Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Paul Copan explains some responses to postmodernism

Four articles from Paul Copan over at the UK site “BeThinking”. Each article responds to a different slogan that you might hear if you’re dealing with non-Christians on the street.

“That’s just your interpretation!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • Gently ask, ‘Do you mean that your interpretation should be preferred over mine? If so, I’d like to know why you have chosen your interpretation over mine. You must have a good reason.’
  • Remind your friend that you are willing to give reasons for your position and that you are not simply taking a particular viewpoint arbitrarily.
  • Try to discern if people toss out this slogan because they don’t like your interpretation. Remind them that there are many truths we have to accept even if we don’t like them.
  • ‘There are no facts, only interpretations’ is a statement that is presented as a fact. If it is just an interpretation, then there is no reason to take it seriously.

More responses are here.

“You Christians are intolerant!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • If you say that the Christian view is bad because it is exclusive, then you are also at that exact moment doing the very thing that you are saying is bad. You have to be exclusive to say that something is bad, since you exclude it from being good by calling it bad.
  • There is a difference, a clear difference between tolerance and truth. They are often confused. We should hold to what we believe with integrity but also support the rights of others to disagree with our viewpoint.
  • Sincerely believing something doesn’t make it true. You can be sincere, but sincerely wrong. If I get onto a plane and sincerely believe that it won’t crash then it does, then my sincerity is quite hopeless. It won’t change the facts. Our beliefs, regardless of how deeply they are held, have no effect on reality.

More responses are here.

“That’s true for you, but not for me!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • If my belief is only true for me, then why isn’t your belief only true for you? Aren’t you saying you want me to believe the same thing you do?
  • You say that no belief is true for everyone, but you want everyone to believe what you do.
  • You’re making universal claims that relativism is true and absolutism is false. You can’t in the same breath say, ‘Nothing is universally true’ and ‘My view is universally true.’ Relativism falsifies itself. It claims there is one position that is true – relativism!

More responses are here.

“If you were born in India, you’d be a Hindu!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • Just because there are many different religious answers and systems doesn’t automatically mean pluralism is correct.
  • If we are culturally conditioned regarding our religious beliefs, then why should the religious pluralist think his view is less arbitrary or conditioned than the exclusivist’s?
  • If the Christian needs to justify Christianity’s claims, the pluralist’s views need just as much substantiation.

More responses are here.

And a bonus: “How do you know you’re not wrong?“.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Did Jesus exist? Agnostic historian Bart Ehrman debates Infidel Guy

I find atheism a bit of a quirky worldview because a significant group of the more militant atheists seem to be willing to believe in weird things that are obviously false. Even things that are denied by the majority of scholars. And sometimes things denied by ALL scholars. And yet as long as they can make fun of people and tell jokes about it, they are very happy to go on believing things that are obviously false, and congratulate themselves on how clever they are.

Believe my delusions or I'll insult you!

Believe in my atheists delusions or I’ll insult you!

Anyhoo, here is an interesting case in point, in which “The Infidel Guy”, who thinks that Jesus never existed, confronts skeptical historian Bart Ehrman. Bart Ehrman lets the true believing jihadi know that the world really is round and that leprechauns most certainly do not exist.

When I look at atheists, I do see a lot of belief without evidence, and I suspect that they are just projecting their childish Santa Claus epistemology on Christians. Atheists believe weird things. They deny the Big Bang cosmology, and believe that the universe is eternal  (Secular Humanifest Manifesto I). They believe you can explain the origin of life by appealing to unobservable aliens (Richard Dawkins). They think that morality doesn’t exist (Jerry Coyne). They think that cosmic fine-tuning is not real (Victor Stenger). They think that it is morally permissible for a society to murder unwanted 5-year olds (P.Z. Myers). The ice caps will be melted by 2014 (Al Gore). The majority DNA is non-coding “junk” (John Timmer). The universe popped into being, uncaused out of nothing (Lawrence Krauss). And so on. Don’t even get me started on the multiverse! Oh my. Talk about believing things without evidence just because you want to believe them.

The most powerful argument against Christianity

You know, the most powerful argument that radical atheists can press against the reliability of the New Testament reports about Jesus’ empty tomb and post-mortem appearances is their own gullibility. What they should do in a debate is stand up and say “look at me! I believe Jesus never existed! I am batsh*t crazy!! Bleh bleh bleh! (Dances the robot) And if I am this crazy, then maybe the early Christians were as good at believing weird things as I am!” That is an argument that could cause any Christian to quake in fear.

That is actually the strongest argument against Christianity in my view – the widespread delusions of the radical “New Atheist” community. If a group of people can be that credulous, then maybe the early Christians were that credulous as well? If people can invent an alternate Easter Bunny / Santa Claus reality when it suits their desires, then maybe the early church could do the same. Maybe humans are as credulous, in general, as these radical atheists are and just make things up. Maybe we are all just believing what is comfortable for us against the evidence, like the Infidel Guy and his buddies.

Now, I realize that there is a large group of non-radical atheists who are just not convinced by the evidence for theism and Christianity, and for those moderate atheists, we should prepare a defense for them, because they are still open to being convinced by arguments and evidence. Many of them may have grown up in the church, listening to anti-intellectual sermons and never getting answers to their questions. That’s fine, and we should be respectful and thoughtful with them. But I am just saying that there is another group of radical atheists out there who are just interested in deluding themselves, and we needn’t be impressed by them.

Filed under: Videos, , , , , , , , , , ,

New study: lesbian women twice as likely to “divorce” their partners as gay men

There’s a myth going around that women are fond of commitment and that men are beastly commitment-phobes. But what does science say?

Here’s a new study that’s been reported in the leftist UK Independent. (H/T The Elusive Wapiti)

Excerpt:

Lesbian couples are nearly twice as likely as gay men to end a civil partnership, according to the latest government figures.

The number of same-sex couples ending their civil unions leapt by 20 per cent last year, seven years after their introduction in 2005. Overall there were 794 dissolutions in 2012, almost 60 per cent of which were female couples, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

In the seven years since gay couples were able to have civil partnerships, 3.2 per cent of male unions ended in dissolution, compared to 6.1 per cent of female couples.

Sociologists believe the lower rates of ‘divorces’ among gay men may reflect a trend of women committing sooner and having higher expectations for a relationship. Women in civil partnerships tie the knot at an average age of 37.6, compared to men, for whom the average age is 40. Erzsebet Bukodim, sociologist at the University of Oxford, said: “In heterosexual marriage the divorce rate is higher if you enter marriage at a very young age. That might be one of the reasons we’re seeing this [high dissolution rate for women] in civil partnerships.”

Gunnar Andersson, professor of demography at Stockholm University, has found in successive studies that women in Norway, Sweden and Denmark are twice as likely to dissolve their civil partnerships than men. He said: “This reflects trends in a heterosexual marriage because women are more prone to say they want to marry – but they’re also more likely to initiate a divorce. Women usually have higher demands on relationship quality, that’s often been said in studies. Even if you control for age there is still a trend of more women ending partnerships than men.”

Previous figures show British women in heterosexual relationships are more likely to file for divorce than men. Women initiated the divorce in two thirds of cases in the UK in 2011.

The Elusive Wapiti comments on the new study:

I used to frequent the once-defunct-now-rebooted “Family Scholars” blog ten years ago. In that forum, whenever I mentioned the now well-accepted fact of a 2:1 ratio of female/male initiation in divorce, I was repeatedly, reliably, and indignantly informed by the liberalists and anti-traditionalists in the crowd that the problem wasn’t with women’s trigger-happy dissolutive behaviors, but with straight men, whose insufferable and abusive natures all but forced their women to divorce them and take their kids, half their stuff, and 1/3 of their paycheck for 20 years. Men sucked so bad at being husbands, it was contended, that women had little choice but to kick them to the curb.  They deserved all the divorce-rape they got, the bastards.

So imagine my surprise to see the same ratio between female and male divorce initiation  that we’ve observed in straights for decades now, mirrored in the homosexual community. This has gotta be bad news for the fish-bicycle set that loves to blame masculine misbehavior for, well, everything, including female-initiated divorce.  Instead, we now see that when woman is paired with woman, the dissolution rate is twice that of male-male couplings, just like it is with straight couples.

Just to support his assertions, here is a quotation from p. 340 of “Handbook of Interpersonal Commitment and Relationship Stability”, edited by Jeffrey M. Adams and Warren H. Jones, published by the academic press Springer in 1999:

The differential breakup rates of married versus same-sex couples point to the role of marital institutions, but male and female couples exhibit differences in stability as well, suggesting that the influence of gender needs to be explained. With a small cross-sectional sample of 25 gay men and lesbians each, Duffy and Rusbult (1986) found that lesbians had longer relationships. But in the only two studies ever conducted with large samples of same-sex relationships (over 1,000 couples in each), consistent differences have been found between gay men and lesbians in breakup rates, both in the late 1970s and the late 1980s: Lesbian relationships, whether measured longitudinally (Blumstein & Schwartz, 1983) or retrospectively (Bryant & Demian, 1994), were of shorter duration than gay male relationships. The gay men in couples surveyed by Bryant and Demian (1994) reported a mean duration of their current relationships of 6.9 years, compared to 4.9 years for lesbians (p. 104). Furthermore, though both gay men and lesbians reported spending roughly the same total amount of time in their lives in major same-sex relationships, the women reported more past relationships, suggesting that those relationships as well had been of shorter duration. Finally, there was a small but potentially meaningful difference in the proportion of lesbians (92%) as opposed to the pro-portion of gay men (96%) reporting commitment to their current partner for a lifetime or “a long time.” These findings run counter to general expectations (Blumstein & Schwartz, 1983; Eskridge, 1996) based on beliefs about women’s greater desires and capabilities compared to men in creating and maintaining intimacy and connection in intimate relationships.

Lesbian couples also have the highest rates of domestic violence. Higher than gay males, and much higher than married couples.

Excerpt:

  • A study in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence examined conflict and violence in lesbian relationships. The researchers found that 90 percent of the lesbians surveyed had been recipients of one or more acts of verbal aggression from their intimate partners during the year prior to this study, with 31 percent reporting one or more incidents of physical abuse.[46]
  • In a survey of 1,099 lesbians, the Journal of Social Service Research found that slightly more than half of the lesbians reported that they had been abused by a female lover/partner. The researchers found that “the most frequently indicated forms of abuse were verbal/emotional/psychological abuse and combined physical-psychological abuse.”[47]
  • A study of lesbian couples reported in the Handbook of Family Development and Intervention“indicates that 54 percent had experienced 10 or more abusive incidents, 74 percent had experienced six or more incidents, 60 percent reported a pattern to the abuse, and 71 percent said it grew worse over time.”[48]

This is not even to mention the concept of “lesbian bed death“, which is the frequently occurring cessation of sexual activity in lesbian relationships. A recent study on that is here.

Liberal women and fear of commitment

So what causes liberal women do break commitments more than men, whether they are straight or gay? I think there is a reason and it is gender-specific, but it can be mitigated by male leadership and influence in the relationship. And here it is: liberal women think of relationships as being more about emotions and peer-approval than about planning, hard work and results. Liberal women have a notion about marriage being something that will allow them to live happily ever after – and be approved of (or envied) by their peers. Liberal women believe that it is their partner’s job to give them that, and if they don’t get it, then the relationship isn’t working, and can get jettisoned.

Studies have shown that liberal women have difficulty evaluating men to see if a man is suitable to perform traditional male duties in marriage. Typically, liberal women try to judge men based on how the man makes them feel. Having been raised to be feminists, they just don’t believe that men have any distinct “male” capabilities that they need to evaluate. Liberal women tend to believe that they can tell a man’s suitability for marriage by looking at his appearance, or by asking their liberal female friends what they think of the man. These standards are heavily influenced by the culture, as well – movies, TV, music, and so on.

Liberal women also don’t generally view marriage as a long-term enterprise that has definite goals that may differ from their own personal goals. Liberal women tend to rebel against strict moral boundaries and exclusive religious truth claims, because they restrain them from making relationships (with men or children) all about themselves. They have to be convinced to see the value of moral boundaries and religious truth claims, and they usually haven’t done the work themselves to have that capability. A strong male leader who is focused on moral and religious issues can mitigate the liberal female tendency towards narcissism, but liberal women tend to avoid such men as being “too strict” or “too controlling” – even if the leadership is to make the woman grow and get better.

Any structure or plan to the relationship is viewed with suspicion because it distracts from the goals of liberal women: feeling good and having social acceptance. That’s why young, unmarried liberal women marry people like Bill Clinton, John Edwards and Tiger Woods who know nothing about morality and religion. It’s not rational, but the lack of moral standards and religious truth claims makes them feel safe and autonomous. And that is more important than being led and having the safety of a man who takes morality and religion seriously. One lesbian I know recently told me that discussing morality and religion objectively should not be done because people with strong views on morality and religion are “too mean”.

It’s up to sensible, moral, religious men to come along and civilize these young, unmarried feminist-influenced liberal women. We need to cause them to think about what marriage really is, what marriage really requires from each partner, and what children really require from marriage. We need to push the engineering approach to marriage during the courtship phase, and wean them off of the crazy emotional vain selfish view of marriage. If men don’t lead liberal women during the courtship to think deeply and rationally about marriage, then liberal women will not be prepared or capable of commitment over the long-term. If a man doesn’t take the time during the courtship to lead and grow a woman before the wedding, he is taking chances with his future and the future of his children. Not to mention his service to God, which will be negatively impacted by a divorce. At the very least, there will be a financial loss that cuts off charitable giving. At the worst, the potential impact that a good marriage and good Christian children have for the Kingdom will be lost.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to respond to postmodernism, relativism, subjectivism, pluralism and skepticism

Four articles from Paul Copan over at the UK site “BeThinking”. Each article responds to a different slogan that you might hear if you’re dealing with non-Christians on the street.

“That’s just your interpretation!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • Gently ask, ‘Do you mean that your interpretation should be preferred over mine? If so, I’d like to know why you have chosen your interpretation over mine. You must have a good reason.’
  • Remind your friend that you are willing to give reasons for your position and that you are not simply taking a particular viewpoint arbitrarily.
  • Try to discern if people toss out this slogan because they don’t like your interpretation. Remind them that there are many truths we have to accept even if we don’t like them.
  • ‘There are no facts, only interpretations’ is a statement that is presented as a fact. If it is just an interpretation, then there is no reason to take it seriously.

More responses are here.

“You Christians are intolerant!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • If you say that the Christian view is bad because it is exclusive, then you are also at that exact moment doing the very thing that you are saying is bad. You have to be exclusive to say that something is bad, since you exclude it from being good by calling it bad.
  • There is a difference, a clear difference between tolerance and truth. They are often confused. We should hold to what we believe with integrity but also support the rights of others to disagree with our viewpoint.
  • Sincerely believing something doesn’t make it true. You can be sincere, but sincerely wrong. If I get onto a plane and sincerely believe that it won’t crash then it does, then my sincerity is quite hopeless. It won’t change the facts. Our beliefs, regardless of how deeply they are held, have no effect on reality.

More responses are here.

“That’s true for you, but not for me!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • If my belief is only true for me, then why isn’t your belief only true for you? Aren’t you saying you want me to believe the same thing you do?
  • You say that no belief is true for everyone, but you want everyone to believe what you do.
  • You’re making universal claims that relativism is true and absolutism is false. You can’t in the same breath say, ‘Nothing is universally true’ and ‘My view is universally true.’ Relativism falsifies itself. It claims there is one position that is true – relativism!

More responses are here.

“If you were born in India, you’d be a Hindu!”

Some of his possible responses:

  • Just because there are many different religious answers and systems doesn’t automatically mean pluralism is correct.
  • If we are culturally conditioned regarding our religious beliefs, then why should the religious pluralist think his view is less arbitrary or conditioned than the exclusivist’s?
  • If the Christian needs to justify Christianity’s claims, the pluralist’s views need just as much substantiation.

More responses are here.

And a bonus: “How do you know you’re not wrong?“.

Being a Christian is fun because you get to think about things at the same deep level that you think about anything else in life. Christianity isn’t about rituals, community and feelings. It’s about truth.

In case you want to see this in action with yours truly, check this out.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New study: pro-gay television shows have shifted public opinion on gay marriage

Life Site News reports.

Excerpt:

Ipsos MediaCT, a global market research company, have just released a study…

According to the report, 18 percent of Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 said that television has directly contributed to their increasing support for same-sex “marriage.”

That’s nearly double the number (10 percent) who reported television had increased their opposition to marriage redefinition.

“Based on this data, I think we can conclude that TV has, at least in part, moved the needle of public opinion to see same-sex marriage in a positive way,” Ben Spergel, Senior Vice President and Head of TV Insights at Ipsos MediaCT said in a statement.

“With everything from higher profile portrayals of gay characters, to celebrity support of gay marriage, to last year’s groundbreaking endorsement by President Obama, we are seeing a shift in our culture that is being influenced by popular culture,” he said.

Last month, liberal writer Andrew O’Hehir wrote an article for Salon crediting the American movement toward homosexual acceptance to television shows like “Will and Grace,””Roseanne,” “The Real World,” “Ellen DeGeneres,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Modern Family,” and “Glee.”

“From ‘Soap’ to Ellen DeGeneres to Richard Hatch on ‘Survivor’ to the macho male couple who won season 4 of ‘The Amazing Race,’” O’Hehir wrote, “televisual images of sexual diversity have gradually moved away from victimology and ‘gay best friend’ stereotypes toward a ‘normalizing vision’of LGBT culture.”

“While the startling public shift on gay marriage – something few people of my generation, straight or gay, thought they’d ever see — is not solely the product of TV, it represents the ultimate fulfillment of TV’s vision of sexual equality,” O’Hehir added.

Support for same-sex “marriage” is on the rise in the United States. Recent polls show more than half of Americans support redefining marriage to include homosexual couples, and several states now allow gay nuptials in defiance of federal law.

One reason I don’t have a TV in my house is because television is used as a way to change people’s minds without making rational arguments or showing evidence. It’s easy enough for gay-friendly Hollywood to make TV shows where all the gay characters are funny, hard-working, faithful and moral. But that doesn’t reflect what studies tell us about gay relationships. They are non-exclusive, short-lived, have higher rates of violence and abuse, etc.

If gay marriage were to become legal, then marriage would would no longer be permanent, faithful, or child-centered, as this gay activist recently explained.

It’s a no-brainer that (homosexuals) should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. . . . Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there—because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie.

The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change. And again, I don’t think it should exist. And I don’t like taking part in creating fictions about my life. That’s sort of not what I had in mind when I came out thirty years ago.

I have three kids who have five parents, more or less, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t have five parents legally. . . . I met my new partner, and she had just had a baby, and that baby’s biological father is my brother, and my daughter’s biological father is a man who lives in Russia, and my adopted son also considers him his father. So the five parents break down into two groups of three. . . . And really, I would like to live in a legal system that is capable of reflecting that reality, and I don’t think that’s compatible with the institution of marriage.

The purpose of gay marriage is to normalize and celebrate any arrangements that makes adults happy, whether or not it provides for the needs of the children. Evidence from large-scale studies shows that gay relationships are not as good for children as natural marriage. But people who watch TV and don’t read studies will have their minds changed by TV, and then they will vote. And children not yet born will have to grow up without mothers and fathers because of it.

In a very real sense, stupidity and selfishness are destroying the next generation of children. It’s not just the crushing 17 trillion dollar debt being run up by selfish adults for their entitlements. It’s not just that our public schools are insulated from reform by powerful politically connected teacher unions. It’s not just that we liberalized divorce laws so that women can divorce men when they are not “happy” any more. It’s not just that we force employers to ship jobs overseas by raising their corporate taxes and burdening them with nonsense regulations. It’s not just that government pays irresponsible women to have babies out of wedlock. It’s not just that we abort the next generation of taxpayers because we can’t be bothered to get married and make a home for them before having sex. Now, we have to go beyond all that . We have to go even further. Now we have to formalize and normalize the complete supremacy of selfish adults over the needs of children. God help us all.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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