Adultery and Law: The Confused and Inconsistent Theology of Albert Mohler

RE: Adultery – When Law and Morality (used to) Agree

On March 4, 2013, SBC icon, Albert Mohler, complains about Colorado’s drive to decriminalize adultery and sexual immorality. And he yearns for that golden yesteryear when sociopolitical laws were consistent ethical principles concerning marriage and adultery. From his blog entry…

Throughout most of human history, morality and law were united and in agreement when it came to the reality of adultery and the larger context of sexual immorality. Laws criminalizing adultery were adopted because the society believed that marriage was central to its own existence and flourishing, and that adultery represented a dagger struck at the heart of the society, as well as the heart of marriage.

As a student of history, I would claim that the statement is factually suspect. Socially and politically, such laws have proven impossible to enforce on most occasions, which gives rise to rational incoherence. However, most pertinent from a Christian, and not a moralist perspective, Mohler’s argument is irrelevant.

Continue reading “Adultery and Law: The Confused and Inconsistent Theology of Albert Mohler”

Rob Bell “Love Wins” – Hell or Purgatory – Part 1

I have set you a watchman to the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say to the wicked, O wicked man, you shall surely die; if you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand. Nevertheless, if you warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. (Ezekiel 33:7-9, 3:17-19)

My heart lacks appetite for publicly critiquing and directly confronting the absurd nonsense that I hear from those who purport to represent Christianity. Really! Truly! I say this, despite the overwhelming evidence that I do unapologetically publicly critique and directly confront the absurd nonsense that I hear from those who purport to represent Christianity.

I cannot do otherwise, even if I must forgo ambitions for public office. I have tasted too much of Hell and some of Heaven; such that I intimately know of these spiritual realities. The Gospel and Full Counsel of God that I observe in Scriptures; when unfiltered by second and third rate theological/philosophical ruminations, disingenuous sophistries, factual and scriptural selectivity and interpretative contortionism; is pristinely rational and grants a wondrous intellectual and moral clarity.

And I will seek to use as incisive a surgical wit, to which I have been endowed, to “demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God” (1 Corinthians 10:5). But I retain a terror that in “speaking truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15); I favor or appear to favor too much, the truth side. Inevitably, some people will always declaim; although I have little motive in denigrating another. Or they will accuse without being able to honestly and objectively point out the mean-spirited in that specific comment. (With written, recorded words, one can always return to source.) But there are occasions when after one speaks repeatedly and gently on a matter of great import, a polemic thump is necessary.

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity. (The Second Coming – Yeats – 1919)

Continue reading “Rob Bell “Love Wins” – Hell or Purgatory – Part 1”

Truth

“What is truth?” Behind this caustic retort by a representative of the classically educated elite of Roman society, this quip epitomized a final status of human thought of ancient Western civilization. It epitomizes the status of our own modern [Western] thought.

When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead, an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd.1

Pilate is characteristic of those lacking conviction; whereby no idea, principle or ideal is deemed worthy of defending. If sufficient pressure and threat to survival and self-interest is mounted against persons without belief, such persons will fold. Whatever Pilate’s personal sentiments about Jesus, it was insufficient to extend his neck over; unlike the zeal of the Jews over a trifling matter of images of Caesar being displayed in Jerusalem.2

In the end, those who fail to confront evil are little better than those who advocate it. The latter thrives in the presence of the former.

Continue reading “Truth”

Psychiatry and the Computational (Modular) Model of Mind and Brain (Functional Phrenology)

When you go to your car mechanic, one minimally expects that these experts have a theoretical and systematic understanding of a car engine and all the other systems required to operate a vehicle. One does not anticipate that they are merely credentialed and certified tinkerers, positing one trial and error solution after another until it fixes the problem. Or that they are the equivalent of first line, technical support workers, who read from a computer screen to match the symptoms described by the end-user to a list of canned solutions. We expect an intimate and intuitive comprehension of the logic that connects one component and system to another by these professionals.

Therefore, it amazes that members of the public and civic officials should entrust the welfare of their minds and brains to a discipline, in which there is no credible philosophical model of mind, which can long sustain rational inquiry. I have endured the scripts by those who have advocated successive speculations since the downfall of behaviourism; Eliminative materialism, Epiphenomenalism, Identity theory – Type Physicalism, Non-reductive physicalism, Functionalism; too name the major ones. I say endure; because as much as my few family members, friends and acquaintances lecture me about toning down my language, wading through these philosophical dissertations, was cause for personal migraines.

Continue reading “Psychiatry and the Computational (Modular) Model of Mind and Brain (Functional Phrenology)”

The Coming Persecution in America: Paul Washer

That a great persecution of existing Christians in the West, including the U.S. will occur, I have not doubt. A fabulist, pre-Tribulation Rapture requires fantastic elasticity of Biblical interpretation to mould this fanciful speculation into doctrinal orthodoxy. It coagulates from pockets of Scriptural mist, more vaporous than those justifying the ever-virginal quality of Mary, the mother of Jesus’ brothers and sisters (Matthew 13:55). Even the Mormon doctrine of baptizing for the dead has clearer outlines of justification (1 Corinthians 15:29); even if there exists only one verse, which gives that birth.

It is not an issue of whether there will a resurrection of the dead and rising of those living, when Christ appears. It is a question of chronology and number of Second Comings. It is a question of fidelity to an interpretative key in Scriptures; that a doctrine can be garnered, only through a minimum of two or three clear Scriptural witnesses (2 Corinthians 13:1). I have read too much Christian history. I have observed too much irrationality, too many absurdities, travesties and atrocities, originating from the creative innovations of peasant seers and vainglorious theologians.

The fluff that is proffered to support this doctrinal contention defies integrity and rationality. Serious persecution of Christians is proliferating around the world. Tentative forays are occurring in Europe. Initial probes are occurring in Canada. It is astonishing Exceptionalist vanity that the American Church should avoid that which 95% of the world is experiencing.

Nevertheless, even if one holds the pre-Tribulation Rapture position, it might be prudent not to hold the position too tenaciously. If it comes to pass, well and good. But if it does not come to pass, one might not be prepared for that any “hell that’s going to break loose on us”. If the doctrine has vaporous foundations; the basis for any anathemas against those who doubt it floats in total ether. Requirement of that belief in order to be a Christian and even for church membership, adds “mental works” to faith in Christ.

Where I might detour from Paul Washer’s warning, involves perhaps speculative eschatology and sociological prophecy in the light of political theory, psychology, history and Scriptures. I don’t have, at all, a bad record in this sideline. I would not dare consider myself a prophet of Biblical proportions. But while some Southern Baptist radio station owner is astonished at recent turn of events about same-sex rights, one of my essays in Grade 13 journalism class (1977-8), saw the writing on the wall on the coattails of the Black civil rights movement. This is a good decade before the self-interested Andrew Sullivan was given credit for that prediction.

Continue reading “The Coming Persecution in America: Paul Washer”

RE: Do Teachers Really Discriminate Against Boys?

http://ideas.time.com/2013/02/06/do-teachers-really-discriminate-against-boys/#ixzz2OXCRGkj2

Using data from the 1998-99 ECLS-K cohort, we show that the grades awarded by teachers are not aligned with test scores. Girls in every racial category outperform boys on reading tests, while boys score at least as well on math and science tests as girls. However, boys in all racial categories across all subject areas are not represented in grade distributions where their test scores would predict. Boys who perform equally as well as girls on reading, math and science tests are graded less favorably by their teachers, but this less favorable treatment essentially vanishes when non-cognitive skills are taken into account. For some specifications there is evidence of a grade – bonus for boys with test scores and behavior like their girl counterparts.1

Such sociological studies (Check out Page 28 and compare the Mean (Test) Scores against Mean Grade) merely confirm personal suspicions about the insidious, deliberate and unintentional, biases in the public schools against the male. Because of extremely politicized nature of the soft sciences (i.e. sociological) and the ease, by which scientific studies can massage the findings in the caverns of methodology and interpretation; it might be wise to suspend credulity. However, if one’s sociopolitical adversaries cite the study2; but rather than dispute the findings, they attempt to explain them away; there is some support to believe in the integrity of the study’s procedures.

It seems like out-and-out discrimination, except there is an interesting wrinkle: teachers didn’t downgrade boys who had identical test scores to girls if they seemed to share the girls’ positive attitude toward learning. In fact, the opposite seemed to occur: the well-socialized boys received a small grade “bonus” for their good behavior relative to other boys, suggesting that teachers may be overcompensating when they encounter boys whose behavior exceeds expectations.2

The amusing irony in this Time Magazine op-ed piece is the total obliviousness of the female writer to the cause of this institutionalized prejudice; of which she unwittingly shares. A positive attitude and appropriate behaviour, as subjectively defined by a predominance of female teachers in the public schools, is part of the impediments that demoralizes and extinguishes that natural curiousity in boys to learn. As summarized in a Goldin, Katz and Kuziemko study (2006); males graduating from a four-year university course in the U.S. fell from parity in 1980 to 74% of females. That ratio would be consistent with what I observed at a graduation ceremony at the University of Toronto, Canada for my oldest son around 2005.

Continue reading “RE: Do Teachers Really Discriminate Against Boys?”