"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.
When Family First MP Robert Brokenshire responded to the death of a pregnant woman and her baby by calling for the protection of the unborn this was sure to anger some people. Typically pro-abortion advocates are concerned about the implications of protecting the unborn and what effect that will have on "women's rights". It is disturbing that rationality and compassion are undercut by political persuasions.
"A Family First MP will push for national laws he says will better protect unborn babies and their mothers.
The move comes after a pregnant woman and her unborn baby were killed in a car crash in Adelaide. The driver was charged with one count of causing death by dangerous driving as South Australian law does not recognise the foetus as a person.
State MP Robert Brokenshire will introduce a private member's Bill to the South Australian Parliament, and told news.com.au that he then hopes to push for nationally consistent legislation on foetal homicide.
However, the moves to change the legal status of foetuses have been labelled "sneaky" and "backhanded" attempts to change abortion laws and challenge women's rights.
The states and territories all have different laws governing the death of a foetus, and the debate promises to be a fiery one as it will have to consider at what point a foetus or baby is considered a person – a central element of the abortion debate.
Mr Brokenshire met with Attorney General John Rau yesterday and said that he had acknowledged that there is a gap in the law "when it comes to the protection of a pregnant lady".
The clause Mr Brokenshire wants introduced reads: "Any person who unlawfully assaults a female pregnant with a child and destroys the life of or does grievous body harm to or transmits a serious disease to a child before its birth commits a crime".
He agreed that state and territory laws were a "hodge podge" and said if his Bill was successful he would talk to his Federal colleagues about uniform national laws.
"I'm not always in favour of national uniformity ... but if I had my way I would hope to see (it) with this ... there are a lot of times when it pays," he said.
Mr Rau said the draft Bill was "something we need to look at" but added the devil was in the detail.
"People need to be very, very careful about moving the goal posts on the very important definition of when a person is alive because the implications of that roll out across the whole legal system," he said.
Prominent author and columnist Dr Leslie Cannold, an adjunct at Monash University's Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability Research Unit, said people who were anti-choice on abortion were "desperate, desperate, desperate" to change the laws on foetuses and that it was "sneaky, backhanded".
"It's no accident that every time (these laws) get proposed it's by organisations like Family First who are known to be anti-choice," she said.
"To me that speaks volumes. They've gone at it directly before by attacking women's right to choose, and now they're going by the back door.
"Either they're silly or they think we are. Everyone knows that the minute you pass legislation you are no longer in control of how a future Parliament or future judiciary will interpret it."
Dr Cannold said it should be possible to deal with such deliberate assaults on pregnant women through other legal avenues.
In the US, laws that increased the protection of foetuses were used against women who had late-term abortions.
Mr Brokenshire said the rights of unborn children were often put in the "too hard basket" and emphasised that his legislation was about people committing criminal acts such as assault and that abortion was a "red herring".
"We've got to be mature enough now to separate this debate from other debates," he said.
Family First's official "life" policy states: "We believe in the right to life and are distressed at the abortion of 100,000 unborn babies in Australia each year."
The Family First Bill is modelled closely on the legislation that already exists in Queensland. Most other states have had debates in recent years about the rights of expectant mothers and their foetuses."
So adultery seems to be the new in-vogue thing to discuss because I have encountered several articles on the topic over the last few weeks. It was ranked as the most morally wrong thing to do on a recent Gallup poll in America:
Yep, that's right. 89% of respondents say that cheating on your spouse is morally unacceptable. It is concerning that 7% of the group asked actually think that it is morally acceptable.
Yet it seems that we are getting a confusing message from people. After all another recent article suggests that the percentage of men cheating on their wives may be as high as 48.5% and women cheating on their husbands at 36.1% (click here to read this article). These are significant figures. So almost 90% of the community believe it is wrong yet 42% of all spouses participate in it. This is blatant hypocrisy and betrayal of trust. We need to be revolted at the idea of cheating on our spouse, yet we merely fly the “moral” flag while, much of the time, we clearly don't believe it is so wrong that we should not do it given the chance.
Writer Alain de Botton in his new book How to Think More About Sex had this to say:
"No one can be everything to another person. The real fault lies in the ethos of modern marriage, with its insane ambitions and its insistence that our most pressing needs might be solved with the help of only one other person."
Besides, he says "adultery grabs headlines, but there are lesser, though no less powerful, ways to betray a partner, including not talking to him or her enough, seeming distracted, being ill-tempered or simply failing to evolve and enchant."
This is typical nonsense. Being distracted and ill-tempered is on par with adultery? Failing to evolve and enchant (whatever that means) is as much a relationship fault as cheating is? Such logic has been bred from society's flirtations with the erotic nature of an affair. It is no wonder that people say it is wrong yet have no inclination to avoid its snares and webs.
A new series is about to start on the ABC over in America. Titled Mistresses it follows four friends who have illicit relationships with married men. Here is the trailer:
Did you hear the comments at the end? We are told that “life is about the choices we make. The chances we take. And the friends who see us through it all”. Indeed, life involves choices. Yet somehow these four girls seem to have voided their moral consciousnesses in their choices. Perhaps it is easier on the conscious when it is the other person who has to deal with the betrayed spouse?
Another show that deals flippantly with adultery is Episodes. This show exemplifies all sorts of post-modern weirdness as the story centers around Matt LeBlanc (of Friends fame) joining the cast of an American show ripping off a British show. LeBlanc plays himself (and is oddly similar to his Friends character) hamming up his fame and self-loving. In the two seasons that have aired thus far LeBlanc's character sleeps with the wife (Beverly Lincoln) of the director/creator of the television series (Sean Lincoln) and the wife of the network boss (Merc Lapidus). At the same time the network boss is cheating on his wife with his network underling (Carol Rance) and Sean, after finding out about his wife's indiscretion has an affair with the female star of this fictitious television show (Morning Randolph).
Episodes is convoluted and disgusting and has little redemptive value. It displays humans at their most vulgar, lusting after others that they should not have. So what do the critics think? Well it holds a 73% ranking on Metacritic and has been nominated for numerous Golden Globe awards. Apparently critics love the twists that are injected into this show by all the fornication.
Herein lies a strong example as to why we, though we know the incorrectness of an action, are influenced by culture in such a way that our inhibitions can be overcome and we may even get a kick out of how “raunchy” an affair is. We are spoon-fed these notions of love being complicated and unpredictable and so we can find love in many situations, even an adulterous relationship. Case in point - the fictional Sean and Beverly Lincoln couple. Sean was married to another woman previously when he had an affair with Beverly. At this time we are to assume that he chose to leave his wife and get remarried to Beverly. And yet this is presented to us as a legitimate couple's back story.
Putting adultery in titles is a very popular of ensuring people read or watch whatever you are selling. We seem to love a great marital scandal. This is unfortunate as marriage is the biggest loser in the continuous redefinition of permissible “love”. A further lesson must come from the vast amount of people who think it is morally wrong to cheat on your spouse but still do. Just because the statistics say that society holds some semblance of a biblical worldview in one area it doesn't mean it translates into anything tangible. Unless a transformation is seriously desired by a nation's people we will inevitably remain stranded with a broken moral compass.
The AFL has always attempted to be the more progressive of the football codes. It is like the hipster who tries so hard to be popular. So in a new attempt to show how progressive and inclusive they are on a social issue a “gay pride game” is being suggested. Sydney v Hawthorn (the two grand finalist's from this year) is being touted as a “gay pride game” (click here to read the article).
One might be forgiven in thinking that the AFL is overcompensating for the fact that not one single player has ever “come out of the closet” and admitted to being a homosexual. Being that there are over six-hundred players in the AFL it is entirely possible that a few players are homosexual. Yet not one has put up their hand and outed themselves. If the AFL is so inclusive surely there should be somebody who'd be willing to tell the truth. After all, the other football codes have had players revealed to be homosexual of their own volition, why not the AFL?
It may be that there still is some animosity against homosexual players in the AFL. So despite the organizations attempts against “homophobia” they are failing to make an impact. Of course my hope is not that they succeed in such a venture but that they reassess their ignorant encouragement of something that they obviously have very little knowledge about.
Indeed, it is disturbing how the AFL is getting involved in a social issue (even more disturbing that they have got this issue so blatantly wrong) of which they have no right to have an opinion about. Furthermore they are propagating a destitute lifestyle through aggressive tolerance.
There are a group of advocates behind these changes in the AFL (beyond Demetriou and his staff). One such person is Jason Ball, a player in the Yarra Glen Football Club, who has been campaigning for change. No surprises why he is one of the instigators of change. Ball is a homosexual who believes players at AFL level need more support if they are going to announce their same-sex attraction.
Apparently it is not enough that the AFL is openly hostile against anybody who questions their inclusive policies. I remember when doing a coaching course a couple of years ago there were sections outlined in the brochure that specified that coaches must remain impartial and make no comment regarding the sexuality of any player.
It must be said that there are issues at club level regarding derogatory terms. The use of the word “gay” is abused. Yet since the“gay rights” movement has contorted and abused it already I feel no sympathy towards those who argue for the "homophobic" comments like “that's so gay” to stop at club level. If they are offended by hearing these comments then I am offended by their very offence.
Yet for some this is not enough, they seek to for the full acceptance which would be established by AFL players being open about their sexuality. Much like the same-sex marriage debate it is not equality that is at stake for these people but acceptance.
I am convinced that a complete acceptance will be forthcoming in the AFL very soon. They went astray so long ago that their progressive-leaning has become obvious to all. If we are to look at Paul's condemnatory comments in Romans 1 one can't help but feel that the AFL are breeding supporters and administrators who are “approving”. We must not be complicit in the encouragement of sin. We must pray without ceasing that God will shine through the lies of Satan and touch those enslaved by sin, as we once were. There are people within the AFL fraternity who believe that it is an imperative to quash all “homophobia” and “bigotry”. The signs point to a more aggressive push to normalise homosexuality. We must speak clearly that we were designed as heterosexuals and this is a very powerful thing. Let none diminish its significance.
Susie O'Brien would have you be outraged. There are creationist Christians who are hijacking Christmas by substituting creation songs for Christmas songs. And this is simply not on. Click here to read her article in the Herald Sun.
Let us ignore for the moment the central theme for most of the best known carols. Like Away in a Manager, The First Noel, Silent Night, O Holy Night, Joy to the World, O Little Town of Bethlehem and O Come, All Ye Faithful. The theme of the birth of Jesus Christ is overwhelming but any attempt to actually extrapolate upon the works of this deity taken flesh is frowned upon. Christ the baby in a manager can be sung about but Christ the one part of the trinity who participated in the creation of all things should not be mentioned.
The outrage pulsing in this article reminds me very strongly of what Paul cautions against in Romans 1:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Romans 1:18-20 (ESV)
The baby that non-Christians are happy to sing about come Christmas time is not as meek and mild as they would want Him to be. The very beginning of the Gospel of John makes clear the role that Jesus had in the creation of all things:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5 (ESV)
We can gauge much from this introduction to John. Firstly Jesus was present with God at the time of creation. Much to the shock of many people His existence did not start with the manger scene. Secondly, we are told that Jesus was (and is) God. He is not a mere prophet, nor a radical good man with wise teachings, nor is He a myth. He is an essential part of the trinity. Thirdly, we are told that “all things were made through him”. Certainly the idea that Jesus was involved in the creation of all things must be repugnant to Susie O'Brien. Yet this is what John is telling us happened. Jesus not only preceded the manger scene, was part of God but He was intimately involved in the creation of everything we see and everything we don't. In fact all things are held together by Him (Colossians 1:17) Finally, we are told that Jesus provided life. Beyond His hand in creation this is His crowning achievement. Not only did he create life but when man inexorably turned away from their creator it was Him who was sent on a rescue mission to earth to provide everlasting life for a humanity who didn't deserve it.
This is the proper context of the songs we may sing or mutter come Christmas time. It is not some cute scene of a baby in a manger surrounded by animals and a number of historically inaccurate visitors that evokes such power. Jesus was involved in the creation of the world, the maintaining of the world and the the salvation of the world. Not many people see this image when they look at the nativity scene.
Parents want their children only to be taught songs about Christmas. Anything that encroaches into the belief that this little baby they sing about had any real power is condemned. Sadly this is the very reason Paul gives us in Romans as to why people are damned. God's righteousness will come against those who “by their unrighteousness suppress the truth”. They are without excuse and are equally culpable in deceiving their very own children.
This article by Susie O'Brien is an accurate demonstration of what Paul warned about. We should not delight in people misrepresenting Jesus as a mere baby in swaddling cloth. This is a serious and grave sin and one that many parents are passing to the next generation. By removing Jesus from what he achieved previous to becoming human and His success on the cross we are stripping Him of all His power. This is grievous indeed and to our great shame. How desolate our education system has become. Let us pray that we see revival.
Russell Crowe has had a long and illustrious acting career which is sometimes marred by indiscretions in his personal life. He has had many impressive roles along the way but perhaps the role that defines him was his portrayal of Maximus the Roman General turned gladiator slave who took on the Emperor as well as the perceptions of the masses and won. In one of the key scenes in the movie Maximus dispatches six other gladiators while a myriad of spectators watch on. Upon dealing the killer blow to his final foe the ex-general throws a short gladiators sword into a group of the more prestigious onlookers knocking over their drinks. Turning to the rest of the crowd Maximus yells “are you not entertained?!”. For emphasis he repeats it and then spits on the ground to show his derision of the system and the people who prosper and enjoy the spoils of such oppression.
Maximus' actions were intended to be offensive. The murder of his family had awoken him to the barbaric and oppressive nature of the Roman world in this fictitious story. In a similar but true story Jesus had just begun His ministry on earth and people had seen His miracles and been convicted of His power and so they followed Him in droves. In the first couple of chapters of Luke we are told about these crowds and the Pharisees and teachers of the law who were following Jesus. Now these religious men were waiting for Jesus to slip up. To catch Him in the legalities of the Mosaic law and condemn His actions.
So when Jesus, in Luke 6, heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath these scribes and Pharisees are outraged. They cannot believe the gall of this man. To heal on the holy and sacred day. But it is a false outrage hidden behind a glee because they believe Jesus had encroached the Jewish law and thus an opportunity for them to be rid of Jesus had arisen. Yet Jesus knew these men and their thoughts. So he approached and challenged them. He said “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” Luke 6:9 (ESV).
The scribes and Pharisees in the very attempt to preserve the law totally missed the meaning and purpose of the law. They saw the miracles performed in front of their eyes and, instead of being amazed, they were offended. This story has many themes that can be discussed but the one I wish to concentrate upon is the offense of these men. These men were confronted with the truth and they were offended. Their worldview and occupation were under attack and instead of embracing the truth they were repulsed by it.
It would be a fickle thing to have laws that allow for the reprimanding of someone who offends others. Such a law would have been used against Jesus while He was preaching. Yet this is exactly what the Australian federal government proposes with their Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill 2012. In section 19 of the proposed legislation the meaning of discrimination is discussed. Part of this meaning incorporates unfavourable treatment (s. 19(2)) which includes “conduct that offends, insults or intimidates the other person”.
Such a clause will be open to rampant exploitation. With the onus now being on the defendant to provide justification for their conduct which may offend or insult another person it is as simple as lodging a complaint and watching the defendant be dragged through the legal system. Of course this will be used by pro-homosexual groups who (among others) will use this as a new way to target Christian groups and individuals who they claim to be “offended” by.
For a moment let me consider what I think is offensive. Because there is a whole list of things that people do that offend me. I am offended by the abuses of sexuality. When somebody takes what God has made as a purity and distorts it for their own depraved pleasure. I am offended by those who encourage and support these kinds of lifestyles. I am offended when somebody is a blatant serial sinner. Who continues to give themselves over to their sinful desires. I am offended by vicious and violent people. Individuals who cause physical damage. And psychological damage. I am offended when people misconstrue the truth and reality in an attempt to make their arguments more plausible. I am offended by the sexualisation that is imposed upon children and teens. I am offended by the many lies of our society that break people without having any means to fix them. Certainly this proposed legislation cannot operate in such a way that would allow me to seek to charge anyone with a grievance against me yet it demonstrates a lopsidedness to this potential addition to discrimination law.
Many people are offended at God. They dislike that He has put into place a set of rights and wrongs. They dislike that they are condemned from the very outset of their conception. Most people who don't believe in the existence of God are nonetheless deeply offended by the deity they claim not to believe in. Yet, they should be very concerned about the offense that God is taking to their actions. In Psalms 106 story after story is recounted where the Israelite people forsook God's ways and practiced wickedness instead. Finally we are told:
“Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people, and he abhorred his heritage; he gave them into the hand of the nations, so that those who hated them ruled over them.” Psalm 106:40-41 (ESV)
When God's people rebel it makes God angry. As is pointed out He turned Israel over to their sins. He allowed them to make a rod for their own back. He cast them from Him. Were this the end of the story we would all be in a predicament as we have all offended Him greatly. Thankfully an opportunity to be saved from God's retribution now presents itself. Indeed this is what the author of Psalm 106 finishes with
“Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress, when he heard their cry. For their sake he remembered his covenant, and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.” Psalm 106:44-45 (ESV)
Herein lies our great hope. We need not look to a pagan gladiator to shake the system up. Nor do we need an oppressive government to dictate right or wrong. We need to be offended for what offends God. We need our hearts broken for the unsaved. We need to oppose sinfulness in all its forms. We need not be afraid of the jeering crowds or tyrannical laws. Our vision must be higher. It is only by us casting our gazes up that others may turn their faces and wonder what could captivate our attention. Yet there are those who are offended by the Gospel, by our inspiration and by our salvation. If you are offended by God, by His decrees, His actions and His love, then you are in a very dangerous place. Because there is going to come a time when you have to front up for your actions and your lack of love and without the saving substitution provided by Jesus you are going to feel the full wrath of a perfect God. And His offense is frightening indeed.
Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! And let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the LORD! Psalm 106:47-48 (ESV)
This is a clear example of one generation having a poisonous influence on the next. The way our generation has aggressively embraced the all-inclusive mindset will have an effect in the future when the next generation rolls around with their strong misconceptions by ignorant parents. I have no doubt my children (when they come) will face blatant hostility were we to send them to a school (public or private). We are seeing a dangerous capitulation to the lies of the world. We are told that God did not really say anything about homosexuality (the perceptive absence of Jesus' comments on homosexuality is one of the revisionist's favourite arguments) and so any comments forthwith that references Scripture is attack ferociously (usually when the other person does not even place any credence on Biblical decrees).
Unfortunately this is the generation we are now faced with. And the problem is bigger than the issue of homosexuality. Society blends between blatant aggression to Christianity while at other times it simply ignores it. Until somebody says something offensive. And then more "Christians" in the Church feel that other Christians are being too unloving. This is when the world begins to infiltrate the Church. Where Christianity gets watered down into a meaningless mess of feel good singing and unscriptural messages. It becomes a social group where you encourage mediocrity and nominalism. And our Churches must wake up to this cycle. It will be difficult, however, because the very generation who must turn the Church around are the ones who have bought into concepts such as tolerance, inclusivism and the right for people to do whatever they want if they are not affecting others.
The important of parenting seems to be lost on Freedman who thinks that parents magically fulfill the criteria of being the "right parents" for their children. Even leaving abusive parents out of the equation there is still much to be desired with our present crop of parents (of which I will sooner or later join). The right type of parent is one who is God-fearing and clings to the truth. They do not look to the world for parenting advice, nor do they forsake Scripture. When God talks about generations being cursed by the iniquities of the father in Deuteronomy 5 there is no clearer example than homosexuality at the moment.
Of course while we stand against the tide on this one issue it is not convincing them of their mistaken beliefs where our hope should lie but in the transformation of their minds through the powerful and compelling work of the Holy Spirit. This makes it a challenge to discuss any social issue with a non-Christian because almost immediately a wall of hostility is put up. And sometimes these social issues get in the way of these people hearing the Gospel. But we still need to continue to champion these causes. If we stop talking about the importance of protecting innocent life or the beauty of God-ordained marriage then the world will crumble much faster than it already is. Thankfully we are not the ones responsible for the changes in these people's lives. We do not have such ability. The power to change lives dwells with God alone.
There is much in my generation to dislike. We have sold out in many ways. Still there is much to be hopeful for. If we looks at a generation thinking they will be some sort of salvation they are approaching the equation the wrong way. What my generation think on issues like homosexuality will not be revoked by mere argument. Their misconceptions are too deep for that. Our hope lies in the untapped power of prayer for this generation. Something that we, as a generation, really struggle with. I beg you to pray and pray and keep praying for God to transform us. We must be vigilent and delight in the godly leadership that is peaking through the cracks of a depraved society.