for sermons by Rev. Wright, whom Obama called a mentor.

Mouse Over To See

Another was a montage of faces – black leaders, past and present, with the title “The legacy lives on” – that included Wright, Farrakhan, Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad, Rosa Parks and even O.J. Simpson attorney Johnny Cochran. (Weekly Standard; WND)

So I expect you, Walter, to join arm-and-arm with me on finding out why the media, and Democrats who are so concerned about racism let such a man into office, when, if the tables were turned, I wouldn’t want in office.

Do you know the next thing out of Walter’s mouth was?

“Didn’t Bush speak in a church that forbid interracial marriage?”

I responded that no, it was a speech at Bob Jones University…

… and you are making my point Walter. If that bugs you soo much to mention it during the course of a conversation, why doesn’t Obama’s history more-so irk you? Not to mention the university overturned its silly rule, even Bob Jones said he couldn’t back up that policy with a single verse in the Bible (CNN). Obama’s CHURCH OF TWENTY YEARS has made no such concession.

At this point Walter started to get out of the hot-tub finishing with “well, that’s just your opinion” (meaning my carefully laid out facts and years of study combined with an analogy was hogwash. Walter went his way, and even avoided me when he saw me in the international caffe — even though our conversation was calm, rational, and reasoned. I even asked him permission twice to make my analogies, being polite and respecting his age. Walter is a great example of how Democrats ignore following their own concerns to their logical conclusions, when applied to their own candidate. Sad.

red-pill-blue-pill-glasses

Concepts: “Free Will or Not” – That is the Question

This is a topic I know a bit about, as, it is a common feature required to make distinctions in philosophy and science (and the philosophy of science) regarding naturalism and its influence on epistemology and if we can know truth, moral truth or otherwise. As we read the article we come to a small paragraph that shows me John is traipsing into territory he knows nothing about but makes sweeping statements as if he does. We read:

  • Acceptance of an assumption that there is no free will would remove everyone’s responsibility for his or her behavior, and nobody could be condemned to jail or death. Such a thesis also would deny the influence of DNA and of experience in life.

Firstly, popular culture weighs in on this idea that somehow DNA influences free-will?

  1. “Infidelity – It May Be In Our Genes” ~ Time, August 15, 1994;
  2. “20th Century Blues” – Stress, anxiety, depression: the new science of evolutionary psychology finds the roots of modern maladies in our genes ~ Time, August 28, 1995;
  3. “Born Happy (Or Not)” – Happiness is more than just a state of mind… It is in the genes too;
  4. “Born To Be Gay?” ~ New Zealand Herald, August 8, 1996;
  5. “What Makes Them Do It?” – People who crave thrills, new evidence indicates, may be prompted at least partly by their genes ~ New Scientist, September 28, 1996, p. 32;
  6. “Your Genes May Be Forcing You To Eat Too Much” ~ Time, January 15, 1996;
  7. “Infanticide/neonaticide is caused by an evolutionary imperative” ~ New York Times, November 2, 1997.

In a lecture from Stephen Hawkings (who holds the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics, Einstein’s chair) at a lecture given to a university crowd in England entitled “Determinism – Is Man a Slave or the Master of His Fate.” He discussed whether we are the random products of chance, and hence, not free, or whether God had designed these laws within which we are free. In other words: do we have the ability to make choices, or do we simply follow a chemical reaction induced by millions of mutational collisions of free atoms?

Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s maxim rings just as true today as it did in his day,“If there is no God, all things are permissible.” Without an absolute ethical norm, morality is reduced to mere preference and the world is a jungle where might makes right. This same strain of thought caused Mussolini to comment,

“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.”

Which brings me to the finishing statement from John, “I cannot see how any society could function without assuming we do have free will.” On this we agree, even an atheistic society must borrow from the theistic worldview. In a previous response to My Huizum, I noted Sam Harris’ thinking on ultimate ethics:

evolutionary psychology (for instance, atheist defender Sam Harris makes the Darwinian psychological statement that “…there’s nothing more natural than rape. Human beings rape, chimpanzees rape, orangutans rape, rape clearly is part of an evolutionary strategy to get your genes into the next generation if you’re a male.”)

So, let us see some popular positions taken by “evangelical” atheists:

Richard Dawkins

(h/t: TrueFreeThinker) – A Statement Made by an atheist at the Atheist and Agnostic Society:

“Some atheists do believe in ethical absolutes, some don’t. My answer is a bit more complicated — I don’t believe that there are any axiological claims which are absolutely true, except within the context of one person’s opinion.

That is, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so are ethics. So, why is Hitler wrong? Because he murdered millions, and his only justification, even if it were valid, was based on things which he should have known were factually wrong. Why is it wrong to do that? Because I said so. Unless you actually disagree with me — unless you want to say that Hitler was right — I’m not sure I have more to say.”

[side note] You may also be aware that Richard Dawkins stated,

  • “What’s to prevent us from saying Hitler wasn’t right? I mean, that is a genuinely difficult question.”

Stated during an interview with Larry Taunton, “Richard Dawkins: The Atheist Evangelist,” by Faith Magazine, Issue Number 18, December 2007 (copyright; 2007-2008)

Lewis Wolpert

Dan Barker

Take note also that leaders in atheistic thinking and philosophers of good standing deal with the determinism found in neo-Darwinian/naturalistic philosophies and evolutionary thinking. For instance, from a debate I was in many years ago, Stan said the following:

  • “The brain works by firing electric charges that then release chemicals that make others fire electric charges.”
Robots and Cosmic Puppetry: The Scientific Challenge to Freedom

Since at least the time of Sir Isaac Newton, scientists and philosophers impressed by the march of science have offered a picture of human behavior that is not promising for a belief in freedom. All nature is viewed by them as one huge mechanism, with human beings serving as just parts of that giant machine. On this view, we live and think in accordance with the same laws and causes that move all other physical components of the universal mechanism.

According to these thinkers, everything that happens in nature has a cause. Suppose then that an event occurs, which, in context, is clearly a human action of the sort that we would normally call free. As an occurrence in this universe, it has a cause. But then that cause, in turn, has a cause. And that cause in turn has a cause, and so on, and so on [remember, reductionism].

“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible player” ~ Albert Einstein.

As a result of this scientific world view, we get the following picture:

Natural conditions outside our control…
cause
Inner bodily and brain states,
which cause
mental and physical actions

But if this is true, then you are, ultimately, just a conduit or pipeline for chains of natural causation that reach far back into the past before your birth and continue far forward into the future after your death. You are not an originating cause of anything [this includes brain activity of all degrees, that is, love, pain, etc.). Nothing you ever do is due to your choices or thoughts alone. You are a puppet of nature. You are no more than a robot programmed by an unfeeling cosmos.

Psychologists talk about heredity and environment as responsible for everything you do. But then if they are, you aren’t. Does it follow that you can then do as you please, irresponsibly? Not at all. It only follows that you will do as nature and nurture please. But then, nature on this picture turns out to be just an illusory veil over a heartless, uncaring nature. You have what nature gives you. Nothing more, nothing less.

Where is human freedom in this picture? It doesn’t exist. It is one of our chief illusions. The natural belief in free will is just a monstrous falsehood. But we should not feel bad about holding on to this illusion until science corrects us. We can’t have helped it.

This reasoning is called The Challenge of Scientific Determinism. According to determinists, we are determined in every respect to do everything that we ever do.

This again is a serious challenge to human freedom. It is the reason that the early scientist Pierre Laplace (1749-1827) once said that if you could give a super-genius a total description of the universe at any given point in time, that being would be able to predict with certainty everything that would ever happen in the future relative to that moment, and retrodict with certainty anything that had ever happened in any moment before that described state. Nature, he believed, was that perfect machine. And we human beings were just cogs in the machine, deluded in our beliefs that we are free.

 (Tom Morris, Philosophy for Dummies, 133-134)

[….]

Evil, say, infanticide is reduced to determinism.  (Brain function [choice, action] reduces to chemical reactions, which are caused by a physical process, which in turn are caused by a physical [reduced] cause… etc ad infinitum.)  And when a person says, “I reject the thought of an ultimate being. So how do I determine ‘right’ from ‘wrong’? I don’t. I simply base things on choices. It is my belief that that the only moral system is a system that let’s everyone make their own choices, and live their life as they wish” [Giddion is another person involved in this old debate] they do not realize what they are thus accepting as the rule of life, as I will now refute.  And one would have to admit if he or she rejects God, physicalism is all that is left.

Mind/Body Physicalism Refuted (the following is from Scaling the Secular City: A Defense of Christianity, by J. P. Moreland, pp. 90-92)

A number of philosophers have argued that physicalism must be false because it implies determinism and determinism is self-refuting.  Speaking of the determinist, J. R. Lucas says:

If what he says is true, he says it merely as the result of his heredity and environment, and nothing else.  He does not hold his determinist views because they are true, but because he has such-and-such stimuli; that is, not because the structure of the structure of the universe is such-and-such but only because the configuration of only part of the universe, together with the structure of the determinist’s brain, is such as to produce that result….  Determinism, therefore, cannot be true, because if it was, we should not take the determinists’ arguments as being really arguments [say, whether or not homosexuality is a right or not] as being really arguments, but as being only conditioned reflexes.  Their statements should not be regarded as really claiming to be true, but only as seeking to cause us to respond in some way desired by them.  (Freedom of the Will, by John Lucas)

H. P. Owen states that:

Determinism is self-stultifying.  If my mental processes are totally determined, I am totally determined either to accept or to reject determinism.  But if the sole reason for my believing or not believing X is that I am causally determined to believe it I have no ground for holding that my judgment is true or false.  (Christian Theism, p. 118)

… if one claims to know that physicalism is true, or to embrace it for good reasons, if one claims that it is a rational position which should be chosen on the basis of evidence [as one does when they reject theism], then this claim is self-refuting.  This is so because physicallism seems to deny the possibility of rationality.  To see this, let us examine the necessary preconditions which must hold if there is to be such a thing as rationality and show how physicalism denies these preconditions.

At least five factors must obtain if there are to be genuine rational agents who can accurately reflect on the world.  First, minds must have internationality; they must be capable of having thoughts about or of the world.  Acts of inference are “insights into” or “knowings of” something other than themselves.

Second, reasons, propositions, thoughts, laws of logic and evidence, and truth must exist and be capable of being instanced in people’s minds and influencing their thought processes.  This fact is hard to reconcile with physicallism.  To see this, consider the field of ethics.  Morality prescribes what we ought to do (prescriptive); it does not merely describe what is in fact done (descriptive).  Objective morality makes sense if real moral laws or oughts exist and if normative, moral properties like rightness, goodness, worth, and dignity exist in acts (the act of honoring one’s parents) and things (persons and animals have worth) [this all applies to the debate over homosexuality].  If physicalism is true as a worldview, there are no moral properties or full-blooded oughts.  Physical states just are, and one physical state causes or fails to cause another physical state.  A physical state does not morally prescribe that another physical ought to be.  If physicalism is true, oughts are not real moral obligations telling us what one should do to be in conformity with the moral universe.  Rather, “ought” serves as a mere guide for reaching a socially acceptable or psychologically desired goal (e.g., “if one wants to have pleasure and avoid pain, then one ‘ought’ to tell the truth”).  Moral imperatives become grounded in subjective preferences on the same level as a preference for Burger King over McDonald’s….

[….]

ReductionismThe theory that every complex phenomenon, esp. in biology or psychology, can be explained by analyzing the simplest, most basic physical mechanisms that are in operation during the phenomenon. (Random-House Webster)

C.S. Lewis pointed out that even our ability to reason and think rationally would be called into question if atheistic evolution were true:

“If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our thought processes are mere accidents – the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts — i.e. of Materialism and — are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give a correct account of all the other accidents.”

Which brings C.S. Lewis to mention how he was not able to connect the idea of “evil” to the world as an atheist:

My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show, find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet. Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too–for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist–in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless -I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality–namely my idea of justice–was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.

C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (San Francisco, CA: Harper San Francisco, 1952), 38-39.

William Lane Craig, who debated Sam Harris, works through this in his post, “Navigating Sam Harris’ The Moral Landscape.” One can see from Sam Harris that ethics is not something that “ought” to be adhered to. In an article and from a debate between theist William Lane Craig and Same Harris, we can zero in on what naturalism says

First, objective moral values:

So how does Sam Harris propose to solve the “value problem”? The trick he proposes is simply to redefine what he means by “good” and “evil” in non-moral terms. He says we should “define ‘good’ as that which supports [the] well-being” of conscious creatures.” He states, “Good and evil need only consist in this: misery versus well-being.” Or again: “In speaking of ‘moral truth,’ I am saying that there must be facts regarding human and animal well-being.”

So, he says, “Questions about values … are really questions about the well-being of conscious creatures.” Therefore, he concludes, “It makes no sense … to ask whether maximizing well-being is ‘good’.” Why not? Because he’s redefined the word “good” to mean the well-being of conscious creatures. So to ask, “Why is maximizing creatures’ well-being good?” is on his definition the same as asking, “Why does maximizing creatures’ well-being maximize creatures’ well-being?” It is simply a tautology — talking in a circle. Thus, Harris has “solved” his problem simply by redefining his terms. It is mere word play.

Second, objective moral duties:

Does atheism provide a sound foundation for objective moral duties? Duty has to do with moral obligation and prohibition, what I ought or ought not to do. Here reviewers of The Moral Landscape have been merciless in pounding Harris’ attempt to provide a naturalistic account of moral obligation. Two problems stand out.

Natural science tells us only what is, not what ought to be, the case. As philosopher Jerry Fodor has written, “Science is about facts, not norms; it might tell us how we are, but it wouldn’t tell us what is wrong with how we are.” In particular it cannot tell us that we have a moral obligation to take actions that are conducive to human flourishing.

[…]Second, ”ought” implies “can.” A person is not morally responsible for an action he is unable to avoid. For example, if somebody shoves you into another person, you are not to blame for bumping into this person. You had no choice. But Harris believes that all of our actions are causally determined and that there is no free will. Harris rejects not only libertarian accounts of freedom but also compatibilistic accounts of freedom. But if there is no free will, no one is morally responsible for anything. In the end, Harris admits this, though it’s tucked away in his endnotes. Moral responsibility, he says, “is a social construct,” not an objective reality: “in neuroscientific terms no person is more or less responsible than any other” for the actions they perform. His thoroughgoing determinism spells the end of any hope or possibility of objective moral duties on his worldview because we have no control over what we do.

William Lane Craig Discusses Sam Harris’ book, “The Moral Landscape”

So we can see that even the person mentioned in John Van Huizum’s article, Sam Harris, in reality rejects his premise that free will exists. John does say though, that we must (we meaning any society, secular or not) must assume it to be true. Thus, John is borrowing from the Judeo-Christian worldview and really arguing for the coherence of it (and the incoherence of the opposite), and not of atheism… unbeknownst to him! John neglects to tell us “the rest of the story” (Paul Harvey), or more likely doesn’t know the story to begin with.