Tuesday, June 9, 2009

On Pushing the Liberal Hot-Button

Often in Theological discussions, I hear the claim that a certain view is "Liberal" and "Spiritualizing" and does not adhere to a 'literal' interpretation (thus it should be ignored). Now, there are three BIG problems in taking this approach to different views of scripture:

First of all, it does absolutely nothing to refute their arguments. Slapping a particular taboo label on someone does not change the validity of their arguments. Call 'em liberal till you're red in the face and gasping for air, but you've not even come close to refuting your opposition. If you want to expose someone's view as wrong or dangerous, you show that with sound arguments and evidence (specifically from scripture), not with taboo labels.

Second, those who do this often come off as immature and insecure of your own views. Calling someone's view a Liberal/Spiritualized, especially if done in multiple instances, not only indicates that you're lacking in valid refutation, it also reeks of having no case of your own (or a very shoddy case). On top of that, it's really no different than calling someone a 'fatso' or a 'doo-doo head'. It's just name calling, pure and simple. This sort of thing is to be expected from Kindergarten kids, not from (young) adults who are discussing Theology.

Lastly, it's irrelevant. Ultimately, it's not a matter of whether or not something is literal, but whether or not it is Biblical. A figurative interpretation of certain passages, contrary to popular claims, does NOT undermine Christianity or the whole of scripture. If we were talking about making the gospels figurative, then that's a whole new shooting match (since we have clear evidence that they were in fact intended to be taken as historical. When it comes to passages like Genesis 1-11, not so much).

All in all, can we quit the name calling and label-slapping and get down to the points we've got to make?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Have we Forgotten to Listen to the Beatles?

A while back, I was listening to a radio interview between Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osborne, and part of it was their musing upon why a lot of modern music sucks. They eventually came to this conclusion: a lot of modern artists have forgotten to listen to the Beatles. They commented that, whilst not always lyrically great, the melody of the Beatles was phenomenal.

I think we as Christians have done the same, but with our literature. There's a lot of Christian non-fiction literature available to the average joe that just plain sucks. Their research is horrific, assuming they even did any, and their ideas and use of scripture would probably make the great Christians of the past spin in their graves. Of course, the reason for this problem is the same with a lot of modern music: "We've forgotten to listen to the Beatles" of Christian Literature. We don't have to agree with what they teach (for even they disagreed), but what I've read their work is of a much higher quality than a lot of the new stuff I've read.

In all honesty, I think one of the reasons why the western church is in such a crappy condition today is the fact that we've forgotten to 'listen to the Beatles' of our history. We've forgotten to read the greats of Church history (like John Wesley, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Augustine, and Aquinas, just off the top of my head). Heck, we've even neglected to read THE Book. You'd think we as Protestants would be especially eager to read the Bible because we (supposedly) adhere to Sola Scriptura, which kind of makes we wonder if preachers should start doing a series on reliability of the Bible (not to mention a good sermon or two as to what Sola Scriptura really is; I'm pretty sure a lot of the church today doesn't have a clue as to what SS is really all about).

The Solution is, of course, to start 'listening to the beatles' of our Christian heritage. Another thing we should do is start reading our Bibles. You know, those big honking books that have "READ ME" written in the layers of dust they've collected.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go read some more of the Systematic Theology I'm working on.

Friday, March 13, 2009

My Two-Bit Musings on a Podcast

I know I already posted this in a note on Facebook, but this is for those who don't have Facebook.


This is just my two-bit reflection on the latest episode of "Say Hello to my Little Friend: The Berettacast" by Dr. Glenn Peoples.

To Summarize, if you're too lazy or don't have 45 Minutes to to go the website and listen, this Provocatively titled Podcast episode is about how Christians need to stop picking label over quality.

And I (strongly) agree with him.

Too often I've seen Christians pick some really crappy stuff over the stuff that's truly excellent, simply because it has a Christian label on it. Sometimes the Non-Christian stuff is of better quality than the stuff with the 'Christian' label on it (I'll note here for those who didn't listen to the podcast that Dr. Peoples also uses some interesting examples to show this... it's the first time I've ever encountered someone comparing the lyrics to a Skillet song to the lyrics of a Megadeth song). Now, I'm not saying that all Christian stuff is of a lesser or poor quality (and neither does Dr. Peoples for that matter), but I don't think that it can't be ignored that Christians in general have the tendency to throw "Is it Good?" out the window when it comes to picking Christian stuff over Non-Christian, whether it be Art or Argumentation (yes, Non-Christians can put forth arguments of a higher quality than Christians. It doesn't necessarily mean their arguments are true, however).

Now, of course, I'm going to apply this idea elsewhere and say that this sort of partisan hackery isn't just exclusive to Christian/Non-Christian labels. I've seen it in Politics ("Is it Conservative/Liberal/Indep
endent/Libertarian?"), Theology ("Is it Futurist/Dispensational/Idealist/Preterist?"), Gaming ("Is it Mario/Mega Man/Sonic/Street Fighter?"), and even Movies ("Is it Star Trek/Star Wars?"). I probably wouldn't be wrong if I said that this sort of thing is found in every aspect of life.

The biggest danger of partisan hackery like this is that it tends to lower the bar for quality expectations. People won't try to present good argumentation or produce excellent music if they know that it's going to be a Best Seller simply because they are claiming to have a particular affiliation.

To Finish bluntly, I think this sort of thing needs to stop. People are missing out on things of excellent quality (and lowering the bar for future generations) simply because it doesn't have a particular label on it. Just because someone or something doesn't share the same ideas or views as you doesn't mean that their work is of poor quality. So if you're reading this, I encourage you to try something (and so does Dr. Peoples, IIRC):

Ignore the Labels for a change; tear them off (figuratively of course) and instead ask yourself, "Is it Good?"

You will probably be surprised as to what you find...

[By the by, if you're reading this for whatever reason, Doc, I sincerely hope I didn't misinterpret anything you said. If I did, correct me on it and I'll gladly change it.]

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

" My Response to 'How to Debunk Christianity' " or "5 Damn Good Reasons Why You Shouldn't Smoke Crack"

Well, I was over at Mike Wrong's Blog, "The Intelligent Zone," and he posted a somewhat amusing guide to debunking Christianity. I figured, since I'm bored and need to take a break from homework, I'd take a crack at it.

Let's take a gander at Step One:

Ask Christians to explain how it is we are all descendants of Adam and Eve. Christians believe that God created Adam from dust and then created Eve from Adam's rib. According to Christians, the two of them hooked up and had two kids: both male. So, unless Eve was doing it with Cain or Able (or both of them), which breaks at least two commandments, there wasn't any procreatin' going on in the Garden of Eden. Ergo, we are not all descendants of Adam and Eve, and this debunks a central tenet of Christianity

Wrong right off the bat (no surprise there). Not all Christians believe in a Literal interpretation of the Creation account, not is it necessary to believe in Christianity. Personally, I'm a fan of the Framework Hypothesis myself (Combined with Open Creationism). And like some skeptic noted on the original website, The Bible says that Adam and Eve had many more kids after Cain and Abel. Also, the commandment "Thou Shalt not Play Hide the Salami with Your Relatives" wasn't even around until the time of Moses.
Lastly, the existence of Adam and Eve and whether or not we are descendants of them is far from a central tenet, dare I say that it's irrelevant, to the truth claims of Christianity. Even if the first part of Genesis were to be flushed down the crapper, Christianity and the resurrection still stand. Whether God created everything fiat or used Evolution to do it, and whether the universe is 4000 or 4 Billion years old (I'm open-ended on these issues, personally. Hence why I am Open Creationist), mankind still screwed up, requiring something or someone to bridge the gap between Man and God.

I've had nasty cases of "The Turds" do more damage to my Faith in Christianity than this... speaking of which, I've got a Crrrap on Deck that could Choke a Donkay!

Now for Step Two...


Take a homological approach to debunking Christianity. Homological theory states that related organisms will share similarities. Archaeologists, biologists and genome scientists have all proven that humans share homologous traits with chimpanzees. So yes, we are all descendants of fruit-eating bipeds. Just not Adam and Eve.

Wowsers... This is arguably one of the most stupid statements anyone could ever make and I doubt anyone with half a brain, regardless of which side of the Cr-Evo debate you're on, would disagree with me. Last I checked, the similarities only conclude that humans and apes have a common ancestor, and any Evolutionist I've encountered cringes whenever someone has said the old saying "Goo to you via the Zoo," and/or agreed with it. Why? Because it's bad science.
And like I said before, belief in a literal creation account is not necessary for someone to believe in Christianity. To add onto what I have said before, I've actually heard of people believing in Christianity after reading the Gospel of John.

I'll give it an A+ for Effort, but an F- for results. And that is being generous. VERY generous... seriously, these grades were so Liberal, I've heard that they're building thirty new wings just to accommodate them.

Next up to bat... Step Three!

Use semantics to debunk Christianity. Merriam-Webster defines "faith" as a firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Ask the Christians you know to prove God exists. When you use semantics to debunk Christianity, don't try to argue that Christ didn't exist. Biblical archaeologists and historians have pretty much sewn that one up. Christ was, it seems, real. But was he the son of God? Does God even exist? Ask your Christian friends to prove either is true. Doing so is empirically impossible.

Ah, argument from definition... My guess is, Merriam and Webster weren't looking at the original Greek and neither were you. Faith in the NT is from the Greek word pistis (yeah, that's right; the Bible wasn't originally in English), meaning trust based on prior performance (some Greek dictionaries even say "Forensic Evidence"). Sort of like how a man trusts his wife to be loyal based on the fact that she has been loyal since they started seeing each other.
As for whether or not Christ was the Son of God, there's the challenge of whether or not he was a Lunatic, a Liar, or the Lord which I have yet to see a good rebuttal to.
And is empiricism the only way to know something? The answer, of course, is a definite NO. If it were, then I could reasonably conclude that the skeptic who wrote this has no brain since I cannot observe it empirically. While Empiricism is, in fact, a common way to know, is not the only way to know... there's rationalization, intuition, authorities, etc.

They were close to aiming at the cornerstone with the statement as to whether or not Christ was the Son of God comment, but in the end, this argument went down like a fat chick on a greased fireball.

After that one leaves the walkway, here comes step Four!

Play the history card to debunk Christianity. There is ample evidence that many Christian holidays, especially Christmas, began as secular or pagan celebrations of everything from winter solstice to Saturn. The Bible never cites the actual date of Christ's birth. In fact, in the early days of Christianity, Christ's birth wasn't even celebrated. It wasn't until the fourth century that early Christian leaders decided to observe Christ's birth, and they chose December 25 to coincide with the culmination of winter solstice celebrations and the pagan celebration called Saturnalia. December 25 is the arbitrary date of Christ's birth.

Interesting... the skeptic has resorted to Attacking the Holidays. That sounds... desperate. The holidays are irrelevant, and so is the date of Christ's birth. As for the dates, there are many reasons why they were being observed on pagan holidays. There's two theories that I know of...
-Choosing the same days was a form of Ideological Victory (or a "Hostile Takeover")
-Choosing the same days was so that Christians would not be led astray
Regardless, attacking irrelevant aspects of Christianity like the holidays and the day Christ was supposedly born on seems to be an act of desperation.

I wonder if Cheech & Chong are looking for a third guy. The schmuck who wrote these arguments might fit the bill... On second thought, (s)he might be a bit too "out there" even for those grumpy old stoners. Heck, (s)he might even scare them into going sober!

Now for the Grand (?) Finale... Step Five:

Visit the Debunking Christianity blog to equip yourself with additional means of debunking Christianity. You can lurk and read the current and past posts, or you can jump right in and post to your heart's content.

I'm not even sure if I should dignify this with a response, as it's either moronic self-promotion or the work of some Doubting John Fanboi (to be honest, if I gambled, my money would be on the latter). How heading to DJ's Blog debunks Christianity is beyond me. I've been over there several times, and I'm still a Christian. He uses asinine stuff like "The Universe is Big, therefore God does not Exist." (He doesn't even explain why God needs a non-expansive or shrinking universe in order to exist...)

Debunking Crap does a better job of ripping Christianity to shreds. The funny thing is, that is a satire blog AND it's also shameless self-promotion, since I am a member! :P

Needless to say, another set of dumb arguments (and a promotional gag) bites the dust.
It's kinda sad, really... I didn't even have to check my resources for these.

This is Chaotic Void taking off, eh?!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"My Thoughts on the Election" or "The Hat Comments on the Butt"

ROMANS 13:1-7 (NIV)
"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."

***DISCLAIMER: I'm not a full-blown liberal, or a full-blown conservative. I'm more of a semi-Libertarian kind of guy.***

Well, in case you haven't heard, Obama won the election in the US of A. To be honest, I was certain that Obama would win. For a while now, it's been said here in Canada that Obama would be the next president. Must be something in our Beer that gives us prophetic powers.

Anyways, on a more serious note, I've found that a lot of Conservatives are close to declaring that, "The Sky is Falling," just minutes after Obama has been elected. The guy hasn't even been sworn into office yet, and people are already starting to panic.
Personally, I think it's too damned early to panic, if there be a reason to panic at all. I'm not worried at all; not yet, anyway.


Because it's one thing to say that you will do something, and another thing to actually do the things that you said you would do. Obama can dazzle us with his speeches and claim as many times as he wants that he's going to bring change (Buzzword, much?). Now that Barack Obama is in office, we can see if he's going to carry out what he said, or if he was just another skin full of hot air. In other words those crying things along the lines of, "Oh no! America elected a Marxist!" can cool yer heels and wait a spell.

Now for the main event... I guess you could say that I'm ending with a question.

This morning, the College President said this about the US Election [Paraphrased, of course]: "I know who I want in office, but that doesn't matter. What matters is who God puts in Office." He was, of course, alluding to Romans 13:1-7 which I conveniently posted at the beginning of this entry.

Now that Obama is elected President, assuming he makes it to January 20th of 2009, and if the above statement is true (That God in fact does put people in Office), I leave you with this:

Why do you think God put Obama in Office?

To be honest, I'm not even sure of the answer myself. I plan on asking this question of the people of TheologyWeb tomorrow to get their opinion.

This is Chaotic Void taking off, eh?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

"Update" or "I'm not dead yet!"

Yeah... I know... It's been a while since I've posted. Sue me. On second thought, don't sue me. I can't afford a lawsuit these days.

I figured I'd post a brief update on my life so far.
I'm in Bible College
More specifically, International Bible College in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Never heard of it? I'm not surprised. It's the only Church of God Bible college in North America, and it's in a small town.
There's 11 of us here right now, 4 of which are first-year students [myself included]. We're a great bunch of people, but we're all weirdos for our own unique reasons. Heck, we're so weird that one of us has a Mac! Not me, unfortunately.
We've also had to pick tasks to do around the campus. I chose to be one of the evening cooks; when I told my mother this, she simply laughed and said, "Can't escape from the kitchen, can you?" [A bit of BG information is needed here: I love cooking. Heck, I did most of the cooking back when I lived at home.]
I've also done my first ministry trip, which was actually my home church back in Regina. The College is doing these sort of things all year to show people that the money that they're donating to the college is not wasted. Needless to say, my church was pleased with the service. I helped operate the sound board and the slide show, which was enjoyable. I'm hoping to be able to do a sermon or two somewhere down the road. There was another trip down to Estevan, but I wasn't a part of that one [It was just the Drama Team]. Our next trip is to Manitoba.

I'm Diabetic
Yeah, My family and I figured I'd get it some time, but not this early. I've been a Type 2 Diabetic since Mid-August of 2008. Being type 2 means that I don't have to take insulin, but I've got more drugs in me than Keith Richards. But at least they're good drugs.

I figured this would be a sufficient update for now. I'll try to be more frequent in my blogging these days, since I've got almost 24-7 access to my computer.

This is Chaotic Void taking off, eh?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Does the Pro-Choice "Argument from Money" hold water?

Well, I'm back from my volunteering at Summer Camp, so I figured I'd start out simple and do an entry about a Pro-Choice argument that I hear a lot. Here goes:

The rawest form of this argument from the Pro-Choice side is,

"A young, single mother will be unable to financially take care of both the child and herself, therefore it's ultimately better for her to abort than to have the child and cause both to suffer."

I find this argument to be bunk, because even if someone is young on welfare/social assistance, they can still raise a child. It just requires more money management and a reduction of lifestyle expectations. For instance, you need a form of entertainment but don't "need" the latest and greatest computer/TV/Gaming console. You need clothing to keep warm, etc, but you don't "need" brand new clothes. You need nourishment, but you don't "need" brand-name foods. You need a way to get around, but you don't "need" a car to get from point A to point B.

Aside from that, even if I am completely mistaken in my above paragraph, the conclusion that abortion is the best option does not follow. There's nothing there to rule out adoption as an alternate option.

Chalk this one up under Canard...