Okay, sorry, one more…

I have to give one more post to politics and then, I promise, I will try hard to move on to something else.  There is one thing in particular that keeps gnawing at me and that I feel like I should address, and that is the argument by pro-life Obama supporters that, by reducing poverty, President Obama will actually create conditions in which fewer abortions happen.  The problems with this are legion:

– Obama will not and cannot reduce poverty.  Period.  Let’s stop this “Make Poverty History” utopian nonsense.  We have been fighting a big government “War on Poverty” for forty years now.  Why think that one more liberal President is going to do anything different?  Poverty is reduced by businesses, not by presidents.  The way presidents help businesses reduce poverty is by keeping their taxes low, enabling them to employ more people.  Obama proposes that we do the opposite.  And no matter what happens, there will always be a segment of society that will remain poor, simply because there are lazy people in this world.  Poverty is not just a social issue; it is a sin issue (No, I’m not saying that all poor people are lazy, but to deny that laziness exists among at least some of the poor is naive).  In fact, didn’t Jesus himself say, “You will always have the poor among you…” (John 12:8).  The slogan “Make Poverty History” is something only the Messiah can do, and he has said that it won’t be done in this age.  This is why I don’t get this relentless focus on poverty as a big government issue.   

– The implication of the argument that, by reducing poverty, Obama will reduce abortions, implies that poverty causes abortions.  But it seems to me that, in quite a few cases, poverty actually prevents abortions.  Women who can’t pay for abortions are less likely to have them.  Why else would President Obama favor federal funding for abortions?  So, this is the kind of thing we hear:

PRO-LIFE OBAMA SUPPORTER: Poor women out there feel like they have no choice.  They can’t afford to have a baby, so they are forced to have an abortion.  We need to give them money so they can afford to have the baby. 

OBAMA HIMSELF: Poor women out there feel like they have no choice.  They can’t afford to have an abortion, so they are forced to have a baby.  We need to give them money so they can afford an abortion.

The arguments are completely contradictory.  And it appears to me that the one in the White House is the one who will be setting the policies, not the naive souls who thought casting a vote for him would be good for the unborn. 

– Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that President Obama will reduce poverty (as though there is some button you can push in the White House that will change the kinds of behaviors that lead to it).  We should remember that Hitler made the trains run on time, but the Jews were no better off as a result. 

– Poverty does not cause abortions.  Sin does.  And the way for a President to deal with sin is to restrain it by the power of the sword (Romans 13:1-4).  When in history has such a widespread injustice been met by this kind of naive, fluffy talk about changing the conditions that lead to this practice?  Where is the moral outrage over the holocaust that is happening right in front of our eyes every single day?

– If The Freedom of Choice Act passes (God forbid), leading most assuredly to an increase in abortions to the tune of at least 125,000 a year (that comes to an additional 342 a day), while implicating us all in the practice by using federal funds to pay for them, will pro-life Obama supporters stand up and take ownership of it?  Will they look at themselves in the mirror and know that they helped further this slaughter?  After all, they can’t claim that they were duped.  He said it would be the first thing he would do.  How a vote for Obama can be justified as a pro-life vote is utterly stunning to me.  If FOCA passes, will pro-life Obama supporters admit that they were wrong about this, or will they continue to pretend that this is somehow good for the unborn?      

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17 Responses to “Okay, sorry, one more…”

  1. Ali Says:

    So, have you given much thought to how you will respond if (unfortunately it’s more accurate to say “when”) the FOCA passes?

  2. fenderpooh Says:

    I will take notice of whether my two Senators and congressman supported it. If any one of them did, no matter what party he might belong to or how much I approve of his views on other issues, he will never get a vote from me again (I voted for Mitch McConnell, one of my Senators, but against John Yarmuth, my congressman, in this past election). I will be sure to pass on the word to other voters as well.

    I will pray. I will mourn for America. And I will redouble my efforts to stop abortions on all fronts: continue giving to crisis pregnancy centers, continue preaching every so often on human life, continue the task of making a case for the truth in the public square. And I will not consider the legal battle to be over. The Supreme Court can always overturn FOCA, and I will support any effort to appeal it.

    My prayer right now is that God would thwart President Obama’s plan to pass this through. If Republicans dig in their heels in the Senate, I think they can stop it with a filibuster. Furthermore, they may get some help from Democrats who are from more conservative states who don’t want their constituents to see them as extremists.

  3. Thom Says:

    First off, I will say that I respectfully disagree with you, haha.

    Abortion, in my own opinion, is one of the most basic human rights that women could possibly have. Take for instance and woman is raped, either by a stranger or, more sinisterly, by a family member. Say the girl is 13 years old, she is pregnant by her molester, who is also her father. Not only is she already traumitised from her molestation, but now she is forced to give birth to this child, at the age of 14.

    I dont care what way you look at that situation, but it is unethical to force that child to carry to term a child that is the result of incest and rape.

    You can preach that it is a ‘sin’ or that it is morally unethical, but you must be respectful of the fact that not everyone is religious, not everyone believes in the same things that Christian/Jewish/Islamic pro-lifers do. The people who are having abortions are not evil. They are not career ‘sinners’, they do not go around and get pregnant then abort the child as a passtime. These people are people who cannot afford to take car of a child. They are people who have been raped and now have an unwanted pregnancy. They are people who could be in danger of losing their own life during the birthing process.

    And the one thing that all these people have in common? Even if abortion is made illegal: they will still get it done. Whether it is in a back-alley abortion, throwing themselves down the stairs, or putting the career of a good doctor in jepordy who is doing what he believes to be the right thing to do.

    The Soviet Union, early in the Revolution, made abortions legal and available to all the thousands of women who were having back-alley dangerous procedures done, and reduced the fatality rate of abortions for 4% to 0.28%. Thats a massive decrease in unnescessery death from dirty, unregulated procedures.

    If there is one thing that you Republicans should know, its that people will be left to their own devises, whether the government is involved or not. You all talk about the evils of ‘big government’, but what makes religion and its beliefs any different from the all encompassing government that you preach against? Christianity is the BIGGEST government you can imagine, and somehow seems to creep its way into all nooks and crannies of everyday life.

    If someone is a Christian and believes that it is a sin to abort an unwanted child, then they will not have the abortion. Simple. If not, who are you to say they cannot have control over their own actions?

  4. fenderpooh Says:

    Hi, Thom. I respectfully disagree with your respectful disagreement with me, though I respectfully thank you for being respectful with your disagreement.

    It seems that there are several arguments, here, all of which are problematic:

    (1) On the unethical nature of forcing a teenager who has been raped to carry the baby to term: This is a red herring. At least 98% of abortions do not take place for this reason. It is always a mistake to legislate by exceptions. I have said repeatedly that I would be thrilled with a measure that restricted abortions except in these exceptional circumstances. That does not mean that I agree that a woman has a right to abort a child that is the product of rape; it only means that, if this is the real heart of the issue, then people like yourself should be able to get on board with the idea of outlawing 98% of abortions and then making legal exceptions for these extreme circumstances. But the pro-choice movement has not, to this point, made any concessions like these, even though it continues to hold up the raped teenager as its primary poster child.

    But pressing beneath the surface of this question, let’s ask about another person whose rights have been overlooked: what about the baby? The baby that has been conceived as a result of rape is executed for ths sin of his or her father. What happens to the baby’s fundamental rights?

    Now, you may reply by saying that what is in the womb is not a human being with ethical standing, but that is the whole question we are debating, and it is inconceivable to me how that kind of a claim could ever be proven. What scientific or philosophical reasoning can you use to prove that an unborn child is not a human being? If there is no proof, then we are at least within reason to suppose that it might be a human being, and when in doubt, you cannot, you cannot, you cannot err on the side of killing it.

    (2) On abortions still happening even if they are outlawed, you wrote: “And the one thing that all these people have in common? Even if abortion is made illegal: they will still get it done. Whether it is in a back-alley abortion, throwing themselves down the stairs, or putting the career of a good doctor in jepordy who is doing what he believes to be the right thing to do.”

    First, I find that to be quite insulting to those women who have abortions, as though they will, without hesitation, break the law, so committed are they to having this done. You are basically saying that they are, universally, incapable or unwilling to abide by the law, that they are all deep-down the kinds of people who will defy authority whenever it interferes with their lives.

    Second, this claim simply isn’t true. The way to prove it would be to compare abortion rates in states with greater abortion restrictions to abortion rates with less abortion restrictions, including tallying the numbers of cases where some kind of illegal activity occurred in relation to abortion. I think you would find that laws restricting abortion have a sizeable impact on the practice itself.

    Third, why not make the same argument about any other crime? Why not go back to the 1850’s and say that, if the government outlaws slavery, that it will continue to go on anyway, so we might as well not outlaw it? Would you go back in time and tell President Lincoln that the Emancipation Proclamation is a worthless piece of paper that will not in any way affect behavior in our counry?

    (3) On the Soviet Union reducing the fatality rates of abortions from 4% to .28%: Okay, I’ll take your word for it, but the only way this number would have any meaning would be if you compare the overall number of abortions from one era to another. In other words, if there are (and I’m just pulling numbers out of the air here) 200,000 abortions per year happening when abortion is illegal, and 4% of those end in death for the woman, then you have a total of 8,000 women who have died from abortion. If, after abortion is legalized, the total number of abortions goes up to, say, 3,000,000 a year, and you have .28% of those that end in death for the woman, then you have 8,400 women who have died from abortion, an increase of 400 per year. I’m not saying these numbers are true; I am only throwing out some figures that would indicate how worthless this statistic is until you can get comparative figures for the total number of abortions, both before and after the practice was legalized.

    In addition, I would add that only counting the fatalities of the women involved is to leave out, once again, a significant group: the aborted children. We keep coming back to their moral standing, and the burden of proof continues to rest on the shoulders of the pro-choice proponents that these unborn children are, in fact, not full human beings. I have never seen a compelling case made for the inhumanity of the unborn, and I’m not even sure how one could go about doing that. Until that case can be made, the burden of proof asking us to allow the killing of the unborn goes unmet.

    It is, however, interesting that you bring up the Soviet Union. Russia is on the bring of economic and social collapse because its population is disappearing. The Russian government recently sponsored a contest of sorts to encourage its citizens to reproduce (apparently, it had little effect); that is how dire the situation is. There are a number of factors involved in this population decline, but one of the major factors is an extremely high abortion rate. Of all the countries that we might want to imitate in this regard, Russia is not one of them, because Russia is experiencing the consequences of allowing a culture of death to consume it. We may very well be next.

    (4) On Christianity as big government: I agree with you, except that I wouldn’t use that terminology. But you are right, that Christianity does “creep its way into all nooks and crannies of everyday life” because the fundamental confession of the Christian faith is, “Jesus is Lord.” And by that we mean the crucified and risen Christ is absolutely sovereign over all, and that all people owe absolute obedience to him. We look for his return and an end to history, when all wrongs will be made right, when all of those who have found refuge in Christ will be delivered, and when those who have opposed him will answer to him for their treason against the sovereign of the universe. Thom, one day you too will answer to him.

    I invite you to consider the claims of Jesus Christ about who he is. What do you think of him? Do you respect him as a religious leader and moral teacher? If so, what do you think about the incredibly ego-centric things he said and did (see, for example, John 14:6)? I have made the argument before that our response to Jesus must be either total allegiance or total rejection; there is no middle ground. The kind of person who made the claims that he made would not be merely a moral teacher worth respecting; if he was wrong about those claims, then he is a blasphemer or a complete lunatic. If he was right about those claims, then he is Lord and God. Very, very few people want to call him a blasphemer or a lunatic. That leaves only one rational alternative. Thom, I invite you to consider that alternative.

    In this present time before judgment comes, the King has proclaimed an offer of amnesty to his enemies. All who come to him in faith, trusting in his atoning death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins, will find him to be, not a condemning judge, but a merciful Savior. Consider what the New Testament teaches about Jesus Christ, and consider how you personally must evaluate and respond to that teaching.

    The reason I, as a Christian first and, somewhere down the list of importance, as a Republican, am suspicious of big government is because when government becomes too big it tries to compete with the one who is rightfully King. We see it in Marxist governments that have outlawed religion or have made it subservient to the state. I don’t oppose big government because I abhor authority. I oppose it because I am pledged to the highest of all authorities, and I see nothing but disaster when a lesser authority tries to usurp its role.

    I encourage you to read a previous post I wrote about Jesus Christ here:

    https://fenderpooh.wordpress.com/2008/07/22/why-i-am-a-christian-part-2-because-of-jesus/

  5. Thom Says:

    Firstly Ill address the latter-end of your post regarding Christ and Christianity. It seems to me that you are hinting that because I do not consider myself religious or a follower of Jesus ‘Lord’ Christ, somehow that my moral compass is pointing the wrong direction.

    I have had experiences that have solidified my belief in goodness, completely outside of an organised body of rules and regulations and doctrines. I am extremely spiritual, and my god is much different from your God, but it points me in the right direction regardless. I believe that everyone is judged by their actions, but that its not some unseen divinity that is doing the judging. I believe in much the same things that you do, I just believe them differently.

    And in regards to your suspicion of big government because it is somehow in competition with the rightful King, I find that scary. I have absolutely no problem with one being faithful first and foremost to their God, but to insinuate that your religion is in competition with a secular and seperate governing body that encompasses people of all religions and beliefs is profoundly inappropriate. I share your suspicion of large-government, but believe that your reasoning for it is misguided.

    Abortion (since that is the original topic, haha) is in my opinion a personal choice. The case I make for the abortion of a conceived ‘child’ is simple – it is not yet a living, breathing, heart-beating, neurologically feeling, seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, touching, rationally thinking being. It is merely a fertilised cell.

    In places like China and India, where population is at a rapid increasing rate, and where they must put caps on the amount of children one family can actually have, abortion is almost a nescessity. Not because of fear of their grossly-misguided fascist government, but ultimately because if there was NO population control there the economy would fall to pieces. The amount of children dictates the stress put onto the baby-formula industry, which just caused about a dozen deaths and 100s of illnesses all throughout China. I would love to blame greedy capitalism for that (and I partly do) but that was largely because they needed to distribute more milk than they can produce. Climate change is being affected by the population boom there because now there is a bigger need for meats, and livestock is a big contributer to CO2 emissions into our atmosphere. Air in China is toxic the way it is right now. Chinese pollution affects the intensity of storms on the westcoast of Canada where I am from. I havnt seen a white-Christmas in Vancouver since 1996. It is all interconnected, however far fetched this last paragraph may seem, haha.

    All in all, the religious view on this topic is the major proponent of the pro-life movement, which again, like it did with Prop A in California, is sticking its fingers into the secular world. Abortion trancends Christians and Jews and Muslims, and it includes people who dont ascribe to those schools of thought at all, even those who fight against them. If my girlfriend (who was raised French Canadian Catholic) was to get pregnant right now, with all the precautions that we take to avoid that occurance (which the Church also preaches against)… Well, I am recently unemployed, have very little savings, no investments, no college education – a child would ruin both our lives and probably put the child in jepordy. We would abort it. We would be extremely sad about that, but it would be the most appropriate course of action for everyone involved. The Church isnt involved in my life, or my girlfriends life. They wont give me money to take care of my child while I look for a job and get an education. They wont feed the child when we run out of money for groceries. They wont wash the cloth that we substitute for a disposable diaper because we have to choose between paying rent and getting diapers. Who are they to make these decisions for us?

    To insinuate that your God will condemn me for making a decision that I thought best for myself, my family, and the fertilised cell involved – is heinous. Who is this God that thinks he has authority over MY life? Can dictate MY actions that I judge best under the circumstances, when I dont consider him MY god or MY King?

    I can appreciate that you and many others disagree with the way I think, and I respect that. But then if you are in the same situation, dont do what I would do. I mean this with no trace of rudeness or contempt: but keep it to yourself! Thats what is so amazing about your book of Genesis, one of the first things that your God ‘gave’ to man was freedom of action. A basic human right.

    I mourn for all the children that could have been, but I mourn more for those could-be mothers and fathers who’s pain I can only imagine at having to abort something that they may very well have wanted to keep, but knew it was for the best to nip in the bud, for everyone.

  6. Thom Says:

    I guess wanted to quickly say that I hope that my comments are not being taken as confrontational. I enjoy a heated, respectful argument and like the back and forth dialogue that your threads bring haha.

    Just a quick footnote to put my posts in context.

  7. fenderpooh Says:

    Thom, I appreciate honesty and openness more than anything. I am glad for commenters to share their views honestly and seriously as you have done.

    This was the most telling comment of all:

    “Who is this God that thinks he has authority over MY life? Can dictate MY actions that I judge best under the circumstances, when I dont consider him MY god or MY King?”

    That really is the question, isn’t it? According to the Bible (don’t listen to the Catholic Church; go back to the authoritative source, Holy Scripture), this God is the Creator and rightful ruler of all things (Gen. 1:1; Rev. 4:11). He is the one upon whom you are dependent for all things, without whom you would have no being whatsoever. He is the one whose turf you are living on and whose gifts you are lavished with each day. He is the one to whom you owe all obedience. There is no power above him, and because he created all things for the glory of his name, he will not allow rebellion against him to go unchecked forever.

    You did not bring this up, but let me take this conversation through a little detour for a second. One of the most common objections to Christianity is that the existence of an all-good, all-powerful God does not sit well with the evil that we see all around us. Our hearts cry out for justice; we want to know that there is an ultimate distinction between right and wrong, and that in the end right will prevail. We want to believe that we are living in a morally significant universe, because the alternative seems completely unbearable (no ultimate distinction between good and evil).

    The Christian doctrine of the final judgment answers to this longing. The Scripture teaches that a day of reckoning is coming when all people will give an account to God. And so Scripture gives us hope that our deepest longings will be fulfilled: justice will come, and God’s character will be vindicated. But that resolution for the longing of our hearts raises another problem: if all people are going to give an account to God for their actions, and if all sin will be dealt with, that includes me and my sin as well. Sure, I may not be as bad as a Hitler or a Moussolini, but before the standard of absolute holiness, I am corrupt to the core. So the very day I long for to be the day when justice prevails also stands to be the day when I am swept away under the holy wrath of God with all the rest. This presents me with a dilemma.

    This dilemma can only be resolved by the good news of Jesus Christ. The Bible relates the story of the coming of Jesus Christ, the God-man, to this world. He shared in our humanity and lived in perfect righteousness before God. He did nothing deserving of death. But he willingly put himself under the penalty of death in the place of sinners. In Jesus Christ, the end has broken into time; the long-awaited final judgment has manifested itself proleptically in the cross, where God the Father revealed his wrath against sin in a full and definitive way. God’s character has been vindicated, and yet by means of a substitute, his people have been spared the judgment that they deserved. I know I am a guilty sinner before God, but because of the promise of the gospel, I have no fear of the final judgment. I know that instead of falling under his wrath, I will be raised to eternal life with Christ, who, having paid the penalty for my sins in full, is now free from the curse of death forever. His tomb is empty, and so will be mine.

    This is the offer of amnesty that I was telling you about. You and I are very different; we come from different places and have different views. But before God we are both sinners in need of grace. And Christ is the only hope for either of us. Scripture tells us that we become participants in Jesus Christ and in the grace that he offers through faith (Romans 10:9-10). I sincerely hope you will at least consider the claims of Christ. Open up a New Testament and read and ask yourself how you evaluate this man who demands a hearing from us all.

    It is out of my faith commitment that I derive my views on abortion. I believe the Christian faith demands that we stand up for the oppressed. The unborn have no voice of their own; I am trying, in my own small way, to be a voice for them. You say they are not human; you wrote:

    “The case I make for the abortion of a conceived ‘child’ is simple – it is not yet a living, breathing, heart-beating, neurologically feeling, seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, touching, rationally thinking being. It is merely a fertilised cell.”

    Let’s take each word in turn: Is an unborn child “living”? Yes. Even if it is only tissue we are talking about, it is still living tissue that grows and develops and takes in nourishment and metabolizes. Whether or not it is “living” is not the issue.

    Is it “breathing”? Not conventionally, but it is breathing vicariously. An unborn child receives oxygen from its mother that performs the same function in its body that oxygen does in my body. If the ability to breathe on one’s own defines personhood, then people who have any kind of breathing assistance (oxygen tanks, ventilators) are not fully human. Are they fair game for execution?

    Does an unborn child have a beating heart? Absolutely. The heartbeat shows up on an ultrasound only a few weeks into pregnancy. My wife and I are in our second pregnancy now, and the heartbeat is always the first thing we see at the first doctor visit.

    Then you say that it is not “neurologically feeling, seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, touching,” but again, I beg to differ. It has been well-documented that unborn babies have sensations of pain. Some tragic videos of abortion procedures show a child recoiling from the instruments that have come to take his life. Especially in the second and third trimesters, unborn children respond to sounds, they explore their environment with their hands and feet, and they even respond to light.

    And then finally, you say an unborn child is not a “rationally thinking being.” This is the most dangerous claim of all, because if we are going to make rational thought a sine qua non of personhood, then we will have to sweep away from personhood whole categories of people: newborn infants, Alzheimer’s patients, the mentally handicapped, and many others. Do you believe we have a legal right to kill people in all of these categories because they lack the ability for rational thought? I doubt that you do (although, it is frightening to know that some ethicists like Peter Singer are saying we do have that right). I don’t want to live in a society that considers newborn infants to be less than human and allows them to die. But that is just one small step away from the abortion logic, and if you make these kinds of arguments about what constitutes personhood, there really is no logical barrier to stop you from reaching that conclusion. By God’s grace, you may stop short simply because you are a human being with a conscience, but your conscience is not enough to stop the inevitable progress of a misguided idea when others who are not so conscientious get a hold of it. I believe this is exactly what happened when Adolf Hitler got a hold of Darwin’s ideas; he took them farther than Darwin was willing to go, but Darwin kicked open the door for him.

  8. Thom Says:

    ‘That really is the question, isn’t it? According to the Bible (don’t listen to the Catholic Church; go back to the authoritative source, Holy Scripture), this God is the Creator and rightful ruler of all things (Gen. 1:1; Rev. 4:11). He is the one upon whom you are dependent for all things, without whom you would have no being whatsoever. He is the one whose turf you are living on and whose gifts you are lavished with each day. He is the one to whom you owe all obedience. There is no power above him, and because he created all things for the glory of his name, he will not allow rebellion against him to go unchecked forever.’

    That is according to YOUR Bible, to the words from YOUR God – not mine. I am a student of philosophy and I have gone through many different religious phases in my short but full life, including a devout belief in Christianity and a firm belief in the End Days. I have been visited by Angels and by some Demons also, in both the figurative and the literal sense. I have several Bibles in my bookcase, both english and french language, and they sit right beside my Qu’ran and my Spiritual Literature.

    I have a book, an inspirational true story, that I was given to me by my mother when I was in a bad spot in my life, and after reading it I changed my life 180′ degrees. I consider THAT my Bible. I have been told many a time, ‘Hey look, this is the word of God. This book is tells the future about how God and his son the Christ are going to judge all the people who are sinners and save those who are pure and believe in Them,’ and everytime that I am I think, Why does God was us to fear Him? What purpose does this serve?

    I have gone through all of this myself. I used to fear God because of all the horror stories that you hear about a ‘jelous God, and vengeful God’ – but then I realised that these are all petty human emotions, and if we are created in God’s image, why would he transfer these petty emotions to us? Why put us here to test us and then throw the book (no pun intended) at us when we fail?

    My God is not an entity, it is not seperate from us in anyway and there is no divine intelligence that created the universe. My God is everything that your God is and represents; Purity, Goodness, Positivity – but without putting all of that into a casing or a shell that you call God. My God just exists, and will exist until the end of existence, but there is no singular, divine intelligence behind it. WE are the intelligent being of God. We exist to live and we have the ability to inflict pain and damage on everything we encounter. We can also inflict positivity and good will.

    Ultimately though, we live in a very realistic world. We interact with people on a daily basis, whether for good or worse. We live in something that can be viewed as un-natural to the ‘animalistic’ human nature – and that is civilisation. We must be civil when interacting with people, in our own actions, in our thought processes. But lets venture back into pre-industrial, pre-metropolitan times. You live on a farm with a wife and are having children. You are totally self-sustaining; growing crop and raising livestock, digging wells and logging for wood to build your home. Now once your wife gives birth, its a girl. This happens 4 times. Now you are nearing the age where you need a helping hand on your land, you have no able bodied boys to help you, and you are singlehandedly suporting 5 women and yourself.

    Obviously, I just pulled an extreme scenario, but what is really important is the situation that this family is in. I am not insinuating either that the females are incapable. But if you are in dire straights and having another child that you cant support is going to strain the entire family, putting them at a risk, what is the appropriate course of action? I 100% whole heartedly agree that human life is precious and should be protected at all costs, but the life of this unborn, could-be child, is offset by the lives of the rest of the family, which out number it 5:1.

    It is very unfortunate when an abortion is nescessery, and trust me I would never encourage an abortion to take place. People who are pro-choice are not sinners and they are not evil and disgusting people. They are still people, still have emotions and have regrets about their actions: just like pro-lifers and religious people. We are not godless heathens who go around and get joy out of death and pain. For the most part, we are realists who realize that hard choices need to be made in a real world, not a world where we are waiting for our bad actions to be judged.

  9. fenderpooh Says:

    It sounds like you are some sort of pantheist. Do you deny that God is a personal being? If so, then where did personhood come from? Does not personality represent an advancement beyond the impersonal? How, if God is not personal, have we received personhood? And what is our ultimate destiny? Is it to have personal existence in an afterlife, or is it to be absorbed back into the impersonal? If God is, in some sense, to be identified with all things, then how can we even distinguish between good and evil at all?

    These are just some of the questions that pantheism cannot answer.

    On the Bible, I would ask you to read the following post:

    https://fenderpooh.wordpress.com/2008/11/10/why-i-am-a-christian-part-4a-because-of-the-bible/

    I also have another post on that subject coming soon.

  10. Thom Says:

    I dont believe in a God that is seperate from ourselves. The way to best sum up my beliefs would be to think of one of those toy squeeze toy balls with little hairs protruding out all over it. My God is the ball, the connection between all things, but it is not an intelligent being – the intelligence comes from the individuals attached to it (God).

    I believe in… I guess it would be more correctly termed as an alternative-life rather than an afterlife. I believe that we exist on several different planes of existence. We have a physical form and a physical entity, this consists of our bodies, our brains, our human minds. We also have a non-physical form that you could classify as our soul, our individuality, and our spiritual being. Both of these are apendages of the collective ‘soul’ or the collective ‘God’.

    In the end, everything that exists, in whatever realm in question, is connected by energies. Einstein created the string theory, which states that the entire universe is made up of invisible rings of energy, smaller than anything we can imagine. If you were to pick apart your body, molecule by molecule, you would wind up with a pile of unliving space dust.

    So basically my belief is that everything in our mysterious universe is connected, in some way, and what I call ‘God’ would really be the magic and the connection that can be found between the molecules of the universe.

    And to answer the question about distinguishing between good and evil, good and evil cannot and will not ever be seperate. Everything in the universe has an equalibrium, you cant have one thing without the other. Evil is an unfortunate result of the laws of the universe at work. Evil is a part of the universe, and therefore, a part of my god-belief. Besides, pure evil manifests itself in a rare manour. We all do evil things, and we all do good things. I have done my fair share of hateful, negative things – but the way that I live my life at this point is in a positive way. Atleast I like to think so, haha.

  11. fenderpooh Says:

    “Evil is an unfortunate result of the laws of the universe at work.”

    But how can it be unfortunate if it is a metaphysical necessity in your worldview? How can you condemn evil when you cannot ultimately distinguish it from good?

    You seem like a person who is concerned about ethics and morality and one who tries to live an ethical life. I commend you for that. But I invite you to probe beneath the surface of your worldview and realize that there is no foundation for ethics in it. You are borrowing capital from my worldview in order to make your life make sense. The Bible actually explains this phenomenon as the work of God’s law written on your heart (Romans 2:15). A non-intelligent, non-personal “it” that contains both good and evil cannot be the foundation of ethics, for there would be no way to differentiate between good and evil in it. The only kind of universe where there can be a supreme law that defines good over against evil is a universe created by a supreme, personal law-giver. Only a personal, holy, just God can provide a foundation for ethics. He has left his marks all over you; I see them right now in this conversation. I only wish you would have the clarity of mind to see them as well.

    What do you anticipate will happen to you after death? Will you continue to exist as a personal center of consciousness, or will your personality be swallowed up into “the Force”? (Might as well call it that; it seems like you would be very comfortable in a Star Wars world. 😉

  12. Thom Says:

    You know, I had trouble answering that question because I was trying to find a way to say that the world is not Christ-centric in a way that didnt sound condecending to you, haha. But the problem with your reasoning is that it leaves no room for anything except that your God rules over everything, his laws are final and that the reason for my morals and ethics come from YOUR God, the source that you derive yours from, and not mine.

    I guess that what it all really boils down to is that I give myself and other individuals more credit for their own actions and their own thought processes than a creative and all powerful entity. I know, very conservative of me in some strangely ironic way, haha. I believe that when the day comes that I pass on, I would hope that I could return to the body of conciousness that we all orginate from. Who really knows for sure? We have hunches and we can believe strongly in something, but no one really knows.

    Ive always said that when that day comes, I will either find out or not care because everything would go dark as they lower my body into the earth, haha. I would hope for the former, of course.

    But you know, no matter what road you and I take before that day comes, we end up in the same place in the end. Many different paths along the same road.

  13. fenderpooh Says:

    You are right that I leave no room for another explanation besides God, and that is because no other explanation can make sense of the world. I have pressed you on the point of the distinction between good and evil. I have challenged you to explain the foundation for ethics from the standpoint of your own worldview. I don’t think it can be done because there simply is no way to explain ethics adequately apart from belief in God.

    “Many different paths along the same road.” This is precisely the kind of totalizing explanation that I, as a Christian, cannot accept. For me to say that there are many different roads to the same place (wherever that may be) would be to deny what Jesus himself said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). The way I see it, pluralistic relativism and Christianity are at an impasse; there is no joining the two without seriously compromising the nature of Christianity itself and denying the claims that Jesus Christ made for himself.

    I cannot hold to the Christian faith with any integrity if I blunt its sharp edges and say that it is only one option out of many. To say that is to change the very nature of the confession, “Jesus is Lord.” Jesus himself said, “All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:19). As I said, he was a very ego-centric person, which would normally be a good reason to write a person off, but in his case I see his ego-centrism to be justified by the fact that he really IS utterly unique, and for him NOT to say so would have been to hide the truth from us.

    Honestly, Thom, if I had your level of uncertainty about what happens after death, I don’t think I would be able to sleep at night. This is where, again, I find the Christian worldview to make better sense of things. Instead of holding out a vague optimism (where continuity of personal existence is not even known), the Scripture teaches that we continue to exist as personal beings and that there will be a final separation between those who are redeemed and those who are forever lost. The simple fact that there is a threat of being lost for eternity, away from the presence of God, should drive you to pursue a firmer sense of certainty on this question.

  14. Thom Says:

    I guess that we will agree to disagree, haha.

    My god is much different from your God. My god is not absolute, it is not in itself a being that is superior to me, or to you, or to anyone. I reject the heirarchy that all religions, not just Christianity bring about. I have no quams with Jesus himself, I believe in his goodness and his message, but I reject that he was any different then your or I. He was no more or less the son of god than anyone else. I know that may seem blasphemous to you, but thats my belief. I understand you are not a Catholic, but I lived in a small town in Italy for one year and saw the destitution of that country. I saw gypsies and homeless people with next to nothing – and I also saw lavish Cathedrals and churches, and I saw these people giving THEIR money to the church with nothing in return.

    Tell me, would it seem ridiculous to you if I was to say that I believe that the earth is really flat and not round? That we are the centre of the universe and everything revolves around us? How about if I said that the sun is really being pulled around in the sky by a man on a flying chariot?

    I reject the notion that every action I make must be tied back to a man and a book that was written more than two thousand years ago. Times have changed since these books were written, and we have come to see a world where there are vast numbers of difference people and different cultures and religions. It is not an out-there thoght that there are more than just one ‘correct’ way to live ones life. Natives were living on a totally seperate continent than early Christians, had no idea about this obscure man named Jesus for thousands of years before Europeans came here. Are they all damned for not accepting Christ as Saviour? How about the Australian Aboriginals? African tribes? The Chinese? Are Buddhists really going to be ‘forever lost’ because they live their lives according to Goodness and not to God/Jesus’ Laws?

    If one was to talk so adamantly about something that they had no proof of, except their own hunches, on any other subject in a discussion or debate – you would call them ignornant. I am not calling you ignornant in any way, shape, or form by the way – but to insinuate that the only way to live your life is to follow ONE path IS rather ignorant.

    As for the unknown about what happens after physical death, I find it rather interesting because truthfully, neither of us know what will happen, but there is no difference in our thoughts. Mine simply acknowledge that I dont know, but I hope for the best. Yours says that you know for certain, which is impossible seeing as you have no yet passed away. Do you believe in ghosts or spirits of people who have died but have not crossed over? I would be willing to bet no, but could be wrong, because the only way to know for certain would to have been visited by someone who HAS passed away. It is not important to me what happens to me after death, because I have no control over it. What does matter is leaving a mark on the planet while I am alive, live my life in a respectable manour where people respect me, I have shown respect, and I made a positive difference in the lives of those I came in contact with. Why would I concern myself so much with what happens after death? Why does it matter if I live my life in a positive way? Is it THAT important to your God that I acknowledge him as the ONLY path to eternal happiness – on top of living my life in a positive way? Would I really be rejected for living my life in a positive way, but without calling your God my Lord? All the Good that I would have done in life would have been offset by my PERSONAL beliefs, and therefore I am barred from eternal happiness?

  15. fenderpooh Says:

    Well, Thom, there is a whole lot there to think through. I can only address the most important points:

    (1) You have obviously missed my point about Jesus all along, namely, that it makes no sense to say he was a good man and nothing more. He himself did not give us that option. Those who are merely good men don’t say the kinds of things he said about himself. Read the Gospel of John and ask yourself if you could tolerate these words coming from any other person who was just like us. You would call such a person an utter fool. So, why not go all out and say the same about Jesus?

    (2) The fact that some Christian institutions (the Roman Catholic Church in some locations at some times, for example) do not live up to the ethical teachings of Christianity does not disprove the Christian faith. The Bible itself tells us that there will be hypocrites in the church. The only way this would serve as an argument against my faith would be if my faith made the claim that it could never be perverted by anybody. But that would be an utterly foolish claim to make, because clearly any religion can be perverted, and most any religion that has existed for any length of time has been perverted by somebody.

    (3) I found this particularly interesting:

    “Tell me, would it seem ridiculous to you if I was to say that I believe that the earth is really flat and not round? That we are the centre of the universe and everything revolves around us? How about if I said that the sun is really being pulled around in the sky by a man on a flying chariot?”

    I assume that this is meant to say that my claims are on par with this kind of stuff. And this is coming from the guy who believes in a nebulous, pantheistic, non-intelligent, non-personal “it” that is the ground of all being and is really no different from the Force of the Star Wars trilogy! On what rational basis do you make the claim about your idea of god? It seems to me that it all reduces to this: you like this idea of god better than the others. You have no authority upon which to base your understanding of the transcendent (or, rather, your denial of the transcendent; pantheism leaves no place for transcendence).

    The irony here is that my claim is just the opposite of this kind of fanciful nonsense: I appeal to an authoritative, verbal revelation that makes certain claims about itself and gives evidences of its divine origin (I have recently written two posts about this; again, I encourage you to read them).

    To insinuate that I have no proof for my claims other than my own hunch is simply false. There are a number of proofs for the Christian faith based on history, philosophy, theology, and experience. I want to know what proof you can offer for your religious beliefs outside of George Lucas’s imagination. 😉

    (4) It is not ignorant to say that mutually contradictory truth claims are, by their very nature, mutually exclusive. This is a corollary of the law of non-contradiction, a law that we adhere to in every facet of life and without which all rational thought and communication would be impossible.

    I hope you realize what you are actually doing here. When you accuse me of being ignorant by supposing that my way is true to the exclusion of views that contradict it, you are actually doing the exact same thing. You are saying that your way is true to the exclusion of views that contradict it. That is why, for you, historic Christianity has to go: it contradicts your pluralistic, pantheistic viewpoint. The only kind of Christianity you want to let in the door is the kind that will assimilate itself to your overarching view. Your own religious view is on a mission to subsume all other views under itself and assimilate them into its own presuppositions, all the while proclaiming itself the bastion of tolerance. You are placing Christianity on a Procrustean bed and then are complaining at me for chopping your legs off.

    (5) On life, death, and related matters: There are a number of faulty presuppositions in what you have argued. Take this, for example:

    “Is it THAT important to your God that I acknowledge him as the ONLY path to eternal happiness – on top of living my life in a positive way? Would I really be rejected for living my life in a positive way, but without calling your God my Lord? All the Good that I would have done in life would have been offset by my PERSONAL beliefs, and therefore I am barred from eternal happiness?”

    The faulty presupposition is that it is possible to live life in a “positive way” without acknowledging the lordship of God. God is the central reference point of all things. He is the very standard of goodness. All goodness ultimately relates to him. Therefore, one who ignores him or defies him cannot, by definition, live a good life, no matter how many externally good actions they may perform. God looks at the heart, not just the actions.

    The Bible teaches that we are all corrupted by sin and that nothing we do measures up to the standard of God’s holiness. It’s not a matter of us trying to do certain things but of us trusting in what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. You say you don’t have any control over what happens after death. In a very real sense, that is not true. Your eternal destiny depends on your response to Jesus Christ. And so the conversation comes full circle: put aside this nonsense about Jesus being merely a good man and actually consider the things he said about himself.

  16. Thom Says:

    I have never said that I wish to snub out Christianity if it doesnt jive with the way I view God, quite the contrary, I have said that Christianity is one of the many ways one can live a good and positive life – you are the one who is denying that by claiming the only way to live a good life and have a good heart is to believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. What I deny and speak out against is exclusive theology like the one that you are claiming to be the ‘correct’ and only path.

    As for point 3, my comment wasnt meant to call your beliefs fiction, it was meant to show that the religion we are speaking about is over 2000 years old and teaches a life and a view point that had a much smaller world view when written than what we have now. It was formulated in a time where Christians and Jews and Pagans were all holding swords at each others throats, and when your relgion determined everything about you. We no longer hold religious values as the be-all and end-all of ourselves, and wherever we do we have massive amounts of conflict and hatred (Palestine, for example). The world has opened up and yet Christianity has not. You still oppose same-sex marriage, the Church opposes the use of condoms even in a world filling with STIs, its like a cartoon.

    When you live in a place like Canada or the United States, you are living in some of the most culturally diverse places on the planet. You live side by side with people from all over the world, all sorts of religions. In order to be a healthy human being you need to interact with these people, and if you claim that your life-view is the ONLY way to view life, the only way that one can live a good life, and anyone who doesnt believe that Jesus was son of God our Lord CANNOT have goodness in their heart, as you claimed, how can you really function? How can you have friendships with these people of differing faith and culture? How can you travel and learn and take lessons from different people if you reject them as wrong and doomed ?

    I have no problem with any religion as long as it doesnt preach exclusion, and unfortunately almost all of them preach their way as THE way, and the ONLY way. And we see, historically and presently, how when you let an organised religion and dogma and doctrine control you and the way you behave, you clash with those who think differently, as we have done on this blog haha. But fortunately it hasnt come to violence… just yet 😉

    Just jokes!

  17. fenderpooh Says:

    “What I deny and speak out against is exclusive theology like the one that you are claiming to be the ‘correct’ and only path.”

    My point exactly. That, precisely, is historic Christianity that you are denying and speaking out against. There isn’t room for it in your totalitarian system.

    Now, to be sure, my totalitarian system has no room for your view either, but I never claim to be tolerant in that sense of the term. Let’s just be honest about this and say that we are both making exclusivist claims about our own views. Discussion would be so much easier if we did that.

    As to your question about how I can be friends with those who don’t share my worldview, I think my track record proves that I can. My worldview, again, makes room for that, even demands it. As a Christian, I must view other people as those made in the image of God and worthy of respect. As one who acknowledges the supreme authority of Christ to bear wrath against unbelievers, I do not in any way try to usurp that prerogative to myself. Rather, I do what Christ commands me: love other people.

    Christianity is not Islam. Yes, there have been wars over religion in the past among Christians, but that was in a day when church and state were united throughout Europe. My faith’s ancestors (I am a Baptist) pioneered a new and biblical way of practicing one’s faith separate from the civil powers. Baptists have never been on the killing side in these kinds of disputes.

    But if you want to see true inhumane behavior, go to India where pantheism reigns supreme and see how the caste system denigrates people. There really is no place for human dignity if there is no sovereign, personal God.

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