Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Prostitution Within Christian Marriages

            Prostitution, often referred to as the world’s oldest profession, is considered a sin by many religions. However, quite a few countries have decriminalized prostitution to provide sex workers with a safer and healthier environment so that they live with less social exclusion and stigma.1

            The Bible teaches that prostitution is an immoral act, hence a sin (Leviticus 19:29; Proverbs 5:3-5, 23:27-28; Romans 6:13; 1 Corinthians 6:13-15). But the Bible also teaches that prostitutes can go to heaven if they repent of their sins (Joshua 2:1, 6:17-25; Matthew 21:31; Luke 7:36-50; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25).

            Prostitution, by definition, is “…the practice of engaging in relatively indiscriminate sexual activity, in general with someone who is not a spouse or a friend, in exchange for immediate payment in money or other valuables. Prostitutes may be female or male or transgender, and prostitution may entail heterosexual or homosexual activity, but historically most prostitutes have been women and most clients men.”2

            The scope of prostitution is often limited to brothels, sex workers, and their clients. But Christian marriages are often plagued by a form of prostitution.

            Here’s an instance of prostitution found in Christian marriages. This is illustrated by Rick Thomas in his podcast, “Case Study: The Christian Prostitute”:3 (Emphasis Mine)

Mrs. Johnson has been married for 27 years, most of which was one series after another of miscommunication. She says her husband seems to have one thing in his mind and the only time he is consistently helpful is when he wants to be intimate. She did admit that she uses sex as a manipulative tool when she wants something from him.
When her husband does not receive the intimacy he wants, he pouts at best and gets angry at worst. Mrs. Johnson said she and the kids walk on egg shells when he comes home, not knowing his mood for the day.
Sometimes she yields to his demands but finds no pleasure being with him intimately. It’s the only way she knows to make him civil. It’s an endless cycle of pouting, anger, sex, pleasantness, pouting, anger, sex, ad nausea.
“I know I’m part of the problem, but it all can’t be my fault. I would love to be intimate with him and enjoy it, but right now I do not see the light at the end of this hopeless tunnel. I feel like a prostitute.” 
            Prostitution involves sexual activity in exchange for money or other valuables. Similarly, sex, if used as a manipulative tool within a Christian marriage, is a form of prostitution. Sex, in this instance, is offered in exchange for something or the other – tangible or intangible, it does not matter.

            If Christian couples recognize this sin in their marriage and work towards restoring their marriage, their home would be a happy Christian home. Significantly, Christ would be glorified in and through their marriage.

            Here’s one way to restore a Christian marriage that’s plagued by prostitution. Christian ministry, Focus on the Family, teaches that Christian wives should realize that sex is the greatest gift they can offer their husbands:4 (Emphasis Mine)

You can spend so much time fretting about and avoiding sex that you miss the obvious. While acknowledging that sex is a huge force in your husband's life, don't neglect the fact that God created that force for your use as well. In fact, you should become jealous and possessive of the power inherent in your husband's sexuality. It was intended for you!
Just as twisted women are able to pull men into sin, virtuous women can use the influence of sex to call men to morality, love, and godliness.
Like many wives, you may be desperate to work on your marriage. You may long for your husband to read relationship books with you or attend marriage seminars (and actually take notes). If you really want his attention, work with the way God designed him. A great sex life won't solve the problems in your marriage; however, it will fortify your husband's desire and commitment to work toward intimacy. Your sexual relationship may be the "on-ramp" to communication, conflict resolution, and building the emotional intimacy you are longing for.
Like any married couple, Mike and I have our disagreements. In fact, we even have a full-out argument every now and then. He retreats to his corner, and I retreat to mine. Each wonders when the other will extend the olive branch with a hug, an apology, or a kind word. During these tense times in our marriage, I pay more attention than ever to how I look. I'm conscious to put on makeup and wear something relatively attractive. Why? Because I desperately need my husband's attention. I want him to desire emotional and physical connection with me. It's a potent force for encouraging reconciliation.
No amount of nagging, pleading, talking, or counseling can grab your husband's attention the way his sexual desire for you can. Just look at advertising. No approach is used more frequently or more successfully than sex appeal. Why aren't you using it in your marriage? As a good friend of mine says, "If you want to improve your marriage, invest in your underwear."
Look at it this way: How is your husband likely to respond to these two statements—"Honey, I really think we need to talk about our marriage. I feel like we are drifting apart." Versus . . . "Babe, I want to work on our sexual relationship. I want to know how to please you and how to make our sex life awesome."
Which book do you think your husband would be more interested in reading: The Seven Keys to a Great Marriage or Red-Hot Monogamy?
Please understand — I am not suggesting that you use sexuality to manipulate your husband! Withholding sex when you don't get your way or lavishing him with it when you do is manipulation. I am suggesting that you embrace this fact: There are many forces in your husband's environment that use sex to garner his attention. They are stealing the power that God intended for you. Instead of sitting passively by, claim it.
Satan consistently twists into evil what God designed for good. By God's good design, a man's sex drive is strong. If it is harnessed and intensified within marriage, it can be an incredible force fastening a man's affections and passions to his wife. I believe that it is right and godly to claim your husband's sexual desire as a potent source of influence in your marriage. This power was intended for you and for no one else. Unfortunately, if you don't claim it, someone or something else will.
"Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God" (Exodus 34:14). Notice that in this verse, God tells the Israelites that His name is "Jealous." We often think about jealousy as a bad quality, so why would God define Himself as jealous? The obvious answer is that there are some things that we should be jealous about. God's jealousy for the hearts of His people is holy and righteous. They belong to Him and were created for His pleasure.
The same applies to your sexual relationship with your husband. You should be jealous of your husband's sexuality! It was designed for your pleasure and intimacy. The power of his sexuality was also designed for your influence in his life. Through his sexuality, you have a powerful place in your husband's life that should belong to only you. It sets apart your relationship as distinctive from every other person in his life. No one can share with him as you can. Instead of lamenting the compelling sexual appeal of pornography and co-workers in your husband's life, focus your energy on reclaiming the influence that is rightly yours.
It's Your Gift. Unwrap It!
As you digest this information, you may feel defeated by your perceived inability to meet your husband's sexual needs. Perhaps emotional or physical limitations convince you that the gift in this series is impossible for you to unwrap. No, you cannot compete with the raw sensuality dangled at men in our culture. You have neither the energy nor the physical attributes to look like a cover girl or a Playboy centerfold. Yet what you do have to offer your husband is far more profound.
Fulfilling your husband sexually encompasses so much more than the physical act. It means inviting his sexuality into your marriage, embracing all that he is, hopes, and desires. It includes wanting to fully understand him and welcoming the sexual appetite that expresses his masculinity. It involves striving with him through weakness and temptation and covering his fears and failures. No magazine, no coworker, no porn site can be this teammate and confidante for your husband. This is your place; this is your power; this is your gift. Unwrap it.

Endnotes:
1https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decriminalizing_sex_work#Decriminalization

2https://www.britannica.com/topic/prostitution

3https://rickthomas.net/the-case-of-the-christian-prostitute/

4https://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/sex-and-intimacy/understanding-your-husbands-sexual-needs/your-husbands-sex-drive-is-gods-gift-to-you


Websites last accessed on 16th October 2018.

Friday, September 28, 2018

The Christianity of Abortion

            Chelsea Clinton, in an interview on September 13, 2018, said that as a deeply religious person, banning abortions would be unchristian to her.1

            It is one thing to say that banning abortions would be unchristian, for this could be a belief of a naïve Christian. But it’s entirely different to claim that as a deeply religious Christian, she knows for certain that banning abortions is unchristian. This statement presupposes Christianity’s advocacy for abortion, hence the greater significance.

            Chelsea’s utterance on abortion is not new!

            Christian leaders have, in the past, claimed that abortion is a blessing. In her sermon entitled, “Our Work is Not Done,” Rev. Dr. Katherine Ragsdale, president of Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) in Cambridge, MA, said, “When a woman wants a child but can’t afford one because she hasn’t the education necessary for a sustainable job, or access to health care, or day care, or adequate food, it is the abysmal priorities of our nation, the lack of social supports, the absence of justice that are the tragedies; the abortion is a blessing.

            “And when a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her; decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to a safe, affordable abortion – there is not a tragedy in sight -- only blessing. The ability to enjoy God’s good gift of sexuality without compromising one’s education, life’s work, or ability to put to use God’s gifts and call is simply blessing.”2

            The notion that abortion is a blessing or that banning abortions would be unchristian is not a teaching of the Historic Christianity. Those who subscribe to Historic Christianity believe that abortion is a sin against God.

            Evangelist Franklin Graham slammed Chelsea’s claim, “…Legalizing abortion hasn't added anything to our country, it has only taken away. It has cost this nation more than 60 million lives — lives precious to God…Just think of the contribution these people would have made. There will be another high cost. I believe God will judge America for allowing the heinous murder of our own children in the womb…”3

            A young Christian, who observes both sides of the abortion debate, may wonder whether abortion is Christian or unchristian. So it is pertinent to examine the Christianity of the person who subscribes to abortion. What would such Christianity entail?

            But before we head in that direction, let us, for a moment, recollect a concise argument against abortion:

            1. Human beings have intrinsic moral value.

            2. The developing fetus is a human being from conception.

            3. Abortion is a murder of a human being.

            4. The Bible teaches that the murder of human beings is a sin against God.

            5. Hence, Christians should not abort their fetus.

            Christians who endorse abortion are progressive Christians. They do not subscribe to the tenets of Historic Christianity.

            I covered this theme in an earlier blog post of mine entitled, “Why Do Christians Support Abortion?” Here’s an excerpt from that article:4 (Emphasis Mine)

Those who lead the pro-choice group or those who fervently support abortion would subscribe to progressive Christianity. In other words, they would no longer believe the tenets of Historic Christianity. Abandoning the tenets of Historic Christianity allows the individual Christian to do anything that he/she feels is right.
In order to justify their feelings or emotions, these pro-choice leaders would misinterpret the Bible. They assert that the Bible does not condemn abortion, since the word abortion is not present in the Bible as against the 3000 Bible verses that mandate social justice, “…in the New Testament, there is no direct teaching on abortion. Jesus does not address the topic specifically and not one of His parables talks about ending a pregnancy. Neither do any of Paul’s letters mention abortion. Abortion was very prevalent in many of the places Paul visited – we know this from other historical texts, and as he mentions in his letters, these cities were brimming with prostitution and illicit sexual activity. In fact, Paul never had a problem speaking out on any topic he believed followers of Christ should pay attention to! This makes it very interesting that abortion was obviously not a topic of enough priority for Paul to mention…”5
If abortion could be endorsed through this mode of reasoning, then by the same mode of reasoning a whole host of sins could be endorsed. For instance, watching porn or smoking could be endorsed, because pornography and smoking are not explicitly condemned in the Bible.
Rebecca Todd Peters is a Christian who fervently supports abortion. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church and professor of religious studies at Elon University. She is also a progressive Christian.6
…Rebecca Todd Peters says, “Progressive Christianity, for me, and for many people, is about focusing on what the social teachings are in the Bible, in the traditions, in the church, that help us think about and address the social problems we see in the world. That’s very different from an evangelical understanding of Christianity, which is about salvation. I actually don’t care that much about salvation. That’s not my primary concern. My primary concern is about the world that we live in, and how we make a more just world. That’s the tradition of the social gospel.” (Emphasis Mine).7
Christians reject Christ if they are not concerned about salvation. The Lord Jesus did not come to preach social justice to the world. HE came to die for our sins so that those who believe in Christ would live forever.
The cross is the central aspect of Christianity.  If Christians claim that they are not concerned about salvation, then they are not really aligned with Christ. If they are not aligned with Christ, then their Christianity could be unequivocally questioned. So would it be accurate and reasonable to conclude that those Christians who support abortion are not Christians, to begin with?
        So Chelsea Clinton may be deeply religious. But she may not be a deeply religious Christian, who subscribes to Historic Christianity.

       If Chelsea endorses abortion, she could also endorse adultery, pornography, prostitution, polyamory etc. She could just about endorse any and every sin because her worldview entitles her to this abominable privilege. This is the entailment of her Christianity.

       Progressive Christians could call themselves Christians – that’s their call. But they are not Christians!

     Matt Walsh, in response to Chelsea’s comments on abortion, termed her as a Satanist:5

I sincerely believe she is a satanist and my only regret is that I didn't also call her a heretic. "Satanic heretic" would have been a more apt description. And she is far from the only satanic heretic in our culture.
Pro-abortion "Christians" are heretics because they claim a God who endorses violence against children. Well, I suppose that's blasphemy as well as heresy. Perhaps "blasphemous satanic heretic" is the technically correct term, but after a while it just gets redundant. The point is that Jesus Christ is the Lord of Life. He gives life to our children and commands us to care for the precious gift He has bestowed. It is the most twisted kind of heresy to suggest that God may breathe life into your child and then raise no objection if you crush the child's skull and throw his body in a medical waste dumpster. "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you," says the Book of Jeremiah. "Children are a gift from the Lord," says Psalm 127.
… Let us remember, also, that Jesus Christ was Incarnate as an unborn child. He was a "fetus," to use our modern term. A stage of human development cannot be anything less than sacred after the Lord Himself lived through that stage. Christianity is the only religion in the world that believes God Himself was once unborn. For this reason, no religion on Earth is less compatible with abortion than Christianity. You cannot be a pro-abortion Christian. It's like trying to square a circle. It just doesn't work.
Satanism, on the other hand, is deeply compatible with the pro-abortion view. The two go hand-in-hand, a match made in Hell…
It's not hard to see why satanists not only support abortion but consider it sacramental. Through abortion, a woman places her own comfort and convenience above the life of her child. She declares that her child's very humanity is contingent upon, and subordinate to, her desires. Pro-aborts are quite explicit about this. If you ask them when life begins, they'll tell you it begins whenever the mother wants it to begin. They ascribe Godlike power and authority to the individual. What else can we call this but the deification of the self? It is textbook satanism.
            Abortion is predicated on choice – the choice of the mother and maybe even the father. Such people remain in control of their lives, thereby they choose to abort.

            Being a Christian is also predicated on choice. A person chooses to believe in Christ. But in this instance, when a person chooses to believe in Christ, that person willfully surrenders his/her choice or submits his/her life to the rule of the Lord Jesus Christ.

            When the Lord Jesus rules our life, HIS choice becomes our choice. Our choice gets lost in HIS. From this time onwards, a Christian chooses to obey the Lord Jesus and the commands that are taught in the Bible. 

            Christianity is not about having a strong social outlook. Christianity is all about loving God and being obedient to HIM and HIM alone. When we love God, we cannot ignore the social concerns of our world. However, caring for social concerns cannot supersede our obedience to God. Our allegiance is to God and to the sanctity of human life.

            Therefore, the entailment of the true Christianity is to hold a high view of God, obey HIM and HIS commands. Hence, true Christians oppose abortion. Those Christians who support abortion may not be Christians, so their deep religiosity does not matter to us. 

Endnotes:

1https://www.christianpost.com/news/chelsea-clinton-as-a-deeply-religious-person-banning-abortions-is-unchristian-to-me-227384/

2https://www.str.org/blog/abortion-blessing#.W6ujCnszZhE

3https://www.christianpost.com/news/franklin-graham-blasts-chelsea-clintons-claim-60-million-abortions-added-3-5-trillion-to-economy-226877/

4http://rajkumarrichard.blogspot.com/2018/05/why-do-christians-support-abortion.html

5https://www.dailywire.com/news/36056/walsh-people-are-mad-i-called-chelsea-clinton-matt-walsh


Websites last accessed on 28th September 2018.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Christian Persecution In China: A Comprehensive Truth

            Christians in China are being persecuted and the details are gory. The year 2017 recorded more than 240,000 instances of persecution, up from 48,000 in 2016, according to Dr. Michael Brown.1

            Dr. Brown goes on to add that this is not a one-off persecution endeavor by the Chinese government. This is the third phase of a 14-year plan of the Chinese government to persecute Christian churches:2

“…the government has implemented a three-phase, 14-year plan:
“During the first 2-year phase, 2012-2014, it further eased persecution of the underground church, enticing more of them to surface and be identified.”…
“During the second 2-year phase, 2014-2016, it invited and then pressured the identified underground churches to register and become Three-Self government churches.                                                              
“In the current third, 10-year phase, the gloves have come off as both the remaining underground churches and even Three Self churches are being persecuted using Mao-era brute-force, as well as mass surveillance, artificial intelligence, and big data.”
            This persecution follows its innate pattern. More than 2000 crosses have been destroyed. Church buildings have been demolished. Thousands of pastors have been arrested and tortured.

            Dr. Brown reported an instance, “Brothers and sisters are facing difficulties and suffering for their faith. My sister and her husband along with three others were put in jail for their gathering together with about 30 people and their stuff has been taken way with a few big trucks. They were beaten and shocked by the electronic sticks with head bleeding and arms in painful position. David their son saw what happened and cried and fainted there when it happened…my sister almost had a heart attack and her husband had gout which almost killed him. They were suffering physically and mentally…They were released after 10 days and told by local authorities they had to leave their city and district. All this for holding Christian meetings in China.”3

            This is not it. Satan intends to make it worse.

            The persecution will also include a Chinese design against Historic Christianity – ‘Sinicization of Christianity.’ This is the most dangerous element of this persecution.

            Here are some details of “Sinicization of Christianity”:4

"Sinicization" means adapting to Chinese culture a non-Chinese entity. Sinicization of Christianity, however, means bending Christianity to submit to the will of the Chinese Communist Party…
1.  Sinicization of Christianity will be led by the Chinese Communist Party and guided by "socialism"…
2. Sinicization of Christianity will "adapt" Christian theology…
3.  Sinicization of Christianity will be implemented by personnel who will be trained by "pushing" more "patriotism" and "socialism" at China's "colleges on theology"…
4. They and others are to be indoctrinated with "hermeneutics," "books," and Bibles with "annotations" that promote the "core values of socialism"…
            Sinicization of Christianity is nothing but smuggling socialism into Historic Christianity so as to adapt Christianity to the whims and fancies of the Chinese Communist Party. In other words, this version of Christianity would not be the true Christianity.

            The Sinicization of Christianity will be implemented by the ‘Three Self Church.’ Here’s some information about the Three Self Church:5

Three Self churches are the 60,000 churches in China that belong to the Chinese Communist Party-controlled Three Self Patriotic Movement.
The three ‘Self’s are self-governance, self-support, self-propagation, and reject foreigners' influence on church leadership, foreign financing and foreign missionaries, respectively, while “Patriotic” reflects this church's loyalty to China.
The three rejections have kept the divisive Western denominationalism out of China and thus aren't necessarily bad on their own. What is bad is that the Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) tries to restrict, control and twist Christianity to suit the Communist Party. Consider some of the rules governing the Three Self churches:
•  The Communist Party is the head of the church in China (Three Self churches report to the Three Self Patriotic Movement, which in turn reports to the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), which is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party).
•  The Communist Party decides how many people can be baptized per year.
•  The Communist Party has the final say on who can preach and what can be preached.
•  Preaching should focus on the social rules and the social benefits of Christianity.
•  Preaching about the resurrection of Jesus is forbidden.
•  Preaching about the second coming of Jesus is forbidden.
•  Preaching against religions that deny the deity of Jesus is forbidden.
•  Preaching that atheist Communist heroes went to hell is forbidden.
•  Preaching cannot deny that all good Communists go to heaven.
•  Preaching against abortion is forbidden.
•  Preachers can preach only at the Three Self church to which they are assigned.
•  Worshipping outside Three Self churches and official "meeting points" is forbidden.
•  Importing Bibles is forbidden, even if they are given away for free.
•  Printing Bibles is forbidden, even if they are given away for free.
•  Evangelizing or giving out tracts is forbidden.
•  Government officials cannot be Christian.
•  Police officers cannot be Christian.
•  Soldiers cannot be Christian.
•  Teachers cannot be Christian.
•  Children cannot become Christian.
•  Teenagers cannot become Christian. (Emphasis Mine)
            This persecution in China is unique because of the vicious plan of the Chinese government - ‘Sinicization of Christianity’ - a pogrom against Historic Christianity. This pogrom against Historic Christianity is intended to brainwash Christians to believe in a false Christianity.

            Therefore, let us pray for our brothers and sisters in China to be strengthened spiritually to face this tribulation and be faithful to the Lord Jesus during this persecution. Let us also pray that the ‘Sinicization of Christianity’ - a pogrom of the Chinese government against Historic Christianity, would fail.

            Last but not the least, may the so-called Christians governing the ‘Three Self Churches’ realize their allegiance to Satan, repent of their sins and follow the one and the only, the risen Lord Jesus Christ, and no one else. Amen. 

Endnotes:
1https://stream.org/brutal-truth-persecution-christians-china/

2Ibid.

3Ibid.

4http://www.billionbibles.com/china/sinicization-of-christianity.html

5http://www.billionbibles.com/china/three-self-church.html

Websites last accessed on 24th September 2018. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Pope Francis Accuses Satan Of Uncovering Bishops’ Sin

            Any well-meaning Christian would claim that the Christian testimony to the secular world – that a Christian loves the Lord Jesus and seeks to glorify the triune God in and through every aspect of his/her life – is of supreme significance. The Christian testimony stands on a doctrinal foundation of confession and repentance. That foundation is the serious endeavor of every genuine Christian to remain faithful to the triune God, in public and private, and confess every sin to God and to the person (whom they have offended), thereby seeking forgiveness, so to glorify God always.

            But when Christian leaders, through their public utterance, jeopardize the foundation of the Christian testimony, clarity should be provided to the secular world. That clarity should expose the aberration committed by the Christian leader, and provide a biblically correct essence of the foundation on which a Christian testimony stands.

            Pope Francis, on Tuesday the 11th September 2018, said that Satan is seeking to uncover the sins of the Bishops, so the Bishops should pray against Satan, ““In these times, it seems like the 'Great Accuser' has been unchained and is attacking bishops. True, we are all sinners, we bishops. He tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalize the people. The 'Great Accuser', as he himself says to God in the first chapter of the Book of Job, 'roams the earth looking for someone to accuse'. A bishop’s strength against the 'Great Accuser' is prayer, that of Jesus and his own, and the humility of being chosen and remaining close to the people of God, without seeking an aristocratic life that removes this unction. Let us pray, today, for our bishops: for me, for those who are here, and for all the bishops throughout the world.””1

            Here is a dissection of Pope Francis’ words. The Pope’s words have been italicized to provide a contrast between his words and my analysis:

             “In these times, it seems like the 'Great Accuser' has been unchained and is attacking bishops.” Pope refers to Satan as the ‘Great Accuser.’ But guess who has the power to unchain Satan? It’s God and only God has the power to unchain Satan. If God did unchain Satan, HE would have a definite purpose behind unchaining him.

            “True, we are all sinners, we bishops.” Pope is absolutely right. Without any exception, every man is a sinner (1 John 1:8).

            “He tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalize the people.” This is where the Pope is going haywire. Satan is trying to uncover the sins (of the Bishops) to scandalize the erring Bishops.

            The Catholic Church is plagued with sex abuse and cover-up scandals. If God unchained Satan to uncover the sins of the Bishops, then God is probably trying to expose the scandals, so as to enable the sinner to repent and be cleansed of this sin.

             “The 'Great Accuser', as he himself says to God in the first chapter of the Book of Job, 'roams the earth looking for someone to accuse'.” In the book of Job, Satan accused Job, who is righteous (1:8). The ‘Great Accuser,’ in the context of Job, accuses God’s people who are righteous.

            But the context in Pope’s instance is diametrically opposite. Not all, but some bishops of the Catholic church are guilty of sex abuse – the Pope refers to this fact by designating every bishop a sinner. So Satan, in this context, is accusing the guilty, not the righteous. Common sense dictates that the guilty should be exposed.

            “A bishop’s strength against the 'Great Accuser' is prayer…” This is where the Pope once again seems to be going haywire.

            The Pope does not seem to allude to the fact that bishops should pray to cease from sinning because he has already mentioned that his bishops are under satanic attack. Therefore, a reasonable conclusion could be that the Pope is imploring his Bishops, who are in Satan’s radar, to pray against this satanic attack.

            In other words, the Pope seems to advise his bishops to pray against Satan so that their sins are not uncovered. Does this mean that the Pope is encouraging his bishops to sin? One does not hope so. One hopes that the Pope could have worded his statement better.

            The secular world has caught on to the Pope’s faux pas. An article in the Washington Examiner obliterates the Pope:2

I’m starting to think Pope Francis isn’t the man for the job.
It’s almost like he’s trying to make the clergy sexual abuse scandal worse…
On Tuesday, for example, the Holy Father’s Sept. 11 homily included a moment wherein he appeared to bemoan that the Church's institutionalized horror of abuse and enabling has been exposed to the public.
What in the world?
Is Francis suggesting he’d prefer for the sin to remain hidden? Is he’s suggesting that those who are exposing the cancer of clergy sexual abuse are also agents of the devil? Is he suggesting that we should let the issue go because it could hurt the Church?
Who knows!
I’m not entirely sure what Francis is on about here, but I can assure you that the real tragedy of clergy sexual abuse isn’t that the people have been scandalized by sin. The tragedy isn’t that sin has been uncovered. (Remember: The truth will set you free.) The tragedy is that children had their innocence stolen. The tragedy is that men who were trusted to lead the faithful preyed on children and that Church leaders often covered it up and/or enabled it.
Also, Francis’s Job analogy doesn’t work, especially in the context of the crisis currently facing the Catholic Church. Job did not do anything wrong (that’s sort of the point). He certainly wasn’t guilty of sexually abusing children or enabling abusers.
Ordinarily, I’d be only annoyed that the pope once again opted for fuzzy and ambiguous language pertaining to a current issue. But the sex abuse scandal is as serious as any the Catholic Church has faced, and I don’t think Francis sees it that way.
He is handling this like it’s some minor public relations flub and not the sort of thing that leads to a crisis of faith. It’s maddening.
First, Francis said he would “not say a single word” on allegations he empowered known sexual abusers. Then his spin doctors at the Vatican announced this week that they are still preparing the “ necessary clarifications” to the allegations. (It has been 17 days since Francis was first accused of being complicit in the abuse.)
Now, Francis, who must know that the faithful are hanging on to his every word, is seemingly bemoaning that the public knows about the grave evil that the Church has allowed to grow in darkness. The faithful are out here begging the Holy Father to take control and lead, and he’s over there — what? — passive-aggressively subtweeting his critics during Mass? Bold.
If Francis won’t take the matter seriously, he should make way for someone who will.

            An article in The Daily Wire interprets Pope’s words to mean that the real victims of this sex abuse scandal plaguing the Catholic Church are the Bishops and not anyone else, “…it appears the Pope suggested that people consider the real victims of the sexual abuse scandals currently roiling the Church: the bishops.”3

            Finally, to conclude, the doctrinal foundation on which the Christian testimony stands is that of confession and repentance. Christians endeavor to remain faithful to the triune God, in public and private, and confess every sin to God and to the person (whom they have offended), thereby seeking forgiveness, so to glorify God always. This holds true for you, me, the bishops, and the Pope, as well.

            We pray that God would empower us to cease from sinning. We pray that God would enable us to be humble, so to seek forgiveness from HIM and every person we have offended, thereby restoring our relationship. We also pray that Christian leaders would not be ambiguous in their public utterance, and not sow seeds of heresy and discord.

Endnotes:

1https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope-francis/mass-casa-santa-marta/2018-09/pope-francis-mass-great-accuser-bishops-scandal.html

2https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/pope-francis-talks-poorly-about-satan-and-the-people-exposing-clergy-sexual-abuse

3https://www.dailywire.com/news/35730/pope-shocks-homily-attacks-great-accuser-satan-emily-zanotti


Websites last accessed on 12th September 2018.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

The Incel Terror: Satan’s Latest?

            Satan will exploit every trick in the book to deceive people. The “Incels” are his latest victims.

            On April 23, 2018, 25-year-old, Alek Minassian, drove a van into a group of pedestrians killing 10 and injuring 15 in Toronto, Canada. He did not belong to the ISIS or another terrorist outfit. He is an Incel.

            Ben Shapiro, the editor-in-chief for The Daily Wire and the host of The Ben Shapiro Show, a daily political podcast and radio show, enlightens us about the Incels, “Incels are involuntary celibates — men, generally, who want to have sex but cannot find a willing partner… there are two types of incels: men who can’t get laid as a general rule, and people…victimized by a society that has unfair standards of sexiness (“the overweight and disabled, minority groups treated as unattractive by the majority, trans women unable to find partners and other victims…”1 (Emphasis Mine).

            The Incel terror – a corollary of the Satanic deception – is a real deal. The self-proclaimed incel & a mass killer, Alek Minassian, had expressed his intense hatred for the society. “Prior to the attack, Minassian wrote in a Facebook post, “The Incel Rebellion has already begun! We will overthrow all the Chads and Stacys!”…“Stacys” are the women who reject incels for “Chads,” the men who are sexually attractive to women…” says an article in The Gospel Coalition.2

            The Incels are a derivative of the “Sexual Revolution.” At the root of this depravity is a claim to “sexual rights.”

            The Incels demand their right to indulge in sex. This, they believe, is fundamental.

            The Incel terror emphasizes the fact that sexual morality is at stake!

            Ben Shapiro articulates this situation well by contrasting commitment and consummation. The Incels consider sex as the goal of their life. Hence they demand to indulge in sex (consummation) even before committing themselves to a partner through marriage. Here’s an excerpt from his article:3

…conservatives have a solution that the rest of the world calls benighted and stupid: a sexual morality that takes into account commitment, and sees commitment as the fundamental need to be fulfilled before consummation of sexual activity. If we measure happiness by commitment rather than by amount and variety of sex, the onus is placed on us to better ourselves in preparation for commitment — we must become worthy of someone else’s commitment, too…This, of course, is an ancient sexual ethos, and a far more fulfilling one…Placing sex into the context of commitment means restoring it to its proper role, rather than as the goal of life itself…
If sex is the goal of life…then…You have been victimized, because everyone but you is having sex, and having sex is the norm — but you're not normal, and thus you have been cast out. Poor you.
If we treat commitment as the goal of life, then responsibility lies with you, not with society at large. We hear the common complaint among incels that “women just don’t get me.” It’s far rarer to hear men who work on themselves and make themselves marriageable partners complain that they can’t find a woman willing to get married. A sex-first society suggests that you are owed sex. A commitment-first society suggests that you owe someone else your commitment — and the work necessary to earn someone else’s commitment — before sex becomes worthwhile. (Emphasis Mine).
            We are no longer a society that treats commitment as an antecedent factor to sex. We belong to a hedonistic society that values pleasure and self-gratification more than anything and everything. We belong to a sex-first society.

            The Bible says, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days…” (2 Timothy 3:1, NIV). The Incel terror is a case in point.

            Our world is not going to be a better place to live in because Satan is ruling those who disobey God (cf. Ephesians 2:2). The incels’ claim for sex will accelerate the horror caused by evil. Ben Shapiro cites Ross Douthat, who predicts the “…growth of the sex worker industry, and demand for new technologies like sex robots. Douthat points out that our society has embraced the “Hefnerian” ethos of plentiful, variety-seeking sexual activity — and that just as with other measures of happiness unequally distributed across society…”4

            What is the role of the churches then? “How should we, as Christians respond to both incels and sexual-rights advocates? While it’s tempting to mock their foolishness and simply shame them for their misogyny (whether explicit, as with the incels, or implicit, as with the sexual-rights advocates), we should offer them an alternative to their false god of sex.

            We should be especially graceful in showing the incels where true hope and freedom can be found. “[I]t is the responsibility of the lonely man to find meaning apart from women,” David French says. “And that meaning happens to be found in a resurrected Christ who—unlike any other false god—can be found by any person who seeks his face,”” these are the words of wisdom in an article in The Gospel Coalition. 5 (Emphasis Mine).

Endnotes:

1https://www.dailywire.com/news/30219/solution-incels-isnt-sex-robots-its-commitment-and-ben-shapiro

2https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/incel-movement-repugnant-logic-sexual-revolution/

3https://www.dailywire.com/news/30219/solution-incels-isnt-sex-robots-its-commitment-and-ben-shapiro

4Ibid.

5https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/incel-movement-repugnant-logic-sexual-revolution/


Websites last accessed on 5th September 2018. 

Friday, August 31, 2018

The Conflict Between Evolution And Ethics (Evolution Cannot Explain Ethics) – Part 2

            While some atheists believe morality and human freedom are meaningless and illusory, other atheists believe in objective moral values. Atheist neuroscientist, Sam Harris, posited the existence of objective moral values in his book, Moral Landscape.

            Is it plausible to postulate objective moral values in a godless paradigm that atheists subscribe to? If there are objective moral values, there should be a source for these values. Hence we ask, “What is the foundation for objective moral values?”

            Christian apologist, William Lane Craig, disagrees with Sam Harris. Dr. Craig asserts the impossibility of a foundation for objective moral values in the atheistic worldview. Here’s an excerpt from his article, “Navigating Sam Harris' The Moral Landscape”:1

A great merit of Sam Harris' recent book The Moral Landscape is his bold affirmation of the objectivity of moral values and duties. To say that moral values and duties are objective is to say they are valid and binding independent of human opinion. For example, to say that the Holocaust was objectively evil is to say it was evil even though the Nazis who carried it out thought it was good. And it would still have been evil even if the Nazis had won World War II and succeeded in brainwashing or exterminating everyone who disagreed with them, so everybody who was left thought the Holocaust was good…
The question then is, what is the best foundation for the existence of objective moral values and duties? What grounds them? What makes certain actions good or evil, right or wrong? Traditionally, God has been the highest Good (summum bonum) and His commandments constitutive of our moral duties. But if God does not exist, what foundation remains for objective moral values and duties?
Consider first the question of objective moral values. On atheism, what basis is there for affirming objective moral values? In particular, why think that human beings have objective moral worth? On the atheistic view human beings are just accidental byproducts of nature who have evolved relatively recently on an infinitesimal speck of dust called planet Earth — lost somewhere in a hostile and mindless universe — and are doomed to perish individually and collectively in a relatively short time. On atheism it is hard to see any reason to think that human well-being is objectively good, anymore than insect well-being or rat well-being or hyena well-being. This is what Harris calls "The Value Problem." [3]…
The purpose of Harris' The Moral Landscape is to solve the "value problem," to explain the basis, on atheism, for the existence of objective moral values. [4] He explicitly rejects the view that moral values are Platonic objects existing independently of the world. [5] So his only recourse is to try to ground moral values in the natural world. But can he do that, since nature in and of itself is morally neutral?...
On a naturalistic view, moral values are just the behavioral by-products of biological evolution and social conditioning. Just as a troupe of baboons exhibit co-operative and even self-sacrificial behavior because natural selection has determined it to be advantageous in the struggle for survival, so homo sapiens — their primate cousins — exhibit similar behavior for the same reason. As a result of sociobiological pressures there has evolved among homo sapiens a sort of "herd morality" that functions well in the perpetuation of our species. But on the atheistic view there does not seem to be anything that makes this morality objectively true…
So how does Sam Harris propose to solve the "value problem"? The trick he proposes is simply to redefine what he means by "good" and "evil" in nonmoral terms. [9]He says we should "define 'good' as that which supports [the] well-being" of conscious creatures." [10] He states, "Good and evil need only consist in this: misery versus well-being." [11] Or again: "In speaking of 'moral truth,' I am saying that there must be facts regarding human and animal well-being." [12]
So, he says, "Questions about values … are really questions about the well-being of conscious creatures." [13] Therefore, he concludes, "It makes no sense … to ask whether maximizing well-being is 'good'." [14] Why not? Because he's redefined the word "good" to mean the well-being of conscious creatures. So to ask, "Why is maximizing creatures' well-being good?" is on his definition the same as asking, "Why does maximizing creatures' well-being maximize creatures' well-being?" It is simply a tautology — talking in a circle. Thus, Harris has "solved" his problem simply by redefining his terms. It is mere word play.
At the end of the day Harris is not really talking about moral values. He is just talking about what's conducive to the flourishing of sentient life on this planet. Seen in this light, his claim that science can tell us a great deal about what contributes to human flourishing is hardly controversial. Of course, it can — just as it can tell us what is conducive to the flourishing of corn or mosquitoes or bacteria. His so-called "moral landscape" picturing the highs and lows of human flourishing is not really a moral landscape at all.
On the next to last page of his book, Harris more or less admits this. For he makes the telling admission that if people such as rapists, liars, and thieves could be just as happy as good people, then his moral landscape would no longer be a moral landscape; rather it would just be a continuum of well-being, whose peaks are occupied by good and evil people alike. [15] What is interesting about this is that earlier in the book Harris observed that about 3 million Americans are psychopathic, that is to say, they do not care about the mental states of others. On the contrary, they enjoy inflicting pain on other people. [16]…
Thus, Harris has failed to solve the "value problem." He has not provided any justification or explanation of why, on atheism, objective moral values would exist at all. His so-called solution is just a semantic trick of providing an arbitrary and idiosyncratic redefinition of the words "good" and "evil" in nonmoral terms.

            The second question that needs to be addressed is, “Are we obligated to be morally right?” If so, “Who are we obligated to, from within the atheistic worldview?” Dr. Craig dissects this aspect and provides a conclusion to this subject:2

That takes us to a second question: Does atheism provide a sound foundation for objective moral duties? Duty has to do with moral obligation and prohibition, what I ought or ought not to do…
First: Natural science tells us only what is, not what ought to be, the case. As philosopher Jerry Fodor has written, "Science is about facts, not norms; it might tell us how we are, but it wouldn't tell us what is wrong with how we are." [17] In particular it cannot tell us that we have a moral obligation to take actions that are conducive to human flourishing.
So if there is no God, what foundation remains for objective moral duties? On the naturalistic view, human beings are just animals, and animals have no moral obligations to one another. When a lion kills a zebra, it kills the zebra, but it does not murder the zebra. When a great white shark forcibly copulates with a female, it forcibly copulates with her but it does not rape her — for there is no moral dimension to these actions. They are neither prohibited nor obligatory.
So if God does not exist, why think we have any moral obligations to do anything? Who or what imposes these moral duties on us? Where do they come from? It is hard to see why they would be anything more than a subjective impression ingrained into us by societal and parental conditioning.
On the atheistic view, certain actions such as incest and rape may not be biologically and socially advantageous, and so in the course of human development have become taboo, that is, socially unacceptable behavior. But that does absolutely nothing to show that rape or incest is really wrong. Such behavior goes on all the time in the animal kingdom…If there is no moral lawgiver, then there is no objective moral law; and if there is no objective moral law, then we have no objective moral duties…
Second: "ought" implies "can." A person is not morally responsible for an action he is unable to avoid. For example, if somebody shoves you into another person, you are not to blame for bumping into this person. You had no choice. But Harris believes that all of our actions are causally determined and that there is no free will. [20]… But if there is no free will, no one is morally responsible for anything. In the end, Harris admits this, though it's tucked away in his endnotes. Moral responsibility, he says, "is a social construct," not an objective reality: "in neuroscientific terms no person is more or less responsible than any other" for the actions they perform. [21] His thoroughgoing determinism spells the end of any hope or possibility of objective moral duties on his worldview because we have no control over what we do…
…The fact remains that whether we experience the illusion of free will or not, on Harris' view we are thoroughly determined in all that we think and do and can therefore have no moral responsibilities.
Conclusion
On Harris' view there is both no source of objective moral duties and no possibility of objective moral duty. Therefore, on his view, despite his protestations to the contrary, there is no objective right or wrong.
Thus, Sam Harris' naturalistic view fails to provide a sound foundation for objective moral values and duties. If God does not exist, we are trapped in a morally valueless world in which nothing is prohibited. Harris' atheism thus sits very ill with his ethical objectivism.

Endnotes:

1https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/existence-nature-of-god/navigating-sam-harris-the-moral-landscape/

2Ibid.


Website last accessed on 31st August 2018.