Monday, April 30, 2012

Righteousness

Someone once told me (he later changed his mind) that although Christians have a legal or judicial (“imputed”) righteousness through the work of Christ, it is false that Christ gives believers any practical, actual, ontological righteousness until we have our new bodies.

Logically, these two concepts need not be mutually exclusive. But let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that my friend was right and that there is no practical, actual and ontological righteousness that we receive from Christ until we have our new bodies.

Notice what immediately follows. If 100% of our righteousness is a judicial transfer to our account from the righteousness of Christ, then logically how can that righteousness grow over time through sanctification? That answer is that it can’t since a righteousness that is purely judicial is already a fixed amount credited to our account. Yet the Bible does seem to talk about righteousness as something we can grow in.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Too Feminine?

In his parenting manual, Emile, the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued that men and women are made differently and therefore require different types of upbringing. He espoused what today many people call a ‘complimentarian’ view of gender, which refers to the idea that the differences between men and women compliment and enhance each other.

Rousseau’s representation of gender falls along the typical polarities, with man being active and woman being passive; man being strong, woman being weak; man being bold, woman being bashful and reserved, etc. While some of Rousseau’s distinctions are exaggerated and stereotypical, we must give him credit for understanding an important point: men and women are different. As he put it, “where sex is concerned man and woman are unlike; each is the complement of the other…”

Many female thinkers in the 18th and 19th century accepted this complimentarian framework, even while offering appropriate challenges to our picture of what constituted ‘feminine’ attributes. Female writers see themselves defending their sex precisely through maintaining gender distinctions. For example, the Victorian writer Elizabeth Wordsworth once noted that “In an ideal state of society we never lose sight of the womanliness of women…why should it be considered a compliment to any woman to be told she writes, paints, sings, talks, or even thinks, like a man?”

Enter 20th century feminism. Now feminist writers see themselves as defending women through attempting to do away with the gender divide. The womanliness of women is no longer a fit object for praise; but neither is it uplifting to explicitly praise women for being like men. Rather, under the feminist androgyny and egalitarianism of the 20th century, the greatest gift we can give to women is by questioning the very category of masculine and feminine.

Zooey Deschanel. Too Feminine?
Under the canopy of the new stereotype of gender neutrality, the greatest censure comes against women who are too womanly. Just look at all the nasty things that Third Wave feminists have said against actress and musician Zooey Deschanel for being too feminine.

Zooey is a bad example for young women, feminists argue, because she is too “girly”, thus solidifying the impression that women are more attractive to men when they embody girly characteristics. The icing on the cake was when Zooey announced in Twitter that she enjoys baking and board games. Ugg - how feminine!

One of the reasons Zooey is criticized so heavily is because she allegedly conforms to gender stereotypes. But the real problem is that she is unusual among contemporary actresses in that she does not conform to the new stereotype of gender neutrality.

This increasingly pervasive stereotype of gender neutrality often hinges on bogus science combined with fanciful anthropology, both of which asserts that there is not a necessary relation between our gender identity (i.e., being feminine or masculine, and everything that this might entail within a given cultural context) and the fixities of our biological sex. This idea is enshrined in countless sociology and women’s studies courses at colleges, in which students are taught that there is no necessary relation between one’s biological sex and one’s gender. Gender is simply a social construction. Given this, the argument goes that we can and should be de-gendered, as we break free from society’s mold. The problem is the new mold of gender neutrality is every bit as stifling, oppressive and stereotypical.

Further Reading

"voluntary elimination of gender in the human species"

This post at the Salvo blog gives a brief introduction to ‘Postgenderism’, a radical social theory affirming that the elimination of gender from the human race is not only possible, but desirable.
 


This article from Salvo Magazine humorously explores the absurdities in the theory that gender is not fixed but fluid and potentially changing. 

In this video, talk show host Michael Coren discusses the dangers involved in parents attempting to raise children in a gender neutral environment.


Schools Encourage Cross-dressing and Gender Confusion

This article at the Salvo blog shows that the experiment of gender neutrality in the classroom is not limited to Sweden, but has infected even the schools of Great Britain.
 

This article at the Salvo blog explores the way pregnancy is the final frontier to conquer before the gender-free utopia can be ushered in.


This is another article from the Salvo blog about schools that are attempting to eradicate gender from the classroom.


How Gay 'Marriage' Became Plausible


In this article I argued that the homogenization of the gender polarity created plausibility structures in which the notion of gay ‘marriage’ began to make sense.

·         Gender, Morality and Modesty

In this six-part series, I argue that the reductionism of gender and sexuality wrought by the materialistic worldview has resulted in the neutralization of gender and, consequentially, a new network of sexual taboos and repressions.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Greater Hoax


"Can You Save the Earth?"
by Terrell Clemmons, guest blogger

Are you enjoying Creation this Earth Week?

The first nationwide Earth Day was held on April 22nd, 1970, on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Lenin, the founding father of the Soviet Union. Some say the date is only coincidental. Some say it’s isn’t.

I don’t know. But I do know this: Behind the 'Save the Earth' movement runs a forceful undercurrent of hostility to God that is consistent with his state atheism. Take a look at these snippets of media coverage on James Inhofe’s new book, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future:

That last one, from Rachel Maddow’s personal blog on the MSNBC website, is especially telling, considering Maddow interviewed Inhofe and said she read the whole book. Presumably she invited him onto her show to discuss it, but she appeared wholly uninterested in the substance of it or the science supporting it. In fact she looked rather peeved when he went into it, but that could be because he blew her out of the water when it came to discussing the science. Click here to see the interview.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Resurrection and the Gospel of Thomas

Earlier in the year I wrote an article for the Colson Center titled 'Salvation as Escape from the Body', introducing the subject of Gnosticism and pointing to some ways that the Gnostic tincture has influenced evangelicalism.

I have now written a squeal to that, which focuses on the Gnostic book The Gospel of Thomas and explores the differences between this text and the canonical gospels on the subject of resurrection. To read my article, click on the link below:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

From Tolerance to Intolerance

In a blog post I wrote for Salvo last month, I discussed the evolution of the notion of tolerance. I briefly charted the twisted course whereby tolerance has morphed to something that at one time would have been called intolerance. To read my article, click on the following link:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Jonathan Edwards on Resurrection

“Redemption is not complete till the resurrection, not only with respect to the positive good and happiness that is obtained, but also with respect to what they are redeemed and delivered from. So long as the separation between soul and body remains, one of those evils remains that is part of the penalty of the law; one of our enemies remains. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. Death and hades, or a state of separation, are two evils that shall be at the last day cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14). To be without the body is in itself an evil, because 'tis a want of that which the soul of man naturally inclines to and desires. And though it causes no uneasiness in the departed spirits of the saints, it is not because they don't want it, but because their certain hope and clear prospect of it, and apprehension how much it will be best for them, and most for their happiness to receive it in the time that God's wisdom determines, satisfies them till that time and is a full remedy against all uneasiness; and they perfectly rest in the hope and prospect and trust in God that they have. There is something that they still want, and their rest and satisfaction is not a rest of enjoyment, but a rest of perfect and glorious trust and hope.”

Thus wrote Jonathan Edwards, when reflecting on the wonderful Christian hope. He suggests that because being without a body is in itself an evil, our salvation will only be complete when the Lord gives us a new body. Contemporary Christians sometimes overlook this important aspect, focusing exclusively on the salvation of the soul. Some Christian writers have even gone so far as to suggest that our spirits will never be reunited with our body, but that we will be non-corporeal throughout all of eternity.

Keep reading...

Obama Takes on the Supreme Court

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of President Obama’s administration has been his plans to nationalize healthcare. At the heart of the controversy over ‘Obamacare’ has been the “individual mandate” which requires all Americans to buy insurance, and threatens to fine those who don’t.

The reason this has been controversial is because the 10th Amendment of the American constitution specifies that the federal government can only act in areas where the Constitution has granted it authority to do so. Because the enumerated powers given to the national government by the constitution do not include the authority to fine people for not purchasing healthcare, many constitutional scholars have argued that the individual mandate in Obama’s healthcare plans is unconstitutional.


Keep reading...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Gay Marriage: A Civil Right?

When New Jersey lawmakers passed legislation to recognize gay ‘marriage’, homosexual advocates around America rejoiced at what they claimed was an incredible civil rights victory.
 
“This bill today is not a religious issue. It’s a civil rights issue,” one supporter of the move was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying.
 
There is a clever sophistry at work here. By presenting gay marriage as a civil rights issue, it immediately comes to be seen within a long pedigree that has also included women suffrage and the black vote. This, in turn, orients us to view the homosexual community as a victimized minority deserving special legal protection.
 
In reality, however, the shoe is on the other foot: the majority of Americans need to be protected against a creeping legal infrastructure that, in the name of gay equality, threatens to undermine the freedoms of the majority.

Keep reading...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Taking Deconstructionism to the Next Level

Since I've recently written about Postmodernism and the deconstruction of texts, I was amused to come across a video of someone taking deconstructionism to the next level and actually destroying books in the name of Postmodernism. Check out my post about it at the Salvo blog by clicking on the following link:

Friday, April 20, 2012

What if the Universe Never Had a Beginning?

I have heard some non-theists claim that the universe never had a beginning - it's just always been (though obviously not in its present form) However, in my article at the Alfred Society in response to Hume's Dialogue Concerning Natural Religion, I point out that such a position is deeply problematic. Just consider for a moment: the conditioned can never arrive until the conditions are complete; but if those conditions are infinite then they can never be complete (one could never reach the top of an infinite set of stairs no matter how long one climbed.) Now the conditions on which present cause and effects exist is that all the past causes and effects have been completed. It follows that if those conditions are infinite (that is, if the past series of cause and effect recedes infinitely into the past), then they can never be complete and we could never have reached the present moment. 

Or consider again. An actual infinite, by definition, cannot be added to. However, if the past series of events forms an actually infinite then each new moment in time is adding to that infinite, which is impossible. Since, by definition, one cannot traverse an actual infinite, the past series of events cannot stretch backward to infinity otherwise we would never have reached the present moment. 

(Such an argument only applies to properties within a time sequence. Thus, it does not bare relation on the infinity of God unless it were first assumed that God’s existence also flows in the time stream of past, present and future. But such an assumption is questionable.)

Sex and the Kiddies (now online!)

In addition to being hired to write daily posts for the Salvo's 'Signs of the Times' blog, I also write articles for their magazine. Although these articles are only accessible to those who subscribe to Salvo, we realize that not everyone will be able to afford to buy the magazine, and since we are nice we occasionally put some of the articles online so people can read them for free.

This morning we put online an article I wrote for Salvo 19 titled, 'Sex and the Kiddies: The Sexualization of Children and How Advertisingand Entertainment Change Their Brains.' The article uses a framework of neuroscience to explore how the brains of our children are being altered by the modern environment. To read my article, click on the link below:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Should Robots Have Rights?

By 2056, robots may be given the same rights as humans, a government-funded report claimed in 2006.
 
The report was conducted by the British Government’s chief scientist, Sir David King, and was written in conjunction with Outsights, a management consultancy group, and Ipos Mori, an opinion research organization.

If the report is correct, then in less than half a century from now, robots may even be able to vote, pay taxes and be called upon for compulsory military service.

Day of Dialogue

by Terrell Clemmons, guest blogger

This Friday, April 20th, marks the annual Day of Silence, an LGBT-espousing observance in America’s public schools and now on college campuses. Day of Silence was inaugurated twelve years ago by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GSLEN). On this day, GLSEN encourages students to “take a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in their schools.” The idea, as Michael Brown puts it, is “standing in solidarity with LGBT youth who are silenced through bullying and harassment.” Day of Silence activities are generally coordinated through GLSEN-organized student clubs called Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs).

But are LGBTs really forced into silence? Consider this incident that played out over recent years. Scott Savage was a librarian on Ohio State University’s Mansfield campus. As a member of the university’s First Year Reading Experience Committee in 2006, he suggested four books for consideration as freshman reading. One of them was The Marketing of Evil, by David Kupelian, which contains one chapter on homosexuality. Three professors objected to the selection, but they didn’t stop at blackballing the book. They took great umbrage with Savage himself, as their subsequent actions revealed.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Family Pictures from Christmas 2011

Here are some pictures of the children from last Christmas that I never got round to posting. To see other pictures of the family, click here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Gay 'Marriage' and the Revenge of the Gnostics

Following the 2003 publication of Dan Brown’s publishing phenomenon, The Da Vinci Code, there has been a renaissance of interest in the ancient heresy of Gnosticism. This ancient heresy has exerted its tentacles deep into the fabric of contemporary life, even influencing the church in many unhelpful ways. (To read about some of the ways that Gnostic ideas have infiltrated the church, see my article, ‘Eight Gnostic Myths You May Have Imbibed’.)
 
At the heart of the Gnostic heresy was the notion that the material world is bad. If the fundamental antithesis for Christianity was between good and evil, for the Gnostics the fundamental antithesis was between the physical and the spiritual. The material world is bad, they argued, precisely because it is physical. True spirituality involves escape from this world. Whereas the Christian tradition taught that redemption history culminates in the resurrection of the body, Gnostics believed that the goal of salvation was eternal disembodiment.

The Shadow of Marcuse: from Phallogocentrism to Feminine Endings

Derrida
In my feature for Salvo 20 about Herbert Marcuse, I pointed out that the discipline of “Critical Theory,” ended up deconstructing all of Western civilization. Intellectuals like Marcuse diagnosed Western culture and values as being inherently logo-centric, patriarchal, institutional, patriotic, and capitalist.
 
Marcuse is dead, but the shadow of Critical Theory and deconstructionism are alive and kicking.
Following in Marcuse’s wake, Jacques Derrida (pictured left) would add “Phallogocentrism” to the crimes of Western civilization, reducing the entire tradition of Western metaphysics to a byproduct of the male impulse for sexual dominance. A person just can’t be too careful, you see: to show an interest in the thought of Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, or Jonathan Edwards, doesn’t just make you a nerd, but a sex maniac, according to Phallogocentric theorists.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The March of Secularism: my response to David Pollock

David Pollock is President of the
European Humanist Federation
In a speech praising the march of the secular state, David Pollock pointed to the French Revolution as an example of the type of secularism he would like to see spread over all of Europe. Pollock is head of the European Humanist Federation and believes that the influence of religion in government is antithetical to individual liberty and human rights.

I have written a systematic rebuttal to Pollock's comments for the Christian Voice website, which can be read here. In my rebuttal I point out that

  • the concept of secularism as 'neutrality towards religion and non-religion' is inherently incoherent
  • the concept that religion has been a chief cause of violence is an anachronistic and conceptual flawed notion
  • individual liberties and human rights flourish best in nations that vigorously embrace their Christian roots
  • the march of secularism is not causing more liberty for Europeans but less

I could have profitably developed this last point by referring to some of the challenges that Christians face in contemporary France, though I limited my remarks to the situation in Britain. To read my article click on the link below:


--------------------

Read my columns at the Charles Colson Center

Read my writings at Alfred the Great Society

To join my mailing list, send a blank email to robin (at sign) atgsociety.com with “Blog Me” in the subject heading. 

Click Here to friend-request me on Facebook and get news feeds every time new articles are added to this blog. 
 
Click Here to follow me on Twitter.



Friday, April 13, 2012

Alfred's rich boyhood

In his book The White Horse King, Benjamin Merkle describes the rich environment in which the young Alfred the Great grew up:

There were hunts, for which Alfred would have a particular fondness throughout his life. There were falconry, footraces, and horse races. There were wrestling, archery, sword fighting, and spear throwing. There were feasts with guests from afar – travelers, seafarers, experiences warriors, priests, traders, mercenaries, pagans, scholars, bishops, thieves, and princes. But most exciting of all, there were the poets. Alfred always had a particular fondness for the poetry of his native tongue. Late into the evenings, the Anglo-Saxon men would sit in the mead hall around a blazing fire, with their bellies full of roasted meat. The mead was poured out for each man from a gilded bull horn, and the enchanting thrumming of the scop on his lyre began.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Gender-free Toy Stores and Schools

Earlier this year when I read that London’s most popular toy store, Hamleys, was undergoing a complete overhaul. In a monumental move that was full of symbolic significant, the shop did away with separate girls and boys sections. From then on, there would be no such thing as separate categories for “girls toys” and “boys toys.”

Keep reading...

Why You Should Vote for Paul and not Romney

In my article, 'The Republican Election' I pointed out that no one can reasonably deny that Ron Paul is the most conservative of all the candidates, not to mention being the only one who has a realistic plan for cutting America’s national debt. Moreover, he is also the only candidate who takes serious the need to interpret the constitution (especially the 10th amendment) through the lens of authorial intent. (For more about the 10th amendment and the importance of states' rights, see my article here.)

I also pointed out that one hugely overlooked problem with Romney's Mormonism is the simple issue of trustworthiness. Can a Mormon be trustworthy? As a former Mormon missionary for two years, it is probable that Romney will have been taught to lie about his movement. The culture of lying is deeply embedded in the Mormon church and forms a key component of the missionary training program that Romney will have attended at Brigham Young University. Mormons are literally trained to hide key facts about their sect’s teaching and are taught a variety of techniques to obscure the truth. Do Americans want someone with this background to be President?  I don't want to be simplistic, nor to imply that this is the main problem with voting for Romney (it's not!) but the question is at least important to explore in more depth.

Further Reading

The Republican Election

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

AA


by Terrell Clemmons, guest blogger

“You always probe to the depth of something and grab onto the meat in a way that requires careful consideration before answering,” a friend said to me just the other day. I’d reminded him of a question I’d asked him that he’d not answered, and he was explaining why. What he was telling me was, I make him think. It was music to my ears.

The observation makes for a good opportunity to explain what I mean by ‘Analytical Apologetics.’ Apologetics is simply the discipline of giving a rational explanation, or defense, for a belief in order to demonstrate its truth. Christian apologetics is just the application of the discipline to the tenets of historical Christianity. But where apologetics in general, and Christian apologetics in particular, are about us doing the talking, analytical apologetics takes a different tack and invites the other person to give a rational defense for his belief. All three approaches begin with the understanding that truth can be rationally defended but falsehood cannot.

If you read these posts regularly, you may have noticed that two of my last three contrasted atheism with theism. And they did so, not as if the existence of God is a matter of subjective religious feelings, but as if it’s a matter of rational truth. As a matter of objective truth, either there is a God or there isn’t. And if God exists, he exists regardless of whether people believe in him or not. It’s not a matter of opinion or religious preference; it’s about reality. This is why we can confidently invite the atheists to present their case for the non-existence of God. There is no rationally coherent case for the non-existence of God.

Monday, April 09, 2012

From Aristophanes to Speciesism

Following are some links to blog posts that I have recently published on other websites in the last month or so, on topics ranging everywhere from the Greek playwright Aristophanes to the latest fixation among moral philosophers with the problem of 'speciesism.'

Is it a form of racism to show preferential
treatment to human beings?
Read my article, 'They are just like us'
to find out.
  1. EHF President Praises French Revolution
  2. Ten Years in the North Korean Gulag
  3. The Cost of a Permissive Society
  4. Tolerance: An Evolving Notion
  5. Should Robots Have Rights?
  6. Gay Marriage: A Civil Right?
  7. Deconstructing books...literally
  8. "They are just like us"
  9. "They are us"
  10. Evolution Dismantled in 5 Minutes 
  11. Save the Males!
  12. Deep Stuff!
  13. Aristophanes and Gay Marriage 
  14. The Human Zoo
  15. North Korea Resources 
  16. Islam Growing at Astronomical Rate in UK

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Black or White? The Sunset Limited

"Black" and "White"
(By Terrell Clemmons, guest blogger)

“Two players. Two sides. One is light. One is dark.” The quote comes from Lost, but it’s a perfect epitaph for The Sunset Limited, a stage play by Cormac McCarthy, and now also an HBO film.  

The Sunset Limited has only two characters, named simply “Black” and “White.” Early on it becomes apparent that Black had been on his way to work, waiting on the platform at the train station, when White had attempted to throw himself in front of the train. Black had caught him, stopped him, and brought him home to his apartment. The play itself consists of the two characters engaged in a verbal wrestling match for an intense ninety minutes.

White is a professional intellectual - Black calls him “Professor,” and he is clearly better at stringing the words together than Black, who's an ex-con and reformed murderer living in the ghetto in hopes of being a sort of Good Samaritan to the hopeless lost (he calls them “the junkies”).

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The Deeper Issue Behind Facebook's Annoying Changes

A couple years ago a fellow journalist suggested I join the social networking site Facebook. By using the site to post links to articles I write, she said, my writing would have greater visibility.

My friend was right. Since being on Facebook the amount of people who read my articles has doubled. Moreover, I have found it to be an invaluable tool for networking with other intellectuals, many of whom have contributed valuable insights to my own projects.
 
At the same time, however, Facebook is not without its drawbacks. In particular, the more I use the service, the more I have become aware of certain worldview assumptions implicit in the project.

This was impressed upon me last year when Facebook supposedly “improved” its layout. The normal news feeds are now duplicated with a “ticker” on the right hand side that offers a constantly changing stream of details about what my friends are doing in real time. For example, right now my ticker is showing me that one of my friends just finished listening to Schumann’s “Carnaval”, that another friend is telling his wife how much he loves her, and that another friend just managed to get her children to school on time.
 
Almost nobody is happy with the changes which allow you to “Facebook while you Facebook.” And although they keep saying it’s possible for individual users to revert back to the old style, I haven’t yet figured out how to do that.
 
OK, so it’s annoying, but is there anything deeper going on?

In an article I published with the Chuck Colson Center, I argue that the answer to this question is yes. To read my observations, click on the following link:



Read my columns at the Charles Colson Center

Read my writings at Alfred the Great Society

To join my mailing list, send a blank email to robin (at sign) atgsociety.com with “Blog Me” in the subject heading. 

Click Here to friend-request me on Facebook and get news feeds every time new articles are added to this blog. 
 
Click Here to follow me on Twitter.



Buy Essential Oils at Discounted Prices!