CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Good Intentions, Unhelpful Outcomes

Dec 15, 2007

When Chamberlain visited Hitler, he was full of good intentions, even though he was being pretty naive. He came back from his meeting proclaiming “Peace in our time”. Of course in less than a year the world was at war. Appeasement is the name given for unnecessarily giving in to your opponents, resulting in them taking advantage of the situation, often with devastating consequences.

We are right now witnessing similar examples of good intentions, coupled with naivety. In the end, appeasement is still the name for this, and the negative consequences are just as pronounced. All over the Western world the battle over marriage and family is being waged, and with each passing year, it looks like more and more territory is being lost to the other side.

Here in Australia we were assured by some Christian groups that a Rudd Labor government would hold the line on marriage. Within days after the election, that has begun to unravel big time. The ACT government is again moving to allow civil unions for homosexuals, which for all intents and purposes is marriage-lite. It has all the same benefits and privileges as marriage, bar the name.

Yet Mr Rudd, who strongly wooed the Christian community prior to the election, has caved in with amazing speed. He now says he will not intervene, claiming it is Labor Party policy not to interfere in the legislation of the states and territories. (The two governments are now discussing the issue.)

Of course many of us warned before the election that Kevin Rudd is not the sole player involved here. The whole party, including its long standing support of special rights for homosexuals, also should have been taken into account. Yet some believers were taken by Rudd and his rhetoric, either unaware or unwilling to realise that party policy is not the product of only the leader.

And with wall-to-wall Labor government now in place around the country, the radicals are moving swiftly and decisively. As I write this, the Victorian government has just announced it will allow homosexual couples to have children through IVF and other assisted reproductive technologies. It knows that with the Howard Government out of the way, the path is now wide open for these sorts of forays into social engineering.

Line in the sand

Unfortunately some Christian groups have partially helped to bring this whole situation about. It may have happened with the best of intentions, but as history reminds us, these are not enough, especially if an element of naivety is involved.

Some believers thought that we could placate the homosexual lobby, give them just about all they demand, and then they would leave marriage and adoption rights alone. But such was simply wishful thinking, and ignorance of what the homosexual lobby – both here and overseas – has been demanding for thirty years now.

The idea was that we should be as magnanimous as possible, offer them as much as we possibly can, but just nicely remind them that marriage and children are off limits. But let me spell out what such a strategy in fact entailed.

The idea was to say yes to the homosexual activists, and cave in to most of their demands, bar the name marriage and adoption rights. The idea was that if we made such a generous and gracious gesture, they would be quite satisfied and leave things at that. So the idea was to allow a whole raft of special privileges and benefits normally reserved for married couples to now go to homosexual couples.

In effect these folks said that we should have government recognition, blessing, endorsement and acknowledgment of homosexual relationships. We should give them nearly every benefit that a married couple has (barring kids), although we won’t allow them to call it marriage. This was all supposedly done in the name of Christian compassion and social justice.

I have written about such proposals (as in the form of relationship registers for homosexuals) elsewhere. But the logic seems foreign to me. These groups are suggesting that almost all marriage-like benefits should be given to homosexual couples, except we should not allow them to call themselves married.

One might as well argue that an old out-of-shape codger like myself demand all the rights of being made a member of the Geelong Cats football team. So in the interests of fairness, compassion and justice the team finally relents (against all reason and common sense) and takes me on. They let me practice with them, even play games and rejoice in victories with them, all with full pay. Yet they just will not allow me to wear the Geelong jersey. Now to most people’s thinking, in such a situation I am for all intents and purposes a Geelong player. The lack of jumper means little if I have all the other benefits and privileges of club membership.

That is just what some Christian groups seem to have done here. They have said to the homosexual activists, yes, we give in; we will give you nearly everything you have been demanding for thirty years. Indeed, here it all is on a silver platter. So now you have most of the same benefits of marriage as real heterosexual married couples. All we ask is that you do not call it marriage, and do not seek to have kids as well. And all this has been done in the name of some vague and less-than-biblical understanding of justice and compassion.

Now if I were a homosexual who has just been handed almost everything I want, including full government recognition and approval, it would be obvious to me that if compassion and justice are the real determining factors here, then surely I should be able to call my relationship a marriage. And of course if the government considers my relationship basically on the par with heterosexual marriage, then it would only be fair and just for me and my same-sex partner to be able to have children as well.

Bear in mind that homosexual groups recognise little if any difference between things like a relationship register and civil unions. For example, the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby has said that it does “not make a distinction between civil unions and registration … the differences are minor.”

Thus for some Christian groups now to be arguing that we must hold the line when in fact they recently seem to have abandoned the line by siding with the homosexuals and agreeing that their relationships should get government recognition, seems a bit too little and a bit too late. The game has largely been given away. I fail to see how believers can now say we must oppose same-sex marriage, and adoption rights, when they have argued that homosexual relationships must be considered essentially equal in most other respects, including full government favour and recognition.

Sorry, it seems that the horse has already bolted, the line in the sand has already been crossed, and the game looks to be close to over. Of course we must continue to champion heterosexual marriage and the rights of every child to be raised by his or her own mother and father. But that task just seems to be more difficult now, given that so much ground has been conceded in such a short period of time.

And ignorance really should not be an excuse here. For thirty years the aims and goals of the homosexual lobby have been on the public record. Their strategies have been clearly and plainly articulated. Marriage and adoption rights have always been high on their agenda. For believers not to be aware of all this is most unfortunate, given the very serious nature of what is at stake here.

Indeed, the ultimate goal has always been complete social and public acceptance and recognition. While most homosexuals in fact don’t actually want marriage, that is really beside the point. It is the symbolism of marriage that is vital: the idea that their relationships are identical to heterosexual marriage. Thus the push for government recognition of same-sex relationships. All the various schemes are fairly similar, be it marriage, civil unions or relationship registers. The aim of all of them is the legal, political and social acceptance, endorsement and recognition. As activist Rodney Croome, puts it, “this isn’t about sex, it’s about symbolism”.

Conclusion

It is certainly not my aim to publically attack other believers here. But when the issues are so vitally important, as is this one, then my obligations and duties must be prioritised. Standing up for what is right must be at the top of the list. Thus I feel compelled to try to lay out the case for my concerns.

From my perspective, the battle over marriage and family may unfortunately have gotten harder, now that some sections of the church have handed to the homosexual lobby so much of what they have long wanted. Obtaining the remaining bits on their agenda may now be relatively easy and quick.

Even if Mr Rudd does get some sense and decides to block the ACT move, this will not be the end of the story. The demands will be continuous, and the activists know that those putting up resistance will continue to weaken. As we see just three weeks after the Federal election, the demands are now pouring forth from the homosexual lobby and its sympathisers in the various Labor governments. But now is not the time to give up. Now is the time to stand and to stand strong.

[1588 words]

43 Responses to Good Intentions, Unhelpful Outcomes

  • Very well said Bill, and it’s something that needs to be said too. For if the trumpet gives an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for the battle? Too many Christian groups seem confused as to how to approach this and many other social issues. Better to stick with the biblical standard and appear old fashioned and out of touch than to compromise for the sake of ‘respectability’ or to appear ‘moderate’.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • May I draw your attention to Gaydar. Com . The links below are put in chronological order. In other words they tell a story
    July 2006
    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-1863.html (Scroll down to the full list of names:
    1 Sir Ian McKellen, Actor
    2 Sir Elton John, Musician
    3 Gary Frisch and Henry Badenhorst, gaydar.co.uk)

    http://www.gaydar.com/90.0.html (WARNING: EXPLICIT SCENES)

    October 2006
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=408666&in_page_id=1879 (Marriage and children in relation to Gary Frisch‘s outfit, Gaydar)
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=449526&in_page_id=1766&ito=1490 ( Suicide of Gary Frisch))

    Feb 2007
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/gayrights/story/0,,2015220,00.html ( Gary Frisch’s suicide and the true face of homosexuality)

    October 2007
    GAYDAR.COM has nearly 4 million subscribers globally. Boy George is on there as are many other famous (but anonymous) faces (and bodies). It’s where Mark Oaten (UK Liberal MP) met his sticky end, and Chris Bryant (UK labour MP for Rhondda) was revealed in his underpants looking for love. In the House of Parliament he called the House’s attention to the growing number of homophobic attacks, both physical and verbal, and stated that it is “now time that we had an offence of incitement to hatred on grounds of sexual orientation.” (to carry a seven year prison sentence)

    The gay community does not really want to replicate traditional marriage, or to adopt children ( apart from to use them as trophies and goods and services). When the gay community are offered marriage there is not exactly a stampede. The evidence shows that marriage does not suit the gay life-style. What they want is the acceptance and recognition, the goods and services associated with marriage and adoption but not the essential nature of it. But it is heterosexual-like marriage which is easiest to sell to the wider heterosexual community.

    Even those who do want marriage – especially gay men – tend not to see a need to restrict their sexual activity to their menage. At the ideological level as well, there are strong homosexual voices which have little interest in conservative argumentation for same sex marriage. They deeply resent the homophobic implications of a negative view of homosexual practices which don’t mirror conventional heterosexual marriage practice. ‘Freed of the constraints of marriage, gays are presently free to explore guiltless pleasures of sexual abandonment … Some gays worry that the marriage license will deprive them of their avant-garde status. Instead they’ll become retrograde, tarnished imitations of the bourgeois coupling they hold in contempt. The monogamous, heterosexual marriage does not fit in with a homosexual lifestyle which in their own view is at the very cutting edge of modern, progressive 21st century, technological, post modern life. A characteristic of the homosexual community is its love of risk, abandonment, shock and rebellion. One only has to attend the grotesque, leering, mocking and strutting spectacle of gay pride and Mardis Gras exhibitionism.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/543399.stm (Elton John comes in at No 2 on the Europride chart)

    David Skinner, UK

  • Rev. Fred Nile, MP, NSW State parliament is an example of what happens when a person publicly stands up for righteousness in an unrighteous world. He is vilified by the media, and not only ignored by the religious leaders but hung out to dry.

    Leadership in the church has for many years been in serious decline for many reasons, one of which would be ‘compromise’, more commonly called ‘liberal’ theology.

    Well meaning people, no matter how articulate or successful, particularly religious leaders, appear to be naive when it comes to the wiles of the unclean spirit as identified in scripture.

    Clearly, our traditional dependency on scriptural guidance has not held back opposing forces. One would then expect for us to marshall along side, not scripture, but the One about whom scripture speaks. He is Spirit and is no longer in the crib or on the cross.

    Ray Robinson, Wollongong

  • Of course, for 150 years, Christians have abandoned biblical history to the secular evolutionist. Again, many of these Chamberlainite Churchians hoped that his appeasement would keep the secularists off our backs. But they were not content with usurping history, they wanted everything. So we should not be surprised that they are now usurping morality.

    After all, biblical marriage is was the first human institution that God ordained. Jesus explicitly stated that marriage exists because God created a man and a woman “from the beginning of creation” not after billions of years of evolution (Mark 10:6 citing Gen. 1:27 an 2:24 as real history). But since churchians have largely conceded this historical basis for marriage, they have no foundation to defend the morality.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Hi Bill,

    It’s funny you mention Chamberlain. I can recall my dad’s derision of him from time to time mimicking him holding up the Munich peace agreement. He had good reason to react like this – in 1943 as a 16 year old he was drafted into Hitler’s losing cause, watched a best mate get shot dead next to him and spent 2 years as a P.o.W. in England. One could only wonder what might not have happened on a grander scale had Chamberlain grown a backbone.

    Read this quote from Churchill as a reaction to Chamberlain’s theatrics:

    “We have suffered a total and unmitigated defeat…you will find that in a period of time which may be measured by years, but may be measured by months, Czechoslovakia will be engulfed in the Nazi régime. We are in the presence of a disaster of the first magnitude…we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road…we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been deranged, and that the terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies: “Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting”. And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.”

    (Change a few words and you would have a very relevant speech for Victoria/Australia in 2007) It is now documented history as to who was correct – interestingly enough, most of Britain was happy with what Chamberlain had done at the time.

    Yesterday had the new PM weighing into the same-sex debate (although a different aspect of it). Some of the things he was saying I am dismayed that a leader of this country would say. I find myself often thinking about the future of Australia and what it will look like. Activists promote more tolerance, peace, understanding and less discrimination, but all it will bring is more and weirder minority philosophies lobbying for legitimacy, all the while placing a drain on society’s finite resources. Increased poverty, diseases, crime, factions and fighting are now Australia’s future, there is simply no avoiding it. We know now that the lines were not defined well enough along with the consequences of crossing them. How sad that many didn’t see the need to defend the farm when the thieves were at the outside fence. To hold them back was labeled ‘intolerance’ So they got to the dam, the livestock, the crops, the machinery, the shed, the food store… They are about to come inside and claim the house and children as theirs and then trash it all, but we still have to pay for whatever they want.

    I have one question for those who would want the gays to rule over us: How are children produced? Even artificially, it’s not by simulating homosexuality, so why do we let the activists dictate terms regarding reproductive technologies? Even if you could argue successfully that such a thing as a ‘gay gene’ existed, the actual behaviour itself is selected against in nature because left to itself it denies the very means of reproduction. By itself it would mean the extinction of the individuals who practice it. If biology doesn’t give us children from homosexuality, why is our government allowing this and forcing us to pay for it?

    And what will happen to those who uphold truth? Will we have court cases where people, churches, schools and businesses who refuse to pander to the pc crowd get fined, thrown into jail or shut down? Will there be possessions seized, rights and freedoms denied and the labeling of ‘outcasts’? The one comforting factor I have in all this is that God is still Lord over all, and He is not ignorant of any part of it. It is after all, His universe, not the government’s or the activist’s. We don’t know when Jesus will return, so if in the meantime Australia has to endure its darkest age for several decades, then let us remember that circumstances such as this have happened many times before throughout the history of mankind, and God always finds a way to use it to His glory. The message is pretty simple – reject Him, and watch a society eventually diminish. Turn to Him, and prosper. God will not be mocked for too long. It is truly the arrogance of modern man that 2007 is anything new or different. The reality is that God will have His way.

    So how do I respond? Well, I’m simply going to continue to do what He has called me to do, and live out His Word daily putting into practice the individuals gifts He has given me. I hope many other (all?) Christians do the same. There are good reasons to be sad and concerned about the future, but let us not fall into despair and let negativity consume us – we have too great a hope for that. (btw, thanks Bill for your insights – as ever, brilliant.)

    Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2Cor 4:16-18

    Mark Rabich

  • Hi Bill,

    Being an avid proponent of Biblical Values I must admit I am feeling a bit helpless in what our government chooses to stand for. My question to you would be: what does someone who is not involved in the political scene do to make a difference??

    I believe in representing Jesus well to anyone who needs Him (including homosexuals) whilst at the same time not judging them. I know I can make a difference in this in my everyday life, but it just seems that unless youre a politician, normal everyday christians dont have a say in whats happening. So again my questions is, What Can We Do???

    Mauricio Hernandez

  • Thanks Bill, Ewan, David, Ray, Mark, Jonathan. Sometimes we individuualy feel like Elijah after he fled to Mt Horeb from Jezebel’s threats, believing we are alone against the evil in our nation.

    But God promised Elijah that there were 7000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal, and you guys encourage me with the same hope.

    Stephen White

  • Thanks Mauricio

    Jesus and the early disciples were not in politics, but they had a huge influence. Your question is a personal one, and I can only offer generic advice. I tell my students to find out what God wants them to do, and they do it it with all your heart.

    Having an influence need not just be in the political. You can make an impact if you do faithfully whatever God calls you to do, be it sweeping floors in the church, working with AIDS patients, teaching in universities, or labouring in a factory.

    As to influencing the political process, there are all the usual options: keeping in touch with your local MPs; writing letters to the papers; getting involved in talkback radio; joining a political party; sharing information; praying heaps, etc.

    Not sure if this helps. But the main thing to recall is that as the days grow dark, God is still on the throne, and we must persevere and not lose heart.

    Keep at it Mauricio.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Stephen

    Your comment is an encouragement to me as well. Keep up the good work.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hi, Bill and Mark Rabich.
    “And what will happen to those who uphold truth? Will we have court cases where people, churches, schools and businesses who refuse to pander to the pc crowd get fined, thrown into jail or shut down?”

    It’s already being tried, Mark.

    May I refer you (sadly because it’s me they’re talking about) to the Sunday Age yesterday? P3 of the print edition plus an online equivalent at
    http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/hitting-kids-by-the-book-based-on-proverbs-and-pain/2007/12/15/1197568332261.html

    I think there is also a parallel passage in the Sydney Sunday Herald.

    I have fired off a carefully crafted riposte to the Age editor.

    John Angelico

  • Maurice, that question, “What can we do?” is music to the ears! It is almost precisely the one my MP asked me here in the UK, last Friday evening: “What do you want me to do?” But he was only able to ask that question after I had laid before him the whole canvas of what is going on. What you can do is, if you have the time and you have God’s calling, is to collect evidence from the Australian news of:

    1. Signs of nihilism and anarchy especially amongst teenagers (We have had almost every week, this year, in the UK, savage and motiveless murders committed by teenagers – in London alone 26 such cases).
    http://www.bignewsday.com/story.asp?code=RP1644841J&news=boy_becomes_londons_26th_teen_murder_victim_

    2, Evidence of promiscuity amongst school children and the way the education system is airbrushing parents out of the equation
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7136196.stm
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=499305&in_page_id=1770&ct=5
    http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,5500,1215653,00.html

    3.Evidence that show organisations involved in safe sex programmes are pushing homosexuality as a new brand for kids to try.
    http://education.guardian.co.uk/schools/story/0,5500,1215653,00.html
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/tv_and_radio/secretlife_documentary.shtml

    4.Evidence to show that those political arms of the militant homosexual army do not in any way espouse equality, tolerance, inclusion, lack of discrimination or even non-violence and abuse – quite the opposite; they are merely a front, ( http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-1863.html [ EUROPRIDE CHARTS]) for satisfying sexual lust .
    http://www.gaydar.com/90.0.html ( WARNING EXPLICIT SCENES)

    5. Evidence for showing the close connection between homosexuality and paedophilia: http://www.christian.org.uk/pdfpublications/The%20Case%20Against%20Change.pdf ( scroll down to 7&8)
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/543399.stm
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/641819.stm

    6. Evidence of homosexual propoganda
    http://www.stonewall.org.uk/media/current_releases/1761.asp

    7. Evidence of conditioning children towards homosexuality
    http://www.christian.org.uk/soregs/sor_booklet_sept06.pdf

    8. Evidence of Coercion and oppression:
    http://www.christian.org.uk/rel_liberties/cases/index.htm

    9. Evidence for assault on public morality ( storm troopers) which gives the lie to claim that homosexual lobby are concerned about bullying and violence; this is the very thing that turns them .
    http://zombietime.com/ (scroll down to Folsom Street)(WARNING EXPLICIT MATERIAL). I guarantee though that you will meet a lost of resistance, loss of friends and hatred. Make sure you have a good lawyer.

    When you have all your ducks in a row, it is then that you enlighten others, especially your MP.

    David Skinner, UK

  • Jonathon

    The Mark 10:6 teaching is certainly a goody on marriage – and that is precisely its point and context. It concerns the creation of the first man and woman pair, that is the context and thus ‘creation’ is referring to the creation of humanity and not the universe. Thus you can not infer what is not in the text, so it is no refutation of billions of years at all.

    Compare Matthew 24:21 ‘from the beginning of the world’ (Mk 13:19 refers to ‘beginning of the creation’). Is this referring to the initial creation act? Obviously no. It is talking about unprecedented tribulation during the time of humanity. So context is referring to the beginning of humanity.

    Lesson learned: Context is key.

    Damien Spillane

  • I think it’s long overdue that we teach the public at large what the word “discrimination” means. We are constantly being fed this idea that to discriminate is evil. If I choose a Holden, I have discriminated aginst the rest on offer, same when I choose a school for my kids. When I go into a supermarket, I HAVE TO discriminate at least 40 times! We discriminate when we put murderers in jail, when we choose a paint colour for our home, when we say a man can’t go into a women’s toilet, when we vote for one mob over another. To discriminate basically means to “discern and distinguish between” 2 things, be they material objects, teachings, or whatever. Underground sonar equipment can discriminate between metallic and non-metallic objects. Since somewhere around the 1970s, somebody made it a sin to discriminate between people, but how do we choose from 16 applicants for a job without discriminating? You can’t LIVE without discriminating! And the neatest trick in all this is: if you want to find out how to apply the new meaning of discrimination, guess who you have to ask? The ones who changed it (or added a new dimension and use for it) of course! They now become the new un-elected sole authority on the subject – very neat coup! And another part of the problem – I read a Word for Today most mornings, which the Lord has spoken to me from time and again, and recently that said it’s a sin to discriminate. Keep on fighting Elijah-there’s 7,000 out there who haven’t yet bowed the knee to Baal!
    Ian Brearley

  • John,

    Perhaps you might explain here how the systematic belting of babies with sticks and rods can possibly be justified in any circumstance.

    Judith O’Brien, Toowoomba

  • Thanks Judith

    This is getting off track from the original post, but what does beating someone with sticks have to do with parental discipline? Why do you take the worst case scenario here? Abuse and assault are already illegal. By your reasoning, all car driving should be banned because some people drive while drunk.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Damien, that other passage proves my point: that mankind has been around almost as long as creation itself. And since you like context, just look at other uses of ap arch?s ktise?s. The only context is “beginning of creation”, not “beginning of humanity” or “beginning of marriage”. It would be stating the bleeding obvious to say that man and woman were there at the beginning of mankind or marriage. But Jesus’ whole point was that marriage was a creation ordinance, not one that had to wait till millions of years, a foreign import into the plain reading of the text.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Yet Judith’s ilk is happy to tear babies apart by powerful suction pumps, or scalded alive by super-concentrated saline, or partially born then having their skulls stabbed and brains sucked out.

    However, we must never traumatize worms.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Ian perhaps a temporary way to side-step being accused of being discriminatory is to use a word that the barmy brigade have not yet tampered with and that is “discretion.”
    To be able to use one’s discretion is still, but only just, permitted.
    David Skinner, UK

  • My wife & I have a copy of To Train Up A Child purchased from Kingsley Educational. We think it’s good stuff and very biblical.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • Bill,

    You seem to imply that the demise of the Howard government influenced this announcement. I don’t think it had anything to do with it, since these moves were in train for some years.

    You also criticize other Christian groups for showing compassion towards homosexuals. But we now have the strange situation where society at large extends more compassion towards and acceptance of our fellow humans than certain Christian groups, who now find themselves marginalised as obsessive homophobes.

    Governments merely reflect the wishes of the society that elects them, and to suggest that these law reforms are the work of radical minorities that have somehow taken control of the government indicates you have a poor understanding of the democratic process.

    Conservative governments are on the nose throughout Australia, and indeed throughout the world, because people want a just and fair society, not just an economy. The USA will undoubtedly be the next to throw out an ultra-conservative administration which is simply out of touch with society’s aspirations. Such governments have swung too far to the right, and fundamentalist religious groups have to take some of the responsibility for encouraging them.

    As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

    Steve Angelino, WA

  • Jonathon

    This will be my last post on this issue because Bill has certain rules on debates of this nature.

    There is no case for the Matt 24:21 passage proving your point. The passage has nothing to do with the creation of the natural order but everything to do with tribulation during human events. So context is not on your side.

    Wherever in the NT you have the phrase “from the beginning” it needs to be filled in by context – eg 1 John 1:1 where it clearly refers to Christ, obviously a period before the initial creation.

    Now admittedly you have a qualifier in Mark 10: “of creation”. But again, you need to rely on context. As I have shown Matt 24:21 has “of creation” and yet clearly refers to humaniy only. And the context of Mark 10 is clearly the creation of humanity.

    Jesus does not make a redundant point on this reading. He is stating that from the beginning of humanity, when humanity was created man and female, marriage was established and ordained as a pattern for all marriages to follow. Thus it has absolutely nothing to do with natural creation and thus no proof for a 6,000 yr old earth.

    Damien Spillane

  • Dear Judith,

    The attack to which I referred is a small part of a campaign of vilification against me for making a stand.

    The vilifying person involved is using exactly the same argument as you made – an argument from extremes only, in order to eliminate all of a class of actions – in this case, smacking.

    However, this tactic fails to distinguish (“discriminate” as an earlier respondent noted) extremes of abuse from right use. The argument redefines ALL smacking as abuse, and fails logically at that point.

    To take a current topic, many argue for total removal of alcohol or gambling on the same basis, but that is also an invalid argument unless the context demands it.

    I would say the context of totally dysfunctional Aboriginal communities demands an alcohol ban, and certain individuals who “can’t touch a drop safely” need to avoid it totally, but the general principle should be “good things in moderation, and bad things not at all.”

    Our Scriptural rule and guide is that use of the rod is a part of proper parental discipline, operating in a context of loving relationships with authority and accountability.

    I hope this helps you to distinguish and discriminate on a Biblical basis.

    John Angelico

  • Bill and others,

    Welcome to democracy. The Stanhope government was reelected after a campaign which included the promise to legislate for gay union. They are now implementing that promise. It’s not just some radical homosexual group pushing it, it was put to the electorate and the electorate agreed. You can’t really argue with that.

    Kathryn Byron NSW

  • Thanks guys

    There is nothing wrong as such with an age of the earth debate, but it is getting slightly off topic for this posting. But other opportunities will undoubtedly arise on this site.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Steve

    Yes, the push to grant homosexuals even more special rights, and to further weaken the institutions of marriage and family has been in place for some time now. It is just that with wall-to-wall Labor governments, all that will now be much easier and quicker to achieve.

    As to compassion, all true believers should extend compassion to homosexuals, as to everyone else. And true biblical compassion is wishing to set people free from their destructive lifestyles and sinful behaviours. Thus the most compassionate and loving thing a believer can tell a homosexual is that he does not have to remain trapped in the homosexual lifestyle, and with God’s help he or she can be set free. Biblical compassion never leaves someone wallowing in sin and alienation from God, whether the person is a homosexual or not.

    And of course throwing around meaningless terms like “homophobes” tells us more about where you are coming from that actually adding anything of value to the debate.

    “Governments merely reflect the wishes of the society that elects them”. Funny, I never heard lefties say that when they ranted and raved against Howard or Bush. But now that we have a left wing government, we are all supposed to accept everything as the will of the people. Spare me please, Steve.

    Finally, with all due respect, you might be either too young or too naive to realise that changes of government come and go, often in a quite cyclical fashion. One year it seems there are mainly conservative governments in place, the next mainly leftist. And recently a number of conservative governments have come into power in the West, including Germany, Canada, France and the Netherlands.

    I am not aware of any serious political commentator who expects Australian governments to now remain in Labor hands in perpetuity.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Kathryn

    Yes I can argue with that. Polls and surveys have consistently shown that the majority of Australians are opposed to marriage-like institutions for homosexuals. And a civil union move in the ACT would violate commonwealth legislation as to the nature of marriage. Stanhope is a radical lefty who is not in touch with most Australians on this issue. This is all about implementing a radical minority agenda, pure and simple.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill,

    Nothing in my post suggested that I expected Labor to rule Australia forever. I agree with you that all governments eventually pass their use-by date, either because they have not renewed their leadership or their policies, or they have become arrogant and have lost touch with the electorate.

    I don’t think the term “leftist” can be applied to many current Labor administrations. Most commentators would regard Labor currently as a centrist party. Part of Howard’s problem was that he went too far to the right in order to differentiate the Coalition. The Liberal Party now finds itself in something of a bind. They recognise that they need to recover the middle ground, but don’t know how to do that while maintaining differentiation. They are also in danger from the kind of fundamentalist zealotry that has overtaken the NSW Branch. The public will never vote in a party ruled by right-wing headkickers like Alex Hawke.

    As to my age, I am of similar vintage to you. We each come to our views on life based on experience, but ultimately everything is just opinion. You seem to think that your opinions are guided by a higher power, but there are plenty of Christians who would reject your views. There are no absolutes, especially when it comes to interpretation of scripture.

    Steve Angelino, WA

  • Thanks Steve

    But now you get to the heart of the matter. As a thorough-going postmodernist, you say there are no absolutes and everything is just opinion. In which case there is no truth, there is no right and wrong. Everything is just a matter a subjective interpretation and taste. In which case, why waste your time and mine if your opinions are just as relative as anyone else’s? I should think a consistent postmodernist would just shut up, since it is pointless arguing over whether vanilla ice cream is better than chocolate ice cream.

    While it is nice that you have spilled the beans as to your epistemological relativism, it would be also be nice if you were consistent in your worldview. Getting agitated about anything makes little sense if everything is simply relative.

    I would argue that you in fact make my case very nicely. The reason why people get passionate about issues and ideas is because we are made in God’s image, and because absolute truth and morality exist. So every time you open your mouth and every time you send in a comment, you nicely make my case, while undermining your own.

    So please explain Steve: why are you wasting my time if – according to your version of events – your opinions are just as arbitrary, subjective and relative as mine are? Why should anyone bother listening to you at all?

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hello Steve
    To be honest I found it rather confusing and the required answers to your statement would, I feel, rather “muddy the waters’ rather than clarify them.
    I would like to request one answer though. your statement, “most commentators would regard Labor as a centrist party” is rather ambiguous. I can find no evidence that would give credibility to such a statement.
    In fact most commentators I have read actually classify Labor as trying to give an aura of centralism whilst underneath they are actually very socialistic.
    Perhaps I am reading the wrong commentaries and you can enlighten me as to areas that give unbiased opinions?
    Jim Sturla

  • Steve you seem to suggest that democracy, the will of the people, is the bench mark for whether something is either true or good. ”Hands up all those who think such and such” is very often the rally cry of someone who wants to usurp power for themselves. When I used to be a teacher, this used to be the cry of the loud-mouthed kid who wanted to take over my authority. The plain fact is that all great reformers, Wilberforce, Lord Shaftsbury, Josephine Butler, John Bunyan and the greatest Reformer, Jesus Christ, did not reflect the will of the people; they were going against the current, trying to get people to return to the Way, not keep on pressing down a dead end road (Russia, China, Cambodia, North Korea and soon us). As for these tired old mantras, like “fundamentalist,” please; they are mindless claptrap; who can be more militant, fundamentalist, bigoted, intolerant, discriminatory, excluding, violent and extreme than the homosexual lobby and their supporters? When was the last time a homosexual was put in prison for being such; but now those who make the slightest bleep against their practices will be faced with humiliation, loss of job and the threat of up to seven years in prison (UK)
    Steve this is planet earth not socialist dream time (no offence to Aborigines).

    David Skinner, UK

  • Hi Bill,

    I’m intrigued that your usual counter response to my views is to attack me personally, question my ethics and play philosophical word games. You are rarely able to justify your opinions by logic and reason, despite your claims to absolutism.

    I don’t know why you think I’ve “spilled the beans”. You must know from my past posts that I’m not a conservative, which by definition implies that I think moral questions need to be informed by wisdom, intelligence and experience. Your claim that moral relativism implies there is no right and wrong is a common catchcry of the religious Right, but is utterly baseless. In fact it is a relativistic claim. It is only your opinion.

    You said:
    “I would argue that you in fact make my case very nicely. The reason why people get passionate about issues and ideas is because we are made in God’s image, and because absolute truth and morality exist. So every time you open your mouth and every time you send in a comment, you nicely make my case, while undermining your own.”

    But it is only your relativistic opinion that it is an absolute truth that absolute truth and morality exist.

    The existence of God and an afterlife are not absolute truths. I think they are merely human wishful thinking based on ancient superstition. And I don’t need to postulate a god in order to be passionate about anything. The reason I “waste your time” is because so many opinions you express are at odds with my view of how civil society works best, i.e. by respecting the rights of others to live their own private lives as long as they harm no one else.

    Perhaps you could answer this question for me:
    Is killing another human being always wrong, or does it depend on context?

    Steve Angelino, WA

  • Thanks Steve

    Tell me, do you think what you just wrote here is true?

    I really should not have to belabour this point. If you do believe it is true, you refute your own position. If not, why waste your breath?

    There was nothing in my remarks that attacked your person, as any reader can see. I simply pointed out the utter logical inconsistency of your own position. And you are still at it. You want us to believe there is no absolute truth and that all views are just personal opinion, yet you somehow expect us to agree with what you just said, as if it were in fact true.

    Your atheism has simply blinded you to the complete incoherence of your position. So I again repeat, why are you wasting our time here? Maybe you just go fishing or something. Expecting us to believe what you say is true when you insist on telling us there is no truth is simply the height of intellectual absurdity and irrationality.

    And you last query is a no-brainer. I have dealt with it in many posts here, if it is not just a rhetorical question on your part. Murder is always wrong, but not all killing is murder, as any court of law recognises.

    Until you give us all an answer to my first question, there really is no point in allowing your pointless discussion to continue.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I realise that the debate with Steve is probably closed but his very last proposition, ”my view of how civil society works best, (is) by respecting the rights of others to live their own private lives as long as they harm no one else” begs the question that if there is no absolute Truth what justification has he for respecting others; and by respect I don’t mean the respect accorded to something because it delivers the goods and services but because it denotes that the person he respects has value and meaning irrespective of how useful they might or might not be to him. Steve, it seems to me that you are claiming a moral high ground that you have no right to claim, simply because you don’t believe in that moral high ground in the first place. To you all morality and all high grounds are the same.

    David Skinner, UK

  • Bill,

    Presumably whatever I say you’ll gleefully pounce on and announce “Ah ha! That proves blah-de-blah”. But it is always only your opinion that B follows from A. Your frequent assertions of logical fallacy in anyone who disagrees with you simply come across as avoiding the argument.

    You ask if I think what I said is true. Obviously the answer you want from me is “yes”, so you can say “Ah ha!”. But don’t waste your precious time even punching the keys. We were talking about absolute truth and that is a very rare thing.

    A common example of absolute truth would be the physical constants that describe the universe. But even their constancy is only a hypothesis. There always remains the tiny probability that in some strange part of the universe a different undiscovered set of laws apply. Or that other universes exist where the physical laws are different.

    Even evolution is a hypothesis. This is often falsely thrown up by creationists as “only a hypothesis” as if this implies some kind of weakness in the theory. And evolution is falsifiable, as any scientific theory must be. Is it true? In my opinion yes, based on over a hundred years of accumulated human knowledge from numerous disciplines that continue to reinforce the theory and prove its predictions correct (e.g. in the findings of genome science).

    Is it absolute truth? No, because facts could still be discovered that would falsify the theory. A god could have created the universe 6000 years ago and fabricated all the evidence so it looked like it was 13 billion years old, but what kind of god plays childish games like that?

    But getting back to the original point, I specifically asked you about killing, not murder, because the Jewish commandment says “Thou shalt not kill”. Yet Christians airily contend that this command is not absolute – it depends on the context. So then you must resort to interpretation and opinion, and allow for difference of opinion, about when it is OK to kill. What is that if not moral relativism?

    Steve Angelino, WA

  • Thanks Steve

    Sorry, but you keep digging yourself further in the hole. You keep writing as if you believe what you say is true, and that you expect others to agree with your truth as well. But it is nice to see you are starting to see the error of your ways, and are now conceding that “absolute truth ,,, is a very rare thing”! At least now you are not saying absolute truth does not exist, like you earlier insisted. If we keep prodding you along, we might get you yet to fully awaken from your atheistic stupor!

    As to your last point, you unfortunately continue to be out of your depth. As any first year Hebrew student knows, the sixth commandment (Exodus 20:13) clearly says “you shall not murder” in the original, not “you shall not kill”. The term refers to premeditated murder, not killing.

    And can I point out that if it appears that I am giving you are hard time here, it is for a good end. There are eternal outcomes involved in such debates, and getting it right now is vital. You can offer all you defences now for your position, but my main concern is one day you, like everyone else, will stand before your creator and judge. Then every mouth will be shut and every head bowed low. All our feeble and pathetic excuses then will disappear in an instant. It is important that we get the God question right in this lifetime, because after that there will be no second chances.

    God graciously holds outs his arms to us in love and acceptance now, if we avail ourselves of his grace. But if we spurn him and tell him we want nothing to do with him, then on that fateful day God will have no choice except to allow us to have our own way. We will already have determined our fate. So I will continue to pray for you Steve that you get it right now, before it is too late.

    In other words, this is not about playing intellectual games and engaging in clever debates. This is about the eternal destiny of us all. This is important and needs to be taken seriously. I am not interested in tickling people’s intellectual palates on this website, not wasting time in verbal disputes. I am interested in the truth of God shining through and seeing people set free from their bondage and self-deception, just as I was once graciously liberated from my blindness and self-absorption

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Steve, God did create the universe only about 6000 years ago and I don’t see any evidence to contradict that or that suggests that the universe is 13 billion years old. God is not playing games or trying to deceive anyone. The deception is entirely on the part of those who think there is proof the earth and universe are billions of years old. Remember that ‘age’ is not a substance that can be directly measured. In determining the age of the earth, assumptions always have to be made. If the assumptions are wrong then the assumed age is also wrong.

    Evolution is not just an hypothesis, it is an untestable hypothesis. Because it is supposed to have happened in the unrepeatable distant past, it is not directly falsifiable. Evolutionists and Creationists have the same evidence – the question really is which of the two theories best explains the evidence? I believe the evidence fits the creation account much better than it fits the evolution theory.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • “Remember that ‘age’ is not a substance that can be directly measured.”

    So lets examine this argument.

    1. Only that which can be directly measured constitutes sufficient evidence, otherwise one has to rely on ‘assumptions’.

    2. Evolution and a billions of years old earth can not be directly measured.

    3. Therefore evolution and billions of years has no evidence and thus relies on assumptions.

    eerr ok.

    I am no believer in evolution, but the conclusion doesn’t follow from these premises. Consider

    1. Only that which can be directly measured constitutes sufficient evidence, otherwise one has to rely on ‘assumptions’.

    2. The detectives found a body riddled with bullets; the bullets were from Jones’ gun, his finger prints were at the crime scene, he had a motive etc. But no one saw the murder.

    3. Therefore there is no case against Jones.

    Obviously this is bogus, and anyone aquainted with legal evidence would know that direct witnessing is not necessary to establish a case. It is the same in making inferences from archeology. There is such a thing as indirect evidence.

    Thus the argument is bogus.

    Damien Spillane

  • Damien Spillane

    The travesty of justice against Lindy Chamberlain exposes the folly of trusting circumstantial evidence over credible eyewitness accounts. Genesis is a credible eye-witness account of the only One who was there, so should be trusted over the uniformitarian circumstantial “evidence” adduced by assorted deists like Hutton and Lyell, atheists and their respectability-craving compromising churchian allies.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Jonathan,

    Since no one has any idea who wrote Genesis, how can you state with such certainty that it is a “credible eye-witness account”?

    How do you know it isn’t fable, especially when you have to struggle so hard to defend it against contrary empirical evidence?

    Steve Angelino, WA

  • Steve Angelino, for one thing, Jesus claimed to be God and validated His claim by rising from the dead. The Impossible Faith provides 17 reasons why Christianity could not have survived in the ancient world unless it had indisputable evidence of the resurrection of Jesus.

    Yet Jesus explicitly endorsed Genesis as real history. In Mt. 19:3–6, He cited Gen. 1:27 and 2:24 on the direct creation of Adam and Eve, and used this to teach on marriage. in Luke 17:26–27, He compared His second coming to the suddenness of the Flood, and matter-of-factly cited Noah as a real person, the Ark as a real vessel, and the Flood as a real event. In Luke 16:31 and John 5:46–46, He endorsed the books of Moses, which include Genesis.

    I don’t have to struggle at all hard to defend it. I leave difficult struggles to those who share your materialistic blind faith, e.g. how life could have arisen from non-life via chemical evolution, or how the motors that make ATP or wind up DNA could have arisen by time, chance and natural selection.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • When approximately 90% of all methods so far devised to estimate the age of the earth, produce dates far less than the assumed billions-of-years age of the earth, I have no problem believing God’s eyewitness account as recorded in Genesis. Even radiometric dating, the preferred ‘proof’ of old-earthers, has huge problems explaining why we find the relatively short lived C14 in diamonds and coal when both are assumed to be millions or billions of years old.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • Ewan,

    Interesting assertions, but both are false. Anomalous results are invariably eventually explained, e.g. by sample contamination and the presence of other nuclides as in the case of the “C14 in coal” claims.

    Jonathan,

    The Gospel writers would have certainly believed the Genesis stories and it’s not surprising that they had Jesus saying such things. Do you really think that alleged conversations recorded 50 or more years after the claimed events would be verbatim transcriptions of what was said? More likely such details are products of the writer’s imagination.

    It all seems a rather tenuous basis on which to hang your young-earth beliefs.

    Steve Angelino, WA

  • Thanks Steve

    You are being overly and unnecessarily cynical about the historical evidence here. The reliability of the canonical gospels and the authenticity of the sayings and actions of Jesus are very strong indeed. If you applied the same scepticism to other historical figures, you would have to doubt the existence and/or oral/written output of most persons of ancient history – something I am sure you do not do. Thus this is just a case of your atheistic ideology compelling you to be selective in your historical scepticism.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

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