To Be a Christian: Response

***This is part of an ongoing debate I am engaging in with Trevor Blake. The terms can be found here, Blake’s opening here, my opening here, and Blake’s response here. If you are enjoying the debate, please consider donating to Samaritin’s Purse.***

Trevor has started by outlining what Christianity is and is not. He does this by pointing out there are two heads to the two first churches, many denominations, many interpretations, and many heresies and false religions with the obvious, but unstated, implication they can’t all be right and therefore are all wrong. Of course, any truth will be interpreted differently and incorrectly. Just because men can only see the platonic shadows on the wall does not mean that the object whose shadow is being cast doesn’t exist. Assuming there is no Truth because man can not fully and perfectly comprehend the Truth is to put far too much faith in a people who can not even fully understand their own minds.

I will ignore his jab at Martin Luther as even he admits that it is invalid.

In his strongest argument he implies that because the Biblical canon was not settled until the fourth or fifth century and because the Catholics and Orthodox have a few historical and wisdom books in their canon that Protestants do not accept, the Bible can not be trusted. As one would expect there to be disagreement on canon as those who can only see the shadows may disagree. Despite this disagreement, the canon was fixed and there is a remarkable agreement among Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox as what constitutes the New Testament, ie. Jesus’ life and teachings and the early church. Those Old Testament works upon which we disagree do not alter the Christian message. Also, note that a claim of non-canonicity is not the same as a claim of untruthfulness, only a claim that the book is undeserving of inclusion in the New Testament.

But, it could be argued that despite the churches agree on the NT canon, the majority of the OT canon, and that those works not fully accepted do not change the fundamental Christian message, how can we know this canon is correct, given the many debates over what should be included? Trevor implies that because of historical disagreement the canon may be wrong. For this, we simply have to check our presuppositions. If one believes God exists and sent His message to the world, would it not be reasonable to deduct that he ensured that the correct message reached the world? If one believes in the Christian God, then believing that He would make sure His word was triumphant in His church only makes sense.

He then mentions a few ‘contradictions’ in the Bible. Some of them only need a passing mention as interpreting poetic language like ‘the four corners of the earth’ as a scientific thesis or condemning a non-mathematical text for rounding diameter and circumference to significant numbers is just silly in a way that shouldn’t even need explaining. Although, it is possible that Blake believes newspapers are lying whenever they print stories about $3-billion government programs.

Trevor stands on better legs when he condemns historical texts for inaccurate historical counts. Given that 58 is the example he states in his opening, I’ll examine that. He uses the KJV, so I’ll use that too here.

And the sons of Pedaiah were, Zerubbabel, and Shimei: and the sons of Zerubbabel; Meshullam, and Hananiah, and Shelomith their sister: and Hashubah, and Ohel, and Berechiah, and Hasadiah, Jushabhesed, five. – 1 Chronicles 3:19-20

There are obviously 8 names there, not five, but the objection misses one key thing: “:”. A colon is used to start an enumeration. After the colon there are five sons. Before the colon there are two sons followed by a daughter. There are two different lists of the sons of Zerubbabel seperated by a listing of a daughter and a colon. The list being counted as five has five. Why there are two lists, I’m not sure, although I’d guess it would have to do with Zerubbabel having sons by different wives, but there is no innumeracy here. Trevor just missed the colon.

As to the first on the list, where 3629 from Joshua 15:32, Wesley’s commentary explains succinctly:

Twenty nine — Here are thirty seven or thirty eight cities named before; how then are they only reckoned twenty nine? There were only twenty nine of them, which either, 1. properly belonged to Judah; the rest fell to Simeon’s lot; or 2. Were cities properly so called, that is, walled cities, or such as had villages under them, as it here follows; the rest being great, but unwalled towns, or such as had no villages under them.”

As for the second, where 1514, John Gill explains:

Either one of them was no city strictly called; or

Gederah and Gederothaim is put for Gederah or Gederothaim, so called, possibly, because the city was double, as there want not instances of one city divided into two parts, called the old and the new city. So the conjunction and is put for the disjunctive or, whereof examples have been given before.

I believe that is sufficient for my point, when one is listing names and the count does not match the number of names correctly, which is the more likely explanation, someone writing the history of their people can’t do basic counting and nobody reading his accounts corrected him, or either one city had two names or a named place was not a city proper?

We visited three cities: Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, Manhattan, New York, and Boston. 35

Trevor then makes the common (among atheists) mistake of judging morality by his own human moral compass. By what right does he decide slavery is immoral? How can someone who believes man is literally the accidental arrangement of carbon, water, and electricity (to grossly oversimplify) by chaotic forces impute any moral value to the actions of said sacks of carbon?

This is the center of the fallacies of his argument: he rejects absolute truth, implicitly imputes truth to his own morality, uses this morality to condemn Christianity and Christian morality, then criticizes Christianity because “It means what the believer wants it to mean”. The argument is flawed, and these flaws are easy to see when they are stripped to their essence, not (just) because his specific points are wrong, but because he has not checked his basic beliefs.

Either God is and His word is Law, or God isn’t and there is no Law.

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We can move on to Trevor’s second statement.

He mentions the Gospel of Thomas; I have already dealt with the canon above.

He calls God a liar as He supposedly says prophecies will fail, yet, when we review the verse, we see only incomplete gifts or the doctrine of cessationism.* He brings forth the charge again, in one case calling the Lord a liar when the Lord hands an evil man over to the lying spirits of false prophets and the other where a charge of deceit is brought against the Lord due to the lies of false prophets. The lesson from these verses is not ‘God lies’, but rather God will deliver you to false prophets should you refuse to heed His words. If you reject the Truth, why wouldn’t He hand you over to lies?

Here Trevor once again condemns God as monstrous by his own standards of morality. Does not God have the right to harden the heart of His own creation when His own creation rejects Him? By what right does Trevor deny God this right?

As for those unreached by the Gospel, the Bible is mostly silent and not very explicit. The Bible is clear: Man is a sinner and damns himself to the punishment he rightly deserves. None enter hell undeserved. As well, Christ is the only way to heaven, and only through His unjust mercy can man be with God.

Yet Paul does write:

For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. (Romans 2:12-16 ESV)

As well, Peter stated, “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him…” and Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

Even among those who may not have heard of Christ by name, if they seek Him and follow the natural law written in their heart, they will find Him.

As for babes, have they followed the natural law written into their own hearts, and is not God a God of mercy?

Trevor then rips a verse out of its immediate context to call Him a liar once again. When not sundered from the following verses it is clear Paul is not referring to a physical, temporary resurrection, but an eternal ressurection. Christ was the first to be eternally resurrected, come the judgment we shall be so as well. The resurrection of Lazarus and the others were but temporary, they still died. They were still under the curse of Adam.

Trevor then enters into Trinitarianism, where he argues that God does not exist because we can’t understand Him. I guess he would argue that man does not exist as Mr. Escherichia Coli does not understand man. If man could fully understand the the fullness of an infinite God when man does not even fully understand his own mind, we could scarcely call the being God, now could we?

He then argues that because God demanded man not change His laws, that God Incarnate is not allowed to change said laws. This is self-refuting. As for fulfilling the Law, the Law was a tool so man could know God, now man can know God directly; the Law is not destroyed, only added to.

Trevor then argues that because Christians are given the use of Christ’s power from Christ that Christ is not special because Christians using Christ’s power can do as Christ does. Strip away the rhetoric and the argument is once again self-refuting.

Trevor then argues that because 72 apostles were given extraordinary instructions, protections, and powers, that God is a liar because these protections do not apply to Trevor as well. I wonder if Trevor also refuses to wear footwear or greet people on the road?

This is why it is important to read verses in their immediate context and in the context of scripture as a whole.

In his penultimate paragraph, Trevor mentions failed prophecies which are only failed in his mind. The kingdom of God did come to the disciples in the disciples’ lifetime in the form of Christ’s resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit. As for the prophecies of the end times, they only fail if you define such phrases ‘shortly’ and ‘at hand’ in a particular manner**. Peter warns against taking just such an approach:

This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:1-10 ESV)

Finally, Trevor criticizes my opening statement because I did not go into the specifics of theology. The specifics aren’t needed for salvation or to be a Christian, only the basics do. Christianity is not an intellectually elite club excluding all but those gifted with the ability to understand deep theology, it is the good news of salvation for the perishing.

By discussing matters of theology Christian intellectuals can gain greater knowledge of and insight into the nature of God and His works, but the illiterate cobbler needs this not. The humble cobbler doesn’t need to understand the differences between limited and unlimited atonement or grapple with the particularities of the ransom, Christus Victor, and satisfaction theories of atonement to be saved, all the cobbler needs is to repent and throw himself on the mercy of Christ. Thank God for His mercy that we only need see the outlines of the shadows on the wall to be saved and not the perfect forms themselves, or we’d all be damned.

And if Christ does not require specific theological knowledge and views to save, who am I to demand that a Christian hold to such particular views?

So, to all my readers trust in Christ, repent your sins, and be baptized, for the kingdom of the Lord is at hand, and He will be faithful and just and cleanse of your unrighteousness.

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* Once again, I am not entering into a debate over the finer theological points of cessationism.
** Not dipping into eschatology here either.

McCarthy & Fisher

I was just reading on McCarthy on Wiki and came across this:

In what played out to be the most dramatic exchange of the hearings, McCarthy responded to aggressive questioning from Army counsel Joseph Welch. On June 9, 1954, day 30 of the hearings, Welch challenged Cohn to give McCarthy’s list of 130 subversives in defense plants to the office of the FBI and the Department of Defense “before the sun goes down”.[24] In response to Welch’s challenge, McCarthy suggested that Welch should check on Fred Fisher, a young lawyer in Welch’s own Boston law firm whom Welch planned to have on his staff for the hearings. McCarthy then mentioned that Fisher had once belonged to the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), a group which Attorney General Brownell had called “the legal bulwark of the Communist Party”.

Welch revealed he had confirmed Fisher’s former membership in the National Lawyers’ Guild approximately six weeks before the hearings started.[27] After Fisher admitted his membership in the National Lawyers’ Guild, Welch decided to send Fisher back to Boston. His replacement by another colleague on Welch’s staff was also covered by The New York Times. Welch then reprimanded McCarthy for his needless attack on Fisher, saying that “Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness.” McCarthy, accusing Welch of filibustering the hearing and baiting Cohn, dismissed Welch’s dissertation and casually resumed his attack on Fisher, at which point Welch angrily cut him short:

“Senator, may we not drop this? We know he belonged to the Lawyer’s Guild… Let us not assassinate this lad further, Senator; you’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”

Welch excluded himself from the remainder of the hearings with a parting shot to McCarthy: “You have brought it out [the Fisher/NLG affair]. If there is a God in heaven, it will do neither you nor your cause any good!” After Welch deferred to Chairman Mundt to call the next witness, the gallery burst into applause.

Fisher was relatively unscathed by the incident and went on to become a partner in Boston’s prestigious Hale & Dorr law firm and organized its commercial law department. He also served as president of the Massachusetts Bar Association and as chairman of many committees of the American and Boston bar associations. He was a former trustee of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy and chairman of the Franklin N. Flaschner Foundation in Waban, Mass., while Welch’s maneuvering helped to ruin McCarthy’s life and career. McCarthy died at the relatively young age of 48.

After hearing 32 witnesses and two million words of testimony, the committee concluded that McCarthy himself had not exercised any improper influence on behalf of David Schine, but that Roy Cohn, McCarthy’s chief counsel, had engaged in some “unduly persistent or aggressive efforts” on behalf of Schine. The conclusion of the committee also reported questionable behavior on the part of the Army: That Secretary Stevens and Army Counsel John Adams “made efforts to terminate or influence the investigation and hearings at Fort Monmouth”, and that Adams “made vigorous and diligent efforts” to block subpoenas for members of the Army Loyalty and Screening Board “by means of personal appeal to certain members of the [McCarthy] committee”. Before the official reports were released Cohn had resigned as McCarthy’s chief counsel, and Senator Ralph Flanders (R, Vermont) had introduced a resolution of censure against McCarthy in the Senate.

Despite McCarthy’s acquittal of wrongdoing in the Schine matter, the Army–McCarthy hearings ultimately became the main catalyst in McCarthy’s downfall from political power.

Remember, this all happened a year after the Korean War, the year after Stalin died, and only a few years before the Great Leap Forward.

McCarthy is hunting possible traitorous supporters of mass-murdering communist regimes in the Army. An investigation is found in which the army is found to have committed questionable behaviour in stymieing these investigations, while McCarthy is found to be free of any wrong-doing.

During the trial, McCarthy calls out a lawyer who was a part of a known communist organization and McCarthy is painted as the bad guy. McCarthy ends up losing his career over this trial; the communist later ends up as President of the Massachusetts Bar Association and has major roles in the organizations for training new lawyers.

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Also interesting: Fisher was a part of the Signal Corps in WW2 and the whole hearing was about McCarthy investigating the Signal Corps.

Lightning Round – 2014/10/21

Success Rebel.
Related: Financial advice.

6 habits holding men back. 4 of them for me.

On the Christian feeling alone.

Guidelines for self-defence.
Related: For those with nothing to lose.

Science: Don’t buy a big ring.

Science: Overconfidence rules.

Introducing Phalanx: a reactionary fraternity.

Progressivism is nihilism.

Democracy kills economic growth.

NRx and identitarianism.
Related: SM interviews the editor of Radix.

On rushing to action.

Tribalism and politicization.
Related: A response.

Pinkshirts vs. #Gamergate.
Related: A gamergate response to ‘Brianna Wu’.
Related: Popehat goes NRx on #Gamergate.
Related: #GG: Harassment and threats.
Related: Contacting Gawker’s advertisers.
Related: A #GG boycott list.
Related: MasterCard sponsors Ezra Klein’s hate.
Related: The fruits of taking business advice from SJW’s.
Related: The historical reality of women in gaming.

The SJW’s against Lovecraft.

The ontology of a troll.
Related: Weev’s apostasy.

Ebola and political correctness.
Related: Ebola and the nation.
Related: Why ebola is evil.

Crime reports defy progressive narrative on interracial crime.
Related: The racial breakdown of people killed by cops.
Related: Forensic evidence that Michael Brown assaulted cop.

Context denial in Keene.
Related: Liberal context denial.

Charles Murray reflects on the Bell Curve 20 years later.

The decay of meaning of the word ‘rape’.
Related: Fighting rape.
Related: Feminists argue for being able to retroactively withdraw consent.
Related: Making the world safe for foolish, promiscuous women.
Related: Affirmative consent in action.
Related: Yes means fear.
Related: What the campus rape hysteria is really about.
Related: It’s not neovictorianism.
Related: Women are too weak to say no.

Leftists use words differently.

Occult secret services.

Land’s take on the coming caliphate.
Related: The culture and technology jihad.

Democracy is stupid.
Related: Alex de Tocqueville’s dark sides of democracy.

Generation masturbation.

Fair-world fallacy and nerds.

On abortion and supporting single mothers.

Portland: exhibiting the signs of collapse?

On Ephesians 5.

Billy Graham: “As wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Atheists with an actual atheist worldview.

Idaho Town: Do gay marriages or go to jail.
Related: Gay “marriage” and the abandonment of law.
Related: Remember, there is no homosexual agenda.

Against the NFL.

A review of Quintius Curtis’ book.

Man awarded custody after woman made false accusations of abuse.

Eye gaze and attractiveness.

Why girls with tattoos and piercings are broken.
Related: Science: Tattooed women are sluttier, lack foresight, are selfish, and are mentally ill.
Related: Some hatred of Matt Forney.
Related: Matt Forney receives death threats.

15% of women over the director level have had work affairs. 37% of them got promotions because of it.

The context of sexual harassment while waitressing.

US marriage rates at all-time low.

In last quarter of 2011, more iPhones were sold than  babies were born.

Feminists and Democrats against making birth control over-the-counter.

EW’s take on teenagers.

AmRen and the lies of Robert Sussman.

Robert Caruso wants blood.

How do unschoolers turn out?
Related: Homeschooling and the Oculus Rift.

On grade inflation.

How to tell who is lying.

Reality is beginning to intrude on liberal’s minds.

Socialist millionaire: “Clothes and food should cost much more…”

Freedom Socialist Party pushing $20 minimum wage offering $13 for developer.

The causes of the US deficits and debt.

On why Amazon is in the right.

Fastest growing cosmetic procedure in UK: fixing stretched earlobes.

Slate commits minor crimethink.
Related: Slate come so close to a major realization.

Astrology: Now a science!

US still has world’s worst corporate income tax rate.

Will posts a classic Manowar song.

A story of a Compassion sponsor visiting his child.

The casualties of non-existent chemical weapons.

RT: RPR, SDA, CC, Pollack, Blake, WK

Guest Post: Minimizing Sex Starvation

***I’ve been busy lately, so here’s a guest post from Bee.  There’s a decent chance this post was submitted to me to advertise a particular site (Edit: From the comments it seems not. My apologies to Bee.) but the post is readable and on topic and cleaning and routines is something I struggle with (or, more accurately almost completely ignore in my bachelor home) so some encouragement to keep on top of things is helpful.

As well, the idea of scheduling sex is interesting and not something I’ve thought of. On one hand, it seems like it could be a good to get it regularly, but maybe it’s a bit of a forced buzzkill. What do y’all think?

I do accept and post guest posts that may give my readers some value or information related to the topics of this blog, so if you have something worthwhile feel free to submit it. Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of people submitting near illegible spam. So for those people sending me spam, this post represents the bare minimum of quality I will accept for future guest posts, so if you can’t reach this, don’t send anything. ***

In this world, risk can never be eliminated or fully controlled; it can only be reduced and managed. My two suggestions can minimize the possibility of ending up in a sexless marriage. My two suggestions can not guarantee you will not end up in sexless marriage.

This post is for single, Christian men. Because Christian men can only find sexual release in marriage with their wife this makes avoiding a sex starved marriage very important.

We see from Genesis 2 that the wife was brought into Adam’s existing life. Before Eve was created, Adam was an adult and was working a job given him by God.

Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. (Genesis 2:15 – 20 NASB)

For most Christian men their God given job is:

  • to worship and give thanks to God.
  • to grow the church by having more than 2 children.
  • to disciple their wife and children to grow in Christ.

Eve was brought to Adam to be his helper in his already existing work and life. Eve needed to fit into Adam’s existing life and world.

I believe that one important part of being a helpmeet is to meet her husbands’ sexual needs.

In the pioneer days of North America mothers taught their daughters a weekly routine that organized and prioritized their work as married home helpmeets. Monday was washday, Tuesday was ironing, Wednesday was mending, etc. This weekly routine focused their energies and helped prevent discouragement or depression. Mrs. Bee has told me that looking at her weekly schedule helps her when she forgets or loses track of what she should be doing.

As a single man you want to be able to practice what you preach about schedule and routine. While single, begin to incorporate the power of routine into your life. Start going to bed at the same time each night. Designate one evening a week for cleaning your apartment or home. Incorporate exercise, grocery shopping, Bible study, fasting into your week. The FlyLady is a good source for help with cleaning and routines.

My solution to minimize the chances of a sex starved marriage is based on two foundations.

Choose a woman who believes in personal submission to her husband. A sexually available wife is also a submissive wife.

Make sex a regularly scheduled event. Begin with a 20 or 30 minute session three times a week. Most married men will be fine with that but if you need sex more frequently, then change the schedule after awhile. For the Christian man who married because he “burns’, sex is too important to let happen only when his wife is emotionally in the mood.

Like Adam, you have job and a regular schedule before getting married. As a Christian man, you are not scheduling sex in your routine before marriage. But, as soon as you are married, you adjust your existing bed time 3 or more nights a week to accommodate your sexual release, your wife’s sexual release, fleshly uniting with your wife, and your procreation duties.

Jesus told two short parables illustrating that major decisions should be considered carefully before commitments are made.

For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends [o]a delegation and asks for terms of peace. Luke 14:28 – 32 NASB

These parables means you should inform a women of what your schedule after marriage will be like and allow her to decide, without pressure or coercion, if she is willing to enter into this kind of relationship with you. Be wise, don’t bring this up on the first 3 dates, but do bring it up shortly before you are ready to propose. It would be natural for most women to experience some trepidation at the thought of performing sexually three times a week, or more. Trepidation alone should not be a deal breaker. Try to discern if willingness is present with any trepidation.

Your convictions regarding birth control and sex during menstruation (Leviticus 15:19) may be factors in adjusting your schedule with your wife. Those details are best left up to each couple to work out.

If your wife gives you regular sex make a special effort to reward her. An occasional longer time with more romance for her can be a reward. Helping her with house chores so she can get to bed on time is also something I have done that has not hurt my sex life. I have not done chores to get more sex, I have done chores because my wife was freely giving me plenty of sex.

I hope these ideas help single, Christian men avoid a sex-starved marriage.

About myself; I met my wife at church in North America. My N was zero. Her N was greater than zero but she has not had a problem bonding to me. We have been happily married for 21 years. My wife has never sexually refused me even though I did not know these principles before I got married. I was fortunate that my wife believed in being submissive and in serving me sexually – I was not wise enough to look for those qualities when I was looking for a wife. In the last 9 months we have been scheduling sex 4 times a week. I am very happy.

To Be a Christian: Opening Statement

***In the interest of improving our rhetorical skills, I have agreed to debate Trevor Blake on the topic of “To Be a Christian”. Trevor has posted the terms of the debate at his site. He has also posted his opening statement. The following is my opening statement. For those of you who follow the debate, we encourage a donation to Samaritan’s Purse.***

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What does it mean to be a Christian?

There are over two billion people, coming from all races and nationalities, who call themselves Christian. These two billion have subdivided into countless denominations, organizations, and sects each having their own interpretation of what being a Christian means. In some cases, these sects even deny that other sects are deserving of the title. In an oddity of this modern age, some Christians dislike calling themselves such, preferring such terms as ‘Christ-followers’.

Despite the vast array of interpretations of Christianity, the heart of being a Christian is very simple: Christ. It is found in the word itself, Christian is literally translated as ‘belonging to or following Christ.’ To be a Christian is to belong, in heart, mind, and soul, to Christ.

For a brief period of human history, God took on the flesh of His own creation and sacrificed Himself on a cross so that man may not perish but live forever with God. To be a Christian is to accept Christ’s gift of sacrifice and to be reconciled to God.

What does it mean to be reconciled?

We must start at the beginning. Man was created in the image of God, he was imbued with a soul, to live with God in paradise, but man rebelled. He chose pride, to be wise in His own eyes, to sin. God is a God of justice; He can not abide sin, so man was cast from paradise, from God’s presence, and cursed to work the ground. Man was cut off from God.

But God had a plan for redemption. Two thousand years ago, He sent Himself, His son, Jesus Christ to earth. Christ was born of a woman and lived life as a man but did not sin. As an adult, he was innocent, yet was unjustly executed. He became a sacrifice; His blood became the payment* for man’s sins, so that man’s sins may be forgiven.

Christ died, but He did not stay dead. Three days later, He arose from the dead, conquering death itself. By Christ’s death and resurrection, man’s sins had been paid for and he was no longer a subject to death, eternal life could be had again.

By repenting of His sin, man could, by Christ’s sacrifice, once again be right with God. This is reconciliation, to be made right with God. A Christian is simply one who has been reconciled to God through Christ.

That is the basic Christian message: Christ.

To be a Christian is to put your hope in Christ’s resurrection.

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:12-28 ESV)

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What is required to be a Christian?

Belief in Christ and the repentance of sins. Baptism is the outer sign of this belief and repentance.**

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What do Christians believe?

Christian beliefs are divergent on many issues, hence why there are so many differing sects and denominations, but all Christians of all denominations hold to the Nicene Creed. Any who opposes this creed would not be accepted as a Christian by most Christians.

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father [and the Son];*** who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

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What are the commands for the Christian?

There are two primary commands for a Christian: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Love for God is shown by obedience to God:

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

This is almost circular: We love God by obeying Him and we obey him by loving Him. How we show our obedience to and love for God is by loving our neighbours.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Love is the command for the Christian. All other commands are but aspects of this one central command.

Love is also the primary fruit of the Christian life.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends… So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

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What is the result of not being a Christian?

Eternal death. The non-Christian chooses against God, against Christ and His gift of eternal life. He chooses sin. God will honor his choice and remove Himself from his life.

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Notes:

* I know what exactly happened on the cross and the theology of atonement and justification is complex and disputed. I shall not be entering into that here.
** I also realize the theology concerning baptism’s role in salvation is complex and disputed. Once again, I’ll not be entering into that here.
*** [and the Son] is a disputed theological point. Most Western Christians include ‘and the son’, while Eastern Orthodoc Christians do not.

Lightning Round -2014/10/15

We interrupt your regularly scheduled set of links for this important announcement.

The Showdown Has Begun: Trevor Blake and I are having a debate on the topic ‘To be Christian.‘ The goals and terms of the debate can be found here.

Trevor has started it with his Opening Statement. My Opening Statement will follow on Friday.

This is my first formal debate, so there should be fun and learning to be had.

Also, we are raising funds for Samaritan’s Purse, one of the few charities I actually respect (as far as I can tell, it has not yet been lost to Conquest’s second law). If you’re liking the debate, consider a donation.

We will now continue with your regular set of links. Although, I’ve been busy, so there’s fewer than usual, but that just means more next week. Enjoy.

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The simple math behind early retirement.

How to be a maximalist.

Tolkien on intersexual relations.

Men are literally becoming feminized.

People don’t seem to understand a father making more is a sacrifice not a prize.

What statistically makes for a stable marriage.

The slippery slope “fallacy”.

A book review of the Privileged Sex.
Related: The EZ way to get men to fight for you.

Stereotypes, honesty, and ignorance.

Ebola, Spain, and holiness.
Related: Become so holy the flesh rots off your bones.
Related: More on Ebola.
Related: The ebola curve.
Related: Ebola math.
Related: America can’t fight an epidemic.
Related: Institutional breakdown in the time of Ebola.
Related: The incompetence of health experts.
Related: The ultimate Ebola scare.
Related: Leave the volunteers in Africa.

On the War of Southern Independence.

Jim doubts current GDP measurements, thinks China will be richer by 2030.

Monarchy and technology. Related.

Commie Catholics.
Related: Catholic Church report flirts with self-immolation.
Related: Dropping bombs on the family.

On Darwinian blithering.

Women driving the delay in marriage.

Selling sin.

Unmarried cohabitation began in the 70s.

Our dystopia of single moms and masturbating bastards.

Women in the game industry.

Some hilarity from Tumblr.

Why the NFL Breast Cancer Month is a joke.

The pill destroys lake eco-systems.

They’re coming for your children.

Gender insanity at the schools.
Related: 5-year-old punished for pointing a crayon and saying ‘pew, pew’.

The slave trade in medieval Italy. Part 2.

Laurie Penny as an ‘outsider’.

Detroit: Homeowner offers to swap house of iPhone. Vote Democrat!

Doctors “euthanizing” those with psychiatric problems in Holland.

Pregnant Austrian teens who joined ISIS regret it. Ha.

The Media Party colluding in Canada.

H/T: CC, Dalrock, SDA

On Pedophiles

SoBL has noted that the NYT have tried to make pedophiles victims. He does not take kindly to this:

I do not care if they are taking their meds. We make alcoholics jump through many hoops to get their driver’s license back, so why should we be helpful to pedophiles at all? That type of attraction is a disorder, and the sign of a broken human being. I looks at pedos as people we should be hanging in the town square when caught. Sure, it is a disorder, and a crime, and I do not want your part of the gene pool to pass on your pedo-ness or be free to roam and molest kids. These are not oppressed victims; these are people who are messed up in the head and should be sequestered.

I’m going to disagree with SoBL here, at least partially.

Before I begin, I should establish some definitions because people tend to use words related to this topic in a very slip-shod manner and I’m trying to establish a nuanced view here. I will also note that there are many problems in researching this particular area of study, so a lot of these numbers have wide variance.

A clinical pedophile is someone with a primary or sole attraction to pre-pubescent children. Of clinical pedophiles, true (or exclusive) pedophiles are attracted solely to children, while non-exclusive pedophiles have normal adult attractions in addition to their pedophilic attractions. Depending on the source, anywhere from 1-7% of men are clinical pedophiles, although, most estimates I’ve seen tend to be on the lower end.  (I have not seen a number breaking down exclusive and non-exclusive pedophiles).

Besides the clinical pedophiles, there are those with pedophilic tendencies. These are men who are primarily attracted to adults, but also have some level of attraction to children. About one in five men have some level of pedophilic tendencies. (I remember reading somewhere that one study found that half of men have some level of attraction to children, but I can not find a source).

Not all clinical pedophiles are child molesters and not all child molesters are clinical pedophiles. A pedophilic offender is a clinical pedophile who molests children, while an situational molester is someone who is not a clinical pedophile but molests children. An archetypical example of a situational molester is a step-father who has a fight with his wife, gets drunk, then sleeps to his step-daughter because he’s horny and she’s available. The proportion of molesters who are pedophiles varies by source: Some sources say that less than 20% of child molesters are clinical pedophiles, while others put it up to 80%.

Many people also incorrectly use pedophilia to refer to attraction to the legally under-age but pubescent. Attraction to pubescent teenagers is not pedophilic. People attracted young pubescent teenagers are referred to as ephebohpiles and hebephiles.

An ephebophile is someone who is primarily or exclusively attracted to teenagers in their late adolescence (ages 15-19 or so). Given that I recently argued adolescence is an unhealthy, aberrent infantalization of adults, I obviously reject the category of ephebophilia as a pathology (as do psychologists), as attraction to adults is normal as is a strong preference for youth.

Someone who is primarily or exclusively attracted towards young but pubescent girls (ages 11-14 or so) is called a hebephile. There is overlap between pedophiles and hebephiles. I would say that while some level of attraction to young pubescents is normal, especially among men, a primary or exclusive attraction to young pubescents is probably unhealthy and pathological.

Hereafter, pedophile/pedophilia on their own refers to a clinical pedophile/pedophilia.

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With words clearly defined, I will now explain why I disagree with SoBL. Pedophilia is a disorder, but non-offending pedophiles should not be “hanging in the town square.” A pre-disposition to a particular evil is not the same as committing that evil.

We’ll liken pedophilia to homosexuality. Sodomy is a sin, but those who are biologically pre-disposed to homosexuality can still have a fruitful and happy marriages without sin. Not all (clinical) homosexuals commit sodomy or try to normal homosexuality. Opposing pride parades and homosexual “marriage” does not mean we should condemn the homosexual living a healthy life with a wife and three children.

We can also liken it to rape. I’ve noted before that about one third of males have rape fantasies; a large portion of male population is inclined to this particular sexual crime. Only about one in six of those so inclined actually act on the fantasies (as I’ve noted before, about 6% of men are rapists). We do not imprison those males who merely fantasize about rape, only those who act. As well, it is not a sin to be inclined to rape, only if it the inclination becomes lust or action does it become a sin.

Likewise, just because a man is predisposed to pedophilia does not mean he can not still be a useful and accepted member of society. If he does not commit any evil actions and does not try to normalize pedophilia, he should not be condemned. He has certain inclinations, but he is not acting on them. He is committing no sin and no crime, and should not be punished as if he is.

Not to mention, we need to take into account the practicalities of the situation: Are we really going to jail/kill 2% of men? If we include everybody who has pedophilic tendencies (which SoBL seems to be indicating), then what? What could we possibly do with 20% of the male population?

This is why I disagree with SoBL. A natural inclination towards a particular temptation is not sin and persecuting people for crimethink, even if that crimethink is pedophilic in nature, is unjust.

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This is not to say that nothing should be done. A known pedophile should not be put into position where he is left alone with children not his own (including step-children) and he should be barred from jobs that require regular interaction with children. We should not put temptation to crime and sin in front of a man with inclinations towards that particular crime/sin. Hence, we should keep pedophiles from situations where he has hidden access to children, just as we do not serve alcoholics wine, we (should) keep college dorms segregated by sex, we disallow men from leading girl guide troops, and we (should) ban homosexuals from leading scout troops.

As well, none of this is to say that a child molester should not be punished. If a man molests a child, he should be punished; in many cases executed. Given that about 25-50% of prosecuted child molesters commit future molestations, molesters who are released back into society should be watched closely to prevent them from interacting from children.