"Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning."
"The fingers of your thoughts are molding your face ceaselessly."
"Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere."
"Humility enforces where neither virtue nor strength can prevail, nor reason."
"Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil."
Resistance Thinking Society
'Society' is a term used to describe a grouping of individuals and outlines the structures employed to ensure that the individuals within a society relate to each other in an appropriate fashion. Different societies may have distinctive cultural behaviours and different institutions. In this society section you will find news, articles and reviews that relate to Australian society, or more specifically, individuals who live in Australia.
Topics in this section will cover: science and technology - stem cell research, IVF, cloning, intelligent design, evolution etc.; politics - ideologies (communism, anarchism, totalitarianism, capitalism etc.), state and federal politics, the free market, the United Nations etc.; sociology - globalisation, prisons, welfare, government; environment - global warming, alternative energy etc.; and moral issues - poverty, homosexuality, euthanasia, abortion etc.
The role of the Christian within society is to stand for truth, for justice and most importantly, to represent God's agenda on the earth. As the Resistance Thinking journey continues, our aim is to stimulate engaging dialogue exploring the complexities of how followers of Jesus should engage with society in our day and age.
Last week saw the passing of enigmatic writer and atheist Christopher Hitchens. Unlike other articles now available online I have not spent any time with this man and cannot reflect upon the type of person he was. Yet I can't let his passing go without saying some words about Hitchens.
Hitchens polarises me greatly. He was easily the most amiable and enjoyable of the so-called "four horseman" to listen to and seemed to have a greater ability than atheist champion Richard Dawkins to role with the punches and place relevant arguments whilst in the flow of a debate. Hitchens had a tendency to play with those he was debating in the knowledge that he was more intelligent than his opponent. Sometimes, however, Hitchens would side-track himself and ultimately not keep up with the flow of the debate. His debate against William Lane Craig saw him comprehensively beaten because of this short-coming.
Whilst I enjoyed the way that Christopher engaged in banter with theologians I find myself at pains with the news that the esophageal cancer that was raging in his body finally defeated the man with the quick whit. On one hand I realise that Christopher Hitchens is now, almost certainly, heading to his doom. Christopher Hitchens will have no chance to say something sharp and humorous before the throne of God. His sandglass is now empty and he has now found out, one way or another, if he really does have a creator.
This is not just a reality for Christopher Hitchens. It is something that you and I have to face. We may have many years left, but maybe we don't. Christopher Hitchens was faced with his own death and he has stated that he was not afraid of this reality. Yet, perhaps he should have been. It is no small thing to be given notice that death is coming at you at a rate of knots. Christopher Hitchens has known for the past few years that, most probably, he had created his own death with his drinking and smoking habits. Despite this, he remained stubborn to the end, that we know of, regarding his rejection of any deity.
While his death spells the end of any hope for Hitchens life my thoughts turn to his legacy, namely his militant atheism. Now I have no doubt that Christopher Hitchens was an amiable man and nearly every obituary speaks of a person who was charming and sophisticated. Despite all these attributes he has penned books and articles that will see countless people walk away from the faith. Some may protest that it is only the nominal Christian that will be swayed by his arguments, yet, it should be Churches that are ushering in these people, not secular social groups.
The subtitle to Hitchen's 2007 hit book God Is Not Great reads "How religion poisons everything". Hitchens makes a better fist of grasping with theology than Dawkins but, fortunately, his atheist manifesto falls short. I do not have time to discuss the intricacies of the points he makes in his book. This, I believe, is a challenge for another time. What I am amazed about is Christopher Hitchens willingness to lump all religions together and then disregard them all. This is intellectually dishonest.
I am reminded of the worldview divide when I read the subtitle "How religion poisons everything". Christopher Hitchens fervently believed that religion, and God, has damaged humanity. My impression of the world would be to substitute religion from his subtitle and replace it with words like Satan or sin. It is this poison that has been seeping out of Hitchens books and his debates for many years. He has been actively recruiting crewman onto a sinking ship and, despite the fact that he no longer is on that vessel; people will continue to be influenced by his writings. Such is my dilemma. I feel a great sadness at the loss of Hitchens and the reality of his judgment but I am also relieved that I will not see another antitheist book under Hitchen's name again.
There have been many deaths spoken about in the media this past year. Kim Jong-il very recently died of a suspected heart attack. Steve Jobs, visionary at Apple, died on October 5th. Gaddafi and bin Laden were both celebrated deaths in the media while Amy Winehouse drank a fatal amount of alcohol leading to her demise. In the 2000 smash-hit Gladiator Russell Crowe's character Maximus says "Brothers, what we do in life, echoes in eternity!". Unlike the world that Christopher Hitchens was advocating for, the world we live in is one where we will answer for how we have lived our lives. It is wishful thinking to hope to avoid the judgment that we deserve.
Contrasting those who are mentioned above is a man who died on April 27th this year. David Wilkerson was a champion for the kingdom. He lived a life reflecting the knowledge that eternity was his yet tempered with the understanding that the Christian fight has only just begun. Wilkerson recognised that there are many Christians who have been baptised in salvation but are ignoring the plights of others. Says Wilkerson:
"[S]ome Christians are content to merely exist until they die. They don't want to risk anything, to believe God, to grow or mature. They refuse to believe his Word, and have become hardened in their unbelief. Now they're just living to die."
If we are to remember and exemplify anyone who has passed away this year it should be David Wilkerson. He may not have had the profile of Christopher Hitchens but he had a passion for the lost and for the world as a whole that is disappearing in our Churches. Though his ministry extends far beyond this book David Wilkerson will be remembered for The Cross and the Switchblade. Here is a very powerful video that David preached calling those who heard to anguish for the lost:
Let me quote the last excerpt from this remarkable video:
"Folks, it is getting late, and it's getting serious.
Please don't tell me, don't tell me you're concerned....
When you're spending hours in front of internet or television."
"Lord, there are some need to get to this alter and confess
I am not what I was, I am not where I am supposed to be.
God I don't have Your heart or Your burden
I've wanted it easy.
I just wanted to be happy.
But Lord, true joy comes,
True joy comes out of anguish....."
I find myself convicted every time I listen to Wilkerson preach this message. There is a groaning world out there full of people like Christopher Hitchens or people getting influenced by his writings. Our hearts should reflect God's agony when He sees those who are spiritually perishing. Surely, this is enough to get us off the sidelines and into the game. Can we not muster the desire to care about our fellow man? When we see the passing of Hitchens we need to realise that leading a happy life is not good enough. That we are not called to be content as our neighbours and friends head towards destruction. It is true that God doesn't need us but it this does not alleviate our commission:
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV)
We have our marching orders. We know what we are called to do. The atheists are willing to stand, so why aren't we?
"To clear the mind for this project, it has become necessary to know the enemy, and to prepare to fight it."
I was going to leave the topic of homosexuality alone for some time, however, this story has grown so big that I feel that it can't be ignored. Rick Perry is one of the many candidates vying for the Republican nomination to face off against Obama. For us Aussies, that means he is conservative (and he is even in comparison to other Republican hopes Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich). Now the chances are that Rick Perry won't get close to being given the candidacy from the Republican constituency. This is mainly due to his inability in the debating arena and forgetting things that he really shouldn't forget (though this is forgivable and can be paralleled with Obama's 57 states comment in the last election).
I am not going to discuss Rick Perry's presidential ambitions, though I believe he is one of the best candidates for the job, I am going to talk about this video:
This video packs a lot of content into a very small space and leaves Rick Perry wide open to scathing criticism, and this criticism has come. If you look at the like/dislike bar there is over 675,000 dislikes and this will continue to grow. It is a safe assumption that this will dethrone the many Justin Beiber songs that reside at the top of the youtube dislike list (only by default because Rebecca Black took her "Friday" video down). Now the criticism has reached our shores and, more specifically, Perry has been attacked by our tabloids. In yesterday's Age (and the Sydney Morning Herald) there is a story titled Ten parodies of Rick Perry's 'Strong' ad.
A portion of these videos are somewhat amusing while others parody Perry with stinging personal attacks. From the outset this has me disturbed. Obviously there will be many people who don't agree with Perry's message but to claim that you are working towards tolerance while throwing damaging and hateful mud at another person is counter-intuitive. You may think that his message is lies and dangerous but the challenge must be directed towards the ball and not the player. As it is, many of these parodies/attacks can be written off because of the inability to deal with the actual content of Rick Perry's video. You can't score points by dehumanising and mocking someone without an intellectual argument of your own.
This brings me to the content of Perry's video. For those of you too lazy to watch the thirty-one second clip he says:
"I'm not ashamed to admit I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know that there is something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.
As President I'll end Obama's war on religion and I'll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.
Faith made America strong, it can make her strong again."
(note: this is verbatim but does not include his strong Texan accent)
There are three central points to this video. Firstly, there is something wrong with homosexuals serving in the military. Secondly, there is something wrong with Children not being able to celebrate Christmas or pray in schools. And finally, faith is the key to the future of America.
The first argument is clearly the most contentious and divisional part of Perry's message. Unfortunately it seems that this is mostly a gut-reaction to somebody talking about homosexuality in a bad light. The Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy was passed in the US Congress last year and abolished this year by the Obama administration, much to the delight of celebrities like Lady Gaga. This policy, in its basic form, was that homosexuals could serve in the military as long as they were not openly homosexual.
The repeal of this was hailed by homosexual activists as a win for human rights and equality. But was Don't Ask, Don't Tell a good policy and, therefore, the new policy troubling? Initially, it must be said that this change has occurred from outside pressures rather than a push from within the military. Sure, there were some who wished Don't Ask, Don't Tell to be repealed but these people were a small minority. Also worth noting is that, while Scripture describes homosexuality as a sin (unless it is revised), this does not necessarily mean that we, as Christians, need to oppose whatever homosexuals are lobbying for. We do not need to be reactionary in this way. If we oppose the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell we should have solid grounds for doing so. After all this policy is a form of discrimination, the question is whether it is a reasonable form of discrimination?
It is worth pointing out that a fairly recent study has revealed that a large percentage (this article quotes 75%) of 17 to 24 year olds could not serve in the US military (mainly attributed to obesity etc...). From this we can gauge that there is blatant discrimination occurring in the selection process. Obviously, though, this discrimination is warranted. But does this extend to those who are openly homosexual? It is likely that their aptitude and capabilities as military personnel on the field cannot not be faulted (at least not any more so than anyone else). Is this the only criteria?
The biggest change that will occur is that there will be a dichotomy shift within the military. A shift that will have far-reaching consequences. As Albert Mohler says:
"From the nation's birth, the armed forces have held an established place as a culture-forming institution. Our national life is shaped by several institutional forces, but few hold the power held by the U.S. military. The public's admiration of the armed forces is enhanced by the reality of civilian control over the military, and service in uniform has been an important means of establishing national identity and culture.
The results of this influence have been overwhelmingly positive. The successful racial integration of the military was indispensable to the civil rights movement. The military has preserved national values of honor, courage, and service. Few institutions can compare to the massive influence of the military in shaping national culture.
That is why the normalization of homosexuality within the armed forces has been such a central goal of the homosexual movement. The three most significant institutional barriers to the full normalization of homosexuality in the society are the military, laws governing marriage, and the churches. For this reason, all three of these institutional forces have been directly targeted by those who would push for the full acceptance of homosexuality. A focus on these institutions is essential if homosexuality is to be recognized on an equal moral and cultural footing with heterosexuality. There is no surprise here.
It must be recognized that the normalization of homosexuality within the U.S. military will have effects far beyond the armed forces. The most immediate changes will appear closest to where the military is concentrated, both geographically and culturally. Businesses doing work for the armed forces, individuals offering housing and a host of services to military personnel, and others similarly connected to the armed services will be the first to be required to respond to these effects and to conform to the new military reality. From there, the circles of the military's influence will extend to the rest of the society in one manner or another.
The rejection of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is not just about the military - and that is why so much effort has been directed to its repeal."
Many people will see the normalisation of homosexuality as a good thing. I do not and my fellow Christians should not either. It is worth considering what Scripture directs on this issue (and it does have a voice). 1 Timothy 2 states the balance between the individual and the state:
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4
Military service is a good and noble pursuit. It is an act that puts the individual at risk for a higher cause. However, we must be aware that "we do not wage war as the world does" (2 Corinthians 10:3). The fight for the human soul is the most important and worthwhile battlefield. If we are fighting for our country, yet not allowed to battle for the souls of those in the military around us then our purpose is empty and the hope of freedom will never be achieved.
There are obviously practical implications to this policy change, as well. Homosexuals serving in the military pose a similar issue that would occur if we spoke about shared barracks. It is obviously not very PC to say so (just ask Jason Akermanis) but this is the reality. We must, then, ask whether it is in the best interests for homosexuals to be serving in the military and bunking with the same sex who they may be attracted to? Now the APA will tell you that homosexuals are just as effective a soldier as anyone else on the battlefield, however, this does not alleviate said problem which is exacerbated by the overwhelming evidence regarding homosexual promiscuity (http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2011/07/13/on-fidelity-or-the-lack-thereof/). This changes the act from perhaps "purely a private matter" to something that could undermine a Regiment's ability to operate in the field.
I will skip Perry's second point because that would transform this article into a very long article (if it wasn't already). His final point is that faith is the key to America's future. I heartily agree with him on this point as I believe faith is the key to Australia's future as well. Many people will rebut this by yelling "separation of Church and state". It should be pointed out that the original intention of such a concept was not to protect the state from Church influence (i.e. the Christian worldview) but to protect the Church from outside influences diluting the message of the Gospel.
If we are to turn to Scripture then we realise how important it is that God play a central role in politics. Littered through-out the Old Testament are stories of God's influence on His chosen nation and their interactions with other pagan nations. While the New Testament revealed the mystery that salvation belonged to both Jew and Gentile equally we still must recognise the importance of God in our nation today. After all, He will judge the nations of the earth (Genesis 6:5-7) and bless them. God has destroyed cities before because of their blatant misuse of sexuality against what is natural (Sodom and Gomorrah - Jude 1:7).
There have been many responses to Rick Perry's video. Most of them are from diametric worldviews which are easy enough to dismiss. Some, however, claim to come from a Christian worldview. Take these two girls, for instance:
This is an example of a knee-jerk reaction. Not only that but they talk about "bridg[ing] the gap of vast differences among our fellow Americans". They combine this with a message of grace but this is a cocktail that is going to emulsify rather than mix. We must not dilute the Gospel in order to bring more people to Christ, this is counterintuitive. Their point that one cannot use their Christianity as a platform is valid, to a point. Being a Christian does not determine whether one will be a good leader. One merely needs to look at Obama's claims to being a Christian to see this. However, a leader without faith in our living God is like a ship captain without a compass. It is only a matter of time before they pilot the ship into harms way. Against such a person God's fury will burn.
Herman Cain “suspended” his campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination on Saturday, ending one of the most interesting political campaigns of recent years. Cain’s energy and ideas had catapulted him into the front ranks of Republican candidates, even though he had never previously run for any national political office. This unlikely candidate ran an unconventional campaign that collapsed under the weight of unusual developments. In a matter of minutes, it was over.
“As of today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign,” he stated. “Because of the continued distractions, the continued hurt caused on me and my family, not because we are not fighters. Not because I am not a fighter,” he said.
The “suspension” of his campaign means the end of his quest for the nomination, and it came in the wake of serious allegations of sexual misconduct that Cain, in the end, could not escape. It began with a Chicago woman accusing him of making an unwanted sexual advance years ago when Cain was head of the National Restaurant Association. Next, a second woman made similar charges. Then, it was discovered that two other women had made similar accusations against Cain. At least two of the women received settlements from the National Restaurant Association in return for dropping their charges. It then became known that the two women received the equivalent of a year’s salary as part of the settlement.
The final blow came when an Atlanta woman, Ginger White, accused Cain of recently ending a 13-year sexual affair. Though the candidate suffered from political mishaps and confusion on some key issues, the sexual charges are what, in the end, doomed his candidacy.
While there are any number of worthy angles of serious reflection left in the wake of the Cain campaign, there are lessons here of particular importance to Christian men. 1. The Christian man must realize that credible accusations of sexual misconduct or immorality are fatal to credibility and ruinous to Christian witness.
The Bible places an unmistakable premium on sexual purity and faithfulness. This expectation is revealed in laws, precepts, and commandments and it is demonstrated throughout Scripture in virtually every conceivable manner. The clear expectation is fidelity within marriage, and the Bible warns of both temporal and eternal consequences of sexual immorality.
The Church does not consist of those who have never sinned, but of those who have come out of any number of sinful patterns into obedience to Christ. When a credible accusation of sexual immorality is made against a Christian man, nothing less than his faithfulness to Christ is called into question. Nothing is then more important than to refute the charge with honor and credibility, or to make a clean confession and accept the consequences. 2. The Christian man cannot dismiss any charge of sexual immorality as being a private matter of no public concern.
We know better. One hard lesson from the experience of Herman Cain is this: A Christian man accused of sexual immorality cannot make the argument that moral concerns “end outside of one’s bedroom door.” The Christian man cannot say, or allow to be said on his account, that matters of “legitimate inquiry” are limited to actions which carry legal sanction.
The American people do not accept this evasion when it comes to their political leaders. Even when they have supported a candidate after such a revelation, they have not claimed that the immoral behavior was of merely private consequence or concern. Christians are held to a far higher standard than those who are merely political leaders. When the political leader identifies as a Christian, the importance of these issues is only amplified.
3. The Christian man must plan his life in order to assure moral accountability and protections.
When the first charges of sexual misconduct were alleged, the first problem for Herman Cain was his inability to dismiss them immediately and demonstrate his innocence with credible argument. Instead, Cain fumbled the charges badly. In retrospect, he fumbled them at least in part because he could not dismiss them — and this was fatal to his campaign.
Look closely at the charges. One woman charged that Cain had made a sexual advance after taking her out on a night of socializing and entertainment in Washington, DC. Cain’s situation would have been radically different if he had been able to respond that he had always maintained a policy of never socializing alone with any woman other than his wife. If those close to Cain had been able to support his claim, the charge would have been very difficult to press. Cain made no such claim. There was no denial that he had been alone with the woman in this context.
The other women who made accusations of sexual harassment were also able to do so without any credible refutation — especially when it was revealed that at least two of the women had received settlements from Cain’s employer.
Does this prove that Cain was guilty of what the women charged? We will never know. What we do know is that he had engaged in behaviors that no Christian man should allow himself, opening his life to moral vulnerabilities that no man can responsibly accept.
In some situations, an insurance company can decide to settle a potential lawsuit without the permission of the accused. This is extremely dangerous for a Christian man in the business world or in any leadership position. What the Christian man must not accept is that this would be the end of the matter. He must insist, at the very least, that the appropriate authority (such as a supervisor or corporate board of directors) be ready to state that there is no credible evidence of such misconduct. No responsible authority has made such a statement on Cain’s behalf.
The Christian man must plan his life, including his business life and his professional career, in such a way that he does not allow himself to be in a situation in which he can be credibly accused of such misconduct. A Christian man does not socialize alone with a woman who is not his wife — period. Though this can sometimes add complication and cost, a Christian man should not travel or conduct business in a way that exposes himself to sexual temptation or opportunity.
4. The Christian man must depend upon his church, the congregation that is so essential to his Christian vitality and faithfulness, as a bulwark against sin.
Christianity is not to be lived in isolation. We are called together into congregations of fellow believers, living together in submission to Christ and growing together by the ministry of the Word. Christian men desperately need the strength and accountability that comes through faithful membership in a Gospel church.
The congregation must provide moral protections as well as moral instruction. The men of the congregation, old and young together, must be a band of brothers ready to pray for one another, to encourage one another, to confront one another, to admonish one another, to protect one another, and to stand together in faithfulness to Christ.
Do your Christian brothers know of your practices, patterns of life, and principles of conduct? Are they ready to defend you should an accusation come? Do you regularly seek the counsel of your brothers in deciding how to conduct your marriage, your business life, and your professional practices? If not, you are in trouble already.
5. A Christian man knows that his wife is his best defense against sexual immorality and sexual vulnerability - and his most important witness to character.
The campaign of Herman Cain started to disintegrate with the accusation of a 13-year sexual affair. Once again, Cain had no rational defense, other than to insist, as he did, that he had done absolutely nothing wrong. Why was that not credible? The press quickly learned, and Cain affirmed, that he had given the woman repeated sums of money and had exchanged frequent phone calls and text messages.
Then came the most damaging admission: His wife knew nothing of the relationship. Then came an even more bizarre development: Cain waited days to discuss the accusations with his wife in person. As The New York Times reported, the accusation was made the Monday after Thanksgiving. Cain did not return to Atlanta until Friday night “to meet and consult with his wife for the first time since Ms. White came forward with her claim.” Seriously? Americans watched day by day as Cain told the public that, by the end of the week, he would consult with his wife. That would be the wife who did not know of her husband’s “friendship” with a woman he had over the years given both money and much attention.
At his Atlanta appearance, Cain said: “I am at peace with my God. I am at peace with my wife, and she is at peace with me.” Mrs. Cain, who was at his side, said nothing.
Did the liberal press try to pull Cain down? No doubt this is true, but Cain’s campaign was not destroyed by the accusations, but rather by his inability to counter and refute them. Is any man vulnerable to such accusations? At one level, yes. But that is a very superficial level. What separates such accusations at this point is the ability of the accused to mount a real defense and refute the charges.
Herman Cain’s situation would have been radically different had he responded by denying the charges, documenting his moral protections, demonstrating the untruthfulness of the charges, allowing his wife to attest to those protections, and then challenging anyone with evidence to the contrary to come forward and present such evidence in public.
Perhaps he could not. In any event, he did not. There was just too much left on the table after any fair-minded person looked closely at the charges.
Herman Cain would be in a very different position today if he had been able to say that he had never socialized alone with a woman other than his wife, and that he had never engaged in a relationship or friendship with any woman that was unknown to and unaccompanied by his wife. As became apparent, he could not make these statements.
It is too late for Herman Cain to restart his presidential campaign and start again. But it is not too late for many Christian men to act in order to prevent the day when they are caught in their own moment of trial in the face of such accusations. For Christians, the lessons of Herman Cain are too important to leave in the history books of the 2012 presidential campaign.
I suppose it has been building up to this for some time. The lines have been drawn and there is an all-out war brewing. This one will, hopefully, have no deaths but it will have victims. This week the federal Labor assembly are going to lean on Julia Gillard to change the Party's stance on same-sex marriage. And they're going to lean hard. It will be interesting to see whether Julia caves. Unfortunately, it feels very much like the dam wall is going to explode.
Yet I choose to stand before this forth-coming current and encourage others to stand with me. We face a fierce opposition. One with the deluded belief that they are fighting for what is right. Yet they are not the enemy. They are merely his "useful idiots". Doing his bidding and remaining oblivious to the damage they are causing. Or, even worse, rejoicing in their destruction.
One such organisation who have been causing mischief for some time now is GetUp!. This group is an ardent supporter of "marriage equality" and last week released this short clip:
Amazingly it has had over 3 million views. Because of its influence something needs to be said to curtail the lies presented in this storyline. The general gist of this video is that homosexual couples are no different than heterosexual couples. This is an extremely false assertion.
"As both homosexual and non-homosexuals have admitted, and as has been thoroughly documented by scientific studies, the homosexual lifestyle is in many respects a very risky, even dangerous, lifestyle. It is associated with numerous illnesses and diseases and at higher levels than among non-homosexuals. Much of this is associated with the promiscuous and high-risk nature of homosexuality.
In general, homosexual relationships do not offer the same stability and permanence as do heterosexual relationships. A number of studies have been conducted over the past few decades to show that the average homosexual relationship is far from stable and monogamous. Indeed, it can instead be characterised as highly unstable and promiscuous."
If you wish to delve into this evidence then you should purchase Bill's book. Many homosexual advocates know that the truth cannot bend itself to their cause. So instead they have been using guerrilla warfare tactics. This is achieved by convincing the everyday person that there is nothing wrong, or different, about homosexuality. And, of course, the best way to do this is to filter messages through the mainstream media. Preferably by using popular television fictional shows. This has been going on for many years now.
It is because of this phenomenon that we, as Christians, must stand in a world deprived of truth. Some people will say that all religious people talk about is homosexuality and there are some of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who say that they don't want to deal with this issue anymore. Eric Redmond and Kevin DeYoung have a sufficient reply for those who thing that:
"The issue of homosexuality should not be ignored or sidestepped in order to get on with "more important things." Of course, we would all rather focus on evangelism and discipleship. But perhaps our prayers for renewal will be answered by taking a courageous and crystal clear stance with regards to homosexuality. Much is at stake in this debate.
Grace is at stake in this debate over homosexuality. Will we offer people the grace to change or affirm them in behaviour that the Bible has said is inappropriate? And when we offer people grace in Jesus' name, will it be cheap grace that advocates mercy apart from justice, election without sanctification, and Christianity without discipleship?
Our approach to the Bible is at stake. Theologians have always recognized that God unfolds his truth in Scripture by means of progressive revelation. But does this mean we need to look for "new light" that contradicts the consistent witness of Scripture? Do we think God has changed his mind on this issue? How will we know? And what does this do to our confidence in the Bible? Are the Scriptures clear and complete, or might we need a better ethic than the New Testament?
Where we find the authority for our beliefs is at stake. Will we allow this issue to be settled by the back-and-forth debate in medical journals and psychological studies, or will we stand on the Bible alone and examine general revelation through the spectacles of Scripture?
Our pastoral approach to persons struggling with same-gender attraction is at stake. At our best, we who oppose homosexual behaviours do so motivated by love - love for the hurting, the struggling, the ostracized, and the confused. We want to minister, as Jesus did, with grace and truth...."
Another Christian commentator, Albert Mohler, made this powerful comment:
"Our churches must teach the basics of biblical morality to Christians who will otherwise never know that the Bible prescribes a model for sexual relationships. Young people must be told the truth about homosexuality-and taught to esteem marriage as God's intention for human sexual relatedness.
The times demand Christian courage. These days, courage means that preachers and Christian leaders must set an agenda for biblical confrontation, and not shrink from dealing with the full range of issues related to homosexuality. We must talk about what the Bible teaches about gender-what it means to be a man or a woman. We must talk about God's gift of sex and the covenant of marriage. And we must talk honestly about what homosexuality is, and why God has condemned this sin as an abomination in His sight.
Courage is far too rare in many Christian circles. This explains the surrender of so many denominations, seminaries, and churches to the homosexual agenda. But no surrender on this issue would have been possible, if the authority of Scripture had not already been undermined.
And yet, even as courage is required, the times call for another Christian virtue as well-compassion. The tragic fact is that every congregation is almost certain to include persons struggling with homosexual desire or even involved in homosexual acts. Outside the walls of the church, homosexuals are waiting to see if the Christian church has anything more to say, after we declare that homosexuality is a sin.
Liberal churches have redefined compassion to mean that the church changes its message to meet modern demands. They argue that to tell a homosexual he is a sinner is uncompassionate and intolerant. This is like arguing that a physician is intolerant because he tells a patient she has cancer. But, in the culture of political correctness, this argument holds a powerful attraction.
Biblical Christians know that compassion requires telling the truth, and refusing to call sin something sinless. To hide or deny the sinfulness of sin is to lie, and there is no compassion in such a deadly deception. True compassion demands speaking the truth in love-and there is the problem. Far too often, our courage is more evident than our compassion...."
If Christians were to listen to these wise words then we would be on the front foot. Instead we are surrounded by a clash of worldviews. The original intention of God did not include homosexual relationships. Yet those living in sin can still hear His call and the Holy Spirit is still working within their hearts. It is for them, for the truth and for the Gospel that we must STAND FIRM!!!!!
Well I've finally finished Bill Muehlenberg's book Strained Relations and I was heartily impressed with the wealth of information available in the 227 pages plus references. Yet if you go searching on the web for reviews you will be disappointed. The only review I could find of Bill's book was on bigotedbillmuehlenberg.blogspot.com and reproduced on the Borders Customer Reviews website. Needless to say this anonymous writer, who sometimes pens himself as Richie Craze and sometimes as Dursley McLinden, decides to play the man rather than the ball. Take this quote:
"It will come as no surprise to anyone who goggles at the inaccuracies and myths peddled in this book that Muehlenberg's training is in theology, and not in science; let alone the social sciences. His understanding of what constitutes evidence for a position is consequently very weak, and the author is crying out for something other than the occasional cherry-picked quote from a gay person to make his argument."
Therefore, an accurate review is in order. The first thing that stood out to me from this book was the amount of evidence that Bill packs into his punches. And don't be fooled into thinking Muehlenberg's only tactic is to "cherry pick" quotes. When dealing with the social aspects of homosexuality Bill uses appropriate secular research. This research stands against empty criticisms and points to the truth of the dangers of homosexuality. Dangers for the individual and for society. Some of this is shocking (like the allocated amount of our Government's budget to HIV/AIDS control) and some of this is quite telling (such as how monogamy differs between homosexual and heterosexual couples). We would do well to not ignore the implications of this book.
Strained Relations is written as an Australian book. It has many quotes and studies from the US and from the UK but it is tailored towards being in the hands of thinking Australians. I cannot stress enough how important this book is at this time to Australia. As Christians we know that God has ordained sexuality as between man and woman in matrimony. Yet there is compelling social evidence that reinforces this stance. Bill does an outstanding job of compiling a significant amount of facts in this book. He deals with key categories such as:
homosexual rights and discrimination,
homosexual adoption rights
This is not an extensive list but, hopefully, will whet your appetite to pick up a copy of this book. There is a part II in this book that deals primarily with biblical revisionism. That is, those who try to revise the Bible in order to promote homosexuality as being justifiable. This is a great introduction into something that you will encounter if you hold to a biblical position of sexuality. If you want more information than the 50-odd pages that Strained Relations provides on this topic then Robert Gagnon is the expert to turn to.
There are many great books on the issue of homosexuality. Some are quite specific and others provide a general overview. Bill's book falls into the second category yet excels because it provides Australian-specific evidence. Because of this it is the first book I would encourage my readers to purchase on this topic. In fact, it is worth carrying around and lending out to friends. It's just that good.
For some readers this may just incorporate concepts and facts that they were already aware of. Yet, for many of us this book will be like a breath of fresh air. Strained Relations stands on the truth and has the clout to clear the fog away from baseless positions with overwhelming studies and research. In the end, all the homosexual activist is left with is hateful accusations and names.
"No one taking seriously their responsibility to uphold and defend faith and family can afford to ignore the wide range of challenges, threats and attacks emanating from the homosexual lobby. TO overlook these major fields of activity will simply lead to further erosion of faith and family in Australia and the West."
Twelve nurses represented by Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed suit Monday against their employer, a hospital run by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, for requiring them to participate in abortions. Federal and state law both protect them from being forced to do so.