By In Scribblings

Abortion’s Logical Insanity

The now viral five-minute segment with James Franco’s Philosophy Time took a turn for the worst when Princeton Professor Liz Harman attempted to articulate a rationale for abortion. She summarizes:a

But, what I think is actually among early fetuses there are two very different kinds of beings. So, James, when you were an early fetus, and Eliot, when you were an early fetus, all of us I think we already did have moral status then. But we had moral status in virtue of our futures. And future of fact that we were beginning stages of persons. But some early fetuses will die in early pregnancy due to abortion or miscarriage. And in my view that is a very different kind of entity. That’s something that doesn’t have a future as a person and it doesn’t have moral status.

The segment highlighted that the abortion logic is bankrupt. The argument is that morality is only endowed to a fetus if we allow the baby to have a future. The if is determined by the mother’s choice to grant the fetus life outside the womb. Over the years, pro-choice advocates have worked hard to establish the right of the woman to not choose life. Of course, the benefits of allowing the fetus to grow all 40 weeks, the benefits of life itself and by what authority a woman’s decision can determine the moral status of a fetus are not discussed. Philosophizing about such ideas would be self-defeating.

In essence, abortion’s logic is insane. For all the talk about morality and status, the abortion academia now proclaims a rationale devoid of morality to prove the morality of killing an unborn human being. This is insane! And I like to think James Franco’s befuddled reaction means he knows it also.

  1. The entire transcript is on Daily Wire  (back)

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C. S. Lewis and the #FakeNews of Atheism

I’ve read C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity several times but I’ve never read his second essay (“Miracles”) in the collection, God in the Dock, until this afternoon. It was a “sermon” he preached on November 26, 1942.

It far out-powers what I remember of Mere Christianity, and it is, no matter what Van Til said about Lewis or any other mistakes Lewis might have made, Presuppositionalist.

The collection also contains a column he wrote for the Coventry Evening Telegraph, published on January 3, 1945. It is chapter 7: “Religion and Science.” Written to be more popularly accessible, Lewis promoted some concepts that he had also argued for in “Miracles” in the form of a remembered conversation with a skeptic.

But he also added one: that there was a conspiracy of disinformation behind the widely held belief that the ancients were ignorant about nature.

“These are rather niggling points,” said my friend. “You see, the real objection goes far deeper. The whole picture of the universe which science has given us makes it such rot to believe that the Power at the back of it all could be interested in us tiny creatures crawling about on an unimportant planet! It was all so obviously invented by people who believed in a flat earth with the stars only a mile or two away”

“When did people believe that?”

“Why, all those old Christian chaps you’re always telling about did. I mean Boethius and Augustine and Thomas Aquinas and Dante.”

At which point Lewis pulls Ptolemy’s Almagest off his bookshelf and read that first paragraph of Book 1, chapter 5, which indicates Ptolemy, who was the authority throughout the Middle Ages, know that the stars were an unimaginable distance away.

“Did the really know that then?” said my friend. “but — none of the histories of science — none of the modern encyclopedias — ever mention the fact.”

“Exactly,” said I. “I’ll leave you to think out the reason. It almost looks as if someone was anxious to hush it up, doesn’t it? I wonder why.”

And then Lewis emphasizes the point in his conclusion.

The real problem is this. The enormous size of the universe and the insignificance of the earth were known for centuries, and no one ever dreamed that they had any bearing on the religious question. Then, less that a hundred years ago, they are suddenly trotted out as an argument against Christianity. And the people who trot them out carefully hush us that fact that they were known long ago. Don’t you think that all you atheists are strangely unsuspicious people.


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Chesterton’s 4th of July Exhortation

G.K. Chesterton spoke pertinently to many national issues. As we approach the 4th of July, I would like to offer a couple of thoughts from Chesterton’s great hymn, O God of Earth and Altar. His words are rather applicable to our country.

Chesterton writes after appealing to God for help:  “O God… our earthly rulers falter.” Indeed they do falter which is why God warns us not to trust in horses and chariots; that is, don’t trust in political powers to solve our spiritual needs. God throughout history is constantly changing the political class a way of showing his everlasting rule and man’s temporary reign. When kings and rulers falter for too long, He replaces them. In God’s political cycle, there is always change and newness of life because man’s political cycle always falters.

In verse 2, Mr. Chesterton writes: “From lies of tongue and pen, from all the easy speeches that comfort cruel men…” Have we not become so easily seduced by political rhetoric? We are as a nation more prone to being drawn by political speeches than biblical language. The Gospel calls us to draw near, and we say, “Let me first hear the lies of tongue and pen of earthly rulers.” Chesterton says, “Deliver us, good Lord!” from this kind of fanaticism and blatant disregard of your holy laws. We are comforted by false things in this nation when the abiding truth is that only the Gospel promises true comfort.

Finally, Chesterton petitions God to “bind our lives together, smite us and save us all.” This is a bit of a Psalmic imprecation from Chesterton’s pen. He is longing for a form of death/resurrection in the lives of God’s people. In other words, make us faithful citizens who wield a “single sword”, that is, a faithful Gospel proclamation to crush our dependence on earthly rulers and to satisfy our hunger in the divine ruler of all creation, Jesus Christ.

Our country will only survive if our pride is taken away. Our freedoms will only last when the thunder of God is proclaimed when the peoples clap their hands and sing for joy to a ruler who will never falter, never sleep, and never die. Let us pray to our God of earth and altar!

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America’s Angst

Time Magazine’s new edition entitled: “Anxiety, Depression and the American Adolescent” is a fascinating journey through the angst of this millennial generation. While they are easily stereo-typed as undisciplined and shallow, the story and the psychology behind it are rather complex. The author offers solutions, even helpful ones, but forgets the centrality of internalized religion in the formation of healthy adolescence. One author states that we are “the first generation that cannot escape our problems at all.” Problems range from “hyperconnectedness” to “overexposed.” These are real problems which I have tried to address in other environments. The further dimension to the angst of our age is the excessive expectations placed on our children, the author asserts. The college application process has become more demanding forcing many teens to abandon real face-to-face interactions to virtual relations in order to keep up with the demands of education and the need to qualify for scholarships.

Parents fail to provide the kind of psychological support to provide adolescents the mental assurances that their worth is not found in their grades but in something else. The author, however, fails to incorporate the ultimate rationale for the modern adolesccence angst; namely, the absence of Christ Jesus in their formational years.

As Christians we need to create an environment for our children where proper pressure is placed, but not abused; where grades play a role in their formation, but not the essence of their identity. We need redeemed intellects and beautiful hearts. Therefore, we need to re-analyze the expectations we have for our children and ask if such expectations meet the standard Jesus set for his own disciples: “What profit is there if someone gains the world (academic, athletic, etc.) but lose his own soul?”

Our society is undergoing a general angst. Technology, academic and social pressures exist, but the fundamental angst of our teenagers is a distorted view of their own reality and identity. We need to remind them of who they are daily, continually, lest their problems consume them and they lose sight of whom they serve.

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Self-Attesting Reality

Image result for sacred/secularHow we read the Bible speaks volumes about our demeanor towards culture. If I cannot think biblically about any reality or decision-making process I am making myself subservient to extra-biblical authorities. If I am incapable of commencing my thinking biblically I am just as capable of abandoning my Christian categories. It is the great compromise of our age that we hold on firmly to “God and Country” but fail to know what God requires of us who are called to think and speak as citizens of a heavenly country. We have allowed the presuppositions of pagans to guide the thinking of the pious. Our theory of knowledge is inescapably secular. We have retired our Sunday hats after church and replaced it with the hats of neutrality and unbelief. I have found that people’s passions run deep…for the wrong causes. In fact, they have so engaged in secular pieties that they have established social structures, hierarchies, right and wrong categories, stipulations, and judgment to systems and promises that show utter contempt for the God of the Bible. What guides your thinking of reality? What gives shape to your decision-making? The redeemed man is led by the self-attesting reality of God’s word. Begin and end with truth

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Obsession with the End

When I was younger, fascination with how the world was going to end was an all-consuming passion. I read the books, marked the proof-texts, speculated alongside Bible prophecy “experts,” and proclaimed the Gospel that the “end is near.” Almost 20 years have gone by since I left that world. What fascinates me today is not so much the chronology of the end, but the joys of the present. God is doing a work in our midst. He is building awe among his creatures. And we must see the good he is doing around us, lest we miss his good gifts. Here is what I know: Fairy tales are good and noble. Giggles from children are beautiful, community life is sublime, the Church is motherly, and the “love of wife,” to quote Luther, is desirable. Obsession with the end robs us of the present joys. Your eschatology forms your theology of the present.

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Experiential Genealogies

It is hard to read the story of the prodigal son and not be undone by the grief of the father and his jubilance as his son returns. Can you read that story and simply conclude: “Well, that young man certainly made a rational decision to come back home?” I doubt the common man stops there. He immerses in the agony and glory of this reconciliation story. It’s a kind of death and resurrection narrative. But our tendency is to see this experience as unique in the Bible. Everything else is propositional truth which serves the purpose of enlightening our minds and nothing else. What if, however, these propositions are meant to change our experiences? What if genealogies, temple tools, and descriptions of sacrificial rituals were meant to build us in truth and enhance our emotional taste buds to the entire meal of Scriptures? What if these “random” details were meant to make us more human and better friends and worshipers? What if Paul was right when he said, “All Scripture is profitable for training in righteousness?” Have we become selective in what is profitable and what is not? All texts shape us, even the ones we choose to overlook.

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