On several occasions now, I have sparred with David Tee of Theology Archaeology. This occasion concerns an attack on science – and this is not the first time we have crossed swords on this issue. David has made several statements concerning his disdain for ‘secular science’, and it should come as no surprise that he doesn’t like the Theory of Evolution, nor the scientific methods that support it.

Here he is, responding to a post over on Age of Rocks – his posts will be in pink.

is a blatant and gross distortion of creationists’ views concerning our origins.  The author of that piece assumes far too much. For example he assumes that secular science has been charged with the duty of discovering our origins. It has not. He assumes that secular science has found and maintains the truth about our origins. It has not.He assumes that secular science is infallible when it comes to the information it uncovers. It isn’t.

He assumes that secular science or any science knows more than God does. It doesn’t. He assumes that evil plays no role in the work of secular scientists work, thinking and presentations, as well as those scientists who call themselves Christian. He would be in error. He assumes that secular science is an authority and has the final say on all matters of life. Again he errs.

Secular science is the blind leading the blind and that is the best thing we can say about that field of research. We include all those scientists,like Francis Collins, who claim to be Christian yet contradict God and his word by including evolutionary ideas and models in with God’s creative act.Those people are very misguided and deceived.

Previously David has got into great detail on the evils of science, whilst reaping the benefits of it – for example, he denounces pollution, but he is using a computer and the internet, powered by electricity, to make his posts. If science is so evil, why is he taking advantage of it? The truth is, science is neutral – the application of it can be good or bad. In this instance, no one is assuming science is infallible – but the evidence for our origins isn’t some evil conspiracy, but rather, the result of studying what the evidence is. To date, the Theory of Evolution has not been falsified, despite it being considered a falsifiable theory (namely, that for the theory to stand, it must stand complete, and is potentially vulnerable, yet it has passed every test). Why should we ignore the evidence in front of us, in favour of one interpretation of one religious document?

Nor of course, does science claim to have the final say on all matters of life. David is unfortunately rather fond of this particular Strawman.

The other important aspect that author assumes is that only those who do secular science can do rational and logical thought or are the only people who know anything. I am sure he is one of the group of anti-creationists who will say creationists lie when they disagree with the claims of secular scientists but they have to prove an actual lie has been told willingly.  Disagreeing with the results of secular science is not lying nor is honestly producing information one believes to be the truth. Sometimes people repeat information that they think is the truth because they were taught that information was true. That is not lying.

Anyone can do rational and logical thought. It’s through logic that we arrive at certain conclusions – factual observations about our world and the universe. It’s logical that we test theories and examine evidence. You don’t need to be a scientist to do this. You can in fact be very religious and still do these things.

However, creationists do manipulate evidence. Whether they do so intentionally or not depends on the individual, but it certainly happens. When there is so much evidence, readily available thanks to the internet, and creationists continue to repeat dismantled arguments – at that point, it can be reasonably assumed they are lying.

Then that author thinks that one has to be a scientist to rebut anything secular science declares.That s far from the truth for even an office assistant can know the truth because they listen to the God who did the actual creating over the fallible human who was not even an adviser to the creator of the universe, life and its development. The secular scientist is the one who does not know anything about our origins not the lowly uneducated believer of the Most High God.

In fact, it is smarter to be the latter than the former. It is rational and logical to be a believer in the one who did the actual creating than follow the one who rejects  him and his revelation.Making fun of those who believe God and the Bible is also not an intelligent, rational or logical move. That behavior only exposes the ignorance of the one who rejects God and his word. Science, any variety, is a lowly creation and not greater than the one who created it. Science was created by God so we would understand him more and learn about him. It was not created to usurp authority nor declare that God was or is wrong. Nor was it created to be  the authority or final word on all aspects of life.

Scientists tend to have studied long and hard in order to become scientists in their chosen fields. They have devoted their lives to learning, as the process of study continues long after they have completed their education. It’s the height of arrogance to assume these people know nothing, because they don’t follow one rigid interpretation of one religion.

Sadly, too many people,including those who claim to be Christian, have thrown God out of his own creation and try to do science on their own. All they have done is open the door to evil and let it destroy any truth science could uncover. You cannot throw the God of truth out and expect to come to the truth when you are influenced and led by the father of lies.

Secular science and scientists need to humble themselves and recognize that they are not the supreme being and acknowledge God as above them. Then they need to repent of their sins and get right with God so that science can be used correctly, leading people to the truth and to a greater understanding of God. Currently, science is being used to lead people to lies, to say God did things he did not say he did, and to distort the evidence we have to fit their humanistic views. Science is being misused and abused by those who reject God and that is wrong.

Scientists usually are humble. They don’t proclaim to know and understand everything. They don’t claim God doesn’t exist or that God didn’t create the universe. Who knows what the truth is? Maybe God created the universe billions of years ago? However, that’s an article of faith. If you have that faith, more power to you. Science is following where the evidence leads – if God put that evidence there, and yet it’s supposed to be misleading and we’re supposed to view the Bible as a literal document, why did God put deliberately put evidence in place to suggest otherwise?

The church is not against science especially when science gets things correct– like orbits and other factual members of the universe.It is against the lies of that secular science produces. Lies like Darwin’s theory of evolution, natural selection and other human alternatives to the truth of Genesis 1 and 2. Science does not belong in the affairs of our origins for that is not a mystery. We know where we came from, how it all came about and we do not need secular science meddling in what we already know to be the truth.

Secular science and its human alternatives bring confusion and confusion, as the Bible tells us, is not of God. This fact tells the believer to reject what unbelieving scientists say because they are disagreeing with God and the Bible. Anything that disagrees with God and the Bible are the ones in error. God does not lie and he does not make mistakes so we take God’s word over the word over those who ‘do science’. That is the right and Christian thing to do.

Why does the Bible take supremacy over other religious documents that also proclaim the truth about our origins? What makes the Bible flawless and such a good self-referencing document over the Qur’an for example? Or anything else for that matter? It seems to me that the only neutral, fair way to determine our origins is to turn to science.

 

Over on Big Footy, I am following and participating in a thread that highlights the extent to which people are prepared to believe wild conspiracy theories. Namely that the world is flat. This would be amusing if it were not a tragic indictment of how damaging pseudo-science is.

The thread is indicative of the same problem that motivates anti-vaxxers – people will believe stuff that sounds vaguely scientific, but will ignore stuff that actually is scientific, because it’s hard. Let’s take a more detailed look at the flat-earth nonsense, and let’s consider a force called gravity.

Gravity is the theory that objects exert a pull on each other. Over time, two rocks in space will be attracted to one another, and will collide. This new object has more mass, and therefore its pull grows stronger. The object grows, gains more mass, its gravitational pull gets stronger, and so on. Gravity works to continue to squeeze the object until it becomes spherical in shape. Through this process, stars and planets form (in fact, gravity is crucial to the formation of stars, as it compresses mass at the star’s centre to the point where fusion begins).

Gravity underpins the orbits of planets around stars and moons around planets. Without it, we would fly off the earth and the stars and planets would come apart.

This is a theory, detractors say, it is not a fact. It is a theory that can be tested – throw a ball into the air, and it comes back down to the ground. The best explanation for this? Gravity.

Lets take this to the extreme. There is evidence for the existence of black holes, including supermassive ones, including one at the heart of the Milky Way. Black holes are the end result of the relationship between mass, density and gravity. They are gravity gone wild. Our best explanations for their formation are due to gravity crushing matter to a single point, where nothing can escape its grip, even light itself.

Without gravity, how do planets form? How are stars powered?

Reasons for Denial

Why would it be necessary to conceal a flat earth from the public? To what end would such a conspiracy exist? I have read of the idea that a giant ice wall exists at the edges of the world, guarded by NASA (right, because NASA is a military organisation, oh wait…). I have read of plane pilots swearing to secrecy. I have read of many ways and means of hiding the ‘truth’ from the public. I have not read of a single explanation as to why. These undertakings would be monstrously expensive, and they would be on-going expenses, and all for what? There isn’t a satisfactory explanation for why this conspiracy exists.

The bottom line here? People speak of not accepting what the ‘establishment’ tells us, but sometimes the most straightforward answer is the correct one. Conspiracies for the sake of conspiracies are utter nonsense, and this is what the Flat Earth Theory is.

Religious Mentality

One of the great ironies of this thread is that the scientific method has come under attack as a ‘religious’ approach. Take for example this post by ‘darthbards’:

I think what we are dealing with here is pure ignorance and the round ball brigade unable to accept they’ve been barking up the wrong tree with this round nonsense.
They seem to have no understanding whatsoever regarding FE theory despite having it explained to them numerous times,often even repeating questions already answered.
Falling over the edge,lol,it’s near impossible,using their terrible human sight as proof,ignoring the lack of human perception. Some even explaining general relativity which has nothing to do with FE theory,while having no grasp of special relativity at all. I very much doubt they have ever studied FE theory themselves, and as we all know,it isn’t taught in school,so they need to do their own research. I very much doubt they have,or taken it beyond their own biased opinions. We have even had an alleged ‘teacher’ admit he forces his own views on our poor children, even admitting he tells them other extremely popular views like religion are myths,again forcing personal views on others. No wonder so many have such a closed mind and viewpoint. What a disgrace.

We are yet to be provided with any proof of gravity,big bangs,dark matter or dark energy. We are yet to see any unedited pictures of this fantastic round wonderment,yet have seen numerous edited versions.

Instead of complaining so much about what isn’t all the time,some need to hit the books,learn more beyond what we think we know. It might be scary that we have no idea what’s going on,but it sure beats the anger that develops through ignorance and brainwashing.

We live in an extremely corrupt world,we need to be careful what we are told to believe. Still not sure what theory is 100% correct,but I’d bet my bottom dollar it sure to hell isnt a big ball spinning round and round,hurtling through space.

Classic ‘let’s attack science’ mentality. Much of science is theory, but it’s theory that fits the facts, based on our observations and experiments. Gravity is the best explanation for the formation of stars and planets. It’s the best explanation for black holes. We have observed moons orbiting other planets and have been doing so for hundreds of years.

Gravity is critical to the formation of stars (as mentioned earlier) and it helps to drive processes that create the elements that make up, among other things, the building blocks of life. We know through spectral analysis what the composition of stars is, and we can infer from this the process that forms the elements within them. The gravity/density/pressure process is the best one we have for explaining supernovae and the spreading of advanced elements across the galaxy.

Religion under Attack?

Another user, ‘BrewSmackerVeiny’, made reference to posts buried within the nearly 90 pages of conversation as to why flat earth conspiracies exist – to deny the existence of God and to create an immoral society. Please note, I am not saying BSV supports this argument:

It’s been covered multiple times earlier in the thread, I realize it’s a long thread with a lot of long videos so It’s not unreasonable to not have found the answer on an older page, I’ll try and summarise what I have gleaned –
The general consensus for the reason would seem to be in order to make it appear as if there is no god, and by extension, no greater purpose for life, thus making people more interested in ‘living for the now'(An ideal consumer), and having no ‘post life consequences’ for actions they may consider otherwise immoral. If the Earth was flat and existed the way the FE theory claims then it would be abundantly clear that it had to have been created, thus people would be more inclined to seek out divine answers and higher meaning, and less inclined to focus on materialism and less willing to act immorally.
There may have been other reasons posited but this seems to be the main one.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to me. Historically people who challenged established religious doctrine have come under fire. Galileo is but one example of the clash between religion and science, and so the arguments being made by darthbards and another user (who goes by the name ‘cannot’) are merely updated, pseudo-scientific versions of old arguments aimed at weakening science. ‘Think for yourself and don’t be brainwashed’ is their cry – yet their theories and pseudo-science can’t survive any meaningful scrutiny.

They are guilty of the Alternative Syllogism Fallacy – Theory A or Theory B – if not A, then B must win by default. It hardly matters to them if B is actually worse for explaining facts than A – if A is not perfect, we are, for some inexplicable reason, to proceed with B.

This sort of attitude is ultimately harmful to scientific progress. It is the sort of mentality that gives rise to anti-vaxxers and young earth creationists. It’s bad for our understanding of the world around us, and should always be opposed.

Back to What I Think

Let’s preface this post by saying that it might be a good idea to read this article from Rae of Bookmark Chronicles, and this one from Violet Wisp.

Both articles offer an important perspective on the divisive issue of abortion – namely, they offer a female perspective. I have pointed these articles out to those in discussion on this issue over at Blogging Theology, where I have had discussions in the past on this very issue. My comments are in blue, and where I quote from Rae’s article, it is in purple. The first part actually concerns a brief remark about discrimination practices, before moving on to the abortion issue.

As I have said before (in comments here, elsewhere and on my own site), a business is a public institution and as such, has agreed to abide by anti-discrimination laws. At what point is the line drawn Ken? Should a Christian business be allowed to refuse service to a Muslim, or vice-versa? Can a business started up a white supremacist be permitted to refuse service to people of colour?

The bottom line is, if you are prepared to start up a business that expects to deal with the public, you cannot pick and choose on religious lines, or sexual orientation, or skin colour, sex, or faith. Not unless you want to open the floodgates to arbitary discrimination.

On the abortion issue, I would urge you to consider these words, from a woman (you know, women, who are affected far more than men on this issue, yet were curiously absent from representation when Trump was signing his order):

As for abortion, like I said I am pro-choice. Meaning that I think women should be able to choose not to have a baby if they are not ready to. I don’t think it’s fair to be forced to have a baby just because someone else thinks you should.

Some people think that others just aren’t careful and decide, “I don’t want kids but I’m just going to have a lot of unprotected sex and then get an abortion.” I have a feeling that those thoughts don’t run through a lot of people’s minds. Not like that.

Then there’s the “well then you shouldn’t have had sex” argument. This needs to stop.

Firstly, it’s usually directed at women when we all know it takes two to make a baby.

Second, no birth control is 100% foolproof and I think that’s forgotten a lot of the time.

It is possible to be on the pill, use a condom, take the day after pill and still get pregnant. What’s the argument then if everything was done “the way it should be done?”

What about the person whose life is hectic and forgets to take their pill just that one time? Shit happens. Sometimes life gets in the way. No one is perfect.

What about rape victims?

What about people (like me) who are chronically ill and can’t carry full term anyway?

What about people who are disabled and/or physically incapable of enduring the stress that pregnancy puts on the body.

What about the people who are incredibly careful but also don’t want children?

What about the people who just know that they are not financially capable of giving a baby it’s best life.

Yes, adoption is an option but look at all of the things that I just listed. On top of that child birth is painful. It’s really not something that one should have to do if they don’t want to.

Did you know that you can’t even get your tubes tied without being harassed by doctors? Some women don’t want children, it shouldn’t have to be up for debate, it should be accepted. It’s also common after the first child that the woman decides she doesn’t want any more. Some doctors refuse to do it. They say that they should wait until the second child. Or they think that the patient will change their mind. If you’re single, they’ll ask well what your future husband wants children? They won’t let you make a choice about your own body because of someone who possibly hasn’t even come into your life yet. Or might not come into your life at all. I mean, really how fucked up is that? They completely ignore the fact that the choice is not theirs, but they clearly don’t think it should be yours either.

My cousin recently had a baby and then got her tubes tied. Her doctor said, “oh, I was sure that you would change your mind” her response was, “Why, I told you that I wouldn’t.” So the question is why? Why do men and doctors think that they should choose whether or not we have children. It’s not their decision. It’s not their body. A woman in the U.S. had to go to the Supreme Court just to get her tubes tied. That’s absolutely ridiculous. Things like that should not happen.

From the comments (posted by a woman called Quinn, and highlighted in green):

If you google Savita Halappanavar you’ll see that she was a 31 year old woman who died in Ireland about four years ago. She had a septic miscarriage, where the foetus was still technically alive but was going to definitely die. It was infecting her, and killing her. She asked for them to abort the foetus and save her life and they wouldn’t, because laws hadn’t been put in place to allow that to happen. The doctors’ hands were tied; they couldn’t remove the foetus until its heart had stopped beating, and they couldn’t force the heart to stop beating. Eventually she delivered a stillborn girl, but it was too late, and Savita died four days later. For what?

Twenty years ago, a 15 year old schoolgirl went to a grotto behind the church (you know, those stony areas with the statues of Mary in an alcove) after school, and tried to deliver the baby she’d been secretly pregnant with. She was completely alone, with a pair of scissors in her backpack to cut the umbilical cord. She bled out and the baby died of hypothermia. For what?

This is what you end up with when you have pro-life legislation. These situations are what happen when shame and blame and backwards laws (that completely hamstring doctors and make them unable to save their patient) are in effect. Sorry, this was less of a comment and more of a blog post all of its own, but there’s a huge push now in Ireland to try to repeal the 8th Amendment and it’s been a long time coming.

It’s easy to say that these cases are the exception. Of course they’re the exception. But as the saying goes, “Today you, tomorrow me.” One day the exception could be one of your loved ones. Someone you know. People who wave their hand in dismissal and say “that almost never happens” are conveniently ignoring the fact that it still happens. It could happen to you. Or me. Or your sister. Or your neighbour. Or your best friend.

The fact that Savita was an unlucky exception doesn’t make it any easier to bear for her husband, or her parents, or her friends. It doesn’t make it any better for Savita. These kinds of completely preventable deaths should never, ever happen in a first world country. Nobody should be using clothes hangers, or trying to overdose on vitamin c, or taking mystery pills they bought online, or dying in hospitals pleading for their lives to be saved, or delivering babies in grottos alone in their school uniforms. Nobody should be forced into a corner like that because of their gender, when there is a possible alternative. I could go on and on about this (and I have! Sorry!) but I’ll leave it there.

So the strigent anti-abortion laws in Ireland effectively permitted the deaths of women – I fail to see how that is pro-life, when such measures lead to preventable deaths, due to laws that might as class women as vehicles for child-bearing, and not as human beings. Such is the misogyny of Trump’s regime.

This is where pro-life isn’t actually pro-life. It’s ‘pro-life until certain circumstances and certainly not pro-life in respect of the mother’. As Rae mentioned, it is possible to make full use of various contraceptives and still fall pregnant. What then? What in cases where the embryo is not viable, and would die shortly after birth? What of rape victims? What of the real risk to the mother’s health during pregnancy and birth?

The first reply I had to this was from one of Blogging Theology’s authors, Paul – he did not reply to the part regarding abortion, but instead on the first point regarding discrimination. His comments will be in red:

So you would be happy if a Jewish cake shop was compelled to make a cake for the KKK with a swastika on it?

As I said to him…

I knew you’d set up your misleading question and I also knew it would be that one. Conflating a hate group like the KKK with a gay couple asking for a cake to celebrate their relationship isn’t really fair now is it? Would you be happy if a Christian who happened to run, say, a fish and chip shop, wouldn’t serve you any chips, on the sole grounds of your faith? Even though they had set up a public-facing business?

Unfortunately, Paul is fond of asking the sort of question that he asked, and equally unfortunately, won’t answer such questions himself. His reply…

So is that a yes or a no?

… completely ignored the point.

It’s a misleading and frankly dishonest question Paul. Why should I answer it? Or maybe a better question is, why do you equate homosexuality with the KKK? That’s the implicit suggestion behind your question isn’t it?

Next, Paul replied with the picture below. Make of that what you will.

I’ll take your inability to respond as validation for my point. You know full well the KKK is a hate group – there is a marked difference between them and a gay couple seeking to celebrate their relationship, but if I am being honest and frank with you, I believe your pride is preventing you from acknowledging this point. Equally, I don’t believe you would welcome any scenario where people could use any excuse they wanted to justify discrimating against anyone else. Just look at Trump using the existence of a few fanatics to deny far more people access to help and support through his immigration ban.

Other people weighed in as well. Ken Temple (a long-time commentator who also runs his own site here) had this to say – his comments are in olive:

The gays and Lesbians who destroyed the bakers, the florists, and photographers lives by taking them to court and destroying their businesses, they were the one who were hateful, because they could have just gone to another business who would not mind going to their so called ‘wedding” ceremony, etc.

No baker should be forced to put two plastic men on a cake and write “Jim and David, Love forever”. Gross. No business should be forced to cater or go to their so called “weddings”.

But if they walk in and buy a product, no problem. Like a plain cake, no problem, or flowers no problem.

The problem is forcing people to participate in celebrating things that are wrong, immoral, and sin.

My replies at this stage were quite short as I was using my phone, which isn’t a great medium for responding.

Wrong Ken. They opened a public business and have hidden behind their faith to justify turning people away. Bigotry disguised by religious arguments is still bigotry.

no; they did not turn people away; when they wanted them to go to their celebrations and be a part of the wedding, don’t you see the difference? No it is not bigotry, because their ceremonies are wrong and sin; and besides, in today’s world, they can go to another photographer or baker, or caterer, etc. It is not bigotry. You don’t understand the difference between regular service with no indication of the sexual sins, and then the special kinds of services that require the business to go to their sinful ceremonies.

You make it sound like a baker (or florist, or photographer) is being forced to marry a homosexual – they’re not. They’re being asked to fulfil a business role, one they cannot do, out of bigotry, pure and simple. This is the same sort of mentality that allows discrimination against people of colour or people of one faith to discriminate against people of another faith.

No; not true. We cannot attend or celebrate a wedding that is sinful; by nature there is no such thing as “same sex marriage” – it is not a marriage at all. It is also a butchering of language, as it redefines the word. It is sinful to be forced to put 2 plastic men together or 2 plastic women together on a wedding cake and write words of marital love and passion.

there is a difference between regular service and buying a product; and the kind of services that require the business to leave their shop and go to their so called “wedding”.

If homosexuals and Lesbians want to buy a plain cake, that is fine, – they can take it and decorate how they like on their own.

So you favour being allowed to refuse service to someone along any arbitrary grounds you see fit?

The lines and grounds of these are clear about going to the wedding ceremony and having to write evil wording on the cake or put two plastic men on a cake ( a disgusting thing in itself)

Ken,

Making a cake is NOT the same as going to the ceremony. No one is forcing anyone to take part in the wedding itself. After all, when cakes are made for heterosexual couples, the baker isn’t actually taking part in the wedding, they are simply making a cake. Imagine the fury among the reactionary religious right if a gay baker (or florist, or photographer) refused to fulfil their obligation to a customer, on the grounds of the customer’s faith.

Making a plain cake is fine.
the problem is the wording and 2 plastic men or 2 plastic women kissing or together. Sinful. the government forces these businesses to sin.

No, the government expects public businesses to abide by fair and reasonable anti-discrimination laws. You want those laws cast aside, you’d better be prepared for the consequences. You will open the floodgates to a very unpleasant experience.

If they operate a public business they have zero right to use their faith as an excuse to pick and choose the members of the public that they serve. No one is saying they have to actually participate in the ceremony – making a cake is in no way doing that.

What’s the difference between refusing to honour a business agreement and refusing to hire someone based on their orientation? The answer is – nothing. It’s bigotry, simple as that.

No; I don’t accept you imputing bigotry to Christians and freedom of religion and Christian’s understanding of sexual sins and what marriage really is.

It is the Leftist-Marxists – Rioters that are bigots – like the ones setting fire to the buildings at Berkley and rioters and rock throwers and thugs and leftists who defecated on police cars at “occupy Wall-street”, etc. It is the extreme political left that does most of the bigotry nowadays. (in the west)

It’s right-wing fascists who carry out acts of outright murder Ken – the shooter in Québec being one such person. It’s the religious right that continues to create an environment where the LGBT community, women and minorities are denied rights, on a scale that dwarfs your faux outrage.

the government turned evil by approving of those sinful so called “marriages”. The Obergfell case ruling was evil by the Supreme Court – they forced all states to comply and over-ruled the state’s legislature and people’s authority to vote and legislate. The Supreme Court made new law rather than interpreted the law according to the Constitution. And the judges who punished Christian businesses are evil.

Ken,

The government did what it is supposed to do and kept religious interference out of peoples’ rights. There is no such thing as a ‘Christian business’. A Church is not a business, and is a private institution. They are not obliged and cannot be forced to carry out same-sex marriage ceremonies. A business though, is a PUBLIC INSTITUTION. They do not have the right to freely discriminate, and this is the point you keep missing – where does it end Ken? Should a Christian business be allowed to refuse service to Muslims and Jews and anyone who isn’t a Christian? Should any business be permitted to discriminate on any grounds they see fit (which is what you are advocating, and you have yet to address this)?

Maybe I should open up a business, sign up to rules and regulations (and do so knowingly), then decide I can pick and choose what customers I serve and who I employ, along racial, gender and ethnic lines? Would that be fair of me Ken?

This is the point I strive to make, but one that continues to not sink in – for all the cries of ‘religious freedom!, there is much greater freedom for Christians in America than for the LBGT community. Globally, the situation the LBGT community finds itself in is awful, yet there is no outcry about any of this.

There are several states in the US which offer only state employment protection for the LBGT community, and still others which offer zero protection. Meanwhile, Ken is complaining about making cakes.

Another poster (William Shraffner, whose posts will be in sky blue) weighed in on the abortion topic.

Is there something wrong with contraception? It’s rather cheaper, easy to use, and far less evasive than abortion.

Note – he meant ‘invasive’.

There’s nothing wrong with it, except that (as you will have read in the quoted article) it isn’t 100%. Plus the facilities that are under threat from Trump are the sort of places that would offer contraceptives and education.

So the massive abortion industry is due to the fact that contraception doesn’t have a 100% success rate?!

Define ‘massive’.

Fact 1 – no form of contraceptive is perfect. It is possible to take every precaution available and still get pregnant. The woman has her reasons for not wanting to become a mother and despite her efforts (and those of her partner) pregnancy has still occurred. Is it therefore reasonable to force her to proceed with the pregnancy (even though pregnancy carries an increased strain on the woman’s body, and childbirth is actually dangerous)?

Fact 2: there continues to be a social stigma around birth control. Call it ignorance. There is still the widespread belief that people (especially women) shouldn’t enjoy sex or regard it as anything other than a procreational act. As such, there is a prevailing ignorance about contraception and sex education, usually from the same sources as those oppose abortion (who are therefore creating a rod for their backs). I provided a link within this thread (and quoted from it), and I would urge you to go and properly read it, and to converse with the people who are commenting on it, so you may better understand a woman’s perspective.

That’s the discussion as it stands. I open this to the floor to discuss further.

On a few occasions now, I have ventured to Blogging Theology to discuss an oft-repeated topic – democracy. Incidently, these discussions have served as the basis for this page, which is a series of articles exploring the merits of democracy vs other forms of government.

The author of articles such as this one decries democracy as a form of tyranny, even though democracies do not tend to be anywhere as near restrictive of people’s rights and freedoms as other forms of government are. If you live in the communist regimes of China or North Korea, you are heavily restricted on the form of criticism you can make against the government (assuming you can do so at all), you cannot get information from or about the world beyond your borders without it being heavily filtered, and any rights you have are entirely down to the whim of rulers who have more in common with monarches of old than the elected officials of democratic countries.

Theocracies don’t provide the same measure of freedom for their people either. As you will see by my discussion on Blogging Theology, and my own page, they too are highly dependent upon the whim of whomever is heading up the ruling authority, and laws drawn up from religious texts are open to much interpretation (as are the texts themselves). Ruling from a theocentric position won’t work either – it is still a matter of determining which interpretation of which religion is followed, and as such, a consensus is nigh impossible.

The latest anti-democracy post from Blogging Theology is actually quoting another article, found here. I will make reference to one particular line that comes directly from BT, but I shall address that in due course. Meanwhile, let’s take a look at the Salisbury Review’s article:

In a tricky question such as this, it’s good idea to begin by getting the terms of reference clear. There are two such terms in particular: “Christianity” and “democracy.” What, specifically, does Christianity have to say? From its beginning, Christianity has consistently proclaimed belief in one God, maker of heaven and earth and in God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ who died and rose again to save us from our sins. I hope you will agree that that’s a fair summary of Christianity’s basic teaching. Christian authorities do not add the word “probably” to the content of their religious profession. In fact these authorities have stated the content of faith in what we call the Athanasian Creed and, having so stated it, they go on to caution: “Which faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled: without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.”

I notice that word “everyone.” The truth of the Christian faith is not then the preserve of those who attend the Catholic church across the road, the Methodist chapel or any one of the tin tabernacles belonging to the numerous Non-conforming sects. The Creed is plain – one might almost say to the point of sounding disrespectful. The Christian faith is a statement about the nature and destiny of everyone. It concerns the relationship between God and all humankind. Moreover, it is not a teaching that was very true in the 5th century, a bit less true in the 16th; still less is it something which all the best people today take with a pinch of salt, a nudge and a wink in these enlightened times.

Now, what happens when a Christian states his faith to a believer in democracy? The democrat, being one of the best people, will reply, politely: “So you say. You are free to believe that if you like, but others are free to hold quite different opinions and even to deny the truth of Christianity. Our democratic society contains many such people and we are proud of this fact as evidence of a wholesome diversity.”

There’s nothing that, to my mind, is immediately disagreeable about the first few paragraphs of the article. However, when we look at the next couple…

Thus from the democrat’s point of view, Christianity is quite compatible with the democratic principle, “Everyone has a right to his own opinions.” But that’s not quite what Christianity says. Indeed, it does agree with the democrat that we all have the right to hold such opinions as we fancy; but it goes on to say – with the sort of indelicacy frowned on by all the best people – that, if you hold the wrong opinions, you will perish everlastingly. So, from the Christian perspective, the faith is not compatible with democracy.

Christianity robustly, uncompromisingly, speaks of the truth. Democracy has no concept of truth. For the democrat, there is no such thing as objective truth; there is only the infinite variety of subjective “truths” – your truth, my truth, the believer’s truth, the atheist’s truth; pick where you like in the supermarket of opinions. Which just means that the democrat denudes the word “truth” of all meaning. Most certainly then, from the Christian’s perspective, his faith is not compatible with democracy.

… we see where the article is leaning. Christianity is objective truth and democracy isn’t – which creates an interesting compatibility question with what is said on Blogging Theology. If Christianity is objective truth, and Islam is objective truth, and Judaism, and all the other religions all happen to be objective truth… well, they can’t all be now can they? So what’s the fairest and most reasonable means for settling which religion forms the basis of laws and rules? Answer – none of them.

Back to the article itself. It affirms Christianity as objective truth and democracy as subjective. The misnomer here is that democracy itself isn’t a religion – the individual beliefs of people who believe in democracy will differ greatly, and in that number will include atheists, agnostics, Christians, Muslims, Jews, gays, transgender individuals, and well, pretty much everyone. To each and every one of these groups, their individual and collective experiences are unique. In that sense, their idea of the ‘truth’ will be different. Who am I to say to any of them ‘you are wrong, and must live your life in accordance to my belief system’?

But there’s more to be said. The Archbishop spoke of “freedom and democracy,” as if these two went together like fish and chips. All the best people would agree with him. But these two concepts don’t go together. You can have democracy or you can have freedom, but you can’t have both. The democracy which we inhabit is actually a tyranny – certainly to the practising Christian. Our democracy will allow the Christian to practise his faith only until this faith comes into intellectual conflict with the nostrums of secular society. The Christian is free to go to matins or to put on a jumble sale to raise funds for the church roof. But let the Christian, judging by the lights his faith provides him, declare publicly that there can be no such thing as homosexual marriage and he may well find that, under the supposed benignity of “democracy and freedom,” he is punished by the courts or loses his job.

Let’s flip this around. In parts of the USA right now, a push toward the religious right means in some states you can be denied jobs or fired from jobs if you are homosexual. You can be refused service in places of business under the guise of religious freedom. In Uganda, where Christianity is used as the basis of law, being homosexual can land you in prison. Discrimination against the LGBT community is often backed up with the argument of ‘religious freedom’, and damn the rights of the LGBT community. When someone uses their faith as an excuse to try and deny others their rights, that’s wrong, and thankfully, in countries like the UK, we have laws to prevent this.

Welcome to a rather introspective post. Any of you who follow the Coalition of the Brave will know that I’ve recently had reasons to stop and think about how I approach debate and discussion, and about the nature of open discussion. There are questions here that I have no easy answers to – what is the Coalition intended to be, a safe space for like-minded people, a forum for honest yet respectful conversation between people with opposing points of view, or some sort of weird amalgamation of the two? Can one be both honest and sensitive to opposing positions? 

I strive to be mindful of how my words can impact others. A statement which is harmless to one person can be hurtful to another, so how a point is conveyed can be as important as what that point is. This doesn’t mean I’m not capable of arguing passionately and forcefully, though even then I try hard to avoid descending into outright aggression or rude behaviour. Even here I don’t always succeed, because I am a human being, flawed beyond measure.

So was I right to hint that another site is something of an echo chamber, given the charge made against the Coalition? Am I a hypocrite? 

Yes, I am. You want to know something? I think we all are, in some way shape or form, at various stages in our lives. It’s human nature. We try to protect our own. 

So with that in mind, are my observations about this tweet, and the subsequent points raised in the discussion, valid? I invite you, the reader, to judge:

There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with the question Paul asks, but the salient detail for me is that the tweet to Lambeth Palace wasn’t made altruisticly. It was (to use the expression I used during the discussion), ‘poking the bear’. If you’ve followed any posts on Blogging Theology (and if you check parts onetwo and three of my dialogue regarding bakers and rights) then you may understand a bit more as to why I raise this point. 

The key thing I wish to stress here is that what Paul did is no different to an experience I had in town a few months ago. I was looking for a particular building and asked a guy (chosen at random) where it was. He started to talk about God and was preaching to me. It was unsolicited and uninvited, and not appreciated. Paul’s question (based on his personal religious position as a Muslim) had nothing to do with the question raised (which was about encouraging job applications). The only genuine connection between the Palace tweet and Paul’s reply is the name Jesus. 

I called Paul out on this, and it didn’t take long before he steered the conversation away from the subject and onto questions about why I hate religion and why I post on his blogs if I hate religion (basically, classic examples of leading questions). I asked him whether he wanted genuine discussion on his site, or whether he just wants people to agree with him. Paul has now decided to put my comments into a moderation queue and the last couple haven’t been published. 

On my own blog, and on the Coalition, I try to let comments through at every opportunity. I don’t like blocking comments or people and try to avoid it, though sometimes it can’t be helped. Nevertheless, my own comments to Paul regarding the apparent ‘echo chamber’ nature of the discussion he appears to want to cultivate there has forced me to look in the mirror. Does this invalidate what I had to say on Blogging Theology? I don’t think so. Nor do I feel I have been rude to him. Then again, I am not him, and I cannot therefore judge what he finds to be rude.

All in all, the conversation has been interesting and enlightening, in more ways than one.

Occasionally I visit a site called Debate.org. It’s exactly what it says it is – a site where people can start and take part in debates. These have a set structure and can take place in written or video form. The site could be better, and a lot of people treat it as a vehicle to start debates in order to boost their stats (they stack the deck in their favour with the question they ask and the rules of the debate), but there is room to grow.

I am in fact engaged in a debate as I type. I’m posting it here, for posterity. My posts are in blue, ViceRegent’s are in purple. The debate header is ‘how do atheists know fact from fiction?’

IF YOU ARE UNABLE OR UNWILLING TO READ THIS WHOLE POST AND THEN RESPOND TO THE SINGLE QUESTION IT ASKS, GO AWAY. I FIND IT HILARIOUS THAT THESE ATHEISTS KEEP VOMITING WORDS AND YET NOT ONE HAS ANSWERED MY Q.

Atheists love to live under the delusion that they are the guardians of rationality. But how can they hold this title when they cannot even articulate a rational way to know truth from fiction. If they cannot do this, they are literally ignorant and the ignorant cannot guard anything. SO, BY WHAT METHOD DOES ANY ATHEIST CLAIM TO RATIONALLY KNOW TRUTH FROM FICTION?

Answering this question is the sole purpose for this debate. I have even put it in capital letters for those to dense to get it. If you are unable or unwilling to answer this question, do not respond to this debate. Likewise, if you do not believe in reality, believe you make it up or deny it is objective or knowable, or if you do not know how to rationally know truth from fiction, do not respond to this debate. If you are terrified of cross-examination or madly in love with red herrings, do not respond to this debate. If you have responded before, do not respond to this debate. After all, if you had nothing rational to say then, you will having nothing rational to say now.

If all you have is “science”, do not respond to this debate, for science relies on the your senses and reason, which begs the question of how you know your senses and reason are valid. Perhaps you can tell me, which is fine, but if the way you validate you senses and reason is with your senses and reason, you lose the debate because that is circular reasoning and circular reasoning is not rational.

if you respond in violation of these rules, you automatically lose the debate.

This is what I mean by stacking the deck. ViceRegent doesn’t want the scientific explanation – he wants to turn to metaphysics, and is therefore trying to squeeze the debate down a specific direction.

I’ve also highlighted what I consider to be a verrrry interesting sentence. As the discussion wears on, we shall see why I noted it.

I’ll bite on this one. Your question is how atheists know truth from fiction – firstly, I would seek clarification here – when you refer to ‘truth’, in what context do you apply the term? Is it in the sense of ‘fact from fiction’, in respect of our existence and the world around us? And what is the counter-point to this? Are you addressing your side of this debate from a religious perspective?

Your opening argument tells people to not use science, as science is based on senses. What would you use to judge the world around us, other than our senses? Observation of the world we live in has been central to our progress throughout human history. If not for applying principles of observation and deduction, how would we have ever developed the wheel, much less anything else?

How do I know my senses are valid? I know my sense of touch is valid by the simple observation that if I touch a flame, it burns and hurts. I know my sense of hearing is valid because I can hear my daughter singing, even though she’s supposed to be asleep.

The manner in which you have set up your question is deliberately designed to remove the most straight-forward and best means of addressing it. I would have to ask why? What would you replace observation and study with, when determining what is fact and what is fiction about our universe?

This dude is confused. He pretends he does not understand my question, but answers it anyway, proving anything are delusional.

He then says he knows his senses are valid because they provide him valid sensory input. Really? Man, I love the smell of cognitive dissonance and question begging in the morning. Dude, how do you know that what you perceive as a candle that burns is not really your daughter singing? And try not to argue irrationally this time.

I’m not really sure how questioning his false dilemma is being irrational, but sadly this appears to be the route ViceRegent wishes to take. His use of ad hominems isn’t exactly adding to his argument either.

With all due respect, from the increase in the rhetoric (which was also present in your first post), I have to draw into question why you posed this question, in the manner you did. You failed to address my point about what you would replace study and observation with, and failed to explain why you need to remove this principle from the equation.

It seems to me you need to remove science from the equation because you are arguing (however subtly) that the key reason we perceive anything is because God or a deity of some description is the driving force behind how we separate fact from fiction. This is why you are keen to remove anything that can threaten this notion – and why you are attempting to reject argument framed from a scientific perspective. You cannot argue against principles such as nerve impulses firing signals to our brains that tell us we have heard a sound or experienced a physical sensation, so you seek to remove them from the discussion entirely.

That is intellectually dishonest. You are trying to stack the deck so you can get only one possible answer.

How do I separate the fact that 1+1 = 2 from the fiction that 1+1 = 3? Because we have built complex machines from such facts, and if they were in fact, not true and not demonstrable, these machines should cease to function. They are built upon our observed understanding of the universe, and this is not fiction, otherwise we not be able to use this understanding to help us create things like microwave ovens and computers.

I wonder if you will now attempt to address my rebuttal, or will you ramp up your rhetoric again?

This fool continues to beg the question. He continues to say his senses are valid because of what his senses perceive. I will ask him one more time: how does he know that the candle that he perceives to burn his fingers is not really his daughter singing? I will put this more simply with the hope he will get it this time: the world is full of delusional people. How does he know he is not one of them.

Nothing here but more insults and a further attempt to justify why he needs to remove science in order to make his point. He cannot form this question without taking science out of the equation, because he knows it invalidates his (poorly defined) position.

From your increasing hostility I have to call into question whether you want a rational discussion, or merely a platform from which to spout anti-scientific propaganda. I will ask YOU once again – why do you feel the need to remove science from the equation? Why are you afraid of rational explanations for why we experience the world in the fashion that we do?

How do I know when I have burned myself? Because the nerve endings in my finger process the sensation and send it to my brain. What alternative suggestion do you have for how I know I’ve burned myself? What is YOUR answer to the question? Or will you continue to fail to address the arguments presented, in favour of your bizarre insistence that we cannot use logic and observation to reach conclusions?

Now he has run from the Q I actually asked substituting it for one I did not. Amazingly, what this fool does not get is that I am denying he has any way of knowing he has burned himself given his worldview. He proves this by not even understanding what I am asking him let alone having an answer. He loses the debate.

Your declaration of victory is premature. 

Your question is dishonest. Since you cannot argue against scientific means of measurement you seek to remove them entirely. You have asked this question multiple times within the past few days or so, and I suspect you will get similar answers. They won’t be the answers you’re looking for, but that’s because won’t play your game.

Let me ask you – how YOU know you have burned yourself? Because God told you? Are you capable of answering your own question in a logical fashion, or would you shirk from this, using insults to cover the weakness in your position? 

This debate, and some additional thoughts, can be viewed here, if anyone wants to take a look. 

So there you have the complete article, as it were. I invite readers to make up their own minds. 

It’s no secret to anyone who reads this blog that I am a supporter of LBGT rights. I find it very sad that in today’s world you can still be denied jobs, marriage and, in some cases, even your very life for something you didn’t choose. Even in supposedly developed countries, coming out as gay can lead to being disowned by one’s own family, a terrible act of ignorance to direct towards a loved one.

There is of course a powerful and all-too prevalent anti-homosexual message that stems from some quarter of the religious right. I wish to stress, this is not an attitude shared by everyone who is religious, but religious beliefs are often used as an excuse to enact certain laws or rules that curtail the rights of others, proceeding on the assumption that equal rights is, in some cases, a form of inequality for religious groups.

An example of this can be found in the discussion I had on the subject of same-sex marriage and cakes on Blogging Theology, and I’ve had several discussions with the author of Theology Archaeology along similar lines.

I’ve made it very clear that I don’t believe in using personal religious beliefs to impose rules upon others. The fairest system for creating rules of law is one that takes into account the rights of everyone, not just those who believe a specific version of a specific faith. I also don’t buy into hysteria, or the frankly bullshit (yes, I swore, I’m edgy!) notion that ‘the gays are coming to get us’. This is precisely the argument I came across today, and aside from the manner in which it tried to derail the actual discussion, it represents a lot of scare-mongering.


I’m not impressed by such a stance; it’s scare-mongering that got us Brexit and Trump. The following discussion (found here, if you want context) is what I’m referring to, and the post was made by someone who goes by the name Intellect. His comments are in purple, mine are in blue.

darthtimon

November 15, 2016 • 5:32 pm

Doesn’t strike me as the sort of decision I would want made on my behalf, especially considering how it would shape my future.

darthtimon
November 15, 2016 • 5:53 pm
That rather strikes as an excuse to deny young girls (and boys too, in some cases) the right to determine their own future.

I say;
-But you are happy for the introduction of gay sex curriculum in under age schools to shape their future as gays
-You are happy for the sort of decision that would shape children(under age) to have sex and shape their lives as prostitutes and gay lesbians as young as the are and will marry same sex.
-You are happy when straight young girls( and boys too, in some cases) are bombarded with gay sex education at schools to change their straight path to gay path.

That is the law today. Same sex marriage and gay sex curriculum at schools and that was made on behalf of young under age people to shape their future as gay.

If a child is straight and the law on its behalf today is to teach gay sex in school could shape his future as gay-from straight to gay as the decision made by today’s law to shape a child’s future as gay, lesbian, transgender, etc.

Some cities have started to make a man entry into women’s bathroom because he is gay, transgender etc. This decision made on behalf of mankind to shape all of us as gay has to be condemned by you darthtimon instead of stressing on new laws that weren’t present at the time of the prophets.

Thanks.

 My reply:

Intellect, without wishing to be blunt, your post is a massive no -sequiter, for a number of reasons.

Firstly, arranged marriages where the child’s place in the decision-making of their own future is completely different to education about same-sex marriage and the existence of same-sex relationships (which is in turn completely different to this weird idea of a ‘gay sex curriculum’). I have never argued for laws or rules that would somehow shape a person into becoming gay (and frankly, the idea of some sort of conversion process is hysteria).

So the bottom line is, not only is much of your post not actually referring to the discussion at hand, it is a string of lies and, if i may continue to be blunt, hysterical nonsense.

I don’t really have too much to add to my reply. Intellect’s comments are a massive misconstruing of my position. The discussion in question relates to arranged marriages of young children to much older men in Christianity and Islam, and has nothing whatsoever to do with same-sex relationships or the education about same-sex relationships. It’s tempting to deconstruct Intellect’s statements regarding conversion of children to homosexuality (which is a load of rubbish, by the way), but that would be to miss the point – Intellect is at best, completely misunderstanding the argument and at worst, deliberately leading the discussion astray.

The other day I stumbled across an intriguing website with an intriguing premise – the site is called ‘Against Democracy‘, and it lists several arguments against democracy as a form of government (I have not so far read what the site’s author regards as a good alternative to democracy, so I’m not clear what the endgame is here). Who is the author? It’s someone we’ve met before – Paul Williams of Blogging Theology.

To better understand both democracy and the alternatives, it’s worth doing a little research. Firstly, what is democracy?

The dictionary definition simply defines democracy as a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. It’s a little more complicated than that, but you get the idea. People vote in elections for a political party, or to be more precise, their local representative of that party. Many democracies have both local and national elections, deciding both regional and national government. The party with the majority (and it has to be a clear majority in most cases) is considered to have a mandate and works – sometimes ineffectively (but that’s a different matter) to carry it out. Some people might consider a democracy as ‘majority rules’, but it isn’t as simple as that, as built into the legal and political systems of most democracies are rules to protect minorities. A vote cannot determine whether or not to expel all members of a particular religion from a country, and votes cannot undermine or erase civil rights.

This isn’t to say democracy is a flawless system of government. The recent vote here in the UK to leave the EU highlights how a slim majority can have a huge impact on everyone else, and the way in which voters can be manipulated into emotive decisions in vital circumstances can have a crucial impact on the outcome of referendums. However, the success (or failure) of democracy is not inherent to the idea of democracy itself, but other factors (such as cultural values).

So what are the alternatives to democracy, and are any of them actually any good? The first one we’ll be taking a look at is the theocracy.

A theocracy is defined as a system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or a god. The most prominent examples of theocracies in today’s world would be Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, though there are others.

In Iran, all laws are derived from Islamic criteria. The Head of State is a scholar of Islamic law and carries more power than the President. It is the Supreme Leader’s responsibility to appoint people to several influential posts, including military leaders and the Chief Justice.

How does a country like Iran compare with a country like the UK?

Average Life Expectancy (one indicator of the strength of healthcare services)- UK: 80 years. Iran: 70 years.

Human Development Index (click on the link if you want to know about what that is – the higher the number the better the standing) – UK: 0.942. Iran: 0.777.

GDP (Gross Domestic Product) – UK: $37,300. Iran: $12,800.

Literacy Rate – UK: 99%. Iran: 77%.

So a cursory comparison of the UK to Iran suggests the UK performs stronger economically, does better in terms of healthcare, and better on education. It might be unfair to land this strictly on the basis of form of government, so what else can we look at?

Human Rights – Iran is well-known for clamping down on freedom of expression and the treatment of some segments of society in Iran seems entirely arbitary. Iran is second only to China on the number of executions carried out, including the execution of the entire adult male population of a village for drugs offences. Imprisonment for opinions that run against the established theocratic form of government (such as improved womens’ rights) is common. The common denomenator here is the form of government, which restricts laws and rules to those founded on the basis of one religion, at the expense of whatever anyone else might believe. Such a system (if Iran is taken as the benchmark) is restrictive by its very nature.

This is why (in my view at least) a theocratic form of government just doesn’t work. It focuses power on a small group of people (namely the religious leaders) and there is little or no representation. If that religion calls upon certain groups to have certain roles (for example, women are excluded from certain sectors) then there is no opportunity for this to be challenged. Minority rights are high restricted (the punishment for homosexuality in Iran ranges from imprisonment to execution). It seems clear to me that democracy is supieror to theocracy.

 

You might want to read these articles if you want to get a good primer for this – once again, we’re talking about bakers, gay marriage, and where the line is between private rights and professional duty.

This is a recurring theme that in my view is actually very simple – a business that is open to the public and operates in the public domain should be held to the same rules as every other such business – a shop is not a private institution; it has made a commitment to follow certain rules, and in refusing customers on the grounds of sexual orientation, it is failing to abide by those rules. That’s pretty straightforward in my book.

This time, the case in question comes from Northern Ireland, a country known for religious and political turmoil, with the two factors very much entwined. Back in 2014 a bakery refused to make a cake for a gay rights activist, on the grounds of religious freedom. Earlier this year a hearing ruled that the bakery was a ‘business for profit’, not a religious group, and therefore not subject to exemption from business law and rules. In my view, this is entirely correct, yet not unsurprisingly, there has been a furore over this.

In my discussion with Paul on Blogging Theology, the question came up (and I have since seen this question repeated elsewhere) over freedom of expression and whether we would expect a Jewish bakery to make a cake with Nazi symbols – but this is a false dilemma. Supporting gay rights is in no way shape or form the same as supporting an ideology that was based entirely on hate and discrimination, and to suggest the two scenarios are similar is a false narrative.  Expecting a business to fulfil its obligations under law is not the same as expecting a private institution (or individual) to abandon their belief system. The bottom line is, when you open a business that will deal with the public, you don’t get to pick and choose who you serve. That opens the door to all kinds of arbitrary approaches. ‘I don’t like people who wear glasses so I won’t serve them’. It opens the floodgates to all sorts of unpleasantness.

Another unsurprising argument is the position that fining the bakery in this instance is part of a clampdown on religious expression and freedoms. Never mind that homosexuals still face routine discrimination, even in developed countries. Never mind that no one is forcing religious institutions to take part in same-sex weddings. I have to wonder, what freedoms have been curtailed?

 

I’ve not been bothering to respond to the stuff over at Theology Archaeology lately, partly because he’s had little of interest to respond to, and partly because it’s pretty clear that reasoning with him is nigh impossible. However, he’s posted something recently that I felt might be worthy of replying to, entitled ‘What is a Childhood?’

We ask this question because over the years we have encountered people who declare they want their daughter or son to have a childhood. The simple answer is that the idea of childhood is a subjective human concept that allows a few people to force their views upon others and allows them to interfere with people’s parental rights.  There is no objective standard to determine if a child is receiving a childhood and there is certainly no biblical teaching on the concept of children enjoying a childhood.

I dispute this. A childhood isn’t a subjective notion – physically and mentally there are clear distinctions between adults and children – this is obvious. It is also, in my view as a father, that my daughter should have the opportunity to enjoy her childhood. Why wouldn’t any parent want their child to experience a carefree, peaceful and fun childhood?

I don’t even know where TA is going with ‘childhood is a subjective human concept that allows a few people to force their views upon others and allows them to interfere with people’s parental rights‘. What views are being forced upon parents? The idea that children shouldn’t be put to work? The idea that they deserve an education? The right of children everywhere to medical care? The right to live free from abuse and pain?

God already knew that when he gave parents their freedom to raise their children, there would be as many different concepts of what a childhood would or should be.  He also knew that every parent would not be financially capable or even possibly alive to provide one standard for what constitutes a real childhood. He did provide good instructions on how to raise one’s children which are superior to earthly concepts like the very subjective childhood ideology. Parents are to be fair, just, honest, teaching their children God’s laws correctly and so on (you can search the Bible for more of God’s ways to add to that list)

Concepts of fairness, honesty and justice are what children should indeed be taught, but this isn’t connected to the idea of a childhood, since these are things that everyone, regardless of age, should be taught and be aware of. Following God’s law – that depends on what you believe, and should not be forced upon anyone, child or not.

Those people who use their own or the western ideal as the standard only over-step their boundaries and cause more problems than they cure. Believers are not to please people but they do need to please God and follow his ways in raising their children. This may mean not providing their children with everything the neighbor or secular world wants a believer to do but then since when did the blind deceived world know better than God?

What does this even mean? Is it an unreasonable ideal to believe that children should have access to things like healthcare? What precisely is the ‘western world’ trying to impose upon anyone?