Saturday, December 10, 2011

Matt 24 watch, 146: Responding to a bit of hate-mail and using the opportunity to ground ethics of good citizenship and government, thus also reform; also showing warrant for Christian faith

As regular readers of this blog will know, there are hate sites that spend a fair amount of time spewing vitriol over anything I and others who profess faith in Christ have to say of significance on the Internet. This is of course part of the Matt 24 pattern of the end of days.

Bibi Aisha, a victim of
human trafficking,
enslavement (to pay
for a relative's murder
of a member of a
different clan) who
was forced into an
abusive "marriage,"
treated like an animal
(KEPT with them) and
then hunted down and
mutilated for trying to
escape abuse

One of these haters, has a habit of posting comments to this blog, which I have collected as evidence of anti-religious aggravation on his misbehaviour. 

I generally ignore the substance, but occasionally, there is a point that inadvertently illustrates a key problem, as in the following clip (which responds to this post at Uncommon Descent on crimes against humanity committed against Bibi Aisha of Afghanistan, and how the spread of evolutionary materialism-influenced cultural relativism undermines our ability to respond appropriately).

So, let me now clip:

You barfed:

"Let us focus the main matter, by looking at what our intuitive recognition that something has gone seriously wrong here is telling us: this young miss has rights, even is she has been wayward, and those rights have been massively violated, tantamount to rape — multiplied by the fact that the destructive mutilation of her face is visible for life."

The "main matter" you keep conveniently and dishonestly ignoring is that the people (her family) who did that to her DO believe in a god and it's the SAME god YOU believe in. The god worshiping monsters who imprisoned, 'raped', and mutilated the woman are NOT evolutionary materialists, "Darwinists", atheists, naturalists, scientists, agnostics, satanists, or any of the other imaginary bogey men you constantly condemn.

They are RELIGIOUS, just like YOU! They believe in the abrahamic god, just like YOU! They are TOTALLY immersed in insane religious fairy tales and practices, just like YOU! They are god zombies, just like YOU! The woman does NOT have "rights" because she is CONTROLLED by deranged religious lunatics, just like YOU!

RELIGIOUS beliefs, and the use of them to control, mistreat, and kill people, IS the problem, NOT evolutionary materialism.

YOU and your ILK are the scummiest of the scum, the lowest of the low, the, and the dregs of society, and your incomprehensible, lying, hypocritical, blustering, sanctimonious bloviating on UD or anywhere else won't change that or fool anyone with a clue.
Immediately, it is clear that this commenter does not understand or care about the significance of the well-known commandment, thou shalt not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, or in a more recent translation, we are not to misuse the name of God, i.e. plaster God's name across our misbehaviour and folly, which is actually a kind of blasphemy. 

Doing evil under the false colours of God's name, is doubly wicked.

Or as James put it in his well-known epistle:
James 2:17 . . .  faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
 18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
   Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. [NIV '84]
 In short, faith in God, even if quite orthodox (already a problem on the case in view), is nowhere near enough. 

True, penitent faith is marked by a change of life that seeks to do the good, and any belief in God that is not marked by that change of life is dead, empty, fruitless and in some cases even an outright abuse of the name of God.

Paul, in writing to Titus, lays out a very different agenda for the life of discipleship for the Christian community: 
Titus 2:11 . . . the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

 15 These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.
Now of course, all Christians struggle to live up to this stiff standard, indeed at our best, we all struggle with doing the right. 

As a consequence, there has been a serious problem of the sins of Christendom, which has too often manifested exactly the misuse of the name of God noted on above. And this requires a sober assessment and response of repentance and reformation. (BTW, the commenter cited above knows or should know of this unit from the Nicene Creed Systematic Theology survey course under development.)

But at the same time, in all fairness, it is equally clear and historically indisputable that for twenty centuries, millions of Christians have been in the forefront of heart-softening enlightenment and reformation of world culture, and have made a sterling contribution, open Bibles in hand. 

The fifty year struggle for the abolition of slavery in the UK parliament is just one classic in point, led by Wilberforce and then Buxton.

And, in the post at UD that the above tries to smear, I actually cite a key example of great historical import. 

For, when John Locke in his 2nd essay on civil government, set out to ground the framework of liberty, rights, justice and morality in the community -- laying the basis for modern democracy -- he explicitly cited "the judicious [Anglican Canon Richard] Hooker, from Ecclesiastical polity, in Ch 2, Section 5 of the essay. 

Thus, we may cite the UD blog post, points 8 - 11:
8 –> . . . Now, in grounding rights as a platform for liberty and justice in government, John Locke answers this [issue stemming from the Bibi Aisha case] from a theistic perspective by citing “the judicious [Richard] Hooker” in his Ecclesiastical Polity, 1594+, as I cite in the IOSE:
. . . if I cannot but wish to receive good, even as much at every man’s hands, as any man can wish unto his own soul, how should I look to have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless myself be careful to satisfy the like desire which is undoubtedly in other men . . . my desire, therefore, to be loved of my equals in Nature, as much as possible may be, imposeth upon me a natural duty of bearing to themward fully the like affection. From which relation of equality between ourselves and them that are as ourselves, what several rules and canons natural reason hath drawn for direction of life no man is ignorant . . . [[Hooker then continues, citing Aristotle in The Nicomachean Ethics, Bk 8:] as namely, That because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like . . . ] [[Eccl. Polity, preface, Bk I, "ch." 8, p.80, cf. here. Emphasis added.]
9 –> Notice, how this crucially pivots on the instinctive understanding of one’s moral worth, and on the linked recognition of the equality of the other as just as much made in God’s image; from which all else follows on serious reflection. The US Declaration of Independence of 1776 (echoing the earlier Dutch DOI under William the Silent of Orange, 1581) draws this out to the level of a polity, clarifying the issue of rights (and their Creational roots) and the balance of just powers of Government based on the informed consent of the governed:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, [cf Rom 1:18 - 21, 2:14 - 15], that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security . . .
10 –> The pivotal concept here is self-evidence: things that are so, are necessarily so, and are seen to be patently such on pain of absurdity, once one understands clearly what is being discussed. Here, once one is willing to acknowledge the moral dignity and equality of people, on their Creation by God, all else plainly follows and leads on to the right of reformation of bad government, or if necessarily its replacement and correction if it is stubborn in wrong and abuse.

11 –> So, the issue of rights and thus of objective morality finally rests on our being made with a certain moral worth by our inherently good Creator. Indeed, “rights” may then be defined/summarised as: binding moral claims for respect that we make on one another, rooted in our fundamental equality, dignity and worth as human beings. (Such is prior to any negotiated entitlements we may make, premised on the principles that we have such rights.)
The issue is crucial, and demonstrably foundational to the rise of modern liberty and democracy. And, right there, we see an Anglican Canon making the crucial point, based on the Golden Rule and the linked concept that we are equally made in God's image, which must be respected. 

Indeed, let us read the Pauline statement of that Golden Rule, in its immediate context:
Rom 13:8 . . .  he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,”[a] and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Here, in the context of the state and citizenship, we see the premise that neighbour love leads to the principle do no harm, and so it fulfills legitimate law. Anything that claims to come from God but fails this do no harm test, is false. If it refuses correction, it is deceptively demonic and willfully rebellious against the good God.

Any responsible person should know this; it is a commonplace.

So, it is the utter want of easily accessible balance or respect for the patent truth or for balance and fairness in the above hostile clip that tells us what is really going on: the spewing forth of a projected, hateful litany of real and imagined sins, to reinforce hostility to God and anything or anyone who would remind of the God such are so desperate to forget and dismiss. 

Here, occasioned by my taking up the case of Bibi Aisha, to raise the issue that we need to identify this as a major abuse -- indeed, a plain case of human trafficking and slavery [girls under the custom of BAAT in Afghanistan and Pakistan are routinely handed over by local community councils to aggrieved clans in payment for the offences of clan members] -- that has to be exposed and countered, and also tho highlight an indictment of the rising tide of cultural relativism that blinds us to such abuses. A rising tide of cultural relativism that is in large part driven by the inescapable amorality of evolutionary materialism.

So, I am highlighting the plank in our own civilisation's eye that needs to be removed, at the same time that I am calling for urgent action to provide refuge for such girls and their families. 

(I also believe that, if there is sufficient weight of sustained focus on abuses like this, like the one on the rape victim forced to marry her rapist, and the threat to judicially murder a pastor in Iran because of his faith in Christ, and many more like that, eventually, the impact of cumulative, undeniable shame will help trigger desperately needed reformation in the Islamic world.)

Elsewhere (for our own civilisation), I have pointed out, on evidence:
1: just how evolutionary materialist atheism is inescapably self-contradictory and necessarily false.

2: just how it is inescapably amoral and so cannot ground OUGHT in a foundational IS, so it undermines rights and justice.

3: how a step by step analysis of credible worldview options leads to the conclusion that generic ethical theism is the soundest worldview option.

4: how the specific, Judaeo-Christian worldview and tradition is grounded in the historic evidence that undergirds the gospel as truth that brings us hope for redemption and transformation under God.

5: just how destructive and willfully, slanderously unfair is the attempt to smear Bible-believing, gospel-teaching Christian disciples with the false accusation that we are in effect the same as Al Qaeda's terrorists, would-be theocratic tyrants and general menaces to liberty, progress and democracy.
Unfortunately, this commenter, TWT (the same who threatened my family mafioso-style some months ago), amply underscores just how hateful, recklessly irresponsible, angry, and potentially dangerous -- please, listen to the podcast, here -- are all too many of today's new atheists.

Let us hope -- and pray -- that he will now learn to restrain himself, and has enough conscience left to be ashamed, and maybe will open up his heart and mind to the evident truth. But also, let us rise up and stand up for the right in the community, pausing to look soberly at our own hearts, minds and lives. END


Toronto said...

The issue here is that followers of the God of Abraham, following their theology, justified the abuse of their daughter.

You however, a follower of the God of Abraham, have taken the task of defending the girl.

Here then is an interesting question.

Can you tell me whether I should follow my theological leaders teachings, without knowing what God of Abraham theology I have adopted?

GEM of The Kairos Initiative said...


Your comment, I must say, for one of your ilk, is at least civil. (It is sad that such is remarkable, and I first request that you have a serious talk with your fellow habitues of the various fora we both know about.)

Now, since you are raising issues in light of the Islamic Dawah talking point about "Abrahamic Faiths," I will make a few observations, in light of background on Islam that you can find here, here and here. (The first being my own quick intro for those needing to know enough not to be defenseless in the face of Dawah advocates, the second being a formal conference declaration I contributed to, with highly relevant appendices, the third being a serious study on the roots of Islam by Nehls and Eric. (BTW, most ordinary Muslims do not know these things and they should be used with care; especially Aisha's story.))

1 --> Though it is not politically correct to say so today, and though many Muslims will find it painful, I have a duty of surgical truth: Islam is "simply" the most geopolitically successful heresy of the Christian Faith.

2 --> I have no duty to defend the errors and misdeeds of heresies, but instead a duty to correct (with all due respect and compassion, on the ideal of truth in love, painful though it may be) -- as you can see from the already linked.

3 --> In this context, I must object to the use of the Dawah propaganda term, "Abrahamic Faiths" or the like. Christianity is organically derived from Judaism [and our debates with one another are family debates], Islam is a heresy of Christianity that slanders and advocates conquest and oppressive subjugation of both Jews and Christians in foundational texts; cf Q 9:5 & 29 ff if you doubt me. That which is slanderous in its roots simply cannot be well-founded.

4 --> A reading of the history of the prophets, the apostles and the like will show that there is always a problem of the threat or reality of heresy and/or apostasy in the power centres of what is nominally "orthodox." (If you look at my reference site, you will see where I played a significant role in exposing a destructive Christian sect in the Caribbean that preyed especially on College students.)

5 --> Having said that, the BAAD problem -- human trafficking, enslavement and forced marriage of girls in PAYMENT for sins of others in their tribe -- is not strictly a problem of Islam, it is a tribal custom, part of the unwritten law of the Pushtun, though it implicates popular religious thinking and may pull in clerics through its being embedded in the culture. It is high time for reformation!

6 --> As you can read from here on, and in onward linked items, I have never ever advocated blind following of ANY intellectual, ideological or religious tradition. Just the opposite.


GEM of The Kairos Initiative said...

F/N: I forgot to note . . . Bibi Aisha's father is a widowered, poor (and now aged) man with four daughters to support. He was and is in no position to effectively oppose the abuse of his daughters.

Just think: Taliban commander and crew come pounding on your door at midnight in your village, demanding return of your daughter to her husband and in-laws, backed up by the weight of the Baat custom . . . so, even if you get one or two of them, your daughters will pay a terrible price, once they finish mutilating your body.]

This poor man was then denied work by his neigbours when his mutilated daughter found refuge with a hospital and and should be granted refugee status with his family. That meant that he probably could not feed his family, except by charity of other family members. Frankly, the villagers -- probably intimidated by the Taliban commander and crew -- tried to starve him and his family to death for the "crime" of trying to get help for his daughter.

He is a fellow victim, not a victimiser.

GEM of The Kairos Initiative said...

F/N 2: Of course, given that I am now being spammed continually with hate mail, it took some time to dig your comment out from under the continual pile of filth. Pardon delay.