Feminists Have Succeeded in Becoming The Men They Hated

Wow.

I am not a Catholic but have appreciated some of the observations I find at “First Things.”  The author of this article, “If Women Ran The World,” eloquently describes some of the most destructive elements of feminism today.  And she does it by sharing their own words.  The whole article is worth reading.

From time to time when I comment on feminist ideas, someone reminds me that that the particular view in question doesn’t represent all feminists.  Fair enough. But there are too many permutations for me to keep it straight. So I won’t dare suggest that this represents all feminists.

Here is what is clear to me. First, many of the most prominent feminist voices in journalism and politics today (like the one quoted below) represent destructive ideas that do not represent mainstream thinking. Second, they do not represent the ideas of feminists from a previous age. They wanted respect and equality. They condemned the bad behavior of men in a specific way. But they didn’t want to imitate it.

Elizabeth Scalia quotes a significant feminist voice:

“Writing for The Atlantic in September of 2012, Hanna Rosin argued that the “hookup culture” so prevalent on college campuses and in the lives of young adults is “an engine of female progress—one being harnessed and driven by women themselves.” She wrote:

‘To put it crudely, feminist progress right now largely depends on the existence of the hookup culture. And to a surprising degree, it is women not men—who are perpetuating the culture, especially in school, cannily manipulating it to make space for their success, always keeping their own ends in mind. For college girls these days, an overly serious suitor fills the same role an accidental pregnancy did in the 19th century: a danger to be avoided at all costs, lest it get in the way of a promising future.’

In other words, women have succeeded in becoming the men they hated.”

Source: If Women Ran the World | Elizabeth Scalia | First Things

C.S. Lewis Was a Secret Government Agent

A CS Lewis Scholar recently found an unknown vinyl record of a CS Lewis radio broadcast for sale on eBay. The record has several of his lectures that were broadcast to Iceland. The British invaded Iceland during WWII to prevent the Nazi’s from gaining the upper hand in the North Atlantic. Lewis’ role was to try to further the peace between the British and the people of Iceland via literature. A fascinating episode of history.

“How Lewis came to be recruited and by whom remains a secret. The records of the Secret Intelligence Service, known popularly as MI6, remain closed. Perhaps one of his former pupils at Oxford recommended him for his mission. It was an unusual mission for which few people were suited. J. R. R. Tolkien had the knowledge base for the job, even beyond that of Lewis, but Tolkien lacked other skills that Lewis possessed. Perhaps someone had heard Lewis lecture on his favorite subject in one of the two great lecture halls in the Examination Schools building of Oxford University. At a time when Oxford fellows were notorious for the poor quality of their public lectures, Lewis packed the hall with an audience of students who were not required to attend lectures. In the 1930s, Lewis was the best show in town. Somehow Lewis had developed the skill to speak to an audience and hold them in rapt attention, in spite of his academic training rather than because of it.”

Source: C.S. Lewis Was a Secret Government Agent | Christianity Today

A Secular Defense of REAL Faith

 

Beware – I would say to believers – the patronage of unbelievers

bible-pic-for-fb

This author rails against the notion that because faith has social benefits, believers shouldn’t worry about the truth of what they believe. While I disagree on many points, I appreciate his candor. He warns us against unbelievers speaking glibly about the social benefits of religion without addressing the truth of the claims. And even though this may feel good, believers should beware of it as well. Useful lies are still lies. And truth is truth even if it doesn’t appear victorious in the moment.

“One of the reasons we can be pretty sure Jesus actually existed is that if He had not, the Church would never have invented Him. He stands so passionately, resolutely and inconveniently against everything an established church stands for. Continuity? Tradition? Christ had nothing to do with stability. He came to break up families, to smash routines, to cast aside the human superstructures, to teach abandonment of earthly concerns and a throwing of ourselves upon God’s mercy.”

And again

“As I get older the sharpness of my faculties begins to dull. But what I will not do is sink into a mellow blur of acceptance of the things I railed against in my youth. ‘Familiar’ be damned. ‘Comforting’ be damned. ‘Useful’ be damned. Is it true? — that is the question. It was the question when I was 12 and the question when I was 22. Forty years later it is still the question. It is the only question.”

 

Source: Beware – I would say to believers – the patronage of unbelievers | The Spectator

The Power of Conscience

Kronk

We all have an inner voice with a moral bent. It talks to us and we talk back, usually in our heads but sometimes out loud. The Bible calls this conscience. Here is an example of this conversation from a bizarre story that is stranger than fiction. It is from a Forbes article documenting how the uber rich do not escape the hardships of life.

“One of the strangest and disturbing tragedies involves a billionaire heir, Robert Durst who was arrested in 2015, after implicating himself in the suspected murders of three people in HBO’s documentary “The Jinx.” Durst, who is a member of the New York real estate family worth $4.4 billion, had long been suspected to have killed his first wife Kathleen, who went missing in 1982. After leaving an on-camera interview for the documentary, his lapel microphone was still on, and Durst said to himself: “What the hell did I do? Killed ’em all, of course.” And humiliated a family that once had the world in their palm.”

Romans 2:14-15 “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. 15 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…”

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001. Print.

Source: Aubrey McClendon’s Sad Death And 8 Other Tragic Stories Involving The Super Rich – Forbes

Relativism and the Double Standard

double standard

I had an epiphany yesterday. Almost every time someone announces that there are no rules, they are getting ready to tell the world how to behave. Usually they are about to tell me why it is WRONG for anyone to criticize them for their choices because of course the rules are relative.

If you pay close attention, the person who says that there are no rules (or morals) almost always means there are no rules for them.  It is the parlor trick played by tolerance magicians everywhere.  They don’t like the morality that says their behavior is wrong. But they do have a long list of things that others must not do. They don’t call them rules or morals. They usually get tagged as justice, decency, or love. But a rule by any other name is still a rule.

And every human society has rules for conduct. Call them mores, norms, or whatever. Human beings all have behavior codes and we enforce them in social ways. Making judgments about the behavior of other people is one of the things that we do constantly.  So, when a person insists it is wrong to ever make judgments about other people, they are making the broadest condemnation possible.

Ironically they are making a case that it is wrong to make moral judgments, while making moral judgments.

This brand of hypocrisy is endemic to western society: A generation of people telling others how to live while insisting it is immoral for others to tell them how to live.

The Blind Condemning The Blind

The Blind Condeming The Blind FB

It is common to look on other cultures, and especially past generations with some disdain. This is almost a requirement for anyone who thinks of themselves as a “modern” person.  We see their flaws so clearly, and congratulate ourselves for our clear vision in areas where they were so blind. How could they have missed it?

But to a thoughtful observer, this experience should be a little terrifying. What if I am not so very different from those barbarians? What if history repeats itself? What if my children will have the same critical thoughts about me that I have about my parents and grandparents? What if my own bias makes me blind to my own moral failings? And above all, what if God sees it all very clearly? Then what?

This was the argument of the Apostle Paul in Romans Chapter 2. He said, “you who condemn another do you not condemn yourself?”  It is too easy to limit the idea of condemnation to moralists.  Our generation readily condemns those guilty of greed, racism, environmental irresponsibility, sexism, etc.  And we do this most readily when looking at past generations. But when we make these kinds of judgments we are unwittingly conceding that there is a standard that transcends generations and cultures. That there is a standard that is not relative, and that applies even when we don’t see it or know it.  And when we are honest, we will have to admit that this law stands over us as well.

CS Lewis ruminated on this 75 years ago:

“If, then, you are ever tempted to think that we modern Western Europeans cannot really be so very bad because we are, comparatively speaking, humane—if, in other words, you think God might be content with us on that ground—ask yourself whether you think God ought to have been content with the cruelty of cruel ages because they excelled in courage or chastity. You will see at once that this is an impossibility. From considering how the cruelty of our ancestors looks to us, you may get some inkling how our softness, worldliness, and timidity would have looked to them, and hence how both must look to God.”

-CS Lewis, from “The Problem of Pain”

Altered photo used by permission from troita_<><  Some Rights Reserved

A Tragic Irony Within The San Bernardino Shootings. You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

Several news outlets are posting memorial information about the victims of the cowardly murders in San Bernardino this week.  They are difficult to read, but worth the time, and help us to remember the human side of this tragedy. My heart breaks for these families.

I read this one and couldn’t get past the painful irony that is in the background of this man’s story.  Some in the media are working hard to overlook or minimize threads like this in favor of other narratives.

One of the victims was Nicholas Thalasinos:

“Thalasinos, who had been working as a health inspector, had a growth removed from his head just four days before being killed in the shooting, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“He had an incredibly good work ethic,” Ed Beck, the husband of one of his former colleagues, said. “The job of a sanitary inspector is certainly not the most glamorous of professions. He was passionate about it. He wanted to make sure people were safe.”

He has two adult sons.

“I want answers and I want them now, because now, it’s personal!” wrote friend Yael Zarfi-Markovich on Facebook.

He was a Messianic Jew who often defended Israel. According to the AP News Agency, he had got into a heated discussion with Farook [one of the shooters who was a radicalized jihadist] about whether Islam was a peaceful religion while working a few weeks ago.” (emphasis added)

Source: San Bernardino shooting: Who are the victims? – BBC News

Duty to Die: Author Says Too Few People in Oregon are Requesting Assisted Suicide

being mortal

How about this for piling on.

Here are my brief thoughts about someone else’s article. That article is kind of a review of a book review.  More like a response. And I just happened to finish that book, and I really enjoyed it. The book is called, “On Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande the Harvard trained surgeon who has produced a number of good books in the last decade. I have read them all 🙂

Anyway, Gawande’s book is about aging and dying and how the healthcare system has not done a very good job in actually helping people live better lives during the last phase of their journey. He spends a few pages talking about assisted suicide, and I would disagree with what he says (he thinks it is OK under some circumstances). But regardless of your position, he makes what I think is a compelling point. In America, and other countries, we are making huge strides in palliative care and hospice services.  And contrary to popular conception, those treatment modalities are not about helping people die as much as to live as well as they can during those difficult days.  People with painful and  incurable diseases are choosing to live out their days with family and finding more dignity than they knew was possible. And it is worth mentioning that how we live when we are dying is an important part of the human journey. How the story ends is truly important.

But it seems that in the Netherlands, the availability of assisted suicide has become the quick fix that has railroaded more promising alternatives. Rather than developing health care systems that can help people live full lives to the end, they have opted instead for something more sinister in the name of “dignity.”  Here is a quote from Gawande’s book, ”

 “I fear what happens when we expand the terrain of medical practice to include actively assisting people with speeding their death. I am less worried about abuse of these powers than I am about dependence on them.”

“The implication is that we might begin to substitute assisted dying for palliative care and hospice. He points to the experience in the Netherlands, where he says the fact that “one in thirty-five Dutch people sought assisted suicide at their death is not a measure of success. It is a measure of failure.”

The author of the article at LifeNews.com, Wesley Smith J.D. makes a point that is even more disturbing. Marcia Angell, an author who is an advocate for assisted suicide, has been quoted as saying, “I am concerned that too few people are requesting it. It seems to me that more would do it. The purpose of a law is to be used not to sit there on the books.”

Is this debate about presenting options that people want, or imposing your choice on others?

Source: Duty to Die: Author Says Too Few People in Oregon are Requesting Assisted Suicide | LifeNews.com

A Worthwhile Documentary on Netflix: The Green Prince (2014) – IMDb

I have an interest in international affairs and understanding how intelligence agencies do their work. So I was taken in by the description of the film on this list of 50 best documentaries on Netflix. I also watched Happy Valley about the Penn State Child Abuse scandal. That is worth watching as well if you like the cultural side of football.

Last night we watched the documentary “The Green Prince” which is currently available to stream on Netflix. The show is mostly the dialogue of 2 individuals: The son of the leader of Hamas who became an informant for Israeli intelligence, and his Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security agency, something like our FBI) handler. The dialogue is peppered with photos, video footage, and news stories concerning the events. It won a ton of awards, and for good reason. It is a fascinating first hand look into the world of the Palestinian struggle and the intelligence world behind it.

Source: The Green Prince (2014) – IMDb

Why Does It Take So Long to Say We Are Sorry?

Why does it take so long to say that we are sorry? To acknowledge wrong doing and ask for pardon? Why do whole societies refused to acknowledge their past injustices and thereby turn them into present evils? Why do onlookers stand by, becoming complicit by their silence and inaction? Why are we more afraid of the loss of money, influence, and political good will than we are for the cancer of cowardice that grows inside when we stand by in silence?

Armenian Memorial

I just attended an important event at the Armenian Genocide memorial at Fresno State.  It was very moving to me. My eyes were filled with tears. I am sad to say that before moving to Fresno in 2009 I hadn’t even heard of this event. But many Armenian friends have shared the history and even personal accounts from their families.  Oddly enough, I had tears in part because of the great injustice, but they were also tears of joy because an evangelical Turkish pastor had come to continue a process of reconciliation and healing. Even though others would not acknowledge the genocide, he was there to acknowledge, apologize, and seek reconciliation among brothers in Christ. It was a beautiful event. It was a miracle a century in the making.

This year is the 100th anniversary of this great evil, and still the government of Turkey and many others refuse to acknowledge that it even happened, let alone to apologize.  My own president and government have refused to make a simple statement using that “G” word.  And it is strange because the U.S. Doesn’t even need to apologize as the perpetrators of what happened in 1915. We don’t need to acknowledge that WE did it.  We just need to acknowledge that someone else did a great crime. But so far, we won’t. But I am hopeful that this will change.

Armenians_marched_by_Turkish_soldiers,_1915
Armenians marched by Turkish soldiers in 1915

 

When we refuse to call evil exactly what it is, we give it power.  Others may be emboldened to repeat similar acts with a sense of impunity. It was only 24 years after the great outbreak of the genocide in 1915 that Hitler acknowledged it, but in a sinister way. He said, “who, after all speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians.”  He was posturing for the annihilation of the Jews, and he viewed this as the trial run.  The worldwide silence on this issue, the failure of other nations to intervene or even “remember” what happened while the events were still fresh in memory had implications. It inspired Hitler. It made him feel that he could not only repeat these acts, but that he could get away with it. He interpreted the silence and concluded hat this group of people were so despised that the world would be better off for their destruction. Such are the depraved justifications of mad men.

But why would it take so long for a nation like ours, one so entangled in its own quest for social justice, to even call this event what it is?

There are many answers, but none of them will can bear the weight of our silence.  What does matter is that now we have become part of the problem, we have refused to leave the great stream of indifference that flows through history.  Even while we pat ourselves on the back for our moral progress.  Now, even though we weren’t the perpetrators we need to apologize for failing to act, and failing to offer the simple gesture of words. We must ask forgiveness for our unwillingness to pay the price for speaking the truth. And we must acknowledge that it took us far too long to do it.