Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

J. Warner Wallace: I am not a Christian because it works for me

UPDATE: Linked by Captain Capitalism, who, although non-religious, thinks that real Christians ought to walk the walk.

Here’s a must-read post from Cold-Case Christianity author J. Warner Wallace.

Excerpt:

Life on this side of my decision hasn’t always been easy. It’s been nearly seventeen years since I first trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior. I still struggle to submit my prideful will to what God would call me to do. Christianity is not easy. It doesn’t always “work” for me. There are times when I think it would be easier to do it the old way; easier to cut a corner or take a short cut. There are many times when doing the right thing means doing the most difficult thing possible. There are also times when it seems like non-Christians have it easier, or seem to be “winning”. It’s in times like these that I have to remind myself that I’m not a Christian because it serves my own selfish purposes. I’m not a Christian because it “works” for me. I had a life prior to Christianity that seemed to be working just fine, and my life as a Christian hasn’t always been easy.

I’m a Christian because it is true. I’m a Christian because I want to live in a way that reflects the truth. I’m a Christian because my high regard for the truth leaves me no alternative.

I think this is important. There are people who I know who claim to be Christian, but they are clearly believing that God is a mystical force who arranges everything in their lives in order to make them happy. They are not Christians because it’s true, but because of things like comfort and community. But people ought to become Christians because they think it’s true. Truth doesn’t necessarily make you happy, though. Truth can impose intellectual obligations and moral obligations on you. Seeing God as he really is doesn’t help us to “win” at life, as the culture defines winning.

Winning in Christianity doesn’t mean making lots of money, or being famous, or winning human competitions, or being approved of by lots of people. Winning for a Christian might involve things like building relationships with people and leading them to know that God exists and who Jesus is. That has no cash value, and it’s not going to make you famous. Actually, it will probably cost you money and time, and make you unpopular with a lot of people.

The Bible doesn’t promise that people who become Christians will be happier. Actually, it promises that Christians will suffer for doing the right things. Their autonomy will suffer, as they sacrifice their own interests and happiness in order to make God happy, by serving his interests. Christianity isn’t something you add on to your before-God life in order to achieve your before-God goals. When you become a Christian, you get a new set of goals, based on God’s character and his design for you. And although you might be very successful in the world as part of serving God, there is no guarantee of that. Christianity is not life enhancement.

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

Why do some people disagree with the gay lifestyle?

Here’s an article from the liberal New York Times that explains one practical reason why social conservatives disagree with the gay lifestyle and prefer not to celebrate it. (H/T Neil)

Here’s the set up:

BOB BERGERON was so relentlessly cheery that people sometimes found it off-putting. If you ran into him at the David Barton Gym on West 23rd Street, where he worked out nearly ever morning at 7, and you complained about the rain, he would smile and say you’d be better off focusing on a problem you could fix.

That’s how Mr. Bergeron was as a therapist as well, always upbeat, somewhat less focused on getting to the root of his clients’ feelings than altering behavior patterns that were detrimental to them: therapy from the outside-in.

Over the last decade, he built a thriving private practice, treating well-to-do gay men for everything from anxiety to coping with H.I.V. Mr. Bergeron had also begun work as a motivational speaker, giving talks at gay and lesbian centers in Los Angeles and Chicago. In February, Magnus Books, a publisher specializing in gay literature, was scheduled to print a self-help guide he had written, “The Right Side of Forty: The Complete Guide to Happiness for Gay Men at Midlife and Beyond.”

It was a topic he knew something about. Having come out as gay in the mid-1980s, Mr. Bergeron, 49, had witnessed the worst years of the AIDS epidemic and emerged on the other side. He had also seen how few public examples there were of gay men growing older gracefully.

He resolved to rewrite the script, and provide a toolbox for better living.

“I’ve got a concise picture of what being over 40 is about and it’s a great perspective filled with happiness, feeling sexy, possessing comfort relating to other men and taking good care of ourselves,” Mr. Bergeron said on his Web site.  “This picture will get you results that flourish long-term.”

But right around New Year’s Eve, something went horribly wrong. On Jan. 5, Mr. Bergeron was found dead in his apartment, the result of a suicide that has left his family, his friends and his clients shocked and heartbroken as they attempt to figure out how he could have been so helpful to others and so unable to find help himself.

Look:

To his friends, Mr. Bergeron maintained a positive tone. He went on vacation, dated some, visited museums.

Still, he privately expressed misgivings about what the future held. Olivier Van Doorne, a patient of Mr. Bergeron and the creative director of SelectNY, a fashion advertising firm, recalled Mr. Bergeron telling him that every gay man peaks at one point in his life.

“He said a number of times: ‘I peaked when I was 30 or 35. I was super-successful, everyone looked at me, and I felt extremely cool in my sexuality.’ ”

Mr. Siegel, the therapist who supervised Mr. Bergeron in the early days of his career, said: “Bob was a very beautiful younger man, and we talked a lot about how that shapes and creates a life. The thesis of his book is based very much on his own personal experience with that. And the book also emphasized what to do when you’re not attractive or you no longer have the appeal you once had. The idea was to transcend that and expand your sexual possibilities.”

And:

With the book about to be printed, Mr. Bergeron became convinced that he’d written too much about the shame and isolation involved with hooking up online; that people weren’t even really doing that anymore, now that phone apps like Grindr and Scruff had come along.

His book, he felt, had become antiquated before it even came out.

[...]Though some of his friends, Mr. Rappaport among them, wondered whether drugs were involved, leading to a crash Mr. Bergeron did not anticipate, the suicide seemed to have been carried out with methodical precision. On an island in the kitchen, Mr. Bergeron had meticulously laid out his papers. There was a pile of folders with detailed instructions on top about whom to call regarding his finances and his mortgage. Across from that he placed the title page of his book, on which he also wrote his suicide note. In it he told Mr. Sackheim and Mr. Rappaport that he loved them and his family, but that he was “done.”

As his father remembered it, Mr. Bergeron also wrote, “It’s a lie based on bad information.”

An arrow pointed up to the name of the book.

The inference was clear. As Mr. Bergeron saw it at the end of his life, the only right side of 40 was the side that came before it.

What’s the problem?

I think that the problem is that in the gay lifestyle, you have a typically male emphasis on physical appearance, sex and pleasure. There is none of the moderating influence of women, which tends to push men into commitments, responsibility and stability.

According to the research, the gay lifestyle is very different than the traditional heterosexual courting approach:

The 2003-2004 Gay/Lesbian Consumer Online Census surveyed the lifestyles of 7,862 homosexuals. Of those involved in a “current relationship,” only 15 percent describe their current relationship as having lasted twelve years or longer, with five percent lasting more than twenty years.[4]

A study of homosexual men in the Netherlands published in the journal AIDS found that the “duration of steady partnerships” was 1.5 years.[6]

In his study of male homosexuality in Western Sexuality: Practice and Precept in Past and Present Times, Pollak found that “few homosexual relationships last longer than two years, with many men reporting hundreds of lifetime partners.”[7]

And:

The Dutch study of partnered homosexuals, which was published in the journal AIDS, found that men with a steady partner had an average of eight sexual partners per year.[12]

In their study of the sexual profiles of 2,583 older homosexuals published in the Journal of Sex Research, Paul Van de Ven et al. found that “the modal range for number of sexual partners ever [of homosexuals] was 101-500.” In addition, 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent had between 501 and 1,000 partners. A further 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent reported having had more than one thousand lifetime sexual partners.[14]

A survey conducted by the homosexual magazine Genre found that 24 percent of the respondents said they had had more than one hundred sexual partners in their lifetime. The magazine noted that several respondents suggested including a category of those who had more than one thousand sexual partners.[15]

And:

Even in those homosexual relationships in which the partners consider themselves to be in a committed relationship, the meaning of “committed” or “monogamous” typically means something radically different than in heterosexual marriage.

A Canadian study of homosexual men who had been in committed relationships lasting longer than one year found that only 25 percent of those interviewed reported being monogamous.” According to study author Barry Adam, “Gay culture allows men to explore different…forms of relationships besides the monogamy coveted by heterosexuals.”[16]

[...]In their Journal of Sex Research study of the sexual practices of older homosexual men, Paul Van de Ven et al. found that only 2.7 percent of older homosexuals had only one sexual partner in their lifetime.[19]

In the gay lifestyle, men seem to have the most value when they are younger and more good-looking. The whole thing seems to be very much about appearance and sex – having as much sex as possible with as many different men as possible. (See, for example, the popular Grindr application on the iPhone, which allows gays to find other gays for anonymous hook-up sex)

This is really sad, because it means that as the gay men get older and their looks fade, they lose value in the area that counts the most to many of them: sexuality. This is different than in a traditional heterosexual marriage, where the man retains his value longer since he can perform his traditional male roles as a husband and father even after he gets older and loses his looks. In fact, his ability to protect, provide and lead on moral and spiritual issues can actually get better as he gets older – so his self-esteem goes up. Now it’s true that he can get depressed when he retires, but by then he’s probably around 65! And at least he will have a wife there to take care of them, and probably children to support, too. My Dad, for example, does lots of things to help me even though he is retired.

I think this NYT article sheds light on why people with traditional values tend to disagree with homosexuality and also to refrain from celebrating and affirming the gay lifestyle. We treat the gay lifestyle as if it were similar to smoking. It’s permissible, but not to be encouraged. We are not trying to make anyone feel badly just for the sake of being mean to them. If a certain lifestyle is not fulfilling, then it is a good thing to say to people “you should think twice about getting involved in this”. It’s not loving to tell people that harmful things are not really harmful. Telling someone that something unfulfilling or unhealthy is actually good for them doesn’t help them any. It’s not loving to tell a child that touching a hot stove won’t burn them – the loving thing to do is to tell the truth and then let them choose.

Here’s my previous post outlining a secular case against gay marriage.

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

Are evangelical Christian women the new feminists?

Rep. Michele Bachmann

Rep. Michele Bachmann

Here’s an interesting article from the Washington Post. (H/T Lenny from Come Reason)

Excerpt:

Religion historian Marie Griffith has been watching this shift, and recently wrote an essay titled “The New Evangelical Feminism of Bachmann and Palin.” She caught all kinds of heat from feminists on the left who say that neither Bachmann nor Palin, whom some have dubbed “the spiritual heads” of the tea party, can remotely be regarded as their conceptual colleagues.

While Griffith agrees that these women do not resemble traditional feminists in their political views, she believes that they have captured the hearts and minds of conservative Christian women in a historically significant way. Two generations ago, a conservative Christian woman would have been encouraged to have babies and keep house; work would have been seen as an economic necessity, not a higher calling.

“Now,” says Griffith, director of the new John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis, “I really see evangelicals taking hold of that view that women can speak about righteous godly things, just as men can. They can make an impact on the world. Not only that, they should make an impact on the world.”

Nance points out that the abortion wars used to be fought by men. Today, the most prominent antiabortion warriors are Christian women, most of whom have young children.

It’s their focus on motherhood, I think, that makes these new Christian feminists so appealing to millions — their unflinching insistence that their families come first, that even the most ambitious among them occasionally have spit-up on their blouses.

Palin has her entourage; Bachmann, her brood, which includes that staggering number — 23! — of foster kids. Nance describes taking a call from a member of Congress while in her car with a baby screaming in the back seat. “Sir,” she said, “you’ll have to listen to the baby crying — or you can wait.”

Remember though that Michele Bachmann took time out from her career to homeschool her 5 children, so family comes first. Michele has denied that she is a feminist, and I agree with her. To be a feminist in the traditional sense, you have to favor state-run day care, state-funded abortions, selfishness, premarital sex, contraception, no-fault divorce and gender neutrality. Feminists also oppose marriage, limited government, personal responsibility, fathers,  and husbands. I don’t think that Michele Bachmann is a feminist in any way whatsoever. She is a woman, her way of life is being threatened, and it’s all hands on deck.

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

Are Tea party conservatives more racist than liberal socialist Democrats?

From the Daily Caller.

Excerpt:

Typical opinion polls reported in the news average a response rate of under 20%, and some observers speculate that the real response rates for some prominent surveys may be as low as 1% of the people they contact. The General Social Survey, on the other hand, usually averages about a 70% response rate, the highest in the industry for a large-scale survey of the general U.S. public.

The most recent survey for which results were available when I began this project a few weeks ago was the 2008 survey. (For an updated analysis that includes more recent data, see the Author’s Update on the last page of this editorial.) It asked the question:

Some people think that the government in Washington is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and private businesses. Others disagree and think that the government should do even more to solve our country’s problems. Still others have opinions somewhere in between.

Where would you place yourself on this scale . . . ?

1— I strongly agree the government should do more
2—
3— I agree with both
4—
5— I strongly agree the government is doing too much

Thus, those who agree that “the government is doing too much” would choose 4 or 5.

And what is the result of this survey?

Social scientists usually measure traditional racism against African Americans by looking at the survey responses of white Americans only. Among whites in the latest General Social Survey (2008), only 4.5% of small-government advocates express the view that “most Blacks/African-Americans have less in-born ability to learn,” compared to 12.3% of those who favor bigger government or take a middle position expressing this racist view (Figure 2). We social scientists sometimes like to express things in relative odds, especially for small percentages. Here the odds of small government whites not expressing racist views (21-to-1 odds) is three times higher than the odds of big-government whites not being racist (7-to-1 odds).

But advocates of smaller government can be found among Democrats and Independents as well as Republicans. What happens if we compare Republicans who think Washington is doing too much with those who think that government should do more or take a middle position? The relationships I’ve just described only get stronger.

Figure 3 shows that, among whites, Republican advocates of smaller government are even less racist (1.3% believing that blacks have less in-born ability) than the rest of the general public (11.3% expressing racist views). Thus, in 2008 Republicans who believe that the government in Washington does too much have 10 times higher odds of not expressing racist views on the in-born ability question than the rest of the population (79-to-1 odds v. 7.9-to-1 odds).

What about conservative Republicans more generally, not just the ones who want a smaller government? Surely they must be more racist. Actually not. In 2008, only 5.4% of white conservative Republicans expressed racist views on the in-born ability question, compared to 10.3% of the rest of the white population.

As Figure 4 shows, this same pattern holds for white Democrats compared to white Republicans: in 2008 12.3% of white Democrats in the U.S. believed that African Americans were born with less ability, compared to only 6.6% of white Republicans.

[...]Data from self-reports in the General Social Survey appear to support the notion that those who oppose income redistribution are somewhat more altruistic in their behavior than redistributionists (e.g., donating money, looking after pets or plants while friends are away), a conclusion also reached by the economist Arthur Brooks.

Click through for the charts and more analysis.

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

Are most men intimidated by independent, successful, educated gorgons?

She's educated, independent, and has a great career!

Story here from the Onion.

Excerpt:

Well, another wasted evening, another potential “Mr. Right” walking out of my life. I guess I should be used to it by now, because it’s just so typical: Men will talk all day about how much they value ambition and intelligence in a partner, but when they finally meet a successful, educated gorgon, all of a sudden they head for the hills.

Needless to say, a smart and sophisticated companion isn’t what these men are actually looking for. No, what they really want is some easily impressed mortal who’ll laugh at all their jokes. Someone who won’t challenge their minds or disagree with their opinions. Someone who lacks a visage so terrifying it turns all beholders into solid stone.

I suppose I could giggle, bat my eyes, and absent-mindedly twirl a fanged, hissing serpent around my fingers—but that’s not who I am.

Look, I bring a lot to the table. I’ve got an MBA from Harvard, I run my own company, I have the deadly power to steal the very breath of life from all who gaze upon me, and I’m in great shape. If I were a man, I’d be admired and even envied for these things. But I’m not, and because of that, men find me threatening. When I walk into a room, they turn away in fear, shutting their eyes tight and clambering out of the room in a panic.

These are grown men we’re talking about!

This is my kind of humor.

Filed under: Humor, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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