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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For June 22, 2016

June 14

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost video showing Obama espousing belief in traditional marriage. This appeared in the Heidelblog.

So are we celebrating his belief in civil unions here as much as his definition of marriage?

Since there are legal differences between civil unions and marriages and we are sharing society with nonChristians, why should we oppose same-sex marriage in society? IMO, those who oppose same-sex marriage oppose the full equality of those from the LGBT community in society.  And for as long as Christians oppose full equality for those in the LGBT community in society, they sabotage their efforts to share the Gospel with those from that community.


June 16

To R. Scott Clark on his blogpost quote about how to avoid biblicism from an article on how to interpret the Bible. This appeared in Heidelblog.

How can we avoid biblicism? It would be interesting to read his actual biblical interpretations of different parts of the Bible and on different issues to see if he avoided biblicism.

How can we avoid biblicism? It would be interesting to read his actual biblical interpretations of different parts of the Bible and on different issues to see if he avoided biblicism.

I do have a suggestion of my own on how to avoid biblicism: avoid using the Regulative Principle. We should first note that the Regulative Principle was not followed in Jesus' time.  Second, the regulative principle sets us up for mere imitation or following literal commands without reference to context and issues. Third, we need to combine a balance between relying on what was said in the past with doing new theology.  It was Henri Bouiard who said that when theology was not updated, it was false. And that is because when theology is not updated, because of the new issues we are facing, not updating theology causes us to try to wear the shoes of our ancestors. At the same time, the updating of our theology cannot change the essentials of our faith. Here we should note that how we should respond to the new issues of the day has always involved a one-and-many problem regarding the Christian faith. The Regulative Principle in essence does not recognize new historical contexts and new issues. As a result, we are forced to decontextualize what was said and done in the past to ensure that we imitate and follow literally what was done and said in the past in today's changing world.

But even after adding my proposal, the only way to ensure that we have avoided biblicism is through an inductive study of what we have written and said.


Wrong year and reference regarding England see http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=

June 17

To Josh Herring and his blogpost asking if America can afford to tolerate Muslims. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

The idea of Christian freedom as presented in the article seems to have forgotten what it took to get there. That it because Christians haven't always tolerated freedom as it does today, especially when its views of homosexuality are contrasted with the views of Muslims today. 

The idea of today's Christian freedom in society is more due to modernity's influence on Christianity than on its ties to the past.  Christians have fought wars or persecuted each other if their theologies did not match or one belonged to the wrong denomination. If we study how the Christian Church has treated homosexuals, we must begin looking at how the Christian emperors of Rome put homosexuals to death. And for centuries, Christians used the Scriptures to justify either the Church or the state putting homosexuals to death. 

What helped stop the battles between and persecution of people from different denominations was need. They needed to unite Christian denominations in order to have sufficient pool for the army to fight the British in the Revolutionary War. We should note how some of the churches in the colonies battled each other. In fact, the Puritans martyred 4 Quakers.

We should also note how homosexuals were treated throughout our nation's history. The Puritans had people executed because they engaged in homosexual practices.  In fact, churches would also punish the child victims of pedophilia because, back then, they didn't always distinguish between the victim and the perpetrator.  In colonial days, crimes that could draw the death penalty included adultery, sodomy, witchcraft, and blasphemy and the Bible was used to justify all of that (see http://www.badnewsaboutchristianity.com/gff_homosexuality.htm ). It wasn't until 1786 that states began to drop the death penalty for engaging in homosexual acts. In England, it wasn't until 1851 that the death penalty was finally eliminated as a punishment for homosexuality. Instead, they settled for life imprisonment (see https://www.rca.org/homosexuality ).

For centuries, homosexual acts were criminalized and those who were convicted had to face various different punishments because of the Church's attitude toward homosexuality. It wasn't until a couple of decades ago that homosexuality because to be decriminalized. And that decriminalization might be due more to the sexual revolution than to the concept of freedom held by American Christians. And all of this happen, though this all doesn't tell the whole story, happened in Christian Europe and in Christian America.

Thus the comparison made here between how Islam views and treats homosexuals from how Christianity does is a bit skewed in that it forgets much of the history of how Christianity has regarded and abused homosexuals. Thus, the question in the title of this article needs to be readdressed. Why? Because we haven't been the lovers of freedom, tolerance, and limited government that we claim to be. In fact, when one considers the West's history of intervention, colonialism, and support of tyrants in the Middle East, one would be tempted to ask a parallel question: Can Muslims afford to tolerate Western influence in the Middle East. Since the repercussions of our actions and policies there have been more far reaching than that of Islam's in the West, the obvious answer in a word would be: NO WAY!


To Denny Burk and his blogpost on how Christians are being blamed by some for the massacre in Orlando. This appeared in Denny Burk’s blog.

Before we comment on Mateen's murderous rampage, we should first do the minimum research. And in this day and age, that minimum research would be to read wikipedia--a resource I would not allow my students to use in any papers. That research tells us that the FBI investigate Mateen and considered him not to be a terrorist threat. In addition, we should note that Mateen claimed to have connections or pledged allegiance to Islamic groups that were opponents of each other (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omar_Mateen ).

We should also note that Mateen was a disturbed individual who was fixated on both sex and violence from an early age. He used steroids and abused his wife and was described by his first wife as being unstable . There were also questions about his sexual orientation. (See previous source). Now how many of those facts made it into either the above blogpost or the article by David French? 

At this time, we really don't know what drove Mateen to massacre the people at the Pulse. In fact, we may never know. But the above contains some additional information besides the fact that Mateen called 911 and pledged allegiance to ISIS. And that information is easily accessible with a minimum effort. And yet, it was not included in the these articles speculating on why Mateen did what he did. Instead, the information used to describe Mateen was heavily filtered and then the articles started playing the Christian persecution card as if the main story here is about us. To those who read within small circles, the lack of info used will not be an issue at all. But the world to which we are to witness sees this kind of reporting and it cannot be impressed by it.


June 18

To Steve Turley and his article on why Christians were being blamed for Mateen’s mass shooting at the gay club in Orlando. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

There are two problems here. The first problem is with its analysis of the attack of the article. The second problem with its use of quotes to say people are blaming Christianity for the attack.

The problem with this article's analysis of the attack is that it isn't based on research. The FBI cleared Mateen of suspicion of being involved with terrorist groups and thus removed him from the terrorist watch list in late 2013. Why did they do that? One reason was Mateen had satisfactorily explained why he made questionable statements. The second was because his acclaimed connections and pledge of allegiance to ISIS was complicated by the fact that his allegiances were to opposing terrorist groups. On the other hand, Mateen was described as an unstable person by his first wife whom he abused. He had a history of being fixated on violence and sex since he was young. He took steroids. And sexual orientation itself was in question Thus, using his 911 call to blame his attack on his self-acclaimed allegiance to ISIS to blame his connections to a terrorist group for his attack is premature. In addition, we don't hear investigators blaming the attack on his ISIS connections.

The second problem with this article's use of quotes to claim people are blaming Christianity for the attack. This article listed two sources for this blaming Christianity for the attack. The first one, the ACLU reference, allegedly blamed Christianity for the attack but there is not direct quote that proves that. But let's suppose he did blame Christianity. Why would he? It is due to the combination of the numerous laws Christians have proposed and supported that target the LGBT community along with this person's personal history of having to battle Christian homophobia while he experienced love and support from a Muslim family.

We should note that no accusation was being made in the quote from the NCLR spokesperson. There, the second quote was said in the context of the need to eliminate bigotry and discrimination, not in the context of discussing who is responsible for the attack.

Even with Strange's "accusation," the actual quotes provided by The Examiner's article gives us reason to consider the accusation. For the accusation is around the toxic, anti-gay environment Conservative Christians have sought to produce in our country. And the question of whether this toxic environment had any role in the shooting is well worth considering. If the toxic environment was not there, would Mateen have targeted gays for his lashing out?

And let's face it, we have tried, and continue to do so, to provide a toxic environment for gays in society by the laws we propose and support. We should note that not more than 200 years ago, gays could be executed by the state for their sexual orientation in some places, Homosexuality was criminalized for centuries here and in Europe. In addition, one of the reasons why many of us religiously conservative Christians oppose same-sex marriages is because we don't want society to view homosexuality as normal. Many of us want society to view homosexuals as a threat because of their deviancy. Some Christians have preemptively scapegoated homosexuals for any coming judgment this country receives from God. So the question becomes this: Has conservative Christianity provided the kind of environment that contributed to Mateen's decision to engage in the mass shooting at the night club?

Instead of considering the above question, the above article  overindulged in some logical exercise in an effort to explain why Christians were being blamed while it was negligent in researching the possible reasons why Mateen did hat he did. And this article exaggerated how much blame was being pushed our way.


June 20

To Joe Carter and his blogpost on how in trying to prevent children from being exploited on jobs, the choice has become poverty or prostitution for many children in Bangladesh. This appeared in the Acton Blog

What is astonishing, in a horrific sense, is that after given the choices of A, B, and C, is that Carter tolerates the situation that only offers those choices? It's like our two party system. During each presidential election, we complain about the two choices we have for president never asking ourselves whether we should replace the two party system with a multi party system.

There is a reason why child labor has been prohibited: it is called History. And while Carter argues that child labor beats child prostitution, he obediently tells us that our options are limited. And our options are limited if we don't question and change the current economic system. 

Capitalism has forever looked for exploitable labor markets. In America, we have had slavery, prison labor, trafficked labor, child labor, sweatshop labor, and labor that is paid poverty wages where income must be supplemented by government assistance programs. And that has all been or is still being employed in order to make business and financial elites wealthier. Then those who are exploited are told that they should live vicariously through the lives of the rich and famous. And it isn't just the wealthy who benefit from exploited labor, it is the Middle Class whose members often consume goods that products of exploited labor--note the $0.53 per day a child is paid. 

The problem with Carter's article is not necessarily in his description of the situation, it is in his acceptance of it. He accepts this situation while standing under the flag of economic freedom and liberty. And many of us might be tempted to join him in accepting the situation by claiming that such is the real world. In other words, exploiting child labor is not a social problem because nothing can be done about it. And it is our acceptance of that status quo that maintains Carter's options  of A, B, and C for these children. But what if we worked to change the systems that relies on such exploitation?


To Joe Carter and his blogpost consisting of a video where John Green attempts to distinguish Capitalism from Socialism in 12 minutes. This appeared on the Acton Blog.

The key to any discussion on Capitalism and Socialism revolves around the set of working definitions used. And the key to a good definition is that it accurately distinguishes an idea or object from all other ideas and objects. So when one defines Capitalism, though some are tempted to define it by the benefits or positive attributes credited to Capitalism, to the extent that other systems share those characteristics given in one's definition is the extent to which the presentation's definition of Capitalism is compromised. That of Capitalism is given below and starts around the 2:21 mark of the video and consists of the following:

An economic system that relies on investment of capital in machines and technology that are used to increase production of marketable goods.

So the question here is does the above definition of Capitalism distinguish it from all other economic systems. For example, in what was known as Communism, or more precisely Bolshevism, was there any investments of wealth into gadgets and technology for the purpose of increasing the production of goods that would be bought and sold? For if Bolshevism and Capitalism were two disjoint systems where capital is invested machines and technologies to increase the production of goods, then such a definition is flawed. And I think it would be easy to see that in the USSR, there were investments in machines and technologies for the sake of producing goods that were sold. Thus, we are either compelled to acknowledge that such a definition is either inadequate or that Bolshevism is a kind of Capitalism--a point not lost on some of Lenin's contemporary critics.

A more informative and appropriate distinction between Capitalism and Marxist Socialism, which is often confused with Bolshevism, revolves around the identity of those who have wealth and power. For in Capitalism, the identity of those with power and wealth rests on elites from the private sector. In Marxist Socialism, those who owned wealth and power were the workers and that was evident both at the workplace as well as in government. Marx would call this consolidation of power by workers the proletariate dictatorship.

For those who think Communism or Socialism is determined by the presence of centralized power in by the government, they should consider the following. Power is closely tied to wealth in a number of different relationships. And whether power is centralized or not depends on whether wealth is consolidated regardless of whether the government or private sector elites control the wealth. Here, we should note Adam Smith's observation about the Mercantilism of his day. He stated that those with power controlled policies with their own interests in mind regardless of others were affected. The same holds true for today's Capitalism.

Though there was Socialism before Marx, we would be more accurate if we were to start to compare Capitalism and Socialism at the departure point of who owns what.. 

Other than all of that, this comparison between Capitalism and Socialism showed improvement over past attempts.

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