Posts Tagged ‘tolerance’

A Response to Clergy on Amendment One

November 3, 2014

Should restricting abortion be seen as a violation of faith? Let’s dive into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday, my wife and I were catching up on some of the shows we’d recorded and missed. In the midst of fast-forwarding through commercials, I see one that has clergy speaking in favor of Amendment One. For those who don’t know, Amendment One is an amendment in Tennessee, where we live, that is wanting to have tougher restrictions on abortion.

These include:

  • Informed consent to provide accurate information related to women’s health issues and fetal development,
  • 24-hour waiting period to avoid coercion and reduce the likelihood of an ill-considered decision,
  • Inspection and regulation of abortion facilities, and
  • Hospitalization requirement for riskier late-term abortions.

Now these clergy are speaking out against this. So what do they say? The first is that Tennesseans try to live lives of faith, particularly in the most difficult times. Now I really don’t like the term “lives of faith” since faith is so badly misunderstood, but I’ll go with it for now. For the most part, I’d also agree with the sentiment. Most Tennesseans are probably Bible-believing Christians. In fact, I have been told that Knoxville, where I live, is the most Bible-believing city in the nation.

We also do value this in the most difficult times of our lives. For many people, their faith is a comfort and solace when they are in need. I don’t want to say that this has anything to do with their position being true at this point. For now, I am simply agreeing to the fact that yes, if you are a person of faith, you will value your faith when life is hard.

So the ad starts on a positive note, but then here comes a cloud. Amendment one will lead to government interference in the midst of our most personal and private decisions. Now this might sound like something that is supposed to appeal to those of us of a more conservative bent. After all, don’t we want government to stay out of our lives? In many areas, I’d agree, but then there’s this one question that keeps popping up?

What is abortion?

You see, when it comes to health insurance, I do want government to stay out of it. When it comes to what I’m to eat and not eat, I want the government to stay out of it. When it comes to how I worship, as long as I’m not doing anything such as murder, I want the government to stay out of it. These are areas the government has no invested area in.

But what if we’re right on abortion? What if abortion is the killing of an innocent child?

Let’s put it this way. Suppose the amendment was about an amendment forbidding parents the right to murder their toddlers if they want to. Would it work to say “Amendment One will interfere with our most personal and private decisions.”? Not at all. Hopefully none of us would say “I’m personally against you killing your toddlers, but it’s not my place to interfere.” (And if you would say that, please seek help immediately.)

Before we decide on if the government should interfere in an area, we need to know what it is that we’re talking about, and no one is saying anything about that in the commercial. No one is really asking about what abortion does to the child. For that matter, are we even dealing with a child? I think that’s a good question to raise up, but it’s a horrible question to ignore!

From there we move on to what to do if a woman has been raped, but there is nothing on Amendment One banning abortion in the case of rape. Naturally, most of us oppose that, and as a married man I can say if someone raped my wife (Something I don’t even want to think about) then yes, it would be extremely difficult to watch what happens.

But you know what? The rapist is the sinner in this case.

Why should the baby be punished for what the rapist did? The baby is no less human in this case. If we don’t want a reminder, there is always adoption. The reality is that when we talk about unwanted children, we really mean unwanted often by biological parents. There are parents who will be thrilled to take in most any child.

And what about if a woman has cancer? Again, abortion isn’t being banned. This is a question medical professionals can answer. In fact, if we were talking about abortion to save the life of a mother if the baby would die also, most pro-life people I know I suspect would agree that in this extreme scenario, it is allowable to have this done.

We are told that in truth, only families can make these decisions. In essence, yes. No one can force a decision for you, but you should have an informed decision. Furthermore, there are some decisions the government does not allow you to make. You are not allowed to give a sick child an illegal drug if you think it will make them feel better. You are not allowed to rob from the grocery store to feed your family. You are not allowed to murder someone who is your competition in getting a job.

So how about children? Are you allowed to kill your own children? Once again, before someone says I’m assuming an argument, by all means we should discuss if the unborn are children or not. Why doesn’t this ad do that?

We are also told that these people make decisions in alignment with their own faith. At this point, the term faith becomes problematic. Does your faith say anything about reality? If you’re a Christian, you sure say it does. You say that you think the claim that God(The second person of the Trinity to be specific) came and lived among us, died on a cross, and rose again. Maybe for the sake of argument, that’s wrong. There cannot be the denial of the claim that the person who believes it thinks it’s right.

So does your faith really say anything about reality? Of course it does. What does it say about the unborn?

Do we really want to say that reality is different for people of faith? If you think Islam is true, then the world is really different for you. If you think atheism is true, then the world really is a world without God? With claims like these, someone is right and someone is wrong. People will try to live consistently with their faith, but the question we have to ask is what is the world really like? We would not allow someone to murder their toddlers because their faith said it was okay.

Naturally, we come to one pastor who says “And who are we to judge?”

Tell me, if you’re a pastor, what message are you preaching? Are you preaching that anything is sin? Jesus did. That’s a judgment. Are you preaching Jesus is at least a revelation from God even if you don’t think He’s the only way? If you are making any claims about reality whatsoever, then you are judging. Judging is unavoidable.

After all, if I go to your church and I pay tithes, do you decide where the money goes? Isn’t that a judgment. Do you decide what you’re going to preach your sermon on? Do you decide what is going to be in the curriculum for your church? Everyday you make decisions that will affect the lives of your congregations.

And of course, the Bible tells us to judge. John 7:24 says to stop judging by mere appearances and make a right judgment. 1 Cor. 6 says that we saints will judge the world and we will judge angels. It in fact tells us that we must be qualified to make judgments among ourselves. So who are we to judge? People who take seriously what the Scripture says.

In fact, saying you’re not judging is itself making a judgment. It is making a judgment that what is in the womb is something that is not necessary to defend. It is saying that your tradition has nothing to say about those who could very well be the least among us. It is saying your tradition has nothing to say about matters of right and wrong in these areas and in fact, that right and wrong are entirely subjective.

Of course, I already had enough reason to know not to attend such a church.

Finally, we are told the amendment goes too far.

How far is too far if it comes to saving the lives of kids? Of course, there are some actions we would not condone, but isn’t this a question worth considering? Note also we are not talking about a ban on abortions. We are simply talking about a restriction on abortion such as making sure facilities are places that are not dangerous (Although they are for the baby) and to have a waiting period.

It’s a shame that people like this are often leaders of the churches. If abortion is indeed the killing of innocent children like myself and other Christians think, then that means that people who support this and encourage us to not do all we can to lessen it are going to have blood on their hands because of their actions.

And if they claim to believe in a holy God, then they should realize that he is a holy one who is the one to judge and that He will judge if they went too far in their actions in not restricting abortion.

They should think about that, as should all of us.

After all, if we believe that abortion kills an innocent child and we do nothing about it, are we not just as guilty?

In Christ,

Nick Peters

Apostles’ Creed: To Judge

July 16, 2014

Is it proper to say that God will judge? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Judging is a funny thing in America today. People constantly say “I’m not trying to judge” and every time I hear that I want to say “But that’s exactly what you’re doing and that’s not necessarily wrong.” Of course, some judging is wrong, and this is the judging that is hypocritical judging, which is what Jesus is talking about in Matthew 7.

It’s a shame that John 3:16 used to be the most quoted Bible verse and today, it’s Matthew 7:1 and even then, just the first part. Jesus is not telling you to never judge. In fact, the very passage talks about throwing pearls to swine and giving what is sacred to dogs. Those actions involve making judgments.

When I lived in Charlotte shortly before the wedding, my best man who was my roommate knew he needed to find a new place to live shortly after Allie and I met. He got a job living in a luxury apartment with a boy in a wheelchair who had had a stroke. (Yes. Luxury apartment all paid for. Just suffering for Jesus I suppose.)

Once in a trip over to visit him, a nurse was there to help out who was saying that we shouldn’t judge. I asked her if her car was parked in the garage downstairs. She said it was. I then asked “Did you lock the doors?” At that point, the light bulb clicked.

Judging is inevitable. You have to do it. If you lock your doors at all, you judge. If you’re cautious about who you choose to babysit your children, you judge. If there are places that you avoid while driving or walking, you judge. When you decide who it is that you are going to marry, you judge.

It’s strange also that judging is being seen as a negative when we have more and more shows of the American Idol variety that rely on the judgment of the man on the street more and more. Why is it that judging is seen as so problematic?

A large part of it is our pseudo-tolerance society. I say pseudo because we do not know what real tolerance is. Tolerance is not being accepting of what everyone does. Tolerance is thinking that what someone is doing is wrong but being able to accept the person regardless.

Let’s consider what has to be there for tolerance. First off, there has to be an area of disagreement for tolerance to exist. A husband for the most part will not tolerate it if his wife wants to make love to him in the evening. Of course not. He’ll openly celebrate it. That’s not something that a guy just puts up with. He wants that. A husband will tolerate it if his wife burns dinner one evening.

Tolerance also when seen as a virtue is normally about something someone has a serious disagreement with on someone. You could tolerate going to a fast food restaurant whose food you don’t particularly like because everyone else in the car is going there. If you make a big issue out of it, then that is more of a problem with you. You don’t call yourself a champion of tolerance just for putting up with food you don’t like.

Third, tolerance has it that what is being done is seen as wrong. Again, you don’t tolerate something that you approve of. Husbands don’t tolerate a wife who wants to make love. Parents don’t tolerate children who clean their rooms.

The obvious example today in America is the debate over homosexuality. For a Christian, if they show tolerance, that means they show love to someone in the homosexual lifestyle without approving of the lifestyle. You can love someone without approving of everything that they do. Case in point, we all do it to ourselves.

Someone can think that the Christian is wrong in not agreeing with the homosexual lifestyle. It does not follow that the Christian is however intolerant. Of course, they could be, and if we think of people with the mindset of Westboro Baptist, they indeed are. Some people do genuinely think homosexuality is wrong but have a great love of homosexuals as people and seek to share the love of Christ with them.

Putting a stigma on judging allows possible evils to go unchecked. It should be for any of us that if a viewpoint or practice we engage in is wrong, we would want to know about it. We would want to be open to evidence and correction that will show that. Too often we are not. Too often also, we blame everyone else for how our lives are turning out instead of taking responsibility.

In a situation like this, people are allowed to use their feelings to hold others in tyranny. Having your feelings hurt is not the worst thing in the world. Sometimes, in fact, it is absolutely necessary. Sometimes you need to be told a hard truth and the only way to do that is by stepping on those toes a little bit. Some people also are not genuinely interested in debate but only in tearing others down. A firm hand can be needed for those.

So what about God? Can God judge? After all, the creed says that He is coming to judge.

It amuses me when I see atheists who complain about the problem of evil. Then you point to a society filled with evil like the Canaanite culture of the past and the atheist complains when God judges that culture as well. No matter what, God is seen as guilty. If God lets evil keep going, then He is wrong. If God judges, then He is also wrong.

God is in fact the only one who can judge perfectly since He alone is wholly good and wholly just. In fact, He is goodness and justice. When God judges also, He will be a good and fair judge with the people who He judges.

“Well how can that be? Christians get a free pass!”

God’s standard is perfection. When God judges a Christian, He will see the Christian in covenant with Christ and will judge the Christian based on the work of Christ. What happens when He comes to the non-Christian? He’s a fair judge and He uses the same standard. The standard is perfection. If someone falls short, they don’t make it. God judges them by their works.

Kind of ironic isn’t it since so many people think God should do just that and judge us by if we did more good than bad in this life.

Now you might say your works are not that bad. You never do anything really really evil. You’ve never murdered anyone for instance.

The reason something like that is thought is because people don’t really know what sin is. Consider what happens when you do what the Bible refers to as sin. You are making these claims.

You are saying your way is better than God’s.
You are saying you know better than God.
You are saying you will not be judged by God so you can get away with it.
You are saying that you will be unholy while knowing that God is holy.
You are saying you are the ultimate authority of how this world should be and how you should live in it.

In essence, you are wanting to be on the throne of God yourself. You are in fact guilty of divine treason.

If that sounds extreme to you, it’s because you just don’t realize the gravity of the situation.

I would also contend that if you are sentenced to live apart from God forever, you will continue to live in rebellion. In other words, you will be building up a debt that you could never pay off.

Saying you are guilty of divine treason could make God sound like a harsh judge, but that’s only getting one side of the picture. That’s what makes forgiveness so beautiful. It’s God saying that He knows you wanted Him to not exist and you wanted to be God yourself, and yet He is going to drop all charges against you. He will not just wipe the slate clean. He will break the slate into a million pieces. You will be seen as innocent based on your trust in Christ.

Keep in mind God could have not sent Christ and been entirely in the right. He could judge us all right now and who could say He was wrong? From a Biblical position, we all deserve death and in fact, we all deserve it right now, so every moment we are allowed to live is in fact a gift of grace.

Also, if you find yourself getting offended at the thought that you deserve death right now for being in rebellion against God, then I can just easily say you are demonstrating pride. If God is the king of this universe, upon what grounds does He owe you anything? You are to bow to Him. He is not to bow to you.

God does have the right to judge and while our judging is imperfect, passages like John 7:24 tell us we need to make right judgments, especially as people of truth who should be constantly seeking out truth. If we live in fear of judging, then we will not be able to fulfill the Great Commission our Lord has given us, for that requires we tell a world that they are sinners in need of a savior and that the King is on the throne and they need to honor Him.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Sense and Goodness Without God Part 12

February 4, 2014

Does Carrier give us any good reasons to be godless? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

It’s been awhile since we’ve gone through Carrier’s book, but it’s time to continue. This time, we’re going to at least start a look at his reasons to be godless. Carrier starts off with his conclusion that God doesn’t exist based on years of study and investigation and examining all the evidence of every argument presented in its defense.

All of them? Every single piece of evidence for every single argument?

So that means that for proponents of Intelligent Design, for instance, Carrier has read every book, every article, and heard every lecture on the topic?

That for Craig’s Kalam argument, Carrier has also done the same with that one?

For Aquinas’s five ways, that Carrier has read every book and philosophical treatise on the topic?

Well aside from this unbelievable claim right at the start, I can inform you I went into this chapter eager to receive a good argument against the positions that I normally use. So therefore I set out to find a refutation in there against the five ways of Aquinas.

Which weren’t covered….

Well, maybe those just aren’t commonly used as much! Let’s look at the argument that Bill Craig uses, the Kalam Cosmological Argument.

Which also isn’t covered….

Could it be he deals with the ontological argument? I don’t like that argument, but Plantinga and Craig both like it. I think it’s fallacious, but it’s an important one that philosophers have had something to say about. Surely that’s there.

And no, it isn’t….

Well definitely the argument from morality! He has a chapter on morality later on. Surely there’s an argument at least here.

And again, there’s nothing….

I consider it quite important that a chapter claiming to show that there is no God at all does not argue with any of the arguments put forward. It’s just a statement of faith.

Would anyone find it convincing if I wrote a book and said “Some people make strong arguments that God doesn’t exist. Reality is, He does. I know this because I studied every argument against His existence and every piece of evidence used and found them all lacking.”

If you were convinced by that, shame on you.

On page 254, we also have a howler with him talking about religious claims and saying that they all believe love has something to do with the meaning of life. “On virtually everything else they disagree–so virtually everything else is probably false.”

It’s because of statements like this that philosophers everywhere should cringe when Carrier describes himself as one.

For instance, classical Buddhism is atheistic. Christianity is theistic. Since virtually everything else is probably false aside from love, we can assume theism is false, but we can also assume that atheism is false.

Islam says that you should kill the infidels wherever you find them. Christianity says you should love your enemies and forgive them. Neither of these have to do with the meaning of life, so both of these claims are probably false.

We don’t even have to stay there. Let’s go to worldviews.

Christianity and atheism both agree that there is a material world, but on everything else they disagree, so every other position is probably false. Therefore, again, atheism and theism are both false by Carrier’s argument.

More examples could surely be given.

On pages 254-5, we are told that atheism is simply a way of saying you lack God belief, but this does not work. Let’s consider for the sake of argument that God does exist. (Yes. Atheists reading this blog please try this thought experiment.)

By this standard, theism is true.

Now if atheism is lacking God-belief, then well, there are still atheists out there.

But in Greek, the a in front of a word is the negation of it.

Therefore, theism and atheism can be both be true. One claim and its contradiction are both true. In order to hold Carrier’s view, you have to deny the Law of Noncontradiction then.

Also, quite problematic is that the atheist is then seeking to make a statement not about reality but about their personal beliefs. If that’s all it is, why should I care? This atheism cannot be refuted because after all, you cannot refute one’s psychology in this sense. If I come to you and I say “I’m depressed today,” you can’t say “No you’re not! You feel great!” You don’t argue against the feeling. You argue against why I feel that way.

Yet despite this claim, Carrier does say he denies the existence of God as on this page he has the argument of “believers deny the existence of hundreds of gods. I just go one god further.”

“Gentlemen of the jury! You believe several persons in this room did not commit the murder. I just ask that you look at my client and go one person further!”

I happen to look at Carrier’s work and realize he rejects many views of atheistic cosmology. Unlike him, I just go one view further.

The same applies to views of atheistic morality.

On 257 Carrier says that there is no reason to think that God would need billions of years and trillions of galaxies to work his purpose, but that is what we’d expect in a godless universe.

How can we make this comparison though? We have no other universes we know of that we can compare to to say this is the kind of universe a god would create and this isn’t one? This is the way a universe will naturally run and this is an example of a universe that did not naturally run! The only way a comparative statement can be made is if there are two things to compare, and there aren’t.

On this page also, we see him argue that if he was God, he would give clear evidence, and yet he doesn’t see that, and since Carrier could not be better intentioned than God, then it follows that God does not exist.

There’s something amusing about making an argument against God based on what you’d do.

Let’s look at this claim of clear evidence.

There are many claims that we often think are quite clear and some people still deny. I think it’s clear that the material world exists. Some people deny it. Most of us would say it’s clear that other minds exist, but yet Solipsists exist. I would say it’s clear that it’s wrong to torture babies for fun, but yet moral relativists exist. Carrier and I would both agree that truth exists, but yet so do postmoderns who deny objective moral truths exist.

Basically, there are arguments to believe anything and while some people want to believe in God for emotional reasons, there are also emotional reasons some would have for not believing in God, such as anger at growing up in a highly fundamentalist home, personal evil in one’s life, or not wanting to believe in God so you can keep having sex with your girlfriend.

Now we’ll move on to some of Carrier’s complaints about religious texts, starting with the Bible, which is the only one we’ll cover. Leave it to others to defend their holy books.

We’ll start with Deut. 13:6-11. (Carrier mistakenly says it’s only 8-10)

6 If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, 7 gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), 8 do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. 9 You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. 10 Stone them to death, because they tried to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 11 Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and no one among you will do such an evil thing again.

Carrier might want to know we still treat treason seriously in this country. In Israelite society, they did too. They were under a covenant relationship with YHWH and to have someone come and move them away from that relationship would spell disaster for the populace. (As we see in their judgment later on.) Carrier will need to say more than “I don’t like this.”

“The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.”

This is Psalm 14:1 and yet Carrier does not consider that this is hyperbole. (Keep in mind at the beginning of the book, Carrier said you should read his own works with charity. Apparently, you are to do as he says, not as he does.) Had Carrier read the Psalm, he would have known that the Psalmist was not just describing atheists, but he was describing EVERYONE! He was saying all are corrupt and none do good. This is the way that Jews often thought. We can do the same when we get depressed and think about our problems and say things like “No one cares about me.”

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

This is one of the most often quoted passages by atheists and one misunderstood. It occurs to no one apparently that Jesus’s own followers had families whom they loved and according to Paul in 1 Cor. 9, many apostles took their wives with them on their journey.

So what is being said? It is a comparative statement. Your family is certainly a great and important reality in your life, but if you put it above the Kingdom of God, you are not going to be worthy of the Kingdom. The Kingdom must be your first priority.

“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” Mark 16:16

“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:18.

“49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Matthew 13:49-50.

What of it? God is a God who judges. (Note I do of course contest that Mark 16:16 was part of the original writing) For Carrier to show that it is wrong for God to do this, he will need a better argument than “I don’t like it.”

Carrier goes on to state that since there is a threat delivered, it must be a wicked belief, because threats are the hallmark of a wicked creed. I suppose we must say the military has a wicked creed when they deliver a deadline to an enemy. A parent must have a wicked creed when they tell a child they will be spanked if they do something. Police must have a wicked creed if they warn someone about the consequences of their actions under the law.

Carrier says that Christianity started to flourish in 313 A.D. after the Edict of Milan. I would like to know how it even got to that point. It’s quite interesting to hear that Christianity was one of the most intolerant religions in history.

Why does Carrier say that? Because Christians denied the existence of the Roman gods and said there was only one God and he had revealed Himself in Christ. In other words, the Christians were killed for being intolerant.

It’s quite amusing isn’t it to read about people killing other people because those killed were not being tolerant….

Rome itself obviously was not tolerant since they could not handle dissent. (Where would Carrier find himself in Rome since he denies the existence of all gods? Would he be suddenly complaining that the Romans weren’t intolerant.) Yet Carrier sees Rome killing the Christians and decides that the Christians brought it upon themselves. It never seems to occur to him that maybe the people who were doing the killing were not the tolerant ones.

And Rome would have no problem with other gods, provided you included them in the Roman pantheon and still did your service to the emperor. Step outside of that and all of a sudden, you are not going to be tolerated. As has been said before, tolerance is always a one-way street.

Carrier says on page 266 that salvation belongs only to those who have faith in Christ is the very heart of New Testament teaching.)

Don’t get me wrong on this. Salvation by grace through faith in Christ is indeed an important teaching, but it is not the heart of the NT. It is a result of another teaching. That is the teaching that Jesus is the resurrected king of this universe. Trusting in Him for salvation is a result of having that prior belief. Does Carrier really know the NT he claims to critique?

Well that’s enough for now. Next time we’ll look further at Carrier’s reasons to be godless.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 8/3/2013 Robert Gagnon

August 1, 2013

What’s coming up on this edition of the Deeper Waters Podcast? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

The news has recently been talking about the striking down of DOMA and what it means for the future of marriage in our country. Right now, there are several people who are in favor of redefining marriage and unfortunately, a lot of them are Christians. For the church, it is said that the Bible really doesn’t say anything clearly on this issue.

Robert Gagnon disagrees.

Dr. Gagnon will be my guest and is an informed speaker on this area, having written the book “The Bible and Homosexual Practice.” This is one of the most thorough works if not the most thorough (And certainly the most thorough I’ve read) on the matter of what the Bible has to say about homosexuality.

Gagnon doesn’t even begin with Scripture but rather begins with the ancient society that the people of the Bible lived in. How was homosexuality viewed in their culture? What did the other societies do in relation to homosexuals or even to simple accusations of homosexuality? How did Israel behave in comparison to them?

Then, there’s the looking at the biblical texts and even texts that some people would think at the start have nothing to do with homosexuality. Does the story of Noah being shamed by his son have anything to do with homosexuality? It just might.

Of course, there is then time spent on accounts like Sodom and Gomorrah and looking at any argument against that being about homosexuality that can be found. Certainly, Gagnon takes us through the arguments of the holiness code in Leviticus and argues why it should be treated as a prohibition and explains why eating shellfish would not fall in the same category.

What about the writings of Jews outside of the Bible? Gagnon also looks at the positions of Philo and Josephus for instance to see what they say. Now some could say “Well Jesus never says anything about it?” According to Gagnon, Jesus in fact does say something about it and we’ll be definitely looking at that this Saturday.

Then we come to the NT and especially the passage in Romans 1. Is this a condemnation by Paul of homosexual behavior? Is it true that Paul knows nothing about loving and committed homosexual relationships? Do modern studies on sexual orientation change anything that Paul has said?

For those who want more, Gagnon also looks at modern discussion on the topic and even scientific studies on the matter. We’ll be discussing what the implications are of accepting the redefinition of marriage and why it is so important that we win this battle today.

I urge everyone to listen in and please be willing to call in and ask your questions, though I’m suspecting that some that champion tolerance in calling in might reveal themselves to be people who are in fact only tolerant of that which already agrees with them. In other words, intolerant. If you want to call in, the number is 714-242-5180. The time is 3-5 PM EST.

The link can be found here

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Danger of Tolerance

March 27, 2013

Is it ever wrong to be tolerant? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

A lot of Christians yesterday, including some in leadership, had the equals sign as an avatar of Facebook saying they wanted equality in marriage. I would like to have seen how they would have been responded to being told the standards of who one can marry is already the same for everyone, but I fear there is more heat than light on this issue and more are thinking with emotions than reasoning. This is especially so since politicians like Portman and McCaskill have given reasons that are largely emotional for a change of mind.

One aspect of this is the idea of tolerance. Christians want to be good people. I get that. We think it is good to be tolerant. Therefore, we decide we should be tolerant. We get the command that Jesus told us that we are not to judge and therefore it comes to “Who am I to judge someone else? Let God do that. I will be tolerant. That’s what Jesus would have me do.”

Keep in mind, Jesus made several judgments and he was hardly tolerant of the false teachings of those around Him. When we look at the epistles, it’s the same way. They hardly would have been written if the apostles had been practicing tolerance.

Of course, this is with the modern view of tolerance. The modern view is more along the lines of having to accept everything. One cannot say that another person is wrong in their position. All views are to be seen as equal and no view is any better than another.

Such a position will lead to numerous contradictions. For instance, if no view is better than another and all views are equal, what about the view that all views are not equal and some views are better than others? Is that to be treated the same way? If an exception is not made, then the principle is violating itself.

So am I saying Christians should be intolerant? No. I’m saying we should practice classical tolerance. In classical tolerance, you allow some wrong views to be held on matters of serious discussion. You still say the view is wrong, but you allow the person the freedom to hold that view.

This shows up in the NT. What about meat offered to idols? What about whether one should have wine? What about if any days are sacred? 1 Cor. 8-10 and Romans 14 are classic texts about this. If someone wants to do something like this, then let them, but the only problem Paul had was when one person started assuming they were more spiritual or better than another.

Note also that Paul also said some behaviors were clearly wrong. You do not tolerate lying or adultery or stealing. Interestingly, in 1 Cor. 6, homosexual behavior is included in this. Note especially that this is talking about the household of God. What about those outside? They are not held to Christian standards, though their behavior is still wrong.

In our country, we are allowed basic freedoms. For instance, the freedom of religion. The government is not to favor one religion over another. Hence, I will oppose Islam, but I defend their right to build mosques here and worship as they see fit, provided they obey the laws of the land in doing so.

Why oppose the change in marriage? Because this does affect everyone, particularly the least of these, the children. If you think that children have a right to have a relationship with their natural mother and father, then you have all the reason you need to keep marriage as it is.

Note also the other great danger of tolerance. It’s a one-way street. You can be sure that when the other side is in power and you want to practice your Christianity that says homosexual behavior is a sin, they won’t be so tolerant. You will be called to task. How do I know this? Because it’s happening already. Tolerance is not being practiced for those who disagree. Those who seek to celebrate diversity don’t seek to celebrate those who disagree with them.

Christians. Practice true tolerance, but don’t practice the modern notion. The church never prospers when it backs down on its Christian principles.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Book Plunge: The Joy of Hate

December 8, 2012

Has tolerance gone too far? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Normally, I wouldn’t review a book that I think is political, but I think in this case I will make an exception. Recently, Greg Gutfeld came to town to sign copies of his book “The Joy of Hate.” I went with my friend who was the best man at my wedding and had said to him “I hope Gutfeld says something in this book about tolerance.”

I was pleasantly rewarded. Practically everything he says in the book is about tolerance.

Before you start off thinking the wrong thing, keep in mind that on page xiii, Gutfeld says tolerance is a good thing. The problem he tells us is that tolerance has been morphed to something else. It is not the idea any more that while we disagree, you are allowed to have your opinion and voice it. It is that if you have an opinion that is contrary to the desires of the “tolerati” as Gutfeld calls them, you deserve to be shut down. You will be silenced. Your opinion should not be given. The consequences are huge. You will be seen as intolerant.

As I have said before, modern tolerance is a one-way street. For instance, if you are opposed to capitalism, you are someone whose voice should be heard. If you are someone who is opposed to socialism, you do not have a right to speak. You are to be mocked.

It’s noteworthy that while my viewpoints always come from my Christian worldview, I cannot say for sure if Gutfeld shares that same worldview. If I had to guess, I would say no. For instance, Gutfeld is not really opposed to redefining marriage for the homosexual community and eliminating the gender requirement. Here’s the important difference. I oppose redefining marriage and I have numerous people who are ready to call me a bigot, a homophobe, etc. I have no doubt instead that if I was on Gutfeld’s program, he would welcome me to come and make my case and even if we still disagreed at the end, we would still be able to go out and get a pizza together at the end. Gutfeld would not see me as a bigot for my views. He’d see me as wrong and realize that crying out “Bigot” makes the issue be about the person holding the view instead of, well, the view itself.

Gutfeld tells us that this tolerance has got us to the point where we are not allowed to offend anyone. People live with highly delicate feelings and how dare you go after those. Of course, religious Christians like myself are the noted exception of this, especially if you add in that I’m a conservative. It’s quite alright to say what you want to about us and make fun of us. Just don’t do it to others of a different persuasion.

Consider for instance that when the Book of Mormon musical came out, Hillary Clinton cheered for it. When the “Innocence of Muslims” video was shown, Hillary condemned it. What are the differences between these videos? A big one could be we know that today, the Mormon hurch is not likely to rise up and cause a riot based on a musical. Sure. You can say it’s disrespectful and tasteless, but the Mormon Church does not consider it worth fighting. You can have a crucifix in a jar of urine and call it art and that’s okay. We dare not insult Islam. Could it be because we know Muslims could kill us if we do?

Unfortunately, the Muslim world will not respond to this by sending us a friend request on Facebook. Show those who are wanting to destroy you that you’ll bow down to them and don’t wish to offend them and they’ll keep going.

Another aspect of this is the constant use of terms like “haters” and “hate” as if all hate was ipso facto wrong. Let’s state this clearly. If there is nothing in this world that you hate, there is something wrong with you. If you see injustice, you ought to hate it. If you see evil, you ought to hate it. If you see children being abused, you ought to hate that. If there is nothing that you hate, then there is really nothing that you love either. If you really love something, you will hate that which opposes it.

Recently, my Mrs. found a group called “We Stop Hate” and was asking me if we should join it since it opposed bullying. Now Gutfeld and I agree on this. Bullies are horrible. No one should support bullying. Still, I am concerned about where I see the anti-bullying movement going. I have a concern that before too long, making a statement such as “I think homosexual practice is immoral” will be seen as hate speech and bullying and since I am a “hater” I deserve to be shut down.

What will not be discussed in this? The issue of homosexuality. What will be discussed in this? My person instead. I do not go to a debate to discuss who I am. I go to one to discuss an issue. Tolerance talk makes conversations not be about issues but about feelings. It is the result of a kind of moral relativism. (Tolerance seems to be the one virtue that moral relativists believe in.) It is the case that the case is already closed and people like myself just don’t deserve to be heard because we don’t walk in lockstep.

What’s to be done?

Gutfeld says we need to grow a thicker skin in many cases. Some statements are just offensive and don’t result in actions. An example is jokes. Many of us need to lighten up with jokes and not make a big deal and if a joke is tasteless, instead feel sorry for the person making it that they have no real humor left. Of course, there are some exceptions, and he includes talk about threats as an example. These should not be taken lightly.

In the end, we, who believe in true tolerance and let others have the right to speak, should keep doing what we’re doing and letting people speak. If we are sure we are correct, we should not hesitate to enter into a debate and discuss the facts. It is more likely that the person who does not want to discuss the facts but would rather hide behind the shield of tolerance is the one who fears the facts are against him.

I realize many of my readers could be liberal unlike myself in their politics. I still recommend they read this, mainly because of concern over the tolerance movement. The path we are going down is one we do not wish to continue and only by refusing to give the tolerati the kind of tolerance they want can we do so. We should always practice true tolerance, but certainly not the kind of tolerance the tolerati recommends.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Shut Up!

August 4, 2012

Can’t you be more tolerant? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

In the debates over marriage today, we are often told as Christians that we are haters, we are bigots, we are homophobes, and we are intolerant. Now keep in mind I don’t mind someone having a different opinion on homosexuality than I do. What I do mind is this kind of behavior that does not deal with the arguments but rather deals with the attitudes of the person. Arguments like this distract us from the data.

Keep in mind there were people who were screaming for us to be open for years for people to live the way they wanted to individually. If they wanted to be homosexual, let them be homosexual. Let them love the person they want to and let us stay out of it. Now I think that their behavior is immoral, but fair enough. I don’t want to legislate against it. One aspect of Natural Law thinking is that you are willing to allow some lesser evils for the greater good of human freedom.

Now today we are the ones telling the homosexual community and their supporters to do what we have really been doing. That is to allow us the right to live the way we do and practice our religion that way. We believe homosexual behavior is sinful. Now you are free to believe all you want that it’s a sexual behavior with no moral ramifications. The point is that we do not think so. We think that whole debate is still open and to not listen to that debate is to treat our opinion like it doesn’t matter, not really tolerant is it?

You may not think homosexual behavior is wrong. Fine. We as Christians do think it is and if we really think that, which we do, it is the most loving thing that we can do to state it. Now of course, that does not mean that it is always said in a loving way or said out of love period. The reality is that when it’s done in an immoral way we condemn it even if it is true. While we hold that homosexual behavior is immoral, that does not mean we support a group like Westboro Baptist. I think bullying is wrong on all fronts and the only people I get tough with are those who are trying to bully others.

And yes, that is happening. There are people being hurt by the homosexual community and their supporters by this title of “haters.” Consider the case of Adam Smith who drove through the drive-thru at Chick-Fil-A and told the girl running the drive-thru that their company was a hate company. This man did not have the guts to park his car, get out, and go into the store and talk to the manager who would have some authority. This lady is just doing her job and got bullied. Now the guy got fired, but what happened to that girl for the rest of the day?

What about the store that had spray-painted on it “Tastes Like Hate.” Anyone working there could think that if a person is willing to vandalize, what else could they be willing to do? Look. We understand that you want to get your viewpoint out there but the best way to do that is not to try to win by using these kinds of tactics. If you want to discuss the issues, discuss the issues. (Note also I do realize not all homosexuals and not all people who agree with SSM are like this)

What is this doing when someone is told that they are a hater? Here is what the person who is being called a hater is being told. “SHUT UP!”

What you are saying is that your mind is made up, and there is nothing wrong with having a conviction mind you, but you do not even think the other side deserves a hearing. You are telling them that you will not listen to them at all. Their opinion is not worth it. This all the while telling them they should be tolerant of the other side. Excuse me if we don’t hear it when this kind of event happens.

This keeps you from discussing why the person holds the opinion that they hold. Why do that? Because in telling them they’re a homophobe or a bigot, you’re just saying “I don’t care why you think what you think. I’m going to tell you to be quiet or you will not be accepted.” If you’re sure your opinion is the correct one, the reality is that you should not be afraid to hear the other side. Why should anyone treat your opinion seriously when you automatically refuse to listen to someone else’s?

As one who is in the area of apologetics, I find that I love to hear what the other side says. I am sure I am right. I realize I could be wrong, but I have my opinion after years of study. It is enjoyable to enter into the debate and think you can win simply by pointing to the facts on your side and the bad reasoning and lack of facts or information that is not true but is claimed to be factual that the opponent presents.

What is happening is meant to end dialogue and not encourage it and quite frankly is simply emotional reasoning. You cannot determine whether homosexual practice is right or wrong based on how you feel. What if someone else feels differently? Why should your feelings trump everyone else’s? You also cannot command someone to just feel differently. IF that were the case, most of us would command ourselves to feel happy. We’d like to, but we don’t. Ever had one of those nights where you want to try to sleep but you’re up worrying? Telling yourself to feel calm doesn’t really end the matter.

How about we come and actually discuss the data and not use emotional reasoning. Let’s discuss homosexuality. Let’s discuss marriage itself. Let’s discuss morality. Let’s talk about the data. I don’t come to this debate to talk about you or me. I come to talk about the data. Let’s do that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters