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The Spirit of the Age as Foundation for Morals

It has been quite popular for some time now for people to engage in moral/ethical argument on the basis of what year it is (“It’s 2017.…”) or its sister argument (“the flow of history/right side of history”).

I haven’t decided whether such people really don’t realize how stupid the form of argument is, or whether they actually do, but are so cynical they use it anyway. It doesn’t seem nice to impute that level of obtuseness, but on the other hand, it’s not exactly complementary to impute that level of cynicism either.

If you want to see how frivolous the form of argument is, simply use it with reference to mindsets and attitudes in the past which we now denigrate. For example, the early twentieth century had an extraordinarily high regard for race-based eugenics, not only in Germany, but (sad to say) in much of the West, including the “free democracies,” especially among the intelligentsia. (Of course, this is now largely swept under the carpet.) (more…)

News Digest Site Launch: News Mutt

I’m excited to announce that today I launched a news digest site called News Mutt. The idea was a long time coming; in fact, I had registered a different domain several years ago.

The concept of News Mutt grew from a combination of inspiration from and frustration with other news sites. Unlike Drudge Report, I wanted something more balanced and offering actual story summaries rather than just links. Most other non-mainstream sites are too sensationalistic, and of course the mainstream news media reflects a very heavy leftward bias.

Consequently, I developed a vision to build a site that would appeal to people with limited time, but whose interests included looking at things from a historically Christian faith perspective and the love of liberty.

Due to the extreme ongoing time commitment of this project, the site will be monetized by ads, but I’m trying to maintain a good balance so that they are not overly intrusive.

It should be noted that at this point the publisher name in News Mutt’s footer is Anderson Alexander. I chose a pseudonym (basically, a “pen name”), not because I want to remain anonymous (I’m advertising here that it’s me, after all), but because I also write biblical studies/theology as well as fiction. Using another name helps me separate the “brands”: my main stuff is published under Tim Gallant, fiction under T. A. Gallant, and now the journalistic stuff under Anderson Alexander. I’m not entirely sure if I’ll stick with that, but we’ll see how it goes.

For what it’s worth, I chose Anderson Alexander because Anderson was my Dad’s biological father’s last name; Alexander was my Mom’s maiden name.

It is not Reason

Friend, you call me an unenlightened and therefore unreasonable bigot because I ostensibly oppose “women’s rights.” But it is not reason that hinders you from seeing what is intrinsically obvious—that this unborn child is indeed a human being.

It is not reason that insists, “This is my body” or “A woman should be able to choose what she does with her body.” It is not reason that affirms that a situation involving two sets of DNA (or indeed, just three weeks after conception, two hearts and two brains) is a situation involving one body. Very clearly, your rhetoric notwithstanding, we are speaking not of one body but two.

It is not reason that insists that personhood depends on moving a few inches down a birth canal, as if location were determinative of who and what you are.

It is not reason that insists that personhood depends on being able to be independent. That is at best a definition of adulthood, not of personhood.

It is not reason that insists that some purported right to forgo the inconvenience of childbearing should be considered more fundamental than the basic right to life itself. It is rather a special form of bigotry that places the former supposed “right” above the latter.

In all of these ways, you show that it is your position that is unreasonable and untenable; that is is you who are a bigot, ready to slaughter for your cause.

Yet I do not say you are stupid, but rather something much worse: your hardness of heart has made you blind. Stupidity perhaps could provide you some sort of excuse—but you are and will remain culpable for the horrors which you do and which you approve.

Men love darkness rather than light, Jesus said, and in the darkness is blindness. Come to Jesus, and find the hope of the world.

On Discrimination

In cases such as the bakery in Oregon (Sweetcakes by Melissa), we have heard repeatedly that the problem is “discimination.” This is then to be compared with the barring of “niggers” from eating establishments and other businesses back before the victories of the Civil Rights movement.

Trouble is, the analogy breaks down at the most fundamental level. (more…)

The Media and the Gosnell Trial

Here is a stark reminder that “the news” as represented by the professional media is not “objective.” The media’s selection of things to include and push, and correspondingly, items to ignore and downplay, has a huge cultural effect, and that is the intent.

The Gosnell case brings to light things that are unpleasant. But more than that, it pushes forward uncomfortable questions. How can these killings be gruesome only because they were successful once the baby was outside the womb? If the killing on the table of an aborted baby is gruesome and murderous, how is that different from the killing of that same baby that same day if it happens to be successfully carried out while inside the womb?

These are the sorts of questions that the anti-life media want to avoid at all costs, even if the Gosnells among their heroes are clearly carrying out illegal activities. And in a sense, their instinct is fully in accord with the people they serve. This is not the news that the anti-life masses want to see, either. It is too uncomfortable and too damning, just as it was too uncomfortable and damning for the multitude of agencies who could have had Gosnell shut down years earlier. (On the latter, see the heading “The Failure to Stop It” on this page.) Rather reap the whirlwind than have sowing the wind come under the slightest question.

There are no safe abortuaries. Gosnell’s clinic killed later-term preborns than some other clinics, and in a sufficiently unsanitary fashion that some of the women died, as well. But all abortuaries are killing fields by design. The horror of Gosnell’s practices should be seen for what they are: an extension of the horror of all abortion. The baby in the womb is not less human than the baby on the table.

Slavery, Polygamy, and the Bible

Non-Christians (and increasingly, those who self-identify as “Christians”) frequently dismiss biblical ethical norms with a quick “Oh, but the Bible condones slavery and polygamy!”

With, of course, the obvious implication that the Bible’s morals are awfully unreliable. Because it “condoned” things that we find offensive, and that even Christians seem embarrassed about. (We Christians, after all, seem agreed by now that both polygamy and slavery are bad.)

And then, having cast aside the Bible as a reliable guide, we enlightened moderns can take on that role of deciding for ourselves what is right and wrong.

Now, there are several answers to that line of argument, one of which is that the Bible does not simply condone either slavery or polygamy; it regulates them, which is not the same thing.

Moreover, the slavery the Bible countenanced was never based on kidnapping, an offense which in fact carried with it the death penalty under the Mosaic law (Exodus 21:16). “Slavery” among fellow Israelites was a form of indentured servitude, and “perpetual slavery” was only countenanced in connection with prisoners of war. Even in their case, the Mosaic law did regulate things to avoid their mistreatment. If a slave ran away, other Israelites were forbidden from assisting in his return (Deuteronomy 23:15); and if a slave’s master seriously harmed him, the slave was automatically authorized to go free (Exodus 21:26). Even a slave wife (concubine) was to be granted freedom if her husband ever diminished her marital rights (Exodus 21:10-11).

But there is much more involved in understanding the Bible’s position regarding both slavery and polygamy than scouring the Mosaic law and ensuring a balanced and proper interpretation of these situations through its case laws—as important an exercise as that indeed is.


Pharisees and Homosexual Advocacy

It is frequently suggested that the clash between religious people and homosexual culture is Pharisaic in nature. The Pharisees were always judging others, after all.

There is indeed truth in the notion that this is about Pharisaism, but not in the way usually thought. While it is true that far too many Christians have acted self-righteously and mercilessly toward homosexuals (which is deplorable and casts a black shadow upon the name of Christ), at the center of the public debate is the Pharisaic nature of homosexual advocates themselves.