The Irrational Nature of Our Society or: An Irrational Society is not a Society

IMG_0031Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade, the landmark decision that permitted at-will abortions around the United States. As such, the debates I have seen amongst many of my friends – as I have friends on all sides of this issue – have been quite ferocious concerning this anniversary. Here at the Christian Watershed we are very much against abortion and are pro-life in all senses of the term. At the same time, we support logical arguments and thinking when approaching any issue, which is why I have found the debates concerning Roe v Wade, as well as many other debates on different issues, very disconcerting. These debates have typically been emotionally charged and full of irrational arguments. While every society at its lower levels tends to be a bit irrational (and all humans tend to be a bit irrational), ours stands out as unique in that from the lowest levels of society to our highest levels we lack any semblance of rational thinking.

Let us look at the abortion issue. I’ve seen many anti-abortion advocates shoot down arguments by Peter Singer and others because Singer is an atheist. “Oh, he’s an atheist, well then why should I care what his arguments are?” This should be expected at some level, but I’ve seen Christian philosophers write off Singer’s arguments by saying, “Oh, well, he’s a Utilitarian, so why bother?” While I am no fan of utilitarianism, if Singer’s arguments on abortion are tied to his Utilitarianism, then disprove his overall ethic. If they aren’t tied to it, then disprove his arguments. Either way, actually deal with what he’s saying. Alternatively, I’ve had many people ignore my arguments against abortion because I’m a Christian. They state, “Well you’re just saying this because you’re religious” even though I never once invoke religion in the discussion on abortion. Rather than dealing with my arguments, they just cast them aside as “religious.” And even if my comments were religious, they still have failed because they haven’t shown how religious arguments are wrong.

In both examples we see what is called the genetic fallacy, or attacking the root source of the argument rather than the argument. Often times when we hear, “Well of course the liberal media wouldn’t report that” or “of course Fox News wouldn’t report that” we’re hearing the genetic fallacy. The argument is not dealt with, no facts are actually presented, the argument is just cast aside because we don’t like the origin of the argument. “Of course you support pro-life arguments, you’re Catholic.” Perhaps that is so, but how does that disprove the argument? “Of course you think Obamacare is great, you’re a Democrat.” That may be the reason, but how does that negate the reasons for Obamacare?

If you look to our public discourse, from politics to the talking heads on television to everyday Facebook discussions, you’ll recognize that most of the arguments stem from logical fallacies. That doesn’t mean the initial beliefs are wrong, just that how they got to those beliefs have no rational basis. For instance, I may say, “I can’t see the wind, but I feel the effects of the wind, but I know the wind is real. Likewise, I can’t see God, but I can feel the effects of God, but I know God is real.” While as a Christian I would argue that God is real, I would also argue that such an argument is poor and even illogical. How we come to a conclusion does not affect the truth of a statement, but it does affect its validity, how convincing it is to others, and how we will defend it.

When we lack a proper rational basis for our beliefs, we get ourselves into a state where every argument we make must ultimately rely on our emotional support and biases. Thus, nothing said to us will get us to change our minds and nothing we say will get others to change their mind. This is why we see a lack of proper compromise in our Congress when it comes to issues where compromise should be easy to obtain, issues such as raising the debt ceiling, healthcare reform, taxation and spending, and so on. Because neither side has a rational justification for their beliefs they are left to act like children instead of adults, arguing over who gets what toys rather than reaching a compromise.

Welcome to the new America, the anti-society. A society tends to be any group of people who share the same customs and live in an ordered community. This cannot be said of the United States, mostly because there is nothing ordered about our community. A man shoots up an elementary school and rather than coming together, we immediately begin with the emotional outburst that we need to outlaw guns or allow more guns. All the while we ignore common sense approaches, not to mention statistics. Our emotional feelings on an issue inform us on what statistics we will believe, writing off any that seemingly disagree with us as part of the “pro-gun lobby, who is no more than big tobacco” or as “part of the anti-gun lobby, who is no better than Hitler or Stalin.” Both arguments are fallacious on many levels, but this doesn’t seem to deter anyone from the debate.

When a nation’s “top thinkers,” or at least most vocal leaders engage in obvious irrational justifications, it means the nation is beyond repair. Congress cannot agree on anything because there is no rational justification behind each side’s beliefs. When there is an obvious rational justification behind both sides and both sides articulate it, we tend to end up helpful legislation. Yet, this close-mindedness trickles down to the populace where simple disagreements cannot be overcome because no one is capable of rational thought. We disregard anything that challenges our position by attacking the person or the organization. Most of all, when our justification is primarily emotional, we take any criticism of our beliefs personally, which only perpetuates the problem.

For instance, if you say, “Well that argument just doesn’t make sense” or even imply that an argument is stupid (and arguments can be stupid and there’s nothing wrong in calling an argument stupid), then people immediately take it personally. In fact, if you go so far as to strongly argue that the person’s beliefs are wrong, then you’re considered rude in our modern society. Yet, there are some who are above the fray. One can look to Robert P. George and Cornel West as an example of two men who disagree on quite a bit, yet are willing to act rationally and like adults with their disagreements. Both of them have actually been able to come to a quite a few compromises and even changed their positions slightly via their dialogues. While there will never be complete unity between the two, both can at least respect the opinions of the other as rational even if false (something can be rational and still be false).

And that is the entire point – it’s okay to “agree to disagree” so long as there is a reasoned argument behind the disagreement. If there is not and both of us are attempting to affect public policy then one of us must win out. Sadly, it seems the one who can create the more emotional argument is the one who will win out, which is what leads to bad legislation that is ineffective. What’s more, on a personal level, holding beliefs without rational justification leaves us empty when reality is too much and ultimately crushes those beliefs. There have been many times when, emotionally, I wanted to give up my faith, but rationally could not. Rational justification for beliefs roots them in the ground where they’re allowed to grow and change, but not fall over at the slightest wind.

The fix to this is mostly on a personal level. We need to learn how to think. This begins at a young age, but anyone at any age can learn this. I think the best book for this is Peter Kreeft’s Socratic Logic, which anyone can pick up and begin working through. When we learn how to think and not what to think, we begin to shape beliefs that have a rational justification, beliefs we can truly invest ourselves in emotionally because we know that, at its center, there is a solid core. Ultimately, we are made in the image of God and God is a rational being. Thus, we are happiest when we are rational in our beliefs. But on a more practical application, if we want our society to function properly and grow then we must move away from our emotionalism and towards beliefs with solid foundations.


What Are We Really Asking With the Problem of Evil?

I often begin to ponder the problem of evil on this site and even wrote a long 10 post series on it. In addition to that, as some people may have noticed, I’m quite critical of most theodicies that Christians offer concerning the existence of evil in this world.

I think modern theodicy has shown quite adequately that the existence of evil does nothing to threaten the existence of God. Christianity teaches that humans have free will and the existence of free will always allows for the chance for evil to occur. While some may debate whether or not we have free will, that deals more with the correspondence of Christianity to the real world, not with the internal consistency. In other words, to prove we don’t have free will would do more to question Christianity as a religion itself; there would be no need to bring up the problem of evil.

Thus, when we ask why God allows certain horrible actions to occur, we could equally ask why we continue to do them. Likewise, if God did step in to stop the most atrocious of evil actions, then the somewhat “acceptable” evils not would become atrocious and we would ask why God doesn’t stop those. Eventually, God’s duties would be relegated to ensuring that our ice cream never fell off the cone and that our internet never went out. Of course, this would destroy all free will which would negate a very important part of the Gospel. In addition to the above, what is evil is often subjective. If God were to stop every instance of evil then would we have a monarchy or a democracy? Some would argue a democracy, others a monarchy; whichever system God put in place, some people would consider it an evil. All individuality would be lost if God stopped every instance of evil, but this would be necessary if God stopped all gratuitous evil. Thus, by logical necessity (since God is consistent), if he is to allow free will then he must allow for gratuitous evil.

The above argument makes sense and, in my opinion, is a very solid theodicy. Yet I’m left feeling incomplete with it. In other words, what I have offered above is the best intellectual response that exists to the problem of evil, but it’s not satisfying. That’s not to say it’s wrong or that atheism has finally won; all the problem of evil can do for atheists is prove that an internal contradiction exists with Christianity, likewise the lack of a satisfying answer doesn’t mean the answer given is wrong. Rather, I think my answer isn’t satisfying because I’m asking the wrong question and approaching this issue with the wrong method.

I, and many others, aren’t really asking “Why does God allow evil?” We’re asking why he doesn’t stop it, specifically why doesn’t he stop the most egregious evils, yet in the Bible we see him stopping other evils. This is the wrong question to ask because we’re asking for specifics from an individual. We often forget that God is not some abstract concept that we study, but an actual person. Thus, when he acts, he has reasons for acting and sometimes doesn’t want those reasons known, or sometimes those reasons cannot be known. While some may roll their eyes (as I did) at the whole “his ways are higher,” it does make sense for specific evils and why he’d stop some and not others. Just as an infant cannot understand why his parents force this horrible mushy substance into his mouth, so too are we incapable of understanding why God acts the way he does in certain situations; it’s not that he purposefully hides it from us, it’s that by nature we’re incapable of understanding.

Yet, even this leaves me unsatisfied. Why do horrendous evils still occur? These evils are seemingly superfluous; certainly if God had a reason for allowing them we would eventually discover the reason, even if it took many generations to discover it. Yet, there are ancient evils that still baffle our minds. Here we are, a few generations removed from the Holocaust and rather than gaining clarity and seeing why God allowed it, we’re ending up with deniers of the Holocaust, celebrants, and we’re even more confused as to why it happened than we were when we first discovered it. While God’s ways are mysterious and we won’t always understand the specifics, I’m not sure this is a good answer, even if it is the right one. That is to say, while the answer is true, I’m not sure it works as an answer to the real question in the problem of evil (“Why doesn’t God just stop evil?”).

Ultimately, this points to the wrong method in answering the problem of evil. We often approach the problem of evil as an academic problem, something we see on paper that can be solved, and we especially do this in the West. But the problem of evil has only become academic because it really exists in our own lives first. We contemplate “why evil” long before we learn how to read, long before we gain critical thinking. Job was capable of questioning why God would allow evil without the aid of David Hume or Epicurus. A young girl who loses a parent (or both parents) can question the goodness of God without ever being introduced to the complex debates on theodicy. In other words, this is an existential problem long before it becomes an intellectual problem; in fact, I would argue that it’s primarily an existential problem with only the logical problem of evil (how can God and evil co-exist) composing an intellectual part.

Yet, if we pull back from the issue of evil for one second we’ll see that this is how almost all problems are concerning the questions that matter. Where do we come from? What is our purpose? Where are we going? These are primarily existential questions, not intellectual ones (they can be handled intellectually, but are then incomplete). We’ve been blinded to this because prior to Descartes and, really, Gettier, we adopted a Platonic way of understanding the world and our understanding of the world. Plato believed that our knowledge came form interacting with the ideal forms, which then translated down to this earth. Descartes also treated knowledge as an intellectual practice. In other words, every form of epistemology (save for one) that have existed in the Western world has placed an emphasis on the intellect, the mind, the nous. Even postmodernism or experimental forms of knowledge that place an emphasis on experience still, at their base, rely on the intellect (even if they later devalue it to the subjective).

Is it no wonder then that we’re woefully ill-prepared to answer the problem of evil? The problem of evil strikes every aspect of our existence, yet the epistemology we approach it with only does so from one aspect of our existence. This would explain why the answers given in any theodicy (save for Greater Good theodicies) make sense and work, but are still unsatisfying; it’s not that the answers are wrong, it’s that they’re incomplete.

In order to take on the task of providing a full theodicy, however, we first have to develop a new epistemology that addresses knowledge as gained and interpreted through every aspect of our being. Such a theodicy does exist (it’s implicit within the Early Church teachings and some Russian philosophers), but hasn’t really been systematized. In other words, while these works exist in English, the concepts really haven’t been translated. Such a teaching is still lost on the modern world and while touched upon by a few Russian thinkers (Pavel Florensky, Ivan Vasilevich Kireevsky, Vladimir Sergeevish Soloviev, to name a few), it’s difficult for Westerners to understand exactly what they’re teaching.

How I wish I could offer up this new epistemology, one that I think would work to give a more complete theodicy, but I haven’t really developed this epistemology or worked through it. I merely point all of this out to show that I think we’re approaching theodicy in an incomplete manner. If we’re approaching theodicy with an incomplete answer, then we need to stop exacerbating the problem by trying to use a failed method and revisit some of our more basic philosophies. While I think we can deal with the logical/intellectual problem of evil, that problem is ultimately superficial; no one quotes Hume at the death of a child, yet everyone questions God in such an instance. We can use Plantinga’s defense (or even better defenses) when in a debate with an atheist, but we can’t use it when counseling a man who’s been diagnosed with cancer. This means that while the free will defense, or other theodicies, are true, they’re inadequate and incomplete. But we can’t complete them with our current methods or epistemologies, we need something new. But who knows if or when that’ll ever come about.

So I leave this post not with answers, but with more questions. What will this new epistemology look like? Will it work? What will its ramifications be? Most importantly, is it true and we’ve simply ignored it for all these years? These are answers I do not have and may not have for many years. Thus, my apologies for introducing an even bigger problem to the debate, but I find it necessary.

Can We Falsify God? Further Thoughts on God and Evidence

Summarizing last Thursday’s post and subsequent comments:

Let me state quite emphatically – we cannot falsify the statement, “God exist.” But before we celebrate too quickly…

For many atheists (and theists, oddly enough) comes the belief that for any significant statement claiming to be knowledge, there must be valid scientific data behind the statement. For instance, if John says, “Mr. Green killed Mary in the library with the candlestick,” he needs to have evidence showing that Mr. Green actually committed the murder. We could have a video of him doing it, a taped confession, fingerprints on the candlestick, blood patterns on Mr. Green’s jacket, and so on. This method of knowledge – having empirical data – seems to then be applied universally to all knowledge.

But is empirical, falsifiable data necessary for the foundation of all knowledge? The answer is no. The statement, “For a belief to be rational it must be empirically falsified” cannot be empirically falsified. In other words, it’s a self-contradiction. If we said, “Some beliefs, in order to be rational, but be empirically falsified” we could avoid the contradiction, but this would leave open the ground that some knowledge that is rational is not empirically falsifiable.

As I stated in the comments from the previous topic (much thanks to Arjan who suggested I add this into the original posting):

Correct. Evidence doesn’t suffice as a requirement for the reasonability in every belief. Since this is the case, we now have groundwork to see whether or not belief in God is rational or irrational without having to point to evidence. Also, I would contend that even if belief in God is rational, it doesn’t necessitate that the belief is true (what is rational does not always have to be true).

In other words, while some beliefs require physical evidence, other beliefs do not. That I currently exist does not need evidence as it is known to me a priori. That when I look at other people I know that they actually exist independent of my thinking has no evidence to support it, yet we would argue that it’s almost irrational to doubt that other minds exist. If a man claims his wife loves him he has no real evidence to point to in order to prove she loves him; he simply knows it. Even outward actions wouldn’t prove it as there could be an internal belief contrary to the outward actions (with the outward actions being performed as a matter of obligation); he simply trusts that she loves him.

Even if one were to make counter-examples and show why evidence is needed in some cases, such attempts are woefully inadequate and leave the emperor naked. The one making a universal epistemic claim must validate that claim in all instances of knowledge. Thus, it is up to the adherent of scientism to defend its assertion that all knowledge must be empirically falsifiable; all the critic has to do is point out one counter-example to show how such an epistemic system fails. Stating, “Well what’s your alternative” or calling this philosophical “mumbo-jumbo,” or even going on the offense against theism doesn’t change the fact that a hole has been poked in the wall of scientism and if not fixed the wall will collapse.

The whole point is that while evidence is necessary for many beliefs, it isn’t necessary for all beliefs, particularly when dealing with other minds. So is it reasonable to believe in God under such criteria? When we realize that traditional theism treats God as a person (that is, another mind) and not a scientific object, we see that we must approach the reasonability of God’s existence as another mind and not as an object of science. Some may argue this is special pleading or an attempt to avoid a debate, but it’s not. It’s simply setting the parameters of the debate to see whether or not belief in God is rational.

I would submit that the Ontological argument, specifically as recently argued by Alvin Plantinga, provides good grounds to show that belief in God is rational (though it does not necessitate that it is true; one can be rational, yet untrue). Logically it is air-tight. Though many people critique the argument they can rarely point out what’s wrong with it (if they follow the argument properly; most critiques of the argument are generally based on a poor understanding of the argument).

If I am correct, then believing in God is rational even if it is not falsifiable. The idea that we must falsify everything or have empirical evidence in order to obtain knowledge is a false epistemology to hold onto. Rather, if we work within the traditional elements of theism we see it’s far more appropriate to treat God as a person. This, coupled with the ontological argument, provides good grounds to state that believing in God is rational, though not necessarily true.

The Rational Mystery of God

In one of the recent comments someone brought up that it’s apparently a contradiction to say that belief in God is rational, yet also say that God is beyond knowledge and beyond reason. In fact, I’ve dealt with this topic before.

Yet, there’s no reason to assume that “God is incomprehensible/a mystery” is somehow mutually exclusive to, “Believing in God is rational.”

To say that God is incomprehensible or that God is a mystery is pointing to God’s ontology; since we are finite and He is infinite, it necessarily follows that we cannot understand Him. Thus, His ontology (should it be said that God has an ontology) is beyond our own, which places necessary limits on our epistemology. This is not to say, however, that we can’t have knowledge of His existence or know the plausibility of His existence.

While we may not understand God, we can point to some evidence where God is plausible, or we can point to logical proofs to show that God necessarily exists. But all of this has to do with our knowledge of His existence, not with His existence proper. When dealing with His existence proper, rather than our knowledge of His existence, we conclude in mystery because He is greater, therefore mystery is a necessary conclusion.

One can think of the universe and how it is a mystery to us because it is greater than us. Yet we can know it exists and we can know certain things about the universe. We do not see the mystery (and our lack of knowledge) as contradictory to our belief that the universe exists; we do not say it is irrational to believe the universe exists just because we see it ultimately as a mystery. So it is with God.

Disjunctives, God, and Naturalism: Just Something to Consider

Today I spoke with a student about the existence of God. He had read an essay I put together last year concerning the Damascene Cosmological argument. His ultimate response was, “Well this is just the argument of ignorance.” In other words, even though I had shown naturalism to be illogical and unreasonable, his response was, “Well we haven’t discovered everything about the universe yet.” Now, there are three problems with such a thinking: (1) it ignores the importance of disjunctive arguments, (2) Cosmological arguments aren’t arguments from ignorance (unless purely evidential), and (3) pleading ignorance in order to justify atheism is tantamount to a giant leap of faith (to be fair, the student is a Deist and not an atheist, but he argues that one cannot prove the existence of God, something I partially agree with if we are speaking about purely evidential proof).

First, we must understand the importance of disjunctive propositions when dealing with cosmological arguments. In logic, a disjunctive proposition deals with alternates, generally in scenarios where it is necessarily either/or. Imagine we are looking at a ball and I say, “It is either red or it is blue.” This is not a strict disjunctive because it could be neither red nor blue, but green. If we say the ball isn’t blue, that doesn’t automatically mean it is red, for it could be another color. There is another option available. A true disjunctive would be if we looked at a cat to determine if it is dead or alive. If I prove the cat is not dead, then by necessity the cat must be alive. If I prove the cat is not alive, then by necessity it must be dead. There is no third option. Thus, we have a true either/or.

When we approach cosmological arguments we are dealing with pure disjunctives. The ultimate question of “What caused all things to exist” will either be a natural answer (that is, nature did it and there is no God) or a supernatural answer (that is, God did it and atheism isn’t a proper position). This is a strict either/or and cannot allow for a third option. Thus, if one is shown to be irrational or false in all possible worlds, then the alternative is necessarily true even in the absence of physical evidence. That is what is meant by “disjunctive propositions.” Thus, in cosmological arguments for the existence of God, if it can be shown that naturalism is logically untenable in all possible worlds and it’s impossible for it to work as an explanation for the origin of everything, then by default Theism must be true, even if we have no evidence to prove Theism.

With the above in mind, we can proceed in the argument, showing that cosmological arguments aren’t arguments from ignorance. Sadly, due to pseudo-philosophers writing atheistic articles, the argument of ignorance (or argumentum ad ignorantiam) has been misapplied and misunderstood as to what it covers. The incorrect understand and application has generally used the argument under a de facto epistemology of empiricism. The argument has been applied that to believe in x even if there is a lack of evidence for x and to attempt to have others believe in x without evidence for the validity of x is an argument from ignorance. But such an application is silly, for we have no way to prove (empirically) that what we are experiencing right now isn’t a dream.

Assume that a mad philosopher has found a way to put all humans in to a trance-like state, but cause us to dream together. Thus, we’re in a Matrix-like situation where we think we’re experiencing reality, but in reality we’re actually asleep. Any empirical arguments used to disprove this theory would, in fact, be circular. Therefore, not everything we believe has to have an empirical foundation. Or, as Paul Boghossian argues in Fear of Knowledge,

“Not every belief needs to be supported by some independent item of information that would constitute evidence in its favor: some beliefs are intrinsically credible or self-evident. Philosophers disagree about the range of propositions that they think are self-evident in this sense, and very few believe that their number is large. But ever since Descartes first formulated his famous cognito argument, philosophers have been persuaded that at least some propositions are self-evident. What non-circular evidence could one adduce, for example, for the believe that one is currently conscious?”

What Boghossian is arguing is if we say, “Well I currently see, I currently think, and I currently feel” all assume that such phenomenological experiences aren’t, in fact, illusions. Thus, the empiricist must assume that life as we know it isn’t an illusion in order to prove that life as we know it isn’t an illusion! This would fall under how many atheists have defined the “argument of ignorance.”

A better understanding and how the argument should properly be understood is when people say, “Well you can’t prove x wrong, therefore it must be true.” The fallacy is that just because x can’t be proven false doesn’t necessarily mean that x is true. To use Bertrand Russell’s famous example, we can imagine a China tea cup in orbit between the earth and the moon. Anyone utilizing the argument of ignorance would say that because we can’t prove it’s not true we must therefore assume that there is an actual tea cup orbiting the earth. Now, it could very well be that a tea cup orbits the earth, but our ability to know so wouldn’t be based upon the fact that we can’t disprove it. For instance, I can’t disprove there is an invisible gnome living in my backyard, but that doesn’t mean there is actually an invisible gnome living in my backyard.

How, then, do cosmological arguments fall under the argument of ignorance? The reality is that they don’t. To assert that we know certain things about logic, physics, mathematics, and physical science and that all of these discoveries lead us to believe that naturalism is false isn’t the argument from ignorance. If it were then our entire judicial system would collapse as often times we are simply left with the probability or likelihood of a person’s guilt based on the evidence, though there is a possibility that at a later date evidence could pop up that exonerates the accused. Does this mean we shouldn’t vote for his guilt? Of course not; we must make decisions on the evidence (not just physical evidence, but logical evidence as well) before us.

The same is true when it comes to the cosmological argument; when we point to the improbability of naturalism, or how naturalism is an unlikely explanation (or, logically speaking, an impossible explanation), and conclude that God must exist, we are not making an argument from ignorance. We’re looking at what is currently available to us and making a decision. Likewise, when it comes to logical impossibilities, it is doubtful that we will discover something that overturns what is logically impossible (we’ll never find something that can violate the law of non-contradiction). Thus, if an actual infinite regress of events is impossible, then naturalism can never be a proper explanation, therefore God necessarily exists.

Finally, to say, “Well one day we could discover how the universe occurred naturally, so there’s no reason to believe in God” is akin to a six day creationist saying, “Well someday we could find out that carbon 14 dating and all of evolutionary theory is wrong.” While that is actually possible, it’s not probable or likely. The same is true when atheists say that one day all of physics, mathematics, and logic could be overturned in order to give credence to naturalism; certainly it could occur, but it’s just not likely.

In other words, at such a level atheism becomes an irrational leap of faith, a belief that defies all the evidence against it and keeps on going. While such leaps are sometimes justified, when your entire belief system is a leap of faith then your entire belief system is irrational, that is, most likely not based in reality.

Hopefully the reader will now see that cosmological arguments are not always arguments from ignorance (though some poorly constructed arguments can fall into this category, it is not true that cosmological arguments are necessarily categorized as arguments from ignorance). If they are not arguments from ignorance then they are still logically valid arguments, free from a fallacy, and therefore should be properly dealt with rather than tossed aside.

The “Affirmation by Persecution” Fallacy

It seems to be more and more popular in an argument to say, “Well, because you oppose what I’m saying I know I must be doing something right.” It’s common for people to take affirmation in their stance when people disagree with their stance.

For instance, if a Christian stands up in the street and yells, “All of you are going to Hell unless you accept Christ” and someone yells at him to shut up, the Christian could say, “I know I’m supporting the Lord because you’re against me!” But this doesn’t follow. It could be that the person is against how the preacher is getting the message across.

Just because people oppose us doesn’t mean we’re right. Sometimes we’re wrong in what we’re saying. Sometimes we’re correct in what we say, but wrong in how we say it. Other times we’re correct in both what we say and how we say it, but people just don’t like the message and therefore they persecute us. But just because sometimes persecution can be an affirmation of our beliefs doesn’t mean that it’s an affirmation every time.

If a child says that the earth is the center of the universe and everything rotates around earth, but the class laughs at him and calls him stupid, does such a reaction mean the child is right? Should the child be affirmed in what he believes? The answer is no. If the child says, “Well I know I must be doing something right because of how you’re treating me!” then the child is a fool. He’s doing nothing right, he’s wrong.

Likewise, just because we face opposition to our beliefs doesn’t mean we’re doing something right. It could be that we’re facing opposition to our beliefs because our beliefs are wrong.

Instead of taking comfort in opposition, when opposed we should evaluate our beliefs and see why they are hated. If we can see no logical or evidentiary reason to abandon our beliefs, then we should take solace in that fact and not in the fact that we’re being opposed. To take solace in opposition is to embrace arrogance and deny self-evaluation.

Charlie Crist may want to rethink that statement…

Charlie Crist, the current governor of Florida vetoed a bill that would require women seeking an abortion in their first trimester to have an ultrasound prior to the abortion. The quote of interest to me is where Crist says,

Individuals hold strong personal views on the issue of life, as do I,” Crist wrote. “However, personal views should not result in laws that unwisely expand the role of government and coerce people to obtain medical tests or procedures that are not medically necessary.

The problem with Crist’s view is that it contradicts all laws on murder. Crist says that our personal views of [human] life should not influence how the government protects human life.

What Crist is trying to say is that even though he and others might personally view human life as beginning at conception, it’s not our duty to create laws that enforce those views upon others. Based on one of my previous entries (A Logical Look at Legalized Abortions), Crist is faced with a few problems. Namely, he must explain first whether or not the government has the duty to protect any and all innocent human life within its jurisdiction. If the government lacks that ability, then we must ask him to begin submitting laws to reflect that belief. If the government does have a duty to protect innocent human life within its jurisdiction, then we must ask him what he views a fetus to be.

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