Can Christians Escape the ‘Hate’ Label in Gay Marriage Debate?

Over at The Christian Post, contributor Jeff Shapiro wonders,

Can Christians ever escape being labeled as “hateful” people while standing firmly on the pro-family side of the gay marriage issue?

The answer seems to elude him, but I can spell it out in just a few short words: “Hateful is as hateful does.” If a bunch of secularists got together and passed amendments defining marriage as the union of two non-Christians, would any mealy-mouthed language about “defending secular marriage” succeed in hiding the blatantly anti-Christian sentiment behind such actions? Of course not. Christians can blather all they want about how they’re motivated by “love” for gays, or by “pro-family” sentiments, but even if such motives were sincere, it would not change the fact that their actions are oppressive, and a deliberate violation of human rights.
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Victory for human rights in New York

In a bit of all-too-rare good news, the New York legislature has voted to extend equal protection of human rights to gays too. The governor of New York signed the bill into law late Friday night.

Kudos to Gov. Cuomo and the 33 legislators for having the courage to stand up for human rights in the face of intense bullying and threats from the bigots.

The difference between “world view” and “real world”

Two news stories. The first is from May 6, 2008:

‘Expelled’ Filmmakers Claim ‘Over the Top’ Success

“Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” the pro-intelligent design documentary featuring actor Ben Stein, made history this weekend as it skyrocketed into place as the 13th highest grossing documentary film of all time. Since its release on April 18, the film has earned an astounding $6.6 million while only in its 3rd week in the box office…

Even as the film continues to rake in record profits and defies expectations, however, producers of the film argue that those opposed to the film and its message continue to paint the film as a flop, unfairly comparing its performance to that of the high grossing documentaries by liberal filmmaker Michael Moore.

Source: The Christian Post

Now the second story, from June 21, 2011:

Bidding Begins for Ben Stein’s Intelligent Design Documentary

The rights to Ben Stein’s “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” a documentary that explores the academic discrimination against supporters of intelligent design, will be auctioned off in an online bidding that starts June 21…

Film producer Premise Media Distribution LP filed for a motion to sell the rights of the documentary last month. The motion comes after the company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in December 2009.

Source: The Christian Post

A huge success according to their worldview, a bankrupting flop according to the real world. What more needs to be said?

Defending the Courtiers at Intellectual Conservative

Alan Roebuck, at intellectualconservative.com, has what he hopes is a stinging comeback for PZ Myers’ argument commonly known as “The Courtier’s Reply.”

Atheists have a new tactic to avoid confronting the voluminous evidence for God: When your debate opponent catches you dismissing valid scholarship, cry “Courtier’ Reply!”

Predictably, he does not link to Myers’ original article, but rather presents his own hand-crafted version.

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How far we’ve fallen

For the past several years, we’ve gone without cable TV, both to help the kids focus on their schoolwork and because there’s only a few good channels, like the Learning Channel and the History Channel. But this year we decided to turn it back on again–the kids are older and more responsible, and the local cable access channel has some school activities we wanted to see. And while we’re at it, there were some good shows on the History Channel.

Ugh. Underline the past tense in that last sentence. Last night we were flipping through the channels, and there was a show on the History Channel all about the Rapture. It sounded like a very interesting show. There’s a lot of history behind the idea of the Rapture, starting with the original post-Tribulational Rapture mentioned in Matthew and Thessalonians, on through the early 1800’s and the “visions” of a Pentecostal girl named Margaret McDonald, which then got picked up and popularized by J. N. Darby and the Scofield Reference Bible. And this, in turn, led to a revival of British and American millennialism which played no small role in the establishment of Israel as a Western-backed state in Palestine. Some really cool material that could use some good, solid historical research and presentation.

Boy was I in for a let-down. Read the rest of this entry »

Harold Camping, Unrepentant

So Camping has finally responded publicly to news that the Rapture did not happen last Saturday after all. And he is completely unrepentant, an attitude that shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been following Camping’s history and/or Apocalypsitis in general. You’re supposed to believe what you read in the Bible, right? A good and faithful Christian shouldn’t have to apologize for studying the Scripture and basing his life and teachings on what he finds written there. To admit that the prediction was wrong would be the same as admitting that God Himself was wrong. So he does not do that.

But once again, I think someone ought to speak up in Camping’s defense. There are a lot of very smug Christians right now who are going around telling anyone who will listen that “no one knows the day or the hour” of the End (paraphrasing Matthew 24:36), even though that verse is taken from a passage that exhorts believers to watch for the signs that ought to tell everyone it’s coming. Picking a verse here and there, and ignoring verses that offer (shall we say) “contrasting” instruction, these told-ya-so Christians make pre-emptive excuses for the Rapture’s failure to occur, and treat Camping like a black sheep because he dared to listen to what the less-popular verses were saying as well, and to believe in what they are saying.

Well, bullshit. Just because they know better than to treat the End like something you could “watch and be ready” for (as the Bible commands), that doesn’t mean it’s wrong for Camping to have the courage of his convictions. Besides, it’s silly to say that the statement “no man knows the day or the hour” means “nobody will EVER know the day or the hour.” The only way a prophecy like that could come true is if the End never came (at least while there were still living people to know what time it happened). The Olivet Discourse, in which this line is spoken, was a speech that happened almost 2,000 years ago. Camping is entirely correct to point out that it’s no guarantee God could not reveal more timely warnings to His faithful believers as the day of the End drew near.

So yes, Camping has been behaving foolishly, but his foolishness is primarily that he is so gullible about everything he reads in the Bible. He does not stop to consider that the Bible is a collection of stories and sermons written by men, reviewed by men, selected by men, canonized by men, and interpreted by men, and so everything he believes is actually based on faith in the works and words of men. When you believe what men tell you despite its clear inconsistency with itself and with the real world, what you have is not faith, but mere gullibility. That is why Camping cannot learn from his mistakes, and still believes that the End will occur soon (as in Oct. 21 of this year). And when that date fails, he’ll be flabbergasted once again, but he still won’t learn. Because that would be “unfaithful.”

In defense of Harold Camping

O the perils of apocalyptic prophecies in a social networking age! Dr. Harold Camping, who predicted that the Rapture would snatch away all “true believers” on May 21st, is finding out that it’s not as easy to get away with false prophecies as it used to be. Like in 1994, for instance–the last time Dr. Camping predicted the Second Coming.

It’s easy to kick a man when he’s down, and I imagine few men are as far down as Brother Harold right about now. So I want to take the opposite tack. I want to praise him for what he did right.

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