Sunday, January 31, 2016

Good and Evil (From whence do they come?)


The following short essay by Peter Kreeft, a prominent Catholic theologian and apologist at Boston College, is the one of the most clear and convincing arguments I have read concerning the existence of God. I strongly urge my blog readers to look carefully at this essay.
 
The following argument for the existence of God comes from Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy, Boston College:

“I’m going to argue for the existence of God on the premise that moral good and evil really exist. They are not simply a matter of personal taste; not merely substitutes for ‘I like’ and ‘I don’t like’. 

“To clarify, this does not mean that atheists cannot be moral; of course they can. Just like theists can act immorally. 

“So, where do good and evil come from?  Atheists commonly propose a few possibilities: evolution, reason, conscience, human nature and utilitarianism. None of these, however, can be the ultimate source of morality.

“Evolution?  Any supposed morality that is evolving can change.  If it can change for the good or the bad, then there must be a Standard above these changes by which we judge them as good or bad. 

“Throughout human history, more powerful societies have enslaved weaker societies—and prospered.  That’s just the way it was, and no one questioned it.

Today, we condemn slavery.  But, based on an evolutionary model, one that is ever changing, who is to say that slavery might be acceptable again one day?

“Slavery was one accepted, but it was not, therefore, acceptable. If you can’t make that distinction, then you can’t criticize slavery!  If you can see the distinction, then you are admitting to objective morality. 

“Reasoning?  Whereas reasoning is a powerful tool to help us discover and/or understand morality, it cannot be the source of morality.  For example, criminals use reasoning to plan a murder, without their reasoning telling them that murder is wrong. And was it reasoning or something higher than reasoning that led those Gentiles to save the lives of Jews threatened by the Holocaust?  The answer is obvious: it was something higher than reasoning, because risking one’s life to save the life of a stranger was a very unreasonable thing to do. 

“Conscience?  Conscience, alone, cannot be the source of morality. Every person has his own conscience, and some appear to have none. Himmler, commander of the brutal Nazi SS, successfully appealed to his henchmen’s consciences to help him do the ‘right thing’ in murdering and torturing millions of Jews and others.  How can you say that your conscience is right and Himmler’s was wrong if conscience alone is the source of morality?  Answer: you can’t.

“Human Nature?  Some people say that human nature is the ultimate source of morality.  But, human nature can lead us to do all sorts of reprehensible things. In fact, human nature is the very reason we need morality. Our human nature can lead some of us to do real evil, and all of us to be selfish, unkind, petty and egocentric.  We surely would not want to live in a world where human nature was unrestrained. 

“Utilitarianism?   Utilitarianism is the claim that what is morally right is determined by whatever creates the greatest happiness for the greatest number. But, to return to our slavery example, if 90% get great benefit from enslaving the other 10%, would that make slavery right?  According to utilitarianism—it would. 

“Now that we see where morality cannot come from, let’s see where it does come from.  What are moral laws? 

“Unlike the laws of physics or the laws of mathematics, that tell us ‘what is’, the laws of morality tell us ‘what ought to be’.  But, like physical laws, they direct and order something, and that ‘something’ is right human behavior. 

“But, since morality does not exist physically (there are no moral atoms, or cells or genes) its Cause has to be something that exists apart from the physical world. That thing must, therefore, be above nature, i.e. supernatural. 

“The very existence of morality proves the existence of something that is beyond nature and beyond man.  Just as a design suggests a designer, moral commandments suggest a Moral Commander.  Moral laws must come from a Moral Lawgiver.  That Source is God, the One Who has revealed Himself in His Word. 

“So then, the conclusion of this argument is that whenever you appeal to morality, you are appealing to God, whether you are willing to admit it or not. You are talking about something religious, even if you think you are an atheist.” 

When we discuss the existence of God, we define Him as a perfect Being, greater than anything else which can be conceived. If God does not exist, then the very name "God" refers to an imaginary being. This makes the definition of "God" contradictory, for to be real, to be living, to have power, is greater than to be imaginary. It is clear that I cannot even discuss the word "God", by definition, if He does not exist. I have to conceive of Him as really existing in order for Him to be greater than anything else, for a God Who does not exist obviously cannot be greater than anything else.

For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?  God forbid: Let God be true, though every man were a liar.  Romans 3.4

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11.6

 

 

 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Why Do Western Women Convert to Islam?

This blog post is partly taken from an article by the same name found in http://standpointmag.co.uk/node/2940/full.

I have long wondered why women would like to be Muslims. I have looked at this question at some length; and I have learned a lot about it.
In the first place, it must be said that women are not infrequently mistreated in every culture and under the roof of various religions. The question in my mind is this: “Are women mistreated by design of any particular religion; or, is the abuse of women a cultural and personal characteristic of violent men?”

It can be said with truthfulness that many women find the Bible somewhat obscure when it comes to the role of women in society. The women who believe that find certainty in the words of the Qur’an; and they find that role description freeing. At last, they have no question of their role in marriage and in the society.
Not a few women are revolted by the gleanings of feminism in the West. They see women as exploited in advertisements where their bodies are put on display to gain attention in order to advertise everything from cigarettes to automobiles. Islam officially decries such exploitation of women. Islam openly publicizes the dictum that female modesty is a characteristic of the true Muslim woman. (Christianity proclaims this, also.)

The following are some points in the teaching of the Qur’an with references to some of the relevant verses: (The first number in a reference is to the Surah [or chapter] in which the reference is found. The second number is to the aya [verse] where the reference is found.)
 
If one reads the Qur’an, he will find some of the disadvantages of being a woman in Islam:

·       2:28   Men are to have dominance over women.
·       2:282 Two women are required to equal one man in court.
·       4:15   Women convicted of lewdness are to be confined in a house until the    day of their death.
·       4:34   Men are the protectors of women, but husbands are allowed to beat their wives “lightly” if disobedience does not stop.
A phrase frequently included in the religious training of women is, “If a man calls his wife to his bed, and she refuses, and he goes to sleep angry with her, the angels will curse her until morning."

The feminist case has been argued strongly in recent years. A growing number of Muslim women have tried to understand the culture of both the Muslim world and the Western world.

Fatna Sabah, for example, a North African sociologist, is critical of the record of traditional Islam over its attitudes to women. This is how she explains the ideal of female beauty in Islam:

“The ideal of female beauty in Islam is obedience, silence and immobility, that is inertia and passivity. These are far from being trivial characteristics, nor are they limited to women. In fact, these three attributes of female beauty are the three qualities of the believer vis-à-vis his God. The believer must dedicate his life to obeying and worshipping God and abiding by his will.

 “In the Qur’an, the believer is fashioned in the image of woman, deprived of

speech and will and committed to obedience to God. The female condition and the male condition are not different in the end to which they are directed, but in the pole around which they orbit. The lives of beings of the female sex revolve around the will of believers of the male sex.”

Fatima Mernissi, a sociologist working at the Research Institute of the

University of Rabat in Morocco, tries to explain why some recent feminist thinking represents such a threat to traditional ways of thinking in Islam:

“What happens when a woman disobeys her husband, who is the representative and embodiment of sacred authority, and of the Islamic hierarchy? A danger bell rings in the mind, for when one element of the whole structure of polarities is threatened, the entire system is threatened. A woman who rebels against her husband, for instance, is also rebelling against the umma (the Muslim community), against reason, order, and indeed, God. The rebellion of

woman is linked to individualism, not community (umma); passion, not reason; disorder, not order; lawlessness (fitna), not law.11(11)”

This is how she explains the dilemma facing many Muslim women in the modern world:

“In the struggle for survival in the Muslim world today, the Muslim community finds itself squeezed between individualistic, innovative western capitalism on the one hand, and individualistic, rebellious political oppositions within, among which the most symbolically 'loaded' is that of rebellious women.

“The common denominator between capitalism and new models of femininity is individualism and self-affirmation. Initiative is power. Women are claiming power - corroding and ultimately destroying the foundation of Muslim hierarchy, whence the violence of the reaction and the rigidity of the response.

“Femininity as a symbol of surrender has to be resisted violently if women intend to change its meaning into energy, initiative, and creative criticism.”

Christian readers will recognize the parallel tensions between both Christians and Muslims when faced with the forces of feminism.

Regardless of how academic we want to get about the pull that Islam has for women, if one looks into this question carefully, one will come to the realization that the most powerful influence Islam has over Western women is the acceptance and kindness they have received in Muslim circles. That warmth and obvious affection has not been very strong in the Christian places they have been. This oft-repeated reason for conversion should give Christians pause to consider how kind and accepting we are of others who visit our churches. It should also give Christian husbands pause to think of how kind and considerate they are (or are not) toward their wives.

It seems obvious to me that a woman who is bullied and dominated in a “Christian” home is likely to convert to Islam if she finds a Muslim husband who is kind to her.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What France Can Learn from Israel in Confronting Islamist Terror


On 15 November 2015, an article appeared in the Middle East Forum under the above title. The article was written by Gregg Roman. It can be found on the following link http://www.meforum.org/5630/what-france-can-learn-from-israel.

       I think the whole Western World could take some good advice from this article. It explains a common sense approach to the question of how to handle terrorism and how we can finally get rid of the fear that our whole civilization is going to the dogs because of the invasion of this most dangerous ideology. I believe you will be interested in this article.

 

No bird soars in a calm. Wilbur Wright

 

Ed and Nancy Manring

Monday, November 16, 2015

A World Turned Upside Down by Islamic Killers

The world has, again, been shocked to its bone marrow by the violent killing of innocent people in Paris at the hands of violent Muslim terrorists, acting at the behest of their religious penchant. They murdered 127 people and caused the hospitalization of 300 more (80 of whom are in critical condition at this time). As they were murdering people, they were heard to shout their Islamic killing theme, “Allahu akbar,” God is great! WHAT A RELIGION!!


The world has endured killing rampages carried out by so-called “Islamic extremists” ever since 9/11/2001, when they killed 3000 innocent Americans in New York. Since then, they have carried out mass murders on a train in Madrid, which took 191 lives in 2004, a killing spree in Mumbai in 2008 in which 164 people died, a killing extravaganza at the satirical publisher, Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in Paris in January 2015; and, now, an organized mass murder in various parts of Paris. Saying all this ignores the mass casualties inflicted in the various wars precipitated by this religiously stimulated war in the Middle East.


These senseless attacks are becoming progressively sophisticated. This latest attack was not preceded by suspicious social media chatter, which was being carefully monitored by the French intelligence agency. This attack came literally out of the blue to an unsuspecting nation.


If we, in America, think this kind of attack will never come to our shores, I believe we are sadly mistaken. The response to the foreign attacks meted out by our feckless President and his followers is to offer sympathy and empty threats of retribution. No thought of military response ever comes from President Obama. He apparently thinks that wishing nothing more will happen is enough.

Mass killings and shootings seem to happen most frequently in schools, churches, at athletic events, and at any time and place where large crowds congregate.

It is my personal opinion that if the attendees at the various venues where all the killing took place had been armed with some handguns distributed through the crowd, perhaps the gunmen could have been cut down before mass casualties were incurred. However, in France, handgun possession is much more limited; and not everyone can qualify for concealed carry permits.
 
For my own part, I try to take my legal concealed handgun wherever I go. I think more people should protect themselves and their loved ones by doing the same. This is a very dangerous world we are trying to live in.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Free Speech Is In Real Danger at MIZZOU!

I’m sure most of the people in America are aware of the threat to free speech at United States universities. Also, there still is an attitude of racism that is all too prevalent. But…the “dialog” is dangerously threatening the exercise of free speech.

A good editorial has been written in the New York Times expressing the idea that even though differences exist between the political left and right, there is a need for reinstituting a spirit of listening in an understanding way to opposing views. I recommend that we, Americans, read that editorial, “MIZZOU, Yale, and Free Speech,” http://nyti.ms/1kOWJBY. There is a book that pertains strongly to this discussion—Jonathan Haidt’s book, “The Righteous Mind.” In that book, Mr. Haidt shows the differences between the thinking of the liberal and the conservative; the book promotes a spirit of listening to the other side of a lively debate without hating one another.

There is also another problem that is being caused by uproar over social issues on American campuses—that is the loss of educational activity it spawns. In the 1960’s when the uproar over political views and the Viet Nam war were raging at the Berkeley campus of the University of California, I was very happy that I was a student at Colorado A&M. At least there, I could study and learn without wasting my time protesting.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Disparate Impact—A Weapon of the Feds

The Federal government is fond of using “disparate impact” as an excuse for taking authority and decision-making away from states and municipalities in the name of political correctness and with the goal of increasing the strangle hold it has on those lesser polities.

The concept of disparate impact (unequal or incongruent effect) is the idea that some rules and regulations agreed upon by local government agencies cause undue harm and personal intrusion to various ethnic, economic, and religious groups.

In order to undo these intrusions, the Feds use the judicial organization to declare these rules (unacceptable to the Federal government) unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment (the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution) because of the disparate impact the rules have on the target ethnic or religious group.

Examples of use of the disparate impact concept include the laws passed by states for voter identification, various zoning laws, employment, and housing regulations. The Feds often claim that regulations in these areas discriminate unfairly and disproportionately against persons or groups in certain protected classes. These classes of people include people with characteristics of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, and other traits, as well.  

All this disparate impact policy seems good and fair; but…the concept is being greatly overused. Of course, we must all remember that part of the function of the Supreme Court and the lesser courts of the land is to see that minority groups do not suffer the loss of their legitimate civil rights at the hands of an uncaring, selfish, and inconsiderate, majority. Nevertheless, I feel that MY rights and privileges are being disparately impacted by a “politically correct” judicial system that is seeing the concept of disparate impact as a tool to advance the pet schemes of a far-left, liberal, group of elite power managers and people-planners. I think that the principle of majority rule in our supposedly democratic society should have some impact of its own.

One example of a place where I strongly believe the idea of “disparate impact” has been abused is in the situation involving voter identification laws. I believe that photo-ID and other measures to ensure voter identification works no “disparate impact” on anyone. All legitimate voters in the United States can obtain state-issued ID cards without any difficulty. To declare that minority people cannot obtain ID cards easily is not true. I strongly suspect that those who would oppose voter ID laws are those who would like to have many Latino votes, even if those votes were cast by ineligible voters.

Another area where the idea of “disparate impact” has been abused is in the situation of same-sex marriage. If same-sex people want to live together, then, they can do so. But, to denigrate the time-tested institution of marriage because of the wishes of a very small minority of Americans is just foolish and extremely unfair to a large majority of us who revere marriage as the cornerstone of a healthy society.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

How to Pick Out a President



My wife, Nancy, is a guest writer on this blog.
We should not pick a President on the following characteristics:
 
v  A sense of humor and a likeable smile. (Remember we did that last time.)

v  Arrogance and pride are not good qualities in a president. Those qualities lead to bad decisions.

v  A candidate whose plans are so broad they have no specific thoughts. Did we ever ask what change Obama would bring or what hope?

v  A candidate who would lead us down a dark path such as socialism. We went down that path with Marx about 100 years ago.  Lenin and Stalin who championed that path brought death and poverty to their people. Stalin killed an estimated 10,000,000 people.

What to look for:
v  A candidate should be one who tells the truth, not one who is a known liar or makes promises so big that what they say cannot possibly happen. (Al Gore said he invented the internet and was going to cure cancer during his presidency.)

v  A candidate should be one who can get along with other people, because, when president, he/she will need to work with Congress and other politicians. It is beneficial to the whole nation for the leader to be able to consider other people’s views.

v  A candidate should be one who has specific plans for his/her presidency, and who has some administrative experience of how to get it done.  He/she should have a plan on how to apply it.

v  A candidate should knows what the real issues are and where our danger or strength lies.

v  Most important: a candidate should know God and be willing lead us into godly ways, because our most recent path has been toward sin and evil.