Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Must you agree with a person who threatens to kill himself if you don’t?

The latest from Life Site News about Stanford’s University’s attempt to suppress a pro-natural-marriage group’s campus event.

Excerpt:

At a recent GSC meeting, SAS co-president Judy Romea reminded student leaders that not only is the SAS not “anti-gay,” it stood “in solidarity” with homosexual groups against the controversial Westboro Baptist Church when it held a protest on campus.

But that wasn’t enough for campus gay activist groups, who turned out en masse for the same GSC meeting to demand that funding for the event be pulled.

“Their viewpoint kills people,” Jeffrey Cohen, vice president of GradQ, a homosexual advocacy group for graduate students, told the GSC.  “There’s a lot of research published in top psychology journals that have looked at university environments, both positive and negative. An event such as this would be a negative event, [and] in schools that have negative events there is a statistically significant increase in suicide.”  He said the last time a pro-marriage speaker visited the campus, someone told him “they wanted to kill themselves.”

Cohen said he was especially “bothered by the idea that their conference is trying to create better ways to deliver [the pro-marriage] message. … The idea that they are learning how to deliver their message scares [me].”  Cohen suggested SAS cancel its conference and instead hold a joint event with GradQ in which gay activists would have a chance to promote their message too.

Ben Holston, chair of the undergraduate senate, also threw his weight behind the gay groups. “This is an event that hurts the Stanford community,” Holston said. “To express a belief that, for some reason this event is not discriminatory, is completely off-base. This event as it stands, given the speakers, and given that they have said the event is supposed to ‘promote one-man one-woman [marriage],’ which promotes stripping away rights of people in this room, is unacceptable on Stanford’s campus.”  He urged the GSC to withdraw its funding for the conference.

Now I’m chaste, and a virgin, so I was just imagining what it would be like for me at Yale during Sex Week, when my student fees (hypothetically) would be used to bring in sex addicts to instruct college students that my view is sick and twisted and that binge drinking and premarital promiscuity is morally praiseworthy. Does anyone here seriously think that I would threaten to commit suicide unless people who disagreed with my chastity and virginity stopped disagreeing with me? No. A sex addict’s disapproval of my chastity and virginity doesn’t make me want to commit suicide, because I am not insane. I’m also not engaged in immoral behavior by being chaste and remaining a virgin. Criticism of me for being moral doesn’t bother me – that’s your problem if you disagree with morality.

If you tell me that what I’m doing is wrong, I’ve got piles of papers in peer-reviewed journals showing me that for my plans – life-long married love and influential Christian children raised by a stay-at-home mom – chastity is the best plan. But it doesn’t bother me if you disagree with me, and I’m not going to attack your place of work with guns, vandalize your church, or force you to lose your job – because I’m not a gay activist. I don’t care that you disagree with me, because I believe that there is a right to free speech and no right to force you to celebrate and fund my sexual orientation.

That gay activist sounded insane, but I don’t think that most gay people agree with him.

Look:

Ben, a graduate student in neuroscience, told the GSC that even though he is homosexual, he believes the SAS should be able to access the same student funding as any other group.

“What bothers [me] the most is that in the name of tolerance, we are silencing and taking away support from a view that we don’t agree with,” Ben said. “These views are out there, we should listen to them. I totally disagree with these people, but we need to hear what they have to say.  We need to hear SAS.”

Now there is a gay person I can tolerate – because he tolerates me.

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

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, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

School chaplain fired for disagreeing with homosexuality

This is from ABC News Australia.

They write:

A Hobart school chaplain has been sacked for re-posting a comment on Facebook that described homosexuality as “not normal”.

Troy Williams was employed by the Scripture Union, Tasmania’s main provider of school chaplaincy services which appoints and trains state and private school chaplains.

Mr Williams was stood down from his role at the Hobart College over the post, which also makes the claim that “no-one is born gay”.

Mr Williams issued an apology after his Facebook post drew widespread condemnation earlier this month.

He told the ABC: “I’ve made a mistake and learnt from it. I’m deeply sorry for any offence I’ve caused. I was very careless in posting that image for discussion. I will work with my employers to ensure there is no repeat.”

Following a meeting with the Kingborough Council general manager this morning, Mr Williams was also stood down from his role as a youth outreach worker there.

The council said it acted based on comments he made on a post by a Melbourne-based blogger who used sarcasm to defend Mr Williams.

Here’s the comment:

“Please pray with me that this may become another opportunity for the Gospel to go out. I will probably be fired … for encouraging young people in that they have a choice in who they are and that they shouldn’t be bullied by someone telling their lot is predetermined (by someone other than God).”

Factually speaking, he is of course correct that homosexuality is not generically determined – that is what studies show. But he still had to recant in order to get his job back.

Was the tolerant, compassionate left appalled by this infringement of the man’s free speech?

Not so much:

Gay rights activist Rodney Croome welcomed Mr Williams’ dismissal.

“If this fellow had been running around saying that blue-eyed or left-handed people are flawed and should be changed, he’d be out on his ear,” he said.

“And it’s right that he’s out on his ear over his comments about same-sex attracted young people too, given the immense damage those comments would cause to those young people when he should, in fact, be supporting them as a chaplain.”

Mr Croome said more needed to be done.

“Kingborough Council and Scripture Union need to assure the public that this will never happen again by overhauling all their policies and their training to make sure that all their youth workers and their chaplains – anyone who comes in contact with young people – discharge their responsibilities in a professional way and do not perpetuate prejudice and stereotype,” he said.

This story shows why it is so important for Christians to go for STEM degrees in college, to save their money, and to write under an alias. It is a different world today, and you have to be ready when you get called on the carpet by the other team. I don’t condemn this chaplain for recanting. I might be tempted to do the same, even though I am prepared for it. But I do think it serves as a warning for those who think that God is waiting to save us when we have to stand up for what we believe. Don’t expect him to save you. The world is not a Disney movie, and Christians are not Disney princesses. Do not follow your heart. Do not listen to people who urge you to follow your heart. Especially when you and your advisors have made poor decisions in the past.

Your ability to be who you are in Christ is partially dependent on your ability to survive a financial crisis. Your ability to be who you are in Christ is partially dependent on your debt / savings balance. What you study in school matters. What jobs you take matters. How fast you pay off your debts matters. How well you save your money matters. Your ability to protect yourself, your family, and your friends in the face of challenges to your faith like this one is directly proportional to your past life decisions. If you are guided by your feelings in your decision-making, you are exposing yourself to dangers that could lead to apostasy. That is not a popular message, but it is a true one. The Bible gives no evidence that our lives will be free of confrontation and judgment.

Consider Luke 14:25-30:

25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them,

26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?

29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,

30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

Here is a trustworthy saying from outside the Bible:

“Si vis pacem, para bellum”

— Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus

That translates to “Let him who desires peace prepare for war.”

Make sure you keep up with what is happening in the world to Christians. Make sure you have lots of money ready to lawyer up when it’s your turn to go down fighting. You might even find that your opponents will pick on a weaker target if you can afford to defend yourself. That’s why the Human Rights Commissions went after a penniless and obscure pastor, but not a well-connected lawyer and journalist. And if you are strong enough, you can even protect that weaker target out of your strength. Make sure you having something to share with others when they are in distress.

I’m really not sure why Christians have been taught to think that recklessness is a virtue, while prudence is not. But they’re wrong.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

William Lane Craig: churches should focus on apologetics to attract more men

I saw that Triablogue quoted this passage from William Lane Craig’s April 2013 newsletter, which made me very excited and happy.

Here it is:

One overwhelming impression of these engagements is the way in which the intellectual defense of Christian faith attracts men. Both at Texas A&M and again at Miami every single student who got up to ask a question was a guy! I wondered if the girls are just shy. But then I remembered a lengthy clip Jan and I watched of cast members of Downton Abbey doing a Q&A with an audience in New York. Almost every person who came to the microphone at that event was a woman! It wasn’t until late into the evening that a man finally asked a question, which was remarked by all the cast members. Why the difference between that session and the ones I experienced?—simply because the Downton Abbey program is highly relational, which is more appealing to women, whereas my talks were principally intellectually oriented, which is more appealing to men.

Churches have difficulty attracting men, and the church is becoming increasingly feminized. I believe that apologetics is a key to attracting large numbers of men (as well as women) to church and to Christ. By presenting rational arguments and historical evidences for the truth of the Gospel, by appealing to the mind as well as the heart, we can bring a great influx of men into the Kingdom. I’m so pleased that the church in Canada seems to be awakening to this challenge! I’m convinced that we have the opportunity to revolutionize Western Christianity by reclaiming our intellectual heritage.

I could tell you many, many stories of what it was like for me being shut down by churches who were overly sensitive to the desires of women. In college, I and the other male students had every attempt to bring in scholars to lecture or debate shut down by female leadership. Every single week it was prayer walks, testimonies, hymn sings… over and over. Eventually, the more manly Christians just quit going. Later on, I witnessed apologetics being shut down in the church from the top down and from the bottom up, as well.

I remember one week an excited male friend invited me to his church because his male pastor was giving sermons using Hugh Ross and Gerald Shroeder books. He was trying to tie in the existence of God to cosmology. Well, I showed up the next Sunday to hear, and was disappointed. I could tell that the pastor wanted to go back to that subject, but he never really did. Later on, we found out that a female parishioner had complained that too much science and evidence had ruined her experience of feeling good and being comforted.

I could go on and on and on telling stories like this. To this day, I cannot stand being in a church unless that church has organized things like apologetic training classes, public lectures, public debates or public conferences. But that’s the minority of churches. The fact is that churches are attended far more by women than by men, and pastors are catering to women more than men. Not only will apologetics not be mentioned, but elements of feminism will creep into doctrine (egalitarianism) and all political issues will be avoided. Church has become a place to have good feelings, and it is far divorced from anything like evidence or politics which might be viewed as judgmental and divisive.

Commenters on Triablogue think that Dr. Craig will draw flak for his comment, but he’s not going to draw flak from mature Christians. What he said is correct. Mature Christians are right behind him on this point. Christian men who have tried to act to defend God’s reputation in public know that there is something wrong in the churches. And eventually, men just tune out of church because we know that there is nothing there for us. If women want men to come back to church, then they have to change the church away from what it is now.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What happens if you ask 13 gay-owned bakeries to bake a pro-marriage cake?

Since Christian bakers are being forced by courts to bake cakes for gay weddings, wouldn’t it neat to see if gay bakeries will bake pro-marriage cakes for Christians?

Well, this blogger did just that:

Christian bakeries that refuse to make pro-homosexual marriage cakes are getting sued, they get fined, they get death threats, and they lose their businesses.

So Shoebat.com called some 13 prominent bakers who are pro-gay and requested that they make a pro-traditional marriage cake with the words “Gay marriage is wrong” placed on the cake. Each one denied us service, and even used deviant insults and obscenities against us. One baker even said that she would make me a cookie with a large phallus on it. We recorded all of this in a video that will stun the American people as to how militant and intolerant the homosexual agenda is.

If anyone who objects saying that our request for the cake was hateful, this is exactly the type of thing the homosexual activists do to Christian bakeries when they use the state to coerce them to make a cake with an explicitly anti traditional marriage slogans on it.

Here are the videos – WARNING: some have very vulgar language.

Video 1 of 2:

Video 2 of 2:

The videos contain very vulgar language, which is a stark contrast to the apologetic and humble language Christians employ when responding to the wedding-related requests gay activists. We don’t seek to offend, but they are totally OK with offending us.

I’ll just link to a few of previous stories on how gay activists forced Christian-owned businesses to service their gay marriages – through the courts.

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

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