Friday, October 17, 2014

Proof of God’s Existence Based on Human Exceptionalism

If we want to affirm the human values, rights, dignity, and equality that we in the West so esteem, we must also affirm the existence of God. Consequently, if we reject God, we also reject these values. Here’s why:

  1. Each human has dignity, equality, and unalienable value.
  1. Without God, there can be no human dignity, equality, or unalienable value.
  1. God exists. 
Premise #1:  This is a premise almost universally accepted in the West. We believe that all should have equal protections under the law, despite the surpassing wealth and influence of some. The Bill of Rights had been based upon this assumption of equality. Our Declaration of Independence provided this assumption - that all are created equal and endowed with unalienable rights.  We also intuitively believe that humans deserve to be treated with respect and accorded rights consistent with our humanity. The denial of these truths leads to regarding and treating our fellow humans as animals.

Premise #2:  This Declaration emphasized the fact that these unalienable rights find their basis in a God who had created humanity to be like Him. Therefore, are value is somewhat commensurate with God’s, and we must treat each other accordingly!  Instead, if government granted our unalienable rights, government could easily terminate them.

Our human dignity is based upon the fact that we are god-like even if we have corrupted ourselves. We therefore have an obligation to treat our fellow humans with dignity, even if they have acted in undignified ways. Consistent with this, psychotherapeutic practice requires that we treat the clients with unconditional-positive-regard, as if they possess an unalienable dignity. If they don't, they will lose their client, since they too have an intuition that they must be treated with dignity.

Pragmatic concerns alone cannot suffice to retain these concepts of dignity and equality:

  • When we regard our fellow humans materially (rather than god-like), we cannot perceive any equality or even dignity. Instead, we observe differences - that some are better, nicer, more educated, and contribute to our welfare. Meanwhile, others present society with a high cost. Therefore, from a materialistic point of view, there can be no equality. Instead, some deserve respect and others do not.
  • It is not enough to treat others with respect and equality for merely pragmatic reasons. It will make us schizoid. Imagine the therapist who knows he must treat his client with dignity, while he doesn’t believe that client has any dignity. It would therefore be nothing less than manipulative and hypocritical to treat him with respect.
  • Human history provides overwhelming testimony that pragmatism alone will not create the better society. Instead, self-interest will reign.
Besides, if we are just another member of the animal kingdom, albeit advanced, any belief in human exceptionalism will eventually erode. Can we raid our neighbors frig at will as we pluck an apple from a tree or extract milk from a cow? Of course not! Should eating other life forms – lettuce and radishes - be criminalized? If so, it would lead to the death of humanity. Must we maintain human exceptionalism? If not, we cannot maintain humanity.

There is only one way to preserve the dignity, equality and unalienable value of all humanity - by recognizing that we are the special creation and the children of God! If human exceptionalism exists, so too must God!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Proof of God from Evil

Does the presence of evil discount the existence of a good and omnipotent God? No! Actually, the presence of evil proves the existence of God! Here’s how the argument goes (I thank W.L. Craig for this):

1.     Evil Exist

2.     Evil (and objective moral truths/laws) cannot exist without an objective basis for evil – God!

3.     God must exist!

The fact that evil exist is self-evident. However, premise #2 requires a little explanation. Without an immutable, universal, all-wise, and good God, objective evil cannot exist. If there is nothing greater than the human being, then there is nothing greater than their millions of differing moral opinion, and there is nothing to make my opinion any more correct than yours. Consequently, there is no objective standard by which we can say genocide and sex slavery is wrong.

Also, if morality doesn’t have an immutable source, then it changes and cannot be taken seriously. If you tell me that rape is wrong, I can simply respond, “Maybe not next year!”

If the source is not universal, then we encounter other absurdities. If murder is wrong here but not in Hawaii, I can go to Hawaii if I want to murder. In any event, a moral law that is not universal is laughable.

Also, if the moral law is not given by a good and all-wise God, then there is little reason to follow it apart from rewards and punishments – something that can only breed cynicism. Consequently, God must exist if evil and objective moral law exist.

The “Freedom” of Postmodernism

Emergent guru, Tony Jones, claims that “Postmodern philosophy saved my faith.”
Postmodernism is the belief that all truth claims are subjective and are merely human creations. Here’s how Jones puts it:

  • The slipperiness of meaning, the impossibility of objectivity, the incommensurability of truth claims — these themes of postmodernism appealed to me and gave my faith room to grow.

I wonder how Jones regards his own writings in light of his assertion of “the impossibility of objectivity.” I guess he has to admit that his own declarations are all merely subjective, and therefore pertain only to himself – his feelings and thoughts. However, I never have seen him appending his writings with the appropriate disclaimer:

  • Everything you are now reading is totally subjective, since objectivity is impossible. Even though it might seem that I am trying to communicate something real to you, I should remind you that I am merely ranting.

How did this philosophy save his faith, giving it “room to grow?” Well, he doesn’t actually explain, leaving us to guess. So allow me to guess. Postmodernism offers “freedom.” Judging from the “born-again” testimonies of atheists and freewill-deniers, they too have achieved a degree of “freedom.”

How? They are now free from God - His moral requirements and judgments! The atheist merely banishes Him from their existence. The freewill-denier rejects any ability to respond freely to His requirements. Meanwhile, the postmodern denies that they can know if He exists, let alone His moral standards.

Each has thereby established himself as the master of his own life. No one can bring any charges against him. He can face his moral failings and say, “You are irrelevant to me. Go away and afflict someone else.” Some folks have even been honest enough to admit this to me.

I am going to ask Jones about his own “liberation” and how his postmodern thinking brought it about. However, I suspect that it is like the freedom of the goldfish who jumped out of his bowl wanting the freedom he perceived through his bowl. Some freedom!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Jealousy: The Stealth (and not so Stealth) Killer

Frederick Engels

If we are not jealous of our neighbor’s wife, we are jealous of his attainments, money, house, car, influence, job, friends, or popularity. We want what he’s got, and we tend to hate him for it.

Communism had the perfect solution, albeit limited and superficial. They would equalize everybody and everything. After debunking Marxist theory, historian Robert Royal then exposes their underlying motivator – jealousy:

  • The only reason these very dubious theories seemed like revolutionary bedrock to Marxist believers was that they justified hatred of bourgeois societies and gave sanction to the “inevitable” revolution ahead, after which, even more implausibly, religion and state, both mere bourgeois instruments of repression in the Marxist view, would wither away. That passionate desire for revolution, whatever the facts, lay behind the vehemence and even violence with which the Communist gospel was preached. (The God that did not Fail, 233)

Why did Marxism motivate the Communists to such a genocidal extent – the extermination of the 100,000,000 who would not see the light of their reason? Jealousy and hatred! However, these wicked seeds were camouflaged by the covering of an idealistic optimism. In the Condition of the Working Class in England, Friedrich Engels argued:

  • Necessity will force the working-men to abandon the remnants of a [Christian] belief which, as they will more and more clearly perceive, serves only to make them weak and resigned to their fate, obedient and faithful to the vampire property-holding class.

However, the “working-men” never did exalt themselves to Engels’ enlightened heights, and when reason fails to win hearts and minds, coercion and violence are introduced.

Marxism continues to fail to address our inner struggles. Instead, the Marxist has readily partnered with jealousy, hatred, bitterness, with periodic exterminations of Christians, bourgeois, and others among the “weak and resigned.”

So what then is the answer to jealousy? The assurance that we are already rich and have everything we need! Where does this assurance come from? From the very light that the Marxist had tried to extinguish!

There is a truth that will set us free (John 8:31-32), as Jesus promised. It is the knowledge and assurance that we have God, and, having God, we have everything:

  • For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. (Colossians 2:9-10)
It is this truth that has set me free! I need no longer covet what belongs to my neighbor or even my brother. I am already rich! Does this mean that I am no longer tempted? No, but now I have a defense. I know better!

In a sense, Engels was right. We are “resigned to [our] fate, obedient and faithful.” However, this resignation does not make us “weak,” but confident enough to resist evil. Why? We know that our true riches do not belong to this life. We also know that if we lose our life, we have an eternal inheritance in heaven. This enables us to be bold – the very reason that the Marxists had been eager to eliminate us and still are! In every Marxist nation, Christians regularly undergo persecution!

It takes courage to love our oppressors – a courage that Christ grants, and a courage that further enrages our oppressors.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Death of Freedom of Religion: Compelled to Violate Conscience

What happens when the State compels you to allow your customers to have sex with your wife? What would you do? Of course, you would oppose such a move, even if you lived in a society where the “proper” thing to do was to allow this. I know this sounds absurd, but there have been States that have required this, perhaps not for everyone, but at least for those in power.

You would protest that you have an unalienable right to guard your own family and to live by your beliefs. However, reasonable this might sound, what is reasonable no longer applies. Take this example:

  • A Kentucky Human Rights Commission examiner has ordered a Christian screen printing company to print t-shirts that bear pro-homosexual messages and undergo diversity training for declining to make shirts for a “gay pride” celebration two years ago.
  • The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission issued the recommendations of its hearing examiner on Tuesday, declaring that Hands On Originals–a company that identifies as “Christian outfitters” on the home page of its website–violated the Lexington Fairness Ordinance by passing on the requested order because of its religious convictions.
  • The Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington (GLSO) had wanted the company to print t-shirts for the 2012 Lexington Gay Pride Festival. When manager Blaine Adamson declined the order due to the company’s biblical convictions not to be partaker of another man’s sins (1 Timothy 5:22, Ephesians 5:7), GLSO filed a complaint with the HRC.
  • HRC examiner Greg Munson ruled this week that Hands On Originals violated the law by not printing the shirts for the event.

It is one thing to refuse to serve gays because they are gay, but this isn’t the issue here. The owner, Blaine Adamson, explained that he couldn’t partake in sin:

  • “I want the truth to come out—it’s not that we have a sign on the front door that says, ‘No Gays Allowed… We’ll work with anybody. But if there’s a specific message that conflicts with my convictions, then I can’t promote that.”

Should a gay shirt-maker be compelled to print shirts for a pro-family conference reading, “God will only sanction heterosexual marriage!”? Of course not! Or should a Jewish owner be compelled to print, “Hitler understood the Jews”? Or a Muslim forced to print, “The Koran is Wrong!”?

No one should be forced to print or utter an oath in contradiction to what they believe. Such a requirement is dehumanizing and can only breed conflict! What is the State’s compelling need to coerce such behavior? Of course, there is none, other than the State’s own ideological militancy to force their ideology on the rest of us:

  • In his decision, Munson ruled that Hands On Originals must accept orders to print t-shirts or other products that bear messages advocating for homosexuality, and mandated the company to undergo diversity training.

It is not enough for the State to deprive Hands On Originals of their freedom to practice their faith. They must now adopt the State religion and be sent for indoctrination, “diversity training” – nothing short of a Maoist tactic! How could Munson possibly justify such a decision? By misrepresenting the “offense”:

  • “The evidence of record shows that the respondent discriminated against GLSO because of its members’ actual or imputed sexual orientation by refusing to print and sell to them the official shirts for the 2012 Lexington Pride Festival.”
  • “The respondent is permanently enjoined from discriminating against individuals because of their actual or imputed sexual orientation or gender identity,” he wrote. “The respondent is ordered to participate in diversity training to be conducted by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission within 12 months of the issuance of this order.”
What! Hands On didn’t discriminate against gays but against the gays’ demand that they violate their faith!

How can such rulings not breed cynicism and contempt for the authorities who bring about such deceptive and prejudicial decisions! How can this nation survive, if it reneges on the basic values and freedoms that have built this civilization!