Thursday, 27 June 2013

Motherhood and fatherhood

This article (linked below) makes (amongst others) a good point that should be made more. Specifically, the idea that "same sex marriage" is the same as (actual) marriage implies that both mothers and fathers are dispensable. i.e. The roles of fatherhood and motherhood are optional/replaceable. Since (according to proponents) two men, or two women, can equally well bring up children as a father and a mother, therefore both motherhood (if the two happen to be men) or fatherhood (if they are women) are unnecessary. You don't need a mother; two fathers can suffice. You don't need a father; two mothers can suffice. You don't need to a home in which you experience the inter-relation of the sexes whilst you grow up. This brings out more clearly the link between "same sex marriage" and the radical sixties teaching that gender is merely a social construct - that a man can be a mother, just as he can be a wife, etc. We force them to stop arguing vacuously that "it's all about lurrve, we luurrrve each other so why shouldn't we marry?" When those implications are more clearly spelled out, more people will realise what an absurdity the idea of "same sex marriage" is. Thus we should do so.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013


This article (not from a Christian viewpoint, and without having any deep analysis of the problem (or even recognising it as a problem at the deeper level)), captures the radical cleavage between the modern view of humanities and science:

Nancy Pearcey analyses the fundamental contradiction and analyses it from a Christian point of view really well in her "Saving Leonardo" -

Since the Enlightenment, sciences and the humanities have headed on radically contradictory paths. Science = certain, indisputable, universal truth. Humanities = nothing can be known, and perhaps nothing can even be communicated.

This feeds into the modern Western state of affairs, where Christianity (being assigned to the 'humanities' side) is treated as personal, private (weird) subjective preference (that hence has no relevance for fields such as the making of law); and secularism and atheism, assigning themselves (rather arbitrarily) to the 'science' side, demand to be treated as universal, public truth (and hence should rule the roost).

Christians need to understand more of the implications of Christ's universal Lordship in both creation and redemption, and avoid this split-brain approach to reality.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Debate in secularist societies

Let's leave aside the politics of any of the policies discussed in that article. My aim is not to be political, but to address issues of Christians living in secular societies, and how we can try to understand how they work and respond to them.

Secularism is relentlessly conformist. Those who jettison doctrines of God, the soul, grace and depravity, often find it hard to understand how any reasonable person can disagree with them. The room for Christian ideas of sphere sovereignty, liberty of conscience, and the like, get gradually squeezed out; what's left is the state. The history of atheist and secularist states in the 20th century demonstrates the awful reality of that thesis in bloody detail. For the secularist leaders (whether in state or media or wherever), you're not allowed just to be wrong (in one's opinion); you must be mad or evil; and hence in danger of the gulag or the asylum.

That's what we see increasingly from the secularist elites (who are mostly political leftists) in the UK government and media, as exemplified in the above article (I noted that the idea that men can marry men was not rated for its lunacy factor).

Look at some of the things that the author things are at the extreme end of lunacy (to pick out a few):
  • To make it mandatory for prisoners to serve the full custodial sentence handed down by a court.
  • To allow for capital punishment for certain offences.
  • To allow smoking in a separate ventilated room in a private members’ club if a majority of club members approve.
  • To provide for a tax allowance for married couples.
  • Rules for the appointment of a temporary or new Prime Minister in the event that a serving PM is temporarily or permanently incapacitated.
  • To restrict access by foreign nationals to public services for which no charge is made.
  • To restrict the height, number, location and subsidies of wind turbines situated offshore within 20 miles of the coast.
I make no comment on whether I think those are good, bad or indifferent ideas. The point is that the writer of the article does not do so either. He doesn't think they're ideas at all; they are manifestations of insanity, of lunacy. They suggest a diseased mind that needs treatment - not a possibly thought-out position that one could hold a principled debate with.

To secularists, all right-thinking, intelligent people agree with them. Others are mad or evil. As education and the media in the UK becomes more secular, more and more people are growing up assuming that Christians are so bigotted or brainwashed that you they're not to be debated with - they're to be ignored, stigmatised or clamped down on, depending on the situation and your predilection. That's a situation that Christians themselves will need to be increasingly aware of as it moves from partially jokey (I think) articles in newspapers to employment tribunals, appearances before Human Rights Commissions and the like. Google for how these kinds of things have played out in Canada if you want to see more of how it goes.

How much is enough?

Newspaper headline spotted, concerning the new governor of the Bank of England: " Mark Carney: golden chance for return to prosperity beckons".

What is prosperity? The UK is one of the richest nations that ever existed, now (I believe we presently have the 6th highest GDP worldwide) or in history.

You would not know this from the media. The media would have you believe that we're currently experiencing deep lack and that our ruin lies at the door.

How little an appreciation of our global and historical context we have. Like the horse leech's daughter mentioned by the prophet, all we can cry out is "More! More!". How much will be enough? When will we say "That'll do. Now I will give my heart to something else than the pursuit of greater prosperity."

The problem is, though, once you give your heart to the pursuit of your own comfort, it won't give it back.

Let it be Christ's instead; and if you've already given it, plead for him to take it back. Then you'll never say "I don't possess enough"; you'll say "I possess Christ; infinite riches; I just need to know him more".

Friday, 21 June 2013

Sex education

Should we more concerned that:

a) The state thinks that it is the "uber-parent" who should provide sex education to children, at all?


b) That it thinks that the only problem with showing schoolchildren a video of other people having intercourse is that the children weren't old enough? (At what age should children, young people, adults or anyone at all be doing that?). On which note, from last year:

Fidelity is optional

From a recent email circular from the Christian Institute:
Fidelity is optional

The Government maintains that same-sex marriage is the same as traditional marriage. But there are massive differences even in their own Bill. For example, during a debate in the House of Lords it was pointed that there are no laws about adultery or consummation for same-sex couples.

The Minister's reply was breathtaking. The Government said fidelity is not required for any marriage - it is up to the couple to decide for themselves whether they are faithful or not.

That completely shatters the argument of the Prime Minister, that same-sex marriage would extend the values of commitment and stability to a wider group in society. Instead, it enshrines an 'anything goes' concept of marriage, and enforces it on society.
That's what we call "giving the game away". "Gay marriage" isn't driven by the values that drive traditional marriage; it's driven by the 1960s sexual revolutionary values that have been progressively destroying it. The architects of "gay marriage" aren't doing it because they love marriage; they're doing it because they want to destroy it. Don't believe me? You should:
"In October Peter Tatchell celebrated 40 years since the formation of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), a radical anti-family movement.

The ultimate goal of the group, as stated by its 1971 manifesto, was to destroy the nuclear family."
When we hear from people that they support "gay marriage" because they are conservative, wish to support marriage, etc., then this springs to mind.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The country we live in

I emailed the Girl Guides concerning their change of pledge, and part of the canned response contained this:
Those who participated in the consultation felt that ‘to love my God’ did not truly reflect the society we live in.
Few truer words were ever spoken.

The question is, though, whether the Girl Guides should "reflect the society we live in", or attempt to improve it. The vision of the original founders was unmistakeably the latter.

Note, though the implicit appeal to the great god demos in the assumption that the former is best. All hail the people!

Not a word of quarrel

"Christ assures the soul of a full and hearty forgiveness, quenching the flaming wrath of God by his blood. No, says Christ, upon my warrant come in; you will now find my Father otherwise than you imagine: he hath declared himself satisfied at my hands, and is willing to receive you, to be heartily and thoroughly friends; never to hear a word more of the quarrel that was betwixt you; to grant a full oblivion."
Today's quote (from Robert Leighton) from a great website -

Funding corruption

This piece - - has a section which highlights one of the central absurdities of the UK government's aid policy.

The Western aid industry sends enormous amounts of money to corrupt kleptocrats in Africa in the name of ending hunger. But, for this it claims only credit for ending hunger. It utterly disclaims that its money has anything to do with entrenching the power bases of corrupt kleptocrats.

Meanwhile, the hunger diminishes at an astonishingly slow rate, given the enormous sums involved - unlike many countries in the world that the West didn't target for its beneficence - whilst corruption continues and grows apace.

What's wrong with this picture? And why is Western governments' basic response "the best thing at this point is to do more of the same"?

The root of the answer to that question, as to why they don't intend to change, is that in their post-Christian apostacy, the West no longer either believes in the truth about corrupt human nature, or has any ultimate solution to it. As materialists, our only answer to what can be done about the fire is "more fuel!"

The Girl Guides change their pledge

Let's give this a good fisking:
In one of the biggest changes in the organisation’s 103-year history, the promise to “love my God” is to be replaced with a more individualistic pledge to “be true to myself” and to “develop my beliefs”.
1. That's very much in keeping with the times: God is replaced by self; self is the new God. Unfortunately self is a lousy god - because self, being born in sin, is the problem. The problem can't be the solution. Serving ourselves is a tyranny; serving the true God who is greater than and beyond us brings freedom and hope.

2. "Develop my beliefs" ...
i. What if my beliefs are wrong? Does that matter?
ii. Or evil? Does that matter?
iii. This is still parasitical on Christianity. It's assumed that in a civilisation founded upon Christian assumptions, "my beliefs" will still be reasonably close to Biblical teachings.
And a patriotic commitment to serving their country is to become one to the “community” in the oath taken by Brownies and Guides when they join the organisation.
1. Very multi-cultural.
2. What if my community's cultural aims are mistaken or evil?
3. How ironic that the more secularists destroy our sense of community (How many folk today have idea who their next door neighbours are? Or care?), the more they bring in the mere word as an empty platitude.
But in a consultation which attracted almost 44,000 responses Guides made clear that they wanted to retain a public expression of allegiance to the Queen, who is also their patron.
A pledge of allegiance to the Queen can be retained because the Queen, being a ceremonial figurehead, makes no demands of us, and does nothing to us if we fail to meet any standards. So in our irresponsible, self-serving age it's hardly a surprise that people are happy to still make promises to the Queen.
The rethink followed the appointment of the group’s new chief executive, Julie Bentley, the former head of The Family Planning Association, who described the Guides as “the ultimate feminist organisation”.

"Family planning" is the Newspeak euphemism for what in Oldspeak would be termed "'Family Prevention', or at times 'Family Liquidation'".
Moreso, "feminism" is what in Oldspeak would be called "masculinism", i.e. the idea that women can only be fulfilled when they become men. As such, historically Guides was the very antithesis of a feminist organisation.

Gill Slocombe, the Chief Guide, said the changes would make the promise less “confusing” and easier for the organisation’s 550,000 members to take with sincerity.
“I honestly think the Baden-Powells would have approved, they were so free thinking and good at thinking in terms of people’s needs,” she said.
a) In other words, God is not relevant to peoples' needs... because none of us needs life, breath or existence, or his providence in any particulars such as food, clothing, not to mention anything beyond those basic things...

b) Riigghttt... the Baden-Powells were "free-thinkers" (a code word for secularists/atheists), so they decided to set up explicitly theistic organisations that required every member to take an oath of loyalty to God... hmmmm...

... meanwhile, back in reality, as noted here, "To the founder, Lord Baden-Powell, it was as much a peril for a young man to avoid as gambling, drunkenness, swearing or the wiles of the opposite sex."

c) Ms. Slocombe thinks honestly that the Baden-Powells would have agreed with her, because as a good member of the Party, she has been into Room 101 where she was taught to believe that only stupid or evil people disagree with the Party's Doctrines. As such, it follows as easily as night follows day that every intelligent or sane figure from every age would Certainly Agree With Us, were they still alive today. Secular humanists can't cope with principled differences of opinion. Everyone must think like they do, or be stupid or evil. No alternative. Disagree? O'Brien can see you now.
“I don’t know whether it is radical I just think it is fantastic that our members have come up with a promise that they feel they can confidently say and feel that they can keep.”
Since “be true to myself” and to “develop my beliefs”, when de-weasalised, just means "I'll do what I feel like doing", I don't doubt that few people will have trouble with keeping that pledge. But how is that fantastic? It reads not far from the dictionary definition of selfishness.
She said she was also “delighted” that, despite the reference to God being dropped, there would still be a spiritual dimension to the promise and that the Queen would continue to be a focus of unity.
Since God is the one Spirit who made us, there is no spiritual dimension without God. So this is just a weaselly way of saying "we can still keep our consciences quiet because there's some kind of ultimately meaningless god-speak-lite in there. But thankfully it's not to do with any God who demands anything specific of us that we don't want to do".
Among responses to the consultation, one young girl wrote that she felt like she was “lying to the Brownies” by making a promise to a God in whom she did not believe.
Great. So the policy of the Brownies is now to be determined by what's acceptable to self-confessed liars.
Stephen Evans, campaigns manager at the National Secular Society, said: “By omitting any explicit mention of God or religion the Guide Association has grasped the opportunity to make itself truly inclusive and relevant to the reality of 21st century Britain.
1) Ah, the secularists - always ready with their tiresome "truth depends on what time's on the clock" sound-bites. No need to present a reasoned argument for your beliefs - just assert endlessly that the calendar requires them, and patronise people who dare to differ.

2) Note that the premise "it's the 21st century" has no connection whatsoever with conclusion "God is not relevant", any more than it does with the conclusion "a man can marry a man/horse/slice of Wensleydale" or indeed with the conclusion "God is completely relevant".

3) God maintains Mr. Evans, the Guides, and everything else in existence. I'd say that's fairly relevant.

4) There's nothing inclusive about requiring would-be Girl Guides to take a humanist oath. "Be true to myself" and "develop my beliefs" is not a "neutral" pledge. It's a pledge to make oneself the central reference point of reality - the place that should be occupied by God. That's excluding people who aren't atheists.
"The new secular promise can now be meaningful and relevant to all guides and potential leaders, whatever their beliefs – and sends a clear signal that Girlguiding is equally welcoming to all girls."
That's more honest - it's a secular promise, not an inclusive one. Not everyone is a secularist; only a small, loud minority are. "Girlguiding" [sic] has has only just become equally welcoming to all girls if we mean that it has become more equally welcoming to some than to others.
But Andrea Williams of Christian Concern said: “It sounds like jargon from a consumerist self-help manual completely at odds with the true ethos of the Guiding organisation which was set up to encourage belief in God and a corporate identity, not about individualism but to understand what it really is to be part of a community.”
Now there's a woman who wasn't brainwashed by secularism and feminism. Hallelujah!
David Landrum, advocacy director of the Evangelical Alliance said: "No doubt, the Girls Brigade will be the main beneficiaries from this erroneous decision, because as the growing poplularity of faith schools attests, parents will always seek to provide religious rather than secular humanist values for their children."
Let us hope so.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Taking responsibility

This link contains matters which impinge upon party politics, but my point is not political:

The sentence I want to highlight is this one:
Mr Clegg said the report made for "sobering reading" and he took responsibility for the failings.
The latter part of that is not a direct quote, but the direct quote appears to be here:
"And as Leader of the Liberal Democrats I take responsibility for that. That’s why we’ve made a number of big changes in the party in recent years and why we must and will do more."
I can't help noticing - and, to repeat myself, this appears to be a phenomena across the political spectrum, rather than confined to Mr. Clegg's party particularly - how the words "I take responsibility" have changed in meaning in my short lifetime.

Previously, "taking responsibility" was connected with ideas like "I have disgraced my office / position, and therefore should offer to vacate it, or am now vacating it, so that someone else can properly honour it".

In modern parlance, when someone says "I am taking responsibility", they increasingly appear to mean little more than "I am saying the words 'I am taking responsibility', I hope you like them." When I hear the words, I am left asking "How are you taking responsibility? What is this taking of the thing upon your shoulders and carrying the can for it going to mean in practice?", and the answer seems to come back "that was it, actually." In Mr. Clegg's case, he conflates "taking responsibility" with taking action to avoid doing the same again. Two very different things. Making reparation and reforming are two distinct concepts in justice. I take responsibility for my errors when I endure the righteous demands of justice concerning them - not merely when I try to not make the same errors again in future.

I am thankful that when Jesus Christ graciously took responsibility for my sins, it was something more substantial than words. Not mere words, but costly blood. He paid the penalty; he satisfied the demands of justice. He did something to make things right again. When he said to the Father that he would take responsibility for the sins of the chosen, covenanted people, that cost him - and being the true leader, he didn't flinch from what that really meant. Thankfully our salvation is not in empty words, but in deeds and power.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Read and shudder

" All serious Conservative thinkers grasp that only <blank> can embody all those ideals which bind us together, and which count for so much more than mere self-interest."

What was the blank?

Answer: it was "the state". I hope that sent a shiver down your spine. Does the 20th century have anything to tell us about the practical outworking of that belief?

Note: the writer wasn't saying that all serious Communists believe this, or that all serious Socialists believe this, which is what we'd expect to hear. (The latter might still be disputed, and I hope it would, but we'd be more likely to hear it).

Note: he doesn't say that the state has a role to play in representing the ideals that bind us together. He says that the state actually embodies those ideals, and that the state only embodies those ideals. Families? Church? Communities? Nope. The state. Hail Caesar!

Throughout the article, Conservative is capitalised, so I hope that the writer believes it's only the members of his political party think this, rather than those who'd be more broadly "conservative" (in terms of believing in the rule of law, and in the need to "conserve" the positive aspects of our cultural heritage, in which Biblical Christianity has been a dominant force). I fear, though, that he actually believes more than that, and it should make you shudder that we now have an intellectual climate in which serious writers actually believe that nobody serious could disagree with statements like that.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

An example of allegedly "feminist" thinking

As a further case in point of the kind of thing I was talking about before, consider this article:

Note that both those involved in the meeting discussed, and the contrarian commentator, share the same underlying assumption.

That is, that women being successful in something worthwhile in life basically means women running businesses; or at least, running them alongside other things. But definitely running businesses, whether doing more or less than that.

But what if that's not the telos of womankind? What if motherhood is actually a higher calling than running a business?

That's unthinkable heresy to most modern feminists, who also appear to be functionally materialists - they believe that the economy, the economy, the economy, and its engine - entrepreneurship - are the keys to fulfilment and meaningful existence.

But what if that's actually an appallingly reduced view of femininity, and of the purposes of human existence? Because, according to the Bible, it is. Motherhood is the highest vocation within daily life that a woman can be called to. I realise that to feminist ears, I just said "the highest calling that a woman can be called to is only the terribly low and inferior one, of motherhood - unlike men, who have the much higher, better calling of running businesses". I said nothing of the kind, and neither does the Bible; and both men (comparatively few of whom in modern times are entrepreneurs, and not a few of those who do wonder why they previously believed it was such a wonderful position to be in) and women should be very grateful for it.

Feminism = women can be men so that men don't have to be

Point well made: "empowering women" has often been talk deployed by the men in power in order to abdicate their own responsibilities:

Case in point: Andrew Brown in the Guardian rails against "patriarchy"; what he apparently means is that he is in rebellion against the fact that God made him a man, with a man's roles and responsibilities.

True feminism would be about encouraging and aiding women to be women, rather than persuading them to be men.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

This is what denying Jesus Christ looks like in practice

The Archbishop of Canterbury opposes the government's "gay marriage" bill. The above is his speech to the House of Lords doing so. So far, so good.

But on what grounds does he oppose it?

Is it against the divinely instituted order of creation? Does it break God's law? Is it sinful? Is it contrary to the commandments of Jesus Christ and his apostles? Is it likely to displease God, and bring his wrath upon our nation, or upon any individuals on the Day of Judgment? Does it contradict the doctrine of the Bible, or of the Archbishop's church (the state church)?

If any of those criteria apply, then the Archbishop didn't consider any of them actually worth mentioning. No... he opposes the "gay marriage" bill because of the various internal inconsistencies and absurdities in its drafting.

We're used to hearing that politicians have to be careful about raising "religious" concerns, or treading on the toes of the national church, etc.

None of those concerns apply when the Archbishop of Canterbury speaks. He is the official, appointed representative, whose raison d'etre in the House of Lords is that he represents precisely such concerns. His very job there is to let others speak about the politics and the problems in the drafting etc. His job is to speak to the non-secular concerns. His role is to unfold the mind of God concerning the unvarying principles of what marriage is and isn't. The Archbishop just abdicated his primary responsibility, in public, in the very kind of hour that he is supposed to speak up upon.

Sad, sad, very sad, and various other things besides. Will any of our evangelical brethren in the Church of England seek to bring disciplinary charges for this? Will they now uphold their own responsibilities that came upon them when they decided to be ordained in such a far-gone denomination, protesting that they could do so in good conscience? I'm not holding my breath, because their invarying policy to date has been to keep their heads down for as long as they can.

Engage the culture through the lens of Genesis