A Facebook Meme About the Soul

A friend posted the picture and statement regarding the soul… I thought it an opportunity to respond, here.

I SORTA agree with that statement in the pic. While the picture is riveting, and I believe in the soul… I assume many who do not adhere to the Judeo-Christian philosophy do not, or do not realize well WHAT they believe. I will explain. All of the world’s 10,000+ religions break down into seven worldviews at most…

WORLDVIEW DEFINED QUICKLEY

  • The German word is WELTANSCHAUUNG, meaning a ‘world and life view,’ or ‘a paradigm.’ It is a framework through which or by which one makes sense of the data of life. A worldview makes a world of difference in one’s view of God, origins, evil, human nature, values, and destiny” A worldview consists of a series of assumptions/presuppositions that a person holds about reality. A worldview, consciously or subconsciously, affects the way a person evaluates every aspect of reality. Every person adheres to some sort of worldview, although one person may not be as consciously aware of it as another person. These presuppositions affect the thinking of every person in the world. It logically follows that the way a person thinks affects what a person does. (I have more on this in my 1st chapter of my book — as well as my WORLDVIEW post)

…. Theism (Jews and Christians as an example); Poly-Theism (Mormons); Finite Godism (Witches, New Age, etc); Naturalism (Atheists); Pantheism (Hinduism, Janism, Buddhism, etc); Panenthiesm (Western mysticism [New Age] – and Hindu bhakti, etc).

While many have a belief in the soul, the only worldview that holds the “self” resides in and continues on 𝐼𝑁 the soul is Theism. While neo-Pagans (like Wiccans) believe the soul goes through reincarnations – similar in some respect to Pantheists – in the end, we see that all this we experience is an illusion. Here, for instance, is a conversation I had with a ZEN apologist (this is taken from my 2nd chapter in my book):

MY INITIAL ENGAGEMENT:

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

THEY CALL HIM JAMES URE, RESPONDS:

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

I RESPOND:

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

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

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

MY FINAL RESPONSE AFETR NO RESPONSE

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

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

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

[The above beliefs found in neo-Pagan, Pantheism, Panentheism affects the idea of “beauty” as well]

So many belief systems struggle with the reality of a soul of a “person.” People who just believe it to be the case live in the West and have been influenced through Western culture that has come through the stream of Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome.

In other words, for someone to say “if they could see the soul” are assuming a Judeo-Christian construct that they may not adhere to. They are “borrowing” something that they like from one religion and “quilting it together” illogically with another belief. The two cancel each-other out. Logically speaking.

It SOUNDS nice though.

“Amen” and “A Woman” | Crazy Democrats

(WIKI) Amen (Hebrew: אָמֵן‘ʾāmēn’; Greek: ἀμήν‘amín’; Arabic: آمین‘āmīna’; Aramaic/Syriac: ܐܵܡܝܼܢ‘ʾāmīn’) is an Abrahamic declaration of affirmation first found in the Hebrew Bible, and subsequently in the New Testament. It is used in Jewish, Christian and Islamic worship, as a concluding word, or as a response to a prayer. Common English translations of the word amen include “verily”, “truly”, and “so be it”. It is also used colloquially, to express strong agreement.

[….]

The usage of amen, meaning “so be it” (as found in the early scriptures of the Bible), is a word of Biblical Hebrew origin. The word originated in the Hebrew Scriptures, as a confirmatory response; it is found in Deuteronomy as a confirmatory response made by the people. Moreover, in the Books of Chronicles (16:36), it is indicated that around 1000 BC, the word was used in its religious sense, with the people responding “Amen” upon hearing the blessing, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from now and unto all eternity”. The basic triconsonantal root from which the word is derived, is common to a number of languages in the Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic languages, including biblical Aramaic. The word was imported into the Greek from the Judaism of the early Church. From Greek, amen entered the other Western languages. According to a standard dictionary etymology, amen passed from Greek into Late Latin, and thence into English. Rabbinic scholars from medieval France believed the standard Hebrew word for faith emuna comes from the root amen. Although in English transliteration they look different, they are both from the root aleph-mem-nun. That is, the Hebrew word amen derives from the same ancient triliteral Hebrew root as does the verb ʾāmán.

Grammarians frequently list ʾāmán under its three consonants (aleph-mem-nun), which are identical to those of ʾāmēn (note that the Hebrew letter א aleph represents a glottal stop sound, which functions as a consonant in the morphology of Hebrew). This triliteral root means to be firm, confirmed, reliable, faithful, have faith, believe.

LIBERTY LOFT

Charlotte, NC — To open each Congressional session, a prayer is said. At the start of a new Congress, a prayer is said for that specific Congress. This year, the prayer was said, but it was a complete slap in the face to our founding fathers and our nation’s history.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo) opened the session in prayer. Cleaver was a United Methodist Pastor and the prayer did not deviate far from normal until he was near the end of his prayer.

Cleaver said he was praying to the monotheistic God, Brahma the Hindu god, and God known by many different names by many different faiths. It’s a significant departure for a nation that was founded on Judeo-Christian faith. But that’s not all.

To conclude his prayer, Cleaver apparently thought he was going to pray gender-neutral and said the words Amen and a woman. You can see his comments below and the Washington Examiner does a great job sharing that the word amen is not a reference to masculinity, but rather a word that translates “so be it.”…..

Here is the video:

DAILY WIRE great commentary:

….The first explanation for the bizarre expansion of “amen” to “amen and a woman” could be that Rep. Cleaver is simply guilty of appalling ignorance. However, given that Cleaver served as the pastor of St. James United Methodist Church in Kansas City, Missouri, from 1972 to 2009, it seems difficult to believe that such a statement can be chalked up to irreligious stupidity. Surely, after almost 40 years in the profession, Cleaver would know that “amen” doesn’t mean “a man?”

Then, what is to blame? The answer, quite obviously, is the absurd gender politics which have taken root at the heart of progressivism. After all, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has “proposed eliminating references to gender and establishing an Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the House.” Like Pelosi’s actions, could Cleaver’s laughable inclusion of “a woman” be another example of a pre-radical Democrat trying to survive in this new radical world?

Regardless of whether or not Cleaver is a true believer, what should cause further concern for conservatives — beyond the inaccuracy of Cleaver’s redefinition or his blatant pandering — is that his prayer demonstrates how nothing is safe when it comes to the new and fluid demands of the radical Left.

Long gone are the days of “Chairperson” replacing “Chairman” or “Chairwoman.” Similarly, long gone are the days of meaningless linguistic inventions such as “Latinx” or “womxn.” The radical Left’s lust for cultural dominance is never satisfied, and their appetite has been forced to grow more refined as their targets become harder to identify.

The scary part is not the absurdity of the radical Left or their fundamental premises — these have always been nonsensical — but the continued enthusiasm of those held hostage, forced to bow to their ever-changing demands. Even a pastor, an apparently religious man who presumably respects the words and meaning of scripture, is happy to bastardize language in order to survive another day.

It is this detail which should remind conservatives that the battle for language is more important than ever before. This “prayer” represents far more than ignorance or meaningless pandering. It shows that even religion — the one last entity which transcends the power of “the state” — has fallen into the cross-hairs of a radical Left who hope to dominate our language in their quest for power.

It’s not enough that we laugh at the absurdity of “amen and a woman.” It’s time we realized that the cultural battle is being fought on yet another front.

This sparked some responses

MY FACEBOOK:

What kind of a woke moron ends a prayer with “amen and awoman”? Amen is Latin for “so be it.” ohhh a Democrat.


Cleaver ended his prayer to open up the 117th Congress on Sunday with the words “amen and awoman.”

Video of the prayer’s ending was posted to Twitter by Republican Pennsylvania Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, who pointed out that the word “amen” is Latin for “so be it.”

“It’s not a gendered word,” Reschenthaler wrote. “Unfortunately, facts are irrelevant to progressives. Unbelievable.”…..

(DAILY CALLER)

BEN SHAPIRO + CLIFFORD D. MAY

THE O.T. via JERRY ADAMS


SOME APOLOGETICS


SEE ALSO:

Influences On the Constitution via The Judeo-Christian Worldview

(This was originally posted June of 2016) This is a good small introduction of the influences from the Judeo-Christian faith on the Founding Documents and ethos of our Nation. (Another good read is my letter comparing Locke to Rousseau)

(Video Description) What did the Founding Fathers believe about religion? Were they Christians, or just deists? Did they believe in secularism, or did they want Americans to be religious? Joshua Charles, New York Times bestselling author and researcher at the Museum of the Bible, explains.

  • 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.

And this great quote and commentary:

And Montesquieu got even more specific when he broke down which Christian religions he believed were better fit for certain governments:

When a religion is introduced and fixed in a state, it is commonly such as is most suitable to the plan of government there established; for those who receive it, and those who are the cause of its being received, have scarcely any other idea of policy than that of the state in which they were born.

When the Christian religion, two centuries ago, became unhappily divided into Catholic and Protestant, the people of the north embraced the Protestant, and those of the south adhered still to the Catholic. The reason is plain: the people of the north have, and will for ever have, a spirit of liberty and independence, which the people of the south have not; and therefore a religion which has no visible head is more agreeable to the independence of the climate than that which has one. In the countries themselves where the Protestant religion became established, the revolutions were made pursuant to the several plans of political government. Luther having great princes on his side would never have been able to make them relish an ecclesiastical authority that had no exterior pre-eminence; while Calvin, having to do with people who lived under republican governments, or with obscure citizens in monarchies, might very well avoid establishing dignities and preferments.

In other words, the Catholic version of Christianity is best for monarchies, while Protestant/Calvin faiths are suited to republics…or so says Montesquieu.

(AMERICAN CREATION)

The below if an extended quote from a book that I highly recommend for the beginner if you are truly interested in this endeavor. A list of other resources can be found in my BIBLIOGRAPHY section of a paper for school. I will also include MLA and APA for helping the student to quote. from Joshua Charles book, LIBERTY’S SECRET. Enjoy:


  • John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book, 1987), 54-61.
  • [APA] Eidsmoe, J. (1987). Christianity and the Constitution. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.
  • [MLA] Eidsmoe, John. Christianity and the Constitution. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1987. Print.

[p.54>] Montesquieu

Charles Louis Joseph de Secondat, the Baron Montesquieu of France (1689-1755), was cited by the founders of this nation more frequently than any other source except the Bible. His best-known work, The Spirit of Laws, distinguished four forms of government: monarchy in which the guiding principle is honor, aristocracy in which the guiding principle is moderation, republican democracy in which the guiding principle is virtue, and despotism in which the guiding principle is fear. His main contribution to the thinking of the founders of this nation was the concept of separation of powers between legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. This concept is so vital to the American constitutional system.

Because he lived in France and taught in French universities during the time of the philosophes, Montesquieu is sometimes identified as a deist. But he was born a Catholic, and remained a Catholic to his death. He did have some private questions concern­ing Catholic dogma. Stark suggests that Montesquieu moved closer and closer to Christian orthodoxy as he grew older, noting Montesquieu comment that the establishment of Christianity among the Romans would be an absurdity if it were merely a natural historical event.2 In any event, he received Communion shortly before he died, and he emphatically declared his belief that the elements were the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.3

Montesquieu believed all law has its source in God. As he says in the opening of The Spirit of Laws: “God is related to the universe, as Creator and Preserver; the laws by which He created all things are those by which He preserves them.”4 These laws apply to the physical world and human beings. Men make their own laws, but these laws must conform to the eternal laws of God.

Particular intelligent beings may have laws of their own making, but they likewise have some which they never made…. Before laws were made, there were relations of possible justice. To say that there is nothing just or unjust but what is commanded or forbidden by positive laws, is the same as saying that before the describing of a circle all the radii were not equal.5

[p.55>] Montesquieu believed man was basically evil and self-centered. His pessimism was due to the fact that he felt intelligent beings do not choose to follow God’s laws:

But the intelligent world is far from being so well governed as the physical. For though the former has also its laws, which of their own nature are invariable, it does not conform to them so exactly as the physical world. This is because, on the one hand, particular intelli­gent beings are of a finite nature, and consequently liable to error; and on the other, their nature requires them to be free agents. Hence they do not steadily conform to their primitive laws; and even those of their own instituting they frequently infringe….

Man, as a physical being, is like other bodies governed by invariable laws. As an intelligent being, he incessantly transgresses the laws established by God, and changes those of his own instituting. He is left to his private direction, though a limited being, and subject, like all finite intelligences, to ignorance and error: even his imperfect knowledge he loses; and as a sensible creature, he is hurried away by a thousand impetuous passions. Such a being might every instant forget his Creator; God has therefore reminded him of his duty by the laws of religion. Such a being is liable every moment to forget himself; philosophy has provided against this by the laws of morality. Formed to live in society, he might forget his fellow-creatures; legislators have, therefore, by political and civil laws, confined him to his duty.6

He compared Christianity to Islam and declared Christianity superior partly because of the better government it promotes, “a moderate Government is most agreeable to the Christian Religion, and a despotic Government to the Mahommedan”:

The Christian religion, which ordains that men should love each other, would, without doubt, have every nation blest with the best civil, the best political laws; because these, next to this religion, are the greatest good that men can give and receive….

The Christian religion is a stranger to mere despotic power. The mildness so frequently recommended in the gospel is incompatible with the despotic rage with which a prince punishes his subjects, and exercises himself in cruelty….

While the Mahommedan princes incessantly give or receive death, the religion of the Christians renders their princes less timid, and consequently less cruel. The prince confides in his subjects, and the subjects in the prince. How admirable the religion which, while it [p.56>] only seems to have in view the felicity of the other life, continues the happiness of this!7

In addition he explained that “the Catholic Religion is most agreeable to a Monarchy, and the Protestant to a Republic,” because “the people of the north have, and will forever have, a spirit of liberty and independence, which the people of the south have not; and, therefore, a religion which has no visible head is more agreeable to the independence of the climate than that which has one….” This was more true of Calvinist societies than Lutheran societies.8

In his writings, Montesquieu explained the role of religion in fostering values which find expression in civil laws. He pointed out that this is also true in non-Christian societies. He expressed the orthodox conviction that Christianity is a religion revealed by God himself. “In a country so unfortunate as to have a religion that God has not revealed, it is necessary for it to be agreeable to morality; because even a false religion is the best security we can have of the probity of men.“9 Thus, even a false religion can positively affect society if it fosters values which find expression in good laws.

While Montesquieu’s countrymen followed the way of the radical philosophes which ultimately led to destruction, the American founding fathers were receptive to his views. He recognized the value of religion, Christianity in particular, in fostering good laws and good government. Knowing the sinful nature of man, he advocated separation of powers by which power checks power. That was Montesquieu’s main contribution to the thinking of the founders of this nation: the separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government.

Blackstone

Noted for literary quality and readability as well as for legal and historical scholarship, Sir William Blackstone’s famous Commen­taries on the Laws of England are rated as the most famous treatise on common law.

Blackstone (1723-1780) was an English barrister whose talents and inclinations were more suited to teaching law than to practicing law. Harvard Law Professor Duncan Kennedy describes Black- [p.57>] stone’s Commentaries as “an important 18th-century treatise that all legal scholars have heard of but practically no one knows anything about.”10 One reason may be that Blackstone’s God-centered view of law is out of fashion in today’s legal community.

Throughout the latter half of the 1700s and the first half of the 1800s Blackstone’s popularity in America was uneclipsed. It is said that more copies of Blackstone’s Commentaries were sold in America than in England, that his Commentaries were in the offices of every lawyer in the land, that candidates for the bar were routinely examined on Blackstone, that he was cited authoritatively in the courts, and that a quotation from Blackstone settled many a legal argument.11

The founders of the nation read Blackstone with great interest. At least one delegate to the Constitutional Convention, Charles Cotes-worth Pinckney of South Carolina, had been Blackstone’s student at Oxford and was Blackstone’s firm disciple. James Madison wrote in 1821, “I very cheerfully express my approbation of the proposed edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries…12

The founding fathers drew three major points from Blackstone. The first was his conviction that all law has its source in God. Blackstone wrote about various categories of law, one of which is the law of nature:

Law of Nature. This will of his Maker is called the law of nature. For as God, when He created matter, and endued it with a principle of mobility, established certain rules for the perpetual direction of that motion; so, when He created man, and endued him with free will to conduct himself in all parts of life, He laid down certain immutable laws of human nature, whereby that free will is in some degree regulated and restrained, and gave him also the faculty of reason to discover the purport of those laws.

Considering the Creator only a Being of infinite power, He was able unquestionably to have prescribed whatever laws He pleased to His creature, man, however unjust or severe. But as he is also a Being of infinite wisdom, He has laid down only such laws as were founded in those relations of justice, that existed in the nature of things antecedent to any positive precept. These are the eternal, immutable laws of good and evil, to which the Creator Himself in all his [p.58>] Dispensations conforms; and which He has enabled human reason to discover, so far as they are necessary for the conduct of human actions. Such, among others, are these principles: that we should live honestly, should hurt nobody, and should render to everyone his due; to which three general precepts Justinian has reduced the whole doctrine of law….

This law of nature, being coeval with mankind and dictated by God Himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this…

Blackstone then described revealed law, the law of God as found in the Bible.

Revealed Law. This has given manifold occasion for the interpo­sition of divine providence; which in compassion to the frailty, the imperfection, and the blindness of human reason, hath been pleased, at sundry times and in divers manners, to discover and enforce its laws by an immediate and direct revelation. The doctrines thus delivered we call the revealed or divine law, and they are to be found only in the Holy Scriptures. These precepts, when revealed, are found upon comparison to be really a part of the original law of nature as they tend in all their consequences to man’s felicity. But we are not from thence to conclude that the knowledge of these truths was attainable by reason, in its present corrupted state; since we find that, until they were revealed, they were hid from the wisdom of the ages. As then the moral precepts of this law are indeed of the same original with those of the law of nature, so their intrinsic obligation is of equal strength and perpetuity. Yet undoubtedly the revealed law is of infinitely more authenticity than that moral system, which is framed by ethical writers, and denominated the natural law. Because one is the law of nature, expressly declared so to be by God Himself; the other is only what, by the assistance of human reason, we imagine to be that law. If we could be as certain of the latter as we are of the former, both would have an equal authority; but, till then, they can never be put in any competition together.

Upon these two foundations, the law of nature and the law of revelation, depend all human laws; that is to say, no human law should be suffered to contradict these.13

For the founding fathers, a second significant point in Black-stone’s writings was the role of judges. In Blackstone’s view, judges discover and apply law; they do not “make” law. This closely [p.59>] follows from Blackstone’s underlying view of law as part of the revealed law of God or the law of nature. Judges were not a source of law. There are only three sources of law—general custom, the court precedents which present-day judges are not free to alter; special custom, rights of private parties that had ripened into rights by prescription; and statute law, that which was passed by Parlia­ment. In respect to the latter, the role of the judge is to interpret the will of the legislature, not to substitute his own ideas in their place.14 Blackstone, like Montesquieu, saw three branches of government, but envisioned the legislative as superior to the judiciary.

A third significant point in Blackstone’s Commentaries was his expert systematizing of the common law of England. While this systematizing was needed in England, it was even more necessary in America because America was a new nation that did not have England’s long traditions.

The common law of England is generally founded on biblical principles. The Anglo-Saxon Alfred the Great, for example, started his legal code with a recitation of the Ten Commandments and excerpts from the Mosaic law. There were additions to the Anglo-Saxon law. In the eleventh century Henricus Bracton systematized the common law according to Roman law as revised by the Justinian Code. The result was a Christianized version of the Roman law.

The Jewish interpretation of the Old Testament influenced the commercial law of England and the rest of Europe. Throughout much of the Middle Ages the church prohibited money-lending at interest, based on the interpretation of certain passages of Scrip­ture. The Jews interpreted these Scriptures differently and were willing to lend money at interest. Often the only place one could borrow money was in the Jewish community. Jewish scholars such as Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon (Maimondes) codified the Jewish law and it formed the basis for much of English commercial law.

The canon law of the church and the emphasis on individual rights found in the Viking [p.60>] law from portions of England controlled by Norwegians and Danes also influenced English common law.15 The noblemen who forced King John to sign the Magna Carta in A.D. 1215 came mostly from areas which had been under Viking control. While the Vikings were not Christians until about A.D. 1000, their emphasis on individual rights was consistent with biblical principles.

Although for a time it was popular to belittle Blackstone and his beliefs,16 his views are becoming increasingly valued by legal scholars. One of Blackstone’s former students, Jeremy Bentham, charged that Blackstone was an arch-conservative and an “enemy of reformation.” But, fortunately, Bentham never gained the fol­lowing in America that he had in England.

The 1986 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica puts it well: “Blackstone’s description of the law as it existed was accurate and comprehensive, and was of great use to those who wished to reform it.”17 The author adds that it is “amusing” (the 1911 edition changes this word to “curious”) that even today Blackstone’s Commentaries “probably express the most profound political con­victions of the majority of the English people.”

The common law of England is part of the Christian heritage of America. That so much of it survived the migration to America is due in large part to Sir William Blackstone.

Locke

John Locke (1632-1704) was the British philosopher and political theorist who inspired a generation of Americans to thoughts of independence and the rights of man. His best-known works are his “Essay Concerning Human Understanding” and his two treatises “On Civil Government.”

John Locke was born into a Puritan family, the son of a rural Calvinist lawyer who fought on the side of the Puritans in the English civil war. He was educated at Calvinist institutions and emerged with a Calvinistic world view although he was a bit more moderate than some Calvinists.

Locke, sometimes identified as a deist and freethinker, was actually a staunch and fervent Christian. He placed a higher value [p.61>] on human reason than most orthodox Christians; but he used his powers of reason to arrive at Christian truths. According to his understanding of original sin, children are born neither good nor bad, but rather with a “tabula rosa” or “blank slate” upon which good or bad can be written during life. He wrote a treatise titled “The Reasonableness of Christianity,” in which he attempted to prove the truth of Christianity. Locke believed that if he showed people how logical and reasonable Christianity was, everyone would accept it. He did not realize that most objections to Christianity come from the heart and not the mind.

He was a pious man,18 and always held a high view of Scripture. Locke studied the Bible extensively and wrote paraphrases of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, and Ephesians, as well as “An Essay for the Understanding of St. Paul’s Epistles, by consulting St. Paul himself.” These were published after his death. He derived his view of Scripture largely from Richard Hooker’s “On the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.” Hooker, an Anglican theologian, took a middle-ground position between the Catholics who placed church tradition on a par with Scripture, and the Puritans who stood for Scripture alone. Hooker argued that where the Scripture is clear, Scripture alone must govern. Where Scripture is unclear, church tradition may be employed to help interpret it; and where both Scripture and church tradition are unclear, or where new circumstances arise, reason may also be employed to apprehend God’s truth.19

Locke frequently cited the Bible in his political writings. In his first treatise on government he cited the Bible eighty times. Forty-two of these citations are from Genesis, mostly chapters 1 and 3. Twenty-two biblical citations appear in his second treatise in which he argued that parents have authority over their children based upon the creation of Adam and Eve and their offspring. He also argued that man has the right to possess property since God gave the earth to Adam and later to Noah. He based the social compact which government is established upon “that Paction which God made with Noah after the Deluge. “(4)20 His basic doctrines of parental authority, private property, and social compact were based on the historical existence of Adam and Noah.

John Locke made two major contributions to the thinking of America’s founding fathers. The first was his doctrine of natural law [p.62>] and natural rights which the founding fathers were acquainted with from other sources but found most clearly expressed in Locke’s writings. He based both of these concepts on Scripture:

Human Laws are measures in respect of Men whose Actions they must direct, albeit such measures they are as have also their higher Rules to be measured by, which Rules are two, the Law of God, and the Law of Nature; so that Laws Human must be made according to the general Laws of Nature, and without contradiction to any positive Law of Scripture, otherwise they are ill made.21

Locke identified the basic natural rights of man as “life, liberty, and property.” This phrase is part of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution as well as the Declaration of Independence, where Jefferson expanded “property” to “pursuit of happiness.”

Second, Locke contributed the theory of social compact: the idea that men in a state of nature realize their rights are insecure, and compact together to establish a government and cede to that government certain power so that government may use that power to secure the rest of their rights. The social compact theory is similar to the Calvinist idea of covenant. The social compact theory, like the covenant, allows the government only the power God and/or people delegate. This is the cornerstone of limited government. It finds expression in the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution and in the Declaration of Independence which states that governments exist to secure human rights and “derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.”


References


2) Werner Stark, Montesquieu, Pioneer of the Sociology of Knowledge (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1961), pp. 14-16.

3) Robert Shackleton, Montesquieu: A Critical Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961), pp. 395-96.

4) Montesquieu, The Spirit of Laws (New York: Hafner, 1949, 1962), 1:1.

5) Ibid., 1:2.

6) Ibid., 1:2-3.

7) Ibid., 24:27-29.

8) Ibid., 26:30-31.

9) Ibid., 24:32.

10) Duncan Kennedy, “The Structure of Blackstone’s Commentaries,” Buffalo Law Review (1979), 28:203-375, 209.

11) Lutz, “Relative Influence of European Writers,” pp. 195-96.

12) Madison, quoted by Verna M. Hall, The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States of America: Christian Self-Government with Union (San Francisco: Founda­tion for American Christian Education, 1962, 1979), p. 130A.

13) Sir William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, quoted by Hall, Christian History of the Constitution, pp. 140-46.

14) Kennedy, “Structure of Blackstone’s Commentaries,” p. 250.

15) Thamar E. Dufwa, The Viking Laws and the Magna Carta: A Study of the Northmen’s Cultural Influence on England and France (New York: Exposition Press, 1963), pp. 32-92. For a general discussion and detailed documentation of the Christian and Jewish influence on the development of English common law, see John Eidsmoe, The Christian Legal Advisor (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984, 1987), pp. 26-29.

16) “[Blackstone] had only the vaguest possible grasp on the elementary conceptions of law. He evidently regards the law of gravitation, the law of nations, and the law of England, as different examples of the same principle—as rules of action or conduct imposed by a superior power on its subjects. He propounds in terms a fallacy which is perhaps not quite yet expelled from courts of law, viz., that municipal or positive laws derive their validity from their conformity to the so-called law of nature or law of God. ‘No human laws,’ he says, ‘are of any validity or contrary to this”’ (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1896, s.v. “Blackstone, Sir William”; cf. 1911 ed.).

17) Encyclopedia Britannica: Micropedia, 1986, s.v. “Blackstone, Sir William.”

18) Encyclopedia Britannica: Macropaedia: Knowledge in Depth, 1986, s.v. “Locke.”

19) Encyclopedia Britannica: Micropedia, 1986, s.v. “Hooker, Richard.”

20) John Locke, Of Civil Government, Book Two, II:11, 111:56; V:25, 55; XVIII:200.

21) Locke, ibid., XI:136n.

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Worldviews 101 ~ What is a Worldview? (Updated)


Worldview Defined


What is a worldview? I have some more defining aspects in pages 10 to the end of the opening chapter of my book. The American Heritage Dictionary defines “worldview” this way:

1) The overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world;

2) A collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group. 

James Sire has a more in-depth definition.

A worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic constitution of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our well being.

James W. Sire, Naming the Elephant: Worldview as a Concept (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2004), 122.

(Mind you, the Websters and American Heritage dictionaries encapsulate the same idea… just in layman terms… other philosophy dictionaries and books expand on the idea.)

Dr. Norman Geisler notes that a “Worldview is how one views or interprets reality,” he continues:

The German word is Weltanschauung, meaning a ‘world and life view,’ or ‘a paradigm.’ It is a framework through which or by which one makes sense of the data of life. A worldview makes a world of difference in one’s view of God, origins, evil, human nature, values, and destiny”

Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics [Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999], 785-786.

Encycolpedia.com notes this of “worldview:

Weltanschauung is a German word that often is translated as “worldview” or “world outlook” but just as frequently is treated as a calque or left untranslated. A Weltanschauung is a comprehensive conception or theory of the world and the place of humanity within it. It is an intellectual construct that provides both a unified method of analysis for and a set of solutions to the problems of existence. The concept of a Weltanschauung has played an important role in the development of psychoanalysis, critical theory, and nineteenth- and twentieth-century hermeneutics.

And the Dictionary of Philosophy and Religion:  Eastern and Western Thought has this snippet as well:

WELTANSCHAUUNG

From the German, meaning “world view.”

(1) Dilthey (v. 5), finding world-views (Weltanschauungen) to be a composite of actual beliefs, value-judgments, and ulti­mate goals, established a Weltanschauungs-lehre (teaching or doctrine about world-views). Each world-view makes thought, feeling, or will basic to its system and develops the appropriate categories to express its interpretation of life.

(2) Mannheim (q.v.) distinguished between partial and total ideology, equating the latter with the Weltan­schauung of an age or of a concrete historico-social group.

William L. Reese (Amherst, NY: Humanity Books [Prometheus Books], 1999), cf. Weltanschauung, 827.

Even Biblical Archaeology gets into the mix with this definition:

A worldview consists of a series of assumptions/presuppositions that a person holds about reality. A worldview, consciously or subconsciously, affects the way a person evaluates every aspect of reality. Every person adheres to some sort of worldview, although one person may not be as consciously aware of it as another person. These presuppositions affect the thinking of every person in the world. It logically follows that the way a person thinks affects what a person does.

The above definitions of a worldview should suffice this presentation… remember some persons think that a “coherent worldview must be able to satisfactorily answer four questions: that of origin, meaning, morality, and destiny.” Others, include more (pictured to the right, click it to enlarge).

What is a Worldview? Does God Exist? How Did Everything Begin? Who Am I? Why Am I Here? What Happens After I Die? Cabbages and puppies don’t think about this stuff…but people do. Reflecting on the big questions in life is part of what makes us human. Everyone Has A Worldview…What’s Yours?

(Take the Quiz at www.impact360.org/worldviewquiz)

And here is one of my all time favorites:

Lens Repair 101: A Worldview Analysis from Sarah Clifton on Vimeo.

AGAIN, a worldview is…

…that basic set of assumptions that gives meaning to one’s thoughts. A worldview is the set of assumptions that someone has about the way things are, about what things are, about why things are.

Russ Bush, A Handbook for Christian Philosophy (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1991), 70.

If you want a “210 introduction” (i.e., a bit more advanced), see my introductory chapter to my book. The above video can also be found on my MRCTV account.


All Religions/Non-Religions

Fall Into a Worldview


Here are the worldviews that every religion falls into (I will post the harder worldviews to understand in short videos):

Theism (e.g. Christianity; Islam[1]; Judaism): An infinite Personal God Exists Both Beyond and in the Universe. The belief in one God as the creator and ruler of the universe, without rejection of revelation (distinguished from deism).

Polytheism: There are Many God Beyond the World and in It. (It can fit at times under theism or pantheism, and should be considered a sub-set of these two larger worldviews.) It comes from the two Greek words “poly” for many, and from “theism” for god. Obviously, this is the view that says there are many finite limited gods controlling and influencing reality together. Modern day examples of polytheism include Mormonism, Hinduism, the New Age movement, and the surviving remnants of the ancient cults of worshipping the many Roman, Greek, and Norse gods.

Finite-Godism: A Finite God Exists Beyond and in the Universe (Is a sub-set of theism). This is a rare view and we may not be very familiar with the worldview of finite godism. As the name suggests, this view of reality believes that God exists, is beyond the world, but is limited in power and imperfection. a god who is limited in his goodness is a god who is incapable of putting an end to evil in the world. If such a god cannot put an end to evil, such a god either: 1. Doesn’t exist. 2. Is a finite being. This view happens to be very similar in some ways to the worldview of polytheism, however, finite godism believes that there is only one single god in the universe.

Naturalism (e.g. Atheism, Hard-Agnosticism, Existentialism): No God Exists Beyond or in the Universe. Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods. Older dictionaries define atheism as “a belief that there is no God.” Simply, the doctrine or belief that there is no God.

Pantheism (e.g. Hinduism; Taoism; Buddhism; much New Age Consciousness): God is the Universe (the All). Pantheism is the belief that the Universe (or nature as the totality of everything) is identical with divinity, or that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent god. Pantheists thus do not believe in a distinct personal or anthropomorphic god.

The word “pantheism” comes from two greek words, “pan” and “theos”, meaning “all” and “God”.  So, in a nutshell, we see that pantheism is the worldview that believes that “all is God, and God is All.”  Pantheism includes the world religions of Hinduism, some forms of Buddhism, and the New Age Movement as well.

Pantheism is also the popular religion of “Star Wars” and “Master Yoda”, it forms the central beliefs of “Neo and Morpheus” in the box-office hit trilogy “Matrix”, and has also been made populer in the animated TV series “Avatar” for teens, where “Aang” is seeking spiritual enlightenment in his quest to save the world.

Panentheism: God is in the Universe  (e.g., as a mind is in a body). Panetheism is halfway between theism and pantheism. If we picture Atheism as an empty physical universe without any god, and Pantheism as a universe that is itself God, then Panentheism is a universe in which God would be inside of it all.  The actual word “panentheism” is made up of three Greek words that mean “all”, “in”, and “god” respectively.

Panentheism is the view that God is in all, and that God is developing and changing along with the world.  It is also called “process theology”, or “bipolar theism”, “organicism” since it views the universe as a gigantic organism, or even “neoclassical theism” since its idea of God is very different than the classical Christian concept. Typically, the average person that believes in the “God” of panentheism would probably call him “mother nature”, possibly “the cosmos”, or maybe even the “world spirit.”

  • Panentheism: God is in the tree, the rock, and the river.
  • Pantheism: the tree, the rock, and the river are in God.

Deism: God is Beyond the Universe, But Not in It. The “hands off God.” The term comes from the Latin deus, meaning “god.” This concept compares God to a clockmaker who creates a clock, starts it running, but has nothing to do with it after that. Deists drew this conclusion from watching natural disasters or human tragedies in which God did not intervene.


[1] I ~ and others ~ would posit that Allah is not all-good (as well as other issues that would make this “god” fall a bit into “finite-godism”). Listen to this extended debate over the issue, here is the description for the linked video:

A controversy at Wheaton College has spurred a national debate on whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God. Certainly Muslims deny the Trinity and deity of Christ. Yet, is there enough overlap between the two religion’s concept of God to sufficiently claim that adherents of both worship the same God?

Justin is joined by two Christian guests to debate the question, Joseph Cumming a scholar of Islamic and Christian thought at Yale and former Ahmadi (Qadiani) Nabeel Qureshi of RZIM.

Joseph Cumming is a scholar of Islamic and Christian thought who serves as Pastor of the International Church at Yale University and works internationally as a consultant on Muslim-Christian and Muslim-Christian-Jewish relations. He was one of the architects of the “Yale Response” to the Common Word initiative of 138 prominent Muslim leaders and scholars. He is also International Director of Doulos Community, a humanitarian organization working in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and is past President of the Federation of NGOs in Mauritania. Cumming has published numerous articles on issues affecting relations among the Abrahamic faith communities. He has lectured in Arabic at Al-Azhar University and other Islamic institutions and has taught courses at Yale Divinity School, as well as at Fuller Theological Seminary and other Evangelical institutions. He has been interviewed in Arabic on Al-Jazeera and other Arab television networks, and in English on American and Canadian television and radio, and in French and German by European and African news media.

Dr. Nabeel Qureshi is a former Ahmadi (Qadiani) who was convinced of the truth of the Gospel through historical reasoning and a spiritual search for God. Since his conversion, he has dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel through teaching, preaching, writing, and debating.

Nabeel focuses on the foundations of the Christian faith, ancient Judaism, early Islam, and the interface of science and religion. He holds an MD from Eastern Virginia Medical School, an MA in Christian apologetics from Biola University, and an MA in Religion from Duke University. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in New Testament studies at Oxford University where he lives with his wife, Michelle

In conversation I focus on three “Worldviews”

 

Christianity Is the Only Falsifiable Religious Worldview

…and if the Messiah has not been raised, then our message means nothing and your faith means nothing. In addition, we are found to be false witnesses about God because we testified on God’s behalf that he raised the Messiah—whom he did not raise if in fact it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then the Messiah has not been raised, and if the Messiah has not been raised, your faith is worthless and you are still imprisoned by your sins. Yes, even those who have died believingin the Messiah are lost. If we have set our hopes on the Messiah in this life only, we deserve more pity than any other people. But at this moment the Messiah stands risen from the dead, the first one offered in the harvest of those who have died. (1 Cor 15:14-20, ISV)

Dr. Gary Habermas gives lecture at UCSB,  “The Resurrection Argument That Changed a Generation of Scholars,”is a bit longer but VERY powerful:

The following graphics come with a H-T to NY Apologetics Twitter, and comes by way of Credohouse:

This belief has been a source of contention with many people, even Christians, in the past. But the more I research, the more I find it to be the case that Christianity is the only viable worldview that is historically defensible. The central claims of the Bible demand historic inquiry, as they are based on public events that can be historically verified. In contrast, the central claims of all other religions cannot be historically tested and, therefore, are beyond falsifiability or inquiry. They just have to be believed with blind faith.

Think about it: The believer in the Islamic faith has to trust in a private encounter Muhammad had, and this encounter is unable to be tested historically. We have no way to truly investigate the claims of Joseph Smith (and when we do, they are found wanting). Buddhism and Hinduism are not historic faiths, meaning they don’t have central claims of events in time and space which believers are called upon to investigate. You either adopt their philosophy or you don’t. There is no objective way to test them. Run through every religion that you know of and you will find this to be the case: Either it does not give historic details to the central event, the event does not carry any worldview-changing significance, or there are no historic events which form the foundation of the faith.

This is what it looks like:

…read it all…

The following is a really good series by INSPIRING PHILOSOPHY, It is a 7-part series (they will all play below, or you can go HERE to play the one you wish) that is worth the watch.


Series


1. The Resurrection of Jesus (Introduction)
2. The Resurrection of Jesus (The Historical Evidence)
3. The Resurrection of Jesus (Origins of the Belief)
4. The Resurrection of Jesus (Advanced Theories)
5. The Resurrection of Jesus (Are Miracles Improbable?)
6. The Resurrection of Jesus (Spiritual Resurrection?)
7. Refuting Biblical Arguments from Silence

J. Warner Wallace’s presentation to the Mars Hill Apologetics Group of North Coast Calvary Chapel. J. Warner is a cold case homicide detective and he hosts the PleaseConvinceMe Podcast (www.pleaseconvinceme.com).

Ravi Zacharias Challenges the Challenger

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.

Norman L. Geisler & Peter Bocchino, Unshakable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions About the Christian Faith (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2001), 20-21.

(One may wish as well to peruse the posts with Greg Bahnsen’s audio included.) Below are two short audio examples of Ravi Zacharias “questioning the questioner,” the first is a recounting of conversation, whereas the second is a challenge proferred by a student and is Ravi at his best!

This second audio is of a student asking Ravi Zacharias about God condemning people [atheists] to hell and the moral implications of this. This Q&A occurred after a presentation Ravi gave at Harvard University (the entire presentation is worth the purchase), and is now one of his most well-known responses in the apologetic sub-culture.

Enjoy this short response by Mr. Zacharias, it is him at his best.

I am including some remarks from an earlier version of the above audio from my YouTube. Someone makes the following statement:

  • Polish parlor trick showman. Why do people still fall for his nonsense. BTW. There is no evidence for gods, none. Ravi is merely lying and creating logical fallacy.

To which another commentator responds:

Actually he is very articulately (yet indirectly) pointing to the presence of “argumentum ad ignorantium” in the debate over atheism/theism. Faith is a logical fallacy on the terms of atheism, as atheism is a logical fallacy on the terms of the physical universe being unable to explain its origin. All leading atheists and Religious believers/scholars accept these boundaries. His answer begins with his explanation of the self-destructive nature of the question as given from its source (being an atheist)… it self-destructs because the question giver already doesn’t subscribe to the moral law as bound to the moral law giver who is the subject of the question. The question giver rejects the evidence that the believer accepts. And the believer can only point to evidence that the atheist rejects.

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.

Nature’s Laws Defines the Reasons for Heterosexual Relations

Romans 1:18-21:

For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth, since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse. For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened.

Here is the intro from a chapter in my book explaining a bit the above:

Like all of Scripture, Romans references eternal truths based solely in God’s nature and His created order.  These truths brought the once pagan scholar, Augustine, to the Christian faith transforming him into an exemplary apologist.[1]  Similar truths found in the Book of Roman’s electrified Luther’s life.[2]  These two person’s mentioned have had a huge impact on the direction of Western Culture.[3]  The truths in the letter Paul penned were evident enough from the natural created order that even the common ancient man could understand his own nature and the nature of others.[4] [5]  For instance, while Aristotle did not codify the Laws of Thought[6] for another 150-years — the Law of Contradiction and Excluded Middle was clearly used in a legal setting referenced in the Old Testament. This law of nature/thought was referenced to make a stand against the pagan God of the day, Baal:

“So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto Mount Carmel.  And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, ‘How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him’.”[7] [8] [9]

These laws were not invented by Aristotle just like gravity was not invented by Newton. Newton – like Aristotle – merely codified these already existing phenomena.  Similarly, while natural law[10] [11] was not officially codified until more modern times[12] – natural law always existed and was referenced and used by thinkers all throughout history.  This includes biblical authors importing Grecian constructs in the writing of Romans 2:15 in regards to natural law expressing God’s eternal truths to the audience of his day.[13]  Paul had a theistic-Christian understanding of “human nature”[14] much like Moses had a grasp on the nature of God’s triuness[15] before the word “Holy Trinity” was ever used.  When Paul wrote that person’s “worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator,”[16] he was categorically defining human nature.  Not only that.  Paul was referencing the early chapters of Genesis when he spoke about a Creator.  The early chapters of Genesis “are the very foundation on which all knowledge rests,”[17]  Paul knew the importance of a coherent worldview based in the Judeo-Christian worldview as do pro-choice lesbians confirming its positive impact on 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.[18]

FootNotes

[1] Walter A. Elwell and Robert W. Yarbrough, Encountering the New Testament: A Historical and Theological Survey, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005), 274.

[2] Ibid., 275.

[3] For example:

a) Augustine’s impact implicitly on George Washington, see: Michael Novak and Jana Novak, Washington’s God: Religion, Liberty, and the Father of Our Country (New York: Basic Books, 2006), 202-203;

b) Luther on work ethic leading to the Protestant ethic therein, see: Paul Marshall, God and the Constitution: Christianity and American Politics (New York: Rowman & Littlefield Pub. Inc., 2002), 31;

c) generally the Reformation’s impact on nationalism and economic freedom, see: Alvin J. Schmidt, How Christianity Changed the World (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 2004), 199-213;

d) Calvinism and the influence on the Founders understanding of mankind’s place in the universe, see: John Eidsmoe, Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of Our Founding Fathers (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1987), 17-26.

[4] John R.W. Stott, The Message of Romans (Downers Grove: IVP, 1994), 78.

[5] This polemic, by-the-by, is not an argument for the superiority of natural revelation verses special, the latter is what guides all Christians.  Even to interpret “Romans 1 and 2 in deistic terms of natural religion is unjustifiable” (Carl F. H. Henry, “Natural Law and a Nihilistic Culture,” First Things 49 [1995]: 55-60), this is realized.

[6] Chris Rohmann, A World of Ideas: A Dictionary of Important Theories, Concepts, Beliefs, and Thinkers (New York: Ballantine Books, 1999), cf. “Aristotle,” 26.

[7] The Holy Bible: King James Version (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version; Bellingham: Logos Research Systems, 1995), cf. 1 Ki 18:20-21.

[8] This came to me during one of Dr. Wayne Houses lectures at Faith Evangelical Seminary.

[9] These verses also hint at the Law of Excluded Middle as well as the Law of Identity.

[10] Defined generally as “[r]ules of conduct determined by reflection upon human nature…”  Iain McLean and Alistair McMillan, eds., Oxford Concise Dictionary of Politics (New York: Oxford, 2003), cf. “natural law”, 365.

[11] Dr. Elwell defines it as “[a] moral order divinely implanted in humankind and accessible to all persons through human reason.”  Walter A. Elwell, ed., Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001), 814.

[12] Evolving from Aristotle, to Augustus, Aquinas, Locke and most recently, John Finnis. See Finnis’s  Natural Law and Natural Rights (Clarendon Law Series; ed. H. L. A. Hart; New York: Oxford University Press, 1980).

[13] Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998), 122.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Cf., Genesis 18:1-3, 9, 13, 22, 26-27, 30; 19:1-2, 18, 24. Actually this was a revelation directly to Abraham [revelation of God’s attributes], but Moses edited these earlier testimonies and was himself aware of these explicit implications.

[16] NASB, Romans 1:25.

[17] C. Everett Koop and Francis A. Schaeffer, Whatever Happened To The Human Race? (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 1983) 112.

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

Now, let us read a bit from both The Declaration of Independence:

…the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them.

Founding.com explains succinctly what is meant by “laws of nature” penned in one of our many founding documents:

“The laws of nature and of nature’s God” are the beginning point of the political theory of the American founding. They explain the Founders’ decision to declare America’s independence from England. But what does this phrase mean–“the laws of nature and of nature’s God”?

First, it means that nature encompasses laws: certain obligations are prescribed for all human beings by nature–or more specifically, by the fact that all humans share a common nature. Today, some scientists claim that “nature knows no morals.” For the Founders, that is what one might expect to hear from a tyrant like Hitler or Stalin, but not anyone who understands that human nature itself, rightly understood, provides objective standards of how human life should be lived.

Second, “laws of nature” are laws that can be grasped by human reason. The Founders did not believe-as one often hears today-that there is a right to liberty because “who’s to say what’s right or wrong?” The Founders were not moral relativists. To the contrary, they boldly proclaim that they grasp certain fundamental principles or moral and political conduct.

Third and finally, the “laws of nature,” accessible in principle to any person anywhere in the world who thinks clearly about the nature of human beings, mean that the American founding is not based on ideas specifically tied to one people, such as “the rights of Englishmen,” but on ideas that are true for all people everywhere….

Obviously God’s laws are not arbitrary. But according to the Founders, nature is not either. And it is this non-subjective portion of nature that every culture tapped into, based in God’s character/attributes.

For instance, people have a distorted view of Greek culture (B.C.). One is that homosexual acts with boys was accepted in-situ as equal to male/female relations. This is not the case.

NOR were the moral giants from that time that so influenced our Republic silent on the matter. Here for instance is Plato in dialogue with a detractor who ends up agreeing with him on the morality of the two relations compared:

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 “big-wig” in the roots of philosophy our Founder knew so well is that of Aeschines:

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.

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.

Even the Greeks had a reference to nature that exuded a universal moral application. An ideal.

As an aside, no founder of any of the worlds great religions supported the measure of same-sex relations as equal to those of the hetero lifestyle. For instance, the Buddha was alerted to the problem and he issued a rule for the community not to give any ordination to a homosexual, and those ordained gays are to be expelled (Vin.I, 86).

What Christianity did is apply both the Book of Revelation in God revealing His plan to us. So, in Genesis 2:24 God sets up the parameters of the laws of nature and what the Greeks were really tapping into when we read:

This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.

Remember, in Genesis 1:26 you have a clear reference to the Plurality of the Godhead. This is continued through chapter two with the reference to Lord God. Elohim is a plural hint at the Godhead.

Who is part of this Godhead Paul references in Romans? In classical understanding God is: God the Father, Jesus the Messiah/Son, and the Holy Spirit. So Jesus is in the mix, fully God. Theology 101. So what did Jesus [God] have to say on the matter?

I will let Dr. Andrews respond to my question (from: Did Jesus Believe in Adam and Eve?):

…If you want to limit yourself to the words of Jesus Himself (as distinct from NT testimony as a whole) you have I think only two specific texts to argue from:

1) Matt 19:4 ‘And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ (repeated in Mark 10:6 “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’) In Matt. 19 it is important to notice the words that follow; “and SAID ‘For this reason …”, quoting Genesis 2:24. But this latter text doesn’t say ‘God said’ … which means that Jesus attributes the simple statement of Gen. 2:24 to God, thus testifying to the divine authorship of this verse and by implication the whole book of Genesis.

2) The other useful text is Mt 24:38For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, etc”. Here Jesus testifies to the historical reality of the flood, Noah and the ark. Most theistic evolutionists believe that the first 11 chapters of Genesis are mythology and not to be taken literally or as historically true. (But this may not apply to everyone who accepts macro evolution).

Um… in case you are confused… Jesus was one of the “Hombres” present when He made essentially the first contractual obligation for mankind to follow. The perpetuation of mankind.

This law from nature or God’s law (or both!) have inherent benefits, or an ideal situation for offspring to be raised and benefit society ~ as a whole.

...Doug Mainwaring

I’m gay, and I oppose gay marriage

In our sometimes misguided efforts to expand our freedom, selfish adults have systematically dismantled that which is most precious to children as they grow and develop. That’s why I am now speaking out against same-sex marriage.

By the way, I am gay.

A few days ago I testified against pending same-sex marriage legislation in Minnesota’s Senate Judiciary and House Civil Law Committees.

The atmosphere at these events (I’ve also testified elsewhere) seems tinged with unreality—almost a carnival-like surrealism. Natural law, tradition, religion, intellectual curiosity, and free inquiry no longer play a role in deliberations. Same-sex marriage legislation is defended solely on grounds of moral relativism and emotions.

Pure sophistry is pitted against reason. Reason is losing.

[….]

Same-sex marriage will do the same, depriving children of their right to either a mom or a dad. This is not a small deal. Children are being reduced to chattel-like sources of fulfillment. On one side, their family tree consists not of ancestors, but of a small army of anonymous surrogates, donors, and attorneys who pinch-hit for the absent gender in genderless marriages. Gays and lesbians demand that they have a “right” to have children to complete their sense of personal fulfillment, and in so doing, are trumping the right that children have to both a mother and a father—a right that same-sex marriage tramples over.

Same-sex marriage will undefine marriage and unravel it, and in so doing, it will undefine children. It will ultimately lead to undefining humanity. This is neither “progressive” nor “conservative” legislation. It is “regressive” legislation.

(read more)

Which is why one of the most respected Canadian sociologist and homosexual, Paul Nathanson, writes that there are at least five functions that marriage serves–things that every culture must do in order to survive and thrive. They are:

  • Foster the bonding between men and women
  • Foster the birth and rearing of children
  • Foster the bonding between men and children
  • Foster some form of healthy masculine identity
  • Foster the transformation of adolescents into sexually responsible adults

Note that Nathanson considers these points critical to the continued survival of any culture. He continues “Because heterosexuality is directly related to both reproduction and survival, … every human societ[y] has had to promote it actively . … Heterosexuality is always fostered by a cultural norm” that limits marriage to unions of men and women. He adds that people “are wrong in assuming that any society can do without it.” Going further he stated that “same sex marriage is a bad idea” …[he] only opposed “gay marriage, not gay relationships.”

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 [gay and straight] can argue from this point, because either we were created this way or we evolved this way.

Whichever it is, nature has imposed on us certain realities that a healthy society should adhere to.

Continuing.

Keep in mind all societies have supported the superiority of the male-female relation over and above other forms. When Christianity cam on the scene, it not only supported that reality (and in fact explained it’s Origins), but had from Genesis to the Epistles supported marriage as being bewteen only two people.

This had a net benefit for society as well. By supplanting polygamy women and children are better protected from exploitation. Often times women are treated as chattel in these relations. And young boys are shunned as the older patriarchs are after the “younger-better-models” that in a healthy society would pair up typically with their opposites of similar age.

The reality of polygamy, like slavery, was dealt with in the early church. For instance, we see Paul dealing with the reality of polygamy by calling people to a higher standard, a Godley standard:

“But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:2-3)

Monogomy is clearly taught in the Bible.

Granted, there are exceptions to the rule — I will give an example I learned in seminary about missionary work in countries that practice polygamy.

In discussing this matter with my professor, he noted that when a family comes to a saving knowledge of God, and the man has multiple wives. You do not go in and then break up that family. These women are better off than being single in that society, not is it right to break up families and release the kids “into the wild” so-to-speak.

Through guidance and teaching God’s principles, the children from these relationships typically throw off their paganism and marry in a way that is honoring to God.

One must also keep in mind as well that in the Western tradition, laws are not written on outliers:

…Proponents of gay marriage fail utterly to comprehend the idea that laws are made with society, not the individual, in mind. That is why they also fail to grasp the idea that law is predicated upon averages, not outliers. Interestingly, both libertarians and progressives suffer from this lack of under-standing…

…But more often they try to undermine the link between marriage and childrearing by pointing to outliers—marriages in which couples choose not to have children or cannot have them because at least one partner happens to be infertile. But this argument only reveals the weakness of the progressive understanding of the law. Put simply, rules that are justified by the average case cannot be undermined by the exceptional case, otherwise known as the outlier. Thus the old maxim, “Hard cases make bad law.”…

Mike S. Adams, Letters To A Young Progressive (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, 2013), 81, 82.

And the one-man-one-women is the most natural way to curb man’s nature to go from one woman to the next propagating offspring and then leaving the child to have no contact with a father.

We can see as our society becomes more accepting of this behavior, and, in facts rewards it, you will see more incarcerations, violence, drug use, suicides, poverty, and the like.

This being said, the most recent cases on same-sex marriage before the Supreme Court have paved the way for polygamy, as well as incest. People may be happy with the “freedom” they think lies in these rulings, but only when this younger generation is older will they realize what they have done to a once proudly Christian nation.

The bottom line is this. Those wanting male-male relations are not arguing against God, but against nature. Mind you, they are rejecting God’s Ideal as well — in their rebellion. However, you could argue from nature alone for the primacy of the male/female relation in the least.

HOWEVER, if one were to argue that the number in a marriage should be only two-people ~ they are specifically arguing from a Judeo-Christian platform. In arguing for the number two in some objective manner, they are inserting Biblical standards on to the law. Something I do not have a problem with, but point of fact, these people do have an issue with it.

When I say Christianity is true I mean it is true to total reality—the total of what is, beginning with the central reality, the objec­tive existence of the personal-infinite God. Christianity is not just a series of truths but Truth—Truth about all of reality. And the holding to that Truth intellectually—and then in some poor way living upon that Truth, the Truth of what is—brings forth not only certain personal results, but also governmental and legal re­sults.

Francis Schaeffer, The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer, Volume Five (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1982), 425.


Raising one’s self-consciousness [awareness] about worldviews is an essential part of intellectual maturity…. 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…. Instead of thinking of Christianity as a collection of theological bits and pieces to be believed or debated, we should approach our faith as a conceptual system, as a total world-and-life view.

Ronald H. Nash, Worldviews in Conflict: Choosing Christianity in a World of Ideas (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992), 9, 17-18, 19.

Nor, do I agree that religion should be excluded from the law. To do so would mean a LOT of reversing of freedoms gained here in the West as well as in other corners of the world:

…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.

[….]

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

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

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

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

Wayne Grudem, Politics According to the Bible [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010], 31, 49-50.

And it is this First Amendment that is under stress as of late. I will end with an excerpt from Francis Schaeffer’s “Christian Manifesto,” something I think every Christian should reacquaint themselves with if they have read it many years ago… or not at all.

When the First Amendment was passed it only had two pur­poses. The first purpose was that there would be no established, national church for the united thirteen states. To say it another way: there would be no “Church of the United States.” James Madison (1751-1836) clearly articulated this concept of separation when explaining the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty. He said that the First Amendment to the Constitution was prompted because “the people feared one sect might obtain a preeminence, or two combine together, and establish a religion to which they would compel others to conform.”

Nevertheless, a number of the individual states had state churches, and even that was not considered in conflict with the First Amendment. “At the outbreak of the American Revolution, nine of the thirteen colonies had conferred special benefits upon one church to the exclusion of others.” “In all but one of the thirteen states, the states taxed the people to support the preaching of the gospel and to build churches.” “It was not until 1798,that the Virginia legislature repealed all its laws supporting churches.” “In Massachusetts the Massachusetts Constitution was not amended until 1853 to eliminate the tax-supported church provosions.”

The second purpose of the First Amendment was the very opposite from what is being made of it today. It states expressly that government should not impede or interfere with the free practice of religion.

Those were the two purposes of the First Amendment as it was written.

As Justice Douglas wrote for the majority of the Supreme Court in the United States v. Ballard case in 1944:

The First Amendment has a dual aspect. It not only “forestalls compulsion by law of the acceptance of any creed or the practice of any form of worship” but also “safeguards the free exercise of the chosen form of religion.”

Today the separation of church and state in America is used to silence the church. When Christians speak out on issues, the hue and cry from the humanist state and media is that Christians, and all religions, are prohibited from speaking since there is a separa­tion of church and state. The way the concept is used today is totally reversed from the original intent. It is not rooted in history. The modern concept of separation is an argument for a total separation of religion from the state. The consequence of the acceptance of this doctrine leads to the removal of religion as an influence in civil government. This fact is well illustrated by John W. Whitehead in his book The Second American Revolution.’ It is used today as a false political dictum in order to restrict the influ­ence of Christian ideas. As Franky Schaeffer V says in the Plan for Action:

It has been convenient and expedient for the secular humanist, the materialist, the so-called liberal, the feminist, the genetic engineer, the bureaucrat, the Supreme Court Justice, to use this arbitrary division between church and state as a ready excuse. It is used, as an easily identifiable rallying point, to subdue the opinions of that vast body of citizens who represent those with religious convictions.

To have suggested the state separated from religion and reli­gious influence would have amazed the Founding Fathers. The French Revolution that took place shortly afterwards, with its continuing excesses and final failure leading quickly to Napoleon and an authoritative rule, only emphasized the difference between the base upon which the United States was founded and the base upon which the French Revolution was founded. History is clear and the men of that day understood it. Terry Eastland said in Commentary magazine:

As a matter of historical fact, the Founding Fathers believed that the public interest was served by the promotion of religion. The North­west Ordinance of 1787, which set aside federal property in the terri­tory for schools and which was passed again by Congress in 1789, is instructive. “Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary tc good government and the happiness of mankind,” read the act. “schools and the means of learning shall forever be encouraged.”

In 1811 the New York state court upheld an indictment for blasphe­mous utterances against Christ, and in its ruling, given by Chief Justice Kent, the court said, “We are Christian people, and the moral­ity of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity.” Fifty years later this same court said that “Christianity may be conceded to be the established religion.”

The Pennsylvania state court also affirmed the conviction of a man on charges of blasphemy, here against the Holy Scriptures. The Court said: “Christianity, general Christianity is, and always has been, a part of the common law of Pennsylvania . . . not Christianity founded on any particular religious tenets; nor Christianity with an established church and tithes and spiritual courts; but Christianity with liberty of conscience to all men.” . . .

The establishment of Protestant Christianity was one not only of law but also, and far more importantly, of culture. Protestant Christi­anity supplied the nation with its “system of values”—to use the modern phrase—and would do so until the 1920s when the cake of Protestant custom seemed most noticeably to begin crumbling.

As we continue to examine the question of law in relation to the founding of the country, we next encounter Sir William Black­stone (1723-1780). William Blackstone was an English jurist who in the 1760s wrote a very famous work called Commentaries on the Law of England. By the time the Declaration of Independence was signed, there were probably more copies of his Commentaries in American than in Britain. His Commentaries shaped the perspective of American law at that time, and when you read them it is very clear exactly upon what that law was based.

To William Blackstone there were only two foundations for law, nature and revelation, and he stated clearly that he was speak­ing of the “holy Scripture.” That was William Blackstone. And up to the recent past not to have been a master of William Black-stone’s Commentaries would have meant that you would not have graduated from law school.

There were other well-known lawyers who spelled these things out with total clarity. Joseph Story in his 1829 inaugural address as Dane Professor of Law at Harvard University said, “There never has been a period in which Common Law did not recognize Christianity as laying at its foundation.”

Concerning John Adams (1735-1826) Terry Eastland says:

…most people agreed that our law was rooted, as John Adams had said, in a common moral and religious tradition, one that stretched back to the time Moses went up on Mount Sinai. Similarly almost everyone agreed that our liberties were God-given and should be exercised responsibly. There was a distinction between liberty and license.

What we find then as we look back is that the men who founded the United States of America really understood that upon which they were building their concepts of law and the concepts of gov­ernment. And until the takeover of our government and law by this other entity, the materialistic, humanistic, chance world view, these things remained the base of government and law.

Francis Schaeffer, The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer, Volume Five (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1982), 433-436.

Alan Keyes (Natural Law) Debates Alan Dershowitz (Legal Positivism)

Alan Keyes defends the Natural Law position while Alan Dershowitz defends the legal positivism side of the philosophy of law. This debate is long… so you really must love the intricacies of legal philosophy and Natural Law. This is Alan Keyes at his best.

Exclude Religion Arguments Fail Miserable ~ Illusory Neutrality

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

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

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

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

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

Justice Without Absolutes?

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

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

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

First mock Conversation

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

Second Mock Conversation

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

Third Mock Conversation

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

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

SELF-DEFEATING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Lanier Examines Christianity’s Worldview vs. a Naturalistic One

Lanier Theological Library (2014) – Does the Christian faith hold up under scrutiny? What does science tell us about the plausibility of a god? Can we trust the alleged eyewitness testimony of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus? These questions are worth investigating in order to find an answer solidified in fact and evidence. Mark Lanier uses his experienced legal eye to examine the plausibility of the Christian faith. Bringing science, current knowledge, and common sense together in a courtroom approach, Mark intends to elucidate a rich understanding of God and a strong foundation for Christian faith. Buy Lanier’s book Christianity on Trial: A Lawyer Examines the Christian Faith.