Richard Dawkins on Abortion

I’m quite glad that Richard Dawkins is refreshingly honest in issues of abortion, pedophilia, and rape. I find this sort of honestly admirable for one simple reason: it doesn’t cloak itself in nobility. Instead, it is cold, calculated logic for him to simply express one extremely common reason why women abort (among many others). While I disagree completely with that logic, I appreciate it simply because it displays the logical outcome of a man who views morality in a completely twisted manner.

In reading replies to his initial Tweets, you see only three different outcomes:

  1. His logic is sound. Aborting Down syndrome fetuses is kind, charitable, and morally correct. The person with Down syndrome simply suffers, having little quality of life, and will be a burden to those whom have to continuously cater to a perpetual child.
  2. Richard Dawkins is correct in his logic, however, he should have used a more neutral term than “immoral” in regard to those whom decide to raise a child with Down syndrome. The reason being, it is inherently their choice to raise a child – yet it would also be perfectly acceptable to terminate the pregnancy based on the fetus’ poor mental and physical health.
  3. Richard Dawkins is completely incorrect in his logic and is trying to play God. A fetus is life, life is precious, and thus, whatever quality of life one is given is not contingent upon the value of that life.

When looking at these things, we must understand the framework Dawkins operates under. I am not specifically speaking of the framework of his atheism, though that is inseparable from how he formulates his worldview. I am speaking of identifying his terminology and his definitions of those terms.

  • Fetus/it: Dawkins will use the term fetus over and again. It will not be referred to “life,” though it is living. The more impersonal you can make it (even abandoning impersonal pronouns, such as he/she – and using “it” instead) the better.
  • Non-essentialist: A non-essentialist believes that the substance (the properties that make something what it is, without which, it would not be that thing) does not imply virtue. Thus, it is then easy to say, biologically, a fetus is not human because humanity goes beyond a simple bundle of cells that will one day develop into the substance of a human being (i.e. logic, emotion, etc.).
  • Suffer: In the terms of an adult, low quality of life (specifically, what qualitatively substantiates a normal life style that is not inhibited by intellectual malady). In the terms of an unborn infant, will they be capable of reasoning in the womb that they are being destroyed? Though the infant may feel such pain, it is not cognitively responding to that pain except on the basis of bodily reaction. There is no emotional response, mental recognition, nor is there fear (beyond naturalistic primal fear).
  • Moral/immoral: subjective to the person’s desires (i.e. – not necessarily pertaining to social norms, but inherently built in societal structure and benefit of said society and individual).
  • Logic: devoid of emotional reasoning in any sense. What this specifically means is that it represents factual basis without an appeal to rational emotion. This is used in his integration of the sciences within what he would deem a philosophical question, such as abortion rights.

This is obviously not a treatment on the fullness of Dawkins’ vocabulary and his presupposed definitions – but it is helpful to understand nonetheless. On the basis of using these terms, he neatly defines his parameters and contains the argument where he desires it would go. Thus, any person in disagreement is disqualified as a rational thinker, as they substantiate their claims with emotive responses rather than based off of what is factually represented and naturally observed or tested.

He further claims that only in “intellectual dishonesty” can one substantiate claims against him. The sciences and philosophy of applied sciences will undoubtedly back him up. Essentially, what proponents of this worldview are saying is that you are stupid for believing otherwise due to an appeal to sources, which cannot be empirically tested or validated. This causes problematic reasoning in that we cannot ascertain what is morally acceptable beyond what develops consensus in subjection to each individual. Thus, each man does what is right in his own eyes – but as a collective sect.

Though there are societal constraints in defining moral evil (we see this in respect to laws governing the states) – we cannot possibly define moral evil in the basis where there is no law. Thus, it is problematic for a man like Dawkins to say that cannibalism in a third world tribe is truly evil, though it would be considered morally evil within his own society. This can be qualified by saying, “if you think that this is an endorsement of cannibalism, go away and learn how to think.”

This appeals to autonomous, societal rule, yet simultaneously, self-rule for the individual; freedom to make whatever choices they desire, be it through sexual expression, the governed right to abort, euthanasia, tribal practices, etc. All of these imply a personal, subjective value so long as they do not become matters of legality – yet the issue at hand is in regard to disagreeing with Dawkins. Though he “would never dream of imposing his views on anyone,” it is illogical and immoral to make the choice of keeping an unborn child who was screened positively for Downs. His apology is not one of sincerity in offending a position, but of one where he is seen as totalitarian.

So why do I find anything to appreciate out of all of this? I find Dawkins to be much more candid than most others who hold the same conviction. I find these convictions to be horribly atrocious – but he doesn’t cloak it with feigned dignity. He is ignoble, a downright fool, contradicts his own rules of logic, and a hater of God and His people – yet he is completely open in expression, even if he has to qualify his statements.

He is willing to go where his argument takes him. Most others simply will not because they either don’t have the fortitude or the foresight to see where it fully leads. For these likes, they simply bow down to the intellectual giants of their field and feign nobility, walking around in blissful ignorance to the true conclusion of their belief system.

Everyone is a worshiper; the difference simply comes in what they worship.

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Sola Experiencia

Aside

In general, scripture is not seen as sufficient, trustworthy, authoritative, inerrant (without error in the original manuscripts), perspicuous (clear, understandable), nor is it believed to be fully inspired.

Experiential highs, supernatural events (miraculous healings, glossolalia, prophecy, etc.), and subjectivism are all swiftly replacing the core doctrines on the defense of the canon. Sola Scriptura has become scripture and prophetic utterance; scripture and speaking in tongues; scripture and a personal feeling of closeness with God; scripture and feeling on fire for God; scripture and that still small voice; scripture and “90 Minutes in Heaven.”

Many in the church have been taught and believed the lie that there are a myriad of ways to experience God on our own terms. Beyond this, many have failed to examine beyond the immediate context of the single verse they are so apt to pull from their theological fanny-pack.

Truth has been maligned.

The locus of truth is no longer founded solely upon the scriptures – but within one’s self. Add to this postmodernism and the myriad of other things screaming out from the world – and it’s no wonder that biblical orthodoxy and orthopraxy is not commonplace. Truthfully, it has never been commonplace. There have always been many more on the wide road than the narrow.

Throw several people from different denominations in the same room and they can’t even agree on soteriology. They can’t regurgitate the gospel – the core, elementary teaching of the faith – in a unified statement. If the gospel can’t be articulated well or agreed upon, it stands to reason that no other doctrine can find widespread consensus within the church.

At the root of this is idolatry. It is an idolatry that esteems these spiritual or subjective experiences rather than the Word. It is the exchanging of gospel truth for the market place wares of this age. Again, it is the rehashed heresy of that old serpent that asked, “But did God say _____?”

You can’t continue on in disdain for the Word and love God. In the same manner that you cannot hate the brethren and love God nor can you be unforgiving and love God, it is a conditional aspect of being in the faith. Those who are His own know Him by His voice, and in His voice is all truth.

One may not grasp these things immediately upon coming to faith, but surely you cannot keep on denying the truthfulness of God’s Word, nor can one continue to bow to the idols of their heart, and love God. It simply does not work that way. But what about those who “nothing” the Word? I would say the same thing. I am hard pressed to find an example of a Christian who perseveres to the end and obtains the crown of life, who “nothings” the Word.

Denying doctrines on the defense of the Canon easily leads to a faith that is overtly subjective; based upon the experiential and emotional senses that delight the flesh, yet leave the heart blackened. It leaves room for deceptive voices crying out for place upon the shelves in our hearts where our shiniest idols stand proudly.

In this case though, you don’t “let go and let God” – you put sin to death. Just as the scriptures do not place commendation upon the one working to earn his salvation, they speak equally candidly to the lazy soul who excuses sin, banking on a “once saved, always saved” mentality.

We must ask ourselves if we truly treasure the Word. And then we must ask in circumstances that pit our emotions against the truth of His Word if we truly believe it to be sufficient for all aspects of life. If one doesn’t cherish the Word beyond all other earthly wisdom or even the seemingly miraculous events we are so quick to instill authority in, surely there is plenty of good kindle for the purging fire.

It’s folly to put such great stock in the miracle rather than the author of miracles. It’s folly to build doctrine off of things not found in scripture. It’s folly to sit on the fence and say, “If we can’t dismiss these things 100%, than we cannot land at all.” However, there is an even larger problem: it is downright damnable if the gospel is not taught – or it is taught in a false manner.

 

Justin Bieber: Deportation?

I’m not exactly sure why everyone is having a good laugh about trying to deport the Justin Bieber. Actually, I am. I’m not exactly a fan of his either. My kids are far too young to have music preferences, but if they were teens, Justin Bieber’s music would be banned from the house. I am not fond of the kid; I think he’s incredibly immature, his music sucks, and he makes a mockery of anything he stands for, especially when he name drops Jesus Christ…like people really buy that one Biebs. I’d be ashamed to be his parent. But truthfully, when I see the snickers against a fool in his folly, it reminds me of a few things:

  • Fools are easily spotted. You don’t have to be a wise man to see them; heck, even a fool can spot another fool from a mile away. Which, brings me to my next two points.
  • When I was 19 years old, I was an incredibly stupid kid. I did asinine things all the time and couldn’t be bothered to care for the outcome or how that reflected upon my peers. I especially didn’t care about how that reflected upon my parents. Shame on me though, especially if I think that what I did was better than Bieber. Yeah, he’s an idiot and has been shown to be an idiot for more time than this – but in all truth, I was idiot too. I just didn’t get caught being an idiot as much as I should have. Thank God I didn’t have the kind of money he has when I was that age.
  • Most of those I’ve seen posting about this were just as foolish as Justin Bieber in the formative years of figuring out just how stoooooopid they could be. I was being stupid with them. Stop playing it off like you weren’t getting high, drunk, driving recklessly, and even some of you – resisting arrest. You just didn’t have the same amount of money to waste, nor did you always get caught. When you did, it wasn’t national news. Surely, you were probably seen as a bad influence by many, many moms. If not, they probably didn’t know you all too well.
  • I recognize not all teenagers are reckless and irresponsible. But I am also not naïve in saying that those responsible teens make up probably about 50% of the nations teens if that. If you don’t believe me, see this neat little infographic. However, this is just for teens in high school; I’m willing to bet the numbers go up a bit after graduation, and especially when they go to college.
  • Let’s pretend for a minute that when you are of legal age to use alcohol (and now, if marijuana becomes nationally legal) that this automatically makes you a responsible person. Oh, wait. Nevermind. Too bad it doesn’t work like that, huh?

Granted, there are plenty of responsible people who drink and there are plenty of people who get high that still maintain responsibilities (never mind the legal issues on that one… It’s responsible dangit!). But what about those who don’t? Are you enjoying a good laugh at a 19 year old while you’re still using illegal drugs, or while you’re getting wasted? Are you a good role-model for America’s children? For those who aren’t letting pot affect their responsible lives – are you an outstanding member of society (again, never mind the legal issues behind using illicit drugs – because that’s not irresponsible…)?

If you’re doing something illegal habitually, or willfully and knowingly, I don’t think that qualifies you as responsible. If you’re not doing these things and you think you are better than the Biebs, you probably were just as much of a fool at one point as he is now. If you’ve never done anything you’re ashamed of in your life, well, good on you I suppose. Everyone has skeletons in their closets. EVERYONE. Stop playing all high and mighty and judge things appropriately.

Sure, you can label him a fool. He is. But should we demand he be deported on the basis of his idiocy when there are so many larger issues at stake in our country? Should we really waste much more time on this kid – when every other person he has looked up to in the music and film industry has likely endorsed this kind of behavior in lyrical style, plot development, or lifestyle?

As a society, I find it more than scary that we can mobilize and get over 100,000 signatures in a couple days to deport Justin Bieber, but we can’t do things that are of much greater significance.

Never mind that the penal institution let him off with not even a slap on the wrist and has done so with other, much more heinous criminals. Never mind how so many of the big fools are running the government. Never mind how these same big fools are slowly trying to change the Constitution. Never mind how we are still going further into national debt each day – we’ll get out one day!! Never mind the people that are committing incredible acts of injustice against children, women, and men. Never mind the fact that racial inequality is still alive and well in the South. Never mind that we have cities like Detriot and Flint that are deteriorating in the midst of our nation – God helps those who help themselves right? Never mind that the former quote is not found in the Bible anywhere, but let’s attribute it to that anyways! Never mind that we have a nation more polarized and divided than it has ever been before. Never mind that we can see where our teens get these ideas (just look at the Grammys). But you keep doing you ‘Murica; you’re wicked smaht.

Let’s focus on Justin Bieber, because that’s just the responsible thing to do.

The Benevolence of the Post-Modern Man

Whether you are scrolling through a website like Buzzfeed or Upworthy, or even through the newsfeed on Facebook, you will generally see two types of things. One being a story that causes every person to outrage over the lack of morality shown, or you will see something that causes every person to smile in juxtaposition to the former.

The main crux we keep coming back to in both of these issues is that there has developed an ambivalent stance on morality. The same person that is outraged over the skinheads throwing a brick into a black family’s window is presupposed by their own world-view to label such an activity as amoral. While they are offended by this action, it is not classified as “evil” in postmodern intellectualism simply because morality is something that cannot be defined clearly with absolutes.

What I may classify as “moral” may not be considered the normal moral practice in another part of the world. Further more, the same is said of absolute truth. What is true to me is not necessarily true to another, unless preconditioned results yield scientific date with which one can say with certainty that something is true (i.e. mathematics, certain laws of physics, verifiable theories, etc.).

Yet even in the laws of philosophy, one could argue, rather vapidly, though we know something to act similarly each day, such as the rising and setting of the sun, we can only say with certainty on previous observation, “the sun shall rise tomorrow.” Based on the normal behavior of the sun and its calculated pattern, one can deduce that the sun shall indeed rise – yet the observer can’t say with certitude that it will actually happen; though results have frequently shown a normative pattern, differing variables can produce different results.

This same principle has been applied to various aspects of culture over time, especially within epistemology (the theory of knowledge). More clearly, the objective of epistemology is to develop a concise definition to what is true. However, epistemology is, generally speaking, subjected to one’s own idiosyncrasies. Thus, when this same application is made regarding Christianity, especially regarding the scriptures, it can’t fall within that theory of knowledge.

In other words, when a person quotes scripture correctly in defense of doctrine, the resulting response is fashioned by the recipient’s ideology, whether they are inside or outside of church walls. This is why apologetics, while profitable to the bible-believing Christian, ultimately serve no purpose in the evangelization of the lost.

The main issues within epistemological debate stem from two outcomes: there is no absolute truth; there is no absolute code of ethics or morality. Though this theory of knowledge tries to find a definition of truth, it has essentially led to postmodernism. There is no source from which wisdom comes, nor a source for ethical guidelines – besides the self. This introspection is influenced greatly by other thinkers, past conditions, and even sometimes a dubious, higher being or power – however, even this is subject to the merit one finds in these factors.

For the postmodern, there is no higher moral code than one’s self, thus it can produce hesitancy even in calling the holocaust evil based upon the grounds of it seeming morally good and acceptable to the Germans in that time period. Yet what has developed from this that is even more frightening than a lack of willingness to call something evil, is how flippantly many ascribe benevolence to all mankind. Generally speaking, all people have “good” inside themselves, and are generally predisposed to do “good.”

There are several problems to this. If nothing is truly evil, then “goodness” is just as irrelevant of a term as “evil.” If there is no such thing as absolute truth, “goodness” cannot be absolutely defined. The even larger problem to this is that the gospel is viewed as inadequate; such an act would be cosmological child abuse, void of true love, unnecessary, and without merit.

If man is generally good, what need does he have for a Savior? If evil is not a persistent problem of humanity, what need does one have for deliverance from it? If God is not storing up wrath for the unbeliever, wrath so insurmountable that it would cause mankind to fall prostrate if they even came close to understanding the fullness of it, to what end does man need deliverance?

Instead, what is echoed is the sentiment of Pilate as he looked the Messiah in the face, retorting, “What is truth?” Each man goes his own way, wandering, but not lost; stumbling, but not falling headlong, until the end of his life when he discovers the entirety of God’s wrath being executed upon him for all eternity. There will be no excuse, nor question of absolute truth in these times; in complete misery and anguish, he will know with absolute certitude the moral standards of God.

He will know the absolute truth of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ – and it will not save him from God’s wrath because he denied it whilst living. He will know that he was evil all the days of his life, even from his mother’s womb, and that the only redeeming part of his former life was that God was gracious to give him the common grace to live another day outside of this current wrath. There will be no relief, no expungement of his record, no justification, no forgiveness of sin, no beautiful Savior. He will be damned forevermore, and he will know and accept all of these truths without hesitation, all too late.

Unequally Yoked and Presumptuously Loving It

On the surface, to the everyday reader, this article doesn’t come across as shocking or disappointing. I feel that culturally, it would land on the flip side of this. People of the world would herald this couple as a beacon of hope. Certainly, the ordained Baptist woman would not be as narrow-minded as many of her contemporaries in the faith. Surely, something is going right in the hearts and minds of some Christians if we can see a Baptist woman and Hindu man become married, setting aside their doctrinal and faith related differences for the sake of true love.

Beyond her blatant twisting of scripture in dealing with 2 Cor. 6:14 and John 14:6 and her abhorrent view on baptism, there is another massive problem with how she is responding. She cautions other young women who have sought her at book signings to be careful with the exegesis, keeping in mind the cultural and historical context of the scriptures, as well as the early formation of the church’s theology.

Her basic conjecture stems from a complete lack of understanding in what the texts actually say. Somehow, there is a hidden meaning behind scripture dictating that we ought not be unequally yoked, as well as claiming Christ is the only way to have access to the Father. Yeah…

She then goes on to say, “The essential discernment is: does the faith path deepen the individual’s experience and relationship with God and their fellow humans? For me, that is the ultimate truth of religion.”

Never mind that you rail inconsistencies in everything that comes out of your mouth about the character of God, so long as you have a closer relationship with god and your fellow man. Never mind that you are encouraging young women to ignore the most basic context in the passage, the immediate context, so long as they form a proper view of how current and culturally relative the text is. Never mind that the institute of marriage between a Christian man and woman is to represent the relationship Christ has with the church, so long as you prove yourself to be religiously sensitive.

The damnable thing in respect to the article and this young couple is that Christ is not made much of, but diminished. His Word is cast aside; for not even the writer of the article says anything about the blatant disregard of the scriptures she quotes that stand alone, antithetically to her worldview.

Picture everything housed in a garbage dump. Here you see the Word of God being tossed aside next to the decomposing diaper. In one seemingly simple move, it is likened to that which decays. Yet the Word of God shall still stand long after everything else in that dump breaks down, because His Word is eternal. Simply because this young woman, along with her contemporaries, toss it aside and let the book rot does not evidence that the Word will rot as well; simply because ears are itching and false teachers will arise does not mean that ultimate victory will belong to the spoilers of His Word.

There is an incredible amount of poor theology housed under the guise of culturally sensitive teaching. In the end, it’s damnable. It purveys a source of salvation outside of Christ, minimizes and even mocks the written Word, and teaches others to do so. Be ravenous in what you read, but just be wise in the material you choose. The tongue has power both to end life and give new life.