ornament 29 July 2004 ornament

Kerry the Faithful

John Kerry sees his faith in terms of clothing:

And let me say it plainly: in that cause, and in this campaign, we welcome people of faith. America is not us and them. I think of what Ron Reagan said of his father a few weeks ago, and I want to say this to you tonight: I don’t wear my own faith on my sleeve. But faith has given me values and hope to live by, from Vietnam to this day, from Sunday to Sunday. I don’t want to claim that God is on our side. As Abraham Lincoln told us, I want to pray humbly that we are on God’s side.

Indeed, Kerry doesn’t wear his own faith on his sleeve—it is more than likely hanging in the closet with his Vietnam fatigues. What puzzles me is how his faith “gives him values and hope to live by” when it is so hidden.

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Forget Farenheit 9/11…

…GOP.com has a very damning video of John Kerry, using only the words of John Kerry as he flip-flops about on Iraq and Saddam Hussein, saying that he said what he said before he didn’t say what he said when he voted for the war before he voted against it. Confused? I can’t see why anybody would have confidence in this man after watching this.

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ornament 27 July 2004 ornament

Making Things Right

When evaluating one’s religious beliefs (or any beliefs for that matter), one should not be afraid to ask the difficult questions that accompany such belief. Blogger Virginia Postrel did ask such questions last week in response to yet another Nicholas Kristof column which disparaged evangelical Christians. Postrel, an atheist, poses some interesting questions:

But [Kristof’s] outsider’s eye does raise a serious question that evangelicals seem never to ask themselves: Why would you worship such a God? What makes you think a deity who would consign righteous unbelievers (or even bad guys) to never-ending torture–a bully who makes the most vicious dictator look like a nice guy–deserves adoration and praise? Do you really believe this stuff? Would you believe it if you hadn’t heard it all your life?

This is a fair question, and it is one that evangelicals have been asking themselves for two millennia. Why indeed worship a God who in the end destroys the righteous unbelievers along with the unrighteous? The problem, however is that the question is based on the wrong assumptions.

The first wrong assumption is that there exist such persons as “righteous unbelievers.” In fact no one, either believing or unbelieving, is righteous on their own account. The apostle Paul noted in Romans 3:

as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside;
together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”

There are few who would argue the point that we have all done wrong at one time or another, and that we all have the ability to do wrong in the future. We all are unrighteous—in other words, there’s something just not right about each one of us.

The skeptic might concede this point yet continue to ask (as does Postrel) if this “not-rightness” is worthy of eternal suffering. The answer has to do with three attributes of God: his authority, his holiness, and his justice. If God made us, then he has authority over us. If God is holy, the unholy cannot be in his presence without defiling his holiness. If God is just, if God is committed to making things right, then those who are unrighteous (all of us) must be brought to justice.

God is an infinite, therefore all these attributes are infinite as well, leaving his justice to be outstanding upon us—for all eternity. This is one reason that the Christian impetus for evangelism is so great. It is good news indeed.

The God who demands righteousness for the sake of his justice is satisfied completely in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those who trust in Christ for their salvation are by their own standards no more righteous than those eternally condemned. The only difference is that those trusting in Christ are imputed with Christ’s righteousness in place of their own. Jesus Christ embodies the authority, holiness, and justice of God all on his own.

That is why such a God deserves our praise and adoration—because he has not given us what we deserve, placing the penalty of our own sin upon Christ. In this light it is difficult to see God as a “cosmic bully.” The question changes from “why is he so cruel?” to “why is he so kind?” Praise him indeed for making things right!

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I’m Astonished!

HASH(0x8abf958)

You speak eloquently and have seemingly read everybook ever published. You are a fountain of endless (sometimes useless) knowledge, and never fail to impress at a party.

What people love: You can answer almost anyquestion people ask, and have thus been nicknamed Jeeves.

What people hate: You constantly correct their grammar and insult their paperbacks.

What Kind of Elitist Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

[hat tip: Rev. Mike]

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ornament 26 July 2004 ornament

Swan Song

Watching Al Gore speak tonight via his own invention, the internet (I’m watching the DNC over the streaming video feed via c-span.org), I suddenly realized that this speech is the man’s swan song.

Tonight we saw the “Saturday Night Live” Al Gore versus “Angry” Al Gore. He had little to say except his “I almost won” diatribe-turned-dead-horse that in his mind needed one more beating tonight. He really believes he won the 2000 election. After all, all you gotta do is believe….

After this, I doubt we’ll ever see much out of Al Gore. He’ll likely go the way of Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis, fading into the sunset to grow another beard and invent yet another information superhighway. Farewell Al, see you on the flipside.

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Deadbeat Donors

In the ever-changing world of bioethics, this ruling from Pennsylvania seems to be a move in the right direction:

A state appeals court ruled that a verbal agreement between a woman and her sperm donor was invalid, and ordered the man to pay child support for the woman’s twins.

The three-judge panel ruled Thursday that the deal between Joel McKiernan and Ivonne Ferguson — in which McKiernan donated his sperm and would not be obligated to pay any support — was unenforceable because of “legal, equitable and moral principles.”

Ostensibly this would place greater responsibility on sperm donors, which I believe would be a good thing. Currently, it seems in our culture, sperm and eggs are traded more as commodities than building blocks of life. A father is a father whether or not he wants to be absent.

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ornament 25 July 2004 ornament

When You Don’t Have a Reasonable Message…

…you resort to stunts to promote your cause:

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals staged a ‘Live Make-Out Tour’ on Friday to promote vegetarian eating.

The event — in which a scantily clad couple make out in a bed set up on a city sidewalk — is meant to demonstrate PETA’s claims that vegetarians are better lovers, PETA spokesman Ravi Chand said.

If the stunt is outrageous enough, nobody will notice that it has little to do with treating animals ethically. Yeah, that’s the ticket…

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ornament 24 July 2004 ornament

Wacky Weekend Web

Here are some wacky things from around the web:

First, Tim Berglund is on the case of the ubiquitous GoDaddy girl, finding that the same model and same photo show up on a dating advertisment as well as an interntet registrar.

Next, if you’re a former phone prankster like me who pines for the days when caller ID was only sci-fi, you’ll surely appreciate a visit to phone prankster Willie P. Richardson’s website. The site has some free audio samples that will have you, as I like to say, rolling in the floor.

Finally, If you truly believe that one man can make a difference, then you’ll want to bid on the Knight Rider K.I.T.T. car that is up for auction on Ebay! I wonder if it comes with a PayPal sensor…

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This Is Suspect

A recent German poll indicates that single German women prefer remaining single:

BERLIN (Reuters) – More than 80 percent of single German women are perfectly happy without a man in tow and say living solo gives them more freedom to do what they want, according to a survey for Stern magazine.

Coming amid mounting political alarm about Germany’s low birthrate and aging population, the survey of 1,003 women showed only two percent did not enjoy their solitary lifestyle and 36 percent opted to stay single because it was more fun.

Almost half the women said they preferred single life because it was easier to keep their homes tidy and 36 percent said with no man on the scene they didn’t have to endure watching sports on television.

It seems the East German Women’s Swim Team is having more influence than we previously thought. Go figure—American feminists give men the boot for having to clean their homes. German feminists expel men so they can clean their homes. Curious indeed.

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ornament 23 July 2004 ornament

Finding Our Founding Unfounded

All the hubbub about constitutional amendments, gay marriage, the pledge of allegiance, the ten commandments, and the like has the country in a understandable turmoil when it comes to religion in public life. Those of us who side with tradition and the morality of those who came before us stand against the ever-rising tide of those who consider themselves the progressive pilgrims of the age.

Arguments abound, and from both sides the thoughtful and the ignorant make their cases. If you’ve read this blog for any time at all, you’ll know that I side with a generally conservative view of culture informed by a biblical Christian worldview. I happen to think that the biblical worldview is the most intellectually (as well as morally) sound. I also think that much of the country still holds “traditional values” dear, Christian or not—as traditionalists almost always outnumber believers.

In making the stand against such a massive cultural change, however, many use a peculiar tactic that is seldom helpful to the debate. The argument goes something like this: the founders of our country set out to make this a Christian nation, therefore we shouldn’t [fill in the blank with your favorite element of the liberal agenda]. Case closed, right?

Not so fast. The problem with such reasoning is that the conclusion does not follow the premise. So what if the founders of the country were Christian? The Jollyblogger (who writes a jolly good blog, by the way) phrases it well in his excellent post on America’s status as a Christian nation:

…in our anti-authority, postmodern age, most folks aren’t going to be persuaded by arguments about the Christian roots of America.

Americans should base their morality on the concrete and the real–on that which eclipses time, trend, and mood. The founding perspective of the Framers is indeed of historical significance, but something is not right or wrong simply because the founders may have believed it. The founding fathers had their own problems–the practice of slavery, though not without opposition, fell well within the realm of the Constitution for the bulk of a century.

The benefit of having George Washington on one’s side goes only so far. We who speak in the public square from a biblical worldview need to do better than to simply point to men in wigs wielding feather styli. We must first and foremost point to the truth that drove such men to act so boldly.

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