Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wacky Wednesday--Libertarianism Is Right

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~Don’t impose your beliefs on other people.
~Government is best that governs least.
~Liberty is the essential reason for this country’s existence and the greatest explanation for its greatness.
~You can’t legislate morality.
~Government is by the consent of the governed, which means that authority vests ultimately in the individual.
~Government exists to protect my life, liberty, and property. These rights begin with me, and if I don’t believe government is protecting them properly, who are they to say I’m wrong?
~We should always err on the side of personal liberty unless all people are absolutely convinced that a behavior harms other people significantly.
~If it doesn’t harm anyone else, let it be legal.
~Everything but libertarianism is either predicated upon theft (violating property) or coercion (depriving liberty).

Wacky Wednesday--We Shouldn’t Care About The Environment


Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~We are commanded to subdue the earth, not be friends with it.
~Nature exists for us to use as we will.
~We are supposed to have dominion over the earth. Does that sound like something a granola would say?
~Every conflict between human interests and the interests of nature or of animals result in a win for the humans because only humans are created in the image of God.
~Environmentalists raise up both animals and sometimes even plants or rocks to a status morally equivalent to humans. They cry over trees and squirrels, but not people.
~When you start down the path of caring about the environment, how do you stop from becoming a ~Buddhist, who believes it is evil to kill a mosquito?
~We always find ways to solve these problems anyhow, so why worry about them?
~Eco-terrorism is the most common kind of terrorism in America.
~Environmentalists are atheistic or pantheistic and at the very least naturalistic, as opposed to being Christians.

Links:
Second coming ecology (Christianity Today)
Creation care: no less than stewards (Christianity Today)
Creation care: as much as God is (Christianity Today)
The Gulf of Mexico and creation (Christianity Today)
Why we love the earth (Christianity Today)
Creation care: depends on one’s gifts (Christianity Today)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Theological Tuesday

~The parables of Jesus: the hidden treasure and the costly pearl (Matthew 13)
~Do good works matter?
~Why do Jews not embrace Jesus as the Messiah?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ethics: No-Fault Divorce

The only state which does not currently allow “no-fault” or unilateral divorce is New York. But the legislature appears poised to finally change their laws to be more in conformity with the other states. This of course raises the question of whether no-fault divorce is a good thing, as opposed to fault-based divorce. It also raises the question of whether there might not be some alternate way to handle divorce and marriage in our country or locality.

Television You Love And Hate

Television is a major component of current American culture, even of the meaning of our civilization. It’s importance can even be seen in the fact that people raise the question of addiction, impact on education, impact on health, and even whether it constitutes a religious activity. Since it’s so important, I figured it might be fun just to talk about what are good and bad shows, and even talk about how to decide what to watch.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wacky Wednesday--Imagination And Creativity Are Bad

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~People with little imagination are actually happier because they are unable to imagine things being very much better. Therefore, they learn to simply be content with what they have.
~Perceived loss of alternatives is one of the greatest sources of regret and misery, which requires imagination.
~Option paralysis plagues people because they are overwhelmed with imagining all the things they are giving up in making any particular choice.
~You can’t keep your nose to the grindstone and your shoulder to the wheel when your head is in the clouds.
~Lust is highly dependent on imagination.
~If God created this world as it is, aren’t you rejecting His wisdom by imagining it otherwise?
~Make-believe is just a way of becoming gradually more and more frustrated with reality.
~No imagination, no fantasies. No fantasies, no frustration with failing to achieve that which is impossible.
~All this cultural investment in dreaming and in following your heart has made us a nation of idiots and fools.
~As Cinderella taught us, a dream is a wish your heart makes, and what is that but investing your heart in something God hasn’t seen fit to give you?
~A good basic definition of creativity is knowing how to effectively break the rules. Thus, by definition almost, creativity is anarchic.

Wacky Wednesday--Politicians Shouldn’t Be Honest

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~Opponents aren't, and you have to compete with them to win.
~The stakes are too high to put principles like honesty above the need for victory.
~All of politics is compromise with our principles.
~You can't do anything good (or stop evil) if you aren't in office.
~Nobody really cares that politicians lie, in part because we all believe they all do it.
~If you don't tell people what they want to hear, they won't vote for you.
~Given the foolishness of people, lying is the only plausible option.
~Even if you're caught, there is always a way to nuance and spin out of it.
~Journalists lie about you, why should you bother starting by telling the truth anyhow?
~People say they want honest politicians, but they also say they hate the news being so negative all the time. And yet news media based on positive news only, just like honest politicians, never succeeds.
~It's okay to lie to your enemy in warfare, and democracy is proxy warfare.
~If deception is allowed in all sorts of inconsequential games, such as in sports, cards, board games, etc. and of course in warfare, why not in politics also?
~People clearly show that they don’t want to know the truth based on how they vote for dishonest politicians.
~It’s more important for us to have faith in our leaders than for them to be men who really deserve that faith. So we want to be lied to in order to preserve our rosy view of government.
~It doesn’t matter whether they lie. It matters whether they successfully guide the Republic in a good direction.
~Effective lying is a vital negotiating tool amongst legislators, so vetting a candidate for his ability to lie is just a way of getting highly qualified candidates.

Links:
Why politicians should lie (US News)
Why politicians should lie about their sex lives
Why politicians have to lie (Thinking Hard)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Theological Tuesday

Topics for today:
What is the purpose of evangelism?
What is sin?
Do good works matter?


Monday, June 21, 2010

Ethics: What Are Your Fathering Goals?

Any farmer knows that the growing season takes time. That’s why it would be so absurd to yell at the ground for not showing corn on day 8. It would also rather obviously be silly to complain about not reaping corn after having planted broccoli. One of the basic ideas my dad has taught me is the importance of knowing what you’re trying to accomplish with your kids and, perhaps even more importantly, when you’re intending to see the result. Since this is something that far too few fathers really sit down to figure out, I thought it would be useful to collaborate on our fathering goals on the air.

Things You Learned From Your Dad or Grandpa

We all learn things from our fathers and grandfathers (and perhaps step-dads and step-granddads as well) that, in some ways, are hard to identify. After all, how well do we know where any particular ability or bit of knowledge we possess came from originally? But there are also certain activities, skills, or insights that we all know came from these men in our lives. So I thought it would be fun today to share with each other what our fathers have meant to us by identifying the things they taught us.

Bible references: Deuteronomy 6:1-25, Psalm 1:1-3, Proverbs 1:8, Matthew 3:13-17, Matthew 7:7-12, Matthew 22:36-40, Ephesians 6:1-4, 1 Timothy 3:1-13, 1 Timothy 5:8, 1 Peter 5:1-4

Links:
Responsibilities of Fatherhood (Bible.org)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wacky Wednesday--Heretics Should Be Executed

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~A proof
1. Murderers should be executed.
2. Heresy is false doctrine which leads people away from salvation.
3. Salvation is a person’s eternal soul destiny, either to be with God or to be in hell.
4. A person’s soul destiny is far more significant than a person’s mere life here and now.
5. Heresy is therefore a worse crime than murder.
6. At the very least, the punishment should be what it is for murder.
~Though it is not in vogue currently, numerous people have been executed for heresy (often even being tortured for it) in the past for precisely these reasons by people who cared about the doctrines of Christ.
~The Old Testament gives us several theological grounds for capital punishment, including blasphemy, Sabbath-breaking, and witchcraft.
~Wouldn’t you rather live in a society which at least takes religious doctrine seriously enough to kill over it rather than one (like ours) where apathy is the public virtue of record?
~Wouldn’t you rather live in a world where the Church had enough authority and political muscle to do something like this?
~The power to excommunicate and to accept into the Body of Christ sort of presupposes the power to do much lesser things, such as to the mere physical body, right?
~Ananias and Sapphira were killed for simply lying to God, let alone leading anyone astray by false doctrine.
~Do you think God shares your view that doctrine is so unimportant that anything should be tolerated?
~Isn’t the world better off without David Koresh and Jim Jones?
~Looking around at modern American society, how sure are you that unfettered freedom of religion is a great thing? Don’t you at least suspect that killing a few heretics along the way would have made things at least a little bit better?
~If you don’t believe in this, I have to wonder how serious you are about saving men’s souls.

Wacky Wednesday--The Golden Rule Is Stupid


Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~Only people who already know what is right are safe to even begin thinking about applying this rule because it presupposes that people already know what is good. For instance, what does a heroin addict want you to do unto him?
~If other people knew you would behave this way, they would totally take advantage of you.
~People should be treated as they deserve, not as you wish they would treat you.
~No one loves his neighbor as much as he loves himself, either in sentiment or in actual daily living.
~If we were serious about this, we wouldn’t have property, savings, investments, or virtually any of the things we currently have, and that’s condemnation enough.
~Jesus says all the law hangs on these two commands, right? So, doesn’t it then mean that this is far too difficult for any of us to do?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Theological Tuesday

~Is it good for Ted Haggard to have a church?
~What is the purpose of evangelism?
~How much time a day is right to pray and read the Bible?
~What is sin?

Bible References: 1 Timothy 3:1-6, Titus 1:5-9

Links:
Haggard announces new church
Ted Haggard (Wikipedia)
Interview with Colorado Springs Independent




Monday, June 14, 2010

Ethics: Sarah Palin and Joe McGinniss

Two weeks ago, Sarah Palin discovered that she had a new neighbor: investigative journalist Joe McGinniss, who has rented the house next to hers while working on his forthcoming book, “Sarah Palin’s Year of Living Dangerously.” She immediately posted her view of this development on Facebook, and the controversy has spiraled quickly into death threats against him and competing accounts of reality. So, although this is a bit remote, I think there’s plenty of interesting ethical analysis to be had here.

Links:
Palin’s Facebook post about Joe McGinnis
Palin’s follow-up post on Facebook

Sarah Palin takes on Joe McGinniss (mild profanity) (Salon)
Joe McGinniss tells his side of the story (Wash Post)

Houses for rent in Wasilla (CraigsList)
Palin’s strange, unprofessional, paranoid grudge (Wash Post)
Palin on with Glenn Beck (The Right Scoop)
Joe McGinniss (Wikipedia)
Joe fires back at Palins (Huffington Post)
Joe and the ABC reporter (Associated Content)

Joe McGinness's prior article on Palin (Portfolio.com)
Another article on Palin by McGinness (The Daily Beast)

Famous Pictures That Moved You

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, perhaps some even more. Since we live in a culture so dominated by images, I thought it would be interesting to hear from you about the famous photos which have had an impact on you. Which ones, and what was the effect?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Various Current Events

Tea Party demonstrator punched by Bush critic (411 Mania)
Supreme Court shifts on Miranda and confession (FindLaw)
Israel without clich├ęs (NYT)
A king/queen for America? (NYT)
Parenting suffers from technology use (NYT)
Taliban bombs Afghan wedding (NYT)
Prop 14 reconfigures CA primaries (NYT)
CA voters approve open primary (LA Times)
Microsoft follows Apple, banning porn on phones (LifeSite)
Coptic Pope rejects Egyptian remarriage ruling (C Post)
90% of Evangelical leaders OK with contraception (C Post)
Saudi man gets 90 lashes for kissing girl in a mall (CNS News)
SB 1070 backlash Hispanics register Democrat (AZR)
Lawmakers want IDs for prepaid cell phones (Fox News)
Sen Burris to allow overseas military abortions (Wash Times)
Health law could uninsured 1 million (Politico)
US 85th in peacefulness in world (Wash Times)
How the Global Peace Index is calculated (Wikipedia)
Publisher puts warning label on Constitution (Fox News)
Sen. candidate wants to cut end-of-life care (Miami Herald)
Bachelor’s degrees for preschool teachers? (Boston Globe)
NJSC limits defendant family rights at sentencing (NJ.com)
400 DC DUI based on flawed test (Wash Post)
FF restaurants: 1 year reprieve on calorie posts (Boston Globe)
Chevrolet memo: “Don’t call it ‘Chevy’ anymore.” (USA Today)
Hispanics fleeing Arizona (USA Today)
Claremont seminary to train Imams and Rabbis, too (LA Times)
Weapons a common catch, say fishermen (Boston Globe)
Reuters photos of Israeli raid edited, denies bias (Fox News)
The 25 hardest working lawmakers (The Hill)
Mortgage interest deduction may go (The Hill)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wacky Wednesday--Television Should Be Illegal

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~It’s tremendously harmful to young children with adverse impact on social skills, brain development, knowledge in general, capacity for self-directed learning, and obesity.
~Pediatricians recommend no TV until age 2-3 at earliest.
~TV has destroyed even the illusion that we have a genuine culture in this country.
~How much time does TV cost you?
~How much money does TV cost you?
~TV is an emotional drug that is currently totally legal and connected to a massively powerful cartel that pushes it’s addictive product on you every single day.
~What would your life be like if you couldn’t waste so much time getting high on television?
~Ask yourself seriously, would we be better or worse or the same if TV had never been invented?
~TV as an image-based medium that cultivates an emotional response is increasingly destroying our capacity for logical, linguistic thought.
~How much TV is really “good” TV? Consider both quality and non-vulgarity.
~Everything TV touches becomes polluted and corrupted by it. Consider just sports and religion, for example.

Wacky Wednesday--Schools Shouldn’t Teach Religion

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~How do you teach religion without indoctrinating?
~How can we be sure it’s being taught without bias?
~Do you want non-Christians teaching the Bible to anyone, let alone to your own children?
~Teachers themselves don’t know enough about religion to teach it.
~It’s unconstitutional because of the separation of Church and State.
~How do you avoid having the children of one religion be drawn away either from devotion to their own religion as uniquely precious or actually toward another religion which their impressionable young minds finds enticing and alluring?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Theological Tuesday

~Is God humble?
~Is Bible reading a sacrament?
~Is it good for Ted Haggard to have a church?
~What is the purpose of evangelism?
~How much time a day is right to pray and read the Bible?

Monday, June 7, 2010

What’s Your Weird Belief Or Superstition?

After reading a story about the Austrian government hiring a Druid to change the magnetic field on a dangerous stretch of highway (and it seeming to have worked), it got me thinking about what sort of things people take seriously, aren’t sure about, and reject seriously. Each of these positions is fairly well staked out for us on a variety of issues, depending on whether we listen to secular authorities or the church or some other source. So I though we could talk about our own views and practices on weird subjects like magnets, cracked mirrors, and lucky numbers.

Links:
Lunacy and the full moon (Scientific American)
Big list of superstitions

Ethics: The Purpose Of American Education

We are always hearing about the failures of our educational system, particularly to impart the proper skills to the next generation of citizens. But reading such a story recently made me stop to ponder what the real purpose of education in America is and should be. For example, is school primarily designed to make students into better people or even better employees or merely to help reveal which ones are better people or better employees to the rest of us? Then, given that the primary paying customer of education is the government (society), what interest does that paying customer have in the product it is funding?

Links:
Funny superstitions (Corsinet)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Teen Challenge of Arizona

Teen Challenge has been operating substance abuse recovery programs based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ here in Arizona for 45 years, and their success rate is an unheard of 86%. Commended by Governor Napolitano, President Bush, and many, many others, Teen Challenge is a unique and powerful program to help people get off drugs and get their lives together by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Join us today as we raise funds for this outstanding local Christian organization. To contribute, you can call (602) 955-9600 or visit Teen Challenge of Arizona.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wacky Wednesday--Government Should Decide What We Eat

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~We already have a federal agency that protects us from unsafe drugs, and even if the FDA makes some mistakes, would you really say that in the name of freedom we should simply let the individual consumer decide what medical claims to trust and which products they should ingest?
~Give me an argument against the government regulating food that doesn’t entail getting rid of the FDA also.
~If a loved one in your life was eating foolishly, wouldn’t you confront him about it and even nag him about it to get him to change? And the only thing that might keep you from forcing him to stop is the feeling that you just can’t succeed? What about all the people who don’t have loving relatives like you in their lives?
~Do you control what kids eat? Why? If adults behave like children, should they just be allowed to do so because they inhabit larger bodies?
~If people consistently misuse freedom, it eventually has to be limited.
~We already do all sorts of things to protect people from themselves such as restrict drugs, prostitution, gambling, failure to wear seat belts, borrowing at exorbitant interest, etc.
~Ask yourself a question: how informed do you think the average person is about nutrition and the real health consequences of all the things he eats? Okay, now what do you think should be done about this vast ignorance? Do you mandate educating people or do you simply curtail or punish the source of the problem?
~Maybe you just need to go visit some foreign countries and see for yourself how obese people in this country are. When we were boarding the El Al flight back to JFK in New York, someone made the comment, “Wow, it’s going to be weird to see fat people again.” And he was right.
~Do you think it’s a God-given right to eat whatever your taste buds want and your wallet can afford?
~Aren’t you supposed to be a good caretaker of the things God has entrusted to you, such as your body?
~Are the rising costs of health care at all related to the way people eat?
~Do you want people to be healthier?
~Do you want people to live longer?
~Aren’t there an awful lot of weak-willed, ignorant, or addicted people out there who need some help making the right choices?
~A heavy meat diet is bad use of land and bad for the environment.
~You know that in principle, even you aren’t totally opposed to the idea of the government making food regulations. The Old Testament did so, requiring a kosher diet for all Jews right? And you even tend to view that diet as being beneficial for people, instituted by God out of His love for His people.
~If the government directly or indirectly is going to have to pay the costs of poor health management, this is just a sensible win-win that both helps people live better and saves the government money at the same time.
~Why should culture or profit define what is a normal diet when science can do a much more effective job of it?

Links:
Why food regulations don’t violate freedom of choice (Findlaw)

Wacky Wednesday--Hoarding Is Healthy

Note: Before reading the following arguments, please understand that they are not what I believe. On Wednesdays, I deliberately argue for wrong ideas, challenging my listeners to call and defend the obvious right answer, which is usually far harder than one would expect. This is a summary of what Wacky Andrew will be arguing, not a representation of what real Andrew believes.

~We have a real problem with trash in this country because everyone just uses stuff and throws it out. Hoarders don’t contribute to this problem.
~Because they have the trash in their own homes, hoarders live a lifestyle which is more honest about its environmental impact.
~Hoarders are sometimes just people who have experienced a terrifying lack of material resources, by living through the Depression or having their parents live through it and pass on the same sort of mindset. How can you hold that against them?
~How does it feel when you sell or throw something out that you later really needed?
~People who have an easy time throwing things out are cold, detached, and unsentimental. They also lack the ability to creatively see the potential uses of things and/or the beauty of them.
~So many people throw out so many useful and interesting and beautiful things!
~Waste not, want not.
~A soda can saved is a soda can earned.
~Who will be laughing when there is a terrorist attack on US soil and all the supermarkets are barren?
~Is a squirrel defective or just prudent? Is there something wrong with ants, possibly the most successful life form on our planet, which even the Bible endorses?
~Some people get an intangible sense of pleasure from order and cleanliness, others get an intangible sense of pleasure from the security of keeping things. How can you say one is inherently superior, especially if it simply isn’t the one that motivates you?
~At the very least, you have to admit that hoarding is probably a very successful strategy developed to fit much scarcer times and therefore is understandable if not virtuous.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Theological Tuesday

~What is the purpose of evangelism?
~How much time a day is right to pray and read the Bible?
~Is Kay Warren right about orphans?
~Should churches honor Mother’s Day?