"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.
On July 22nd 2012 police were called to the house of Charlie Rogers after she had crawled from her house, blood-stained and claiming she'd be assaulted and cut by three intruders. According to her description of events (and presumably verified by marks on her body) a cross had been cut into her chest, her thighs and bottom cut open and derogatory words carved into her.
As she was a self-proclaimed lesbian this provided great ammunition for many homosexual groups to rally in her support. Unfortunately for them, this incident is very likely to have been orchestrated by the "victim" herself. Rogers has been charged with making a false police report on the following evidence (though this list is by no means exhaustive):
- four days before the incident she posted "So maybe I am too idealistic, but I believe way deep inside me that we can make things better for everyone. I will be a catalyst. I will do what it takes. I will. Watch me" on her facebook page
- there were no signs of struggle in the living room
- there was no blood on the bedsheets where Rogers claimed she had been thrown
- the only DNA on gloves "allegedly" used by the perpetrators was actually Rogers (and it was inside the glove).
- a forensic pathologist believes the wounds on Roger's body were self-inflicted
- Rogers story changed at least four times when reporting it to police
- Rogers had purchased a pair of white gloves, zip ties, a utility knife, and blades on July 17th (before the alleged incident)
Needless to say the evidence is quite damning. The reasons behind why Rogers would attempt such a stunt are both easy to grasp and confusing at the same time. An attack of this magnitude is bound to get much media attention as well as sympathy towards the lesbian and homosexual community. Brutality towards these groups is considered particularly deplorable by media personalities (and society as a whole) at the moment. Yet, this attempt cannot merely be written off as a political stunt. Whilst it is not surprising for someone to play the victim in this way it is in a very self-harming and demoralising way. Furthermore, her execution leaves much to be desired. The evidence found suggests that the average teenager would have been better suited at concocting a fake crime scene. Nearly all the evidence points to Rogers.
Serious crimes of this magnitude do occur and they can happen to a person who is a lesbian or homosexual. Such violence against anyone is deplorable but time and again homosexual proponents call for hate crime legislation. Usually this is on the back of incidents that filter down to the public filled with mis-information. An assault is condemnable in any capacity. Giving special preference because the victim happened to hold to a particular sexuality is discrimination, even if it is painted in a better light.
Oh, it's on! Suzie O'Brien has declared it. The Victorian Police Department have declared it. Even Eddie McGuire has declared it. Homophobia will not be tolerated in the work place or anywhere else. To prove they are serious there is even a new TV spot:
Typically the backbone of this initiative includes the ALSO Foundation as well as other likely types (Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, TransGender Victoria and the Anti-Violence Project of Victoria, the Human Rights Law Centre, Headspace and the Victorian Equal Opportunity andHuman Rights Commission).
Part of what may have inspired this initiative was the on-field altercation between AFL player Harry O'Brien and notorious potty-mouth Stephen Milne. Milne was reported by umpire Dean Margetts for an "inappropriate homophobic comment''. He was fined $3,000 under theAFL Players' Code of Conductand theAFL's Policy on Discrimination and Vilification. Of course, charging him under vilification laws would require that Harry O'Brien actually be a homosexual but such petty legal jargon may be beneath an AFL fraternity led by CEOAndrew Demetriou.
Obviously taunting and bullying should not be a feature of any person's repertoire. Yet I can't help but wonder how "gay" can be a derogatory term when it has been hijacked by social activist groups. Think about it for a second. This term meant something entirely different than homosexual. Now that it has been consistently associated with homosexuality it is can be construed as a derogatory term? Talk about having your cake and eating it too.
But let us get back to this new initiative. It is wide-reaching in implication. It goes beyond a person feeling vilified to a person being offended while not "identifying" as a homosexual, transgender or bisexual themselves. That means I could possibly be reported for this article because I am "homophobic" under whatever definition is concocted.
As a Christian discussions on morality with my non-Christian friends happen with a fair degree of regularity. Sometimes the topic of homosexuality crops up. Faced with this situation I feel that I (and anyone in my position) is very much in danger of treading on someone's toes and winding up being reported to theVictorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissionor theVictorian Civil and Administrative Tribunalor theFair Work Ombudsman. A casual conversation at work has just become a potential legal minefield.
Of course, the other implication of this initiative is a reinforcement of dangerous behaviour. People continue to be encouraged to participate in unhealthy lifestyles by a society that accepts it as normal. It is not deterring to see this campaign. But these advertisements should not be left unchallenged. The Bible has a clear mandate on natural sexuality. When the Government starts to minimise the dangers and promote a sinful behaviour we cannot let it go unchecked.
The United Nations held a World Humanitarian Day on August 19th. I must admit I was not aware of their campaign last Sunday and did not place any significance on it as a humanitarian day. Perhaps the United Nations feel that a day is the best way to shake people out of their apathy.
Now before my criticisms I must say that actually caring about neighbours and humanity is a very important thing and we, as Westerners, are not doing it enough. We are apathetic and lazy. I can say this because I too am apathetic and lazy. I am largely ignorant of the plight of others. Even my own wife believes from time to time that I am unaware of some of the difficulties she faces. This is obviously something that I need to rectify (both spousally and globally) and headlines like World Humanitarian Day is a great way of reinforcing and reminding me of my deficiencies.
However, what is occurring here is a characteristic worldview error. For a case in point let us examine the slogan for the event "I Was Here". Attached to this slogan is a song written by Beyoncé Knowles. I must commend her on the quality of the song. Judging by the title it is obvious that she was given specific instructions as to the theme and title of the song. With those sort of restraints she has done a masterful job of actually making a memorable song. Yet while the song is quite creative it is also very revealing as to the thought processes regarding humanitarian aid from a secular point of view:
Take a look at the lyrics:
"I wanna leave my footprints on the sands of time
Know there was something that, and something that I left behind
When I leave this world, I'll leave no regrets
Leave something to remember, so they won't forget
I was here I lived,
I loved I was here I did,
I've done, everything that I wanted
And it was more than I thought it would be
I will leave my mark so everyone will know
I was here
I want to say I lived each day, until I die
And know that I meant something in, somebody's life
The hearts I have touched, will be the proof that I leave
That I made a difference, and this world will see
I just want them to know
That I gave my all, did my best
Brought someone to happiness
Left this world a little better just because...."
Obviously much humanitarian good can be achieved with such sentiments. It is vitally important to consider our actions on other humans. We must be aware that we cannot avoid affecting others in both positive and detrimental ways. However, it is clear that Beyoncé's song is very reflective of secular humanism. The ultimate goal is to "leave my mark" and "mean something in somebody's life". Again, important things to be participating in. But not an ultimate goal. Let us contrast Knowles' song with one written a long time ago by King David: "O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!
Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
"And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you."
Psalm 39:4-7 (ESV)
This perspective was relevant 3,000 years ago and is still relevant today. Unlike the progressive tune that is attached to World Humanitarian Day this psalm is eternal and reflects reality. The music video linked above has been watched almost 4 million times. The bulk of the comments talk about how admirable the song/video is or how beautiful Beyoncé's soul is. Yet how many people are interested in the Psalm above.
David reveals how we best measure our days. In doing so he paints humanity not as the spotlight of creation (though it is) but composed against the majesty of God. Our life is measured as meaningless in time. Mankind is not the saviour of humanity. Everything is put into perspective and it seems the marks we would want to leave are completely insignificant. This reminds me of one of the chief characters in the Kevin Kline movie The Emperor's Club. Although he'd been dead for over 3,000 years Shutruk Nahunte plays a pivotal role in the history classroom at St. Benedict's Academy (a fictional school).
The story goes that Shutruk Nahunte was once a dominant conqueror and King of Elam. A plaque was found stating:
"I am Shutruk Nahunte, King of Anshand and Sussa, Sovereign of the land of Elam. I destroyed Sippar, took the stele of Niran-Sin, and brought it back to Elam, where I erected it as an offering to my god."
Shutruk Nahunte, 1158 B.C.
Yet for all his exploits it is revealed that this is the last trace of the self-pronounced all-powerful conqueror. The Emperor's Club does go on to take on a secular message but on this point it exemplifies humanity accurately. Our actions are tiny. This is the kind of perspective that allows us to receive the positive news - "My hope is in you". Our efforts are destined to fail, yet it is not all doom and gloom because salvation does not lie in our hands, but in God's. This is wonderful news and brings about a different approach and tact to how we attempt humanitarian work. People don't just need to be saved from starving, epidemics, floods and the like. They also need saving from their own humanity. Humanity cannot be the answer because humanity is part of the problem.
The charge may be leveled against me that I am encouraging laziness. To the contrary people need to be taken out of poverty, out of war-zones and out of danger but this is not real salvation, it is just delaying the inevitable. As Christians we should be on the forefront of these initiatives because these acts are meaningless without a Godly perspective. Real hope is not found in humanitarian acts but in God. The idea that we can make this world "a little better" without God's help is toxic and egotistical. As a Christian I know what the real measure of my days is, and there I know my hope is not in vain.
Talking about death is one of the hardest conversations to have. Particularly when the person is still alive, yet does not want to be. Even more so when their quality of life is low. Such is the plight of British paraplegic Tony Nicklinson. This week he lost a bid in the High Court to grant him the right to end his life.
This case is very specific because Nicklinson is physically unable to take his own life. So somebody would have to assist him. Thankfully, the High Court, in its wisdom, did not overturn UK legislation and Nicklinson's case was dismissed.
It occurs to me that were euthanasia endorsed by the UK Parliament (or the Australian Parliament) it seems counter-intuitive to have doctors able to perform "assisted suicides" in the same society as one that supports groups that seek to talk people out of committing suicide like Beyond Blue and Lifeline. How can we hope to convince people that life is precious while at the same time allow others to partake in life-ending government-sanctioned procedures? Either suicide should be allowed or it should not. There is no halfway.
What is apparent is that there are two ways of looking at death. From a secular perspective perhaps it is more beneficial for the individual to die and not exist than to continue their life in agony and misery. Yet, from a Christian perspective death is only the beginning of eternity. It is not nihilism that greets us on the other side but our creator. The problem is that if God rules against us we will suffer greater torments than anything we could comprehend. There is no dignity if someone is being helped "lovingly" into an eternity of punishment.
It may be argued, then, that it is perfectly permissible for a Christian to seek death because it brings them straight to the presence of their creator. Whilst death should not be feared by the Christian we have an imperative here on earth. Our work is mandated by God and our lives belong to Him and not us alone. If we understand this we realise that assisted suicide cannot be in the best interests of anyone. We do not determine sanctity of life, which is God's realm. If we encroach upon sanctity of life we risk abusing it in abhorrent forms, as we have in the past. This issue is so much bigger than "dignity in dying".