Thursday, November 29, 2007

Various Current Events

Bay State goes slap happy by Boston Herald
Anti-spanking bill is folly by Boston Herald
Anti-spanking bill petition by
Group sues to overturn gender bias by
Real Estate: Buy, sell, or hold? by
Sudan charges teacher over "blasphemy" by CNS News
Married to government by CNS News
China silent on denying US ships by CNS News
Red Cross president ousted by Boston Globe
Romney brochure rips rivals by Boston Globe
Hillary defeatable by 5 GOP frontrunners by
Mother keeps baby secret from father by
Montclair St. unveils mandatory cell phone by WCBSTV
Gay general's endorsement of Hillary by
Transcript: Fred Thompson by Fox News
Urban revival with tulips by Christian Science Monitor
Iraq combat deaths down 50% in November by CNS News
Candidates split on 2nd grade pro-gay book by CNS News
Sudan sentences teacher to 15 days by
Rape victim to receive 200 lashes by Fox News
School cancels "Ten Little Indians" by Fox News
Christian divorce trend fuels debate by Christian Post
Church of Scotland rejects movie boycott by Christian Post
Perils of sex-offender bans by Christian Science Monitor
Strike threat dashes democratic debate by Fox News
Force to deploy cut-out coppers by BBC News
English-only showdown by
Republican debate transcript by CNN
Republican debate transcript, part 2 by CNN
Chronicles of atheism by Christianity Today
Married to government by

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

WW--Churches Should Not Be Tax-Exempt

~Do as Jesus did: Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.
~Do you really want the state in the business of licensing legitimate churches by granting them tax exempt status?
~Further gives people the impression that religion is all about money.
~In an environment where churches are not taxed, you never know if a sermon or educational choice is made because it’s the right one or the one that won’t raise eyebrows at the IRS.
~Allowing the IRS to indirectly censor the church is stupid. The only way to prevent that is to give them what they threaten.
~If you were a scam artist, where would you go to find sheep to fleece?
~It would free up churches to become as political as they want to be, endorsing politicians, causes, and taking sides in electoral issues.
~Tax-exempt status forces pastors who do make political statements into absurd contortions about it being merely their own opinion and not that of the religious organization they represent.

~You can’t say that church and state should be separate and then grant churches a special tax status.

Links on Tax-Exempt Churches:
501(C) by Wikipedia
IRS exemption requirements by
Should churches be tax exempt? by
501C3 facts by
Tax-exempt churches by
Church could lose tax-exempt status by USA Today
Separation of church and state by Washington Post
Should churches be tax-exempt? by
Unfair subsidy by

WW--Spanking Should Be Illegal

~It’s the first (and perhaps only) response of the parentally uncreative.
~It just teaches kids that violence solves problems.
~Is “might makes right” really the kind of lesson you intend to impart?
~If there were no spanking, there certainly could be no abuse.
~You can’t teach a child that hitting is wrong by hitting him.
~Becomes an easy parenting crutch, reducing creativity.
~Used too often loses its potency.
~It’s the angry response, not the loving one.

Bible References: Prov 13:24, Prov 19:18, Prov 22:15, Prov 23:13-14, Prov 29:15-19, Heb 12:7-11

Links on Spanking

To Spank or Not? by John Shepard
Index to Articles on Spanking by Focus on the Family
Q+A on Spanking by
The Bible and the Rod by Brian Schwertley
How Should Christians Discipline? by
Ten Reasons Not To Hit Your Kids by Jan Hunt
Nine Things To Do Instead of Spanking by Katherine Kvols
Never Hit a Child a Child by Randy Cox
The Sexual Dangers of Spanking Children by Tom Johnson
Rod or Shebet: In-Depth Examination by Joan Renae
Con and Resource Index
Arms of Love Family Fellowship

Monday, November 26, 2007

Theology of the Body

John Paul II gave a long series of pontifical addresses summarized under the heading “The Theology of the Body.” The idea is simple: God made us in His Image, and this means that when God gave us bodies and then Incarnated one Himself, He was telling us that we could learn truths about Him by studying our bodies. This is a pretty grand idea, but I wanted to start a bit more simply. If the body is supposed to teach us about God, then we can ask two simple questions. First, what part of the body amazes you the most and why? Second, if you were to teach someone about God using a part of the human body, what would you use and what would you teach?

Links on the Theology of the Body:
Theology of the Body by Wikipedia
Body language by
Reading the body by
John Paul II's theology of the body by


“Mommy, mommy, Jeffrey just put the measuring cups in the potty chair.” Gross, I know, but, for those of you with kids, this is well within the realm of unsurprising events in your household. The question is, do you want kids to tattle on each other or not? On the one hand, it seems to be honoring authority and expanding the scope of information available to a wise authority figure. On the other hand, it seems to be a failure to resolve things peacefully and is often a way for children to subtly try to usurp authority to themselves. Why do we think of tattling as bad, or do we? Of course, the ramifications of our thinking about tattling have truly significant implications for our thinking about many adult activities as well. Everything from gossip to whistleblowing to informing the police about the commission of a crime or even testifying might be seen as variations on the basic tattling concept. So what is the best ethical perspective on tattling?

Bible References: Ex 20:16, Lev 19:16, Psalm 41:5, Prov 17:9, Jeremiah 20:10, Matthew 18:15-20, Luke 3:14, Luke 17:1-4, Rom 1:28-32, 1 Cor 13:1, 2 Cor 12:20, Gal 5:22-26, Gal 6:1-5, 1 Tim 5:13, 1 Tim 6:3-5, James 4:11-12, 1 John 2:9-11, 1 John 3:15

Links on tattling:
The dynamics of "tattling" by
You tattletail! by
Tattling by
Tattling versus reporting by
Tattling vs. telling by
Why kids tattle by
Whistleblowing by Wikipedia
Gossip by

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Made in the Image of God

We’ve all used the expression, and it occurs quite early in the Bible. But what, precisely, does it mean to say that we are made in the image of God? Does it apply to men and women both? Does it apply to those who are not Christians? And what does it entail in terms of how we interact with others who are likewise so created?

Bible References:
Gen 1:26-28, Gen 2:7, Gen 2:15-20, Gen 5:1, Gen 9:4-6, Gen 18:1-2, Gen 32:24-30, Psalm 8:5, Psalm 139:1-4, Prov 14:31, Daniel 3:25, Matt 25:31-46, Luke 3:38, John 1:1, John 1:18, John 4:24, John 13:34-35, Acts 17:28, Rom 2:14-15, Rom 12:1-2, 1 Cor 3:16, 1 Cor 6:19, 1 Cor 11:7, Gal 6:10, Phil 2:5-8, Col 1:15, Col 3:10, Eph 4:24, Heb 1:3, Heb 4:13, James 2:14-17, James 3:9, 1 John 4:16,
Rev 13:8

Links on the Image of God:
Patristic Fathers by
Made in the image of God by
Man: The image of God by
The image of God by
Image of God: What does it mean? by
Book: In His Image by
Humans in the image of God by
Image of God in man by
The image of God by
Men and women in the image of God by

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pharmacists and Plan-B

“Emergency contraception” has been legal in the United States for several years, and sales are high. But many pharmacists consider it a violation of their pro-life views and also of the Hippocratic Oath and are refusing to fill prescriptions for it. Is this a matter of personal conscientious objection or religious tyranny by them over patients who are seeking a legal medication? Should they be protected in their refusals against firing?

Post-Show Thoughts: It's simple. Anyone should have the right to not participate in dispensing to others a drug which is incompatible with his basic religious beliefs. This right is further enhanced when the situation involves matters of life. Just as doctors are allowed to opt out of performing abortions, pharmacists should not be forced to dispence abortifacients, chemicals that either do or may accomplish an abortion. Whether the law recognizes this right is only relevant insofar as to whether the law will be just or unjust. I think pharmacists may put themselves in a difficult position, however, if they are objecting to Plan B but do not object to ordinary pharmaceutical contraceptives since the two are functionally so similar.

I'd go a step farther than most and assert that these rights should also extend to being allowed to refuse to dispense sexually-related materials to people who are not married. It's beyond baffling to me that the state would certify the sexual monopoly of marriage and protect it from commercialization through anti-prostitution statutes but turn around and require people to dispense anything in this area to others regardless of their ability to demonstrate they are married. This is not the same as criminalizing such behavior, which is well worthy of its own discussion. But at the very least, were I a pharmacist, I would demand the right to refrain from selling anything which facililtates an immoral activity.

Links on Plan B:
Emergency Contraception by Wikipedia
Beginning of Pregnancy Controversy by Wikipedia
Plan B: The facts behind the controversy by
The Hippocratic Oath by
Limits of Conscientious Objection (PDF file) by
Pharmacists' rights at front of debate by Washington Post
Contraceptive clears access hurdle by NY Times
Morning after pill gets closer look by NY Times
Plan B for Pharmacists by
Opinion: Dispense Plan B by Seattle Post Intelligencer
NJ law requires dispensing of Plan B by CNS News
Why the federal court was wrong by
Some doctors refuse service by USA Today
Emergency contraception by
Refusal clauses by
Walmart will sell contraceptive by NY Times

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Various Current Events

Islamic car coming down the pike? by CNS News
Military deaths lower than in 1980s by CNS News
Debate flares regarding paid sick leave by USA Today
Intelligent Design group accuses PBS by Christian Post
Dobson aides deny Huckabee endorsement by Christian Post
Answering the atheists by Christianity Today
Limits of D.C. gun ban's effectiveness by Washington Post
Georgia Governor prays for rain by Associated Press
Pro-Life group backs Thompson by CNS News
Huckabee rakes in Christian endorsements by Christian Post
Apologist: Don't fear "Golden Compass" by Christian Post
Local articles by Rocky Mountain News
The doctrine of revenge by
Anti-Bush bridge champions by NY Times
Group targets Arpaio, Thomas for recall by
Baptist leader's Romney endorsement by Christian Post
Catholic voters warned on abortion by Washington Times
Huckabee surges in Iowa poll by Boston Globe
NYU students would sell right to vote by Fox News
Buffett says to keep inheritance tax by Las Vegas Sun
CO school district: No more valedictorians by
Dog's racist bark by Larry Elder,
O'Connor's husband finds new love by CBS News
Poll: Blacks divide along class lines by LA Times
Prison requires satellite TV by Atlanta-Journal Constitution
FBI: Guard killed 14 Iraqis without cause by NY Times
Powder Room Politics by Kathleen Parker,
Warden instills hope behind bars by Christian Science Monitor
The end of cursive writing?
by Christian Science Monitor
US girds for battle with "botnets" by Christian Science Monitor
Iranian minister: Gays deserve torture, death by Fox News
Bad behavior does not doom pupils by NY Times

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

WW--We Should Only Care About Things That Directly Affect Us

~You only have standing in the law when you’ve been harmed.
~People only take your complaints seriously when you’re personally the victim.
~The Bible teaches us to be at peace with our fellow man.
~The Bible teaches us to not be busybodies.
~Most of the major issues in the culture wars could be resolved if people would just stop trying to tell other people how to live their private lives.
~How does some 14-year-old girl having an abortion directly affect you?
~How does two people in a committed gay relationship wanting to be married affect you?
~If someone wants to use marijuana in the privacy of his own home, how does that affect you?
~If someone wants to gamble his money on football games, how does that affect you?
~If someone wants to hire the companionship of a prostitute, how does that affect you?
~If some school in Wisconsin, or Tucson for that matter, wants to allow its students to have a moment of prayer, or prohibit the same thing, how does that affect you?
~If some third-world nation is having problems with human rights or economic hardship, that’s none of our business because it’s not an American strategic issue. We can’t be the world police.
~People should just take care of their own lives and stop worrying so much about controlling everyone else’s. Besides, isn’t concern about all these things just a distraction from the real opportunity you have to improve your own sphere of concerns?
~There’s so much stuff in the world to compel me, but most of it I have no control over anyhow.

Post-Show Thoughts: There are two ways to respond to these arguments. The first is to show how many of the things mentioned do, in fact, affect me. The best paradigm for this is the concept of a "moral ecology," which means that there is a common moral environment we inhabit. In this ecosystem, when one pollutes it by their immorality, we all suffer the consequences no less than when an irresponsible corporation pollutes a lake or a landfill. What one does, others see. What others see, they come to view as normal once they've seen it enough. What many come to see as normal becomes normal. These things must be dealt with before they proceed too far down this process.

But the danger with such an approach is that it grants the premise of libertarianism: every man for himself. It tries to make social action look good because it benefits me. But social action is good because it's right, not because it benefits me. Egoism is not the reductio of all values. Instead, I prefer love. And if love has any definition, it means to care enough about others to put their needs and welfare above or at least on a par with my own. When I love others, I will inject myself into their lives for their benefit. This must never become tyranny, but if you have to err on one extreme or the other, living in a world where everybody's always "up in your business" is at least a world where you know you're loved in contrast with a world where everyone cares so little about you that they are indifferent to your self-destructive behaviors.

There's still an importnat caveat. Many people who say they love others, really only love to project their notion of "the good" onto others in a kind of idolatry to their own beliefs turned into interpersonal tyranny. That's not love, except of their own views. Until and unless you are willing to make sacrifices for the people you claim to love, you shouldn't be telling them what to do. Authority and influence must be earned, at least earned by the willingness to be more than merely one who orders others around.

But there's even another major error here. Libertarianism, the view which this argument represents, is a colossal error about the nature of human beings. We are neither purely individuals, nor are we purely social. We are both. It's neither every man for himself nor a communistic vision denying the individual his rights. Socialists deny our individuality, and libertarians deny our communality. Even the Bible talks about the sins of one polluting all because we are connected together as one Body. Unlike that murderer Cain said, I am my brother's keeper.

WW--Restaurants Are Wicked

~They have cultivated the gluttony industry in America.
~People should eat at home with their families.
~A restaurant commodifies a transaction which should be voluntary: food preparation and service are things which should be given not sold.
~The portions and the content of food at restaurants is generally unhealthy.

~“Eat this 50 oz. Steak in an hour and get it for free.”
~All-you-can eat buffets.
~“Would you like a $5 dessert with that espresso, sir?”
~Fast food restaurants, in particular, make our society less patient and kind.
~Being a server is a form of slavery.
~Are we more thrifty or less with food in the era of the restaurant?
~If gluttony is as much a problem as it looks to be and we compare it to lust, then every restaurant is essentially a strip club for your stomach.
~Mom can’t compete with the Cheesecake factory, and she shouldn’t have to anymore than your wife should have to compete with the Victoria’s Secret models.
~If it weren’t for restaurants, we most likely wouldn’t have so many working moms because it would be logistically impossible.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Altar Calls

“If you’ve accepted Jesus into your heart, then come down here and publicly profess your faith and begin your walk of new life as a Christian.” To some, altar calls are a mandatory part of any worship service. To others, they are a complete theological error, fraught with danger in addition to not being founded on Biblical precedent. So who’s correct?

Post-Show Thoughts: After reading the articles and the Bible references and talking it over with you for two hours, here is my conclusion. The practice is not shown in the Bible. Instead, we have the pattern of repent, believe, confess, and be baptized. Everything the altar call is supposed to accomplish would be better and more fully accomplished by having people come be baptized, and this would be done without the various dangers which go with altar calls. Since the Bible so clearly lays out this pattern, and there's no reason to tinker with it, I can't imagine a church preferring to practice the altar call without baptism. I think those who do altar calls are simply in the habit, which is only a tradition for about 170 years, and haven't realized the superior practice of immediately baptizing new converts, just as they did in Acts. Literally, every argument for the altar call is a better argument for baptism, and every argument against immediate baptism is a better argument agains having altar calls for salvation. And it disturbs me that in researching for this show I simply could not find any resource on the Web offering even a theoretical defense of the altar call, let alone a Scriptural one. The reason that such an article is not linked below is because I could not find one. That's not decisive in the discussion, but it should concern advocates of the altar call, which I have long been until just now.

Bible References: Matt 4:18-22, Matt 7:21-23, Matt 8:18-22, Matt 9:9, Matt 9:37-38, Matt 10:32-33, Matt 19:16-21, John 3:8, Acts 2:37-40, Acts 3:19, Acts 17:32-34, Rom 8:28-30, Rom 9:15-16, Rom 10:12-15, 2 Cor 5:1, James 1:18, 1 Peter 1:22-23

Links on Altar Calls:
Altar Call by Wikipedia
Altar Call by
Altar Calls: Helpful or Harmful? by
Altar Call Evangelism by
Refusing To Heed an Altar Call by
A Close Look at Invitations and Altar Calls by
Charles Finney and the Altar Call by
Why We Don't Use The Altar Call by

Monday, November 12, 2007

Does Music Matter?

“I just like the beat, I don’t really pay attention to the lyrics.”
“There are good people who listen to country, rock, classical, and alternative.”
“What you listen to doesn’t make you who you are.”
“How can you feed that crud into your brain and not have it affect you?”
“Didn’t the Nazis and Hannibal Lecter love classical music?”

Plato was convinced that music and the power to distribute music should be highly regulated by the state. Others, perhaps in the age range 12-25 mostly, think this is a hideous idea because they love their music more than anything. Still others think that it just doesn’t matter what people listen to. So, who’s right? Does the music you listen to matter? In what way? Which is more important: the music or the lyrics? Should the government be involved in controlling music? Parents? Is there any music Christians shouldn’t listen to or should listen to?

Post-Show Thoughts: God clearly loves music. He also clearly acknowledges that music can be used by awful people in inappropriate ways. But does that mean that any particular style of music cultivates particular effects in people? It may for some, but it certainly doesn't for all. Though I believe music has great power to assist memory and therefore has vast untapped educational possibilities, I must admit that lyrics seem to have no impact on me. I sang hymns every Sunday growing up, and I know very few of them and hated the experience. Though I've heard some songs hundreds of times, I still don't know the words. Being musically omnivorous, I listen to whatever fits my mood or the activity I'm trying to do. Like sauce on a meat, the music may fit the flavor or clash with it, but I have yet to find a sauce that is never useable. I may be odd in this regard. But, just as some people can consume alcohol and not become drunkards or alcoholics, likewise with music. The individual effects may well vary widely. Theories about how music causes certain mindsets or behaviors just don't fit well with real experience, even though they seem quite plausible. I say this in spite of finding Allan Bloom's analysis of music in his famous book "The Closing of the American Mind," to be quite compelling. If I didn't have so much personal exposure to so much music, I might be misled by such theoretical musings as well. They're certainly more ideologically comforting than the grand "it all depends" which I seem to be advocating. But I tend to prefer embracing a complicated reality to an oversimplified theory when the facts seem to lead that way.

Bible References: Gen 31:26-29, Ex 15:1-2, Exodus 15:20-21, Ex 32:17-18, Josh 6:1-5, 1 Sam 10:5-7, 1 Sam 16:14-23, 1 Sam 18:6-7, 2 Sam 6:4-8, 1 Chron 13:5-11, 1 Chron 15:15-16 26-29, 1 Chron 16:42 ,1 Chron 25:1-7, 2 Chron 5:11-14, 2 Chron 7:6, 2 Chron 23:11-13, 2 Chron 34:12-13, 2 Chron 35:15,25, Neh 12:31-36, Psalm 27:6, Psalm 33:1-3, Psalm 51:14, Psalm 59:16, Psalm 66:1-4, Psalm 81:1-3, Psalm 89:1, Psalm 95:1-2, Psalm 98:4-6, Psalm 100:1, Psalm 137:1-4, Psalm147:7, Psalm 150:1-6, Eccl 2:8-9, Eccl 12:3-4, Is 5:11-13, Is 30:29, Jer 7:34, Jer 31:7, Lam 5:14, Dan 3:5, 7, 10, 15, Dan 6:18, Amos 6:18, Matt 9:22-24, Matt 26:29-30, Luke 15:24-26, Luke 19:36-40, Acts 16:25-26, 1 Cor 13:1, 1 Cor 14:15, Eph 5:19-19, Col 3:16, James 5:13, Rev 14:2-4, Rev 18:21-23

Links on Music:
Does music still matter? by
Music compatibility in relationships? by
Classical music as crime stopper by
Finding God in Today's Secular Music by
Secular Music Edifies Me by
Don't Listen To Secular Music by
Growth in Faith Makes Reject Secular Rock by
Is Listening To Secular Music a Sin? by
Secular Music In Church? by
Using Secualr Music in Christian Worship by
Christian Rock ApologeticsIs
Rock and Roll Inherently Bad?

Testimonies About Rock by Young People
Rock Music by Probe Ministries
Alice Cooper Builds Phoenix Youth Center by AZ Republic

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Various Current Events

Study links the pill to artery-clogging plaque by USA Today
Republicans say ENDA harms religious freedom by CNS News
House passes ENDA ban on discrimination by Fox News
Outsourcing wombs in India by CNS News
Joe McCarthy was right, Author says by CNS News
CSU students not ready to make nice by
Robertson for Giuliani; Brownback for McCain by
Student kills 8 in Finland by Washington Post
Fred Thompson's Blunder by Robert Novack,
Meet The Press transcript from November 4th by MSNBC
Thompson defense 100% pro-life record by Christian Post
Weather Channel Founder: Global warming scam by
Mike Huckabee: A conservative social gospel by CS Monitor
Senate scrutinizes ministries' finances by Christianity Today
China bans Bibles from 2008 Olympics by Christian Post
China Says No Bible Ban at Olympics by Int'l Herald Tribune
The Robertson effect? by Hugh Hewitt,
Surprise fires tennis instructor for past porn by
Man jailed in school sex case by
NJ law requires pharmacies to give plan B by CNS News
Golden Compass movie and atheism by Christian Post
Pastors Pledge To Write Own Sermons by Christian Post
Women: Knocking yourself up by Newsweek
Twin survives abortion attempt by
Does 1st Am. protect highly offensive speech? by
Peace of mind when they ask to borrow the car by NY Times
Baseball must shake its fear of instant replay by MSNBC
Adding umpires would make sense by
Instant replay in baseball? No by
Illegalizing illegals by William F. Buckley,

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

WW--Children Should Not Obey Their Parents

~How do you expect them to learn but through their mistakes?
~When you tell them to not do something, that lesson doesn’t really have the weight of a real-life experience of the pain of stupidity.
~Parents are often wrong.
~What about those cases where parents are telling their kids to do something awful or evil?
~You can’t simultaneously complain about how immoral most Americans are and how inept most parents are and then turn around and tell kids to obey these inept, immoral people just because they donated some chromosomes.
~This is what movies and television regularly teach, so how can it not be true?
~Parents are not really aware of the world and children’s needs anyhow. They’re mostly inept bumblers, right?
~Kids are people, too.
~Who died and left you king?
~We all agree that kids need to learn to make their own decisions.
~Things are not right because parents say so, but because they are right. If parents cannot explain it so the kid understands, whose fault is that?
~Tyrannical parents love the idea of submission.
~Don’t you believe in limited government? How is that different?
~If a kid has to live with the consequences of his decisions, then why not let him make them himself?
~God gave them a conscience and speaks to them, too, right?
~How does owning an operational reproductive organs qualify you to make decisions for another person’s life?
~Wasn’t slavery outlawed 150 years ago?
~The Declaration of Independence could have easily been written on behalf of most children.
~Was the 5th Commandment written by a child?
~What if your parent is an atheist?

Post-Show Thoughts: The family is God's greatest gift to us for our personal blessing and development. We learn how to obey our parents so that we can learn three vital things: that the world will require obedience from us, that God will require obedience from us, and how to be a good spouse and parent ourselves. You cannot lead until you know how to follow, and a parent who never learned how to obey his own parents will never make a good parent himself. Learning how to get along with difficult people over whom we don't have power (as kids) is the best preparation for getting along with our spouses and for keeping us from being tyrants over our own children. Of course parents know more than kids, but the duty to obey parents is in place even when the parents are wrong. The tremendous blessings that come from obeying imperfect parents or even having bad ones are rarely understood.

WW--We Should Give Illegal Immigrants Drivers Licenses

~We aren’t willing to deport them all, so we might as well do what we can to make them part of the system we’ve resigned ourselves to letting them be a part of.
~If the federal government would do a better job of closing the border, we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place.
~If they are already driving, we want to be able to track and control accidents that happen.
~Giving them licenses encourages them to stay at the scene of an accident and get liability insurance. Refusing licenses encourages the opposite.
~What are you going to do with all the illegals who are already driving? What’s your alternative?
~Isn’t this already what we do in providing so many necessary social services to illegals such as medical care and schooling?
~Illegal immigrants often want to be as law-abiding as they can be.
~If licenses are available, only the worst sort won’t have them, and that will be useful information to employers and law enforcement officials.
~We need these people, we want these people, we entice these people, and now we want to punish them for responding like any normal person would?
~If people get licenses, it means they have been trained or at least certified to drive safely. That means that people will be better drivers so as to pass the test.
~This isn’t about bringing more people into the country, it’s about being practical about the ones that are already here.
~Are we safer when millions of people are kept out of our licensing system or brought into it?
~Unlicensed drivers are 5x more likely to be involved in fatal accidents.
~The DMV databases are the largest in the country. That’s why law enforcement goest there first to find someone. Is it better for police to have access to information on these people or no such access?

Research Links:
State needs DLs for foreign nationals by Sacramento Bee
Poll: 77% oppose illegals' licenses by Washington Times
Frequently Asked Questions by
A DL Policy To Make New York Safer by
Illegal Immigrant DLs: Here We Go Again by
Spitzer explains licenses for illegal immigrants by
Should Illegal Aliens Get DLs? by
Driver's Licenses For Illegal Immigrants? by LA Times
The Democratic Debate Transcript on MSNBC by NY Times
Illegal License by Kathleen Parker,
"REAL ID" Act by Wikipedia
15 states license illegals to drive by World Net Daily

Post-Show Thoughts: I fail to see how the fact that we've made life in America too enticing can be the problem and making life more enticing in America can be the solution. I'm the guy you want to persuade on this issue, but I just can't wrap my mind around imagining an illegal immigrant standing at the DMV saying, "I am an illegal immigrant, and I would like to have a drivers license," and the representative of the government saying, "Okay." If you show up at a government office and confess to being a criminal, they shouldn't ignore that, even though I agree this is not the great crime against humanity that many anti-immigrant people claim it is. Perhaps I'm being simple-minded about all this, but my view is clear. We have no business talking about what to do with all the illegal immigrants who are already here and coming here daily until we take real steps to stop that from happening more. Border security first. Remedying the problem within our borders second. Always in that order. Anything that alleviates the pain of failing to control the borders will also drain away the impetus to control them. I want a big wall and a huge door, and until I get it, you'll never have my support for any other remedy, even though I have tremendous sympathy for the current situation of people here already. I dont want to see more of them in this position. Hence I want a solution that will actually be a solution before we talk about anything else.

Here are some analogies to consider:
  • This is like saying to all the people who own guns illegally and are carrying them around, “Just come and get your concealed carry permit since you’re already doing it.”
  • If there was an epidemic of 14 year olds driving illegally, would we respond by saying that we should just issue them licenses since they’re already driving illegally?
  • "Hey you, yeah, the one selling crack on the street corner, here’s your business permit so you can pay taxes even though we’re going to still make it illegal to do what you do."
  • Kids are going to have sex anyway, so you might as well give them condoms and let them stay in the guest room where at least they won’t get muscle cramps the way they might in the back of a car.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Original Sin

What did Adam do to us? Did he make us mortal? Did he make us inclined toward evil? Did he steal from us eternal life? Did he cause us all to go to hell? Did he give us a soul-disease? But how can a just God punish children for something their parents chose? What happens when children die? Can a person be a Christian without affirming the doctrine of original sin? We’ll discuss it.

Links on Original Sin:
Original Sin by Wikipedia
Original Sin by
Original Sin, by John Wesley by
Originally Sinful? by
Are We Punished by Adam's Sin? by
Born Guilty by
God is unfair to blame us for Adam's sin by
Are Men Born Sinners? by

Doctrine of Original Sin by
Myth: Original Sin by
The Doctrine of Original Sin by
Original Sin: A Disputation by
The Doctrine of Original Sin by

Thursday, November 1, 2007

WW--Baptism Doesn't Matter

  • It’s just a symbol, not a sacrament.
  • If someone doesn’t get baptized, what’s the consequence?
  • Many of the fights within Christianity have been over doctrines of no consequence, this being a key example. If people would just accept that it doesn’t matter, then we could have a lot more unity. Besides, most of the people who really squabble about baptism have views of it that entail it not really mattering anyhow. Like Baptists.
  • The thief on the cross was saved without baptism.
  • All Jesus wants is to be invited into your heart. Rev 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me.”
  • Salvation is by praying and confessing Jesus, not by being baptized.
  • We are saved by the blood of Jesus, not by baptism.
  • Those who are baptized are already saved. It doesn’t save you.
  • John 3:16 says that all we need to do is believe in Him.
  • Romans 10 doesn’t mention baptism at all.
  • Ephesians 2 says a person is saved by faith, not by works.
  • Acts 3:19 says to repent and turn to God, not to be baptized.
  • Acts 16:30-31 says to believe and you will be saved, not be baptized.
  • The Bible teaches that the just shall live by faith, not by baptism.

Response/Post-show thoughts: The troubling thing is that the choice to say baptism is "merely" a symbol logically entails the conclusion that it doesn't matter. My wedding ring is a symbol of my marriage. Truly, wearing it is without import. And the question to ask is, "If it's merely a symbol, what is the consequence if someone doesn't do it?" Saying that not doing it has no consequence is the same as saying it doesn't matter. I have long said that being baptized is the first act of obedience of every Christian, and that, if someone confesses Christ and refuses to be baptized, something is very wrong. I'm moving much more in the direction of an even stronger, sacramental view. How do we get access to the blood of Christ? By being in His Body. How are we put into His Body? By baptism.

If we study Acts, every event of salvation is accompanied by baptism. The epistles contain things that can be construed as not mandating baptism, but remember that these are written to already Christians as well as the same epistles that talk about salvation also talking about baptism in other parts. Romans 6, Ephesians 4, etc. John 3 is a total mistake since right in the beginning of the passage water is said to be necessary. Hebrews 6 specifically says repentance, faith, and baptism are basic doctrines. Even the thief on the cross, a much over-emphasized counterexample in my opinion, was not a Christian. Jesus hadn't died and been raised yet. Besides, it's possible (though only conjecturable) that he had been baptized by John, who baptized lots of unlisted people in the region. The mistake of many (myself included in the past) is thinking that baptism is something we do. It's not. God does it, according to Colossians 2:12. Bathing and saying some words does not accomplish baptism, faith and the Spirit of God accomplish it.

There are 10 times in Acts where conversions occur, and each one shows people being baptized. None of them involve private acts of prayer alone, and such prayer is not even mentioned as normative. If someone says that baptism is not an essential component of a completed salvation, the burden of proof is on them to explain why baptism matters at all, why it was historically thought to be essential, and why there are no examples of salvation without it in Acts. This is nothing but the logical conclusion of beliving that it matters, which even those who call it merely symbolic surely do. Even Luther said in the small catechism:

"What does Baptism give or profit?--Answer. It works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare."

It took me years to come even near this view, and I don't expect many will quickly accept it. That's okay. But beware thinking that I'm somehow adding something to the Gospel that wasn't already in there according to the New Testament. It's my view that many (myself included) have taken away essential things from It, much to my theological chagrin. Please post your thoughts. I more than anything want to get this right, especially if I've got it wrong now.

WW--It's Wrong To Evangelize

  • It’s disrespectful.
  • It’s offensive.
  • Many people find it burdensome to think that it’s their obligation to share the Gospel.
  • God will save whom He saves, and God does the saving anyhow.
  • Do you really think your unwillingness to evangelize is going to keep some of God’s chosen out of heaven?
  • In many places it’s illegal.
  • It violates freedom of religion to try to force your beliefs upon others.
  • It leads people to do all sorts of collaterally immoral things such as proselytize in the classroom, distract from workplace activities, accost strangers who are minding their own business, and co-opt the government to your religious concerns.
  • Most evangelism efforts haven’t yet earned the right to speak into someone’s life.
  • Leads you to think that salvation is something you accomplish for others.
  • Does God really need your inept help?
  • Better to pray and wait
  • It puts people on edge about what the real nature of your relationship is.
  • It causes self-righteous people to neglect doing good works of humanitarian service when they don’t feel they can attach Jesus’s name to them.
  • Not everyone is good at it, and even if some are, the ones who aren’t really aren’t.
  • It tends to reduce to Gospel to oversimplified plans, which falsely gives people the sense they are saved when they are not.
  • If we weren’t so worried about notches in our evangelism stick, we could just be friends, pray, build relationships, serve others, and let God do the work.
  • Who do you think you are to take away someone else’s unbelief?
  • Humility must admit that you may be mistaken, and, if so, now you’ve led other people into your error.
  • When you push, people either push back or run away, generally.
  • How many people really like used-car salesmen?
  • A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.
  • If you aren’t open to becoming whatever they are, it’s immoral to expect them to be interested in becoming what you are. It’s a one-sided relationship.
  • Manufacturing a need and finding a need are not the same thing. Most people who evangelize don’t realize this.
  • There are so many ways evangelism is done wrong that it’s better to not do it at all.
  • Contributes to a one-approach-fits-all mindset.

Response/Post-show thoughts: Evangelism is at the core of what it means to be Christian. Christianity without evangelism is not Christianity. Clearly, it's our command from Jesus Himself. If we are grateful for what has been done for us, then we will demonstrate that by wanting to give others the chance to experience the same grace. Still, our obligation is to do so lovingly and without adding offense to the Gospel itself. If people are offended, the important thing is that they be offended at God and not at us, His inept ambassadors.