Monday, April 15, 2019

Consent Condoms & Consensual Sex


            The New York Post recently reported the latest development in the realm of sexual ethics – the “consent condom.” The article states, “This new “consent condom” is a hands-on experience.

            Tulipán, an Argentinian sex toy company, has created a new rubber that requires four hands to open — ensuring that both parties are equally involved in the decision to have sex.

            How it works: All four corners of the packaging must be pressed at the same time to open it.

            These origami-style contraceptive containers read, “If it’s not a yes, it’s a no.”

            Tulipán won’t officially launch the new prophylactic until later this year. Until then, the company is handing them out at bars in Buenos Aires for couples to test — and hyping them on social media, of course.”1

            The consent condom is obviously predicated on ‘consent’ – the current sexual ethic that governs the sexual behavior of the impetuous and the naïve.

            According to Christian apologist, Sean McDowell (in his article entitled THE NEW “CONSENT CONDOM” IS A SIGN OF THE TIMES) this latest development reveals the failure of the sexual revolution:2

Creating a "Consent Condom" is certainly a savvy marketing move that will draw attention to their brand and may contribute to the conversation about reducing sexual assault (although it is questionable how much it will really help).
The point of this blog is not about the company and its marketing efforts, but to ask a deeper question: What does the creation of a “Consent Condom” reveal about the current sexual ethic?
Consent Condoms and Modern Sex
The first point is obvious: The new sexual ethic is consent. As long as it is consensual, any sexual behavior between adults is permissible. Former behavior that was considered shameful, such as pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex, homosexual behavior, and so on, is now considered permissible if there is consent.
Failure of the Sexual Revolution
The second point regarding the “Consent Condom” is that it reveals the failure of the sexual revolution. That’s right. It shows that the promises of the sexual revolution are vacuous.
We were promised free love. We were promised freedom from sexual repression. We were promised increased mental and sexual health for individuals and society.
According to Italian philosopher Augusto Del Noce, proponents of the sexual revolution promised that “sexual liberation” would lead to the transformation of human nature:
 “Through absolute, unlimited sexual freedom, man will free himself of neurosis and become fully capable of work and initiative. His psychological structure will be changed, and he will also be freed from military and aggressive tendencies, and from sadist fantasies.”
Transformed Human Nature
Interestingly, Del Noce notes that proponents of the sexual revolution promised it would lead to people being less aggressive and freed from sexual fantasies. It's hard to imagine how anyone could argue this is the case.
Honestly, are we seeing a decrease in sexual aggressiveness? Are we seeing an increase in sexual self-control?
Quite obviously the opposite is the case. Rather than seeing less aggression, we are having a national conversation about the reality of sexual aggression (hence the need for the new condom). Rather than seeing more mental self-control, we are experiencing the pornification of society.
The fact that someone invented a “Consent Condom” shows how far we have come. It was designed to start the conversation about sexual assault, and it might do so. But in doing so, it also reveals something much deeper about the modern sexual ethic and the failure of the sexual revolution.

            Furthermore, let us revisit the theme of consensus being the justifying factor for sex outside the precincts of monogamous heterosexual marriage. I had debunked consensual sex with respect to homosexuality from the perspective of natural law in an earlier blog of mine entitled, Does Consensual and Harmless Sexual Intercourse Legitimize Homosexuality? That reasoning is not limited to homosexuality but can be used against any form of consensual sex. Here’s an excerpt:3

Much acclaimed theologian of the Catholic church, Thomas Aquinas, bases his doctrine on natural law. Natural law “does not refer to the laws of nature, the laws that science aims to describe. According to natural law moral theory, the moral standards that govern human behavior are, in some sense, objectively derived from the nature of human beings and the nature of the world… St. Thomas Aquinas, for example, identifies the rational nature of human beings as that which defines moral law: "the rule and measure of human acts is the reason, which is the first principle of human acts" (Aquinas, ST I-II, Q.90, A.I). On this common view, since human beings are by nature rational beings, it is morally appropriate that they should behave in a way that conforms to their rational nature. Thus, Aquinas derives the moral law from the nature of human beings (thus, "natural law").”2
So now I prefer to approach the theme of gay sex being consensual and harmless from the perspective of natural law…
(1)  The nature or essence of every biological organ, according to natural law theory, involves its purposes (or final causes). So the purpose of the eyeball is to make us see. Similarly, sexual intercourse also has its own purpose, which is to procreate (bear children).
But I have heard arguments that the final cause or the purpose of sexual intercourse is the pleasure. This is wrong! Pleasure cannot be a purpose for sexual intercourse.
Think about eating. You may argue that eating is pleasurable, but the biological point of eating is not to give pleasure, but to offer the body the nutrients it needs to be healthy and survive. The pleasure of eating is nature’s way of getting us to eat.
As Professor Edward Feser states, “So, the final cause of sex is procreation, and the final cause of sexual pleasure is to get us to indulge in sex, so that we’ll thereby procreate…Notice also that nature makes it very difficult to indulge in sex without procreation. There is no prophylactic sheathe issued with a penis at birth, and no diaphragm issued with a vagina. It takes some effort to come up with these devices, and even then, in the form in which they existed for most of human history they were not terribly effective.”3
(2) Natural law theory states that an action or a behavior, even if it does not harm anyone else, need not be acceptable or need not be the normal way of living life.
The life of an alcoholic is not acceptable, even if he/she does not harm anyone. Similarly, a person – inclined to molest children (even if he has not molested children) – who masturbates to pictures of naked children is living a sick life. Such a person is not living the way a normal human ought to live.
Therefore, gay sex cannot be justified even if it were harmless.
(3) In the same manner, consensus cannot be a legitimate reason for an action/behavior. Gay people cannot argue that consensual sex is always righteous.
Consensual sex cannot be righteous always. A pedophile cannot argue that he had sex with a child because the child consented. A parent cannot claim that he/she had sex with his/her child (minor or major) because the child agreed to have sex with the parent. In a marriage, consensus between the husband and the wife to have sex with others outside the marriage does not justify their affairs.
I will summarize now:
A. According to natural law theory, the main purpose of sex is procreation through the sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. Thus gay sex cannot be natural, but it is an abnormal activity/behavior.
B. For reasons mentioned in (2) and (3), consensual and harmless sex cannot justify gay sex.
But remember that this question was popularized by the renowned atheist, Richard Dawkins, and his fellow New Atheists. If you are an atheist, you can do just about anything and everything because you are your own authority (cf. relative morality and subjective truth claims). The problem with your position is that if you justify homosexuality, you should also, by the very same logic, endorse/accept bestiality, adultery, polyamory, incest, pedophilia etc.
I have only one request to you if you are an atheist; please do not yield to your subjective desires, for they can absolutely mislead you. Ask God in utter sincerity, by assuming HIS presence, to reveal HIMSELF to you, and HE will indeed do so.
If you are a Christian and if you are still unable to understand that a consensual and a harmless sex cannot justify homosexuality, then please communicate with your pastor or your church elder. Else please contact me. (My contact information is available on this website.)
Therefore, the notion that gay sex is acceptable if it is consensual and harmless is invalid and a false assertion.

            To conclude, consensual sex cannot justify any form of sex outside a monogamous heterosexual marriage.

Endnotes:

1https://nypost.com/2019/04/04/this-consent-condom-takes-four-hands-to-open/

2https://seanmcdowell.org/blog/the-new-consent-condom-is-a-sign-of-the-times

3https://rajkumarrichard.blogspot.com/2018/06/does-consensual-and-harmless-sexual.html

Websites last accessed on 15th April 2019.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Persecution Of Christians Highest In Modern History

            Christian persecution is at an all-time high, according to a report in Faithwire. An article entitled A Staggering 11 Christians Are Killed Every Single Day for Simply Believing in Jesus reports the following:1

When we talk about Christian persecution, it is easy to get lost in the vast array of facts and figures. We say we know that, across the world, many people are dying for their faith in Jesus, but do we truly understand the scale of it? New data taken from the latest Open Doors World Watch List indicate that some 11 Christians are martyred for their faith every single day.
The shockingly high death toll was taken from the top 50 countries ranked on this year’s World Watch List and demonstrates the incredible level of religious persecution that continues to plague the planet.
“Today, in the 21st century, we are living in a time when persecution against Christian believers is the highest in modern history,” the persecution watchdog explained in an update. “The Christian persecution we read about in Scripture and history books is not a thing of the past.”
The top five
Currently, the top five most dangerous countries in which to live as a Christian are:
1.      North Korea
2.      Afghanistan
3.      Somalia
4.      Libya
5.      Pakistan
As is the case in all of these countries, Christians remain in grave danger for simply choosing to believe in Christ. In North Korea, believers are forced into dangerous underground congregations, the discovery of which can result in persecution, arrest and even execution.
In Afghanistan, Christianity is completely outlawed, with the country’s constitution asserting Islam as the state religion. Open Doors notes that to “convert to a faith outside Islam is tantamount to treason because it’s seen as a betrayal of family, tribe and country,” adding that “very often, there is only one possible outcome for exposed and caught Christians: death.”
Pakistan has made headlines in recent years due to the protracted case brought against Christian mother Asia Bibi. Bibi, who has five children, was convicted under the country’s notorious blasphemy laws over a decade ago, and was swiftly sentenced to death. However, last October Bibi was acquitted by the Supreme Court in an unprecedented ruling that gave hope to many within the marginalized faith community.
Latest on Asia Bibi
Despite her acquittal almost six months ago, Bibi is still being held at an undisclosed location in Pakistan.
In the latest development, the head of an Irish human rights charity has personally urged the Pakistani authorities to do more in order to secure the release of Bibi and ensure her safe passage to Canada, where she has been granted asylum.
            Newsweek cites the study by Aid to the Church in Need 2 to emphasize that Christian persecution is worse than any time in history. Here’s an excerpt:3

The persecution and genocide of Christians across the world is worse today “than at any time in history,” and Western governments are failing to stop it, a report from a Catholic organization said.
The study by Aid to the Church in Need said the treatment of Christians has worsened substantially in the past two years compared with the two years prior, and has grown more violent than any other period in modern times. 
“Not only are Christians more persecuted than any other faith group, but ever-increasing numbers are experiencing the very worst forms of persecution,” the report said.
The report examined the plight of Christians in China, Egypt, Eritrea, India, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Turkey over the period lasting from 2015 until 2017. The research showed that in that time, Christians suffered crimes against humanity, and some were hanged or crucified. The report found that Saudi Arabia was the only country where the situation for Christians did not get worse, and that was only because the situation couldn’t get any worse than it already was.
            In its report ‘World Watch List 2019,’ Open Doors, an organization that serves persecuted Christians worldwide, lists 50 countries where it is most dangerous to be a Christian. Listed below are those 50 countries:4

1. North Korea
11. Syria
21. Central African Republic

31. Jordan

41. Russian Federation

2. Afghanistan
12. Nigeria
22. Algeria

32. Nepal

42. Malaysia

3. Somalia
13. Iraq
23. Turkmenistan

33. Bhutan

43. Kuwait

4. Libya
14. Maldives
24. Mali

34. Kazakhstan

44. Oman

5. Pakistan
15. Saudi Arabia
25. Mauritania

35. Morocco

45. United Arab Emirates

6. Sudan
16. Egypt
26. Turkey

36. Brunei

46. Sri Lanka

7. Eritrea
17. Uzbekistan
27. China

37. Tunisia

47. Colombia

8. Yemen
18. Myanmar
28. Ethiopia

38. Qatar

48. Bangladesh

9. Iran
19. Laos
29. Tajikistan

39. Mexico

49. Palestinian Territories

10. India
20. Vietnam
30. Indonesia
40. Kenya

50. Azerbaijan

            























          This report also reveals an increase in persecution in India and China, “For the first time since the start of the World Watch List, India has entered the top 10. Additionally, China jumped 16 spots, from 43 to 27. Each of these countries is home to more than a billion people, so these trends are distressing. Hindu nationalists in India continue to attack Christians with what seems like no consequences, and in China, the increased power of the government and the rule of Xi Jinping continue to make open worship difficult in some parts of the country.”5

            The Bible teaches us that the persecuted are blessed, in a spiritual sense (cf. Matthew 5:10-11; Luke 6:22). However, it goes without saying, that Christians, who live a more secure and safe life as a Christian, ought to not only pray for those who are persecuted but also provide for their material needs.

            Let the grace of giving define our Christian life. Thus may we love each other as to how we love ourselves.

Endnotes:

1https://www.faithwire.com/2019/03/14/a-staggering-11-christians-are-killed-every-single-day-for-simply-believing-in-jesus/

2A pontifical foundation that focuses on assisting the Church wherever it is persecuted, oppressed or in material need

3https://www.newsweek.com/christian-persecution-genocide-worse-ever-770462

4https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/world-watch-list/

5https://www.opendoorsusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/WWL2019_FullBooklet.pdf


Websites last accessed on 31st March 2019. 

Friday, March 29, 2019

Indian Election 2019; God’s Plan For India According To Dr. Paul Dhinakaran: How Do We Respond?

            India will go to polls this year from April 11th to May 19th to elect its members of the Parliament to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha.

            The two major alliances contesting the Indian election 2019 are the ruling NDA (National Democratic Alliance, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party) and the UPA (United Progressive Alliance, led by the Indian National Congress). Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi (age 68) and the President of BJP Mr. Amit Shah (age 54) are the most popular leaders of the NDA. Mr. Rahul Gandhi (age 48, President of the Congress party) and his sister Ms. Priyanka Gandhi (age 47) are the most popular leaders of the UPA.

            Recently, I saw a video on YouTube entitled “Prophecy 2019 | God's Plan For India | Year of Deliverance | Dr. Paul Dhinakaran.”1 It had garnered views in excess of 120,000, as on date. This video is apparently God’s revelation to Dr. Paul Dhinakaran — a well-regarded evangelist in India. In this video, Dr. Paul Dhinakaran reveals God’s plan for India’s future during which he also predicts the election results.

            Find below his election predictions along with the relevant timing from the video:

Prophecies – 2019 | India Governance | …as revealed by God to Dr. Paul Dhinakaran

3:31: “India Governance” prophecies begin
3:44: Present leaders who are known shall be quietened.
4:02: Young leaders with forward-looking principles and plans for progress shall be placed in authority.
4:26: India will become a young nation ruled by young leadership.
4:35: The key players seen now shall be removed.

            You can watch the video here:


           

            As you see, this prophecy does not mention specific names. Hence, the interpretation could be quite complicated. However, let’s strive to interpret the prophecy:

THE CASE AGAINST NDA

            1. Present Leaders Who Are Known Shall Be Quietened: Since Dr. Paul Dhinakaran does not mention names, we can only speculate based on our context. The present leaders, as I surmise, are the Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi and the President of BJP Mr. Amit Shah. So this prophecy, I presume, predicts defeat for the ruling NDA in this election.

            2. Young Leaders With Forward-Looking Principles And Plans For Progress Shall Be Placed In Authority: The young leaders mentioned here, it seems to me, cannot include the incumbent Prime Minister, who is 68 years old. He is not young. (But it could include the 54-year-old Mr. Amit Shah. It could also include the other young leaders of the NDA, such as Mr. Yogi Adityanath - age 46).

            But this election is being fought on the premise that Mr. Modi is the Prime Ministerial candidate. Therefore, I guess that the young leaders who shall be placed in authority, according to this prophecy, could refer to Mr. Rahul Gandhi or the other young politicians of the opposing parties, such as the President of the Samajwadi party Mr. Akhilesh Yadav (age 45).  

            3. India Will Become A Young Nation Ruled By Young Leadership: Refer (2)

            4. The Key Players Seen Now Shall Be Removed: Refer (1)

THE CASE AGAINST UPA

            The case against the UPA seems rather weak. Nevertheless, let’s consider this possibility by taking into account the first two prophecies only:

            1. Present Leaders Who Are Known Shall Be Quietened: If this is a reference to Mr. Rahul Gandhi and/or the other young leaders of the UPA, and the other opposing parties to the NDA, I do not see how this prophecy could be validated if Mr. Modi returns as the Prime Minister for the second time.

            2. Young Leaders With Forward-Looking Principles And Plans For Progress Shall Be Placed In Authority: If this prophecy does not refer to Mr. Rahul Gandhi, then it could possibly indicate that the other young leaders in the Congress party or even the President of the Samajwadi party, Mr. Akhilesh Yadav could be placed in authority.

            This prophecy, if we interpret it to be against the UPA, seems rather implausible because this election is a direct tussle between the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and Mr. Rahul Gandhi. Mr. Modi is older than Mr. Gandhi. On the other hand, if we consider this prophecy to be against the ruling NDA, then it seems very plausible. Therefore, the young leaders mentioned in the prophecy could refer to Mr. Rahul Gandhi.

THIS PROPHECY DOES NOT IMPACT CHRISTIANITY

            Why am I writing this blog/article?

            Do correct me if I am wrong. But this prophecy predicts defeat for the ruling NDA. It foretells defeat for the BJP and victory for the Congress. The UPA, according to this prophecy, will form the next government in India. 

            But what if BJP and the NDA win this election and form the next government? What if Mr. Narendra Modi becomes the 17th Prime Minister of India? 

            What then happens to this prophecy and how does this prophecy impact Historic Christianity? (This prophecy is predicated on Christianity.)

            If the NDA wins this election, then this prophecy should be construed as a failed prophecy because this prophecy, obviously, was not from God.

            The Bible teaches that every prophecy should be tested. Here are a few verses from the Bible:

            Deuteronomy 18: 21-22: “You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.” (NIV, Emphasis Mine).

            1 Thessalonians 5:20-21: “Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.” (ESV, Emphasis Mine).

            1 John 4:1: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (NIV, Emphasis Mine).

            So let us put this prophecy to test by waiting for the election results to be announced on May 23rd.

            I have only covered the prophecy that pertains to the oncoming elections in this article. Dr. Paul Dhinakaran has prophesied more in that video.

            Let us not forget another significant detail. This prophecy would have been from God only if every bit of the prophecy mentioned (in that video) comes to pass. In other words, if a part of this prophecy comes to pass and the other part fails, then we should consider this prophecy as not from God. God does not convey partial truth. God conveys absolute truth or the complete truth.

            What would be the impact on Historic Christianity if this prophecy fails? There would be absolutely no impact, whatsoever, on Historic Christianity.

             This is a prophecy from a person who is popularly regarded, by a certain section of the Christian community, as a man of God. But men are fallible. We could err.

            The Bible teaches that prophecy cannot have its origin in the human will, “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:19-21, NIV).

            So if this prophecy fails, then we construe that this prophecy had its origin in the fallible human will and not from the infallible God. Hence this prophecy, if it fails, would have had nothing to do with Christianity.

            Finally, here is a word of caution to my fellow Christians. As you listen to this prophecy, do not get highly ecstatic or thoroughly desolate because of your personal political persuasion. Wait for the prophecy to either come to pass or fail.

            While prophecies are exciting because it dismantles the horrific suspense about our future, let us be confident that when God is for us, no one can be against us. The next Prime Minister, be it Mr. Narendra Modi or anyone else, would be the one appointed by God and not by man, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1, NIV).

            Let us continue praying for the election. May God’s will be done. May we, as the Bible commands us, be subject to the governing authorities, whoever it may be.

Endnotes:

1https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvtVXXl4Vo8


Website last accessed on 29th March 2019.