Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ted the Red Is Dead

I don't know about my readers, but I'm sick of hearing accolades heaped upon the moldering, pickled carcass of Ted "Commie Red" Kennedy. Someone explain to me what is praiseworthy about a man who championed socialism for his entire political career?

While you're at it, walk me through the honor found in the Chappaquiddick incident, in which Kennedy "accidentally" drove off a bridge with a girl in his vehicle, escaped the wreck and left her to die, then reported the incident the following day, after authorities had located her body. Mary Jo Kopechne's death resulted from Kennedy's probable intoxication while operating a motor vehicle, and poor old Ted somehow soldiered through the harsh sentence of a two - month suspended jail term. What stoicism in the face of adversity. As sterling demonstrations of his statesmanship, Kennedy has been known to make jokes about Chappaquiddick, over the years.

Various organizations from across the political spectrum -- such as Americans for Democratic Action and the American Conservative Union, NARAL, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, the NRA, the National Right to Life Committee, and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence -- all find common ground in one area, at least: that Ted Kennedy was one of the most left - wing members of the Senate.

Good ol' Uncle Ted supported a woman's "right" to choose to kill her innocent, unborn child. He backed "gay" special rights. And he was one of the most shameless panderers to illegal aliens in U.S. politics.

I see nothing noble about a life lived in direct contravention of the U.S. Constitution, the Founding Fathers, the Catholic Church with whom he claimed membership, and the moral laws of God. In all of his major political views, this man staked positions anathema to historical Americanism. For him, bipartisanship meant "convincing people that my way is better than the highway."

Ted Kennedy was part of the problem with our country. Other politicans of like mind still pose threats to our once - great nation. Every man is a mixed bag, but you cannot put on a straight face and argue that Ted Kennedy was a net good for America -- not if you have an inkling of an idea what the Founders intended. But let me tell you what is good for America: that Kennedy is no longer a craftsman of social policy or a standard - bearer for immorality. We now have one less enemy within our gates, hell - bent on this nation's dissolution.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Atheist Objections Part VII

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI

#7 (Non-reductive physicalism) There is no empirical evidence and/or reason to accept the concept of a non-material soul. Christopher Hitchens brought this up in a recent debate with a Jewish Rabbi at New York City. Non-reductive physicalism makes the most sense when analyzing human behavior. Why do we see our grandparents lose all sense of awareness? Or a particular disease makes someone change their entire demeanor. What about Phineas Gage? It appears to be obvious that all our behavior stems from physical components and that there is nothing outside of the material world in creating cognitive thoughts as well as our temperament.

He assumes that the sole legitimate form of evidence is empirical evidence. This contention aside, what is "empirical evidence?" The Oxford English Dictionary (online) says: adjective -- based on observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.

OK, having observed and experienced myself for my entire life, I can say that I am more than just a collection of atoms on a one - way trip to oblivion's boneyard. As sure as anyone knows anything, I know that I am a soul. I'm aware that this fails as conclusive proof, but it passes the test as observational and experiential, if for me alone. If you want scientific evidence of an external, demonstrable quality, look elsewhere. I have the internal evidence of myself, but I cannot lay it on a slide under a microscope for you.

That said, embracing Hitchens' reasoning, I can say with confidence that no empirical evidence exists that he loves his mother; therefore, he does not love his mother. See the endless possibilities for this brand of "logic?"

Speaking of logic, it cannot abide the nonexistence of souls. Logic is reason or sound judgment. If we are happy accidents -- mere bundles of mobile matter -- and not spiritual beings encased in physical bodies, then we have no reason to insist on the concept of rationality, as our thoughts have purely material origins, and may or may not be reliable. If we cannot know if our thoughts are reliable, logic loses its usefulness to us, because logic assumes A.) its own existence, and B.) that it is comprehensible to humanity. By the way, science as we understand it accepts the existence and general reliability of logic as an axiom. Without reason, our whole basis for morality and government and justice flies right out the window.

If we have no souls, then free will is a pipe dream. We are slaves to the materials that make up our bodies. Our thoughts and actions are predetermined. Here I must add that I've never known another human being who lived his life as if he assumed that others had no control over their actions, being products of unguided materialism.

The logical end of materialism is nihilism; if we are biological automatons, then the murderer or rapist or robber is as much a victim of physics as the murdered, the raped, or the robbed. The idea that non - reductive physicalism makes the most sense of human behavior is a naked assertion; that's an interesting argumentative tack for someone demanding empirical evidence for the soul.

I have read that every seven to nine years, or thereabouts, the matter of our bodies is replaced, including that in our brains. So the physical components that constituted the superficial me no longer exist as parts of my body; yet I remain myself. I have memories of events that occured before the materials of my physical makeup became parts of the greater whole that is the material me. If this doesn't impress you as strong evidence that humans are more than matter conglomerations, I dare say that nothing else would, either.

We also have the Holy Bible as evidence that humans have souls, offering a plethora of verses on the subject. We are told about life after death (Revelation 6:9), obtaining salvation for one's soul (John 3:16), and even finding rest for our souls (Matthew 11:29), among numerous other references.

On the subject of grandparents "losing all sense of awareness," I don't know what this means; he should have elaborated further. My maternal great - grandmother suffered from an advanced state of Alzheimer's Disease at the time of her passing. She also had pneumonia. My paternal grandfather succumbed to a rare form of bone cancer. At no point did either of my loved ones "lose all sense of awareness."

As for injuries / diseases that change a person's demeanor, I can see how one might argue for an irrevocable link between the physical and spiritual in our lives on Earth, but I don't see how this supports the nonexistence of souls. It also fits the biblical view that we live in a fallen world. If you've read most or all of these posts addressing atheist objections, you've probably noticed the trend of atheists and agnostics ignoring this central Christian tenet in their questioning of Christians, as I have pointed it out more than once.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Atheist Objections Part VI

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V

#6 (Occam’s Razor) Sam Harris says, "Any intellectually honest person will admit that he does not know why the universe exists. Scientists, of course, readily admit their ignorance on this point. There is, in fact, no worldview more reprehensible in its arrogance than that of a religious believer."

While I think this can be turned on the atheist it certainly cannot be turned on the agnostic. Being a Christian means one has to pretend to know things that he/she does not know. Shouldn't one accept the least amount of beliefs that cannot be provided with sufficient evidence? Holding to unneeded presuppositions leads to bad conclusions to the things we do know or should know.

The first paragraph engages in question - begging; Harris assumes that the Holy Bible is not God's Word; a logical extension of this supposition is that no one knows why the universe exists. So Harris' view requires the presumption that his worldview is correct, which remains undemonstrated.

As to why humanity exists, God created us for His pleasure. Colossians 1:16: "All things were created by him and for him." His creative act brings Him pleasure and satisfaction, just as our own creative outlets bring us satisfaction, albeit on a lesser, sin - obscured level.

The universe exists for His pleasure, as well -- and for ours. Psalm 19:1: "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." The universe is a constant, viewable evidence of His presence and glory.

I'm not sure why humans and animals, stars and planets bring Him pleasure, but they do; this was especially true before the Fall of Man. God has not explained Himself in full, but He also informed us that we should not find this surprising. Isaiah 55: 8-9: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." 1 Corinthians 13:12: "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." Acceptance of scripture means having faith that God has answers for us in the next life, even if we retain a degree of ignorance in this one.

The Christian does know why the universe exists. He does know why humanity exists. Some -- including Christians -- find the answers incomplete or unsatisfactory, and I sympathize with that. But agnosticism offers indecision and confusion, and atheism offers nothing. To sum up:

Christianity = a real but inexhaustive explanation.

Agnosticism = a refusal to offer an explanation.

Atheism = an inability to offer an explanation.

I know that the atheist or agnostic might observe that Christians also question - beg, in that they assume the truth of scripture in reaching certain conclusions. True, but the difference is that Christians admit the need for faith in their beliefs; atheists typically don't; and agnostics remain indecisive on the issue.

The position that we don't know why the universe exists is no less taking a stand on the issue than the notion that we do know.

I'd like to see Harris or his acolytes elaborate on how atheism better adheres to Ockham's Razor than Christianity. William of Ockham was a Franciscan friar and theologian. He saw no contradiction of his maxim in Christianity. His rule of thumb, stated simply, suggests that when two or more theories fit the facts, we should embrace the one requiring fewer assumptions. So atheists must explain how a belief that something originated from nothing stands superior to the belief that something came from something greater. Agnostics posit that God's existence is unknowable, but is this true? I can't prove beyond doubt that God exists, but the alternative is belief in materialistic spontaneous generation, or the assumption that life arose from inanimate matter, which was disproven by Louis Pasteur in the 19th century. And before anyone mentions abiogenesis, understand that it's just an updating and expansion of the same tired theory, dressed in modernized garb. So whereas I can't demonstrate God's indisputable existence, I can offer the same options from above: something from nothing, or something from something greater. You can't outrun the question by remaining an agnostic.

Regarding the idea that Christians profess knowledge they don't possess: We've already covered the faith aspect, earlier. That aside, we have the assumption, yet again, that scripture isn't God's Word to Man. So accusing Christians of "pretending" doesn't hold much water, since this remains unproven. The question of whether or not scripture is a fanciful compendium of fairy tales, or the Word of God, needs addressing before one can assert with integrity that Christians indulge in "make - believe." History, prophetic fulfillment, and ethical considerations indicate that the Holy Bible is far more than a book of fiction.

And I reiterate: the Christian worldview is more coherent and logical than one steeped in atheism or agnosticism.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Man of Two Births

First we were told that the document provided online by Okenya was his Certification of Live Birth (COLB) from Hawaii. If you look at the document for yourself, you'll notice that it lists his birthdate as August 4, 1961.

Now Okenya's official MySpace page says that he's 52, not 48. If this is true, he was first swaddled in a red diaper in 1957, not 1961.

Both of these possible ages were provided by Okenya, himself.

To his defenders: Perhaps you can explain to all us silly conspiracy theorists how a man can be born in 1957 and 1961.

After reading this, if you don't believe Okenya is lying about his birth, I hope you're getting plenty of Miracle - Gro and water, each day, because you're dumb even by the standards of foliage.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Nativity Mystery

He has no documents extant,
No records of His life.
No paper trail will find him out.
He's uncut by that knife.

He's American as baseball
And homemade apple pie;
But if you press his place of birth,
He'll spit right in your eye.

Don't seek his advent doctor's name.
A COLB is all you'll get.
Don't ask where his first squalls took place.
Just kiss his coronet.

He'll smile his Serengeti smile
And snare you with his spell;
But ere you learn where he was spawned,
You'll ice - skate, first, in Hell.

"Marriage Ain't Easy. . . but I Sure Am"

I came across this "Dear Abby" letter from a couple of weeks back and thought I'd share its sterling advice with all of you:

DEAR ABBY: I have been married for four weeks. Two weeks after my wedding I met a man who excites me and makes my heart race. My husband, "Mitch," and I dated for eight years prior to getting married. We're both 25.

I have only slept with one other man than Mitch in my entire life -- someone I cheated on him with for a couple of weeks. Mitch and I had dated for two years at that point, and I was only 19. Mitch never found out.

I have spent two nights with this new man. I think about him constantly -- at work and at night when Mitch is asleep. I can't get him off my mind, and he feels the same about me. But he tells me that he feels guilty, that what we're doing is wrong and I should forget about him.

My relationship with Mitch is boring. We spend a lot of time at home and don't go out much. Mitch goes to bed early, and I'm tempted to leave and go see this other man. What do I do?


DEAR MARRIED, BUT ...: I suspect you already know what you need to do. First, level with your husband. Then see if you can have the marriage annulled because, although it has lasted only a month, it is already over.

And that's all, folks; that's the brilliance that earned her a daily newspaper column for decades. That's the wisdom and common sense that scythes right through to the heart of the matter. Can you imagine that she would've been so flippant about the intentional destruction of this marriage if a man had served as instigator? Where's her criticism of this extraordinarily selfish woman? These people married after an eight year "courtship," then the "wife" began cheating on her husband two weeks into their month - long marriage. What words adequately convey the depth of this sleazy treachery? And what is the likelihood that she remained faithful to him during the previous eight years, outside the one incident she mentions?

Notice how her partner in adultery seems more guilty in his feelings than she does. Her relationship is boring because hubby goes to bed early, and they don't go out much. Golly, I can't think of a better reason to stab him in the back and break the knife off at the hilt, can you? Forget sharing your concerns with him, girlie. Forget working out your problems -- none of which sound unsolvable. Making a mockery of your vows and relationship seems so much easier.

"Abby" obviously isn't a Christian, though her curt and nonjudgmental garbage is what I would expect from a feminist along the lines of "a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." No condemnation of the uber - narcissism on display. No lecture about honesty and fidelity. No call for repentance. Just tell him the truth as you're walking out the door en route to your next tryst. That's impressive.

This brand of "advice" is part of the problem with America, today. And it's as useless as throwing an anvil to a drowning man.

Unless your goal is sending him to Davy Jones' Locker, of course.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Atheist Objections Part V

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

5. If abortion is wrong why is God the #1 abortion doctor? Sam Harris brings this up and Douglas Wilson's response is basically "God gives and takes away." It is what the Bible says but which worldview makes the most sense given the large number of miscarriages?

I find treating these questions with respect difficult, since most have implied assumptions built into them -- assumptions that atheist inquirers don't acknowledge. For example, in the above question he proffers the assumption that God participates with due dilligence in every infant miscarriage. It's self - evident that this is what he means; otherwise, why dub God "the #1 abortion doctor?" Abortion doctors (an oxymoronic association, if I've ever heard one) kill people with intent; it's the bulk of their job description. However, this is nothing but a joker in a house of cards. Why should we accept that God terminates children in the womb? Does He sit up on a cloud, and say: "Nah, I don't like little Billy - to - be, though I just created his soul a month ago." ZAP! Where's the evidence for this? Since our dear atheist sympathizer has provided none whatsoever, Christians have no obligation to answer in greater detail than I've offered, here, or even entertain this tripe as a serious attempt at understanding. This seems more like an effort at playing "Stump the Dummy."

As usual, the questioner ignores basic Christian teaching about a fallen world laboring under God's curse, which came as a result of sin.

He demonstrates confusion between action and inaction, as well. If I see two men in a fistfight, and I do nothing to stop it, is that the same as wading in and punching both in the face? Better yet, if I don't stop baby - killing at the local abortuary by going Rambo on the Hippocratic Hypocrites within, is that synonymous to performing abortions?

As a brief digression, I followed Douglas Wilson's debate with Christopher Hitchens at Christianity Today in its entirety. I've also perused his blog a time or two. I doubt that he'd offer something so facile as "God gives and takes away" as an answer to labeling God an abortionist. Rather, I think he'd skewer the atheist for his disingenuousness in asking a loaded question.