Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Reasonable Doubts podcast, Part 2 1/2, or "atheists are voracious readers"




Ah, but my favorite line:  You're focusing on a single tangent and ignoring all of the content of our arguments. Your position is flawed & arguments are lame.

Paired withFor my part, you lost me in paragraph one of your first post.


So yeah, never mind. It's going to be hard to take these guys even semi-seriously going forward.

The "Reasonable Doubts" podcast on presuppositional apologetics: Part 2

Continuing in our review from last time, in minute 53 of the podcast, the critique of Christianity's moral foundation begins.

The Doubtcasters make several central mistakes in their critique, the principal of which makes its appearance early. They show that they do not understand the difference between God commanding someone to do something and God informing someone that either they or someone else will be doing something. While this is not what I would call basic theology, neither is it all that complex. Further, it is what I would call fairly basic hermeneutics of language. "Go get that ball now" is hardly the same as "He's going to go get that ball". Numerous and generous portions of especially Old Testament books are prophetic utterances, setting out descriptions of future events. God is explaining what is going to happen, and one of the reasons He does so is to let the reader/listener know that He is God (see Isaiah chapters 40-48). Further, it is clear that God does not always approve of the negative things He's warning of, even going so far as to make clear that He'll be punishing those whom He's using to bring punishment for sin against Israel, in Habakkuk. Yet the Doubtcasters could have easily used Habakkuk as their example ("Look, the war god Yahweh is commanding the Babylonians to wreck His chosen people! Haw haw haw!"), showing again their unfamiliarity with the Bible. This may seem complicated at first, but it's really not - you just have to do a little more reading and deep thinking. More on this to come, as it forms the backbone of much of their criticism.

Minute 55 - they quote Chris Bolt correctly identifying the fact that man's relationship to moral laws, as a creature, is not the same as God's relationship to moral laws, as the Creator and Lawgiver. I'd add, for the Doubtcasters' benefit, that it is literally impossible for God to commit murder, since murder is biblically defined as the unjustified taking of human life, and all humans are guilty of capital crimes before God (specifically, idolatry and rebellion) and deserve death at every moment of our existence. Instead of being burned up in a wrathful outburst, we are instead mercifully preserved by God Who expresses great patience in letting most of us live for years and decades when we deserve to live not one second.  Anytime God takes a human life, it is justified. He decides, not you or I.

Also, to forestall any objection: Yes, God's decision to end any human's life (including mine) is by definition good, the best. God is God of all, the moment of my birth and the moment of my death included.

Romans 14:7For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.


Romans 8:35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36Just as it is written,
         “FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG;
         WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”
37But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What reason internal to Christianity could the Doubtcasters bring against the idea that God is sovereign over all things?

At the 56:30 mark, they make another serious blunder, confusing "Thou shalt not murder", which is the proper statement of the Sixth Commandment, with the oft- and wrongly-stated "Thou shalt not kill".  It is amazing, honestly, to hear supposedly sophisticated atheist critiques that make such basic errors.  At the 56:45 mark, the Doubtcasters have a laugh about the supposed contradiction that results from later commands in the Pentateuch to execute witches, yet since (obviously) the Israelite state lawfully executing a persistent capital criminal is hardly a case of murder, their laughter merely demonstrates their ignorance.
A reminder here - this is still a defense of Christianity's internal coherency, a defense against a supposed internal critique. The reader may not think that witchcraft merits capital punishment, but that would not be a valid argument in this case, since the Doubtcasters are trying to show internal problems within the Christian worldview. On Christianity, it was perfectly legitimate to execute witches in the Old Testament Hebrew nation.
And no, the fact that most Christians don't advocate executing witches today isn't "covenantal relativism", as the Doubtcasters sniff, any more than the fact that American law differs from British law in some ways is anglo-relativism. 21st-century America is not Ancient Israel, and yes, that matters.

Another headscratcher occurs at the 57:30 mark, and let me address the Doubtcasters directly here. Fellows, if you want to be taken seriously by anyone who's not already a fanboy, if you want Christians to listen to you fairly and honestly so that perhaps they may be persuaded, don't
-talk about the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ as if it were a case of human sacrifice, nor
-refer to "Jebus" who "died on an X".
I am at a loss to imagine how anyone could think this is a serious discussion of these topics, but perhaps they're just playing to their crowd. It's certain they're not attempting to fairly represent the Christian side of things. Scoring a few cheap laughs from the anti-theist peanut gallery is not equivalent to serious interaction with biblical theology.

Jesus is not merely a human, and His atoning death on the Cross was nothing like the human sacrifices that the Bible so often condemns in pagan nations.  It has always been God the Son's plan to become incarnate, to live a sinless life on Earth, and to give Himself as a ransom for many.
John 10:18 - "No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again."
Acts 2:23 - "this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death."

God, Yahweh, never called for human sacrifice. Rather, He called for the blood of bulls and goats as foreshadows and indicators of the coming Messiah, and His intent was to save sinners rather than calling for their own blood to be spilled. That's the whole point of atonement - the substitute dies in place of the guilty one. Nor would one sinner dying in the place of another sinner be sufficient - Yahweh's wrath at sin is not thus satisfied. It had to be a perfect, spotless sacrifice to cleanse sinners from sin. This is one of the main points of the Epistle to the Hebrews, but of course it's asking a lot from a group of atheist podcasters to be very knowledgeable about Hebrews.
To be most correct, they should have said "theanthropos sacrifice" or "God-man sacrifice", but of course they stuck with the buzzword, probably hoping, again, for cheap points.

Continuing in the theme of human sacrifice, the Doubtcasters go on to claim that 1 Kings 13 is a command to sacrifice pagans on their altars. No doubt they refer to verses 1-3.
If there were a command present, I'd expect to see something in the imperative mood, but nothing of the sort is actually found there. Rather, this is a prophecy about an upcoming event.
Further, the way this actually turned out under King Josiah was not a religious ritual or sacrifice at all.
2 Kings 23:15-20
This is not a sacrifice of humans so as to appease deity or ask for favor from God. Rather, this is a reform movement (spearheaded by King Josiah, not a priest or other religious figure) to cleanse the nation of the deep and destructive idolatry into which it had fallen. These priests of the high places were career capital criminals who had made a living off of violating the Mosaic Law. The point of burning the bones on the altar is as the text says earlier - to defile that altar and thus discourage anyone who might think that the high place is an acceptable place or context of worship, and discourage from thinking that the god whose altar was defiled had power to fight back or overcome the judgment that the One True God - Yahweh - had brought against it.  The verbiage "sacrifice" in 1 Kings 13 turns out to be dramatic irony - the religion against which the man of God had made the prophecy is the one that delighted in human sacrifice, of weaker people, of people whom the false religion was able to dominate and deceive. But in the end, judgment comes upon the deceiver.

The Doubtcasters contend that God commands cannibalism, in Jeremiah 19:9, Ezekiel 5:10, and Leviticus 26:29. These are all instances of God prophesying judgment to come, judgment He has ordained. These are not commands. This is simply silly.
Another instance of simplistic language occurs in this section when the Doubtcasters say that God is "forcing people to eat the flesh of their dead relatives."  Where is their argument that divine ordination of events and predestination is incompatible with human volition and making of choices? Did they even think that deeply about it, or were they instead again confusing prophecy with command? This is evidence that the Doubtcasters are again importing their own presuppositions into their critique. Thus, external critique. They need to show us all why a compatibilistic view of the will is incorrect (and contradicted by something in the Bible) rather than assume libertarian freewill and proceed from there. It's disappointing that Dave Fletcher in particular, who (iIrc) claims a Calvinist background, didn't pick up on this.

At the 58:35 mark, during their recitation of a litany of (as we've seen) poorly interpreted Bible passages, they throw in "This is a God of love, mind you", again providing us every reason to call out their claims of performing an internal critique as totally baseless and empty. They're not doing anything nobody's ever done before. Atheism brings forth the same old garbage, with new drapes, time and again.
For one thing, Scripture is clear that God is a loving God. It even goes so far as to say that "God is love" - 1 John 4. Yet the Doubtcasters should also know that God is just, wrathful, jealous, etc, and God can express multiple attributes at a time or only one at various times, and when He is enacting judgment on evildoers, it just so happens He is engaging in wrath, jealousy for His glory, justice in punishment of sinners, and love of defending victims of abuse.
Further, in various biblical word-pictures of heavenly glory where heavenly worship of God is depicted, the worshipers do not say "loving loving loving is the Lord God All-Loving", but rather "holy holy holy is the Lord God Almighty".
This critique also fails to take into account the incomprehensibly vast and profound love that exists between the persons of the Trinitarian godhead. John 17, for example, records some striking language from Jesus about the mutual love the Father and the Son have for each other. Exercising judgment and concern for holiness and glory is an act of love by one person of the Trinity for the others. Thus, God's bringing judgment and punishment upon rebel sinners is a supreme act of love, but apparently neither is it the kind of love nor is it directed toward the objects the Doubtcasters would prefer. The Doubtcasters, to make this criticism stick, however, would need to show us some biblical grounds for thinking they know better how to exercise holy wrath than God does. Their preferences are completely irrelevant, but they appear to have forgotten that.

At the 58:55 mark, the Doubtcasters arrive at a full-throated conclusion, that if God commands something, it can't be immoral in an absolute sense. The problem is, they didn't show us any instances so far of God commanding something they find problematic, let alone that a consistent Christian should find problematic, so the listener is left wondering when they were planning on offering substantiating argumentation.

Part 3 of this series will deal with the segment on the deception of God. Soli Deo Gloria.

(Please leave any comments at the post on Triablogue.)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The "Reasonable Doubts" podcast on presuppositional apologetics: Part 1

Reasonable Doubts is an atheist podcast to which I regularly listen, and honestly I find them among the least unfair of all Internet atheists I’ve encountered, which I generally appreciate. That’s not to say they are always or even often fair to the Bible or the Christian faith, but I am willing to appreciate lesser amounts of evil when greater amounts have been experienced.

The Doubtcasters recently performed a two-and-a-half part critique of presuppositional apologetics that quite rightly became a critique of biblical theology, and I’d like to respond to the 2nd episode (beginning around the 17-minute mark).

The Doubtcasters made it clear in the 2nd episode that they would be engaging in an internal critique of the Christian faith and nothing more. They specifically said that they were not going to provide their own account of reality, that this is merely a demonstration that the Christian worldview is incoherent and impossible. Keep this in mind as we proceed - since their intention was to show Christianity's internal incoherency, my defense will be entirely from the Christian perspective.

Their first critique has to do with with God's relationship to the laws of logic and consists of an attempt to impale Christians on the horns of a dilemma, which they liken to the Euthyphro dilemma. That sort of fits, though to my mind the Euthyphro dilemma is easily resolved.
Is logic both contingent on God's existence and logically necessary? Or must it be one or the other? Is God dependent on the laws of logic?
No need to reinvent the wheel here - James Anderson and Greg Welty recently wrote a paper that answers this dilemma quite well. Read here The Lord Of Non-Contradiction.

Around the 42:26-minute mark, the Doubtcasters' next critique begins. It has to do with the notion that only Christian theism can account for induction and thus all science and scientific enquiry. I affirm this statement, but of course the Doubtcasters don't.
The Doubtcasters choose here to bring up what a commenter on their blog, Reynold, mentioned, rather than, apparently, thinking of their own critique:
1) a god who performs “miracles” shoots down the idea of the “invariant laws of nature”
They quote Chris Bolt, from here:
Reynold thinks that covenantal apologists are committed to some concept of “unvarying laws of the universe,” but this is not necessarily the case. Some do not even believe that there are any such things as “laws.” Perhaps laws are merely descriptions of the regularities we observe in nature. And the Christian knows that these regularities obtain through time and location because it is God who oversees them in that manner. But the atheist has no basis upon which to affirm this understanding of regularities as one of their own, David Hume, famously pointed out.
The question here is not about instances where nature does not behave in a regular fashion. Anomalies presuppose regularities. The Christian can account for the regularities in virtue of God controlling and ordering His creation. The atheist cannot.

Doubtcaster Jeremy Beahan objects to Bolt's statement, then goes on to empty all meaning from his own objection, giving away the farm.  He says that, yes, anomalies can wreak havoc on scientific theories and they should force us to revise our ideas about what those regularities are. He fails to take seriously just what this means.
Dave Fletcher: And science is structured to include those anomalies.

If it weren't already obvious, this is one of the first points where the Doubtcasters fail to bring an internal critique. This is external, importing their own assumptions into the equation. Interestingly, their own worldview doesn't rule out miracles because of this objection. If you think a particular law of nature is in operation and then you observe an anomaly, you change the law or figure out why there was some other force or entity in play, right?
If you observe 1000 rocks fall to the ground when thrown into the air, you might conclude there's probably a force that pulls them back toward the center of mass - downward. If you throw the 1001st rock in the air and I catch it, thus stopping its fall, that's not a violation of a law of nature (ie, gravity). It's an intervention by an intelligent agent. One easy Christian response to this kind of critique is simply to point this out - miracles are intervention by an intelligent agent, and it's no more difficult for us to account for than for a naturalist to account for intelligent activity in their own experimentation. How do the Doubtcasters not know this?

Moving on, Beahan reads more from Bolt:
Perhaps there are laws of nature, and they do not vary. In that case, God could intervene such that some law is not broken, but neither is it in play in that instance. So there is no successful objection here, and the atheist is still left having dodged, rather than answered, the problems raised for his own view by his own camp.
Here is the essence of the Doubtcasters' critiques here; I have transcribed what I believe to be the important parts of their discussion.:
So God can intervene in the parting of the Red Sea, but He's not actually breaking any laws of nature? 
How would buoyancy still hold at the moment, even as there's a wall of water? 
What is the difference? 
God makes sure nature behaves in regular ways except of course when God doesn't. God ensures that fixed laws of nature exist except when He suspends them, and this is supposed to give us a basis for induction. 
Presuppositionalists just think of this in the abstract. They’re not thinking about how this view would really affect science.
A doctor runs experimental treatment; are the people really responding to the treatment, or is this God actually intervening? How do we know what the people are actually responding to?
Seismologists poring over data from a recent earthquake - is it caused by plate tectonics or is God just smiting people?
And, OK, we could just say that God is smiting people and He is using natural processes to do so. But that doesn't help us predict when the next earthquake is going to occur, and that's what we're looking for when we use inductive reasoning.
Let’s say a building didn’t collapse on a guy during an earthquake - is that something we can add to our dataset in studying architectural design? What if he’s a Christian/Calvinist? Should we cross him off our dataset? This threatens the entire foundation of induction. It would only work if we knew some sort of number to help us with our probability, how often God would intervene.
Any absolute statement can be disconfirmed by one counterinstance. How could we ever know what a law of nature is then? Anything that appears to be a violation of a law of nature could just be God intervening. How could we falsify that hypothesis that a given law exists?

Some initial thoughts before I break into a more specific rebuttal.
Here is more relevant material from Chris Bolt.

God promised, after Noah had disembarked from the ark, that:
"I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done. While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night, Shall not cease" (Genesis 7:21-22). This promise, enacted directly after the catastrophic Flood that killed every landgoing animal and all people except for those on the ark, speaks directly to God's intent never to disrupt the natural cycle that He had put in place on such a wide scale, until the Eschaton.
Indeed, the very idea that the Parousia of Christ will be such a cataclysmic upheaval of all that had been before presupposes that there was a more or less normal flow of nature, before. In the same way that making all language allegorical eviscerates true allegory, thinking that God is "constantly" intervening, as the Doubtcasters ignorantly put it, means that miracles are unremarkable.

All the commands in the Old and New Testaments to keep working and live faithful and diligent lives presuppose that the Lord is not going to be intervening miraculously all the time.

Miracles are and have always been quite rare. The sophomoric reader of the Bible may object - but they're all over the place in the Bible!
Are they indeed? Count them. How many total miracles are recorded in the Bible's accounts of history? A few hundred, maybe. How many events have occurred throughout human history in the last ~8000 years? The amount is incalculable. Compared with how many times I, if I were Almighty God, would feel like intervening and either blowing something up or stopping someone from sinning or something, I believe God has shown remarkable restraint in His miracle-working.
The miracles are "all over the place" in the Bible because they are so special as to merit recording and they serve redemptive and revelational purposes. They are done to highlight the fact that God is at work in the world and through the people whom He has set apart for His work. If miracles were occurring all the time, willy-nilly, then the whole point would be lost. They wouldn't be special. They wouldn't get anyone's attention. God distinguishes His prophets and also the ministry of Jesus and the apostles by the attesting signs and wonders for the precise purpose that people will see the powerful works and pay close attention.
To wit, John 9:16 - Therefore some of the Pharisees were saying, "This man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath." But others were saying, "How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?" And there was a division among them.

Biblically speaking, there are not a whole lot of miracles happening during scientific experiments that might intentionally or unintentionally mess them up. Who was studying the parting of the Red Sea to find out whether "buoyancy" was still holding?

It is more important to trust God than to trust in the scientific enterprise. Let science burn if it should come to that; "let God be true and every man a liar" (Romans 3:4). Standing commands exist for Christians to work hard and work excellently, to praise God with our daily work, design, and knowledge. If, for the sake of argument, it should be determined that we can't know that a given law or set of laws of nature hold except for very rare divine interventions, if God were indeed "constantly" intervening, that changes nothing for the Christian. God knows far better than we do what we need in this life, and if He deems it better to perform constant miracles than to take a more hands-off approach, where His providence and the ways He has made nature to function are more prevalent, then so be it. He is in charge; it's His universe and we are His creatures and His slaves. He is omniscient and very wise, whereas we are very, very limited. The Doubtcasters' sneering at how miracles undermine the scientific enterprise show that they were either unable or unwilling to consistently perform an internal critique. They should definitely stick to external critiques, for they know very little about Christian theology, no matter how many times they want to claim they came out of Calvinist churches. One's background matters little; one's fairness and knowledge matter far more.

The Doubtcasters go on to ask how we can know whether an event that would appear to disconfirm what we previously understood to be a law of nature was the result of a natural process or was a miraculous event.
Again, this is answered by remembering that miracles are rare, and are performed for specific redemptive and revelational purposes. The pattern that we see in the Bible roughly divides miracles into two categories. Most of the miracles recorded in the Bible are divine healings. For example, a great deal of biblical miracles occur in Jesus' ministry (and the apostles') and most of those were related to healing. The Doubtcasters fret about how we could know whether God is "smiting" someone and how that might relate to civil engineering. To what are they referring? There are actually few instances of God exercising power to punish people in a prima facie supernatural way. I guess a few that come to mind are:
1) Sodom and Gomorrah, obviously
2) Parting of the Red Sea
3) The 10 Plagues against Egypt
4) Nadab and Abihu, Leviticus 10
5) The angel destroying the Assyrian army encamped before Jerusalem
6) The ground swallowing up Korah and his party during Korah's rebellion, Numbers 16
7) God striking an entire Aramean army blind, 2 Kings 6

There may be a few more, but in what way would these "undermine the scientific enterprise"? For all we know, God could have used natural means to bring these to pass anyway. I'm not saying He did; I'm saying it's possible and the text doesn't tell us either way.
Now, dear reader, don't get carried away here with criticisms and laughter. I'm just proposing these for the sake of the argument, to show the Doubtcastic critique has no teeth:
1) A volcano and seismic event could have taken care of this. No evidence of this, you say? It was thousands of years ago. Nobody has any idea what topographical changes have taken place since. Volcanic eruptions do not undermine the scientific enterprise.
2) A microburst of wind and a coincidental seismic shift of some kind could temporarily part water.
3) Plague of blood - granted, it's hard to think how this could naturally occur.
Of frogs - not hard to think of a sudden fertility surge among frogs.
Gnats - ditto.
Livestock - epidemics happen occasionally.
Boils - epidemic.
Hail - weather pattern.
Locusts - locust plagues are hardly unheard-of.
Darkness - solar eclipse.
Firstborn - epidemic. Hey, strange things happen.
4) Maybe a wind kicked up and they were standing too close to the brazier or a big fire, and they got burned up. It happens.
5) Sudden epidemic.
6) Sudden earthquake (which is a bit redundant - not too many earthquakes aren't sudden).
7) Sudden epidemic. Syphilis, perhaps. They were pagan Canaanites, after all, known for their crass and wild sexual religious rituals.

So, again, what I'm trying to say is that the Doubtcasters are playing on biblical ignorance in this critique. And except for one of these events (the plague of blood), I can think of a "natural" cause pretty easily that could easily, for the sake of argument, account for what the Doubtcasters think is a miracle that undermines the scientific enterprise.

As for divine healings, again, it's not like anyone was studying the beneficiaries of a touch from God's hand for healing. And so what if a doctor puts a man on medication and he is miraculously healed the next day? Do the Doubtcasters really want to say that there's reason to think that God intervenes that often to heal people? On what basis would they say so? They propose a scenario where God's healing messes up a study of medicine, but that's just silly. What in the world would lead anyone to think that God is just interfering with such experiments for the fun of it? That's the stuff of caricatures and strawmen, not biblical Christianity. The Doubtcasters need to give us a reason to think this is something God does regularly, not import their biased, derisive views into Christianity, all the while claiming, however, that they are performing an internal critique.

As for their statement:
God makes sure nature behaves in regular ways except of course when God doesn't.

They say it in a mocking tone, but it's wide of the mark. Remember how gravity causes rocks to fall to the ground except when it doesn't? You know, because someone caught it?
Is intelligent activity part of "nature" in the way they mean? Ie, is human activity a law, a cyclical pattern observed over and over again? No. Nature does behave in regular ways except when God intervenes. That is not the same thing.

They say:
we could just say that God is smiting people and He is using natural processes to do so. But that doesn't help us predict when the next earthquake is going to occur

Again, God is not too concerned with our ability to predict when the next earthquake is going to occur. He is concerned that we know how to worship and glorify Him, and so we can actually learn from, say, Korah's rebellion that may have ended in a sudden seismic event. Here's the lesson: Don't rebel against God and act like you know better than the omniscient Creator. The prediction we can glean from this is that negative consequences follow from such rebellion. If the Doubtcasters were really engaging in an internal critique, they would've know this.

But see, because of their biblical ignorance, they do not allow for God to reveal purposes and communicate about the nature of and reason for miraculous occurrences. They can't perform an internal critique because they can't understand the Word of God.
1 Corinthians 2:
6Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 7but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;
9but just as it is written,
         “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD,
         AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN,
         ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”
10For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, 13which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
      14But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Love your enemy is a hoax

My debate opponent Saaib Ahmed has created a Facebook page called "Biblical concept Love your enemy is a HOAX", which apparently attempts to imply that since no one follows Jesus' teaching to love one's enemy, Christianity is false.

This makes zero sense for a number of reasons.
Yes, we know this command is impossible to carry out fully. That's the point. Read Galatians.

The page trades on gross ignorance of the Bible, and that's really too bad. Saaib has not bothered to engage in any biblical exegesis.

In one particular place, he throws in a stylised picture of Osama bin Laden:


My dear Christian brothers and sisters, how much do you love this man?
If you are not willing to answer then I will have to do it myself.
Waving the national flag and chanting "USA, USA, USA!" thousands of jubilant Americans have flooded to the White House in Washington and Ground Zero in New York in spontaneous celebrations after the death of Osama bin Laden. - The Telegraph
"We found him. He killed 3,000 people. It's justice," said 19-year-old student Jon Garcia, explaining he had come to the White House "to be a part of it. It's very historic."
Together as one: Americans around the world gather to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden - The Daily Mail
Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi said the terrorist's death was a "great result in the fight against evil," and French President Nicholas Sarkozy celebrated the "tenacity of the United States" in its long search for bin Laden. - ABC News
Osama bin Laden's death brings celebration to crowds across U.S. - Origen Live
Nation reacts to Osama bin Laden’s death. Americans gather to celebrate the death of the al-Qaeda leader and mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. - The Washington Post
Accept the fact that the Biblical concept "Love your enemy" is a HOAX.

Yet here are some of his mistakes:

-In thinking that most Americans are followers of Jesus. This is completely untrue. Most Americans are not followers of Jesus. Much less are Sarkozy or the philandering premier of longtime spiritual dead zone Italy.

-That said, the other mistake is that his notion of love is far too simplistic. Has he read the Zabbur recently? They are full of songs asking God to execute justice against evildoers and for the victim. The victim is glad when he is vindicated by the Lord, when the Lord judges his oppressor.
If I'd met O bin Laden before he died, I would have told him that God will judge him guilty and he will spend eternity in Hellfire, but that Jesus the Messiah died for sinners and offers him forgiveness of all his sin. I would have told him how to obtain that forgiveness - repent of all your sin and put your complete faith and trust in the Messiah.
But he refused to repent of his evil all his life, and he was killed in a cowardly way in a firefight. If I rejoice at his death, I am following the example of King Dawud in his songs that were inspired by God.

-Saaib needs to demonstrate why these jubilant Americans are wrong and not just assert it. Maybe they're showing gladness and gratitude to God rather than hatred toward ObL. Maybe they're showing love toward the victims than hatred toward ObL.
But of course, it doesn't prove that Jesus is not the Messiah of God or that the Bible is not the Word of God if people (even Christians) are sinners or do something sinful. That's exactly what the Bible teaches.

A better question is: Since Islam teaches that people are born pure, without sin, and ObL grew up in perhaps the purest and most purely-Islamic of environments, how is it that he became a mass murderer and terrorist?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Open Letter to Laurel Fantauzzo


Hello,

Reading your article addressing Manny Pacquiao, I must admit that I was stricken with similar emotions as when I listened to Matthew Vines' recent and similarly-impassioned talk at a church in Wichita on this very topic, a plea for acceptance for homosexual practice from Christians, an argument that the Bible has been misinterpreted on the question for the entire breadth of her existence. I feel for you. You have excited compassion in my heart for you, and that is a testament to your excellent writing. Please be assured that before I sent this email, I prayed for you and will, with God's help, continue to do so.

Adding to my melancholy is the fact that I see the false dichotomy you have laid out, and I don't think you see it.
You said:
--Kuya Manny, I want you to want me to win. But maybe you never will.--

I cannot speak for Mr. Pacquiao. I know very little about him, and for that fact I hope you will pardon me. I do see, however, that the thrust of your article is towards that about which I do know a goodly amount - the Bible's teaching on homosexuality and the current societal debate about the moral justifiability of homosexual practice and the legality of homosexual marriage.
You seem to be suggesting that Mr. Pacquiao must either want you to win or want nothing to do with you.
Hidden behind that is equivocation - "winning" to you seems to mean "succeeding in getting society to fundamentally change its view on marriage for my own benefit".

May I suggest that you have completely missed the Bible's message at this point?

All through the Bible and explicitly laid out numerous times (perhaps most notably the entire book of Galatians deals with this) are the roles of the Law of God and the Gospel (the good news) of Jesus Christ.
The Law is complicated, manifold, and even seemingly overbearing. It is impossible to keep all its tenets. Indeed, that is the very point! The role of the Law is to show us our hopelessness, the futility of trying to make it to God on our own or in our own merit. None of us can be good enough. Jesus Christ is our only way to eternal life (and indeed real life on this Earth). Jesus' message was clear - "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand...I have come to seek and save that which is lost...I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly...The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of sinners and will be killed, and will rise three days later."

There is only one way you can win, Ms. Fantauzzo. There is only one way any of us can win. We must place all of our faith and all of our life in the pierced hands of the God Who loved enough to take on human flesh, live a perfect life surrounded by ungrateful sinners like you and me, and die a horrible and undeserved death on the Cross. Jesus said, "Take up your cross and follow Me." Among other things, this means that we must surrender to Him all our definitions, all our ideas, all our self-made righteousness and pretensions. Among these are our views of human sexuality and proper relationship. It is not possible to take up one's cross to follow Jesus and yet quibble with Him that He didn't know what He was doing when He created male and female, or that He was wrong to put man and woman together as a monogamous couple at the beginning of mankind. We have to choose between Jesus and all our preferences.

So, which way will you go? Do you love your lesbian desires and your cause so much that you will pass up eternal life with your Creator? It really is that simple. It is Jesus or complete loss.
Jesus said, "What will it profit a person to gain the whole world and yet lose his soul?" Is your soul worth a few decades of lesbianism, then death and judgment, during which you will have to bear your own sin?

Peace to you,
Rhology
http://rhoblogy.blogspot.com

(Please leave any comments at the cross-post at Triablogue.)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Potty Mouth Law Student strikes back




Potty Mouth Law Student
Rhology is spewing his nonsense when he lacks any kind of knowledge of the gov. I stated "Religion should not be in our schools nor our government. Rhology stated "Thankfully, the Founding Fathers disagreed heartily." This is the most absurd thing i have ever read. Rhology many of our founding fathers were not Christian and many of them despised religion. Thomas Jefferson "“The Christian god can easily be pictured as virtually the same god as the many ancient gods of past civilizations. The Christian god is a three headed monster; cruel, vengeful and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging, three headed beast-like god, one only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes: fools and hypocrites.” I have many more to post. They knew the dangers of religion and wanted a gov free of it. But were not against people choosing a religion to belong to. Religion does not belong within our government. Per the Establishment Clause of the constitution the congress as a whole cannot pick a religion for the country. Also the mentioning of god in the pledge of allegiance and on the dollar bill were not of our founding fathers doing and they are probably turning in their grave because of it. Religion has no place in our government and i am glad it is slowly moving its way out. Hence now homosexuals can now be open and gay marriage in some states. You should read and comprehend the treaty of tripoli. Treaty of Trioli "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,". The United States Constitution serves as the law of the land for America and indicates the intent of our Founding Fathers. The Constitution forms a secular document, and nowhere does it appeal to God, Christianity, Jesus, or any supreme being. This bulls*t was added later well to the dollar bill and some states are writing that crap into their state constitution.


Rhology
‎\\Rhology many of our founding fathers were not Christian and many of them despised religion.\\

I know SOME of them were not Christian. Most were, however.
Very few of them despised "religion". I'd be interested in seeing ANY evidence that ANY of them "despised" "religion" (keeping in mind that religion is far more general than Christianity).

Jefferson's criticism of the God of the Bible doesn't get close to proving that he despised religion. It just means he disliked the God of the Bible. You have a lot farther to go to substantiate your irresponsible assertion.

\\They knew the dangers of religion and wanted a gov free of it.\\

This is easily proven false. Potty Mouth Law Student is simply repeating what she's heard from historically-ignorant liberals at her school (which failed to teach her to reason non-fallaciously, sadly).
http://www.amazon.com/The-Death-Man-Decline-Liberty/dp/1615078959/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1336752894&sr=8-1

\\the mentioning of god in the pledge of allegiance and on the dollar bill were not of our founding fathers doing and they are probably turning in their grave because of i\\

How about in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence? I suppose the mentions of God and Jesus appeared there by magic?

\\Treaty of Trioli\\

The above-cited book deals at length with this Treaty, showing that your misinterpretation is no good.

\\The Constitution forms a secular document, and nowhere does it appeal to God, Christianity, Jesus, or any supreme being.\

What does "appeal to" mean? Depending on the way you're using the word, I might agree. I wouldn't agree that it matters a great deal, however. I'm not claiming America was founded as a Christian nation. Its most principal influence was always Christianity, and *states* could be Christian, but that's not the same thing.


Potty Mouth Law Student
You stated the founding fathers. You were incorrect... this country was not founding on the premise of religion. Your book is from a unreliable source. I go by the constitution. Sorry.
the Declaration of Independence does not represent any law of the United States. It came before the establishment of our lawful government (the Constitution). So your point again is moot.
Also the fact that some were religious doesn't take away from the fact they wanted separation of church and office.


Rhology
‎\\You were incorrect... this country was not founding on the premise of religion\\

NOw you're changing your claim from what you said before. You're disingenuous. Just say "I was wrong" and own it. You're acting like you don't care about the truth. Unsurprising.

\\the Declaration of Independence does not represent any law of the United States. It came before the establishment of our lawful government (the Constitution). So your point again is moot.\\

Neither does the pledge of allegiance, or "IN God we Trust" on our money. You fail again.
Oh, and what about the Constitution? Does that "not represent any law of the USA"?

\\the fact that some were religious doesn't take away from the fact they wanted separation of church and office.\\

Again you move the goalposts.
Arguing with you is like taking candy from a very profane baby.


Potty Mouth Law Student 
Are you name calling? You know in a debate attack the argument not the person. This country was not founded on religion, YOU were wrong. You need to own it. Sorry if I upset you, i just proved my argument. ;-)


Rhology
I know you don't want to read the book, but I cited it b/c it cites tons of Founding Father documents, showing that you're wrong about them. Deal with its material and show that you're intellectually honest. Refuse to acknowledge it, sight unseen, and prove yet again you're intellectually dishonest.

Rhology
 What are you talking about?

Rhology 
Do you really not get that when text appears between two sets of \\, I'm quoting you?

Potty Mouth Law Student
Directly quote the actual document. I have it right here.. well a copy that my lovely con law professor provided us a copy of. ;-) I would suggest you read up on the establishment clause, and understand the DOI as compared to the constitution the supreme law of the land. You seem confused.
 ‎"The Declaration of Independence states that we are free and independent form the British, our former rulers. Our nation no longer depends on the British people. The document declares our independence. The Constitution of the United States says what we as a nation follow and it has the Bill of Rights in there which states our basic rights in this country." The DOI is not the same as the constitution.


Rhology
‎\\I would suggest you read up on the establishment clause\\

You mean the one that says "Congress shall make no law" and has nothing to do with states? Or individual people trying to lobby for and enact laws that are rooted in their personal moral stances? Yeah, I'm familiar with that one.

Article VII: "Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the ****Year of our Lord**** one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth"

Hmm, I wonder who "our Lord" is?

And no, I don't see. Try writing like you're writing a paper for one of your classes, and less like an ADHD-riddled 5th grader.

Rhology
 ‎\\The DOI is not the same as the constitution.\\

Never said it was. You didn't address yet my criticism of your point. Any time now.


Potty Mouth Law Student
OMG provide the whole quote.. also there is a thing called preemption and the supremacy clause. State law cannot contradict or conflict with federal law. Rhology you make this too easy for me.. the term lord means A titled nobleman. Again insults, how about you provide a good argument instead of insulting. See that is what people do when defeated.


Potty Mouth Law Student
Meaning Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. Remember you brought up the founding fathers... stay on subject.


Rhology
‎\\State law cannot contradict or conflict with federal law.\\

How would a state law contradict "Congress shall make no law"? I suppose if a state law were passed that attempted to force Congress to pass such a law. Think, Potty Mouth Law Student.

\\the term lord means A titled nobleman\\

Oh, OK. Let's try it. See if it fits.
Article VII: "Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the ****Year of our titled nobleman**** one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth"

Yeah, that fits great.

Potty Mouth Law Student
 Rhology, you provided a quote from the DOI in a constitution argument. They have nothing to do with one another. The constitution is the supreme law of the land, and when created they wanted to keep church and office separate. You're having issues with staying on track. Hope this helps.


Rhology
 ‎\\you provided a quote from the DOI in a constitution argument. \\

Wrong again. Check the context of when I said it.

 ‎\\Meaning Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion\\

NEver argued differenty. It doesn't appear you're even understanding me. It's a pattern with you, which I attribute mostly to sheer emotion and the bluster you seem to engage in all the time.


Potty Mouth Law Student 
Rhology you mad bruh? Thanks Rhology I think my job is done here. Next time you want to debate bring your A game and assure next time you know what you are talking about before you say it.. ;-)



Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why didn't you just say so?

Justin Lee, the executive director of The Gay Christian Network, wrote an article about the recent North Carolina amendment that affirmed the traditional marriage structure. I decided to comment a few times.

As I was finding my comments engaged by a number of people, most of whom are anti-traditional marriage, I responded.
Strangely, after a few comments, Justin stepped in to remind all commenters that he would be enforcing the use of "kind and gracious language". Fair enough.
However, he specifically identified a comment of mine as violating that standard, which he deleted without warning.
This comment was in response to this:

After my position on Amendment One changed, my pastor's attitude toward me changed.  He hated me, though as a Christian he would deny that.  My own family saw it on full display when he called me one night to rant about a facebook post I had made.  He was on speakerphone (bluetooth picks up automatically in the car) and what my son and husband heard shocked them both.
Pastor never apologized, and started treated my teen son with the same cold shoulder.  We stopped going to church.  And you know what? That pastor doesn't care.  We can go to hell for all he cares. Literally. 
I criticised this pastor in the comment box, calling him "shallow" and charging that he did not love the Gospel (for someone who truly loves the Gospel, let alone a godly pastor, would never respond in that way, and would never be uncaring about whether someone goes to Hell or act like it). I figured this would be a welcome comment from a "conservative" to the anti-traditionalists in the combox. I certainly don't condone such behavior, especially not from a pastor. Justin, however, said that I had violated his standard.

He later specified that he didn't want the debates to be on the topic of the NC Amendment anymore, so I told him OK, and stopped for several hours. As more anti-traditionalists continued to comment unchallenged by Justin, and to respond to my previously-placed comments, again unchallenged by Justin, I decided to respond to a few of them. Of course I did not agree with these; else why even bother commenting? Justin, however, again deleted one of my comments without warning even though my contact info is easily obtainable.

I therefore left this comment, realising where this was headed:
Guess you weren't willing to be consistent in your application of the delete hammer. Plenty of ppl are discussing the issue, you are only deleting those who disagree with you. Kid yourself all you want about being above it all, Justin. You're about the same as most all the other "gay Christians" - you only care about hearing your own side talk. Enjoy your blinkered, narrow existence.
Ta ta.
Obviously this one was deleted, and then my ability to comment was blocked.
Here is some text from Justin's original post:
Taking the time to see things from the other side’s perspective is important because it’s the way of Jesus. But it’s also important for the very practical reason that it’s the only real way to change minds. You can’t change people’s minds—or their voting habits, or the way they treat people—if you don’t have any clue why they disagree with you to begin with, or if you think that it’s just because they’re inherently bigoted/hateful/wicked people.
And here are some snippets of comments he has let remain in the combox, even after I called attention to them in an email to him.

They choose to believe that sexuality is a choice because otherwise, they have to face what they've done: Forced children to suicide, created an environment where gay people can be assaulted and murdered, and done everything they have done out of hate and fear.
You can try your utmost to educate them, but it won't get through to them any more than evolution has, because the moment they stop believing it's a choice, they have to face that they are BAD PEOPLE. (Source)

You are not loving your neighbor. You are abusing them and I am no longer as a Christian going to allow you to speak for Scripture and speak for God. You are hurting gay children, you are hurting gay men and women and while I'm sure you would *never* intend to do that, you refuse to accept responsibility for your impact on them. (Source)
If Christianity (as you understand it) requires Christians to act in a certain way, then they should be expected to do so... because they believe, and because it's a matter of faith. But to *require* others to act as you think they should, when they aren't Christian, and don't agree... or when they are Christian, and don't agree... is not faith. It's religious totalitarianism. (Source)

You be the judge - are these the actions of a truly tolerant person, who wants to hear both sides, even if it leads to disagreement?
No, of course not. Once again, we see that the anti-traditional marriage folks don't want to listen to honest dialogue from people who really believe each side. Rather, they prefer openness from the anti-traditionalist side of things, and they want the other side to shut up. Of course it's inconsistent and hypocritical, but if you dare point it out, you're a bigot, intolerant, and evil.

Further, I daresay that these are not the actions of someone who is intent on honoring Jesus Christ with all his thoughts and loving Him with all his mind. Justin claims to be a "gay Christian". The obvious impossibility of that aside, his actions cast this in doubt all by themselves.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Conversation with ORCRC


  • Another great editorial. The Tulsa World is to be commended for calling it like it is on several issues related to justice issues for women. Thank you for you guts and great journalism.

      • Tory 
        ‎'Guts'? How about guts to stand up for the unborn, innocent lives being discarded every day?
      • Stacey
        I don't think it takes guts to do that. It has more to do with fanaticism.
      • Tory 
        Oh ok. But it takes guts to kill innocent life repeatedly. That makes sense....
      • Oklahoma Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
        Tory, how about the guts clinic escorts have to stand up to screaming protestors who harass our patients (...and patience...) every single day? How about the guts to do it after escorts have had acid thrown in their faces by fanatic anti-choice protestors and doctors like George Tiller have been shot while WALKING OUT OF CHURCH? That takes more guts than preaching away women's rights.
      • Tory 
        Well, for one, we don't agree with nor do we condone anyone throwing acid in anyone's face, nor killing an abortionist. So, that is simply not consistent logic to apply to all "anti-choice". However, this is not simply a women's rights issu...See More
      •  Ian John Philoponus
        Hi ORCRC, could you please give me some evidence to support your claim that clinic escorts are repeatedly screamed at, "every single day." and that they have had acid thrown in their faces. Could you also prove that everyone who is oppossed to abortion agrees with, and participates in, such behaviour.

        Thanks.

      • Rhology
        Since a clinic escort is aiding and abetting in the murder of a preborn child and is giving comfort (rather than proper information and assistance) to a woman who is about to take her child's life away, are you seriously asking me to feel pity for that escort? 
        See, people are upset b/c babies are being murdered. I'm really sorry that people are screaming at you. 0h n035. Compared to the unprovoked death the baby is about to undergo, it's hard to make a real comparison.

        \\ doctors like George Tiller\\

        LOL Tiller :: doctor as Stalin :: philanthropist

      • Stacey
        A life that has not yet begun cannot be taken away. Please take your fallacies and fanatacism elsewhere.
      • Rhology
        Do you really think that the "product of conception" is not even alive? 
        If you do think that, may I ask when life begins?
      • Oklahoma Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
        Tory, thanks for your reply. I like how you put it. It's important to respect both sides of this controversial issue, and easy to get worked up. 
        Ian -- Google search those topics and I'm sure you'll find whatever information you need -- and to clarify, of course OKRCRC doesn't think all people opposed to abortion participate in such behavior. Most people are perfectly within their rights when they discuss the issue. It is only extremists who resort to violence; I think we can all agree on that.
      • Tory 
        Violence does not mean killing innocent lives though? Not that I am trying to diminish the murder of Dr Tiller, but it just boggles my mind how the ones who are so outraged by his death are not as outraged by thousands of innocent lives being lost every day! It it quite inconsistent. And, OKRCRC, IJP simply asked a question, and if you can't give answers to things you are saying, that is scary. I could quote things all day long, but if I don't have any resources to back up my claims, my claims are empty. I ask that you either stop talking about people harassing "your patients", escorts having acid thrown in their faces, etc etc, unless you can support it. I am sure you can, but I'm just asking you to come up with the evidence, rather than say it, then tell someone that asks for proof to go look somewhere else. That's sad.
      • Rhology
        We can definitely agree that violence is not the answer. 
        Ironically, we are the only side that is anti-violence; abortion is approximately the most violent thing anyone could do. Unprovoked killing of innocents.

        You had said "every single day". Ian asked for evidence. You didn't give any but rather said "Google it". Does this mean you don't have any evidence? That you just made it up out of bias?

      • Stacey
        Rhology, you may ask, but you will probably not like the answer you're going to get. I do not believe that life begins at conception. The potential for life is there, but a fertilized egg cannot sustain itself outside of a woman's body. In fact, a fetilized egg cannot even begin to develop the features of life until it implants itself within the mother's uterus. Only then can it begin to develop the functions it needs to live outside of its mother. With all of this in mind, I do not believe that a person's life begins before the moment of birth.
      • Rhology
        ‎\\you will probably not like the answer you're going to get\\

        That's OK. Happens all the time. :-)

        \\The potential for life is there, but a fertilized egg cannot sustain itself outside of a woman's body\\

        Emphysema patients cannot sustain their lives outside of an oxygen tank. Shall we consider them not-alive as well?
        What I'm trying to get at is that life is a question of ESSENCE, not of PERFORMANCE or ABILITY. You seem to want to make it about ability, but that's because you're relatively free from danger and threat to life and limb right now.
        No, laws protecting human rights are to restrain the strong from redefining or threatening and oppressing the weak, which is what abortion does - it destroys the weakest among us.

        \\With all of this in mind, I do not believe that a person's life begins before the moment of birth.\\

        With respect, I didn't ask when life DOESN'T begin. I asked when it does.
        And as a hint, after you tell me, I'm going to ask you how you know that.

      • Oklahoma Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
        One: http://www.prochoice.org/about_abortion/violence/butyric_acid.asp -- yes, I'm aware this is a pro-choice site, but their statistics are backed up by media and police reports. 

        Two:
        Between 1982 and 1996, there was "over $13 million in damage caused by violent anti-abortion groups, in over 150 arson attacks, bombings, and shootings."
        --"Anti-Abortion Violence Movement," Office of International Criminal Justice of the University of Illinois at Chicago at: http://www.acsp.uic.edu/

        Three:
        Naral Fatchseets: "Clinic violence, intimidation and terrorism," at: http://www.naral.org/

        Four:
        "Between 1998 and 2000, more than 80 letters which threatened Anthrax contamination were sent to U.S. clinics in 16 states. Anthrax is a potentially fatal bacteria if its spores are inhaled into the lungs. All of the letters turned out to be hoaxes."
        --Marie McCullough, "Anthrax letters to clinics hoaxes, early tests show," Philadelphia Inquirer, 2001-OCT-17 at: http://inq.philly.com/

        Five:
        Lots of good (and cited) statistics here. http://www.religioustolerance.org/abo_viol.htm

        And for fairness' sake:
        Here are some actively anti-violence anti-choicers. The text of the Pro-life Proclamation Against Violence is at: http://www.all.org/ The list of agencies that support this proclamation is at: http://www.all.org/

      • Oklahoma Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
        Here's one of several active anti-abortion terror groups in the US who support the murders committed by Paul Hill and Scott Roeder, whom they call American heroes: http://www.armyofgod.com/
        (Disturbing text and images at the link)
      • Rhology
        ‎$13 million in 15 years is less than $1million per year, you know. 
        More babies were murdered in that time span than dollars of damage caused to abortuaries.

        \\"Between 1998 and 2000, more than 80 letters which threatened Anthrax contamination were sent to U.S. clinics in 16 states.\\

        Illegal, yes. A huge deal? I guess it depends how you define it. I'd call a letter containing real anthrax far worse.

        \\clinic violence\\

        You said "every day". Are you telling us that you don't have evidence to support this claim?
        As for that spreadsheet, again, we don't condone violence.

        \\butyric acid\\

        You know, when you said "acid thrown in people's faces", I was thinking a corrosive liquid that would cause pain and disfigurement, crippling a person.
        You're talking about the equivalent of a rotten egg stinkbomb.
        \\In addition, even after cleanup, butyric acid's smell leaves a reminder of the incident for months, and often years, to come.\\

        It's hard for me to feel too much pity for those who suffered this horrible assault. You mean, you mean, it made the place *smell bad*? God forbid.



      • Rhology
        And the cleanup of butyric acid 'attacks' still amounts to less than $1million per year. Perhaps they should hire someone a little more expensive to clean up? 
        I don't want to give the wrong impression, that I condone this kind of activity. I've made no statement either way on something like this. I'm saying that it's very hard to feel pity for the 'victims' who've had to spend less than $1/dead baby to recover from these pro-lifers' actions.
      • Stacey
        Again, you use fallacy, Rhology. You cannot compare the emphysema patient to the fertilized egg. One has been born and lived; the other has not. On another point, you assume that I am "free from danger and threat to life and limb right now." First, you do not know me, so you cannot possibly know that. Second, I am currently facing a high-risk pregnancy which could, in fact, threaten my health, life, and future fertility, and I expect the law to protect me against pro-life legislation that could decide my fate on any of these counts if something were to go horribly wrong. As to my response on the question of when life begins, I have already answered that, but allow me to clarify. A person's life begins at the moment of birth. You say that you will ask me how I know that. I know it in the same way that others know what their own beliefs are. I rely on my experience, education, and rational thought to provide me with the answer to that question.
      • Rhology
        ‎\\ You cannot compare the emphysema patient to the fertilized egg. One has been born and lived; the other has not.\\

        1) Stop saying "fallacy" unless you mean it, please. It makes you look like you don't know the definition of the word.
        2) What is it about birth that magically grants human rights to someone? Please cite your source.

        \\you assume that I am "free from danger and threat to life and limb right now."\\

        Um, you're typing on a keyboard on Facebook. I'd say it's a reasonable assumption.

        \\I am currently facing a high-risk pregnancy which could, in fact, threaten my health, life, and future fertility\\

        I am truly sorry to hear this. What are you doing here?

        \\. A person's life begins at the moment of birth\\

        1) What specifically in your "experience, education, and rational thought" have provided you the answer to how you know this?
        2) If someone else relies on their experience, education, and rational thought and comes up with the exact opposite conclusion, who is right and how can we know?
        3) Is it justifiable to sever a baby's spinal cord and dismember him 5 minutes before birth?

      • Stacey
        As an instructor of English composition, I do know what a fallacy is and can provide you a list of common fallacies.

        The law recognizes that a person's life begins at birth. One cannot become a citizen of his or her homeland until that point. One cannot be issued any form of identification (birth certificate, SSN) until after birth. A parent cannot claim a child on his or her taxes until after the child has been born.

        What am I doing where?

        I cannot recount all of my experiences and education for you, but I have thought long and hard about these issues, and I stand by my conclusion. If someone comes up with a different conclusion, he or she has a perfect right to do so just as I have a perfect right to reject that conclusion. And we would both be right to stand by our conclusions.

        I never suggested that it is justifiable to sever a baby's spinal cord five minutes before birth.

      • Tory 
        So Stacey, let's say (hypothetically speaking), that our government decided tomorrow, to make a law that a person's life begins at 20 weeks. Would you then change your position because the law changed? It seems that your definitions for life are being based on law. Just because it's legal, doesn't mean it's right.
      • Rhology
        ‎\\A parent cannot claim a child on his or her taxes until after the child has been born.\\

        What do these things have to do with anything?

        \\ I have thought long and hard about these issues, and I stand by my conclusion...If someone comes up with a different conclusion, he or she has a perfect right to do so just as I have a perfect right to reject that conclusion.\\

        The question at hand is not whether one has a right to a different opinion on a matter than another person. The question is: Who is correct?
        Could you please answer that? If two ppl come to 2 diff conclusions, how can we know which of them is correct?

        \\And we would both be right to stand by our conclusions.\\

        If you think abortion is OK and I think it's murder, we can't both be right, can we?

        \\I never suggested that it is justifiable to sever a baby's spinal cord five minutes before birth.\\

        May I ask why not? You've just told us that human rights begin at birth. What would be your objection to this surgery on the baby 5 mins before birth?

      • Stacey
        Tory, I am not basing my position on what the law currently says. I am merely citing this as a source for my position because that is what I was asked to do. I also base my position on the fact that a fetus at 20 weeks cannot survive outside the uterus.

        Rho, with an issue that is not black and white, no one can be completely correct. I accept that there are points where I am probably wrong. However, I do believe that the rights of the already living supercede those of the unborn, and I would hope that the medical profession, the law, and society as a whole would seek to continue to protect a woman's right to choose.

        I am pro-choice, but this does not mean that I like abortion. However, I like the government interfering with a woman's reproductive choices even less. I think abortion should be as former President Clinton described: "legal, safe, and rare." I also think that ideally an abortion should occur within the first trimester (which is when the majority of abortions do occur). The only times I believe a late-term abortion should occur are when the mother's life is in danger or when the baby has a condition that does not support life, and in those cases, I believe that there should be an alternative to severing the spinal cord. I stand by my conviction that life does not begin until the moment of birth and that a person should not be granted rights until he or she is born, but I concede that some forms of abortion are not humane.

        On a final note, I do appreciate the opportunity to clarify my position, but I will respectfully decline any further comment. I believe I have addressed the counterarguments sufficiently.

      • Rhology
        If someone has come to the completely opposite conclusion than you with respect to whether the rights of the already living (by which you mean, no doubt, the already-born, for it can't be denied that the preborn child is LIVING) supercede those of the unborn, who is correct and how can we know?
        *Can* we know that?

        \\I am pro-choice, but this does not mean that I like abortion\\

        You like it enough to argue for its continuance.
        Put your words in the mouth of a 19th century Southerner: "I am pro-choice, but this does not mean that I like slavery."
        How much respect would you have for a person that said that?

        \\ I believe that there should be an alternative to severing the spinal cord\\

        Why does this matter? The baby is just as dead either way, is he not?

        \\. I stand by my conviction that life does not begin until the moment of birth and that a person should not be granted rights until he or she is born, but I concede that some forms of abortion are not humane. \\

        The baby 5 mins before birth has no rights, and yet you care about the manner used to dispatch him? Why?

        \\I will respectfully decline any further comment. I believe I have addressed the counterarguments sufficiently.\\

        You haven't even gotten close to doing so, but nice talking to you.

      • Stacey
        I know I said I would not comment further, and I do not intend to comment on any of the points you have raised because to do so would be to give them validity, which they do not have because they resort to circular logic and fallacy. (Yes, I say fallacy, because there are errors in your reasoning. The fallacy you continue to use is a false analogy. You cannot compare the pro-choice movement to 19th century slavery. These are two different issues based on different assumptions.) I only wish to say that your argument would be stronger if you were to avoid taking someone's words out of context (and twisting them to serve your own argument) and making false comparisons.

        And yes, I have addressed every single one of your counterarguments sufficiently. You may not agree with what I say, but that does not make my argument deficient. Good day to you.

      • Rhology
        ‎\\which they do not have because they resort to circular logic and fallacy.\\

        Without an argument, this is a mere naked assertion. As Christopher Hitchens liked to say, "That which is asserted without evidence may be safely dismissed without evidence."

        \\there are errors in your reasoning\\

        What are they?

        \\You cannot compare the pro-choice movement to 19th century slavery\\

        I'm not. I'm pointing out the numerous parallels between the way oppressors of weaker people's human rights argued in the 18th-19th centuries and the way oppressors of weaker people's human rights argue today.

        \\I only wish to say that your argument would be stronger if you were to avoid taking someone's words out of context (and twisting them to serve your own argument) and making false comparisons. \\

        Since you didn't provide any examples, there's no way to respond. I'll just have to disagree with you and wait for someone to show me where I have erred.
        I have a great deal of experience with these arguments and have talked to many people just like you. Just as they have failed to show where my arguments are faulty, I fully expect you to fail as well.