The ruling dictator of a county cooks people in an oven for a relatively short amount of time and people call him a monster. The purported ruling dictator of the Universe cooks people in an oven forever – and people call for his praise and adoration, demanding that he be worshiped. It’s interesting how ramping torture up to a cosmic level suddenly makes it virtuous.
Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category
Ever the glutton for punishment, I was listening to a sermon not too long ago, and the pastor had these words to say to their congregation:
“What I see in front of me might contradict everything he [Jesus] has said, but I believe in the end he’ll be born out to be true.”
This type of attitude is very disturbing, and in essence says, “Look, you can show me all the evidence you want to, and it can be the most solid evidence ever, and I’m still not going to accept it.” There are few things to be pitied more than a person who says their mind cannot be changed no matter what evidence is provided. Such a person is a prisoner in their own mind, who when handed the key to set themselves free, gouges out their eyes with it lest they find the lock.
I got into a discussion on Facebook the other day on the topic of control, and I thought it might be worthwhile to share it here. The individual I was discussing this with seemed to have a focus on the AR-15, though handguns were also a part of the discussion. I had expressed that I had seen a lot of poor arguments for pro-gun ownership online, and so they asked me what I thought a good reason was.
They had posted this initially: “people would be seriously stirred up if the same attacks were coming from the government toward free religion or free speech or voting or any of our other pre-existing, fundamental, God-given rights.”
Building off that statement – I made my case:
Well, let’s look at a potential bad reason…
You seem to indicate with your statement that gun ownership – like freedom of religion, speech, or the right to vote – is a “God-given right.” Firearms of course aren’t listed anywhere in the Bible, and the example in the character of Jesus – who reportedly said, “turn the other cheek,” did so, and then died at the hands of the ruling authorities rather than retaliate – is lifted up as the model a Christian should live their life after.
Following up after Jesus you have Paul, who is reported as saying, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (Romans 13:1-2). He is also reported as saying, “Follow my example as I follow Christ’s,” and Christian tradition holds that he did so by dying at the hand of the ruling authorities rather than retaliating just as his example had done.
So, as a Christian, looking at Jesus and Paul – how does one declare that guns are a “God-given right,” and that guns should be kept if the need to overthrow a tyrannical government should arise – when overthrowing the tyrannical government amounts to “rebelling against what God has instituted” and supposedly brings judgement upon oneself? How does one get to the place of gun ownership being a God-given right? Unless we’re talking about a God other than the one in the Bible.
For me the gun argument stands as a completely secular issue. People on the political left are correct – if we had a complete ban on all guns like the UK, Japan, and other western developed nations – we would have fewer gun deaths in the United States. The data is clear on that. However, to do the same in the US would violate individual freedom and liberty. We already put certain restrictions on the 2nd amendment, which in all honesty has outlived the purpose of why it was created. [Name withheld] is right that it was put in so the people could revolt against a tyrannical government, and when the government was fighting with muskets and bayonets it made a lot of sense, but we’re well beyond that now. We kill people in the Middle-East with the push of a button on a remote controlled flying device, and they never see death coming. If we’re really talking about a tyrannical government, there’s nothing that would stop that same thing happening to a bunch of hunkered down hillbillies in the foothills of Alabama. An AR-15 would be more useful as toilet paper than an instrument of rebellion against an armored, air-powered, bunker-busting, smart-bombing, industrialized death steam roller. So, yeah – “the 2nd Amendment isn’t for hunting,” but it might as well be for fishing as effective as it would be in both practice for a Coup d’état, and as an argument for the rights of gun owners.
The only argument for gun ownership, with reasonable checks and balances – is for home and self-defense. Police response time is not adequate to protect yourself from and armed intruder, and a lawful weapon is what provides you the potential added protection until officers can respond.
It’s been over 10 days since I posted that, and I’ve yet to hear a response. I doubt I will.
Posted in Christianity, Evolution, Islam, Mormonism, Physics, Religion, Science, Video, tagged BBC, Christianity, Conspiracy Road Trip, creationism, religion, Skeptic on November 9, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Comedian Andrew Maxwell takes five British creationists to the west coast of America to try to convince them that evolution rather than creationism explains how we all got here. Stuck on a bus across 2,000 miles of dustbowl roads with these passionate believers, Maxwell tackles some firmly held beliefs – could the Earth be only 6,000 years old, and did humans and T-Rex really live side by side? It’s a bumpy ride as he’s confronted with some lively debates along the way, but by the end could he possibly win over any of these believers with what he regards as hard scientific fact? [BBC]
Posted in Christianity, Church and State, Politics, Religion, tagged Ad, Advertising, Ballots, Billy Graham, Chrians, christian nation, Christianity, Church and State, democrat, election, libertarian, Political, politics, proposals, Referendum 74, Republican, USA Today, Wall Street Journal on November 4, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Election time is once again drawing near, and soon we will be headed to the polls to elect or re-elect our public officials, as well as approve or reject various ballot proposals and initiatives. They say the two things you’re never supposed to talk about at work is religion and politics, but each election cycle these two topics seem to get more and more intertwined with one another. So, while I won’t be breaking any workplace taboos by discussing these topics here, I’d say chances are pretty good that someone is going to read what I have to say and get pissed off. Feel free to leave a comment.
A little over a week ago, Billy Graham appeared in this full page ad in the Wall Street Journal and USA today…
Do you hear that America? Billy Graham says that you need to vote for leaders that will stand on Biblical principles, and presumably they will ensure that the legislation they enact forces your fellow Americans to live by those same standards. It might be worth noting that if the issues the Rev. Graham issued were done so in order of importance, then according to him the most important issue America needs to deal with is gays and lesbians. This would especially be the case in the state of Washington where approval of Referendum 74 would legalize gay marriage in the state.
Many Christians seem to think that voting for candidates and proposals that ensure biblical values are forced upon the populace as a whole is a good thing, but they do themselves more harm than they realize. When Christians try to use the power of government to force others to live according to biblical standards – it is a public admission that their Gospel, their Holy Spirit, and their Christ – is impotent and powerless. First Corinthians 2:4 says that lives are transformed by a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, but many Christians today seem content to attempt to transform lives by checking a box on a ballot. Of course, when you don’t really have the power of a supernatural being residing inside you, forcing others to live the way you want them to is probably easier than convincing them of the validity of your message and the way you live your life.
I’m going to steal away a few minutes from my ever busy schedule to write about the Project Reason 2012 Video Contest, that I recently participated in, and ultimately ended up taking home 2nd place, and the $4000 prize. I’ll start off by saying that this was one of the best organized video contests I’ve ever been a part of. I submitted my video, and was notified it was a finalist the day before the voting period started. Once voting was over, I was notified that I had won 2nd place the day the voting ended. If that wasn’t speedy enough – I had a check in hand 1 week later. Video contests rarely run that smooth, or are that well organized. My hat is off to Sam and Annika Harris for doing an outstanding job with the logistics. Now, onto the entries…
1st Place – $10,000
I absolutely loved the 1st place winner. The animation, the scripting, the narration (everything sounds better with a British accent), the music, and most of all – the message. It was great. While it was great, however, it was not my first choice, and the only reason is because it was preaching right to me “in the choir.” I just don’t think the video would challenge the thought process of the theistically-minded enough to have an impact. I could be wrong, but that’s just my impression. Just the same, I’m very happy for the 1st place winner, and if I was going to take 2nd place to another video, I wanted it to be that one. The producers did an outstanding job.
2nd Place – $4000
I won’t add anything new on my video seeing as I’ve already given the background on it here.
3rd Place – $1000
This was probably my least favorite of the 6 finalists. Had it been shortened into a 30-second video, I probably would have liked it a little better, but I’m just not one for long, text-driven (small text at that) videos. Obviously there were others who liked it, and overall the message is a good one. Dogmatism really IS NOT patriotic. I just would have like to have seen that message driven home in a slightly different format.
I’ve been insanely busy the last couple of weeks, but I wanted to take a moment to let all two of you who read my blog know that my video Genesis Creation Visualized – Scientifically has been selected as a finalist in the Project Reason 2012 video contest. My video is up against 5 other finalists for one of three prizes ($10,000, $4000, $1000), and you can visit the site and register to cast your single vote for your favorite video through 7/23/2012. Once voting is over, I’ll post about what I like and dislike about the other videos, but I don’t want to taint anyone’s opinion before the contest is over.