Wednesday, December 30, 2009

believe the lie?

First, imagine a conversation that goes something like these...

A husband to his wife: "Honey, I know that when we were married, you made vows to me, saying you'll remain faithful to me, and I do appreciate that you said those things. But I've come to think that, really, my faith in you would be much more robust and stronger if I think that you didn't really mean those vows. In fact, if I were to come home tonight, and find you in bed with another man (or woman, as I am a postmodern open-minded man), my faith in you would not be shaken one bit. You see, if I really believed you meant your words of binding faithfulness, any slip on your part would be devastating to me, and would make me lose my faith in you. But if I doubt what words, no matter how well intended they may have been, you're slip would not bother me at all, and would in fact merely confirm that my faith is really in you and not in what you say."

Once you've recovered from that feeling of surrealism, consider these real words from comments written by someone in a debate on another blog in which I have participate lately.

I once held the same opinions you and your friends here are putting forth. I no longer do and I am the better for it. I can honestly say that if the Virgin Birth were proven in some way to be false my faith would not falter in the least. That is Bells (and Tony’s) point. But perhaps that is too “meaty” for some.

No one is denying anything. Rather, I would argue that the faith of these pastors you guys are in a huff about is deeper and stronger than the faith of those who fear their entire lives would crumble if the Virgin Birth turned out to be a myth.

It's sometimes instructive to put ideas into another into another situation, because often it will show more plainly how shallow and false the ideas are. Would we really consider a man who doubts his wife's vow of marital fidelity to really love her? Would it not rather show how shallow his love really is? Should she find his words impressive, or insulting?

So, too, should we be impressed by how much "deeper and stronger" it is to doubt the virgin birth of Christ? Should it be considered "meaty" to say that if this account should be proven false, then one's faith would still stand? What does it say about that faith, if it's foundation is proven to be lies?

It was Paul who said that if Christ was not raised from the dead, then our faith is vain, and why should be believe. No doubt, the person I've quoted above would think that approach of Paul's not meaty enough.

Monday, December 21, 2009

God does not play favorites

In any work, there are times when some things done in it are of greater importance than most others. One of the more important entries here at Emergent Pillage was the one against what is today called social justice, and why I do not believe in that concept. This one likely ranks up there with that one, at least in my mind, because it deals with one of the more important aspects of this thing called social justice.

It has to do with the idea with emergents and progressives likely picked up from liberation theology, which as well likely came from Marxism, that God favors the poor. On this rests their attempts to make socialistic economic politicies and wealth redistribution into necessary aspects of their attempts to impliment social justice.

To say that, in any aspect of justice, God favors any social or economic class or another, is to go against what God Himself told the people to do. Consider these passages.

Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.
Leviticus 19:17

Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike...
Deuteronomy 1:17

These are the sayings of the wise: To show partiality in judging is not good:
Proverbs 24:23

So, I will contend here, that to say that "God favors the poor" is to say that God practices injustice. God Himself has said that justice should be given to both rich and poor without partiality, and to show partiality would be to pervert justice.

And, of course, we can see that is true, at least in part. We know that it is wrong to favor the rich in our judgments, simply because they are rich. We know that it is wrong for a judge or political ruler to take a bribe so that their decisions will favor the wealthy. I don't think many people will argue against those things.

But in order to understand things the Bible says about defending the rights of the poor (Prov. 31:9) and caring about justice for the poor (Prov. 29:7), it needs to be understood that justice for the poor does not mean injustice for the rich, and defending the rights of the poor does not mean taking away the rights of the rich.

In other words, social justice is actually injustice, which is why the concept of social justice needs to be abandoned in order for real justice can be given to all of any economic class. And it's why social justice and socialistic economic policies can only administrated through immoral and unethical political means or violence.

Consider the names of these countries or former countries--Russia and the entire USSR, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Cuba. All of these have had communism and socialism "thrust upon them", so to speak. And all the attempts were failures, filled with bad economic thinking, political oppression, suppression of the people's rights and freedoms, and lots of deaths.

And perhaps most of all, considering the topic, poverty. The poor were certainly NOT helped in those countries; if anything, their situation was worsened. China, the closest to a success on a that list, only achieved it's success when it loosened its socialistic stance to allow some free market into the economy.

The rhetoric of "God favors the poor" is simply the tired rhetoric of class warfare with a dash of theological flavoring.

It is not hard to imagine some trying to interpret me as saying things that I am not here saying. They may try to say that I am against charitable giving, which I am not. They may try to say that I am saying that God does not care about the situation of the poor, which I am not.

What I am saying is this--social justice will not help the poor. Practicing injustice against the rich does not equate into justice for the poor. Social justice, which by definition plays favorites, is not true justice. History shows that the poor are not helped by socialistic and redistributive policies.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

the move to make truth into myth

I count Chesterton as one of my teachers, though he died long before I was born, and I have doubts about Catholicism as he had about Protestantism. Plus, I'm not as negative about capitalism as he was. Still, in reading him, I'm struck very often with how he wrote about things that we seem to be dealing with now. The forms may be a bit different, and certainly they call themselves by different names now as then, but there does seem to be some very strong similarities.

Among emergents, and more so among progressives, there is the idea of viewing parts, often huge portions, of the Bible as myth. The Creation account in Genesis is a favorite, as they have sold their minds to the fiction that their uncle was a monkey. Progressives have pretty much sold into a brand of materialism that makes all the miracles in the Bible mythic, and even say that the real historic Jesus is almost completely different than anything in the Bible, though their proofs for that idea seem almost nonexistent, more speculation than real.

I have seen them write such ideas as that the reality of whether Jesus walked on water or His resurrection is not as important as whatever lessons may be learned from the story. Let me give this from Chesterton to show why I think this is wrong.

Paganism lived upon poetry; that poetry already considered under the name of mythology. But everywhere, and especially in Italy, it had been a mythology and poetry rooted in the countryside; and that rustic religion had been largely responsibile for the rustic happiness. Only as the whole society grew in age and experience, there began to appear the weakness in all mythology already noted in the chapter under that name. This religion was not quite a religion. In other words, this religion was not quite a reality.
The Everlasting Man, p. 158

This is one of the dangers of this attempt to turn truth in myth--the truth becomes less real. It becomes easier to pick-and-choose what one wants to believe, and doesn't want to believe. So, when the Gospels become mere myths made up by the early church, it becomes easy for people like the Jesus Seminar to say that the Gospels contain only a very few things that Jesus really said.

But it is more than that. Again, from Chesterton.

I do not believe the mythology must begin with eroticism. But I do believe that mythology must end in it. I am quite certain the mythology did end in it. Moreover, not only did the poetry grow more immoral, but the immorality grew more indefensible. Greek vices, oriental vices, hints of the old horrors of the Semitic demons, began to fill the fancies of decaying Rome, swarming like flies on a dungheap...There comes a time in the routine of an ordered civilization when man is tired of playing at mythology and pretending that a tree is a maiden or that the moon made love to a man. The effect of this staleness is the same everywhere; it is seen in all drug-taking and dram-drinking and every form of the tendency to increase the dose. Men seek stranger sins or more startling obscenities as stimulants to their jaded sense. They seek after mad oriental religions for the same reason. They try to stab their nerves to life, if it were with the knives of the prients of Baal. They are walking in their sleep and try to wake themselves up with nightmares.
p. 159

In this day when things seem to be completed almost before they are started, we may well say that this process is already well into its happening almost before people have seen it coming. Rather, perhaps it could be asked of today which came first, the love of eroticism or the need to mythologize. At any rate, the view of Bible as myth, of the so-called and unproven historical Jesus, is enlisted by the ranks of those who are obsessed with eroticism, among other vices.