Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Friday, October 23, 2009

    Global Blasphemy Laws

    One of the interesting things about discussions surrounding blasphemy laws (whether by the UN or others)is they cannot be conducted without coming back to the central question: What is Truth?

    Seems this was the question in Jesus' day, it's the question which comes us today, and it's a question which cannot be avoided.

    ... suppose God intended it to be this way?

    27 comments:

    jazzycat said...

    Liberals are very much engaged in attacking freedom of speech in the name of politically correct agendas. This has been going on now for about forty years through propaganda and indoctrination. It is sad to see so many people who are unable to connect the dots on this danger............

    Skeptimal said...

    Jazz...

    I honestly see no evidence of this. In the past twenty years, we've seen the rise of talk radio and Fox News, as well as the internet, in which any speech is tolerated, even when it is libel and slander. Why do you believe your rights are being limited?

    jazzycat said...

    Skeptimal,
    What is politically correct speech if it is not an assault on the freedom of speech? Pay closer attention.

    Skeptimal said...

    "What is politically correct speech if it is not an assault on the freedom of speech? Pay closer attention"

    Believe me, Jazz. I'm paying attention. Any skeptic living through the Rove-Cheney years has a heightened awareness about threats to freedom.

    "Political correctness" is a nebulous term that is hard to pin down, though. No one owns it or controls it, and it has no legal power.

    What I'm wanting to know is what limitations have been placed on your freedoms to practice your religion or to speak whatever truths you think you see. Maybe there really have been some: I don't know, but I haven't seen any.

    Is it that you think you still have your freedoms, but they've been threatened? If so, by whom and how? I know I'm not always the most polite to you, but these are sincere questions.

    jazzycat said...

    Skeptimal,
    You state political correctness his hard to pin down. Let me give you an example. When the same people [liberals] who protest for a Ward Churchill type to be allowed to preach his anti-American hate unhindered are also the very ones who protest Ann Coulter and throw pies at her to keep her from being allowed to speak, that is an attempt to allow and disallow speech based on a politically correct filter. When universities cancel or do not approve [this is done often] speakers with a conservative view point to speak, then freedom of speech is being denied.

    Again, pay attention, and get over your hate Bush/Cheney syndrome.

    jazzycat said...

    Skeptimal,
    Also, when Christians pastors are invited to pray at a public function and are told not to use the name Jesus in their prayer, that is an assault on freedom of religion

    Pay attention....

    Skeptimal said...

    "when Christians pastors are invited to pray at a public function and are told not to use the name Jesus in their prayer, that is an assault on freedom of religion"

    I guess that depends on the context and by what you mean by "public function." Are the events you're talking about events where you would feel comfortable with a pagan or a Muslim praying specifically to the goddess or to Allah?

    jazzycat said...

    Skeptimal,
    From google searches, there are many examples of the banning of praying in Jesus name. This is a loss of freedom of religion for Christians.

    When I was in high school we had an invocation before the game along with the Star-spangled Banner, but now they have been banned. Local school districts can no longer decide if they want a prayer before the games.

    This is a public function and obviously a loss of freedom and rights by local school districts is it not?

    Your question about the false god Allah does not pertain to your question in your second comment.

    Skeptimal said...

    "Your question about the false god Allah does not pertain to your question in your second comment."

    The fact that you don't consider it relevant is significant. Are you suggesting that school officials should be able to lead students in prayers to Jesus but not to Allah or the goddess? If so, why should Christianity be encouraged in this way by our schools, but not Islam or Wicca?

    jazzycat said...

    Skeptimal,
    Justifying the loss of liberty in any area does not mean the liberty was not lost! You are now doing this by trying to switch the debate to justifying the loss of religious freedom. This means I have proved that religious freedom has been lost.

    Since you did not comment on my Ward Churchill/Ann Coulter comparison on PC speech, I guess the point there was right on as well.

    Justifying a loss of freedom in religious expression and a loss of freedom due to politically correct speech standards is a different debate. The fact is that PC speech has caused a loss of free speech, and religious freedom has been lost at the local level from the federal government.

    I am really not interested in your secular view on how these things are justified since this is off subject.

    Skeptimal said...

    "Justifying the loss of liberty in any area does not mean the liberty was not lost! You are now doing this by trying to switch the debate to justifying the loss of religious freedom."

    No, I really wasn't trying to change the subject. I'm still back at understanding what liberty was lost. Am I wrong in understanding you to believe that Christian administrators should have the right to lead children in prayers to Jesus, but that you would not grant that right to Wiccans or Muslims? If so, I assume you have reasoning for that.

    Believe it or not, I'm not trying to argue with you on this particular column. What I *am* trying to do is see if I can develop a means of expressing your point of view in a way that you would agree with.

    Why do I want to do that? Candidly: because I'm trying to lay aside some of the anger I've had about the behavior of right-wing Christians, and one way of doing that is to exercise the humility to be able to speak the conservative Christian case in a respectful way.

    I don't promise never to get sarcastic and combative again, but I'd really like to try this on this particular issue. I'm not looking to adopt a new religion, and I've got enough of a reading list already. What I want to do is be able to express in a respectful way the reasons that conservative Christians believe they are losing freedoms.

    If that's not a conversation you want to have, or if you think I'm playing games with you or being condescending, I will understand, and I will drop the conversation.

    jazzycat said...

    Skeptimal,
    You ask…..
    I'm still back at understanding what liberty was lost.
    1) example: Pastors have been invited to pray at various functions, but asked not to pray in the name of Jesus.
    2) example: The Gideons have been banned from distribuiting free Bibles in schools.
    3) example: Teacher fired for not removing a Bible from her desk.
    4) example: Ten commandments monument banned from being displayed in Ala. Court building. Note: Many government buildings have Bible verses and inscriptions on them.
    5) example: After decades of having a Christian prayer before high school and college football games, they have been banned. Note: The American culture has long had a tradition of prayer to God. This tradition is under assualt!

    There are of course many more examples including the attempt to remove Christ from Christmas and the use of any Christian symbols at Christmas. However, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and that can never be revised to mean something else.

    You may argue that the loss of liberty is proper and the right thing to do, but how can you argue that you have not noticed any loss of liberty? This is nonsense and the restrictions on Christian expression and practice continues in the courts and in the culture. It is an insult for you to suggest it is not happening. It is an absurd argument to suggest that wiccans and muslims should have the right to overturn a couple of hundred years of American culture because they may be offended. I have a news flash for you. There is a lot of things public schools and the government does that offends me greatly, but since they are politically correct they are protected from being banned.

    jazzycat said...

    Skeptimal,
    You said……. Candidly: because I'm trying to lay aside some of the anger I've had about the behavior of right-wing Christians,

    Are you ever upset over the behavior of left-wing secular humanists or left-wing Christians? Let me assure you when I see left-wingers throw pies at conservative speakers or parade around with lewd, anti-American, anti-capitalism, socialistic signs I am beyond disgusted. I am also disgusted with what you call right-wing Christians who have bad behavior.

    For you to call my conservative values and conservative Christian beliefs right-wing is an insult since the term implies an extreme position. The truth is that my conservative values reflect the values of main-stream America a lot more closely than most of the extremists in left-wing enclaves such as university faculties.

    If you want to have the humility to be able to speak the conservative Christian case in a respectful way, then I would suggest that you find a WWII veteran and ask him about God, country, liberty, and service.

    Skeptimal said...

    "Are you ever upset over the behavior of left-wing secular humanists or left-wing Christians?"

    Yes, I am, and I can give you examples if I need to. Most recently it was "blasphemy day," in which nontheists were encouraged to blaspheme the various religions of the world.

    Regarding the behavior of Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians, you would disagree that I have any reason to be angry, just as I have trouble understanding your anger over (most of) the examples you gave.

    Since you have indicated that you think we *should* allow government-led prayers to Jesus but not the others, can you say why?

    Skeptimal said...

    "For you to call my conservative values and conservative Christian beliefs right-wing is an insult since the term implies an extreme position."

    Fair enough. Is "Evangelical" the term you would use? Since Christians do not agree with each other on a number of issues, what words would you use to distinguish yourself from a liberal Christian?


    "If you want to have the humility to be able to speak the conservative Christian case in a respectful way, then I would suggest that you find a WWII veteran and ask him about God, country, liberty, and service."

    I certainly value the humility and sacrifice of the "Greatest Generation." It is my experience, though, that no generation is monolithic in its views. I doubt there is one viewpoint on religion or politics that would speak for all of the WW II veterans. Many of them were liberal.

    jazzycat said...

    Skeptimal,
    I take it you have conceded that religious freedom has been lost and PC speech has likewise resulted in a loss of freedom of speech.

    You said…. Since you have indicated that you think we *should* allow government-led prayers to Jesus but not the others, can you say why?

    You frame the question incorrectly! I am against government led prayers, but am for organizations such as government supported schools to allow voluntary prayer by whomever the local chooses to ask to pray. I believe Congress and the Supreme Court does this very thing. It used to be done all the time in schools. The constitution forbids the government from establishing a religion, it does not forbid the practice of religion.

    You said…. Is "Evangelical" the term you would use? Since Christians do not agree with each other on a number of issues, what words would you use to distinguish yourself from a liberal Christian?

    Evangelical is a meaningless term to me. Let me first state that everyone who claims to be a Christian may not actually be a Christian. That being said, I would say professing Conservative Christians may disagree over many minor points, but they agree over the inspiration, inerrancy, infallibility, and authority of Scripture in faith and practice. Professing Liberal Christians on the other hand question and deny these points in many passages of Scripture. For example: Barack Obama in reference to his position on homosexuality claimed that a passage by Jesus refuted what he called an “obscure passage in Romans.” This passage is in Chapter 1 of Romans, which is considered by many theologians to be the supreme book on Christian theology in the entire Bible. The passage Obama cited did not refute Paul at all, but when a liberal grasps at straw no one is to question. That would be a liberal viewpoint. Google the Jesus Seminar if you want more on Liberal Christian theology.

    You said…. I doubt there is one viewpoint on religion or politics that would speak for all of the WW II veterans. Many of them were liberal.

    Granted and my objections is not with traditional liberals. My objection is with the left wing radicals that are attempting to bring extreme changes to the American culture on many issues such as redefining marriage, government takeover of health care and private businesses, extreme global warming policy such as cap and tax, immigration policy, tax policy in regard to spreading the wealth around, etc. You may think the Michael Moore Hollywood type of left-wing radical is mainstream in America, but you would be wrong.

    The people who contribute to this blog are much closer to the majority mainstream American view than the radical left that wants homosexual marriage, socialized medicine, etc. It is a huge mistake for you to come here with the presupposition that this blog represents right-wing extremists, and your views are mainstream.

    Skeptimal said...

    Jazz,

    Regarding lost freedoms, I would agree that rights that were afforded exclusively to conservative (?) Christians have been lost. Does that count as a lost liberty? If we gave rights exclusively to one segment of any other demographic but religion, that would be considered unjust.

    You say that locals would choose who prayed in schools. How would that work?

    jazzycat said...

    Skeptimal,
    You said….If we gave rights exclusively to one segment of any other demographic but religion, that would be considered unjust.

    Naturalists are given rights to not only bring their evolution theories into schools, but the right to exclude all other theories. Make no mistake, evolution is a faith-based theory until they can proven how life came from non-life and matter came from non-matter. The charts with monkeys gradually turning into humans are real cute, but a godless evolution must account for the origin of life and more importantly the origin of matter to be considered anything but a faith based theory. Do you have an answer for us? If not, then by your own sense of justice you should be for allowing intelligent design to be taught in schools. Do you?

    Other issues that people hold differing opinions on are also allowed in schools such as homosexual propaganda, political propaganda, animal rights propaganda, environmental propaganda, global warming propaganda, abortion propaganda, etc. Wouldn’t true tolerance for all mean that social and political agendas be banned from schools as well?

    You said…. You say that locals would choose who prayed in schools. How would that work?

    Instead of centralized social engineers with political agendas dictating what local school districts can and can’t do in the arena of religion, local districts that reflect the will of the local people would have the freedom and right to invite local pastors or other people to give a prayer before a given function. If a school district ever became majority muslim, then they could invite a muslim to give a prayer.

    As long as the schools did not force or require any religion on any student they would not be in violation of the constitution.

    Skeptimal said...

    "evolution is a faith-based theory until they can proven how life came from non-life and matter came from non-matter"

    Here is why I disagree. If scientists put confidence in evolution, but there was no evidence for it, then I would agree that it was faith based. You may disagree that the evidence is sufficient, but those who have studied evolutionary theory, geology, and paleontology see a LOT of evidence for evolution. Over and over again, evolutionary theory has made accurate predictions about evidence that surfaced later.

    There will always be unanswered questions. One difference between science and faith is how they view those unknowns. Science sees the unknown as a fascinating realm to be explored through theory, testing, and evidence. Faith very often views the unknown as evidence of a higher power. You say that until every question is answered, science should yield to faith, but faith doesn't usually try to answer any of these questions: it just accepts the unknown as part of the divine mystery and is grateful to know the divine person.

    swordbearer said...

    Skeptimal: "...One difference between science and faith is how they view those unknowns. Science sees the unknown as a fascinating realm to be explored through theory, testing, and evidence. Faith very often views the unknown as evidence of a higher power. ... but faith doesn't usually try to answer any of these questions: it just accepts the unknown as part of the divine mystery and is grateful to know the divine person."

    Response: Not the case. In fact, faith's response is that because God has done these things, they merit our study and investigation.

    One could just as easily argue that unbelievers are content to say "a purposeless unknown force has done this" (... except that their opposition to God, their stilted view of man, and their quest for wisdom drives them.)

    Keep in mind there were others who laid out (and even practiced) principles of selection and breeding before Darwin... including Jacob.

    swordbearer said...

    Skeptimal: You may disagree that the evidence is sufficient, but those who have studied evolutionary theory, geology, and paleontology see a LOT of evidence for evolution.

    Response: Natural selection is seen on the level of speciation, yes; but NOT when it comes to transitions among phyla. Organisms change over time, but do not convert to new forms.

    Skeptimal said...

    "One could just as easily argue that unbelievers are content to say "a purposeless unknown force has done this""

    I don't think I've heard a non-theist put it quite that way. I see what you're getting at, but there's a difference between accepting that we don't know something yet, and being content to never know.

    I also think you're overlooking that there is no "scientist of the gaps." You won't find a scientist saying that any theory *must* be true unless you disprove it. Christianity, however, says that if there are unanswered questions in evolution, not only is evolution untrue, but the only alternative explanation is a god.
    Irreducible complexity is just such an argument.


    "their (non Christians') opposition to God, their stilted view of man, and their quest for wisdom drives them"

    You've made an interesting combination of accusations here. "Quest for wisdom?" Was that a typo?

    swordbearer said...

    "...there's a difference between accepting that we don't know something yet, and being content to never know."

    Response: You non-theists worship what you don't know; we worship what we do know, for life and salvation have come through Christ.

    Response: There's also a difference between -

    a. Equivocating by saying "Evolution is a Fact" as to mean not only that organisms change over time but to suggest it has been proven that "the panoply of life has evolved through purposeless naturalistic processes" (this pointed out by William Dembski, http://www.origins.org/articles/dembski_theologn.html)

    b. Suggesting that theists are "content to never know" and that theists "are motivated to investigate and learn from the same evidence but do so with different presuppositions and goals"
    ====

    "Christianity, however, says that if there are unanswered questions in evolution, not only is evolution untrue, but the only alternative explanation is a god.
    Irreducible complexity is just such an argument."

    Response: You confuse "unanswered" questions with places where evidence gives understanding which not only raises serious questions for one side of the argument but provides a measure of substantive argument for the other. And while we could debate Pachal's wager, the argument doesn't simply come down to that, but when combined with other related issues (i.e., design, intelligence, etc.) raises serious questions as to whether methodological naturalism / materialism is the only way to approach science (the only presuppositions which may be allowed) and especially to provide explanations for its findings. (Note - this goes beyond simple discussion of whether one looks to evidence in the natural realm when conducting science.)

    =====

    "You've made an interesting combination of accusations here. "Quest for wisdom?" Was that a typo?"

    Response: No, I distinguish between true wisdom and the "wisdom" man often seeks, which he often uses not only to (falsely) assure himself that he is master of creation but also to draw praise from others along the same lines or simply for being "wise" himelf.

    swordbearer said...

    Skeptimal: "...there's a difference between accepting that we don't know something yet, and being content to never know.

    Response: Note that depending on the equivocation noted earlier, many non-theists are the very ones going beyond "accepting that we don't know something yet" when THEY are the ones not only deceiving people and making public their claims that "Evolution is a Fact" but also making claims that the theist who oppose that claim are nothing more than ignorant and to be cast aside as ridiculous.

    jazzycat said...

    Skeptimal,
    You seem to be confused about the meaning of my last comment. The following is what I said in my last comment:
    ”Make no mistake, evolution is a faith-based theory until they can proven how life came from non-life and matter came from non-matter. The charts with monkeys gradually turning into humans are real cute, but a godless evolution must account for the origin of life and more importantly the origin of matter to be considered anything but a faith based theory.”

    I thought this was a clear statement, but apparently it wasn’t clear to you. So let me state it even more clearly. The key words in my point here are “godless evolution”. The point being as follows: Once someone asserts a godless evolution they must either prove life coming from non-life and matter coming from nothing without an outside cause or either accept it on faith. Since they don’t prove either of these propositions, they are accepting them on faith. Therefore, godless evolution is built on a foundation of faith, not science, and it is absurd for them to then criticize creation because it is based on faith. They are at best in the same boat.

    Thanks to Swordbearer for going into the particulars of evolutionary theory.

    Portland Maine Skepticism Examiner said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    jazzycat said...

    I received your deleted comment and it was interesting, but it was not valid and that is probably why you deleted it. The origin of matter must be accounted for and the bottom line is that until atheistic evolutionists prove how matter came from nothing, they must take it on faith that somehow it happened. Therefore, their whole system is based on faith that a universe could have evolved from nothing. The two views are not faith and science, they are faith and faith.