Monthly Archives: May 2011

All I need to know I learned in kindergarden

Last week my daughter graduated kindergarten. My wife and I decided to send her to public school figuring “what’s the worst she could pick up at such a young age?”. Apparently we were a tad naive.

Here are some of the things my daughter learned this year in her kindergarten class:

Green ideology

My daughter learned that it’s wrong for us to cut down trees for any reason.

While talking with my wife about whether we should obey God or man my daughter made the observation “If a polieceman tells us to cut down a tree, we will have to disobey him?” To which my wife responded by reminding our daughter that God had given us dominion over nature and that cutting down a tree is not morally wrong if we own the tree and have a use for it.

Guns are bad

My daughter now considers guns “the G-word”. She was taught in her class that its wrong to even make a gun with her hands (something her brother does all the time).

What’s also funny about this is that in the 2nd week of school we learned from our daughter that a little boy was running around the playground kissing little girls during recess. So we told her to warn him once and then punch him in the mouth if he ever came near her.

So in the interest of complying with anti-bully laws (which, I later found out, Georgia has some of the first anti-bullying laws on record), we end up planting the seed that self defense of any kind is wrong, especially if it involves the use of a firearm.

Parent’s don’t know best

As responsible parents we want to know what goes on in our daughter’s world. So we make a regular habit of asking everyone in the family how their day went at the dinner table in the evenings. For some reason our daughter picked up this notion that her parents shouldn’t know what goes on in her classroom. That her classroom and her family were two completely seperate worlds.

Of all the things my daughter picked up this past year this one is the most insidious in my opinion. My wife tried to have a conference with our daughter’s teacher but that didn’t change anything.

As parents we also learned that the PTA is not an interface for providing feedback regarding teaching practices and lessons, but rather it is a glorified boosters club directed by teachers and staffed by lemming parents.

So given what my daughter was exposed to in the span of one short year, its no longer a mystery to me why 80% of our children walk away from the faith when they go to college. They are indoctrinated in school and alienated from their parents. And we allow, encourage, and fund it!

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Apologetics for kindergarteners

My daughter came home from school the other week and while talking with my wife about her day she mentioned that one of the boys in her class told them that God doesn’t exist.

As much as I wanted to lay out for her the intricacies of the cosmological argument, the moral argument, the teleological argument, the historical argument, and a whole range of other evidence that points to the existence of God, I knew that my 5 year old, brilliant as she is, would not be able to comprehend them.

So what should I do to 1. combat this challenge she has received to her fledgling faith and 2. strengthen her faith?

The first thing I did was to address the absurdity of the claim that God doesn’t exist. The exchange went as follows:

Daughter: My friend told me that God doesn’t exist.
Me: That’s silly, that’s like me saying that since I didn’t catch God in a glass jar he must not exist.

The purpose of this exchange was to, quite simply, make the assertion that “God doesn’t exist” appear as absurd as it actually is. Universal negatives require omniscience and I have yet to meet an atheist who meets that criteria so it is safe to dismiss that notion outright.

This also helps to teach my daughter that all propositional truth claims require evidence and sound reason in order to be properly substantiated.

Me: Why does your friend think that God doesn’t exist?
Daughter: I dunno.
Me: Probably because his father told him.

I want my daughter to learn how to follow ideas back to their source. In this case its a pretty safe bet that the source of her friend’s belief is his parents. Just like the source of my daughter’s beliefs are her parents. I won’t/can’t provide the reason her friend’s parents’ disbelieve in the existence of God, but I want to whet my daughter’s appetite and let her know that her trust in us is not without warrant.

So I finished our short conversation with.

Me: How do you know that God exists?
Daughter: I dunno, how?
Me: You know God exists because you trust your mommy and daddy. And how do you suppose we know that God exists?
Daughter: How?
Me: We’ve examined the evidence and arguments from both sides and have found the evidence for God’s existence to be overwhelming.

Like I mentioned above, I’d really like to go into the specifics on the plethora of evidence and reason we have to believe that God exists and, more specifically, that Jesus is the promised messiah. Instead I planted a seed. I intend to water it as she grows, but for now I only want to accomplish two things:

  • Introduce her to apologetics, the need to defend her faith
  • Provide her with a basic answer/reason/foundation for her fledgling faith
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On the Origin of Life

[HT Wintery Knight]

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Should there be a new Palestinian state? 28 year old MIT grad Benjamin Netanyahu answers…

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Defending Your Beliefs with Scott Klusendorf

[HT Crossway]

SFLA 2011 Scott Klusendorf from Alliance Defense Fund on Vimeo.

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Subversive Christians

Easter Sunday I participated in a lively discussion with a group of atheists on the topic of the resurrection. It was all kicked off by a friend who posted “Happy Zombie Jesus Day!”

And while the exchange with the non-Christians on the thread went pretty well, I was dumbfounded when the following was posted:

Dan can not prove the absence of God any more than believers can absolutely prove the existence of God. This is why it is called Faith (or lack of). So at the end of the day we should either celebrate either the second coming or the Easter Bunny bringing candy, whichever works for us individually, and move on. My position on the subject is my position, it neither grows stronger or weaker if I get someone else’s input. Actually, someone passionately challenging my position may only serve to strengthen my resolve. So for many Dan may actually be working to further solidify their faith. For others his comments may strike a chord of familiarity. At the end of the day those that believed in the second coming still will and those that think a pink bunny actually brings candy… well, they still will too. So, whatever you celebrate today, enjoy the fact that Winter is over and Summer is around the corner!

On the surface this may seem like a simple plea of “why don’t we all just get along?” But I suspected something else, so I posted this by way of reply:

George, your position sounds rather anti-intellectual to me and decidedly post modern. Facts matter and our discovery of them is absolutely paramount. If I am holding on to false beliefs I would certainly like to know and the best way for me to go about doing that is to regularly expose myself and my positions to others who hold differing opinions. Sure, that exchange may strengthen my resolve, Dan knows I appreciate his help in making me a better Christian, but it may also cause me to abandon false beliefs. The worst thing we could do, however, is to think that our persuit of truth is of no importance or to think that encouraging others to examine their positions does not enrich all of us (how’s that for self-interest Dan?).

To this George responded:

Wes, enjoy the debate. I hope you find what you are looking for.

I am open to debate things that can be proven, debating things that can’t are largely mental masturbation. So I go with my beliefs on those, and you are welcome to respect those or not. Whatever your choice, I am fine with it. Not a factor here.

Me:

George I must admit that you’ve piqued my interest as to what you are looking for here. It seems to me that your aim is merely to shutdown the conversation through an appeal to relativism “that’s true for you but not for me” and/or agnosticism “I know that we can’t know”. Both, I would argue, are not only indefensible positions but also display a sort of intellectual cowardice. What’s worse than mental masturbation is mental impotence.

What makes you so sure that the resurrection of Jesus can’t be proven? I suppose that begs the initial question of what you would consider to be a proof and, from that, how much proof you think is required.

George:

Wes, for all of your “wisdom”, You don’t even know what my position is. I was once told by an old sales mentor that “to Assume makes an ass out of you and me”. So you are picking a fight with someone who may, in fact, be on your side (though I never stated a position and, as a rule, don’t debate my position on faith). A poor choice in battle plans on your part if that is the case. It is traditional to fight the enemy, not the allies.

Key is knowing who the allies, and are not, are before you aim and pull the trigger.

Not sure I would bother to debate someone that has not taken the time to figure out if I am even on the other side.

That, my friend, is what makes your argument simply mental masturbation and likely most important to you alone… My comment above was more focused on enjoying the day regardless of your position, because spending time on Facebook today is taking time away from faith, family or some other enjoyable activity. I have checked my blackberry far too much today and will remedy that. I wish you well as you debate anyone that responds, regardless of their position.

You did get pulled in by Dan’s comment that was delivered with great shock value (Dan’s apparent specialty). I laughed when I saw it, it was hard to take it too seriously.

You are one REALLLLY smart cookie…

From here I decided to take our conversation into private messages instead of continueing the conversation on our mutual atheist friend’s wall. And in the interest of full disclosure I’ll go ahead and tell you I wasn’t very nice in our private exchange.

Sadly this is not a fluke. I have a similar conversation with most Christians I meet. Not only are they ill-prepared to join in the battle we’ve been called by our common savior to join in on, they resent anyone who does.

I decided to make a blog about the exchange above to illistrate something I’ve thought for a long time. The biggest enemies the church faces today are not on the outside. They are professing believers in Christ who want to go to church every Sunday and get high on the religious expierience, but who never engage the world around them. In fact, they see it as

While some of the blame certainly falls on the pastor, I place most of the fault in the person who chooses to adopt the prevalent secular mindset which discourages any serious examination of worldviews in search for truth.

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Shariamerica: Islam, Obama, and the Establishment Clause

I find it baffling how some people, mostly liberals, seem to think that Muslims are oppressed. The truth is that everyone bends over backwards to not only accommodate Islam, but also to afford it special status. All because they are afraid, and rightly so, of the murderous rampage that might result.

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Free Market Environmentalism Is Not An Oxymoron

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The law of love

Here is a snippet from a comment series on a previous post that I thought was worth highlighting:

Incest was necessary given the nature of God’s creation of human lineage. And polygamy and concubines run rampant in the Old Testament among those deemed righteous.

Incest is not unnatural in the biological sense. One could, and rightly so, argue that it is a very bad idea today given the degree of genetic mutations. However such genetic factors are not a guarantee nor is our present revulsion at the notion a negation of the biological reality of procreation.

You are correct that polygamy and concubines run rampant in the OT. And many who participated in the practice were considered righteous. However none of them were considered righteous for their polygamy or marital indiscretions. In fact, it is abundantly clear that these men were deeply flawed individuals and only considered righteous through grace on God’s part. So to assume their righteousness incorporated all of their deeds is to commit the basic fallacy of assuming salvation or favor with God is merited through works and not through grace.

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Book review: The Fight of Our Lives

I received a review copy of The Fight of Our Lives from booksneeze.com and I must say, I was not very impressed.

The book’s full title, The Fight of Our Lives: Knowing the Enemy, Speaking the Truth & Choosing to Win the War Against Radical Islam by William J. Bennett and Seth Leibsohn, provides an ambitious outline for a 149 page book.

William and Seth begin with Dr. Nidal Hasan and the Fort Hood massacre on November 5th, 2009 where 13 Americans “plus an unborn child” were slain in a readiness center awaiting deployment. This event is used strategically throughout the book as the authors provide a sort of crime scene investigation of how such a tragedy was made possible. The authors do a superb job of documenting Hasan’s attack and what lead up to it. And their analysis, which provides the foundation for the book, is that the United States has lost focus on the fight against radical Islam brought to our shores most vividly on September 11, 2001.

The authors then spend the rest of the book making the argument that we as individuals and as a nation should take the threat of radical Islam more seriously. Along the way they examine how we got to our present state of political correctness about the nature and history of Islam. How politicians on both sides of the aisle have not helped, and in many cases have actually ended up hurting us. And finally, the authors do a great job explaining how the “religion of peace” is not very peaceful and, in their words, in need of radical reform.

While there is much to praise this book for, I am afraid that if the author’s intent is to do more than throw red meat to an audience that is already convinced that Islam poses a threat to the world they have missed their mark.

While I am by no means a fan of Obama I cringed when the authors took the position that his administration had done nothing to aid the Iranian protests in 2009. The fact of the state department requesting social media sites like twitter to keep their servers up was never mentioned. And the author’s take on the “Ground Zero Mosque” crossed the line into a call for blatent and unfair discrimination. While they did acknowledge that the Ground Zero Mosque could be built legally (pg. 51), they later seem to cross themselves by stating:

In any event, the lawful governments of New York City and the United States permitted the building of that mosque while public opinion in America opposed it. -pg 133

However even if we set the civil liberties issue aside for a moment, the book still comes up short when it comes to the author’s analysis of Islam as an ideology and politically.

The Koran is never quoted and the founder, Mohammad, is never mentioned. Instead we are given a chapter where the authors call for a reformation in Islam. What? A call for reformation only works if there is something to reform and a basis for that reform in the first place. It seems the authors fall into the same trap of considering Islam a reformable religion of peace they rightly accuse both Bush and Obama of.

And Islam’s history in countries other than the US or countries the US is directly involved in military action with and against are never mentioned. A much better case could have been made for the reality of the threat Islam poses if the authors had branched out a bit more. Instead the author’s failure to address Islam’s history make the book appear rather myopic in it’s scope.

Overall I wouldn’t recommended this book. For those who already agree with the authors it is simply a waste of time and for those who don’t it is unlikely to provide a persuasive and nuanced argument.

So while the book may be bold, and while the subject matter may desperately need to be addressed, I don’t think this book lives up to its title.

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