"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.
An article presented itself today on news.com.au that displays the Victorian Governments hypocrisy to a level that would be almost laughable if it wasn't so devastating in its implications. This article begins with this paragraph:
“Pregnant women who endanger their unborn child through drug or alcohol abuse could be forced to change their behaviour or have their baby taken away.”
What makes this so hypocritical, of course, is the awful pro-abortion laws that exist in this state allowing horrific practices if the mother so deems that she does not want to give birth to the child already existing in her. Coupled with these proposed new laws that would seek to limit the damage that drug or alcohol use would have on the unborn it does make one wonder how a state government can restrict behaviours that are unhealthy for the unborn child unless this behaviour is a legal and government-endorsed abortion?
The Victorian Government is taking bad decisions away from future parents. Bad decisions with serious implications for the soon-to-be-born child. For this they must be commended. However, their attempts cannot be taken seriously while we still have such abhorrent abortion laws existing in this state. The Victorian Government is sending a mixed message and need to affirm the protection of the unborn from the harm of abortion. Until then attempts to limit bad decisions leading to dangerous consequences for the unborn come across as being disingenuous and half-hearted.
News out of Ireland today is that a 31 year old woman Savita Halappanavar died of blood poisoning due to a miscarriage. This is devastating news and our prayers should be with her family at the moment.
What is raised in this situations is one of the rare occasions where an abortion may be medically necessary in order to save the mother's life. Usually the situation of having to sacrifice the baby for the mother's sake is posed by dishonest pro-abortion advocates who use this extremely rare and almost purely theoretical situation to sneak the right to have abortion in (only to expand upon such a concession).
Indeed, there are already pro-abortion advocates who are using this death as a political football to yell their pro-murder message from the rooftops (or the tabloids). Usually these proponents aren't just interested in allowing abortion in life-saving situations but in all situations that the mother deems appropriate.
A good starting point is to consider every life as sacred. The life of the mother and the life of the baby. Neither of these should be undervalued. As Randy Alcorn says “one life saved is better than two lives lost” (ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments, pg 221). If this situation has been accurately described by the media (and this should not be presumed) then we are not presented with a choice between the life of the mother or the life of the baby but whether the mother lives or dies. It seems that medically the baby was given no chance of living.
Yet it is still not that simple. Just because the result was death to the mother this does not mean that it was suspected by the doctors that death was going to be the result (or indeed whether it was likely). And just because Halappanavar's husband claimed that had she had an abortion she would still be alive, this doesn't make it so.
With only a limited amount of medical knowledge I hesitate to say anything that would display my ignorance on this situation or whether this woman was facing the possibility of aborting the baby or dying. However, we must always be wary that the way these events are reported in the media may not be the way they actually transpired.
At the risk of being insensitive we must be prepared to wade through the perceptions paraded by the media to the actual issue. Who is valuable in this situation? Both mother and child. And it the perseverance of both that should be seen as the optimal result. If, for whatever reason, both will be unable to survive and one surviving depends on the death of the other then this is an unenviable buy occasional situation. Yet it should not open the door for the endorsement of the use of abortion in any situation the mother sees fit.
This sees a significant nail in the coffin of those wishing to pander the line that 10% of the population are homosexual. Instead it must be conceded that the figures suggest a much lower proportion of the population are actually homosexual. If this new Gallup poll stands under scrutiny then the percentage of homosexuals will be below 3.4% of the population (as the poll included bisexual and transgender as well).
There is actually nothing compelling, one way or the other, about the percentage of the population who are homosexual. A sin still remains a sin no matter how many are participating in it. Yet quoting higher percentages in this case is a slight of the hand trick attempting to normalise such behaviours. If more people are doing it then it must be more acceptable to do.
Unfortunately such a scheme is working. Last year it was reported that the question “[j]ust your best guess, what percent of Americans today would you say are gay and lesbian?” was answered with American adults believing that almost 25% of the American population were homosexual (http://www.gallup.com/poll/147824/Adults-Estimate-Americans-Gay-Lesbian.aspx?version=print). This displays a vast difference between people’s perceptions of homosexuality and the reality of homosexuality.
While there is no real significance in the number of people who are homosexual it is worth blowing the elaborately fashioned smoke screen away. The Christian position on marriage (or anything else) should not change regardless of what the numbers tell us.
I believe the recent article and comments by Guy Sebastian deserve a third, and final, article on a further topic that I did not discuss in the previous two articles. Guy Sebastian made these comments in regards to same-sex marriage:
''I don't think anyone has the right to tell someone who they can and can't be in love with.
You look back at the unfair things that happen in history and this will be looked back on as one of those things.
People will think 'Oh my gosh I can't believe the world was in that state, that they held those views'.
It's pretty unfair for people to not be able to claim the same benefits, that's ridiculous."
This is not the first time Guy Sebastian has spoken in favour of same-sex marriage. He said this in May this year:
''I can't remember when I've gone out trying to make a statement about stuff. People ask me about all sorts of stuff, like abortion and gay marriage. I'm like, 'It's just sort of a really weird question to get asked.'
''At the end of the day I don't care. I couldn't care less if two blokes get married or two girls get married or what people do. I've always just wanted to stick to writing songs.''
Yet his opinion and support of same-sex marriage is still not really news. In an October 2006 interview he made this comment when asked about same-sex marriage:
''I'm not really anti anything. If you're a gay couple why not? I don't really have a stance because I don't know what it's like to be told you're not allowed to marry somebody. That doesn't seem fair to me.''
In the same interview Sebastian had this to say about homosexuality in general:
''That's the sad side of Christianity. That's not how it's meant to be. I've been to gay clubs heaps of times. That's the old fundamentalist way of thinking that's unfortunately spread through all these generations. They miss the whole point of Christianity which is love. God loves people whether they are black, white, gay, straight, bisexual, whatever. As a Christian, we're never going to get close to being sinless or perfect, and I'm no better than anybody on this earth, but our No.1 goal is to be as loving as we can. We aim to be like God, so for me, I think that's a really ugly side of when people get lost in religion. It's funny, Shannon (Noll) gets called that, Anthony (Callea), all my friends in the industry. That's the word everyone picks -- as soon as you're in the industry you're gay.''
It is fairly typical for people to say things like ''[t]hat’s the old fundamentalist way of thinking'' when criticising the Bible’s stance on many topics. Sebastian prefaces this with ''Christianity….is love'' which I covered in my second article.
Of all of the comments Sebastian has made on homosexuality I would like to look at two specifically in more depth. Sebastian makes the assertion that ''God loves people whether they are black, white, gay, straight, bisexual, whatever'' and I wish to pose this comment with a much later comment when Sebastian said ''I don't know what it's like to be told you're not allowed to marry somebody. That doesn't seem fair to me''.
Both comments make strong suppositions that cannot be substantiated. With the first Guy elevates homosexuality to the same height as skin colour. This is both fallacious and biblically ignorant. To compare homosexuality to someone’s ethnicity at birth is demeaning and scientifically incorrect. Furthermore, it ignores clear biblical expression about the harmful consequences and the sinfulness of homosexuality.
In a more recent comment Sebastian remarks that it “doesn’t seem fair” that you’re not allowed to marry somebody that you profess to “love”. This comment also deserves criticism. Sebastian’s comments are wholly devoid of biblical understanding on this topic. Instead he seems to have been informed by the world and conforming his views to the world.
Take the charge that it “doesn’t seem fair” to hold to a traditional understanding of marriage. Not only is Sebastian saying that he knows better than God but he is also saying that what God originally designed was flawed. That God was not acting fairly by creating marriage between man and woman. This is profoundly unsettling to hear a supposed “Christian” ignore biblical decrees and turn to secular thinking. Fairness is determined by God alone. It is not for us to decide what is fair and good without reference to his original purpose.
I can already see this article will raise the hairs of some people. The Birth Control Pill (BCP) is a very popular method for young married Christians to withhold having children until they are ready. Of course, this very basis of family planning can be questioned (as I myself am encountering this question) but will not be the subject of my article today.
The concern I have with the BCP stems from the writings and research of Randy Alcorn (though not exclusive to). I have found Alcorn to be an exceptional writer on many issues, but particularly on the issue of abortion Alcorn has probably the most helpful book available in Pro-life Answers to Pro-choice Arguments. So when Alcorn suggests that the birth control pill may act like an abortifacient then I believe it is not something that we can readily ignore:
It is clear that the ramifications if Alcorn’s assertions are true are significant, particularly for the young Christian. Thus there is the propensity to disregard whatever is said about the birth control pill out-of-hand because the implications are huge (both in what has occurred and what Christians would need to stop doing). We may also write Alcorn off because he is now at an age where this issue is clearly not impacting him anymore. We must resist all attempts by our sub-conscious to act in self-preservation and become deaf to whatever this research proves.
Albert Mohler speaks of the importance of this debate:
“A raging debate now surrounds the question of whether at least some forms of the Pill may also work through abortifacient effect, rather than preventing ovulation. Christian couples must exercise due care in choosing a form of birth control that is unquestionably contraceptive, rather than abortifacient.”
So despite the vitriol this article may produce I feel that it is better that young Christians know the dangers for using the BCP, even if they do continue to still use it. If the premise of Alcorn is true then suddenly the BCP is no longer a viable option for Christians who wish to follow Scripture. But even were there purely queries as to the effects of the BCP the Christian should be very reluctant to use such a method. Of course, if Alcorn’s assertion can be empirically proven to be false then nothing further is required. Thankfully all of Alcorn’s research and thoughts are available in a booklet online:
Alcorn points out his position previous to his research:
“I say all this to emphasize I came to this research with no prejudice against the Pill. In fact, I came with a prejudice toward it. I certainly don’t want to believe I may have jeopardized the lives of my own newly conceived children, nor that I was wrong in recommending it to all those couples I counseled as a pastor. It would take compelling evidence for me to overcome the reluctance I brought to this, and to change my position.”
Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?, pg 22
Now Alcorn is not a medical practitioner, he is not a scientist. But he is an excellent researcher and his opinion has been moulded upon scientific opinion. So let’s examine the evidence he presents in this booklet and elsewhere.
“In summary, according to multiple references throughout the Physician’s Desk Reference, which articulate the research findings of all the birth control pill manufacturers, there are not one but three mechanisms of birth control pills:
1) inhibiting ovulation (the primary mechanism),
2) thickening the cervical mucus, thereby making it more difficult for sperm to travel to the egg, and
3) thinning and shriveling the lining of the uterus to the point that it is unable or less able to facilitate the implantation of the newly-fertilized egg.
The first two mechanisms are contraceptive. The third is abortive.” Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?, pgs 25-26
These can be verified by secular health sources as well.
If a woman gets pregnant whilst on the pill then all three of these mechanisms have failed. So the real question is how often/if at all the first two mechanisms fail while the third does not? This will establish when and if the BCP causes abortions. The problem is that this is hard to determine without significant scientifically-rigorous studies.
But it is irrelevant how often it happens, what is relevant is if it does happen at all. Nearly all the BCP manufacturers stated that these pills were not abortifacients. This is hardly unexpected. There would very likely be a sizeable dent in the market of BCP sold if the manufacturers accepted that their pills were abortifacients.
Alcorn presents evidence in the form of opinions from the manufacturers as well as some scientists and chemists. This is obviously not as compelling as studies on this topic but it does reveal that the chance of mechanism no. 3 being implemented by the BCP is more than theoretical (pg 53).
There are other sources we can look at. A 2000 book entitled Contraception – The Hidden Truth has this to say:
“Increasing evidence on a microscopic, macroscopic and immunological level is building overwhelming support for the abortifacient claims that should concern any use of the pill. It is clear marketing advantage to have doctors and their patients believe otherwise.
Taking into account all the facts mentioned, it could be argued that the possibility of experiencing pharmaceutically induced abortions could be as high as one to two per year per woman through the actions of contemporary contraceptive pills.” Contraception – The Hidden Truth, pgs 120-121
Melinda Reist has this to say:
“Using the Pill amounts to abortion roulette – preventing some pregnancies, destroying others. This is an unacceptable choice.”
The Pill and Liberation Mythology, pg 4
Also worth mentioning is pharmacist John Wilks’ research:
“[I]t can be demonstrated that even within the environment of a strictly regulated study, with women exhibiting a high level of patient compliance, the pill can have an break-through ovulation rate which can be as high as 17 ovulations per 100 women years.”
A Consumer’s Guide to The Pill and Other Drugs, pg 6
It should be stated that the research on this specific danger of using the BCP is not entirely clear, however, it does pose some questions worth asking for a Christian who wants to make informed decisions. There is another danger associated with the BCP worth considering.
All this is far from conclusive but it does raise many red flags. Certainly we should be challenged to take our emotions and self-interests out of the equation and look at the evidence, and the ramifications of the evidence, for what they are. It is hopeful that there will be more available in the coming years. Before such evidence is obtained do not be satisfied with the opinion of your doctor. As well meaning as they may be they probably do not look at this issue from a Christian worldview, or they may be uninformed of the consequences of the BCP. The science is far from settled but the assertion “we believe it is alright and does not cause abortions” simply will not do. We are called to be honest, regardless of the truth’s implications.
I’m going to put my hand up and say I am a fan of Dutch Politician Geert Wilders. Despite what progressives like Tory Shepherd (The Punch) and Rafael Epstein (ABC) claim he is a breath of fresh air from their moronic and unfortunate embrace of the idea that all religions are as poisonous as every other.
Geert Wilders is accused of being hateful, Islamophobic and intolerant. Surprisingly those who attack him claim reason is on their side. Comments from Wilders like "there is no such thing as 'moderate Islam'" are seen as being contemptible and false, yet, is this actually the case? This is not denying the existence of the moderate Muslim but denying the ability of this religion to land on ground that is considered moderate.
When I consider what it means to be a Christian my answer certainly is not “moderate”. We are called to “shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life” (Philippians 2:15 ESV). We are called to be different. Therefore, arguing that there is no such thing as moderate Christianity is something that I wholeheartedly endorse.
More specifically Immigration Minister Chris Bowen’s comments were this week:
“Geert Wilders is wrong. His views are offensive. To read his writings is to be struck by their ignorance and their wrongheaded views of other people's beliefs.
Wilders is a provocateur who no doubt revels in the spotlight and would like nothing more than to be denied entry to Australia and garner his cause more attention.
I have decided not to intervene to deny him a visa because I believe that our democracy is strong enough, our multiculturalism robust enough and our commitment to freedom of speech entrenched enough that our society can withstand the visit of a fringe commentator.
The way to deal with extremist commentators such as Wilders is to defeat his ideas with the force of our arguments and experiences, not the blunt instrument of denying him entry into Australia….”
I cannot believe the absurd nature of these remarks from an Australian Member of Parliament. Bowen may be shocked to realise that the force of his arguments is laughable. At no time in this article does Bowen present his arguments as to why or how Wilders is wrong, just that he is. Bowen’s stupidity is compounded by the assertion that Wilders “revels in the spotlight”. Is Chris Bowen (the authority that will allow or disallow Wilders into our country) so ignorant of the plight of Geert Wilders? The fact that Wilders requires the use of bodyguards because of his statements against Islam? Does Bowen really believe that this is all just a publicity stunt?
Going beyond the Labor MPs blatantly untrue assertions something else is bought into clarity. Recently British Muslim leader Taji Mustafa visited our country and experienced no delay in receiving his visa. Mustafa is a leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamic sect with the following mission:
“Hizb ut-Tahrir is determined to work within the Ummah in order to implement Islam and achieve its objective by endeavouring to gain the leadership of the Islamic Ummah so that she could accept it as her leader, to implement Islam upon her and proceed with it in her struggle against the Kuffar and in the work towards the return of the Islamic State as it was before, the leading superpower in the world.”
Again the question must be asked as to why Geert Wilders is labelled an “extremist” and should not be allowed a passport when people like Mustafa are given free reign to visit Australia. In this, like many other things today, the world is topsy-turvy.