Critical Thinking: Character Values vs. Political Correctness, Leftist Views, and Self Esteem

Critical Thinking:

Character Values vs. Political Correctness, Leftist Views, and Self Esteem

 

“Does it Do Good?” vs. “Does it Feel Good?”

Why socialist policies are so popular—but so harmful

 

keyThese [leftists] are using a technique that is as old as the human race,—a fervid but false solicitude for the unfortunate over whom they thus gain mastery, and then enslave them. ~ David O. McKay

 

Dennis Prager

A fundamental difference between the left and right concerns how each assesses public policies. The right asks, “Does it do good?” The left asks a different question, [as shown in the following examples].

1) Minimum Wage

1987

The New York Times editorialized against any minimum wage. The title of the editorial said it all –“The Right Minimum Wage: $0.00”

redistsocialismillustrated              There’s a virtual consensus among economists,” wrote the Times editorial, “that the minimum wage is an idea whose time has passed. Raising the minimum wage by a substantial amount would price working poor people out of the job market. …More important, it would increase unemployment … The idea of using a minimum wage to overcome poverty is old, honorable—and fundamentally flawed.”

Why did the New York Times editorialize against the minimum wage? Because it asked the conservative question: “Does it do good?”

27 years later

The New York Times editorial page wrote the very opposite of what it had written in 1987, and called for a major increase in the minimum wage. In that time, the page had moved further left and was now preoccupied not with what does good—but with income inequality, which feels bad. It lamented the fact that a low hourly minimum wage had not “softened the hearts of its opponents”—Republicans and their supporters.

 

2) Affirmative Action

Study after study—and, even more important, common sense and facts—have shown the deleterious effects that race-based affirmative action have had on black students. Lowering college admissions standards for black applicants has ensured at least two awful results.

One is that more black students fail to graduate college—because they have too often been admitted to a college that demands more academic rigor than they were prepared for. Rather than attend a school that matches their skills, a school where they might thrive, they fail at a school where they are over-matched.

The other result is that many, if not most, black students feel a dark cloud hanging over them. They suspect that other students wonder whether they, the black students, were admitted into the college on merit or because standards were lowered.

It would seem that the last question supporters of race-based affirmative action ask is, “Does it do good?”

 

3) Pacifism

reagan-peace-strengthThe left has a soft spot for pacifism—the belief that killing another human being is always immoral [unless it is killing unborn babies]. Not all leftists are pacifists, but pacifism emanates from the left, and just about all leftists support “peace activism,” … and whatever else contains the word “peace.”

The right, on the other hand, while just as desirous of peace as the left—what conservative parent wants their child to die in battle?—knows that pacifism and most “peace activists” increase the chances of war, not peace.

Nothing guarantees the triumph of evil like refusing to fight it. Great evil is therefore never defeated by peace activists, but by superior military might. The Allied victory in World War II is an obvious example. American military might likewise contained and ultimately ended Soviet communism.

reagan-quote-appeasement               Supporters of pacifism, peace studies, American nuclear disarmament, American military withdrawal form countries ins which it has fought—Iraq is the most recent example—do not ask, “Does it do good?”

Did the withdrawal of America from Iraq do good? Of course not. It only led to the rise of Islamic State with its mass murder and torture.

 

                So, then, if in assessing what public policies to pursue, conservatives ask “Does it do good?” what question do liberals ask? The answer is, “Does it make people—including myself—feel good?”

Why do liberals support a higher minimum wage if doesn’t do good? Because intakes the recipients of the higher wage feel good (even if other workers lose their jobs when restaurants and other businesses that cannot afford the higher wage close down) and it makes liberals feel good about themselves: “We liberals, unlike conservatives, have soft hearts.”

Why do liberals support race-based affirmative action? For the same reasons. It makes the recipients feel good when they are admitted to more prestigious colleges. And it makes liberals feel good about themselves for appearing to right the wrongs of historical racism.

The same holds true for left-wing peace activism: Supporting “peace” rather than the military makes liberals feel good about themselves.

narcissismThe Folly of the Self-Esteem Movement

Perhaps the best example is the self-esteem movement. It has had an almost wholly negative effect on a generation of Americans raised to have high self-esteem without having earned it. They then suffer from narcissism and an incapacity to deal with life’s inevitable setbacks. But self-esteem feels good.

And feelings—not reason—is what liberalism is largely about. Reason asks: “Does it do good?” Liberalism asks, “Does it feel good?”

 

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Critical Thinking: Freedom of Conscience Definition Changes Affect First Amendment Rights—History Timeline

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Critical Thinking History Timeline Freedom of Conscience Definition—Changes Affect First Amendment Rights We do not believe that human law has a right to interfere in prescribing rules of worship to bind the consciences of men. . .the civil magistrate should … Continue reading

Culture Wars: Jesus, Charity Organizations, and Role of Government

Culture Wars—

Dinner Topics for Thursday

Jesus, Charity Organizations, and Role of Government

My Questions on Jesus and Charity

Rush Limbaugh

Jesus-question-charityRUSH:  Ladies and gentlemen, I have a question, maybe a couple of questions here, and I ask these questions simply because I would like the answers.  And these questions derive from what I have heard on television today during our obscene profit time-outs here. I very rarely do this, but I turned the audio up, I actually listened, and I’ve caught a couple of guests on Fox and they’ve been asked, “Are you aware that people like Rush Limbaugh are calling the pope Marxist?”

“Oh, yeah, yeah, we’re aware of that, and the pope is clearly aware of it, too, but like the pope said on the plane yesterday, he’s not a leftist.  It’s just a misinterpretation.”  And this one guest said, “There’s nothing liberal about the pope. He’s just a good Catholic.” He started rattling off charity and concern and all these other things that define Christianity and said that’s all the pope is.

Okay, so I have a question, because this seems to be a major point of contention.  I have long maintained that whenever it happened in our welfare state, and we could probably find this with enough deep research.  When welfare became or started to become categorized as charity is when liberalism began to be attractive to churches.  Churches quite naturally are big on charity both as recipients for distribution and donors.  They do both sides.

So along comes this pope now and his not apologists, but the people translating for him or explaining, interpreting, “Oh, no, no, no, this ideological, pope is not liberal, no, no, no, no, no.  Don’t be so silly.  Don’t be so foolish.  Don’t be so small-minded.  He’s simply a Catholic, simply Christian, this is what Christians and Catholics do.”  And then, “It’s what Jesus did, simply what Jesus did.”  So my question is this.  I need some legitimate help on this.  I know that Jesus preached charity.  Did Jesus tell people to give their money to the Romans so that the Romans could then distribute it?

In other words, did Jesus tell people to give their money to whatever governing entity there was, or entities there were at the time, or did he preach charity as an individual thing?  In other words, was Jesus a big-government charitable advocate?  It seems to me that it might have been the opposite, that Jesus had some problems with governments.

These are just open-ended questions to which I’m asking if people have the answer.

These are not rhetorical questions.

welfare-government-charity-madisonWell, I don’t think there’s anything offensive about these questions.  One, I’m trying to understand, because it’s come up today.  One of the undeniable truths in our culture is that the modern day Democrat Party does not like religion.  They don’t like Christianity.  That’s not even arguable.  (interruption)  Well, certain big government didn’t like Jesus, but my point is when it comes to chair, the pope seems to be advocating that governments need to do all of these big things, and our interpreters on TV are saying, “Yep, that’s what Jesus did.”

Is that right?  I am not a theologian.  I have never used this program to preach or proselytize.  As you well know, I don’t go into any of these arguments. Faith is a deeply personal, private thing. That’s why I don’t even condone arguments about it on this program, so I’m just asking here.  (interruption)  No, I’m not asking if… (interruption)  When Jesus told people to be charitable, was he telling them to pay higher taxes and let the Romans take care of it?  (interruption)  He wasn’t, right?  The Romans ran the show. 

I mean, the Romans were the government then.  They were the federal government.  There might have been some local pretenders and so forth, but that’s all I’m asking.  He said render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but he also then had a qualifier after that which made it clear that Caesar was not entitled to everything.  I mean, you can interpret it, “Yeah, pay your fair tax and get the hell out of Dodge.”  But this is why I’m asking the question, because it’s being interpreted today.  The left — I find this fascinating.  The left, which does not hold any really great love for the Catholic Church or organized religion at all is now all of a sudden trying to portray themselves as Christ-like. 

And it’s all in the name of big government, all in the name of trying to portray now what the Democrat Party’s doing, the American left is doing as Christ-like, taking advantage of the visit of the pope in order to create that impression with people.

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Critical Thinking: Defining Biblical Worldview, Judeo-Christian Culture

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Critical Thinking Skills: Defining Biblical Worldview, Judeo-Christian Culture Worldview: What is Yours? Stacey Long American Family Association “I grew up in a Christian home and made a profession of faith at a very young age, but when I got to … Continue reading

Culture Wars: Contrasting Biblical Worldview with Secular Humanism, part 1

Culture Wars:

Contrasting Biblical Worldview with Secular Humanism

part 1

 “We remember this eternal truth. Freedom is not a gift from government. Freedom is a gift from God. It was Thomas Jefferson who said the God who gave us life gave us liberty. Our Founding Fathers believed that religious liberty was so fundamental that they enshrined it in the very First Amendment of our great beloved Constitution.” ~Donald Trump

Why do the leftists (still) rage? Part 1

Dr. Stephen McDowell

 The response of many Americans to the election and early administration of Donald Trump reveals there is a great divide among the American people. One may think that the left side of the divide – those opposing Trump – are predominant since their actions and words make the headlines of the major media outlets, and their ideology is embraced by a large majority of academia and Hollywood.

The left has become increasingly hostile, radical, and perverse, not only pushing homosexuality as normal and requiring special protection for LGBTs, but also attempting to force transgenderism upon the nation and encouraging the harboring of illegal immigrants. Their tactics of violence and intimidation, suppression of free speech, and lying about positions of their opponents are becoming the daily norm. While they have cried out in the past, there is a new savagery in their words and tactics.

However, amidst the left’s acrimony and deplorable action, there is some good news. A map of the results of the 2016 presidential election by counties (above) shows most areas of the nation reject the extreme liberal ideas of the progressive left, since only 16% of counties voted for Hillary Clinton. While President Donald Trump is not a paragon of virtue, he does support many biblical virtues (life, property rights, freedom of religion, parental rights, the rule of law), and he has appointed many Christians and biblically thinking people to his cabinet. The “red counties” also reflect growing conservatism in government, with the GOP now controlling both the U.S. House and Senate, 33 governors’ mansions, and 32 state legislatures. While all of the Republican leaders are certainly not Christians nor principled conservatives, there is, in general, a clear difference in the worldview and morality of the people represented in the red and blue counties on the map.

The great divide


There is a clear divide in the nation – a divide that seems to be more distinct than ever. The divide is not just about the role of government in issues like helping the poor and public education (where Christians may have different positions). The divide is much more pronounced. It centers on such important issues as life, the family, and morality – views on which the Bible is clear. It also involves ideas on property rights, the role of government in business, and constitutional laws and liberties.

The blue-state liberals have general agreement of worldview. They are pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality, for big government, and against biblical morality.

The red-state conservatives do not all have a biblical worldview – while about one-half of these voters were evangelical, their depth of biblical reasoning varies greatly – but a majority do adhere to a common set of principles rooted in a biblical philosophy of man and government and expressed in the Declaration of Independence. They believe in truths rooted in God, embrace limited government, support freedom of religion, conscience, and speech, and are for Creator-endowed rights to life, liberty, and property. Throughout most of our history, the vast majority of Americans believed these principles, but, unfortunately, that has been changing in recent generations.

Why is this? Why do an increasing number of Americans think homosexuality and transgenderism are OK?1 Why are an increasing number of Americans embracing a socialist/secular worldview? One primary reason is that public schools and most colleges have been controlled by the left for many generations.2 The great tool of socialist indoctrination has not had the overall effect its proponents had hoped it would. Yet, it is also a mystery that so many people still embrace leftist/socialist ideas because they always produce bad fruit wherever they are tried. They do not work.

What is behind this great divide in the nation? At the root of the conflict is a war of worldviews, between one that is Christian and one that is humanistic.

Two views of law


Comparing the Christian and humanistic philosophies of law reveals why the left has such apoplectic rage at having lost power and why they are willing to do anything to regain it, while conservatives accept liberals ruling with relative calm.

Law, from a Christian perspective and as the founders of America viewed it, originates in the will of God, revealed in general to man through nature and his conscience, and more specifically in the revelation of the Scriptures. Law from a humanistic view is rooted in man, ultimately autonomous man, but practically in the state, and in the consensus of the majority, or of a powerful minority.

From a biblical perspective, man is fallen and fallible, has a sinful nature, and thus needs to be restrained. The biblical purpose of civil law is to restrain the evil action of men in society. True law reveals what is right and wrong, and hence, exposes law breakers. But law in itself cannot produce what is right, nor can it change the heart or attitude of man; therefore, the Christian acknowledges the inability to legislate “good,” or to make people moral by passing laws. However, the Christian recognizes the moral basis of all laws. Laws against murder reflect a moral belief. Laws against theft are based upon the command to not steal. All law has a moral concern. The important question to the Christian is “whose morality does it legislate?”

From a Christian presupposition then, the law cannot change or reform man; this is a spiritual matter. Man can be changed only by the grace of God.

Humanists see the evils in society and in man, but explain them differently than Christians. To the humanist there is no higher being than man. There is no incarnate Savior. From a humanistic perspective there is no hope of internal regeneration to save man; therefore, any salvation or transformation that occurs in men or nations must come from man.

Having no other means of provision, of salvation, or of peace, humanistic man attempts to regulate and provide all things through government and law.

Therefore, it is not surprising that in the last election (as well as all recent elections), the vast majority of people receiving food stamps, public housing, medicaid, disability, Obamacare subsidies, and various welfare benefits voted for liberal Democrats, who promised to continue and/or expand such programs.3

From a Christian perspective, law can restrain sinful man from acting evilly, for the fear of punishment is a deterrent, but he cannot be changed by law. Unless the evil heart of man is changed, there will be no advancement toward a better society. Humanistic law seeks to save and change man internally. Since the government (and laws issued thereby) are the instrument for such change, government becomes the savior in a humanistic society. This might not be overtly proclaimed, but is demonstrated by actions.

Footnotes
1 A recent survey shows that 43% of Americans think it is morally okay to change the gender you were born through either surgery or taking hormones; 42% think it is wrong to do so. AFA Journal, October 2016, Tupelo, MS: American Family Association, p. 4.
2 While most colleges are liberal, conservative colleges are on the rise. See source.
3 Source

Culture Wars: Critical Thinking and Christian Character Education

Culture Wars:

Critical Thinking and Christian Character Education

 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” ~Romans 12:2

Think. . .  it’s counter-cultural

Teddy James

March 2017 – In 1970, the average American was exposed to 500 ads per day. Today that number has risen to over 5,000, according to Jay Walker-Smith, president of the marketing firm Yankelovich.

“This has had a huge impact on our behavior,” Phil Cooke (philcooke.com), a Christian film producer, told AFA Journal. “The result is massive changes to our behavior and the way we process information. Recent studies from the Wall Street Journal and others have revealed that when you meet someone for the first time, you decide what you think of them in under eight seconds.”

It goes beyond deciding whether to like a person or not. People today make many important decisions at breakneck speeds.

This makes perfect sense considering the number and methods of messages bombarding the average person. There isn’t enough time to thoughtfully consider what is important and what can be ignored. This can be good because it forces the development of a strong mental filter. But this strong, proficient, secure filter comes at a cost.

And for the believer, that cost can be a spiritual one.

Recognizing the 30-second culture
America recently underwent one of the most vitriolic and sensationalistic elections in living memory. Ten-year-old sound bites and broken sentences from leaked emails flooded news programs, radio shows, and social media feeds.

The dust from one scandal hardly settled before a new one exploded. Even in the presidential debates, there seemed to be more energy devoted to headlines, tweets, and sound bites than to issues.

A study released by the Media Insight Project (3/17/14) reveals how much thoughtful attention average news consumers actually devote to the details of news stories. The MIP is a platform of the Associated Press-National Opinion Research Center.

The study revealed that a third of the American population keeps up with news throughout the day (33%) and others prefer a dedicated time slot in the morning (24%) or evening (26%).

But no matter when they get their news, few details are considered. Only 41% reported watching, reading, or hearing any news story beyond the headlines in the last week. Additionally, nearly 60% said they read news headlines and nothing else.

Why it works
The 30-second culture exists because it works. Snappy headlines and catchy commercials are designed with one goal in mind: get attention.

A short video, image, or message can be powerful not because of the words contained in it, but because of the emotions generated by it. “The Influence of Implicit Attitudes on Consumer Choice when Confronted with Conflicting Product Attribute Information,” a paper by professors Melanie Dempsey (Ryerson University) and Andrew Mitchell (University of Toronto), shows that people often make irrational consumer choices based on conscious or subconscious manipulation through products, logos, or advertising.

In a telling experiment, participants were given a choice between two pens. Pen A was described as better in every way including its grip and the fact that it would not smear like Pen B. But before participants were allowed to make a choice, they had to watch a screen flashing images of Pen B and positive words. Over 70% of participants chose Pen B.

This illustrates why headlines and short news segments are so powerful, and why news consumers rarely seem to go beyond a surface understanding: the first few lines evoke strong emotions, and few people continue reading or listening after the initial feeling has dissipated. Most quickly click away from one news story looking for the next story and another high experience of emotion.

This desire for positive feelings from advertising and entertainment impacts consumers outside the realm of products and advertising.

According to statisticbrain.com, a website dedicated to compiling applicable statistics for everyday life, the average current attention span is at 8.25 seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. To understand that in actionable terms, the website states 17% of Internet page views last less than 4 seconds, only 4% of page views last longer than 10 minutes, and people read only 28% of the articles they click on.

But all hope is not lost for the discipline of focus and attention.

Not all bad news
“It is hard, but we must become incredibly intentional,” Cooke said. Cooke is the author of several books, as well as executive producer of the movie Hillsong: Let Hope Rise. He is also producer of The Insanity of God, a movie based on the book of the same name by Nik Ripken.

“What that intentionality looks like from a practical standpoint is to make sure we are reading,” Cooke continued. “But not just reading whatever comes into sight. We have to be intentional about reading books of substance, long-form articles, and listening to lectures and sermons. We have to fight everything battling for our attention and do the work of focus.”

Others agree with Cooke. The number of physical books purchased has increased for two consecutive years according to Nielsen BookScan which tracks around 80% of print sales in America. Over 652 million physical books were sold during 2015.

Top Fifty Best-Selling Nonfiction Books In 2015 Were Adult Coloring Books.

Of that 652 million, more nonfiction than fiction books were purchased. While the gross numbers may seem encouraging, it must be noted that eight of the top fifty best-selling nonfiction books in 2015 were adult coloring books.

This is illustrative of the fact that people are hungry for a break from the constant messaging barraging their minds. Cooke said mindfulness is a trending word describing this desire.

Mindfulness is becoming really popular today,” he said. “It means to take a second, breathe, and think thoroughly about what you are doing and where you are in life. In the Christian life, mindfulness can be carried over in a really powerful way. It used to be called meditating on Scripture or quiet time.”

John Piper, on his podcast Ask Pastor John, was recently asked why it is important to think deeply about God. He echoed Cooke’s comments by quoting Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”

Christians have always been called to be counter-cultural. One of the most important ways Christians can and should stand apart from the world today is in their ability to think systematically and thoroughly about an issue. That can come only from having their minds transformed by the power of the gospel.

Piper said, “If we are going to be transformed into the likeness of Christ, Paul assumes it comes through a renewed mind. And what minds do is think.”

Suggestions re: training yourself to think
▶ Read and meditate upon long passages of Scripture.
▶ Research a news story using several sources.
▶ Read a book or listen to a lecture about improving your mental focus.

▶ Recommended: John Piper’s Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God. The book is available as a free ebook download or for purchase at desiringgod.org.

Science Facts: Most Global Warming is Junk Science, no Scientific Method used

Science Facts:

Most Global Warming is Junk Science, no Scientific Method used

Study: <1% Of Papers in Scientific Journals Follow Scientific Method

Allum Bokhari

 

When I was in college 40 years ago, all science was conducted using the scientific method. It was a matter of integrity. Now everything is based on political opinion. Most so-called scientists don’t even know what the scientific method is. ~C.D

Fewer than 1 percent of papers published in scientific journals follow the scientific method, according to research by Wharton School professor and forecasting expert J. Scott Armstrong.

Professor Armstrong, who co-founded the peer-reviewed Journal of Forecasting in 1982 and the International Journal of Forecasting in 1985, made the claim in a presentation about what he considers to be “alarmism” from forecasters over man-made climate change.

“We also go through journals and rate how well they conform to the scientific method. I used to think that maybe 10 percent of papers in my field … were maybe useful. Now it looks like maybe, one tenth of one percent follow the scientific method” said Armstrong in his presentation, which can be watched in full below. “People just don’t do it.”

Armstrong defined eight criteria for compliance with the scientific method, including full disclosure of methods, data, and other reliable information, conclusions that are consistent with the evidence, valid and simple methods, and valid and reliable data.

8 Criteria for Scientific Method (Empiricism)

Digging deeper into their motivations, Armstrong pointed to the wealth of incentives for publishing papers with politically convenient rather than scientific conclusions.

“They’re rewarded for doing non-scientific research. One of my favourite examples is testing statistical significance – that’s invalid. It’s been over 100 years we’ve been fighting the fight against that. Even its inventor thought it wasn’t going to amount to anything. You can be rewarded then, for following an invalid [method].”

They Cheat

“They cheat. If you don’t get statistically significant results, then you throw out variables, add variables, [and] eventually you get what you want.”

“My big thing is advocacy. People are asked to come up with certain answers, and in our whole field that’s been a general movement ever since I’ve been here, and it just gets worse every year. And the reason is funded research.”

“I’ve [gone through] my whole career, with lots of publications, and I’ve never gotten a research grant. And I’m proud of that now.”

Armstrong concluded his talk by arguing that scientific evidence should be required for all climate regulations.

Why?

According to Armstrong, very little of the forecasting in climate change debate adheres to these criteria. “For example, for disclosure, we were working on polar bear [population] forecasts, and we were asked to review the government’s polar bear forecast. We asked, ‘could you send us the data’ and they said ‘No’… So we had to do it without knowing what the data were.”

According to Armstrong, forecasts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) violate all eight criteria.

“Why is this all happening? Nobody asks them!” said Armstrong, who says that people who submit papers to journals are not required to follow the scientific method. “You send something to a journal and they don’t tell you what you have to do. They don’t say ‘here’s what science is, here’s how to do it.’”

Critical Thinking: Defining Church and State

Critical Thinking:

Defining Church and State

C.A. Davidson

    TODAY IN OUR SOCIETY, WE HAVE PEOPLE LITERALLY GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER IN THE NAME OF FREEDOM OF RELIGION, because many of us do not understand the line of demarcation between church and state.

Let’s take a closer look at our topic in the First Amendment of the Constitution:

church-state3-first-amendmtCongress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press …

I hope by the time we conclude here that you will understand more precisely what “establishment of religion” means. In 1963, the Supreme Court established the religion of atheism by banning the Bible. Congress didn’t even make that law—the Supreme Court did. How unconstitutional is that?

Today, Congress has not made laws establishing a religion, in this case Islam. Political Correctness, with the help of Barack Obama, has done that. How unconstitutional is that?

Only Congress can make laws. Congressman Trey Gowdy explains:

We make law and while you are free to stand and clap when any president comes into this hallowed chamber and promises to do it with or without you. I will never stand and clap when ANY president no matter whether it’s your president or mine, promises to make us a constitutional anomaly and an afterthought. WE MAKE LAW. 

Church Laws

Most Christian church laws deal with the moral standing of an individual. They can exile or excommunicate a member of their faith for moral transgression, which is violation of a moral law.

U.S. Laws

church-state2-madison-quote          U.S . laws are based on the biblical Ten Commandments. The Constitution guarantees protection of innocent life and property. Therefore, if a member of any religion in the United States steals or commits murder, that member must be tried and punishable by a civil court, because the person has infringed upon another’s liberties and is a threat to society. Most holy writ condemns murder. The religious books of some countries justify murder in the name of their religion. Murder is still against the law in the United States, and is not justified or protected by freedom of religion.

Jefferson and Madison were anxious that the individual states provide for equality among all religions, in order to encourage a moral fiber in society.

Before the Civil War, some states were persecuting certain religions and favoring others, even though the First Amendment of the Constitution spells out the right to freedom for all religions. After the Civil War, amendments were established so that the states could not overrule the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. Now, First Amendment rights are guaranteed on a national level to all American citizens, no matter what state they reside in.

Dallin H. Oaks, legal scholar and Christian leader, clarifies:

Jefferson’s “wall” was obviously intended only for the federal government, and the Supreme Court application of the metaphor to the states has come under severe criticism. (Dallin Oaks, 1963: The Wall Between Church and State, pp.2-3)

church-state1-reagan-quote          Under the United States Constitution,  we have freedom of religion, and anyone can worship whom, where, or what they choose, or not worship anything, if they so choose—as long as their religious opinions don’t cause them to infringe upon the liberties of others. The Constitution is the charter for a civil government, not a religious government, but it requires that the government protect our God-given rights of life, liberty, and property.

Sharia Law, on the other hand, is administered by the Islamic State, in which religion and state are inseparable. Sharia Law is diametrically opposed to the Constitutional rights of life, liberty, and property, and denies First Amendment freedoms of religion, speech, and press as well. Sharia Law allows killing, stealing, and enslavement in the name of their man-made religion.

Should Church Doctrine determine National Policy?

Christians believe in being kind to the wayfaring stranger. The motives are pure, Christ-like love. Does this mean that governments should apply this doctrine on a national scale, and dispense with the vetting process for immigrants?

ImmigrationInvasionOfAmericaThe motives of Islamists, on the other hand, are to use immigration as an invasion tactic, to conquer the target nation, with no intention of assimilating into our Judeo-Christian culture and respecting our values. Obviously, for national security reasons, America can’t assume that the motives of all immigrants are pure, especially when those immigrants hold to religious doctrines that are inimical to the Constitution and the Judeo-Christian ethics upon which our nation is founded.

(See Constitution OK with Immigration Tests on Religion

Ed Vitagliano, of the American Family Association, provides some important insights into this issue:

welfare-government-charity-madisonHere is the principle: Biblically speaking, the government is not the same as the individual Christian, and it is not the same as the church. Therefore, believers must be careful not to apply to government Scriptures intended for the church.

For example, Jesus said, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14).

So, we must conclude that individual Christians are to forgive their enemies. But must we also conclude that governments should forgive their enemies? Must we demand that criminals convicted of crimes be released and not sent to prison?

The application of this principle is that individual Christians should help refugees who are in our nation. But the issue of who we allow in – and how many – is not a biblical matter. It is a political matter. (Please see this related post for additional important information:

Culture Wars: Church and State Issues and Illegal Immigration

 

            You decide: The line of demarcation between Church and State     

Here are some other examples. Use critical thinking to determine whether these cases deserve the protection  of freedom of religion, or whether they violate unalienable rights of life, liberty, and property,  threatening public safety, thereby being subject to prosecution and punishment by civil law.

Child Sacrifice

moloch_the_god1) In ancient times, some people worshipped a god named Moloch. These worshippers practiced human sacrifice, throwing their babies into a fiery furnace in the belly of the statue of  Moloch.

  • Should those worshipers have been granted license to destroy innocent life because it was a religious ritual for them?

Slavery and Slave Trade

2) In a bizarre digression from their latest anti-Christian tirade, the Islamic State addressed the question of black slavery, claiming that if Muslims had been in charge of Western states, the slave trade would have continued.

If Muslims rather than Christians had been running things in countries like the U.S., the Islamic State argues in the most recent issue of its propaganda magazine Dabiq, “the lucrative African slave trade would have continued, supporting a strong economy.”

As usual, the Islamic State supports its position with theological arguments, suggesting that Allah is pleased with slavery, as long as the slaves are infidels.

slave-trade-ISIS“Trading in black African slaves, the [Islamic] magazine notes, would not be done for racial reasons but religious ones.

(Thomas D. Williams, PhD. ‘Lucrative African Slave Trade Would Have Continued’ Breitbart.com)

  • Should Islamists be allowed to traffic in slavery and protected by freedom of religion because they do it for “religious reasons?”

Murder

3) Jihad is not a product of extremist fringes; it is a core religious doctrine of Islam today found in their Koran. Jihad requires that Islamists kill or enslave innocent people—anyone who does not convert to their religion.

MuslimWarriorTrading in black African slaves, the magazine [Dabiq] notes, would not be done for racial reasons but religious ones.

“All of this would be done, not for racism, nationalism, or political lies, but to make the word of Allah supreme. Jihad is the ultimate show of one’s love for his Creator, facing the clashing of swords and buzzing of bullets on the battlefield, seeking to slaughter his enemies – whom he hates for Allah’s hatred of them.”[1]

  • Should Islamists be protected by freedom of religion so they can “slaughter [his] enemies”, or anyone who doesn’t agree with Islam?

Critical Thinking  

  • When is freedom of religion limited?
  • What actions, even if done in the name of religion, require the perpetrator to be subject to civil law?

Related Post:

 Islamic State approves Slave Trade

 

[1]  Thomas D. Williams, PhD. ‘Lucrative African Slave Trade Would Have Continued’ (Breitbart.com)

 

Judeo-Christian Definition: Christianity and Biblical Morals

Dinner Topics for Monday

Month-Defining Moment

Judeo-Christian Definition: Christianity and Biblical Morals

Ju•deo-Chris•tian

Definition of Judeo-Christian: A term worth defending

By Ed Vitagliano

We are a nation founded on Judeo-Christian values. Most evangelicals have a Judeo-Christian worldview. Our Judeo-Christian principles are under attack.

KJV BibleWe hear the term Judeo-Christian used quite frequently, but what does it mean? Here are a few ideas to consider regarding the term as used at American Family Association.

1. It does not refer primarily to Judaism.
Judaism itself can be a term that is frequently misunderstood. Usually, it refers to the religion of the Jewish people, rooted especially in the Law of Moses and the Old Testament.

Judaism also includes the more than 6,000 pages of commentary – developed over the last 2,000 years – incorporated in the Talmud, which explains the meaning of the Law.

2. It is not a term of religious equivalency.
Most Christians rightly examine the Old Testament as a source of religious teaching that informs their faith. Paul says in Romans 15:4, “Whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction.” (See also 1 Corinthians 10:6.)

biblical-worldview2-christianHowever, using the term Judeo-Christian does not mean that Christianity and Judaism are viewed as equally valid faiths. The Bible is the Christian’s final authority on matters of faith, and the New Testament clearly teaches that Christianity supplanted Judaism as the revelation of God’s redemptive purposes in the earth. Hebrews 8:13 says that a New Covenant has been established through Christ, and thus God “has made the first [covenant] obsolete.”

As a result, the clarion call for this age is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ – and that call goes out to both Jew and Gentile alike.

3. It is a moral term.
Since Christianity flowed out of Old Testament Judaism, there is a perceived theological kinship between the Christian and the Jew that does not exist between, say, Christian and Muslim or Christian and Hindu.

As a result Christianity and Judaism share something – what Christians call the Old Testament. Paul, for example, gives great honor to the Jews – his own people – as those who “were entrusted with the oracles of God” (Romans 3:2; see also Acts 7:38; Romans 9:4.)

judeo-christian1It is here that Judeo-Christian begins to come into focus, for it is the equivalent of referring to the religious and moral principles shared by both Jew and Christian.

Those principles would include monotheism, religious law such as the Ten Commandments, ideas concerning the nature of man, biblical (as opposed to pagan) morality regarding human sexuality, marriage and family, the prophetic tradition of a holy people, the state subject to God Himself, etc.

Morality, of course, is not the same as religion. By “morality” we mean how men and women ought to live before a holy and just God, and how they ought to order their lives, families, communities, etc. People of different religions can share moral views; people who agree on morality can disagree on religion.

4. It is a cultural term.
judeo-christian2-10-commandmentsThese moral principles have become more important as they have increasingly come under attack, and so the term is used more and more in the context of the culture wars.

Judeo-Christian is therefore frequently used in contrast to those ideologies that have sought to overthrow the biblical view of marriage, for example, or the sanctity of human life.

Ironically, secularists who demand that America be cleansed of its Judeo-Christian heritage are simply advocating a return to pagan – or pre-Christian – views on these important issues.

Both Jews and Christians lived under such regimes, devoid of the law of God; and neither Jew nor Christian should ever want to return to those times of spiritual darkness.

That is why the battle to preserve Judeo-Christian values must continue in America.

Critical Thinking: Liberal Intolerance vs. Christianity, Freedom of Speech

Critical Thinking:

Liberal Intolerance vs. Christianity, Freedom of Speech

The Verse the Culture Misquotes Most Regularly in an Effort to Quiet Christians

As a Christian, I’m often at odds with the culture around me. As our society embraces a growing number of unbiblical behaviors and attitudes, I find myself becoming more and more vocal in my opposition. I’m not alone; many other conservative Christians are also taking a stand for what the Bible teaches, particularly when it comes to moral behavior.

Liberal Intolerance and Judgment vs. Discernment

Maybe that’s why I seem to hear Matthew 7:1 tossed around so frequently by those who want Christians to quiet down:

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged.”

discernment-christianWhenever we, as Christians, speak out against something in the culture, one of two labels is immediately employed in an effort to silence us: we are either branded “intolerant” or “judgmental”. To make matters worse, the second label is often attached to the teaching of Jesus Himself. Are we Christians defying the words of our Master when we speak against the behaviors, attitudes or worldviews affirmed by others? Did Jesus command us to be silently non-judgmental?

This selective use of scripture by the opposition is perhaps the finest example of what we at Stand to Reason are addressing when we caution people to “never read a Bible verse.” Matthew 7:1, when read in isolation from the larger context of the Sermon on the Mount, may seem to command a form of silent acceptance and tolerance advocated by the culture, but a closer examination of the verse reveals Jesus’ true intent. If Jesus was advocating some form of quiet tolerance, how do we explain the following statements?

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (verse 6)

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (verses 13 and 14)

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (verse 15)

war-on-christianity-free-speech“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” (verses 21, 22 and 23)

Wow, Jesus seems vocally judgmental in these passages. Some people are dogs and swine, unworthy of our efforts. Some people are wrong about the path they choose. Some people are false prophets. Some people are true disciples and some are not. Jesus sure seems comfortable making judgmental statements about people in these passages. How could Jesus say such things when he began this part of the sermon by saying, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged”? Maybe we should revisit the first verses of Matthew 7:

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)

Liberal Hypocrisy

hypocrisyIt turns out that Jesus is not prohibiting vocal discernment in these passages, but is cautioning against a certain kind of unbecoming behavior: hypocritical judgmentalism.  We are called to live differently so that we can effectively identify and address unbiblical behavior in our culture. I cannot be a practicing thief and effectively caution against thievery. I cannot be an active adulterer and effectively advocate monogamy. I’m going to have to “first” stop and assess my own behavior (take out my own “log”) before I can “then” caution others about their behavior (help them take the “speck” out of their eye). This is a “first / then” commandment. Both sides of the directive are important; Jesus is commanding two equally critical actions.

First, we must change our behavior; become people of God who are above reproach. Second, we must actively engage others about their behavior. Some ideas are good and some are bad. Some prophets are true and some are false. Some people are right, some people are wrong. We are called to make statements about such things after we eliminate hypocrisy in these areas of our own lives. We, as Christians, are called to (1) live righteously, and (2) speak out about unrighteousness. We are less likely to do this, however, if we allow folks misquote Jesus in an effort to silence us.

J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of Cold-Case Christianity, Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, and God’s Crime Scene.

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