Tag Archives: Christianity

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.

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.

A Quick Response

Continuing our genocide conversation, Malcolm points to a women who divorced her husband after ‘signs from the Lord’. My (hopefully final) response is short and twofold:

a) Is she a prophet through whom divine revelation flows?

b) Where in that mess of self-justification does God directly and undeniably command her to divorce?

All I read looking through the link is someone selfishly deciding to do something, then looking for every possible excuse to not feel guilty.

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Maybe I have not been communicating as effectively as possible. While a specific divine command may override more general commands for the specified action/time/event, this is not some lightly taken thing.

In the Bible these overriding commands occurred when God spoke directly to and through His prophets while shaping the God-chosen nation the of Israel. Anybody receiving and transmitting a divine command from the Lord is a prophet and being a prophet is not something taken lightly. It is a major, nation-shaping event and any proclaimed prophet has tests to pass for which the penalty for failure is death (and likely damnation).

Breaking God’s law under God’s command is not something done lightly. There is no, ‘I was praying and saw a whisp of smoke, then my preacher spoke on something vaguely related’ to it. It is ‘God spoke directly to me clearly and unmistakeably and called me to Himself through miracles, angels, and visions.’

In the Bible, the prophets were clearly and unmistakeably called by God. They were generally hesitant to obey God and had fairly miserable lives. Those they prophesied to/for/against generally did not like what they had to say (hence, Saul disobeying Samuel) and usually responded grudgingly, at best. So, when I write of following a revealed divine command, it is no small thing I speak of. It is a divine revelation of Biblical proportions that you will likely detest and will shatter your life and the lives of those around you.

A prophecy isn’t needed to call people to do what they want or would have done anyway. Anybody using a divine command to justify something they wanted to do already is engaging in delusional self-justification and anybody desiring divine revelation for themselves strikes me as foolish.

When I talk of a divine command it is something on a fundamentally different order than the everyday Christian interactions with God such as praying over which job to take, learning something revealing from a sermon, the small coincidences of life chalked up to God’s grace, ‘small morsels from God’, or feeling God uplifted you through worship.

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Finally, on the topic of divorce and divine command, we can look to Ezra.

While Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men, women, and children, gathered to him out of Israel, for the people wept bitterly. And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: “We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. Therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God, and let it be done according to the Law. Arise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it.” Then Ezra arose and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take an oath that they would do as had been said. So they took the oath.

Then Ezra withdrew from before the house of God and went to the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib, where he spent the night, neither eating bread nor drinking water, for he was mourning over the faithlessness of the exiles. And a proclamation was made throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the returned exiles that they should assemble at Jerusalem, and that if anyone did not come within three days, by order of the officials and the elders all his property should be forfeited, and he himself banned from the congregation of the exiles.

Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin assembled at Jerusalem within the three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month. And all the people sat in the open square before the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of the heavy rain. And Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have broken faith and married foreign women, and so increased the guilt of Israel. Now then make confession to the LORD, the God of your fathers and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.” Then all the assembly answered with a loud voice, “It is so; we must do as you have said. But the people are many, and it is a time of heavy rain; we cannot stand in the open. Nor is this a task for one day or for two, for we have greatly transgressed in this matter. Let our officials stand for the whole assembly. Let all in our cities who have taken foreign wives come at appointed times, and with them the elders and judges of every city, until the fierce wrath of our God over this matter is turned away from us.” Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahzeiah the son of Tikvah opposed this, and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite supported them.

Then the returned exiles did so. Ezra the priest selected men, heads of fathers’ houses, according to their fathers’ houses, each of them designated by name. On the first day of the tenth month they sat down to examine the matter; and by the first day of the first month they had come to the end of all the men who had married foreign women.

(Ezra 10:1-17 ESV)

Responses to Genocidal Mercy

I wrote on the Israelite genocides a couple posts ago and am going to respond to a few of the response here.

First, Zippy responded, to others and possibly me, in two posts, here and here.

When the Bible tells us that Samuel said “Thus sayeth the Lord of Hosts”, it is entirely possible that it is giving a literal account of words actually spoken by the actual prophet Samuel. I rather expect that it is; although that is not the only possible interpretation, and inerrancy only really guarantees that true and accurate interpretations exist, it doesn’t guarantee that I have it right.

But Samuel saying those words as a formal preliminary to issuing commands doesn’t necessarily imply what folks think it implies. We know that, as Popes do now, prophets had authority from God. But the fact that Papal authority comes from God doesn’t imply that every word and deed of every Pope is tantamount to a literal act of God. In reality Papal infallibility is something very rarely invoked, and the use of a formal introduction for the words of a Prophet doesn’t convert those words into a set of axiomatic syllogisms from which a positivist theory of everything can be constructed. Samuel’s formalism could conceivably mean that God actually spoke those words from a burning bush; but in the full context of the OT that seems less than likely. At best we can say that we don’t really know whether the formalism “thus sayeth the Lord of Hosts” is a formality – like the wearing of a crown – when the prophet gives orders.

This is intellectually untenable.

To argue that a prophet of the Lord when saying he is proclaiming the will of the Lord is not proclaiming the will of the Lord, ruins any ability to take anything from the Bible. If we can not trust a God-anointed prophet of the Lord to be proclaiming the will of the Lord while saying he is proclaiming the will of the Lord, how can we trust the words of any of the other prophets or teachers? Why would we give heed to Isaiah? Why would the words of John the Baptist be trustworthy? Why would we trust the revelations of John? For that matter, why would we trust the words of Jesus? (Not to mention, for the Catholics, why would we trust Peter or those who claim to be the successors of Peter?)

It is also not just Samuel’s introduction, but Samuel’s pronouncement of judgment on Saul where he also directly claims to speak for the Lord. Saul accepts Samuel’s judgment as being from the Lord, and, as far as I know, no one in the Bible argues that this judgment was ever outside the Lord’s will. Given that Samuel’s appointing of David as king, and, ultimately, the birth of Christ through the lineage of David hinge on this event, it is hard to argue God wasn’t behind this.

And Samuel said, “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king over Israel. And the LORD sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go, devote to destruction the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the LORD?” And Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the LORD. I have gone on the mission on which the LORD sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. (1 Samuel 15:17-20 ESV)

To add to this, without accepting Samuel’s words, we have no reason for why God rejected Saul. David’s crowning and 1&2 Samuel lose their meaning and coherency if this event does not take place as written.

What is being pitted against each other is some folks’ personal interpretations of the OT against the intrinsic immorality of murder.

What is being pitted against each other is Zippy’s personal interpretation of natural law against the direct words of the God-ordained prophet of the Lord on a mission from the Lord directly commanding the people of the Lord as the voice of the Lord to destroy the Amalekites. Then the prophet of the Lord stripping Saul of His kingship over the people of the Lord in the Lord’s name for disobeying the Lord’s commandments.

There are 5 ways this event could be interpreted: God commanded the destruction of the Amalekites, God lied to Samuel, Samuel lied to Israel, some other spiritual force deceived an anointed prophet of the Lord and the writer of a book of the Bible in such a way that influenced that entirety of the Christian story and the prophet was never corrected, or the Bible is lying to us (or being metaphorical, which in the case of a book purporting to be history recounting a historical event would be functionally equivalent to a lie).

The second is blasphemy, the third renders the words of the Biblical prophets meaningless, the fourth renders God ineffectual, and the fifth essentially makes the Bible impossible to decipher. Any but the first would make any attempts at understanding Christian natural law impossible.

If you read the Bible and come to the conclusion that a bedrock Christian doctrine such as the absolute prohibition of murder under the natural law is wrong, this doesn’t demonstrate a problem with bedrock Christian doctrine.

The claim is not that murder is okay. The claim is (or in fairness, if this was a criticism of someone else, my claim is) and was specifically ‘Murder is unlawful killing and God’s law is the highest law. If God orders a killing, it is by definition lawful, and is therefore, by definition, not murder.’

God ordered the genocide of the Amalekites, therefore it was not murder. It  has not demonstrated that this was murder; the argument ‘murder is wrong’ misses the point entirely.

In the comments Zippy states the following:

I am equally intolerant of an approach that is unwilling to start with what we actually know – e.g. that slaughtering infants is intrinsically immoral, always wrong, and therefore not something God would ever command – and work the problem from there.

Zippy should prove, not assert, not simply repeat ‘natural law’, but show logically and scripturally that 1) God would never command the slaughtering of infants (despite His prophets specifically commanding the slaughter of infants in His name) and 2) the slaughter of infants is wrong even if God does command it.

The only way to know apodictically that God is ordering it is if you are God. Otherwise it is always possible that you are deceived: that you are wrong. So we can’t escape from comparing how likely it is that we are deceived that murder is always wrong versus how likely it is that it is actually God telling us to do it.

We might not be able to know for certain and no matter what we think we might, but we can and shold reason out the most likely answer. If we follow through on Zippy’s argument how can we know God orders anything? We aren’t God. We can’t know anything of His will apodictically. In that case and what Zippy’s position implies in the context of this debate why even bother trying to ascertain God’s will on any issue? We’ll never know apodictically and it will always be possible we’re deceived.

We can’t escape from comparing how likely is is that Samuel as recorded in the word of the Lord, speaking as a prophet of the Lord in the name of the Lord to the Lord’s people who accepted his words as being from the Lord was deceived or deceiving versus how likely it is that Zippy’s interpretation of the natural law is wrong?

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malcolmthecynic asked:

Something claiming to be the voice of God commands you to kill children.
Do you obey, or are you convinced this was the voice of Satan, and refuse?

I would test the spirits:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-6 ESV)

If after a period of prayer, fasting, consultation with trusted Christian leaders, and testing the spirits I understood the spirits were those of the Lord I would obey. Depending on the ‘level of wrongness’ (for lack of a better term springing to mind), this period would be longer and more intense. I might also try to bargain with God as per Abraham.

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Anonymous Coward stated:

This is the same argument that the Muslims make: we cannot put man’s law above God’s law, and man has no right to judge God. Anything Mohammed did is good by definition.

So clearly your argument is wrong, because it defends and promotes the great evil of Islam.

The Muslims are wrong in that their god is not God and Muhammed is not God’s prophet.

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Aeroguy stated:

I’m not sure you guys really appreciate the full implications of Euthyphro’s dilemma. Defining god as good either denies god agency, the ability to choose, or it makes good relative, not absolute. I didn’t take you for a moral relativist. God could have never sent the angel to stop Abraham from sacrificing Isaac and it would have been equally good as sending the angel. If right and wrong are absolute and not apart from god then he has no will of his own. The temptations of Jesus would be meaningless since he never had the capacity to sin in the first place.

Bottom line, you can’t use god to justify something. Either justice stands on its own or is rendered meaningless.

You seem to mistakenly think you can separate justice and God. God is just. He is the yardstick by which justice is measured; morality is relative to God. I am unsure how would that render justice meaningless.

Genocidal Mercy

Cane noticed some writing on the Israelite genocides in the Old Testament and gave a solid response (read it). I’m going to write on the topic as well. This post will also tie in with my earlier post, The Holocaust: God Loves the Jews.

First, we must remember that God is good and God is good. Good is defined in relation to God, He is the absolute measure of good apart from which good becomes meaningless, so whatever God does or orders is good.

To try and judge God or His works is arrogance, nothing more. To try to hold judgment over His commands is error. To try to explain away, minimize, or apologize for His works and His orders is to attack God’s righteousness. To think that God’s commands present a problem is not a problem of God, but rather a deficiency in your own understanding and own morality.

How dare Christians take their modern liberal morality and try to impute it on God, then wonder why God falls short in their judgment. This is moral pride, nothing more. Christians who do need to read more Job:

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:4-7 ESV)

The question is not ‘why did God command this evil?’ That question assumes that man has the right to judge God’s work as evil. The right question is ‘what can we learn about God’s goodness from this command?’

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Second, to think the genocide at the behest of God is murder is a grave misunderstanding of the law. Murder is unlawful killing and God’s law is the highest law. If God orders a killing, it is by definition lawful, and is therefore, by definition, not murder.

To even think it theoretically possible that God can order murder is to put human law above God’s law and to assume that humans have the right to judge God. That is sinful pride.

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? (Romans 9:20-24 ESV)

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Finally, the good of the genocide of the Canaanites is easy to see if one looks to the eternal rather than the temporal.

The iniquity of the Canaanites had come to completion, they had given themselves fully to Moloch, the dark god of the Ammonites. As a race the Canaanites had damned themselves through their offerings of their children to the fire. The sons of the Canaanites, at least those who were not themselves sacrificed, would follow in the sins of their fathers and damn themselves. To kill them in the name of Yahweh, before they could reach the age of reason and damn themselves, saved them from both the fires of Moloch and the fires of hell.

Death was the greatest mercy those children could receive for it would keep them from eternal damnation.

On top, of this, leaving the Canaanites and Ammonites alive would have led to their bringing the rebellious Israelites into the worship of Moloch, damning the Israelites alongside them. Even as it was the Israelites occasionally fell to Moloch. How much worse would it have been had the Lord not ordered their destruction.

They built the high places of Baal in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to offer up their sons and daughters to Molech, though I did not command them, nor did it enter into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. (Jeremiah 32:35 ESV)

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To conclude, to ask the question concerning the slaughter of the Canaanites in the manner the question is usually asked is both sinful pride and too focused on the temporal. It is putting one’s own morality, one’s own understanding, and one’s own law above God, His understanding, His morality, and His law. Instead of judging God by their limited, temporal standards, Christians should focus on learning of the eternal good from God and His commands.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.
(Proverbs 3:5-8 ESV)

More on Courtship

A lot of people commented on my courtship experience. I can’t respond to everything, but here’s some things I’d like to point out.

First, I hold to the courtship model and believe it is the correct path. It is morally right and proper for civilization, and, if done properly, should be good for marriages. Chad wrote well on it in the comments:

Courtship is a tool from Christendom in which the families were involved so that emotional intimacy, physical intimacy, commitment, and logical “do these two people work together” proceeded along side each other in practical steps towards marriage and creation of a family. It openly acknowledged that emotional intimacy leads to physical intimacy, and that physical intimacy going too quickly can lead to a lack of commitment on either party’s part as well as delude those sexually lusting after each other that they’d work well when they become one flesh.

Even in it’s hayday, courtship was something that was a…. tenuous thing, at times. For humans have always been lustful, prideful, and rebellious; and unmarried youth are more so than any other. Hence where courtship was ignored, shotgun weddings were enforced.

That, also, is not to say that the system was abused by poor intentions of parents getting greedy or losing sight of the overall good of their child by focusing too much on any individual trait (beauty, lust, status, wealth, etc) rather than overall health of the child and, in particular, whether the person they were joining flesh with would help them achieve salvation and sainthood.

These days, courtship works where people acknowledge what it is – a system in place in which emotional intimacy and physical intimacy do not outpace commitment and logic. It does not, and SHOULD NOT, have the same form as old school courtship as our current societal failings have led to different expressions of individual failings. It should acknowledge that courtship is not engagement, nor is getting to know someone a little before asking to court them a bad thing. Most traditional families want to know the individuals before courtship is pursued, and when that is not possible, or they’re not as traditional, a few ‘casual dates’ for coffee or to a public activity is usually accepted. Meeting the father a first time is not unheard of, but I haven’t encountered a grilling such as FN as of yet.

The whole system is supposed to take two fallen human beings and place them together in a way to support each other through love; not topple into a fallen state of sin, nor make princesses/saints out of fallen women, nor kick a Brother in Christ out to the curb with nothing but his coat and tattered remains of dignity and respect.

Any courtship that doesn’t align with reality is not courtship, but a twisted perversion of delusional ‘love’ which is lacking in all that makes love beautiful.

As did Cail:

The main difference between courtship and dating is that when you ask to court a girl, you’re declaring up front that if things go well, you’ll be proposing in the near future, and if things get to a point where one of you decides marriage isn’t in the cards, you break it off. It’s dating for the stated purpose of discerning marriage. All this other stuff about questionnaires and hyper-chastity is just extra weirdness that people are trying to call courtship because it makes it sound traditional and churchy.

I wholeheartedly support the involvement of family in the creation and development of relationships and marriages and the right of parents to veto a daughter’s relationship choices. The lack of family involvement in marriage leads to the screwed up sexual and

That modern ills and individual flaws are a part of modern courtship does not invalidate the model. No system is perfect.

My story is not a criticism of courtship as a system, it is a criticism of the incorrect application of the system.

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Second, I submitted to the father because he had the right to my submission in regards to courting his daughter. A father has the right, the duty, to screen his daughter’s suitors. He also has the right to put whatever conditions he deems necessary on his daughter’s suitor and end the relationship if he desires. I believe in this case the father went about that screening in an incorrect way, but even if he was wrong it was fully within his rights to make the wrong decision.

If you do not accept a father’s right to do this, you are not a friend of patriarchy, you are the ally of the modern sexual marketplace and an enemy of civilization.

On the other hand, I know I should have been more forceful in my interactions with the parents. I was caught off guard: this was not a social situation for which I was prepared or had developed a system. I think prariepolyguy had the right idea:

Your goal with that kind of thing is to establish peerage, that’s why I say answer questions and pose counter-questions. He can’t simply banish you for being disrespectful because you aren’t being, but you don’t just sit and submit to his whim like a pussy and don’t lose face with the girl…

I also would have asked for it to be private, between me and the father. As Barnabas said:

It strikes me that the problem isn’t so much the grilling, its that the daughter is present. This should be a conversation between men with daughter and mom not present. Best approach if faced with such a situation would be to demand a private discussion.

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Third, as her husband I would have taken over the leadership role from her father, but that transfer of leadership does not occur until the wedding, or at the very least the engagement. It is simply wrong to think that I have any headship over a woman to whom I am not married.

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Fourth, for those of you saying I should have not have submitted to the father, but instead taken the girl against the father’s wishes, you are wrong. If she was the kind of girl who would disobey her father and abandon her family for a man she had known for only a month, she is not the kind of girl I would want to marry. The woman who will rebel against and abandon her father under the influence of passion is the same woman who will rebel against and leave her husband under the influence of passion. Once the father had denied the relationship, the only way we could have had a relationship is if she was the type of girl I would not want to have a relationship with.

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Fifth, I’ve had more reasonable experiences with asking the father’s permission for courtship. The other couple times I’ve done it the families were warm and inviting, we got to know each other casually over dinner, and they extended permission without much hassle. My courtship experiences as far as families go have generally positive experiences; this time was the exception.

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Sixth, I know I should stop it with the porn. Every now and again I try. When I do, I may abstain for anywhere from a week or two to three or four months, but I always come back to it. It is my besetting sin.

Courtship and Young Men

A commenter at Donal’s asks: if there are so many desperate tradcon young women, why aren’t the tradcon young men courting them?

As a young man who could accurately be called a tradcon, I am going to tell a personal story from this winter which might illuminate.

I was on a Christian dating site, and sent a short message to a girl, she responded. After a few messages back and forth I invited her for coffee, she accepted and we met. Over the next month we went for coffee a few more times and I had her over for dinner and cooked her some Yakisoba. She was a sweet girl with good values, feminine, and joyful; somewhat plain, but attractive enough. I was the first man she had ever gone out with and she was taken with me and I was growing rather fond of her.

One night, I visited her church for the Christmas play service where she was playing Mary. After we went for coffee, chaperoned by one of her friends. We talked for an hour or two, at one point the topic of why she was on a dating site came up. She said it was because there were no men at her church. This confused me (well, it would have had I not been a reader of the manosphere), because I was sure I saw at least 3 or 4 unattached men at the Christmas service (not to mention she had previously told me stories of her interactions with one of her male friends at the church, from which, even never having met him, I could tell he liked her). So, I told her, ‘what do you mean, I saw a bunch of single men at your church.’ Her and her friend both had the same reaction: ‘yeah, but ewww.’

I did not press the point further, although I was happy I was no longer in the ‘ewww’ category as I had been years before.

My family celebrates on Christmas Eve, so we went to my parent’s house to meet my family, have Christmas dinner, go to our Christmas Eve service, and such. We had an enjoyable time, the atmosphere was relaxed and festive, my parents went out of the way to make her feel welcome, and they all took a great liking to her. Things went well.

The next day we went to her parent’s for Christmas. It was not to be their Christmas celebration for that was a major family get-together that was to take place at a different time, so it was just a basic supper. We drove out to their farm together. We walked in and I was sort of ignored (her parents, three of her brothers, and two of their wives were there; the girl was the only daughter with 5 brothers). I didn’t really know what to do, I had expected them to at least say greet me at the door, or say hi, or something. So, I said ‘hi’, put my gift on the table and sat down on a couch. I was then ignored for about 20 minutes. As regular readers may know, I’m not that good in social situations; Only twice before had I asked permission of a girl’s father and I’ve never been in a situation where I was in someone else’s home and been ignored, so I was out of my depth and experience and didn’t start a conversation with anyone but the girl. After a while, the father got to opening my gift, made a few jokes, then went back to ignoring me. One of the brothers did show me and the girl a cattle pen he had made, but other than that nothing. After another while, we all ate; nobody really talked to me and I didn’t really say much.

After supper, the parents seemed to notice my existence, and asked about me and the girl. I told them that we had gotten to know each other a bit, I was fond of her, and I would like their permission to court her. They then presented me with a list of dozens of questions (I’m not sure if this is the exact list, but if it isn’t it’s close enough for government work), saying me and the girl should go over them. I said we would. The parents then proceeded to grill me with questions straight off the page for the next hour or two.

I answered fully honestly. I am a mostly responsible, decent young man, but I am not perfect and have my failings. So most of the questions on employment, finances, home life, responsibility, church life, etc. I answered fine. Out of the many questions asked though , the parents got stuck on three major questions: alcohol, physical contact, and Bible reading.

I drink responsibly on occasion, but they were absolutely against any imbibement at all and they hammered on that point over and over, even though I said, if it was necessary I stop drinking while courting her I would (leaving it unsaid but implied that we would decide the alcohol question in the long-term as a couple; the girl herself didn’t drink but didn’t have problems with moderate alcohol consumption).

They asked about physical contact, I told them her and I had already discussed and agreed upon limits for physical contact previously (and they were strict limits) and although her desired limits were stricter than mine I would respect hers. Despite this they still did not like that my limits were not as strict as hers (for one example of the differences, I thought the engagement would be a good time for a first kiss, she wanted to wait until marriage); they then spoke approvingly of a young couple they knew that had worn boxes (actual, literal cardboard boxes) whenever they were alone together so they would not be tempted by physical contact.

The last was Bible reading. I answered that I don’t read daily; I tend to read sporadically but in-depth when there’s a topic I want to look into, but that I would take my duties as a leader of the family seriously and lead both my wife and children in regular Biblical study. That was not good enough for them, so I said I would start reading daily (and I did read daily for the next four months or so, even after the relationship ended).

A fourth area of concern was when they asked me what my greatest struggles in the faith were (this was after the Bible question): I said, ‘well, I guess I should read my Bible more and like most young men I struggle with lust.’ They then asked me about pornography, so I admitted in front of a dozen strangers that I do struggle with watching porn, but hadn’t watched in the last few weeks and was trying to stop (I stopped watching after our second date and continued to abstain for a few months after all this). Oddly, this didn’t seem to be that big deal to the parents, it was barely mentioned after that except for a joke (the alcohol question was far and away the big one, followed by the Bible one), but I mention it as this was the one that seemed to matter most to the girl.

After the grilling, the parents conclude that while they have concerns but aren’t going to kick me away. They get my e-mail and say they’ll keep in contact with me.

After we’re done, I drove home with the girl (and her friend who chaperoned us there and back on the 2-hour drive); we spend the first half hour in silence, then we talk, she was disturbed by the porn thing, so we talked about that, and she concludes she wants time for us both to think and pray, so she wanted a break for two weeks (when we were never even officially dating). So we had no contact for two weeks.

The parents e-mail me a couple days later and we go back and forth a bit as we discuss my readings of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs; things seem fine. A week or so later, I get a 2-page, heartfelt handwritten letter where she says we can no longer court (from the letter it sounds like its her idea), so I assume we’re done. I don’t respond as I agreed to no contact for two weeks andI didn’t have time to write a letter back. Then on the exact day the two weeks are over she texts me. We meet for coffee and talk. She offers to be friends; I say no, it’s either a relationship or we part ways. She thinks, and decides on a relationship; we then spend a happy evening walking outside in the January chill. We’re back together; we make plans to meet on Sunday.

On Friday I get an e-mail from her parents saying we can’t see each other anymore. I get a text from her a little while later; we text a bit over it. She says she’s going to obey her parents, and I encourage her to do so. We say goodbye. I respond to the parents asking if there’s any way I can earn their trust; I do not get a response. Me and the girl have not contacted each other since.

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Maybe this is where the tradcon young men are: stuck between ‘ewww’ and and the impossibly high standards of parents. How many young men could possible be able to give the positive, hoped-for answers when surprised with a grilling on five dozen questions? (Oddly, had I simply lied or stretched the truth, we’d probably be courting).

Of those very few who could possibly meet those requirements, how many will not be ‘ewww’?

I would guess there is probably a huge positive correlation between being able to meet those dozens of parental standards and being an ‘ewww’ guy.

If parents and young women make it impossible for young men to live up to your courtship standards, how can they possibly complain about being unable to find young men.

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This brings us to the next part, Moose Norsemen finds someone (Thomas) arguing why courtship is fundamentally flawed. I agree with Moose and I agree with courtship, but Thomas does make some good points.

The courtship movement eliminated dating and replaced it with nothing.

Or, put another way, they replaced dating with engagement. The only tangible difference between an engagement and a courtship is the ring and the date.

The goal of courtship is not to prevent marriage, it is to promote marriage by helping find suitable mates for men and women. Right now, it seems from what I’ve read around the web, that it is often used to destroy relationships rather than to create marriages.

A father should find a good man for his daughter, but how can he expect to when the first thing that happens when a young man comes a-calling is to grill him about every aspect of his life and boot him away if he doesn’t answer all 50 questions correctly?

How can a young man possibly think the risk and unpleasantness of that kind of grilling and the huge expectations of courtship is worth it for a girl he barely knows?

If I hadn’t gone on a number of dates and already developed a fondness for her in the month before meeting her parents, I would not have thought it worth it to go through that. What kind of men would willingly deal with that kind of ritual humilation before even spending any alone time with a girl? (The answer: The kind of man women go ‘ewww’ over).

You rarely hear of fathers trying to find and introduce good young men to their daughters; from the impressions I get, fathers seem to act primarily as a negative filter in courtship rather than a positive one.

There is no perfect young man, so if any flawed young man is rejected, who could there possibly be available to date young tradcon women?

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So, if we want a better courtship, one that isn’t broken, what we need is one devoted to creating marriages, not siphoning out young men.

Parents should act as a positive force for marriage. Instead of simply screening out young men, they should be actively looking and screening in young men for their daughters. Introduce young men you approve of to your daughters (and vice versa). Meet with other families in shared family events to get young people together.

Courtship should be more relaxed. Courtship is not engagement and it should not be treated as such. It should, at first, be somewhat casual (with the long-term goal in mind) so the young couple can get to know each other. Young people in group activities, young men attending relaxed family events with the girl’s family, a few outings to public places, etc. Let them get to know each other before dumping all kinds of expectations on it. Expectations and seriousness should escalate over time.

Questions like those above should be gone over, but over time. Instead of playing bad cop on the first meeting, get to know him and learn these things over time by spending time with the young man.

It should be recognized that young men aren’t perfect. Instead of a father rejecting a generally good, but flawed young man his daughter fancies, he should work with the young man to help him better himself. (If the young man refuses to try to better himself, that is another story).

Courtship is not about keeping young men away from young women, it is about actively trying to create godly marriages.

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In my particular case, it’s possible that the problem is me, as a commenter at Moose’s stated:

If it were me getting shot down by a bunch of dads as viable husband material for their daughters, I’d be asking WHY. I wouldn’t assume it was a problem with them first: I’d assume it was a problem with me.

I know I could be a better man in many ways, but I’ve only ever been shot down by that one father before, and most of the older adult males in my church and life seem to respect me and think well of me, enough so that I at their behest I have led the young adult small group in the past and, again at their request, am entering a leadership residency in my church. But I thought I should mention this as it might seem an explanation.

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Because I’m sharing, here’s one more small story from university when I was just starting to work my way out of omega. I was part of a small group at my university Christian group. In this particular study there was me and one other guy and three young women. These young women were all in the 7-9 range. One I had asked out a year-and-half before and been rejected (she was the first girl I ever asked out), another I had asked out a few months before and been rejected, and the third had just broken up with her boyfriend a couple months before and we had been getting close to each other (we ended up dating later that year).

The topic of the sermon we were watching was dating, so we were talking about this. At one point, one of the young women said dating was hard because there were no good men. The other two agreed with her. I was shocked, so didn’t respond but I should have. I had personally asked out two of them and was very obvious in my intentions to the third.

All of these girls were very attractive, good girls and could have had any man they wanted. The one I knew the best had many male friends, I knew at least 3 or 4 guys (who were good men, if a bit socially awkward) who had either asked her out or were so obvious about liking her even someone as socially oblivious as I could tell. One had just gotten out of a year-long relationship, her third relationship in 3 or so years. The final one was one of the most beautiful women I had ever met and would occasionally tell stories of guys who had gone out of the way to compliment her.

I was an ‘ewww’ man at the time (but improving), so I didn’t count. I guess those other men didn’t count either.

These two stories are why I don’t believe women when they say they can’t find a good man or there are not good men. I have seen women who could have almost any man they want, who had numerous suitors (who were good men), , who had good male friends who obviously wanted them, who had been asked out by me specifically say there were no good men, when it was simply untrue. Unless a woman lives in a village of 50 people in the middle of nowhere, there probably are good men, the women’s probably just not counting them.

Oh, and just as a last little bit, two of those three women are married. The most attractive one is not; she’s 29 this year and, as far as I know, is still single.

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So, for tradcon young women and their families, maybe it’s not that there are not good men, maybe it’s that men are stuck between ‘ewww’ and impossible standards.

Instead of young women and their families holding out for a suitor who is both super-attractive and able to meet a parent-approved 50-point bullet list, and rejecting any suitor who is not perfect, maybe give them a chance.

Parents, instead of rejecting that young man your daughter fancies, work with him* to help him improve himself. If she doesn’t have a suitor, work to help introduce her to good men. Be a positive force for marriage rather than a negative force.

Young women, instead of rejecting or ignoring those men you don’t see, make yourself available and say yes when you are asked out even if he is kind of awkward.* The worst that can happen is a few hours of unpleasantness and maybe you’ll be able to work with him to improve those awkward things that aren’t quite attractive.

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* Obviously, I am not talking about unrepentant degenerates, those unwilling to try and better themselves, and the like here, just the normally flawed.