lyrics to Bella Thorne's TTYLXOX begin with "..be my [best friend forever] 'cause [I don't know] what's coming next." Great music, but the words are profound. They are right in line with what Timothy and Kathy Keller say in The Meaning of Marriage, page 94. In a section titled "The Freedom of Promising" they credit Lewis Smedes as saying, "No German Shepherd ever promised to be there with me. No home computer ever promised to be a loyal help.. Only a person can make a promise. And when he does, he is most free." Yes, he is saying that by making a promise you become free, because you are no longer at the mercy of your environment. You have decided. Likewise, the person to whom you make a promise becomes free, because they know one place in their environment on which they may count, even when they don't know what's coming next everywhere else. The truth is the opposite of what we expect: A marriage commitment is the freedom both partners really seek.
Archive for the ‘Culture & society’ Category
I just uploaded four videos to You Tube. They are actually one presentation that I have made in person to audiences all over the world–in public and private schools, from high school students to graduate students and adults in many settings. It points out how many of our views we have taken on unknowingly, and how sometimes we hold contradictory ideas, because we have never really thought about what we have bought into.
The series is entitled “How Do You Know What You Know, and Who Told You So?: The cultural basis of religion and knowledge.”
Part 1: Culture defined
Part 2: The layers of culture
Part 3: World views
Part 4: World view implications
Please check them out. I would appreciate your comments, either here or on You Tube.
This is illustrative of what Alexander Solzhenitsyn, in his 1978 address at Harvard”, referred to as “legalistic life.” He saw in America at that time that “the limits of human rights and righteousness are determined by a system of laws.” If it’s not against the law, then it must be my right.
It reminds me of young children who check to see if their parents are looking before they cross the street. They are not mature enough to know that they should check the streets for what is safe, not the parents for what is allowed. The person who passed me only demonstrated concern for the law, not the kids for whom the law was written.
Solzhenitsyn observed that of us over 30 years ago. God help us if we have become as a nation so immature that our only conscience is the law.
The Obama response to the discovery of Qur’an burning is yet another example of how we fail to recognize the true role of religion in our world views. The response of an apology was a Christian response, that is, whether he claims it or not, it came out of Obama’s Christian world view. Because he fails to recognize the influence of religious world view even on his own thinking, he thinks he was just doing “the right thing” to satisfy anyone. The result is increased violence and Americans dead. How was this followed up? More American statesmen apologizing even more profusely. I saw a talk show tonight on which a person defended both responses as “the right thing to do,” even if it is misunderstood by the Muslims we hope to appease.
This is inconsistent thinking, and comes purely from ignorance of world views—one’s own and that of others. The political thing to do is what works, and this is not working. If one seeks to do “the right thing,” then one must acknowledge a basis for right and wrong, which must be religious, which is anathema to this president and many talking heads. (Forgive me for using a religious word to describe them.) They don’t realize that they think an apology will calm their enemies, because Christianity is built on forgiveness—you repent and are saved. Islam is not, nor is any other world religion. What was witnessed was interpreted as groveling, which is to say vulnerability and opportunity for attack.
The reason the Qur’ans were collected and burned, along with other books in the prison library, was because we had freely made religious texts available to Muslim prisoners. The prisoners took advantage of this courtesy by writing in the margins of these books to pass messages to each other and stir up trouble among prisoners. Once that was figured out, the books were collected and destroyed. What a missed opportunity!
Doesn’t anyone in the current administration know that writing in a Holy Book, be it Bible or Qur’an, is desecration in the Muslim mind? These prisoners were desecrating the holy writings of Allah through his servant Mohammed! A little research should have prepared the responsible Americans to say, “We stopped the desecration! Now, Muslim world, what should we do with the damaged Holy Books?”
Instead they are scratching their heads and wondering why an apology isn’t working. Just as science is not driven by logical, non-religious fact, neither is politics. We will continue to burn communication bridges if we do not acknowledge that our belief, or non-belief, in God underlies all our thinking and behavior, as well as that of others.
I usually avoid politically hot topics in this blog, but this one is so right-on-target with culture and science issues. “Obama Administration Defends Contraception Rule Amid Mounting Criticism,” Huffington Post article Feb 8, is Exhibit A, because it so misrepresents the real issue, thus illustrating the point. The Obama administration doesn’t get it either.
“White House spokesman Jay Carney also sought to diffuse criticism from church leaders, telling reporters later on Tuesday the administration would work with religious organizations ‘to see if the implementation of the policy can be done in a way that allays some of those concerns.’
So far in the article, several key points can be made about missing the point:
1. What the Administration and the Huffington Post call “Contraception,” the Catholic Church sees as contradiction to God’s intent within marriage and license outside of marriage.
2. When the Administration’s spokesman says, “the administration would work with.. to see if the implementation.. can be done,” it implies there is no compromise on the ruling,
3. And that the Catholic position is only a “concern,” not a mandate from God.
The White House thinks it can discuss with the Catholic Church how the Catholic Church can compromise its policy. It’s not a policy! What the White House doesn’t understand is that some people actually believe in God so much that it affects their behavior.
This is the cultural point: Our behavior is the result of what we believe, not what we say we believe. People can say they believe in God and be totally OK with contradicting what they say is God’s Word when they think the two realms are separate. Unlike Jefferson’s intent, that’s what some people mean when they use the phrase “separation of Church and State.” They mean that God has no practical effect on this world or our behavior in it.
Everyone does not agree. To some people God is real. He really matters. He is purpose, meaning, and direction in life. The current White House administration doesn’t believe that. That is why they are surprised at the Catholic outcry, and even if the Administration backs off, it hasn’t changed its worldview. It will happen again.
And if those who are OK with contraception think this isn’t their battle, what happens when the issue is abortion being required in Baptist hospitals for “female health?” What happens when corporations are required to counsel employees to get over their guilt when they actually want to escape from a homosexual life style?
If freedom of religion is only tolerated when it doesn’t affect behavior, then there is no freedom of religion.
Some philosophers and/or scientists today argue that the mind is the product of the brain. This is a natural corollary to their presupposition that only the material exists. But I wonder if they have stopped to consider that the only way they are aware of the material is through their minds. It would therefore be more logical to argue that the mind is the origin of the brain and all things material. It is the beginning of all experience, material or not.
I have listened inattentively to radio talk shows and call-ins for years. Don’t eat while listening, because they definitely are not good for digestion. They talk of degeneration in our culture and of how government is taking away our basic religious freedoms. Morality takes a backseat to economics. They are disturbing, because of how correct they are. I have mentally joined in on the complaining, even if I have not called in.
But in a democracy, who can we blame? No, I don’t think we need a push for more Christians involved in politics. Yes, we do need more, but that is hardly the core problem. A democratic society merely reflects the people, and Christian leaders can only do so much when society is going the other way.
We complain about how Thomas Jefferson is misrepresented today on the “separation of church and state” issue, and yet why has it only been a problem in the last 50 years? Maybe it’s because for the last 100 years we have separated God from our state of mind.
Does my Christian service begin and end with attending “services?” Does reading my Bible affect the way I live? Do I talk with Him as I walk through my day, or is that just for my “prayer time?” If not, then I deserve my government. Correction begins with deciding whether God is real in my own life.
No more separation.
I have to say something. Academic Freedom acts are happening to the chagrin of well-organized oppositions. By mid-February of this year the NCSE sounded the alarm that bills for the protection of teachers in relation to teaching balance in science controversy had already been proposed in seven separate state legislatures. Last week, HB368 passed in the Tennessee House by a vote of 70 to 28, hardly close, and opposition confesses that the identical Senate bill, SB368, will probably pass and be signed into law.
The fascinating thing is that the major groups in opposition to such legislature all claim to be protecting science, yet this bill and others like it only promote the teaching of more science, not less. The opposition constantly speaks of religion being snuck into the classroom, of Creationism and Intelligent Design, while the bills speak of helping students learn to think critically. The bills often contain specific paragraphs saying religious interpretations are expressly prohibited. They must say it because of the accusations of the opposition, not because of any suggestive wording in the bills themselves.
The more the opposition focuses on non-issues and objects to teaching critical thinking, the more suspect is their confidence in how scientific their positions really are.
On July 22, 2010 The Chronicle of Higher Education ran a story by Peter Schmidt entitled, “Augusta State U. Is Accused of Requiring a Counseling Student to Accept Homosexuality.”
The first line reads, “A graduate student in school counseling is accusing Augusta State University in federal court of violating her constitutional rights by demanding that she work to change her views opposing homosexuality.”
The article seems factual and written with balance. Though the entire article is only 539 words, it had by midnight of that day received 52 comments, totaling 7,375 words. A few were well thought out; most were not. I didn’t spot any in favor of the plaintiff’s position. One (the next day) said that all Christians were not as narrow minded as those fundamentalists that hold such positions as “wives obey thy husbands.” (Which is nowhere in the Bible.) In any case, the very first comment pretty well illustrates the major problem with the popular view of science today:
July 22, 4pm: “If she believes that the earth is flat and the moon is made of green cheese will she pass science? It seems to me that the issue is that she accepts what is shown to be true by the weight of scientific evidence. Where scientific consensus is lacking, she may be more free to assert her individual (or ideological) views.”
It’s hard to get along in the world, let alone make progress, unless we trust general consensus to be true most of the time. It is sad, however, when people assume that general consensus is fact, proven by science. How about assuming consensus, just because objections are not heard? This is not just a testimony to gullibility; it is far worse. It is an indication of how low science has gone in the minds of the public. Search the web. Search your libraries. There are no (as in zero) defendable research articles out there that have identified a homosexual gene. Remember that the people who subscribe to, and are therefore available to comment on articles in, The Chronicle of Higher Education are presumably higher educators. We should not assume therefore that all higher educators hold their views from true science. They may in fact be blind to it.
The 2010 movie release of The Clash of the Titans is a far cry from the actual Greek myth upon which it is supposedly based, but one of the most intriguing is its synthesis of modern Christian mythology.
Modern mythology says that God created man because He needed to be worshipped, just as is portrayed in this movie. This is not in the Bible. The movie says that God created us as an act of love. This is in the Bible, but love is defined differently.
Then there’s the part about God having a son with human body. The classic Greek myth had this, but only as the result of promiscuity, not an eternal plan.
But the movie writers could not resist one last reference to Christianity when Zeus and Perseus face off at the end. (I don’t think this is going to ruin the movie for any still eager to see it, since any plot is quite secondary to the action and graphics.) After the defeat of the gods, Zeus says that he let the humans win. He then says in affect to his son that he wanted the worship of mankind, but it wasn’t worth the sacrifice of his son. According to the Bible, God does not attempt to force love or worship from us. That’s a contradiction of terms, as defined in the Bible. But then there’s the sacrifice part. According to the Bible, even if He leaves with us the right to reject Him, God thinks the sacrifice is worth it.