Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sin is Sin

I’ve often heard Christians exclaim: Sin is sin! 

Isn’t this true by definition? Has anyone ever actually argued the contrary—that “Sin isn’t sin”? (And no, I’m not talking about how we masterfully “justify” our own sins to be something other than they actually are.) 
What is meant, exactly, by the short, tautological phrase: Sin is sin? 

Usually what is meant by “sin is sin” is “all sins are equal” or “all sins are the same.” But is this sentiment biblical? Is it even logical?  

For instance, I once had a person say to me, regarding sinful thoughts and behaviors, “Thinking it is just as bad as doing it.” Presumably he had in mind Jesus’ words:  

You have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28) 

But is committing :)adultery in one’s heart the same thing as committing adultery in one’s bed? In no sense do I believe this to be true. This is not at all Christ’s meaning. 

Adultery in the imagination isn’t the same as adultery in physical reality. But neither is it a minor infraction or offense. It is a sin. Sexual sins of the body and of the mind or heart (where sins of the body originate) both merit the just wrath of our holy God; but this isn’t to suggest that they are “equal” or “the same.”

Is it a “small” sin for a man to sexually lust for a woman who is not his wife? No, this is a grave sin deserving divine judgment. (All sins are transgressions against God; therefore none of them are “small” in significance.) Thus, to recognize the real moral difference between evil thoughts and evil actions is not in any sense to minimize sins of the heart.

"Sin is sin" but not all sins are the same.

Here's a simple analogy to further demonstrate the error.

An apple is a fruit.
An orange is a fruit.
Fruit is fruit.
An apple is an orange

The illogic is obvious.

True enough, there are no “small” sins and "sin is sin;" but using a hammer to break into a neighbor's shed is not at all the same thing as using a hammer to break into his skull. These two sins are "apples and oranges," if you will.  

Clearly not all sinful acts are morally equivalent; they are evil but not equal. That there is a gradation in sins is the import of the following verses. 

Matthew 11:22, But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.” 

Luke 12:47-48, “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” 

John 19:11, “Jesus answered, ‘You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.’” 

Consider: According to the law of God some sins are punishable by death whereas most sins are not. Consider also: All sin is an affront to God and merits eternal damnation. 

Sin is sin? Yes. All sins are equal or the same? No. Being lied to makes me very angry. Being murdered makes me very dead.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Three Amigos

Below are the musings of three atheist amigos. Please know: These gentlemen said these things in the same conversation. Their disunited unity is a mindboggling feat. These are their actual words. Only the names have been changed to protect the guilty. 

Moe:There are no authorities (in science). Science questions everything.” 

Larry:I can spell it again for you if you need: Science is not a belief system! 

Curly:We just don't know what ‘good’ is . . . religion is bad for the world. . . .they make claims about what is good for this world that ARE NOT TRUE . . . science is core to having a respectable belief system . . . you cannot find what 'good' is if your moral calculus is messed up . . ." 

We begin with Moe. 

Moe claims that there are “no authorities” in science and yet he esteems science as the highest possible authority known to man. While this seems a bit incongruous, I suppose we shall just have to take his word for it.  

Notice too how Moe personifies science: Science questions everything. To Moe, science is personal, dare I say godlike. Thus, while he refuses to worship the Personal creator God of the Bible; he nevertheless prostrates before the non-personal god of his creation: “Science the Great and Powerful!” 

But science isn’t personal neither is it godlike. Science is simply “the pursuit of systematized knowledge and understanding about the way the universe, with its governing laws and all it contains, operates” (Hugh Ross, More Than a Theory, p. 18). 

Still, even allowing for the idolatrous, non-scientific personification of science; is it really the case that science questions everything? I think not. 

Do scientists seriously question the reality of the external world, the reliability of sense perception, the rationality of their own mind, the rapier wit of Christopher Hitchens? No.  

Furthermore, do scientists question science? Scientists can, and certainly do, question other scientists; but do they question them non-scientifically? Of course not. It seems scientists with their science are not unlike skeptics with their skepticism. That is, they question everything but their science. 

But the real difficulty isn’t in the illusion that science questions everything—far from it. The real danger is found in the pretension that science answers everything. 

We have recently witnessed several physicists (such as Stephen Hawking or Lawrence Krauss) argue that physics can explain everything . . . that there will ultimately be a 'physical theory of everything' . . . 

That science can answer everything is a grand fantasy, a science fiction, if you will. That there are no answers to anything outside of science; that science alone holds all of the answers to all of life’s legitimate questions, is the grandest of all deceptions. It’s “The Science Delusion.” 

Speaking of delusions: Enter Larry with his belief that “Science is not a belief system!”  

This little nugget would certainly be news to Richard Dawkins. And more importantly, as it turns out, it’s news to Curly. Subsequent to Larry’s mistimed leap into irrationality, Curly confidently announces: “Science is core to having a respectable belief system.”
(Can you say, “Awkward”?) 

As if this unfortunate breach of etiquette isn’t enough, Curly then blathers about morality. He claims that we “just don’t know what good is” and yet, paradoxically, he somehow knows that “religion is bad for the world.”  

Upon offering such, shall we say, unconventional wisdom, Curly has the brass to mention “moral calculus”? (Methinks Curly is better suited for “moral pre-algebra.”) 

What exactly are we contemplating here? 

We have a Moe who looks to Science for questions and then goes cross-eyed to Stephen Hawking for answers. We also have a Larry who believes that science is not a system of belief and a Curly who thinks that science is at the very heart of epistemological respectability. These three amigos are a study in contradiction. 

So…who to believe: Moe, Larry or Curly?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Thou Shalt Not Kill (except for when thou shalt)

Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you. ~President Barack Obama 

The man who curses guns in the name children is the same man who blesses abortions in the name of God. 

These are confusing times. 

Our moral hypocrisy couldn’t be more blatant. Consider the slaughter house run by Kermit Gosnell. Why is the media largely ignoring this trial? Furthermore, why (as of May 10) has the jury been deliberating nine days?  

Could it be that our thinking is so dichotomous that we are paralyzed between two worlds? 

Have you wondered why the jury in the Kermit Gosnell multiple-baby-murder trial in Philadelphia is taking such a long time reaching a verdict? This may be the real reason why: For most of us, the death of a child is just about the most tragic event we can imagine. 

In the world of crime, one of the most incomprehensible acts is baby-murder. We’re outraged at the widespread sex-selective infanticide of newborn girls in China. And recent headlines like “Georgia boys face murder charges after cold-blooded killing of infant being strolled by mother” and “Black teens murder white baby for the fun of it” cause us to shake our heads and wonder, How could anyone possibly sink so low as to kill a baby? 

However, parallel to this moral, rational world exists yet another world – an amoral, irrational one, constructed over several decades with great effort and cleverness. 

In this strange parallel world, the same killing of a baby that in the real world outrages us and results in prosecution, prison and possibly execution (or lifetime confinement in a high-security psychiatric lockup for the criminally insane) is mysteriously transformed into a “medical procedure” and “constitutional right,” provided for and fiercely defended by a multi-billion-dollar industry. And funded by taxpayers.

To further illustrate the selectivity of our moral outrage; consider this headline grabbing news sensation: 

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty told reporters that aggravated murder charges could be filed in connection with miscarriages that police say one of the abducted women suffered when Castro used force to terminate her pregnancies after repeatedly raping her.

Let’s be clear: Ariel Castro may be charged by the state of Ohio with five counts of murder because he “used force to terminate her pregnancies.” And yet, in this same state, the great state of Ohio, doctors under protection of law use force to terminate pregnancies hundreds of times a day. 

Where’s the moral outcry? 

This isn’t new. Remember the name Scott Peterson 

From July 6, 2012:  

Scott Peterson on Thursday filed the automatic appeal of his 2004 death sentence to the California Supreme Court, maintaining as he always has that he had nothing to do with the murders of his wife Laci and unborn son Conner.

In California, where preborn babies are legally butchered for money, this man was sentenced for double murder when he was convicted of killing “his wife Laci and unborn son Conner.” 

What? I thought a fetus (Latin for “baby”) wasn’t human? How can Scott Peterson be guilty of murdering his “unborn son” if the preborn are less than human? 

This is more than moral confusion. This is moral psychopathy.  

On Monday, May 13, 2013, Gosnell was found guilty of 3 murders in the first degree. Such a finding only highlights our moral and philosophical schizophrenia. How can a baby be human outside the womb but non-human inside the womb? What magical transformation occurs as the baby traverses the birth canal? Madness! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

In With a Bang Out With a Whimper

The following is an excerpted discussion I had with four atheists. For clarity my interlocutors’ words appear bold and italicized. May God bless your reading. 


“William Lane Craig claims everything that exists has a cause [this would include God]." 

William Lane Craig does not claim "everything that exists has a cause." 

He claims: "Whatever begins to exist has a cause" (On Guard, p. 102, emphasis mine).  

God does not begin to exist. This is true by definition. You may not like this definition of God but you cannot demonstrate this definition to be illogical; nor can you alter this definition without leaving the discussion of theism altogether. That is, you don't have the privilege of defining my beliefs for me, and then attacking your definition of “my” beliefs. 

"There is no reason to believe that everything that began to exist had a cause." 

Upon what basis do you make this assertion? What evidence can you offer contra ex nihilo nihil fit? 

(No answer was offered.) 

“How then are we to know that the universe isn't eternal?” 

Is this a denial of Big Bang cosmology? Upon what basis do you deny the so-called “Big Bang”? What evidence do you offer which indicates that astrophysicists are wrong to conceive of the universe as having a beginning 13.73 billion years ago (Hugh Ross, More Than a Theory, p. 62)? 

(No answer was offered.) 

“What's truly enlightening is once you realize that all the gods were created out of primitive man's Original Ignorance . . .” 

This is merely a bald assertion; begging the question at its finest (or worst). Such statements are “red meat” for your allies, but really offer nothing meaningful to the conversation. 

“The uncaused cause is itself question begging, the question why springs to mind.” 

To understand God as "pure Causality" is not begging the question. It is a defining of terms. It is simply stating: The Being of which I speak has aseity. There's nothing illogical in such a definition. I am defining terms not making assertions. 

"Your god and his associated dogma is only defined by the words created by men." 

Here again, you make a statement but not a point. You seem to be under the illusion that the "words created by men" to describe things, correlates to those described things as being themselves created by men! 

This is sheer nonsense. It is indeed difficult to conceive of "words" not "created" by men. And, it is equally difficult to conceive of "definitions" without "words." 

But what are words? Are they not symbols? Do we mistake the words/symbols for the realities these words/symbols represent?  

Man certainly "creates" words/symbols but he most certainly does not (necessarily) create the realities those words/symbols represent. Did we not "create" the words/symbols which represent or "define" the principles or "dogma" of logic, mathematics, and physics? 

Is it your position that because we've created the words/symbols which represent these things (and all things) that we have in fact created these things in and of themselves? Are all things represented with words/symbols simply human constructs?  

“When I see terms such as data, information, purpose I often think all that is happening is the human mind is effectively anthropomorphising [sic] events.” 

C.S. Lewis observes: "What we learn from experience depends upon the philosophy we bring to experience." 

If one brings a materialist, evolutionary philosophy to experience/evidence, then, of course, what one learns from such experience/evidence will be evolutionary. The same is true for theism or most any other "-ism." 

Thus, no matter what evidence for theism one offers to materialists/evolutionists, that evidence—because of their philosophical pre-commitments—will simply and most hastily be piled with all the other "evidence" in the garbage bin of their minds. They cannot do otherwise. 

When you're a hammer the whole world looks like a nail.