You Shall Not Commit Adultery

The Ten Commandments:

  1. You shall have no other gods before me
  2. You shall not make for yourself an idol
  3. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain
  4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy
  5. Honor your father and mother
  6. You shall not kill/murder
  7. You shall not commit adultery
  8. You shall not steal
  9. You shall not bear false witness
  10. You shall not covet

The Seventh Commandment simply says: “You shall not commit Adultery” (Exodus 20:14 NKJV).

What is “adultery?”

Strictly speaking, adultery is a sexual relationship between a married person and someone other than his or her spouse.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus expands the definition: “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.” According to Jesus, any man (married, or not) who looks at a woman (married, or not) and thinks about having sex with her, is just as guilty of adultery as the married man who actually does have sex with a woman other than his wife. Although not specifically stated here, the opposite is presumed true as well: A woman who lusts after a man is guilty of adultery as well.

Using Jesus’ definition, almost every person past the age of puberty is guilty of adultery. It is the very rare individual who has never lusted after someone to whom they are not married.

 adultery_Bible

What about other sexual sins?

In addition to adultery, both the Old and New Testaments describe many examples of sexual sins, including (but not limited to):

Additionally, there are a number of New Testament passages warning against the sin of πορνείᾳ, which is translated in various English versions as fornication, unchastity, or sexual immorality. According to Strong’s Concordance, πορνείᾳ – pronounced (por-ni’-ah) – is “a selling off (surrendering) of sexual purity; promiscuity of any (every) type.” πορνείᾳ is the root word for the English word “pornography.” Essentially, πορνείᾳ includes all sexual acts outside of Biblical marriage.

How does the Bible define Marriage?

The basic definition of marriage is found in Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Jesus reiterated this basic definition in Mark 10:6-8:

But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.

Both Genesis 2:24 and Jesus define marriage as being between one man and one woman. wedding

What about polygamy? The Old Testament certainly records many instances of polygamous marriages, including Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon. However, in each of these cases, polygamous marriages caused serious consequences. Although there are a handful of Old Testament verses that can be interpreted to endorse or even require polygamous marriage, these same verses have also been interpreted to refer to successive marriages, rather than concurrent ones. Regardless of the interpretation of these verses, marrying multiple wives is not in harmony with God’s design for marriage from the beginning.

The same can be said for divorce. There are several Old Testament passages describing procedures for divorce. However, in the same passage from Mark 10, Jesus states that the law allows for divorce because of the hardness of the human heart (verse 5), and that ““Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (verses 11-12). Again, divorce is clearly not part of God’s design for marriage.

Homosexual marriage is never mentioned in Scripture. However, since the Bible speaks clearly about the sin of homosexuality, and since Jesus defined marriage in terms on one man and one woman, gay marriage is clearly not part of the Biblical design for marriage.

A Christian Response

The Biblical definition for marriage is one man and one woman for life. Divorce, polygamy, and gay marriage are sin, and not part of God’s design. However, all of these are practiced in our culture, even among professing Christians. How should Christians respond?

First, we must not compromise the truth of God’s Word. We need to acknowledge that all sexual relations outside of monogamous, heterosexual marriage are sin.  As Christians, we must never compromise the truth of God’s Word. speaking-truth-love

Second, we also need to remember that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). By Jesus’ definition, almost every adult is guilty of sexual sin. Christians have no right to judge the sin of others if they do not recognize and repent of their own sin. Just because I haven’t actually had a sexual relationship outside of marriage, I’ve certainly thought about it, so according to Jesus, I’m also guilty. I’ve certainly also committed many other kinds of sin. Christians have no business looking down on the sins of others, just because they haven’t committed those particular sins. We have more than enough sins of our own, without adding hypocrisy to the list.

Christians who are caught in the snare of sexual sin need grace and truth to be able to repent of those sins and be restored to fellowship with Jesus Christ. If married, both the one adulterer and their spouse need compassion and Godly counsel in order to heal the relationship. If in an unbiblical relationship, they need to separate, in accordance to God’s Word, and need to repent of sin.

In the case of non-believers, what they need is the grace of Jesus Christ, not hate from Christians. Christians can, and must, truly hate the sin, but love the sinner. All non-Christians, regardless of whatever sin they may be involved in, need to understand they are sinners, but that Jesus Christ offers salvation and the forgiveness of sin for those who repent and turn to Him.

The following quote has been attributed to both Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson and Pastor Rick Warren (I think Warren is the actual source):

“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

Christians must stand firm on the truth of God’s Word in regards to sexual sin, but at the same time, must demonstrate Christ-like grace and compassion toward sinners. Our goal must be to allow God to work through us to lead sinners to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

I Hate Tomatoes

I hate tomatoes, both yellow and red.

If I got them at school, I would give them to Fred.

I like them in ketchup; I like them in soup,

But plain old tomatoes? I rather eat poop.

My parents, they like them; my brother does, too.

Instead of tomatoes, I’d rather eat glue.


I originally wrote this in the fourth grade, circa 1971-72. My teacher made me change the word “poop” to “goop.” I’ve changed it back.

IHateTomatoes

Is Christianity a Religion?

Several weeks ago, I asked the question, “Is Atheism a Religion?” My conclusion was that “Atheism is not a religion, per se, but almost all Atheists practice a non-theistic kind of religion. Atheist religion is generally not an institutionalized system or organization, but usually more of a personal set of non-theistic religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.”

Today I will tackle the question of whether Christianity is a religion. It is my contention that there are, in fact, two distinct forms of Christianity: one form that is a religion, not different from any other religion, and another that is much more than just a religion.

What is religion?

In order to answer the question, it is necessary to first define exactly what religion is.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, religion is:

1 a :  the state of a religious <a nun in her 20th year of religion>

b (1) :  the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) :  commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance

2 :  a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices

3 archaic :  scrupulous conformity :  conscientiousness

4 :  a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith

In my discussion of Atheism, I identified 8 common traits of religions:

  1. Religions have narratives or texts.
  2. Religions have doctrines.
  3. Religions have faith.
  4. Religion is a source of purpose and meaning.
  5. Religions have rituals.
  6. Religions use symbols.
  7. Religion provides social construct.
  8. Religions proselytize.

Religion is both a set of beliefs about God and a set of practices based on those beliefs. The more religious a person is, the more fervently the set of beliefs and practices is followed.

Two kinds of Christianity

Here we come to the crux of the question: Is Christianity a religion, or is it something more?

I contend that there are, in fact, two distinct kinds of Christianity. There is a form of Christianity that is clearly religion. Catholicism, Evangelicalism, Protestantism, and Fundamentalism are all religions. They are all sets of beliefs with accompanying behaviors and practices. Even Christians who are not a part of any organized church or denomination ultimately have a religion. They have a personal set of beliefs and practices.

There is another form of Christianity, however, that goes far beyond the definition of a religion. Consider this passage from the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John:

22 Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. 23 And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, “How long do You keep us in doubt? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

Verse 27 emphasizes the relationship between Jesus and His followers:

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

This goes beyond simply knowing about Jesus; a true follower of Jesus Christ actually knows Him.

I know a lot about the President of the United States. I see him on television and in my Facebook newsfeed nearly every day. I know what he says, and who he is. However, I cannot say I know him. We’ve never even met in person, and even if we had, he wouldn’t remember me from any of the hundreds of thousands of other people he’s met. Compare that to the relationship I have with my wife and kids. I live with them, and I talk with them regularly. I actually know them quite well, and they know me quite well. We have individual, close connections .

So it is with those who truly follow Jesus. We don’t just know about Jesus, we know Him personally. He knows us personally. We don’t just follow a religion; we follow a person that we have actually met, with whom we have a personal relationship.

Consider also these verses from Matthew 7:

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Notice that it isn’t the religious people that enter heaven – it’s those who do the will of the Father and whom Jesus knows. What is the “will of the Father?” In the context of the passage, it’s certainly not being religious. Jesus repeatedly saves his harshest criticism for the most religious people in His culture. The will of God is that people would know Him.

How are the two kinds of Christianity different from each other?

Let me give my answer from personal experience. I grew up as a religious Christian. I was in a church service nearly every Sunday. My entire family was active in the church; my dad sang in the choir, and my mom was the Sunday KnowtheAuthorSchool Superintendent. I was active in the youth group – president, my senior year – and went to church camp every summer. I knew a lot about the Bible, God, and Jesus. I participated in fundraisers to help the poor, vacation Bible school, and Bible study classes. Although I knew I did some bad things, I believed my goodness outweighed the bad. I believed, God is love; he accepts us as we are, warts and all.

However, as a college freshman, I realized that this wasn’t enough. Although I knew a lot about Jesus, I didn’t know Jesus. And, though I was mostly a good person, I still sinned, and sin separates us from God – it prevents us from knowing Him. I discovered that God is not only a God of love, He is also the God of holiness, justice, and truth. It was then that I changed from the first kind of religious Christianity to the second kind – relationship Christianity. I repented of my sin, and from trying to earn my way to Heaven. I acknowledged that Jesus is God; that He died for my sin, and rose again. And I committed my life to follow Him. God then did an amazing thing. He forgave my sin, and He restored my relationship with Him. The Holy Spirit tool up residence in my heart (2 Corinthians 1:22). I now not only knew about Jesus – I actually came to know Him in a personal way.

This is the difference between the two kinds of Christianity: The first is a religion, no different from any other religion. It has a holy book, doctrine, faith, rituals, and symbols, like any other religion. Religious Christianity provides social construct and purpose and meaning, as do all religions. Faithful religious Christians proselytize, as do the faithful from all other religions. And, like all other religions, religious Christianity does nothing to restore the relationship with God that has been lost because of human sin. It acknowledges that Jesus paid the penalty for sin on the cross, but does nothing to activate that forgiveness in anyone’s life. It’s sort of like starving to death while looking at a table full of food. Food does no good, unless one actually ingests it. That’s what relationship Christianity is all about: ingesting and applying the forgiveness offered by Jesus Christ, and beginning a relationship with Him. Yes, those who have a relationship with Jesus also have the Bible, doctrine, and faith. Yes, our relationship with Jesus is the source of our social construct, purpose, and meaning. We proselytize, and although for many of us, rituals and symbols aren’t especially important, we still have them. The key difference is that these things aren’t the foundation – our relationship with Jesus is the foundation.

RelationshipnotreligionIs Christianity a religion? It depends on which kind of Christianity being discussed. It has been claimed that, “Christianity isn’t a religion – it’s a relationship.” I only partially agree with this. A better way of stating this would be, “True Christianity isn’t just a religion – it’s a relationship.” Much of what people know as Christianity is a religion, and is ultimately no different from any other religion. It makes people feel good, and act a certain way, but cannot restore a relationship with God. The other kind of Christianity is a relationship with God, through the blood of Jesus Christ. This second kind of Christianity still has most of the marks of religion, but is much, much more than just a religion. Religious Christianity is based on trying to make one’s self acceptable to God, which cannot be done, and ultimately leads to death and Hell. Relationship Christianity is based on what Jesus did, not what we do. We become acceptable before God because Jesus took our sin on Himself. Relationship Christianity restores our connection with our Creator, and leads to eternal life, not Hell.

Application

What difference does this make? It makes all the difference in the world! If you are a religious Christian – you have the doctrine, faith, rituals, and symbols, etc., but you don’t know Jesus personally – your sins are not forgiven, and you have not had your relationship with God restored. You are headed for Hell. You need to repent of your religiosity, acknowledge that you cannot make yourself acceptable to God, and receive forgiveness and restoration through Jesus Christ. Head knowledge is not the same as a relationship. Religion makes people feel good, but leads to Hell. Stop having faith in religion, and place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. If you profess another religion, or no religion at all, you also need Jesus. You may have a wonderful life, but in the end, you will spend eternity separated from God in Hell, unless you turn to Jesus.

jesus_talkingIf you know Jesus already, you probably already understand this distinction. Make sure you keep your heart and mind focused on Jesus, not on all the religious stuff that accompanies faith in Jesus. Sure, the “religious” stuff, like reading your Bible, trying to do what is right, giving to the poor, and regularly attending corporate worship are important, they are no substitute for developing your relationship with Jesus. When you share your faith in Jesus with others, they will often think Christianity is no different from any other religion. In a sense, they are right – most of what they have seen is the religious Christianity, not relationship Christianity. Make the distinction between Christianity the religion and Christianity the relationship. Both exist, but only one leads to eternal life.

One final thought: the two kinds of Christianity are usually mixed together in any given church or denomination. That is, in most solid, Bible-believing churches, there are some that don’t actually know Jesus, along with those that do. There are also Christians who truly know Jesus in some very religious churches. Knowing Jesus isn’t a matter of whether one belongs to the right or wrong denomination or church.

If you want to know more about knowing Jesus, leave a comment, or send me a message. I’d love to tell you more.

What Do I Actually Believe? Part 3 of 3

This is the final part of my response to an article by Tiffany Willis, editor-in-chief of the website liberalamerica.org.

In her article, Willis lists 28 reasons why she’s no longer talking to most conservatives. I find most disturbing about her irrational rant is that she seems to actually believe that the claptrap collection of ridiculous misrepresentations she puts forth is how most conservatives actually think. And, based on the comments on the page, an alarming number of people actually seem to agree with her.

What I have done is to go point-by-point through her collection of straw-man arguments and ad hominem attacks to explain what I, as a libertarian-leaning, conservative Christian actually believe, while at the same time pointing out the irrationality of her arguments, and poking a little fun at her ignorance. I covered points 1-10 and 11-20 in previous posts. In this post, I will address her final 8 points.

21. It’s impossible for you to see your privilege.

If you were born into a family and a place that allowed you to thrive, you’re blessed and fortunate. This isn’t the norm. A lot of success and stability depends on the structure that we have during our formative years. The vast majority of young Americans have not had your advantages and I can’t seem to make you understand that. I’ve stopped trying.

First, I want to agree with her that if a person was born into a family and a place that allowed them to thrive, they are blessed and fortunate. I also agree that this isn’t the norm.

Because I am a white, male baby-boomer, I have had some advantages over most non-whites and women. It’s not impossible for me to see the privilege; I readily acknowledge it. With all due respect, my question is, what would Willis and others like her expect me to do about it? I can’t change who I am, or how I was raised. All I can do is work to help others succeed, regardless of their backgrounds.

The liberal premise that success is almost entirely dependent on birthright and privilege is simply false. There are numerous examples of people who have risen to greatness from disadvantaged beginnings. Barack Obama is a perfect example of someone overcoming disadvantage to achieve success. There are also numerous examples of people who had every advantage in life, yet squandered it. While ethnicity and gender obviously give some advantage and others disadvantage, the primary reason people are successful in life while others are not has more to do with personal drive and persistence. The notion that ethnic minorities cannot succeed because of the color of their skin is racist, and the idea that women cannot succeed because they are women is sexist. These ideas are promoted far more by liberals such as Willis, in arguments such as the one she makes here, than by conservatives. If Willis and other liberals really want to end “white privilege,” stop telling non-whites and women that they can’t succeed without handouts. Instead, empower them to overcome the disadvantage, work their butts off, and succeed despite their ethnicity and gender.

22. You don’t care about children.

You care about fetuses. Once those fetuses begin to breath outside the womb, your concern is gone if they’re born into a poor family that needs help.

Or how about poor children who are in school? Most of you want to do away with free and reduced lunches, for God’s sake. And let’s not even talk about free breakfasts for kids. What is wrong with you people??? There is no better investment that we can make as a nation than in the early childhood health of our children.

UnbornFirst, fetuses ARE children, and, yes, I care about them a great deal.

Second, the claim that conservatives don’t care about children is nothing more than intolerant bigotry and emotionalism. An ad hominem attack of the lowest sort.

Third, giving children free or reduced lunches does not solve the problem of poverty. Indefinite handouts perpetuate the problem of poverty rather than eliminating it. This has long been the strategy of liberals: Force people into poverty, then give them handouts designed to keep them there. Then, poor people will vote for the liberals, because they give them free stuff. The “best investment” we can make as a nation is to grow the economy to the point it can provide well-paying jobs to all who want them, and by empowering the poor to overcome the obstacles and succeed.

SchoolLunchFourth, most conservatives have no problem with providing free and reduced price lunches – and breakfasts – to those in need. Many of our own kids have benefitted from these programs, especially under the Obama economy. However, we see free and reduced lunches as a temporary solution, rather than a long-term entitlement. The solution is to raise families up out of poverty so they don’t need assistance.

23. You’re greedy and miserable.

You spend more time bemoaning what is being taken from you that you do in being thankful that you have enough to share.

scroogeWho is more greedy, liberals or conservatives? According to most studies, such as one reported by Fiscal Times and another in Newsmax, conservatives actually give more to charity than liberals. Of the first 20 or so results that turned up in my Google search, al said that either the giving by liberals and conservatives is roughly the same, or that conservatives give more. No studies showed that liberals give more to charity.

Liberals like Willis seem to think that wanting to keep the money one earns is greed, but forcibly taking money from others is not greed.

Who is more miserable, liberals or conservatives? Again, according to studies reported by the New York Times and the Washington Post, conservatives are happier than liberals.

So much for the stereotype of conservatives being unhappy misers.

The basic difference between conservatives and liberals is conservatives favor voluntary, personal giving while liberals favor forced redistribution. Most conservatives would give the shirt off their backs to help someone in need. And most liberals are also happy to give the shirt off the conservative’s back to help someone in need.

As for myself, although my family has struggled financially over the last few years, I give often to charitable causes, both of my money and of my time. I’ve also taught my children to do the same.

24. You think our religion is the only one.

I’m a Christian — a proud follower of the most amazing man I’ve ever studied. Most of what is good about me comes from the teachings of Jesus. I love my religion and my Holy Book. I use the Words in Red as a compass. But who am I to look at other people who feel exactly the same way about their own religions and judge them?

ALL religions think they’re the only one. And, all religions proselytize and try to convince others they are correct.

Willis claims it’s wrong to judge – as she judges conservatives. She’s quite the hypocrite.

The problem is, logically, they cannot all be the truth. They contain mutually exclusive claims. The idea that Willis seems to espouse – that all religions are equal – is utter nonsense.

John146Willis claims that as a Christian, she loves her religion and her Holy Book. But, she then says she uses the “Words in Red” as her compass. If she actually read the “Words in Red,” she’d realize that Jesus affirms the entire Bible as truth, not just the “Words in Red:” “ For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18).  She’d know that Jesus claimed to be the only Truth: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (John 14:6).

Willis is correct; I do believe that Biblical Christianity is the only true religion. And yes, I tell others about Jesus, and I hold to the Bible as the truth, and all other religions as false. Although I believe other religions and worldviews are false, I will defend a person’s legal right to believe what they choose to believe. I even defend the right of Willis to write irrational rants attacking my beliefs in the name of tolerance. However, I will also speak out about why I believe that Jesus is the only truth, and all other religion is a lie. To not do so would be hypocritical.

25. You are lazy and you refuse to read.

I provide sources for you that will debunk most of your BS, or at least help you to see it a little differently. You refuse to read it. You stick to Fox News, World Net Daily, etc…You refuse to ever entertain another point of view.

The very fact that I have taken the time to refute point-by-point all 28 of the reasons Willis refuses to even speak with most conservatives refutes the idea that conservatives won’t read other points of view. I initially ran across this article on the Facebook page of an atheist friend of mine. Rather than ignoring it, I clicked on the link, and read the article. I maintain Facebook relationships with people whose views are diametrically opposed to mine, and actually read what they have to say.

Ironically, the majority of the sources in Willis’ article simply link back to other articles Willis has written on her own website.

26. Your misfortune is God’s blessing.

When something bad happens to you, you sanctimoniously think it’s God testing you and making you stronger. When something bad happens to me (or gay people or atheists or etc…), you think it’s God punishing them.

I think bad stuff happens to people because of sin. And all of us sin. I also believe that because I have placed my faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and have become “a new creation in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17), God does deal with my sin differently from how He deals with the sin of a non-believer. If Willis loved her “Holy Book” as much as she claims she does, and read more than the “Words in Red,” she’d know that.

27. “Everyone has their lot in life.”

Except you, of course. Well, no….you do have a lot. Your lot is to have every privilege and entitlement and make sure your children have the same.

See my response to #21 (above).

28. You think you’re the only one working and paying taxes.

“My tax dollars….” Here’s a clue: you’re not the only one paying taxes. Liberals pay taxes, too. Just how far do you think your $2,000 a year in income taxes goes?

The difference between liberals and conservatives regarding taxes is that liberals see high taxes as a means to Taxesredistribute wealth. Nobody should have more than anyone else. Conservatives believe in limited taxes to support essential government functions, like the military and building infrastructure, not as a means to redistribute wealth.

Conservatives support lower taxes for all because people have a right to keep what they earn. Liberals support progressive taxation with high taxes for the rich in order to equalize incomes through redistribution of earnings.

Liberals think taxes are too low for the wealthy. Conservatives think taxes are too high for everybody. I’m with the conservatives on this one.

Final thoughts…

I enjoy intelligent conversation and debate with people with whom I disagree. Rational debate allows for personal growth and for better understanding between people with different worldviews. However, this article by Ms. Willis is neither intelligent nor rational. It’s nothing more than an angry, hateful rant. The title alone, “28 Reasons I’m DONE Talking To Most Of My Conservative Friends And Family Members,” demonstrates just how closed-minded and intolerant Willis is. I do not call her stupid or amoral for being a liberal. I call her ignorant and intolerant for posting such drivel, rather than intelligent discussion, to support her views.

What Do I Actually Believe? Part 2 of 3

A Facebook friend recently posted a link to this article by blogger Tiffany Willis, editor-in-chief of the website liberalamerica.org.

Ms. Willis lists 28 reasons why she’s done talking to most of her conservative friends and family members. Her reasons contain some of the greatest stereotypic misrepresentations of what most conservatives actually believe. Whether Willis is simply ignorant, or whether she’s deliberately creating straw-man arguments, perpetuating such ignorant caricatures is divisive and hateful. Willis comes across as a very angry, very intolerant, and very ignorant person.

As a libertarian-leaning, evangelical conservative, I’d like to go through each point of this rant to explain how what I actually believe is quite different from the caricature Willis paints of conservative views. While the views I express are mine alone, they are reasonably representative of what most of my conservative friends believe. Not every conservative will agree with every point, however. I hope that this will lead to better understanding of what many conservatives actually believe, and can lead to productive dialog rather than ignorant rants.

I addressed reasons 1-10 in a previous blog. In this blog, I will address reasons 11-20, and will cover reasons 21-28 at another time.

Here are the next 10, along with some of her comments, and my responses:

11. The Creation Museum — that is all.

You think this is OK. It’s not. These people just make stuff up. Do you really think kangaroos floated from Africa to Australia on rafts? Why are you condoning this ignorance?

I can only assume that “journalist” Matt Stopera is deliberately misrepresenting the Creation Museum in the article Willis links to as her sole argument against the Creation Museum. If he actually spent three hours reading the material in the exhibits, he knows his mocking comments are absolute gibberish. As a former employee at the Creation Museum, I find his nonsensical comments offensive and hateful. I can only assume Willis is either ignorant or just as hateful as Stopera. It’s ironic and hypocritical that she says, “these people just make stuff up,” when that’s precisely what she and Stopera do.

I also find it ironic and hypocritical that the vast majority of arguments I see from evolutionists against creation are mocking rants like this one, or simply saying, “evolution is fact,” without ever providing any actual scientific facts to support the claim. In most debates/arguments on creation vs. evolution, it’s the creationists that argue from the actual evidence, while evolutionists usually use arbitrary unsubstantiated claims, ad hominem attacks, straw-man arguments, and mocking as the basis of argument, while sidestepping all actual scientific discussion. For myself, it was the evidence-based scientific arguments from the creation side and the lack of any real evidence from the evolution side that convinced me that the Bible’s straight-forward account of origins makes more sense than evolution or some sort of mixture of the two.

I have many questions which the evolutionary doctrine simply cannot answer, but which the young-earth creation model provides very simple answers. Here are three of them:

  1. How did life arise from nonlife? Although this is technically not evolution, per se, but abiogenesis (sometimes chemical evolution), molecules-to-man evolution is dependent on non-living matter somehow becoming alive. Even if all the ingredients for life (DNA, RNA, “left-handed” amino acids, etc.) could somehow arise through non-living natural processes, and assemble themselves into the correct structures (ribosomes, mitochondria, lysosomes, and so forth), how would they become alive? Evolution has no answer.
  2. What about carbon dating? Carbon-14 has a half-life of only 5,730 years. After 5,730 years, 1/2 of the C14Decaycarbon-14 present when the organism was alive would be gone. After 11,460 years, 3/4 would be gone, and after 17,190 years, 7/8 would be gone. After about 50-60,000 years, there should be no detectable carbon-14 left in a fossil. Yet, nearly all fossils, including dinosaurs, contain carbon-14 in significant quantities. Coal and diamonds also contain carbon-14. The amounts of carbon-14 in most fossils date the fossils at only a few thousand years old, not the millions of years required for evolution. How can dinosaurs, coal, and diamonds be millions of years old when they still contain significant amounts of carbon-14? Evolution has no answer.
  3. What about the fossil record? Evolutionists usually portray the supposed common origin of all lifeforms as a sort of branching “tree,” with a single “root” in the ancient past, and “branches” representing different phyla, orders, species, etc.
    evolutiontreeHowever, this is not what the fossil record actually shows. The fossil record only shows the “tips” of the branches, more like a lawn or garden, not a single tree.
    orchard-family-tree
    If all life is descended from a common ancestor, why doesn’t the fossil record support this? Evolutionists have proposed a number of hypotheses, but don’t have any actual evidence to support any of them that I’ve seen.

These are just three of the numerous scientific problems I see with evolution. Again, it was scientific arguments like these that convinced me to abandon evolution in favor of creation.

If Willis wants thinking people to take her seriously, she needs to come up with a better argument than nonsensical misrepresentations of creation, while simultaneously claiming creationists are “ignorant.”

12. You’re liberal in youth, yet grow conservative in age.

I call this the Dead Peter Syndrome in men and/or the Formerly Hot Syndrome in women… many women who embraced the sexual revolution are now taking a stance against women’s rights and suggesting that I’m killing babies with my IUD. You don’t get to live it up as a young person and then try to take a moral high ground when you get old and aren’t interested in living anymore.

Willis actually makes a good point: People generally become more conservative as they get older. Even most of the older liberals I know are less liberal than when they were young.

Why do people become more conservative when they get older? It probably has a lot to do with getting wiser with age. Willis may call it the “Dead Peter Syndrome” or the “Formerly Hot Syndrome.” Conservatives call it “growing up.”

Willis also unintentionally points out another problem in the thinking of many liberals. She complains that it’s wrong to “live it up” when you’re young and liberal, then try to “take the moral high ground” when you’re old and conservative. She’s basically saying, “It’s not fair that you got away with crap when you were young, and now you won’t let others get away with crap.” For many liberals, life is all about “living it up.” “How much can I get away with, morally? Right and wrong are whatever I want them to be.” For conservatives, it’s a lot more about doing right, because it’s right. As people get older, most come to understand that morals exist for a reason. The “if it feels good, do it” philosophy eventually leaves one empty. Most people start to realize this when they get older, abandon relativistic morality, and grow more conservative, although some people never seem to get it. It isn’t that people who have become more conservative as they have gotten older “aren’t interested in living anymore.” It’s that they realize they weren’t really living a worthwhile life in the first place.

In my own case, the transformation from liberal to conservative happened between the ages of 18 and about 22. The change was triggered by my becoming a born-again Christian as a college freshman. At the age of 18, I voted against Reagan in the 1980 Presidential election, because I thought he was an extremist who was going to start WWIII. By the 1984 election (at age 22), I was a die-hard Reagan supporter. So much for growing conservative at an old age.

13. You don’t want people who disagree with you to vote.

Oh, Gerrymandering, you ugly devil, you. But do we question why this is so common and seldom questioned by people on the right? It’s because you, my conservative voter loved ones, agree with it. You think it’s perfectly acceptable (and necessary) to suppress the vote. It’s for the “good of the nation.”

I once heard someone tell his wife to not inform her Democratic friend how and where to vote. “She’ll cancel out your vote.”

The argument that, “I once heard someone say…,” is just plain lame. I “once heard someone say…,” a lot of stupid things. It’s irrelevant.

Gerrymandering is a two-way street. Liberals don’t mind it when they get to redraw the lines. California District 38, for example, was gerrymandered to create a Hispanic majority.

California_District_38_2004

Conservatives are more commonly accused of voter suppression because most want to require voters to have a valid identification to vote. Voter ID has nothing to do with suppressing legal voting; rather, it is to prevent voter fraud. People already need an ID to drive, get a job, get welfare or food stamps, to buy alcohol or cigarettes, and any number of other things. Since any legal voter can get a valid ID with very little cost or effort, claims of “voter suppression” are nothing more than propaganda.

I would generally support bi-partisan boards setting district boundaries, but all that would do is shift the problem from, “who gets to draw the districts?” to, “who gets to appoint the board?”

14. Some of your best friends are black. Or Mexican.

A conservative I know professes that “my best friend is black” and balked when I called him and his wife racist. Why did I call him racist? Because my little girl — at that time about 12 — went to a movie with one of her African American friends and his mother. The conservative and his wife were “very concerned” about me allowing my little girl to consort with “blacks.” But oh, no, they’re not racist, are they?

I don’t care how many black or Hispanic friends you have. If you think that mentality is OK, then yes, you’re racist.

Another, “I once heard someone say…,” argument. This is known as a hasty generalization fallacy or an anecdotal fallacy. It’s an irrelevant argument.

Willis is correct that racism is wrong. She just has an intolerant, ignorant way of expressing the point. No matter whether the racist is conservative or liberal, black or white, Christian or atheist, or anything else, racism is wrong. I’ve discussed my views on racism elsewhere, so I won’t repeat myself here.

15. You scream about undocumented immigrant children at the border, but you hire Mexicans to do your dirty work.

I live in Texas. Duh! Every single upper-middle-class or wealthy person I know has at one time hired cheap labor to do their menial tasks like home repairs, yard work, housekeeping, and childcare. They actually seek out Hispanic people because they know that they do good work and that they’ll work for cheap.

OK, yes, it’s hypocritical to hire illegal aliens while opposing illegal immigration. Both wealthy liberals and wealthy conservatives do it. What does that have to do with the debate over illegal immigration? This is a typical red-herring argument. It’s nothing but a distraction from the actual issue.

Here is my take on illegal immigration:

We already have laws on the books to allow legal immigration. All immigration must follow existing law. Is this such a difficult concept to grasp?

ImmigrationThe concept of “law-abiding, undocumented immigrant” is an oxymoron and misnomer. Immigrants who have entered the country illegally have already broken the law. They should be arrested and deported to their country of origin, because they broke the law. The matter of children born in the United States to illegal immigrants, or children born elsewhere who have lived and grown up in the U.S. since a young age, is problematic. If the parents hadn’t been permitted to enter the country illegally in the first place, in accordance with law, there wouldn’t be any dilemma.

Anyone who knowingly entered the United States illegally should be deported. Those who came here as children and have been here for the majority of their lives should be given temporary visas, and given the opportunity to follow existing law to become permanent residents and citizens. No person who has entered the country illegally should be eligible for public assistance. All income should be taxed the same as anyone else.

The United States needs to secure its borders. An electric fence with high-tech monitoring would help significantly, as would immediate arrest and deportation. Additionally, arresting and/or fining individuals and companies in accordance with the law who hire illegal workers would eliminate the incentive for illegal immigration.

If liberals feel the current laws are unjust and unfair, they need to work to have the law changed. Simply ignoring the law, then granting amnesty, is immoral and unethical. It’s not actually about children, race, or justice – it’s about growing the Democrat voter base. Hypocrites!

16. You insist on calling undocumented immigrants “illegals” and “aliens.”

They are human beings. They are undocumented immigrants. Many of them are children. It reallyyyyy makes me furious to see you deliberately depersonalizing these human beings who are doing nothing but seeking the American Dream that you are so proud of.

And you do this on purpose. You know what you’re doing. You’re proud of your very unethical and un-Christian attitude towards these human beings.

Let’s look at a few definitions, shall we? (all definitions quoted from dictionary.reference.com)

Illegal [ih-lee-guh l] adjective

  1. forbidden by law or statute.
  2. This is NOT what conservatives mean by "illegal alien."

    This is NOT what conservatives mean by “illegal alien,” despite what some liberals claim.

    contrary to or forbidden by official rules, regulations, etc.

alien [eyl-yuh n, ey-lee-uh n] noun

  1. a resident born in or belonging to another country who has not acquired citizenship by naturalization (distinguished from citizen ).
  2. a foreigner.
  3. a person who has been estranged or excluded.
  4. a creature from outer space; extraterrestrial.

undocumented [uhn-dok-yuh-men-tid] adjective

  1. lacking documentation or authentication.
  2. lacking proper immigration or working papers.

Immigrant [im-i-gruh nt] noun

  1. a person who migrates to another country, usually for permanent residence.
  2. an organism found in a new habitat.

These definitions speak volumes.

Conservatives see illegal aliens – people from a foreign country who have entered our country in violation of the law.

Liberals see undocumented immigrants – new, permanent residents who have simply forgotten to get paperwork.

Again, most conservatives have no problem with legal immigration, nor do we oppose changing laws to allow more people to legally immigrate. What we oppose is ignoring the law. The term “illegal alien” is neither dehumanizing nor unethical, any more than calling a person who steals a “thief” or a person who tells falsehood a “liar.” There’s nothing “un-Christian” about calling someone what they are. Jesus called law-breakers, “hypocrites,” “whitewashed tombs,” and “sons of Hell.” Conservatives call people from a foreign country who have entered our country in violation of the law “illegal aliens.”

Calling them “undocumented immigrants” is to devalue the rule of law and justice, which you claim to be so proud of. And you do this on purpose. You know what you’re doing. You’re proud of your very unethical and disdainful attitude towards the law.

17. You don’t mind using force against “lesser” groups to get what you want.

Case in point, protesting outside of abortion clinics.

Or protesting at the funerals of gay people. And yeah, I know that is Westboro Baptist Church and not you, but if you refuse to speak out against them, then you’re a part of the problem.

Frankly, you don’t seem to mind using force against “lesser” groups to get what you want.

Case in point, going inside of abortion clinics and getting abortions.

Or forcing Christian-owned businesses to bake cakes for gay weddings. Or subpoenaing sermons in Houston to intimidate preachers. Or not permitting children to read Bibles in class during “free reading” time. Or boycotting Chic-fil-A for supporting traditional marriage. And yeah, I know that is someone else and not you, but if you refuse to speak out against them, then you’re a part of the problem. By the way, Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church was a life-long Democrat, and many conservatives have spoken out very strongly against him.

Oppression is always wrong. Disagreement and protesting do not equal oppression, however.

18. You love war, death, and destruction.

And why do you love war, death, and destruction? Because ‘Murica. Because you think this somehow makes us superior. We may be militarily superior, but we are ethically inferior.

Even when confronted with the lies, now confirmed officially, that got us into the Iraq war, you don’t care. You like for America to be the world’s largest terrorist organization and the world’s most formidable bully.

The claim, “You love war, death, and destruction,” is a baseless ad hominem attack. It was pretty much the same accusation as in #8, “You get excited about people dying.” The statement is just as stupid, offensive, and hateful when framed either way.

Conservatives abhor war, death, and destruction as much as liberals do. Unfortunately, many of our enemies do not. Terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and ISIS truly do love killing people – it’s part of their extremist religion. Unfortunately, the only way to keep them from killing us is to kill them first. Diplomacy and compromise won’t work with them any more than it worked with Nazi Germany.

As for the Iraq war, the following Senate Democrats voted for the Iraq War:

Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE)
Breaux (D-LA)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Carnahan (D-MO)
Carper (D-DE)
Cleland (D-GA)
Clinton (D-NY)
Daschle (D-SD)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Edwards (D-NC)
Feinstein (D-CA)

Harkin (D-IA)
Hollings (D-SC)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Miller (D-GA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Schumer (D-NY)
Torricelli (D-NJ)

(Obama had not yet been elected to the Senate).

I suppose that means all of these liberals also “love war, death, and destruction?”   And that they “like for America to be the world’s largest terrorist organization and the world’s most formidable bully?”

Willis makes the statement, “We may be militarily superior, but we are ethically inferior.” Many conservatives, myself included, believe the reason our country has become morally bankrupt is because we have rejected Biblical morality and instead adopted relativistic morality. Whatever people think is right is right, and whatever people think is wrong is wrong. There is no longer any objective basis for morality. If ethics and morality are relative, what basis does Willis have for saying one set of ethics is better than another? It’s just her opinion. What objective basis does she have for saying war, death, and destruction are absolutely wrong, if morality is relative? It is only because God established an absolute basis for ethics and morality that there is any objective basis for saying anything is ethical, other than simply expressing an opinion.

The rest of the comments made by Willis in her argument for this point are nothing more than more ad hominem attacks and drivel, and not worth the bandwidth it would take to refute.

19. Speaking of war, you think draft dodging is OK and military service is for the little people.

Why doesn’t it bother you that Dick Cheney et al are draft dodgers? Or that Mitt Romney has an entire baseball team of sons and not one of them served in the military?

Cheney received a legal deferment when he became a father. Federal law exempted a parent from military service due to “extreme hardship on dependents.”

Romney had very high draft number, meaning that although he was eligible for military service, his number was never called. He also received a legal religious deferment during the time he was doing Mormon missionary work.

Receiving a legal deferment and being a “draft dodger” were two entirely different things. One was legal, and the other was illegal. The draft ended In 1973, and the U.S. went to an all-volunteer military. Romney’s sons were never eligible to be drafted.

I’m not sure what “et al” Willis is referring to. Far more liberals supported draft dodging than conservatives did. Far more conservatives serve in the current all-volunteer military than liberals. Since the draft has been out of use for over 40 years, current support for draft dodging is a rather moot point in 2015. Nobody currently supports draft dodging, since there isn’t a draft.

20. You claim to care about the Constitution, but in reality you don’t.

Oh yes, you scream “CONSTITUTION” at the top of your lungs, but when idiotic Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) recently tried to strip the Constitution of the 5th and 6th Amendments, where were you? Where was your outrage?

You love the parts of the Constitution that please you personally — NOT the entire Constitution.

Yet another, “I once heard someone say…,” argument.

Willis cites one example of one conservative – Ted Cruz – who introduced a bill to revoke the citizenship and passport rights of any United States citizen who commits treason by joining a terrorist organization. You can read the bill here. Willis makes the outlandish claim that Cruz wants to deny Constitutional rights to traitors under the 5th and 6th Amendments. While I would agree that the Expatriate Terrorist Act (Senate Bill 247) needs to be amended to provide due process, to use it to claim that Cruz – and all conservatives – don’t really support the Constitution is ludicrous. To cite one example from one conservative to make a claim about most, if not all, conservatives is just plain stupid.

The Constitution of the United States was established as the foundational law of the land. Conservatives believe it needs to be interpreted as written, and as it was originally intended. Liberals believe it is a “living document” that can be interpreted and reinterpreted to suit their wants and needs. The reason they believe this is because they completely disagree with many of the Constitutions very straight-forward, conservative principles – and want to get rid of them.

Constitution

Items 21-28 of Willis’ list will be addressed in a future blog.

What Do I Actually Believe? Part 1 of 3

A Facebook friend recently posted a link to this article by blogger Tiffany Willis, editor-in-chief of the website liberalamerica.org.

I have seldom seen such a collection of ad hominem attacks and straw-man arguments crammed into a single rant. Misrepresenting the views of others in this manner simply to argue for your own view is fallacious and divisive. It leads to arguments rather than positive dialog. If Americans actually want to get along, we need to understand what others actually believe, rather than caricatures and misrepresentations.

As a libertarian-leaning, evangelical conservative, I’d like to go through each point of this rant to explain how what I actually believe is quite different from the caricature Willis paints of conservative views. While the views I express are mine alone, they are reasonably representative of what most of my conservative friends believe. Not every conservative will agree with every point, however. I hope that this will lead to better understanding of what many conservatives actually believe, and can lead to productive dialog rather than ignorant rants.

Ms. Willis lists 28 reasons why she’s done talking to most of her conservative friends and family members. Her list is more than I care to address in a single chunk, so here are the first 10, along with some of her comments, and my responses:

1. You support revisionist history.

When I was in a high school history class, I’ll never forget one thing our teacher taught us: what you read in history books isn’t always accurate. The example she used was history books in the Soviet Union, now known as Russia. She informed us, to my shock and horror, that the Soviets pretty much included what they liked in the history books and left out everything else. As a result, she said, there were generations of Russian students who were misinformed.

Oh we were dismayed, my classmates and I! Those poor little Russian kids who were being taught false history. But wait….you guys on the right are trying to do the same thing right here in the Good Old U.S.A.

I certainly do not support revisionist history. The evils of slavery, the treatment of Native Americans, and the civil rights movement all should be covered in history classes. However, so should the role of historyChristianity in the formation of the United States and the fact that it was mostly Democrats who supported slavery and opposed civil rights for Blacks. Revisionist history is a two-way street. Considering that the public education system in the United States is primarily run by far-left-leaning organizations such as the NEA would support that history is being revised to support liberal ideology far more than to support conservative ideology. The best way to teach history is to go back to source documents, then present both sides of the issues, rather than simply indoctrinating students with revisionist malarkey.

2. You cite Jesus as your reasoning for rejecting marriage equality.

Yet the Bible only mentions homosexuality six times. Six. Times. 6. This many:

SixFingers

So why is this one of the biggest issues on your agenda? Why are you putting so much energy and hate into an issue that clearly wasn’t one of God’s major concerns?

As Christians who are pro-family, why would you deny people the right to the sanctity of marriage? If marriage strengthens families, why would you not want everyone to have this, even if you disagree with their choice of mate?

YOU (we) have destroyed the sanctity of marriage. There is no possible way that gay marriage can do more harm to marriage than heterosexuals have done. Yet we seldom hear a sermon bemoaning the divorce rate or people living together before marriage. Why is that? Because the pews would be empty.

First, the number of times the Bible mentions something is irrelevant. The Bible’s teaching on the subject is very clear: practicing homosexuality is sin.

Second, the main reason gay marriage is so high on the list of discussion topics for conservative Christians is because it’s so high on the list of discussion topics for others. The issue is being forced on Christians, so Christians are responding.

Third, disagreeing with homosexuality and calling it sin is not “hate.” The term “hate” is so misused today that it has become almost meaningless. Disagreement and opposition do not equal hate. I want people to understand that homosexuality is sin because I want them to turn from sin and be saved. I don’t want people to go to Hell. Wanting people to come to know Jesus is not hate. True, some professing Christians hate gays. However, doing so is completely inconsistent with clear Biblical teaching.

Fourth, it is precisely the sanctity of marriage we are defending. Marriage is between one man and one woman, not because we say it is, but because that’s how God clearly defined it. Biblically speaking, gay marriage doesn’t exist. Calling a gay relationship a marriage doesn’t make it a marriage, any more than calling a cat a dog makes it a dog.

Fifth, I mostly agree with her last point: Divorce and adultery have destroyed the sanctity of marriage. It is precisely because most of the church has compromised on divorce and adultery that homosexuality and other perversions are being accepted by people who profess to be Christian. It is the abandonment of Biblical values that is eroding morality in American culture.

3. You use Biblical scripture to excuse yourself from feeding the hungry.

There is nothing you do that makes me more disgusted with you than your abuse and misuse of 2 Thessalonians 3:10.

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, If any will not work, neither let him eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10

You are deliberately taking the scripture — ONE VERSE! — out of context when you use them to justify your own hatred of poor people. And again, you’re showing your ignorance.

First – there are many passages that talk about working and laziness, not just one. The book of Proverbs is loaded with them. The argument that 2 Thessalonians 3:10 is only referring to Christians who stopped working in anticipation of Christ’s return is not supported by the text. Don’t take my word for it; look it up for yourself in context.

Second – the passages of scripture that discuss helping the poor and disabled are always directed at the church or individuals – NEVER the secular government. Using the Bible out-of-context to try to support government entitlement programs is a misrepresentation of God’s Word. In the United States, Christians have always led the way when it comes to helping the poor. There are numerous Christian-based food pantries, food lines, education centers, hospitals, and support groups for the needy. I’m only aware of a handful from atheists and other religions.

Third, nobody I know, conservative or otherwise, is opposed to helping the truly needy. The issue is identifying who is truly needy, and how to help them. Many liberals seem to think most people are needy, and believe the best way to help them is for the government to give them stuff. Conservative tend to believe that we need to help the most needy – the elderly, the disabled, and orphans, for example. There are others who are physically able to work, but don’t have jobs. The government should support the truly needy, with the assistance of the private sector. The government needs to work with the private sector to grow the economy in order to provide jobs to the able-bodied, not long-term handouts. Give the unemployed temporary assistance until they can get jobs, absolutely! But also, help the private sector – especially small businesses – create well-paying jobs. Private-sector jobs are by far the best way to end poverty!

Last, statistics show that there have always been far more Christian charities helping the hungry than non-Christian charities. Don’t insult me by telling me I don’t care about feeding the hungry. You don’t know what you’re talking about. My Eagle Scout service project was to organize a food drive to restock a small food pantry. My church supports a food pantry around the corner from the church building. When I was unemployed, people from my church brought us food. Claiming that conservative Christians don’t care about the hungry is ignorant.

worldvision

4. You lie when you say you value “freedom of religion.”

I had lunch with some conservatives a while back, and the topic of freedom of religion came up. They expressed concern at the “war on Christianity.” I cited a recent event that had occurred in which protesters interrupted the U.S. Senate’s first Hindu-led prayer. The response from my fellow diners? “Good.” I don’t know how educated people can be so ignorant. Seriously. You can’t even see your own contradictions.

While I would agree that there are some conservatives that only value freedom of religion for Christianity, most of us support freedom for all religions.

firstamendmentPlease don’t misunderstand – I am certainly not arguing that all religions are equally true. Jesus said, ““I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” I believe that the only true religion is a relationship with God through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All other religions, philosophies, and worldviews lead to Hell. What I am saying is that while I believe most religion is in error, I will defend a person’s right to believe what they wish under the Constitution of the United States. Religious freedom is a sort of two-way street. If the government can impede the free exercise of religions I find abhorrent, there is nothing to prevent government from impeding the free exercise of Biblical Christianity. In the United States, if someone wants to be Muslim, or Mormon, or worship a sacred rock, or claim they worship nothing at all, it should be their right to worship, either publicly or privately, as they see fit, as long as those beliefs and practices don’t harm someone else.

And, seriously, I don’t understand how an educated person like Willis can’t see her own contradictions, either.

5. You claim God speaks to you and tells you to do things.

Over and over and over, we see right wing nutjobs in the news saying they’re doing this horrible thing or that horrible thing because God told them to…But conservatives believe these nuts. Here is what I think: not only should sensible conservatives not believe these nuts, you need to start speaking out against them. These are the false prophets that the Bible warns us about, in my humble opinion. Most of you lack the courage to take a stand against these idiots even when you know they’re nuts.

First, religious “nutjobs” are certainly not all conservatives. How many crazies do things to protect their “Mother Earth?” Recently, when Craig Stephen Hicks gunned down 3 Muslims in a dispute over a parking spot, the liberal media was quick to condemn him as a religious conservative nutjob – until it was revealed that he’s actually a liberal militant atheist. Suddenly, the liberal media isn’t talking about the incident at all.

While I do believe God speaks to His followers through the Holy Spirit, Christians are instructed to “test the spirits” to determine if it is actually God speaking, or a demonic voice. The voice of God will never contradict the clear teaching of Scripture.

I agree with Willis on this point: the Bible clearly warns of false prophets. However, Willis seems to have no clue what makes a person a “false prophet.” I believe that anyone teaching anything that contradicts the clear teaching of westborothe Bible is a false prophet. This would include all non-Christian religious teachers, as well as “Christian” teachers that deny any part of the Bible as anything other than the inspired Word of God. I also agree with Willis of this point: “Most of you lack the courage to take a stand against these idiots even when you know they’re nuts.” Far too many people, from all ideologies, refuse to speak out against evil. The liberal media was quick to denounce Hicks for murdering Muslims, until they found out he’s a liberal atheist. Many Christians won’t take a stand against other Christians, and those that do are usually severely criticized for being “divisive.” For example, most conservatives vehemently oppose the likes of Westboro Baptist Church and Pastor Steven Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, AZ. However, many are also slow to publicly condemn them, and when they do, the liberal media tends to ignore it.

Most conservative Christians do not claim they do things because they heard voices telling them to do so. We base our beliefs on the written Bible. It’s the liberals who tend to base their beliefs on whatever passing fancy is in vogue at the time, on the “voices” of popular opinion.

6. You question my faith.

“Christian Left is an oxymoron.”

Oh my, I’ve heard that so much from the right, and believe it or not, I often hear it from my “friends.” First of all, your questioning of my faith genuinely means very little to me. What it does is destroy my opinion of you; I now view you as self-righteous hypocrites… Keep questioning my faith, though, my people, because you can be sure I’m questioning yours. One thing I won’t do, however, is accuse you of not being a believer as you do me. What I will suggest to you is that my faith may be stronger than yours. I’ve educated myself, dared to question all things, and STILL believe. Most of you are too afraid to even learn. It may, after all, test your faith.

Do I question people’s faith? Sure, I do. I know that it doesn’t matter how much faith a person has, if that faith is placed in anything other than Jesus Christ. I know that people will burn in Hell for eternity, unless they place their way_truth_lifefaith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said that no one comes to God except through Him (John 14:6). The Bible says we will know people’s faith by their fruit. If a person truly has a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, their words and actions will begin to mirror the teaching of Scripture. If a person’s words and actions continue to contradict the clear teaching of the Bible, it is completely appropriate to question their salvation.

I find it interesting that Willis denounces people who question her faith as self-righteous hypocrites, yet then states, “Keep questioning my faith, though, my people, because you can be sure I’m questioning yours.” Doesn’t that make her a self-righteous hypocrite as well?

Willis then states that her faith is stronger than a conservative’s faith because she’s educated herself and questioned her beliefs. She claims conservatives are “afraid to even learn.” This is nothing more than a baseless ad hominem attack. I have news for Willis: Conservative evangelical Christians are just as willing to study and learn as she is; we question our beliefs, and grow as we learn. It is because I questioned my beliefs that I became a follower of Jesus Christ in the first place. It is because I studied the Bible that I came to believe it is the inspired Word of God. It is because I continue to examine myself daily that I continue to grow in my relationship with God and in my understanding and beliefs. Those of you who have been following this blog since I began it three years ago have probably noticed changes in the types of things I write about, and subtle shifts in ideology. That’s due to growth.

For Willis to claim that only liberals question themselves, educate themselves, and grow in faith is nonsense. For her to accuse conservatives of hypocrisy for questioning her faith, while she questions the faith of conservatives, is self-righteous hypocrisy. The fact that we find your beliefs to be false doesn’t mean we’re uneducated or afraid to learn. It means we have different beliefs and have come to different conclusions.

So, yes, I question her faith. I question everyone’s faith. Not everyone who claims to be a Christian will enter Heaven. Unfortunately, many will hear Jesus say, “I never knew you.” I even question my own beliefs on a regular basis. I no longer question my belief in Jesus as Savior, because I’ve had it confirmed repeatedly. But, I do question my beliefs on specific issues, and regularly adjust my thinking to conform more closely with Biblical teaching.

7. You care more about your guns than you do about children.

After the Sandy Hook massacre, and following other similar tragedies, I asked many of you if you loved your guns more than you do children. I made the statement of “I’d give up my gun forever if it would bring back even one of those children.” I asked you if you’d do the same. You admitted that you would not.

This is an absolutely ridiculous claim. First of all, it’s an example of the fallacy of the false dilemma. The argument is framed as either A) you love guns, or B) you love children. In reality, this isn’t an either/or issue. Supporting gun rights has nothing to do with loving children. There are some very good arguments that support the position that armed-teachersarming teachers would actually prevent tragedies such as Sandy Hook.

This argument is also little more than an appeal to emotions. Willis gives no facts to support her position; rather, she appeals to the emotions of her readers: “It’s for the children.” How can anyone oppose children?

Lastly, the question, “if giving up guns could bring back even one of the Sandy Hook children, would you do it,” is purely hypothetical. It’s also an example of a complex question fallacy. If the person answers yes, they support gun restrictions. If they answer no, they hate children. In reality, there is no way to bring back a dead child. The question is not based in reality. It’s a carefully constructed fallacious question for which there is no correct answer. It’s a lot like asking, “Do you still hate your mother.” Answer yes, you admit you once hated your mother. Answer no, you admit you still hate your mother. It leaves no room for the fact that you never hated your mother. The question Willis asks leaves no option for the perfectly rational belief that widespread gun ownership actually prevents gun violence. Passing laws making it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to own guns will do nothing to keep criminals from getting guns illegally, since criminals generally don’t follow laws in the first place.

8. You get excited about people dying.

You really, really like to see death. And not just to terrorists. You love the death penalty. You love war. You love seeing kids like Trayvon Martin being shot. They deserve it, you say. But his murderer has shown — again and again — since his acquittal that he is a dangerous person.

Wow. How do I even respond to such a stupid, ignorant, hateful statement?

Willis is incredibly hypocritical for calling conservatives out for supporting the death penalty and war, while she herself supports abortion, which has killed far more people than all of the wars and death penalty executions combined.

Conservatives hate death just as much as liberals do. We hate wars, murder, and abortion. The main difference between liberals and conservatives on the issues of war and the death penalty is that we see them as sometimes being necessary evils. War is, unfortunately, sometimes necessary to stop evil people from doing evil. Imagine what might have happened differently if military action had been taken against Hitler in 1935, when Hitler ignored the Versailles Treaty and ordered Germany to re-arm? Or, if the United States had gotten involved in World War II against Germany in 1939, rather than waiting until after the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor? Would ISIS be a serious threat today in the Middle East and elsewhere if Obama had kept American troops in Iraq instead of pulling them when he did?

The Bible teaches that humans were created in the image of God. All human life is sacred. Death is the penalty for sin, and we all have sinned. We all die. The only questions are when we will die, where we will die, how we will die, and where we go afterward. As a Christian, I oppose abortion, war, and murder. Although I hate war, I understand that it is sometimes necessary in a fallen world. Although I hate death, I see the death penalty as just punishment for committing murder. We don’t like the death penalty, but see it as regrettably necessary for justice.

No, we don’t like seeing kids like Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown being shot. However, we also don’t immediately assume they were the victims because of their ethnicity. We don’t immediately jump to the conclusion the shootings were racially motivated. We wait to see what the facts turn out to be, and if the facts warrant it, fully support the prosecution and conviction of the assailants in a court of law. In the cases of both Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, the conflicting evidence made determining innocence or guilt extremely difficult. I personally believe that both Martin and George Zimmerman made mistakes that led to Martin’s death. I agree with Willis in that Zimmerman has since been shown to be a danger to society, and in retrospect, there is good reason to believe he was probably the aggressor. However, the evidence wasn’t strong enough to warrant a conviction at the time. In the case of Michael Brown and officer Darren Wilson, again, both parties made serious mistakes that led to Brown’s death. Brown was a thug who had just robbed a store and attacked a police officer. Wilson was an incompetent officer who allowed himself to be put in a dangerous situation, and then panicked.

The claim that conservatives “get excited about people dying” is a baseless ad hominem attack. It is a complete misrepresentation of conservative beliefs. It is a hateful smear, and reprehensible.

9. You assume that everyone who needs help are losers and parasites who refuse to work.

Approximately 47 million people receive food stamps, and most of them are children or the elderly, in addition to people who are employed. The numbers, from a 2012 USDA report:

  • 45 percent of SNAP recipients are under 18 years of age

  • Nine percent are age 60 or older

  • More than 40 percent live in households with earnings

Again, this is a baseless ad hominem attack. Willis makes a claim, and offers no evidence whatsoever that it is true. Her entire argument on this point is to quote statistics about food stamp recipients.

As I stated in point #2 above, many needy people are truly needy. Very few conservatives are opposed to helping the disabled, the elderly, or orphans. We also recognize that many able-bodied, hard-working Americans need temporary assistance while looking for work. What we are opposed to is institutionalized long-term handouts to people who can and should be working.

While the statistics Willis quotes are true, they don’t really support her claim that conservatives assume anything.

Food-Stamps-YearlyIn fact, what most conservatives believe is that liberalism is one of the primary causes of poverty in America. An important statistic Willis leaves out of her discussion is the fact that the number of SNAP recipients has nearly doubled under the Obama administration. Conservatives generally do not oppose SNAP or other assistance programs; rather, we oppose the liberal economic policies that have made more widespread assistance a necessity. The decline in unemployment is not due to more people having jobs; it is due to people giving up on finding work. Annual median household income has dropped every year under Obama, according to the US Census Bureau, to a level not seen since 1995, and workforce participation rates have dropped to their lowest levels since the late 1970s. Conservatives, including myself, believe that liberal policies are the reason for these statistics.

Workforce ParticipationI believe that liberal politicians have an economic policy that is designed to deliberately force more middle-class citizens into poverty, while blaming the Republicans. As more people become impoverished, liberals then give them handouts, and take credit for helping the very people their policies hurt in the first place. The end result is more people voting for Democratic candidates, because they have been duped into believing liberal politicians actually care about them. I do NOT believe that everyday liberal citizens believe this is right. I don’t even think they have any idea how liberal economic policies actually work, and if they did, they’d be appalled. And, honestly, I don’t think the Republicans are much better.

I was unemployed for the end of 2012 and most of 2013. Although I was grateful for the government assistance I received during my unemployment, I would much rather have had a job. I blame the Obama administration’s economic policies for making it so difficult to find another job. After 10 months of unemployment, I was forced to take a position in a different industry and occupation than I had previously worked, with a 39% drop in income from my previous job. Again, I blame liberal economic policies for stifling small business growth, which has decreased the number of available jobs, and dropped hourly wages.

Along with most conservatives, I fully support long-term government assistance for the truly needy, as well as temporary assistance for able-bodied workers who can’t find a job. We oppose policies that make it more difficult for small businesses to grow and create more jobs, as well as policies that encourage multi-generational poverty and government dependence for people who can work, but won’t. We do NOT assume all people on assistance are lazy parasites – but, some are, and they need to be encouraged to work their way out of poverty, not given handouts to gain votes.

10. You weren’t concerned about uninsured people– including me.

… I didn’t want a free ride. I was eager to pay for my own insurance. Obamacare opened that door for me and millions of other hard-working Americans and disallows insurance companies from rejecting millions of Americans who were previously rejected. But without even knowing fully what the Affordable Care Act is, you chose the path of ignorance. You didn’t care.

Again, this is a complete misrepresentation of what most conservatives believe. We believe health insurance should be made affordable for all Americans. We also believe Obamacare is an asinine way to accomplish this.

While Obamacare has made health insurance more affordable for the poor and self-employed, costs have skyrocketed for the working middle-class. Mine have gone up significantly. The plan I was on last year was eliminated by my employed, and I was forced onto a plan with much higher deductibles and premiums.

Most conservatives understand that Obamacare has little to do with health insurance, but rather is a scheme to redistribute wealth from the middle and upper classes to the poor.

Two of the main forces driving up medical costs are malpractice insurance and drug costs. Many conservatives, including myself, believe the way to make health care more affordable to everyone, including the poor, would be to limit malpractice lawsuits, and limit patents to drug companies. Obamacare does neither of these, and in fact has driven both costs up even further. Eliminating frivolous malpractice lawsuits and multi-million-dollar payouts would drive down malpractice insurance costs, and limiting drug patents would open drug manufacturing up to competition, driving down costs.

As for opposing Obamacare before we even knew what is was, it was Nancy Pelosi who famously declared, “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.”

It isn’t that conservatives aren’t concerned about the uninsured – we are. We just believe Obamacare is a stupid way of dealing with the issue.

 

Items 11-20 and 21-28 of Willis’ list will be addressed in future blogs.

Keystone XL and the Lakota

Over the last few years, there has been much controversy concerning the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. Although I am generally very supportive of efforts to develop the means to extract and deliver North American petroleum resources, I am greatly dismayed by the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The United States needs to become less dependent on overseas petroleum. Developing the means to safely extract and transport the tar sands reserves would go a long way toward decreasing our overseas energy dependence. However, doing so at the expense indigenous peoples is immoral and unethical.

The proposed route for the Keystone XL pipeline was chosen because it is the cheapest, and avoids most of the more highly populated areas. However, it crosses through lands that were given to the Lakota Sioux by the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie.

Lakota KeystoneThe 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie established the Great Sioux Reservation, which included all of the western half of South Dakota, as well as portions of Nebraska and North Dakota. The federal government never enforced their end of the treaty, and after gold was discovered in the Black Hill in the 1870s, all but abandoned the treaty. In the 1980s, the United States Supreme Court awarded millions of dollars in compensation for violation of the treaty, which the Lakota refused to accept, because by doing so, they would give up their claim to the lands. The Lakota have never agreed to give up any of their land, awarded in the 1868 treaty; the United States Government simply stole it.

The Lakota people have long been the victims of abuse by the United States government. In addition to having their lands stolen, the United States government forcibly removed their children and placed them in boarding schools, where they were forbidden to speak the Lakota language or practice Lakota customs and religion. The Bureau of Indian Affairs has been filled with corruption, leading to extreme poverty on the reservations that still exists today. Men, women, and children were hunted down and massacred by the military. The list goes on and on.

Gathering the dead after the Wounded Knee massacre

Gathering the dead after the Wounded Knee massacre

The forcing of the Keystone XL pipeline onto the lands that should still legally belong to the Lakota, against the wishes of the Lakota, is but another disgraceful chapter of the federal government’s disregard for the rights of the Lakota people. The Lakota have suffered enough at the hands of our government. It is time to right the wrongs of the past, not to inflict additional abuse on the Lakota for the convenience of other Americans and the oil industry. The United States government should be working to find ways to give the land back to the Lakota, rather than further ignoring the rights of the Lakota by building the Keystone XL pipeline across their lands.

Should an additional Keystone pipeline be built? Probably, yes – but not across Lakota land claims. I do not understand why the additional pipeline cannot be routed around Lakota lands, possibly following the same route as the existing pipeline. There is no reason it should cross Lakota tribal lands – except for the fact that the oil companies want to save money, and the federal government doesn’t care about the rights of the Lakota. There are ways to build additional pipeline capacity without desecrating lands that the Lakota consider sacred.

Unfortunately, the United States government cares little about the rights of indigenous peoples, nor about the religious rights of any of its citizens, unless it is convenient to do so.

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