From the tolerant, loving religious Left: “Screw St. Paul, screw him!”

Via Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD) – Chasing the Religious Left’s “Wild Goose”.

A recent festival convened by Religious and Evangelical Left leaders served as a mixing pot of liberal political advocacy and emergent church theology. Over the weekend of June 25, over 1,000 self-identified “progressive” Christians flocked to the Wild Goose Festival situated in the rolling hills of North Carolina. This mix of old time hippies and young idealists enjoyed an eclectic blend of art, music, talks, and general dissatisfaction directed at traditional evangelicals.

“Paul, in the Bible, tells my wife to be silent in church, screw St. Paul, screw him!” shouted a visibly angry Frankie Schaeffer during one session of the festival. Schaeffer, son of deceased author and evangelical leader Francis Schaeffer, lamented his family’s role in building the “religious right”, and the gathered audience of disaffected former evangelicals and other religious left groups affirmed his message. Schaeffer’s presentation seemed intentionally designed to offend traditionalists, leading to gleeful claps of approval from the audience.

They clapped for him?  Let’s be clear: The Bible is the inspired word of God, with the original writings turning out exactly as God and the writers wanted them to be.  Therefore, when Schaeffer says, “Paul, in the Bible, tells my wife to be silent in church, screw St. Paul, screw him!, he is really saying, “Screw God, screw him!”  Note to Frankie, the organizers, the other speakers and the audience members who agreed with Schaeffer: Christianity may not be your forte’.

While festival organizers proclaimed a “big tent” of inclusion, speakers repeatedly criticized a wide field of supposed adversaries ranging from political conservatives, evangelical Christian leaders, the United States government and even contemporary praise band leaders. Especially singled out for disdain were Southern Baptists, who were openly ridiculed by almost all of the major speakers.

Ah, you can really feel the love and tolerance!  Makes me want to be a Southern Baptist.

. . . Hoping to attract young evangelicals drawn to biblical teachings to care for the widow, the orphan, and the broken, festival speakers repackaged socialism and called it Regenerate Economies, while daydreaming about ending the nation-state through global environmental governance.

Yep, just your usual socialist / communist politics disguised as religion.  We get the parts about caring for widows and orphans, and do it with our own money.  We also get the parts about not shedding innocent blood, what marriage really is, etc.

Happy for the government to push the Church away from her responsibility to the poor, Sojourners chief Jim Wallis was on hand to offered a healthy dose of fear-mongering.  As I sat in the searing heat of the morning sun, I listened to his lecture, entitled “The Sky is Falling on the Poor.”  Wallis showed that he is well versed in the intricacies of the evil Republican budget but ignorant as to how the debt was created in the first place. Wallis boldly stated to the applause of the audience that “the debt arrived through two wars and tax breaks for the rich.” In classic Wallis style, class warfare is good, but actual warfare, even against terror, is always of the devil.

That’s what you get from false teachers include people like Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis.

Emergent Church purveyor Brian McLaren picked up where Wallis left off. Standing in the middle of a geodesic dome made of branches and twine, he lamented the lack of global environmental regulation and argued that “we must talk about the joy in paying taxes.”

Go ahead, champ!  Pay all the extra taxes you like.  Just don’t covetously ask Caesar to raise them on others and call it giving on your part.

He raged about the “myth” that the church could take over the care of the poor from the government, calling those who believe such so “stupid and idiots…and that’s being nice.” Over 40 years of failures in the federal government’s “War on Poverty” should convince religious statists least to question whether government is always the solution. But few such doubts arose at The Wild Goose.

Yep, just like Jesus taught: Ask Caesar to solve all your problems.

As usual, while usually misinterpreting the verses on giving (they seem to ignore the part about giving “what you have decided in your own heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion”), they ignore calls to sexual purity.  And these “social justice” types are uniformly pro-legalized abortion, the ultimate injustice.

. . . Using a combination of emotionalism and revisionist hermeneutics Peggy Campolo concluded unscientifically “gay people don’t have a choice.”

That’s a fact-free statement on her part.  She is ignorant of ministries like Gay Christian Movement Watch that have helped countless people.

Going to criticize those “hateful arguments that people have change, they actually haven’t. Those people are confused about their sexuality and are probably bisexual.” Not to be outdone by his wife, Tony Campolo stated plainly that since the Church has “become welcoming and accepting” of divorced people and not restrictive to ordination, eventually homosexuality will be accepted as well. Ironically, Peggy and Tony were rebuked by a young gay activist for not affirming those who chose to be LBGTQ.

Run, don’t walk, from the religious Left.

Gaffe vs. “gaffe” and media bias

If you only consume the mainstream media then you are ignorant by choice.

I realize that pointing out liberal media bias is in the shooting-fish-in-a-barrel category, but this example is so timely and obvious that I wanted to highlight it.  Just like they had to destroy Sarah Palin (and sadly, it looks like this is an example of them succeeding), they are now going after Michele Bachmann.  Nothing sets the allegedly feminist liberals on edge like a pro-life, Christian woman.

Ignoring the fact that they have already researched her background more than they ever did Obama’s (again, the same as with Palin), we have this example of an alleged but insignificant gaffe by Bachmann (a slight misstatement about the birthplace of John Wayne) versus a real and more serious gaffe by Obama.  Guess which got the vast majority of media coverage?

Via Lessons in Media Bias for Jon Stewart | Verum Serum.

Now compare the treatment of Bachmann to the press’ handling of another gaffe just a few days earlier.

Four days before Bachmann’s gaffe the President of the United states told a group of soldiers that he’d given a Medal Honor award to one of their members while he was still alive. Only the man the President named got the Medal posthumously and the man who received it while still alive was not part of that division. Oops!

It’s a similar mistake to the one Bachmann supposedly made, i.e. confusing two people with similar heroism rather than similar names. So how many news outlets reported the Obama gaffe? Going again to Google News, we see the answer is eleven. Granted there are hundreds more articles listed in this search, but most of those came after Obama admitted the gaffe and apologized for it. The media was not at all eager to jump on this gaffe. And even if you include all of the stories, it’s still a 4:1 spread in favor of Bachmann (if by “in favor” you mean against her).

So when Bachmann makes a mistake about a long deceased actor’s birthplace, the media makes up a story about what they think she meant and runs with it even after she denies it. When Obama makes an undeniably embarrassing gaffe about someone he’s actually met in the past year, the media ignores it and only lightly touches on it after he’s had time to apologize.

Oh, and have you heard about how Obama misstated the age of his daughter?  I’d give him a pass on that (I accidentally called one of the dogs by my youngest daughter’s name once or twice!), but that isn’t the issue.  The issue is how the Leftist media treats these things.  If it were Bachmann or Palin you’d hear about it for years (i.e., Quayle’s “potatoe”).  But with Obama it is quickly forgotten.

Again, if you only consume the mainstream media then you are ignorant by choice.

Another Darwinian tautology

A tautology is an essentially meaningless statement where all instances are true, such as, “It will rain today or it won’t.”  Much of Darwinian evolution “evidence” falls into this category.

Here’s the latest, via Don’t ask us how the most complex eyes appeared at the beginning. Instead, we offer to solve a tautology for you, about the yes of some Early Cambrian arthropods that predate other finds by 85 million years (i.e., they are very early fossils):

“The arrangement and size of the lenses indicate that these eyes belonged to an active predator that was capable of seeing in low light. The eyes are more complex than those known from contemporaneous trilobites and are as advanced as those of many living forms.”

. . .

They provide further evidence that the Cambrian explosion involved rapid innovation in fine-scale anatomy as well as gross morphology, and are consistent with the concept that the development of advanced vision helped to drive this great evolutionary event.

Did you catch that?  If you were a high school student who trusted your teachers, you’d think they had evidence for this unbelievably rapid amount of highly complex change.  But they merely assume that it evolved, so it “had” to have been a great evolutionary event and another example of “rapid innovation.”

A secular case against “same-sex marriage”

Roxeanne asked socially conservative bloggers to write a non-religious case against same-sex marriage.  I’ll make a few points here, but the good news is that the Wintery Knight did a more thorough and masterful job in A secular case against gay marriage.  I highly encourage you to read and bookmark it.  The case against oxymoronic “same-sex marriage” is not that hard to make, but sadly too many conservatives don’t prepare themselves and fall prey to soundbites.  It is their fault that places like New York voted this in.

First, my basic points.  These are not complicated, folks.

1. By nature and design, one man / one woman unions produce the next generation.  That is why the government is involved in these relationships.  Just because some marriages don’t produce children doesn’t mean that the government doesn’t have an interest in encouraging the relationships that by nature and design do produce children.

2. Only one man / one woman unions can provide a mother and a father to a child, the ideal for any child.  This should be self-evident to any observer.

3.  “Marriage” was a word created to describe these unions.  LGBTQX people have a right to live as they choose, but they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for society.  Please note: These people are welcome to get “married” in any number of apostate churches.  They can set up house and live together.  We are just saying that the government has no reason to affirm or regulate these relationships.

4. Saying that “marriage” applies to gays and lesbians isn’t a little different than the real definition of “a union of  a man and a woman,” it is the opposite.  It is saying that marriage is not just the union of a man and a woman, it is the union of anything we want it to be.

5. The arguments used to justify “same-sex marriage” support polygamy as well.  It isn’t a slippery slope argument, it is a cliff argument, where all the reasoning is already in place to justify other perversions of marriage.

6. “Same-sex marriage” has already impacted religious freedoms and will continue to do so.  This isn’t a religious argument per se, in that it isn’t saying “The Bible says ____,” but it is an argument about how government recognition of these unions pits the government against religions.

This is very important.  As noted here, the bill specifically says that “marriage is a fundamental human right,” but then goes on to give exemptions to religious organizations for having to recognize that right.  But how can that be?  What religion could have its views trump other fundamental human rights and justify, say, slavery in the U.S.?

Prediction: The law will stand but the religious exemption will get cut out.  The people who held out for the exemption behaved foolishly and naively.

7. These unions are bad for kids in many ways.  They inevitably result in 4-5 year olds being told how “normal” these relationships are.  They lead to adoption agencies closing rather than have to place children with gay or lesbian couples (that is premeditated child abuse).

8. Common sound bites about hospital visitation, estate taxes, etc. can be dealt with without undermining marriage.  For example, estate taxes are ghoulish.  You do not want the government to profit when you die!  So abolish them for everyone.

9. Don’t let them get away with sloppy slogans about “rights.”  They have the same rights as everyone else: To marry someone of the opposite sex.  I’m not trying to be cute here, I’m just pointing out that if they don’t want to exercise that right we don’t have to make up a new one for them.

10. Don’t let them get away with sloppy slogans about loving whomever they want.  Again, no one is saying they can’t love anyone they like.  Sadly, sound bites like that are repeated ad nauseum by people who should know better.We’re the ones staying out of their relationships.  They are the ones asking for government affirmation.

11. Don’t let them get away with comparisons to interracial marriages.  Skin color is moral neutral.  Sexual behavior is not.

Summary: While LGBTQX people are free to have these relationships, we are merely saying the government has no need to affirm or validate them.

—–

Aside from the secular arguments, if anyone wants to know what God says about marriage and these relationships, it is very clear.  He invented marriage.  Any church that disagrees with this isn’t a church, it is an organization trying to destroy the real church (that is, those who authentically follow Jesus).  They are actually doing you a favor in being so obvious.  Churches that promote same-sex unions are merely wolves in sheep’s clothing who took off the sheep’s clothing.  Hey, maybe they were getting too warm or something.

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

—–

Now, a few tidbits from Wintery’s piece (again, read it all!).  There are sources for all of this.   Emphasis added.

Claim: about 58% of traditional marriages last longer than 20 years.

Claim: about 5% of same-sex unions last longer than 20 years.

Claim: 85% of married women and 75.5% of married men report being faithful to their spouses. For homosexual males, the number is 4.5%

Look at the rates of violence in these relationships!  If these were anything other than politically correct relationships the media would be all over this.  I’d wager that these are a far bigger problem than “hate crimes.”

Rates of intimate partner violence

Intimate Partner Violence

Any advocates of SSM should be required to read these links:

Here are a few more examples of this infringement on civil society and business:

Consider the health problems it causes, such as 40+ times higher rates of HIV and syphilis for gay men.  Again, if this was any other group it would be non-stop news.   But it doesn’t fit with the mainstream media messaging.

Students who report being gay or bisexual are more likely than heterosexual students to engage in unhealthy risk behaviors such as tobacco use, alcohol and other drug use, sexual risk behaviors, suicidal behaviors, and violence, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Note that the previous facts were about students, yet the schools go overboard encouraging this behavior in kids.

The study reported: “the prevalence among gay or lesbian students was higher than the prevalence among heterosexual students for a median of 63.8% of all the risk behaviors measured, and the prevalence among bisexual students was higher than the prevalence among heterosexual students for a median of 76.0% of all the risk behaviors measured.”

But they are “born that way,” right?

The footnotes she mentions are in the original article. That article also debunks the “gay gene” myth using identical twin studies, which show that only 10-11% of identical twins have the same sexual orientation.

What?!  You mean Lady Gaga was wrong?!

Free speech and video games

Stan got me thinking about recent Supreme Court case about free speech and video games in his post about Free Speech.  For the record, I’m certainly opposed to these violent video games.

Briefly, the story is that the Supreme Court has struck down a California law that made it a crime to sell violent video games to children. It wasn’t even a close vote. The court ruled 7:2. The court made a stunning decision: Make parents responsible for their children. Is there any doubt that our court system (and the nation that supports it) has lost its mind?

This comment will probably reveal that I’m not a lawyer, but doesn’t the 1st Amendment specifically say that “Congress shall make no law . . .” and not “the States . . .?'”  Also, wouldn’t this get in the way of the 10th Amendment?

More importantly, I couldn’t help but laugh at some of the headlines noting that the responsibility to regulate this would now fall on parents.  That’s one of the major problems of people looking to government to solve all their problems.  The government solutions are usually counterproductive, but like drinking salt water the people just look to the government to solve even more problems.

This is just another example of the slippery slope of government intervention.  Countless parents have come to expect the government to feed their kids multiple meals per day, even if it means wildly wasteful programs.  But what could be a more basic responsibility of parents than to feed their kids?

Even though I thought the court’s view of this as a 1st Amendment issue was an overreach, I’m glad to see them err on that side.  It may mean we’ll have just a little more time before any criticism of the LGBTQX agenda is considered illegal.

Planned Parenthood caught lying. Again.

Shocking, I know.  It turns out that organizations who kill innocent but unwanted human beings for a living and hide statutory rape don’t mind lying to protect their funding.

When faced with losing Federal funding, Planned Parenthood launched a full-scale, deceptive effort to mislead people into thinking that all sorts of important medical services would be lost if that happened.  The deception was done in partnership with with the Obama administration and the mainstream media.  The CEO of PP and various legislators and supporters claimed that Planned Parenthood did mammograms and that other vital services would be lost (apparently Walgreen’s is all out of condoms) if funding was cut.  Those were lies.

Via Medicaid misinformation revealed: Planned Parenthood caught on tape admitting Indiana women can manage fine without it

Undercover phone calls released today show Planned Parenthood of Indiana clinic staffers at various locations admitting Medicaid patients have only to look around the corner to get healthcare.

Planned Parenthood and its supporters claim poor women in Indiana will lose access to vital healthcare services if they cannot go to Planned Parenthood.

But a new Live Action investigation shows the reality is quite the opposite….

. . .

In reality, according to PP’s own statistics, it sees only 1% of all Medicaid patients in the state. (PP states it sees 9,300 IN Medicaid patients, while IN has an enrollment of 1,022,700.)

Also see this Planned Parenthood overview for how, in addition to being the top destroyer of human life in the country, they systematically hide statutory rape and sex trafficking (when not teaching your kids to ignore the perspectives on human sexuality that you and your religion hold).

Your tax dollars at work

Via Radical gay-sensitivity training at USDA may become government-wide program — this is another consequence of turning sexual preferences into civil rights.

WASHINGTON, DC, June 28, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – If homosexual activists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have their way, a radical “gay sensitivity” training program developed by the department could soon be coming to every federal agency, the Washington Times reported Sunday.

. . .

The briefing refers to the belief that marriage should be restricted to a union between a man and a woman as “heterosexism,” and compares the belief to racism.

Got that?  If you believe what nearly every culture and religion taught for thousands of years, along with the scientific fact that only a man and a woman can produce a child, you are as bad as a racist!  Once again, folks, skin color is morally neutral, while sexual preferences are not.

The briefing also claims that attempts to change a homosexual inclination “usually doesn’t work and may even be harmful. Can produce feelings of depression, hopelessness, shame and anxiety. Some people become suicidal.”

That’s the work of Satan: “It is hard to stop sinning, so quit trying.”

Scagg’s presentation also addresses the issue of gender identity, stating: “Individuals are conscious of [sexual identity] between the ages of 18 months and 3 years. Most people develop a gender identity that matches their biological sex. For some, gender identity is different from biological sex (transsexuals).”

And, of course, they don’t stop to consider that maybe the physical part is right and the mental part is not.  They assume the mental part is right and the physical part is wrong (and the “Christians” would be blame God for getting the physical part wrong).

Fact: More economic freedom in a country = higher quality of life

Watch this 2.5 minute video. Do you really want to help people? Push for the rule of law, free trade, sound money and smaller government. Note that the U.S. ranking has fallen and is projected to keep falling.

Liberals and false teachers* will tell you that involuntary wealth redistribution is the solution.  They are still wrong.

Via Think economic freedom, think higher quality of life « Hot Air.

*False teachers include people like Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis and race-baiting Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie

Epic fail on ending homelessness

False teacher Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie wrote an op-ed in The Onion (oops, I meant the Oregonian) about Ending Homelessness.  While I appreciated his concession in the title (“Plan after well-meaning plan in the region misses the mark, failing to address root causes”), the piece reads like a self-parody.  Here’s my paraphrase: “We’ve had several expensive, decade-long programs to end homelessness and the situation keeps getting worse, but the programs really helped a lot, and we just need to spend lots more and then everything will be fixed!  Oh, and we need to take other people’s money by force to make that happen, because Jesus said to!”

Read it yourself and see what I mean.

He appealed to our need to be our “brother’s keeper.” But does that apply here?  That term occurs in Genesis 4:9 (Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”).  Most people will note that Cain was referring to his literal brother, not all of humanity. Also, he didn’t say it in reference to being his brother’s caretaker. He had murdered Abel and was basically giving the original version of the smart-aleck response, “It wasn’t my day to watch him.”

So once again Chuck mangles the Bible to advance his politics-disguised-as-religion agenda.  He picks a verse that he thinks backs up his point, but he has already mocked the Bible in whole and in part, so why should we take him seriously when he takes a verse out of context to use as a trump card?

This comment seemed a bit hypocritical, considering how Chuck mocks the traditional (read: real and biblical) view of marriage and is pro-legalized abortion:

This rhetoric has found expression in the tea party movement, which rejects traditional religious understandings of justice and compassion and has left even progressive politicians timid.

Yeah, theological liberals are all about traditional religious understandings!  Didn’t the early church fathers take their 6 yr. old girls to gay pride parades, just like Chuck describes on his blog?  Weren’t they pro-legalized abortion and pro-taxpayer funded abortions, just like Chuck & Co.?

I’m all for helping widows and orphans and the truly needy, but I prefer to do it with my own money (We’ve supported the Star of Hope homeless ministry for years, among other things).  And if I cite Bible verses to support my views, I use them in context, and I don’t force them on non-believers. Chuck did the opposite of all of that.

Chuck’s version of Jesus has him telling us to ask Caesar to take from neighbor A by force (i.e., taxes) to “give” to neighbor B, even if it puts neighbor B and his descendants in semi-permanent bondage to the government.

One of the common sound bites pro-legalized abortionists like Chuck use against pro-lifers is this: “You shouldn’t complain about abortion if you aren’t going to adopt all the kids!” That argument fails on many levels, but it only seems fair to ask Chuck how many formerly homeless people he is currently housing.

I wonder why Chuck doesn’t apply the “brother’s keeper” line of thinking to the unborn?

If Chuck really wants to solve homelessness he needs to switch political parties. One example: We need to drill for more oil. That not only provides lots of high paying jobs but it lowers energy costs and the costs of nearly everything else people buy — thus helping them stay in their own homes!

Also, the increase in the minimum wage always reduces jobs for young black men, whose unemployment rate sits at 40%. Thanks, Chuck & Co.!

We also need to teach comprehensive sex education, but not in the way Chuck & Co. use that term. I mean telling kids that if they don’t have sex out of wedlock and get a high school degree, their chances of being poor or homeless are very, very low. But if they do the opposite their odds skyrocket. But the Left is too busy supporting Planned Parenthood’s failed program of encouraging kids to have allegedly consequence-free sex when they are “ready,” which, shockingly enough, is right about the time when they want to have sex!

Oh, and you could teach the Biblical model — again, the opposite of what Chuck teaches — and tell them that God designed sex for one man and one woman in a life-long commitment. The odds of that resulting in homelessness is also very, very low.

Side note: I like Oregon Live for allowing an actual discussion. Chuck also writes at the Huffington Post and they censor opposing views, regardless of how politely they are expressed.  I was very encouraged by how the other commenters took Chuck to task — there is hope for Oregon!

We’d all like to reduce homelessness.  The question is whether we’ll come up with adult solutions that actually improve the situation, or whether we’ll ignore those and just tell the government to fix it — with someone else’s money, of course.

Is God a Moral Monster?

Short answer: No.

Medium answer: Listen to the last hour of the February 14, 2011 Stand to Reason Podcast

Long answer: Read Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God by Paul Copan

Much is made by the “New Atheists” such as Richard Dawkins (see one of his notorious quotes below) about the God of the Bible being immoral.  Aside from the complete lack of grounding for someone like Dawkins to make any complaints about morality, his sound bites fail when examined carefully.  As the saying goes, if you want to ask tough questions, that’s great, but you need to pay attention to the answers and not just plug your ears.

Sadly, you get a lot of wimpy or fake Christians who would rather apologize for God or deny his word rather than doing the tough work of thoroughly understanding the passages.  Christianity may not be their forte’.  Even those who buy the myth about the mean Old Testament God versus the nice New Testament God should note that Jesus had zero issues with anything in the Old Testament.  He was glad to quote the most controversial parts: Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah, Sodom & Gomorrah) and never hinted that He disagreed with any of it.

Here’s a review from Amazon by George P. Wood:

In The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins writes:

“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”

In short, God is a “moral monster.”

Paul Copan begs to differ with Dawkins’ evaluation of the Old Testament God, not to mention the similar critiques of other New Atheists–e.g., Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. In Is God a Moral Monster? he uses these critiques as “a springboard to clarify and iron out misunderstandings and misrepresentations.” More than that, he essays to defend the justice of God, properly understood and correctly presented.

Copan divides his work into four sections. Part 1 identifies the New Atheists and outlines their critique of God. Part 2 responds to critiques of God’s character that revolve around his desire for the praise of his people, his “jealousy” for their fidelity, and his command to Abraham to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Part 3 tackles what Dawkins calls the Bible’s “ubiquitous weirdness” and those passages he sees as morally monstrous. This section, the book’s longest, deals with kosher laws, criminal punishments, relationships between the sexes, slavery, the killing of the Canaanites particularly, and the so-called “religious roots” of violence generally. Part 4 concludes the book by questioning whether atheism can provide a foundation for morality and by pointing to Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the Old Testament.

Copan’s response to the New Atheists utilizes the following types of arguments:

First, he situates the Old Testament narratives and laws within the “redemptive movement of Scripture.” As a Christian, Copan reads the Bible as a story with a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning is an unsullied creation, and the end is Jesus Christ. The historical and legal elements of the Old Testament take place in the middle, falling short of God’s creational ideals and in need of Jesus Christ’s redemptive work. Far from being “God’s timeless wisdom,” Copan argues, much of the Old Testament is “inferior and provisional,” offering “incremental steps toward the ideal.”

Second, Copan situates the Old Testament within its historical context, pointing out how its legal codes are often a measurable improvement on the contemporaneous legal codes of other ancient near eastern societies. Criminal punishments are less severe, relationships between the sexes are fairer to women, slavery is more strictly regulated, and warfare is less savage.

Third, regarding difficult Old Testament narratives, Copan points out that narration does not imply endorsement. Jacob married two women and used their maidservants as concubines, but this does not imply divine endorsement. Jephthah sacrificed his daughter because of a rash vow, but his action did not merit divine approval. Many New Atheist critiques of Old Testament narratives commit what Copan calls “the `is-ought’ fallacy.”

Fourth, regarding difficult Old Testament laws, Copan focuses on their context and their limited application. Take Deuteronomy 20:16-18, for example–where God commanded the Israelites to “utterly destroy…the Hittite, the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite.” Copan points out several things worth keeping in mind.

* In issuing this commandment, God uses Israel as an agent of judgment against the Canaanites, whom God is judging for their wickedness.
* In addition to a concern for justice, God’s concern is religious: Unless the Canaanites are destroyed, they will corrupt the monotheistic faith and practice of Israel.
* This commandment, and others like it, has limited application to the initial entry of Israel into the Promised Land. It is not used as justification for Israel’s wars once they are established in the land.
* The commandment is not racially or ethnically motivated, since other passages of Scripture promise a similar judgment to Israel if she is disobedient to God and since Israel itself was a multi-ethnic host.
* The narratives describing the fulfillment of this commandment use “ancient near eastern exaggeration rhetoric,” meaning that the descriptions of total killing are not literally true and would not have been understood to be literally true by Israel or her contemporaries.
* The targeted cities are best understood as military outposts rather than non-combatant urban areas.
* Canaanites could escape divine judgment by joining Israel (as did Rahab and her household).
* Although some verses in Joshua describe the total destruction of the Canaanites after Israel’s entry into the Promised Land, other verses describe their continued presence. So, the Bible’s narrative portrayal of Israel’s “conquest” is itself ambivalent.

I doubt that New Atheists will think of much of this type of argument–focusing on context and limiting application. My guess is that they will still consider the commandment problematic, even contextualized and limited. Fine. But Copan’s point is that they should correctly describe what the narrative describes and understood the limitations of the commandments before they simply condemn them. One of the most irritating aspects of New Atheist critiques is their fundamentalist-like citation of Scripture without bothering to understand its contextual meaning. Copan’s argument helps expose the hermeneutical weaknesses of such New Atheist critiques.

In general, I found Copan’s argument to be persuasive, even probative at points. I think he successfully highlights numerous weaknesses in the New Atheist critique of the Old Testament God. Results may vary for different readers. Nonetheless, I think this is a valuable book for both atheists and Christians alike. It is valuable for atheists because it offers them a nuanced interpretation of difficult Old Testament passages. Rather than constructing straw-man arguments against the Old Testament God based on facile citation of passages plucked out of context, atheists need to argue with the passages as they are interpreted by believers who stand in the mainstream Christian tradition. The book is valuable for Christian readers because it helps them read their Bibles in a Christ-centered way, recognizing the less-than-ideal character of many Old Testament figures and the inferior-and-provisional character of many Old Testament laws.

Once again, the evil and deadliness of political correctness

Political correctness is the adult version of Jr. High peer pressure: People say things they know are false because they are afraid of being unpopular.  That would be irritating enough if the consequences weren’t so severe and often deadly.  See Muslim Gangs Drug & Rape Children All Over The UK for a recent example.

Also see Political correctness is deadly once again.

Quote of the week

Via Video: “I’m phobia-phobic” Mark Steyn on Free Speech.  Click the link for more.  Steyn rocks.

. . . if you’re not in favor of free speech you find offensive, repellent and loathsome, you’re not in favor of free speech at all and you’re on the side of creeping totalitarianism.

He cited a bizarre example in the U.K., where an moderate Muslim was charged with hate speech for saying that Islam considers homosexual behavior to be sinful and a pro-gay group was charged as well for criticizing Islam for the same reason.  But they both said the same thing: Islam opposes homosexual behavior!  This is what you get with the passive-aggressive faux-tolerance of the Left.

You do not have a Constitutional right to never be offended.

With friends like these . . .

Reading How Obama’s plan to raise the minimum wage will hurt young black men reminded me of how counterproductive so many Liberal policies are for blacks.

The abortion rate is three times higher for blacks than whites, and Liberal dreams of taxpayer-funded abortions will deliberately take that higher.  Yet they are the ones claiming to have the long term best interests of blacks at heart?  Planned Parenthood kills more blacks in a week than the evil KKK did since their inception (and ironically enough, the KKK is pro-life).

They support teacher’s unions without fail and oppose charter schools, yet they are the ones claiming to have the long term best interests of blacks at heart?

They assume that poor blacks will always be poor and set up the welfare to perpetuate that, yet they are the ones claiming to have the long term best interests of blacks at heart?

Now here’s part of the post about how minimum wage increases hurt young black men.  I encourage you to read it all.

Moderate economist Gregory Mankiw of Harvard University lists the policies that are accepted by virtually all economists.

Here’s Greg’s list, together with the percentage of economists who agree:

  1. A ceiling on rents reduces the quantity and quality of housing available. (93%)
  2. Tariffs and import quotas usually reduce general economic welfare. (93%)
  3. Flexible and floating exchange rates offer an effective international monetary arrangement. (90%)
  4. Fiscal policy (e.g., tax cut and/or government expenditure increase) has a significant stimulative impact on a less than fully employed economy. (90%)
  5. The United States should not restrict employers from outsourcing work to foreign countries. (90%)
  6. The United States should eliminate agricultural subsidies. (85%)
  7. Local and state governments should eliminate subsidies to professional sports franchises. (85%)
  8. If the federal budget is to be balanced, it should be done over the business cycle rather than yearly. (85%)
  9. The gap between Social Security funds and expenditures will become unsustainably large within the next fifty years if current policies remain unchanged. (85%)
  10. Cash payments increase the welfare of recipients to a greater degree than do transfers-in-kind of equal cash value. (84%)
  11. A large federal budget deficit has an adverse effect on the economy. (83%)
  12. A minimum wage increases unemployment among young and unskilled workers. (79%)
  13. The government should restructure the welfare system along the lines of a “negative income tax.” (79%)
  14. Effluent taxes and marketable pollution permits represent a better approach to pollution control than imposition of pollution ceilings. (78%)
All this makes the race-baiting of false teachers like Chuck “Jesus is not the only way” Currie and the Leftist media so galling.  Tea Party members love people like Herman Cain because his ideas are so superior to those on the Left.  Yet they are the ones claiming to have the long term best interests of blacks at heart and that Tea Partiers are racist?  Leftists like that have no shame.

Where they really need warning labels . . .

. . . is at abortion clinics.  After all, the new cigarette labels say, “Warning: Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby.”

But you know what else can harm your baby?  Paying someone to kill her in the womb.   How about a sign at abortion clinics saying, “Killing your baby can harm your baby?

WARNING: Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby. Image: Illustration of premature baby crying in incubator.<br />
Cessation Resource: 1-800-QUIT-NOW<br />
Copyright: U.S. HHS” /></p>
<p>From <a href=Jill Stanek:

President Obama is committed to protecting our nation’s children and theAmerican people from the dangers of tobacco use. These labels are frank, honest and powerful depictions of the health risks of smoking and they will help encourage smokers to quit, and prevent children from smoking,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “President Obama wants to make tobacco-related death and disease part of the nation’s past, and not our future.”

First, it must be noted that Obama and Sebelius are liars, feigning concern for “our nation’s children” while doing all they can to enable the abortion industry to continue murdering them, also taking their political contributions all along the way.

Cigarettes claim the lives of 443,000 each year? Abortion claims the lives of nearly 3 times that, 1.2 million each year.

Showing the graphic reality of the harm of cigarette smoking will curb it? Why not do the same for abortion, if the administration really wants it to be “rare”?

To that end, AbolishAbortion.com has launched a petition drive, telling the FDA to force abortion mills to post graphic warning signs “showing women what an abortion really does.”

I have signed on as a cosponsor of this drive. Hope you’ll sign the petition.

This is especially timely, considering how the new pro-abortion tactic is to require Pregnancy Resource Centers to post signs saying what they don’t do — i.e., abortions.  Wouldn’t it be more relevant and informative to require abortion clinics to show pictures of what they really do?

Always remember

It is a scientific fact that the unborn are unique, living human beings from conception.  Abortion kills those human beings and is therefore immoral except to save the life of the mother.

Abortion is a sin but forgiveness and healing can be found in Jesus.