One of my favorite bands growing up in the 70’s was the Canadian power-rock trio, Rush. I even remember asking my parents to buy me the 2112 album for Christmas (afraid they were going to turn me down because of the pentagram logo on the album cover). I think Rush is one of those bands that one either loves or hates. In my experience, I haven’t found too many people who were lukewarm about them. Rush is a great tribute to band stability and cohesiveness as the band lineup — consisting of Geddy Lee (vocals and bass), Alex Lifeson (guitar), and Neal Peart (drums) — has remained the same since their second album (Fly By Night) back in 1975. Each member of the band is a virtuoso at their respective instrument: Lee is a master bassist, Lifeson is one of the most versatile guitarists around and Peart is arguably the best drummer in rock.
Okay, maybe not the “face of tyranny,” but definitely a step in the direction of less freedom and more state control over our thoughts and actions. By now many of you are aware of the recent flap in Chicago over comments a local alderman and the mayor made regarding the restaurant chain, Chick-fil-A, wanting to open a new store in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. Here’s the scoop. Chick-fil-A owner, Dan Cathy, is an evangelical Christian. The Chick-fil-A restaurant chain is a family business that promotes family values. Cathy is quoted as saying that he is “guilty as charged” for believing that marriage is defined as being between one man and one woman.
What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mark 10:9 ESV)
It seems as if regularly the institution of marriage comes under attack. Whether it’s the continual profaning of marriage in our entertainment culture, our divorce happy society, or the recent efforts of the homosexual community for the acceptance of same sex unions as valid marriages, there are no shortage of attempts by the world to either marginalize marriage or redefine it (which is marginalization by another name).
Why all this rage against traditional marriage? The only answer that coalesces all of the various attacks on marriage into one cohesive answer is that this is just one phase in the overall rebellion of sinful man against God and his kingdom. How this relates to marriage is that all of these seeming disparate attacks on marriage have one thing in common — they seek to redefine marriage from a covenant relationship established by God into a vehicle of personal fulfillment. You see, God had a purpose behind marriage — a good and holy purpose — that man, in his sinful and fallen state, has perverted into a selfish purpose.
Homosexuality is not a topic I enjoy talking (or writing) about, but given its recent rise in the news cycle (thanks to the controversy over same-sex marriage) it’s a topic that I, as a Christian, feel compelled to discuss for several reasons. One, to combat the continued misrepresentations from supporters of the homosexual agenda on the Christian position on homosexuality. Two, to continue to reason these things out in the public square so that the nature of the debate will progress. Three, to help fellow Christians who either are misinformed on this issue or haven’t studied this issue enough to form a cogent response when the opportunity presents itself. In other words, I talk about this issue because it is continually brought to our attention by homosexual activists and the media; therefore, a response is called for. I am fully aware that most people do not share my view on this issue because I know that most people do not have a Biblical worldview. All I ask is that if you disagree with what I am about to say that you fairly represent what I am going to say and attack the argument, not the person.
In the wake President Obama’s (many would say calculated) endorsement of same sex marriage (SSM), the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), the nations oldest Black civil rights group, recently announced that their board of directors came out in favor of SSM, calling it a civil rights issue. The homosexual lobby has consistently framed the issue of homosexual rights as a civil rights issue prompting many within their circles to coin the slogan “Gay is the new Black.”
Now as far as civil rights go, I am a firm believer that no American should be denied the right to life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness. I am a firm believer that it is the government’s job to protect everyone’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I am a firm believer that it is morally wrong to infringe upon anyone’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I am a firm believer in concept enshrined in the 14th amendment that the laws of the nation, state or locality should apply equally to all persons. What our country did during and after slavery to Black Americans was wicked and evil. Having said that, I don’t think it’s fair to compare the Black struggle for civil rights and equality under the law with the homosexual struggle for acceptance and, ultimately, SSM. That the NAACP equated the two is, in my opinion, just as calculated a move as was President Obama’s endorsement two weeks earlier.
Last Tuesday, October 25, 2011, I downloaded from iTunes my pre-ordered HD version of Captain America: First Avenger. I had originally seen this movie when it came out in the theaters. In fact, the movie was originally released on my birthday (July 22) when I was in Hawaii on my 10th anniversary vacation, so naturally I dragged my wife to go see it.
Anyway, Captain America marks the fifth movie release in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The other four being Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2 (reviewed here), and Thor (reviewed here). Unlike their previous movie franchises — e.g., Spider-Man, X-Men, and Fantastic Four — Marvel Comics is creating a cinematic universe in which each movie is interconnected to the other movies. All of this is culminating for next May’s release of The Avengers, which will feature all four of the main characters — Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America — along with a couple of other supporting characters (Black Widow from Iron Man 2, and Hawkeye from Thor) to form the super-hero team called The Avengers.
May 2012 cannot get here soon enough! This trailer looks amazing! It sure is a great time to be a comic book fan. To see Thor, Iron Man and Captain America on the big screen was amazing enough; but to see them all on the screen together in an Avengers movie??? Well, I’m as giddy as a school kid!
Enjoy the trailer!
What a bunch of hypocritical bullshit. This wanker goes on about how it is the “height of arrogance” for tolerance to be considered superior to other worldviews, and then goes on to say that Christianity is the only correct religion to believe in. And he wants to talk about arrogance? Someone needs to look in the mirror a little more often. Peppered throughout this wankfest are incredible generalizations: I had no idea that EVERY SINGLE MUSLIM was out to kill others because they don’t practice Islam. Fascinating.
The first thing to note are the numerous insults hurled at me as if this is actually a form of argumentation. My experience has shown to me that when someone resorts to ad hominem attack, it usually means they have no cogent reply to your argument.Second is the equivocal use of the word "tolerance." Tolerance, isn't a worldview, it's a verb — "I tolerate you." It can also be used to express an attitude (e.g., "an attitude of tolerance"). As such, to say that "tolerance is to be considered superior to other worldviews" makes no real sense. Where the equivocation comes in is that for me (as a Christian) to say that Christianity is the only correct worldview somehow makes me "intolerant." That, Gavin, is a non sequitur — it does not follow. As a Christian, I can tolerate the worldview of a Muslim, but that doesn't mean I cannot disagree with him and believe his worldview to be factually wrong and morally bankrupt. However, in today's parlance, tolerance is really just another way of saying "truth is relative" and "all worldviews are equally valid." Sorry, Gavin, but that is simply not true, nor is it a mature statement to make. Thirdly, I need to correct a factual error on Gavin's part. Nowhere in my blog did I say, either explicitly or implicitly, that "every single Muslim was out to kill others because they don't practice Islam." This is what happens when you're not really interested in thoughtfully engaging in discussion with someone who disagrees with your point of view. All Gavin is interested in is propping up straw man arguments and knocking them down. For the record, here is what I wrote: "Islam seeks the radical conversion of all 'infidels' (i.e., non-Muslims) and is willing to do so by threat of violence." How one goes from that factual statement (can one seriously dispute this as fact?) to "every single Muslim wants to kill others because they don't practice Islam" is a monumental leap in logic. Gavin continues…
He argues that tolerance is impossible to acheive (sic), and then tries to justify his own intolerance because he believes he is the only one who knows The Truth.
I nowhere argued that tolerance is "impossible." My exact words were: "The irreconcilable differences of these worldviews makes coexistence difficult without a corresponding change in worldview." Apparently to Gavin, "difficult" equals "impossible." Yet, employing logic and reasoning, it is quite clear that when worldviews collide, you have only one of two outcomes possible: 1) Either the two worldviews "agree to disagree" and "tolerate" each other (in the true sense of the word); or 2) One worldview acquiesces to the other (either peaceably or violently). However, what Gavin and the "COEXIST" crowd are doing is implicitly employing the second of the two outcomes listed above. "COEXIST" wants everyone to acquiesce to their tolerant (in the wrong sense of the word), relativistic worldview in which no one has a monopoly on the truth and all worldviews are equally valid (except "COEXIST" which is the only true and valid worldview).As far as justifying my "own intolerance" by claiming I am the only one "who knows the truth," nothing could be further from the truth. Again, nowhere do I assert that I, and I alone, know the truth. I do claim the Christian worldview is the only true worldview which makes sense of life "under the sun." But, again, for Gavin, this must mean that I alone possess the truth. I suppose to claim that the Christian worldview is the only true worldview can be seen as "intolerant." But truth, by necessity, is intolerant! It is intolerant in the sense that truth does not allow for falsehood or error. For example, 2+2=4 is true (even for Gavin); therefore 2+2=5 cannot be "tolerated." Christianity is true, therefore any non-Christian worldview must, by necessity, be seen as false. This is simple logic. You can disagree with the premise (i.e., that Christianity is true), but you cannot argue the conclusion. Now, just because I believe Christianity to be the only true worldview doesn't mean I am intolerant toward other worldviews. People are free to believe error if they so choose, I do not begrudge them that prerogative. But I will not tolerate the view that states that all views are equally valid. That's just plain lunacy! If you believe that, then let's implement Sharia Law here in the United States and see what happens. But wait, there's more…
I believe that we absolutely could, as a species, live in peace. We could do it. What is standing in the way? Idiots like this. People that refuse to give others respect, and refuse to educate themselves about other religions. (No wonder this guy thinks we can’t have peace: he thinks all Muslims are terrorists!) This guy is saying that all other worldviews are “deviations” of his religion. Therefore it’s “okay” for him be intolerant, I guess. Just .. no. Until we drop this whole “I’m better than you are, nyah nyah” kind of childishness, we will continue to have wars and kill each other. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Ironically enough, he shares the same view as those dreaded terrorists, who believe that their faith is the only correct one.
Here is where Gavin has a little disconnect with reality. Apparently, Gavin is under the impression we could eventually achieve "peace in our day." If only irritating, little miscreants like myself would just shrivel up and go away…Gavin, I would like to ask you a question or two. First, do you think religion is the cause of most wars and conflicts? Second, do you believe if we could somehow discard all religious tension that would lead to peace? For the sake of full disclosure, I will provide my answers to these questions: No and no. In regards to the first question, religion is the reason most people give to many conflicts, but is not the cause of the conflicts. In regards to the second question, most global conflicts of the 20th century were committed in the name of atheism (Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, Communist China, Communist Cambodia, Communist Cuba, etc.). The point I make with all this is that Gavin's worldview cannot account for the history of human atrocities. No amount of indoctrination or education or political correctness or tolerance will prevent people from killing people on large scales. In fact, I defy Gavin to refute the following claim: There has probably not been a single 24 hour period in the last several centuries (I don't care how far back you want to go) where there wasn't some conflict somewhere on the globe. World peace is a mirage! That doesn't mean we shouldn't pursue peace. What it means is we should pursue peace with our feet firmly planted on terra firma! The reason we don't have world peace (and the reason we will never fully achieve world peace) is because man, in his heart of hearts, is a sinner in need of redemption. The bible says "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?" (James 4:1). Our desires are sinful and wicked due to the fall of man back in Genesis, and only by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ will our desires be changed and renewed (2 Corinthians 5:17). The Christian worldview adequately explains the situation in the world, Gavin's does not. The rest of Gavin's response is just more insult laden comments that somehow speak to his "tolerance," so I will not bore you with them. Gavin, the offer is extended to you if you want to discuss these things in a more polite and civil manner, without invective and ad hominem. Until then, if you want to be taken seriously, you should take others seriously. Your claim to be tolerant is betrayed by your completely intolerant tirade.
I was out walking my dog yesterday morning and I came up to a house in our neighborhood that had two cars sporting the suddenly fashionable “COEXIST” bumper sticker. I’ve been seeing a lot of these bumper stickers throughout the Chicago area. It is obviously a plea for the peaceful coexistence of the various world faith systems.
If you’re not familiar with all of the symbols represented on the bumper sticker, they are:
- The “C” is fashioned into the star and crescent moon of Islam
- The “O” is fashioned into the peace symbol
- The “E” is fashioned into the male and female symbols
- The “X” is fashioned into the Star of David symbolizing Judaism
- The “I” is fashioned into the symbol of Wicca or Paganism
- The “S” is fashioned into the yin/yang of Taoism
- The “T” is fashioned into the cross of Christianity
On the surface, this seems like a reasonable plea. We all share the same globe and we should all seek to peacefully coexist with one another.
However, I cannot shake the feeling that whoever came up with the “COEXIST” concept is suffering from several preconceptions that betray a worldview that is antithetical to all of the worldviews represented in the bumper sticker.
The first preconception is that all of these disparate worldviews can peacefully coexist.Yet even a casual glance at the worldviews represented will prove this claim false. Islam seeks the radical conversion of all ‘infidels’ (i.e., non-Muslims) and is willing to do so by threat of violence. Christianity believes that salvation is through Jesus Christ alone and Jews reject the Messiah-ship of Jesus. Let’s not forget the vast worldview differences between the religions of the west (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) with the religions of the east (Taoism). The irreconcilable differences of these worldviews makes coexistence difficult without a corresponding change in worldview.
The second preconception I see in this mindset is that these worldviews all share a ‘common ground’ with which to peacefully coexist. In other words, the underlying assumption is that this worldview represents the “all roads lead to God” mindset. Anyone who has studied anything in any of these religions and worldviews would see this mindset as the height of naivete. Sure there may some common elements in these worldviews. For example, Christianity, Judaism and Islam are all monotheistic faiths that claim the patriarch Abraham as a central figure. But this argument is like saying that because men and chimps share 95% similar DNA, they are alike. Yet the 5% that is different is insurmountable! Where Christianity, Judaism and Islam differ are on key points of doctrine that make it impossible to find common ground without seriously compromising their respective faiths. Again, it goes without saying that there are even more differences when we throw in Wicca and Taoism into the mix.
The third, and by far the most insidious, preconception is a subtle arrogance and superiority in the “COEXIST” mindset. The worldview being promoted by “COEXIST” is that all of the various faiths and worldviews represented in the “COEXIST” symbol need to ‘grow up’ and ‘act like adults.’ While it may seem on the surface that “COEXIST” isn’t promoting a positive worldview (“positive” in the sense of promoting a worldview of its own), but rather a “can’t we all just get along” type of mentality; the reality is that “COEXIST” is promoting a worldview in which it is superior to all of these other worldviews and that truly enlightened people will adopt its relativistic ecumenical worldview. This is the height of arrogance and condescension.
As a Christian, I believe that the Christian worldview is the correct worldview and that all other worldviews represent deviations of one sort or another from the true worldview. This might strike some (or most) as the “height of arrogance and condescension,” but the reality is that if one of these worldviews is true, then by necessity the others must be false. Secondly, the reason for my believing the Christian worldview to be true isn’t based on my superior wisdom or intellect, but on the simple fact that God has created the world in which we live and created mankind in his image. God has not left himself without a witness, whether that is in nature itself or in the hearts and minds of those created in his image. As we read in the book of Proverbs, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” True knowledge is gained when we “fear the LORD” and align our thoughts with his.
As a Christian, I advocate a pro-life agenda. Not to say that all Christians are universally pro-life, but it is the majority report. I, of course, base my view not only on biblical arguments, but also in a belief of the sanctity of all life.
In an attempt to understand the pro-choice view better, I would like to ask an open question to all pro-choice advocates. Actually I want to ask a question to two different groups of pro-choice advocates.
If you are pro-choice and you believe that abortion is a legal right protected in our constitution, then I would ask the following question:
Upon what grounds do you support the woman’s right to choose over the life that she carries?
However, if you are pro-choice, but have a personal aversion to abortion (i.e., you are personally against it, but support the right of someone else to make that decision on their own), then I would ask this question:
How do you reconcile you personal feelings on abortion with the right of someone else to do something you find morally repugnant?
I am interested in polite, but vigorous discussion on this topic, so please weigh in with your comments. Keep in mind two suggestions before commenting:
- Please be polite. I know this topic is very emotional, but I am interested in dialogue, not condemnation
- Please keep you comments limited to the two questions listed above.
Thank you, and I look forward to the discussion!