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Tolerant … kind of February 18, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Academia, Christianity, Philosophy, politics.
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It is a clearly observable phenomena that when modern liberalism’s proponents cry out “tolerance” to those who oppose on cultural, sociological, economic, political, or, dare we say, even Biblical grounds, a particular policy or behavior (or policy that will lead to certain behavior), their claims are selective.  This is the legacy of all poorly crafted reasoning.

Case in point: the California student who, in an open-topic speech in class, referenced opposition to same-sex marriage in his support of California’s Proposition 8 but received not a little grief from the professor, obviously a modern liberalism proponent.  You can read the summary at Volokh or may read a PDF version of the complaint courtesy of the Alliance Defense Fund.

And this lack of tolerance is simply normal for modern liberalism ideologues.  Though we hear the words come out of their mouths or from their pens that, “We hope for a world of tolerance,” with the creation of a plethora of social programs and diversity curricula to that end, the pendulum has simply crossed the center point; tolerance is viewed as accepting this other perceived view of how things ought to be.  And once we begin to delve into the world of perception and “oughts”, we necessarily enter into the world of philosophy and ethics and, most tolerably, Christian thought. 

It was once said, though I do not have the source (it may have been from Dr. R.C. Sproul), that tolerance once meant I wouldn’t punch you in the nose when disagreeing with you.  But the terms have shifted yet again.  Simply saying “be tolerant,” can no longer mean we merely disagree civilly, as it should.  No, now it must mean a particular position (same sex marriage in the above example) is as valid as another and worthy of government tax dollars spent to defend it; this view of life, these choices are right individually and may even be right from a societal standpoint.  Claims of truth have been discarded (save for the confused proposition that there is no such thing as truth, of course). 

Reason alone will lead us along the path of Aristotle to truths but no overarching Truth.  To find such, a grand system of thought is needed in which to coordinate all complex ideas.  Some have now found this in Darwinism’s common descent of man.  Others have found it in Islam’s Mohammed.  Yet, when all are considered rationally, reasonably, with the full force of our intellects focused on finding the truth, it is Biblical Christianity alone that gives this overarching system of thought and life and which in fact is Truth itself, not only pointing the way but being that which transforms. 

R. C. Sproul, in his work Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, notes this effect of the Bible on one of theology’s most significant thinkers:

The Swiss theologian Karl Barth was asked by a student during a seminar in the United States, ‘Dr. Barth, what is the most profound thing you have ever learned in your study of theology?’ Barth thought for a moment and then replied, ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’ The students giggled at his simplistic answer, but their laughter was of a nervous sort as they slowly realized Barth was serious.

Simple but true, the greatest system of thought knowable to man are the facts and truths of Biblical Christianity.  The professor at LA City College would do well to consider this claim and uncover the truth of it for himself and for the sake of those he endeavors to teach. 

 

For further study, read Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth

 

 

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England and the Human Right to Home Educate January 31, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Christianity, politics, Relationships and Family.
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As a parent who educates his four children at home (ages ranging from 2 to 15 … we start early here) in the classical Christian model, I watch closely for government intrusion in this, the most ancient and, in many cases, best modern instructional option for many families.  Not only am I observant of what America’s politicians are pursuing in regards to education, but I keep an eye out for international indicators as well; I think the instruction of children by their parents, particularly for religious reasons, is a basic human right, as basic as the freedom of religion and association.

To the point, Peter Hitchens has penned a well-written, yet troubling article on England’s move to review home education in Great Britain.  This review has a preconceived end in mind and is not at all interested in truly understanding the breadth of excellence resulting in home education.  Here is a sample of Hitchens’ notable quotes, though I heartily recommend its full digestion, for America has the unusual knack of following Europe on societal and philosophical matters:

Why should [the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children, Young People and Families] be less than keen on home education? Why is she even interested in it?  English law since 1944 has allowed parents to educate their children at home without any state interference at all. In this, we are quite unlike Germany, for instance, where it is a criminal offence to do this – a law, I believe, dating from 1938, when Hitler wanted everyone brought up as a National Socialist,   but somehow not repealed by the new Germany.  …

… Certainly the home education movement is largely Christian, and Christian in a pretty uncompromising and Protestant way – that’s why it has rejected state schools from which Christianity has been expelled thanks to an absurd misreading of the US Bill of Rights. Roman Catholics tend to use the network of parochial schools instead. But the education achievements of homeschoolers have been considerable, and they regularly capture many of the best scholarships at Ivy League universities. There are also a lot of them, sharing many non-school activities, which disposes of the cliche (invariably trotted out by opponents, and based on nothing)  that home-schooled children do not have any social contact with others of their own age. What they do have is much more contact with adults who think it worthwhile to say ‘no’ to them when it matters, who read to them and converse with them and teach them morals and manners. But let that be, I’m sure we’ll have a chance to debate this.

What the modern left really don’t like about homeschooling is that it is independent of the state, and threatens its egalitarian monopoly from below. If it became a mass movement, it would be very dangerous to their project of enforcing equality of outcome, while using the schools to push radical ideas on sex, drugs, morality and politics.

Iran’s Rhetoric: More truth than we realize? January 31, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in politics.
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America’s new and, questionably, improved policy of approachment with anti-democratic regimes intent on seeing America fail, as their own ideologies domineer global cultures,  has now led to an interesting conundrum.

President Barack Obama has, according to many conservative commentators, spoke condesceningly of America in recent remarks to al-Arabiya, and Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is pondering which letter to send to Iran’s President in hopes of warming relations.  Now, news is afoot that Iran is not exactly keen to accept the new Administration’s proposals for good relations.  Iran’s spokesperson this week said, “… Western ideology has become passive, that capitalist thought and the system of domination have failed.  Negotiation is secondary, the main issue is that there is no way but for [the United States] to change.”

Was this type of rhetorical posturing expected by left-wing policy wonks?  It certainly was expected by conservatives.  Or has Iran hinted at a bit more truth than is popularly believed?  Time will surely tell the tale.  Charles Krauthammer notes this observation in his article:

Iran has already responded to the Obama overture. In perfect tune with Obama’s defensiveness, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that better relations might be possible — after America apologized for 60 years of crimes against Iran.

It seems we have a long road before us to see whether the new strategy of approachment will win economic, even political friends in Iran or if it will only further embolden their growing opionion that American influence is on the decline. 

Waning Virtue: Expanded Gambling in Kentucky January 28, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Christianity, Economics, politics, Relationships and Family.
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“I’m a Southern Baptist.  I’m kinda proud of that . . . What I hear my preachers saying in my communities are that, ‘Well, you know, we can’t really be for more gambling, but this really isn’t an expansion of gambling as such . . .'” 

–Greg Stumbo, Kentucky Speaker of the House

Kentucky’s Family Foundation is doing the yeoman’s job of notifying Kentuckians about the danger of expanded gambling as proposed by Greg Stumbo.  Mr. Stumbo is apparently redefining terms to fit his own agenda.  Adding thousands of slot machines is in fact an expansion of gambling regardless of whether Mr. Stumbo cares to name it such or not.  He simply wishes to appear to be a mainstream “Christian” by placing such a remark on the record and, of course, then hopes to use that claim as leverage to get his pro-gambling bill through the legislature.  This is shameful, absurd, and nothing more than political trickery.  While I question the veracity of the speaker that he has encountered any Southern Baptist pastors who have said, “we can’t really be for more gambling, but this really isn’t an expansion of gambling as such,”  if it were true, one must question the theological foundation of such men; without question we may wonder at the theological foundation of the speaker.  This scenario is similar to someone who claims to be a religious conservative being in favor of partial-birth abortion — the two concepts are antithetical to one another and cannot be rationally held or adopted at the same time.

Kentuckians, a great many of which are Southern Baptists, should be revolted that such a political leader is attempting to use the Christian faith and heritage of Baptists to prop up support of the damaging sin of gambling.  It is true that we each struggle with sin in our lives, but we enter a different arena when we adopt state-sponsored, i.e., legislative, approval of sinful behavior such as gambling. 

I would encourage every concerned Kentuckian to view The Family Foundation website’s section on casino gambling.

And here is a timeless warning from the prophet Isaiah with commentary by Matthew Henry:

Isa 5:20: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who give out darkness for light, and light for darkness; who give out bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” The previous woe had reference to those who made the facts of sacred history the butt of their naturalistic doubt and ridicule, especially so far as they were the subject of prophecy. This fourth woe relates to those who adopted a code of morals that completely overturned the first principles of ethics, and was utterly opposed to the law of God; for evil, darkness, and bitter, with their respective antitheses, represent moral principles that are essentially related (Mat_6:23; Jam_3:11), Evil, as hostile to God, is dark in its nature, and therefore loves darkness, and is exposed to the punitive power of darkness. And although it may be sweet to the material taste, it is nevertheless bitter, inasmuch as it produces abhorrence and disgust in the godlike nature of man, and, after a brief period of self-deception, is turned into the bitter woe of fatal results. Darkness and light, bitter and sweet, therefore, are not tautological metaphors for evil and good; but epithets applied to evil and good according to their essential principles, and their necessary and internal effects. 

 Sadly, this scene looks all to familiar when viewing the landscape of Kentucky politics.

Deadly Serious: DoE scientists claim global warming “irreversable” January 27, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Economics, politics, science.
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The BBC reports on a team of U.S. Department of Energy scientists publishing a report that claims global warming is “irreversable”.  This was inevitable.  America’s newly minted President has bought into the global warming debacle and now his agencies are beginning to line up to “prove” it is so, a necessary turn to give credence to a policy shift which will require billions of dollars in spending to allegedly help lesson the irreversability factor of global warming.  As I’ve said repeatedly ad naseum, in time, unless revisionist historians are on their game, this season of scientific knee-jerk, grant-mongering, hypothesis-conjuring environmental policy will be viewed as a primary case example of herd mentality and self-preservation (not the physical kind, but the “I need your money for my research” kind).

Update:

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), argues similarly that the new administration will create a crisis to justify spending.

Further update:

Anthony Watts reports on an enlightening press release by the U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee.

Massie Asks Pelosi, “Black Genocide Helps Economy?” January 27, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Christianity, Economics, Philosophy, politics.
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Commentator Mychal Massie confronts Nancy Pelosi, Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives, with the logical conclusion of her ill-advised position that increased federal funding of family planning (i.e., contraceptive and abortive services) will help the economy.  Apparently, Pelosi’s left-wing antics are being emboldened, as expected, by the left-wing ideology of our 44th President.  Speaking of which, Massie has this closing thought at the end of his article:

I am sick of hearing how Obama’s ascendancy has paved the way for today’s black children to understand that they can accomplish or be anything they choose – even president. My question is: “How many of the over 13 million unborn black children that have been murdered since 1973 could have grown up to become president?” How many more potential presidents, doctors, jurists, scientists and educators will we lose?

Using Pelosi’s reasoning, Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th president of the United States, should have been aborted. His mother was abandoned by his father, she had no measurable means of income, rumors of drugs and other abuse persist to this day, and the taxpayers put him through school.

Update:

The Politico reports that Ms. Pelosi has apparently seen the light and is backpeddling.

Obama’s Novel Definition of “Unity”? Attack Rush Limbaugh January 24, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Philosophy, politics.
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Thinking rightly doesn’t always come easily.  Often, past influences have helped to shape a perspective that varies from an allegiance to truth.  Case in point: President Obama’s pronouncement yesterday to Republican leaders that, “You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done.” 

So, let’s attempt to puzzle this out.  The President, who claimed just a few days previous that, “On this day, we gather because we have chosen … unity of purpose over conflict and discord,” has himself now chosen conflict and discord in casting down the gauntlet, charging conservative congressional leaders to not listen to a particular radio personality.  The logic is inescapable.  President Obama says, “we are unified” in one breath and in another he redefines that “unity” to simply mean this: do what I want and we’ll all get along.  This isn’t leadership.  This isn’t presidential.  This isn’t any attempt to choose “unity … over discord.”  This is simply the game of bully politics. 

He may be the President of all of America, but that same America is made up of a healthy electorate that agrees with much that Rush Limbaugh says.  It is saddening that the President would attempt to sway others, not by the strength of his own ideology, but by attacking a free market thinker such as Rush Limbaugh or any other entertainer.  And this is a serious concern.  President Obama may have simply meant that conservative political philosophy is opposed to his own ideals and that is problematic given the time-frame in which he would like to see things accomplished, and there wouldn’t have been a peep of news about it; we know the ideologies don’t mesh.  But to say, “You can’t listen to [fill in the blank]…,” appears to mean something much more sinister.  It speaks to a mindset that belies the campaign rhetoric where good ideas from all corners were to be considered.  Apparently, the truth is that only ideas from the left corners are to be considered … conservatives need not apply.  Saddening indeed, but not entirely unexpected.

So, let’s hope that the President will drop the hype and jargon, drop the redefinition of terms to meet his agenda, and simply tell the truth.  He is a liberal intent on enacting socialism as the defining political philosophy of America.  Conservatives, in being true to their consciences, will not and cannot be unified with the President until he abandons his experiments in socialism.  And this is the way it should be.  Let the arguments from both ideologies have at it, and let the best argument win the hearts and minds of America.  But to command allegiance to an ideology by pointing a finger of contention at a single, free market thinker, is not an argument; it is an embarrassment and far removed from the argument and debate which should be necessary in our present form of government to reach majority consensus. 

The conservative consciences of elected leaders must not be demanded to abandonment.  In the poignant words of Martin Luther, “to go against conscience is neither right nor safe” for one’s heart and mind.  Let’s hope the White House understands this in the days to come and instead moves to the common understanding of “unity” in its rhetoric, a unity that can only be won by argumentation and debate, just as America’s founders intended … just as wisdom demands.

UPDATE:

Rush Limbaugh responds to President Obama’s remarks.

Obama’s Use of the Lincoln Bible: A Minority View January 21, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in politics.
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Walter Williams, Ph.D., professor of economics at George Mason University, has penned an interesting minority view as to why he would never use Lincoln’s bible.  This is an interesting perspective from a conservative African-American.  Click here for a link to the GMU page and find the article, presently first in the list, titled “President Obama’s Inauguration.”

A New Endeavor for an Old Purpose January 19, 2009

Posted by G.L. Campbell in Business, Christianity, Law, Movies, Art, & Music, Philosophy, politics, Relationships and Family, Religion, science.
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Two Kingdoms.  The phrase may spark memories of history lessons and midieval empires or perhaps  images of the Sphinx Stele of Amenhotep II and the New Kingdom’s conquoring of all enemies.  For others, this phrase, “two kingdoms,” has an entirely different meaning.

In the Christian faith, throughout the Scriptures we find reference to kingdoms.  We find kingdoms of men noted repeatedly, but we also find discussion of another kingdom, a spiritual kingdom, God’s kingdom.  It intimates along lines of his rule and authority in the heavenly realms; yet, it also concerns his soverignty, his control absolute over the affairs of men and the kingdoms of men.  This is the biblical rule.

In his work, Church History in Plain Language, Bruce Shelley expands on this:

In the third century Christianity was no longer a minor Jewish sect. It was fast emerging as the dominant rival to the old ways of Rome. Men of culture and power were asking the big questions. What is Christianity’s role in the affairs of men and empires?

The church always stands in a dual relationship to human affairs. Jesus summarized the role best when he spoke of his diciples — “not of the world” but “sent into the world” (John 17:16, 18). This suggest taht in God’s plan the church feels the rythm of detachment and involvement: detachment because of the gospel and eternal life are not from but from God; yet involvement because God sends the church into the world to shine as light and to lead men to the truth.

Thus, the church moves through history to a special beat: separation from the world yet penetration of the world…

Thus, we have a glimpse of the two kingdoms this blog will address.  I will endeavor to speak to matters both related to this realm, the kingdom of men (including philosophy, relationships, politics, business, science, ethics, law, medicine, and art), and the other, the kingdom of God, which, as noted, touches every corner of the kingdom of men as well.  The purpose is old: I do it solely for God’s glory.  I do not seek attention, save in the expansion of knowledge of these kingdoms and in the general search for truth. It is my prayer and ultimate hope that some will find comfort in these pages, illumination, and better knowledge of the faith of the Christians, rooted in the redemptive cross-work and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the “author and finisher of our faith.” (see Hebrews 12:2).