“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult, and left untried.” – G.K.Chesterton
Today I watched the news. Yesterday I watched the news. Tomorrow I will watch the news. I’ll go to Facebook and read a multitude of funny statuses, I’ll watch a viral video of a dog refusing to get into a bath, or see a photo of the sunset that someone took with their camera while relaxing on a deck, cup filled with rum and coke. I’ll see Christmas celebrations, political cartoons, and someone will post about having a cold. I’ll know that the flu is going around, and that my old coworker had a date last night. I’ll see that over 100 children were mercilessly slaughtered in Pakistan so that the gunmen who took their lives without care could earn paradise and virgins after death, and below that, I’ll find a recipe for a Christmas cookie that is sure to blow the minds of all the guests at my next Christmas party. On Instagram I’ll see what Amy made for dinner, and what Jason’s new sunglasses look like. I’ll know that with only 3 ingredients I can make a cake in a mug that is sure to curb my craving for sweets, and I’ll know that JcPenney’s is selling the most adorable scarves. Somewhere in this mix I’ll see the casket of a soldier pulled off a plane, while a wife drapes herself over a flag, and if I scroll further down I’ll find that weight loss photo from Christy, and she’ll tell us the secrets to her success. On Twitter I’ll be told that the Government is warning against eating raw cookie dough, and that kids are unhappy with school lunches. I’ll learn that 4 little boys were beheaded by terrorists, and that the chemicals in my hand soap could lead to cancer. I’ll find that I can lose 5 pounds in a month if I drink 2 liters of water every day, and that my state may run out of salt for the roads. I’ll scroll past the face of someone killed on the street, and I’ll click on a link that shows us what a child would look like if her parents were Tom Hiddleston and Jennifer Aniston. I’ll take a test to see what color my personality is, and behind the little pop-up containing my questions I’ll see the number of women and children who are trapped like animals in the sex trade industry. I’ll go to a Christian Christmas celebration and I’ll listen to women and men discuss cookies, their children, and how good God is to them, and in the time it takes them to tell me how God has blessed their family, where their daughter goes to school, and how they like to spend their weekends, a child’s life will be obliterated in a womb somewhere in my own country, a daughter, maybe my age, will be raped in the Middle East because she is a sex slave, or maybe a young black man in Chicago will be killed, and I’ll never learn their names.
“Is life not full of opportunities for learning love? Every man and woman every day has a thousand of them. The world is not a playground; it is a schoolroom. Life is not a holiday, but an education. And the one eternal lesson for us all is how better we can love.” – Henry Drummond
I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit scrolling through the void and the empty. I enjoy moments of light hearted discussion, funny statuses, and the levity of everyday life. My family laughs, we laugh all the time, and I’m thankful for this gift, but as I look around this world as 2014 comes to an end, I see so much pain, and I see Christians sitting on the sidelines, or in many cases, just adding to the pain. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying life and the blessings we have been granted, but in our happiness, our heart must break for those mourning. I read a story about a girl who was burned alive, and the world was sickened. Days later we find that she dated a gang member, and the sickened responses changed into opinions of responsibility on her part for dating a gang member. She may have been hanging around the wrong crowd, but is her life somehow less valuable because of such a choice? It’s as though upon learning who her friends were will make her bed less empty, or her parents less broken. Is she less worthy of a post on your wall because of her dating history? I just keep asking myself, “when will we care again?” When will we begin to see the life behind the story? When will we shake with revolt at injustice? When will we see an unborn child, and not a problem? When will we see a daughter, and not a statistic? When will we see a father, and not some aged criminal selling loose cigarettes? When will we see people as Christ sees them? When will we see a son, and not a gang member? When will we see a child desperately wanted by God, and not just a recruited 8 year-old in the Middle East wielding a gun? In the same way that the left should see a brother, and not just a soldier. A father, and not just an ambassador that became collateral damage. A son, and not just a border patrol agent who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
That’s not to say that justice should not be served. We can seek justice, and still feel heartbreak when it is fulfilled. When we no longer feel heartbreak, we are the ones in need of the heavy hand of justice. I see jokes online about human life that was lost and it makes me angry, I see people that try to belittle a life so that they can bolster another person or sell a t-shirt, and it makes me angry. I see people disregarding human life and then posting a bible verse, and I honestly don’t know what to say.
My prayer is that in 2015 we find a way back to who we are as Christians. That we find value in every life, or what that life could have been in a better world, even if that life is lost in a justifiable manner. I pray that we see that each life, regardless of what they wear, where they live, and what crimes they have committed, was formed by our creator. While their end may be justified, our response is not. Evil will always exist, but we can stop feeding it by allowing ourselves to be desensitized, we can stop feeding it by taming our egos, we can stop feeding it by ending our hunger for power. That doesn’t mean we let injustice go without punishment, it means that we enter all debates facing our country with a heart that desperately wishes that life was not lost, if we did so, jokes would be out of the question. A human life is not a punchline or a one-liner for our t-shirt. That doesn’t mean that we can’t share our favorite recipes on Facebook, but it does mean that we should stop and reflect on the pain and ask ourselves what we can do to help. How can I be a voice for this woman, man, or child. How can I attribute value to this life before I scroll down to see the cartoon my friend posted? How can I look at this from a different perspective? It means starting the base of your opinion first on what Christ would be concerned with, the life, and build our opinions from there, not on our preferred hero, or our assigned winner. Always remembering that a life with a future, a life that could have been lived for Him, a life that He found value in, was lost.
“Truth demands confrontation; loving confrontation, but confrontation nevertheless.” – Francis Schaeffer
Basically, Christians, we can do better. We can love better. We can be better at being His face to the world, and that might mean giving up your fandom, it might mean losing likes on Facebook. Last week it hit me that I can get a multitude of likes for a one-liner about Hillary Clinton, while a status about Eric Garner or beheaded children in the Middle East goes unnoticed. We can do better than that. It doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy statuses about Hillary, it just means that we shouldn’t shield ourselves from something that we don’t want to hear or read. It means that degrading a life, or ignoring an injustice because you don’t have a partiality towards the victim, can’t be fixed by a status about your blessings, and a bible verse that serves as no more than a cherry on top of your blessed sundae.
Merry Christmas, and may your Holiday be filled with the warmth and love of a God that sees worth in all of His creations. May our hearts be molded to be more like His, and less like the world’s. May we see people through His eyes, void of labels. May our hearts break for what breaks His.
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.” – Winston Churchill
Every year in December we all start making goals in our heads: Lose 20 pounds, walk more, gym memberships, new cars, buy a house, etc. and rarely do any of us actually stick to our grand plans. So, I have a resolution to propose, one that we could all use, and one that will greatly benefit our fellow man.
That’s it! No gimmicks, no memberships, and nothing out of your pocket, but it might be the hardest thing you’ve ever done. It might challenge you, it demands that you remember what your Faith stands for, what your convictions stand for, and it means you have to question where your allegiance should lie. We have become reactionary, and not reasonable. Passive, and not compassionate. Quick to defend, slow to mourn.
Years ago I watched as someone on a show trained one of their dogs to respond to clicker training. Upon hearing the sound, her dog would respond by doing whatever her master requested of her, and immediately she would be rewarded. At first she questioned it, she was confused, but eventually the response was automatic. Eventually she would respond with or without a reward, because it had become chiseled into her mind that upon the “click” she needed to heed the request of her owner.
In this post, I’ll show you how we are all just a bunch of clicker trained dogs. That’s what this is all about, not just the actions of our government, but the reactions of the people. I’m going to touch on multiple topics, today’s blog is my alphabet soup of opinions, and I’ll probably say enough to offend everyone at least once. Fingers crossed.
This week two large, news worthy topics took center stage: Gruber was questioned about admitting to the fact that the architects of the ACA lied to the people in order to pass a bill that harmed the people. Then arrived the – suspiciously timed – release of the Senate report that detailed CIA interrogation tactics. Last week Ferguson was still in the news, followed by the news about Garner, pouring gasoline on an already thriving fire. It seems as though it is one thing after the other, and very few people have been rational.
Issue #1: CIA Interrogation Tactics
I’ll go ahead and rip this band-aid off first. I was challenged by a post that I read by Matt Walsh. He made an incredibly good point concerning the release of the Senate report, and by “Senate report,” I mean Democrat Senate opinion report. I digress, the point was, if we are going to say we have the moral high ground, we should stand by it. This is something I need to think about when it comes to torture. I’ve never lost sleep over the idea of water boarding a man who would murder my family without a care, but at the same time, can I justify calling America the moral high ground when “rectal rehydration” and “hypothermia” are practices we use on our enemies? Like I said, this is something I need to mull over. This is not to say that the report should have even been released, but it was, so I’ll think it over.
I believe that torture has the potential to save lives, I’ve held that position for quite a while, and will probably continue to do so, regardless of what the “findings” say. The report was written by Democrats, by cherry picking through 6 million documents, and they didn’t interview anyone with the CIA. Personally, I don’t want to hear the bleeding hearts on the left preaching about the suffering of terrorists. I noticed that there were a few practices that we don’t use. For example, we don’t behead them, we don’t fly planes into their buildings and force their innocent family members to burn alive or jump to their death, we don’t steal, rape, torture, and behead their women and children, etc. So my questioning has nothing to do with whether they deserve it, but rather who we wish to be as a country, and what techniques we want to put our stamp of approval on. Let’s all be honest, the level of care that a terrorist deserves would probably be something worse than what Jack Bauer could deliver while armed with a towel, hack saw, and table lamp.
Democrats: “Those poor terrorists!”
Republicans: “Yeah, those poor tortures, beheaders, rapists, and child slaughterers. Give me a break.”
While I might agree with the Republican viewpoint, I have to mull over who we are, not just what they deserve. For example: I’ve studied Calvinism vs. Arminianism (I don’t align with either), but I always hear the same thing from the New Calvinist perspective, “But we ALL deserve hell, Marybeth, so it’s not unfair to say that God made some people with no hope.” My reply has always been, “It’s not about what we deserve, it’s about what He promised.” I see interrogation tactics as the same type of issue, it’s not all about what they deserve, it’s about what we stand for. Put a bullet in their head, I’m not going to lose sleep when the terrorist that looked into the face of a child while he took off their head loses his life. It’s not about how evil he is, it’s about how good we claim to be.
That said, CIA, playing a Janeane Garofalo audiobook as torture? You’ve gone too far.
Like I said, my mind is not made up by any stretch of the imagination, but I am willing to think outside of the box. I’m willing to question the response I’m supposed to give upon hearing the “click.” I love having my position challenged, we all should, and that’s the reason for this post. We have become accustomed to spitting out a canned response before thinking. We hear a news report, a certain politician we support, a tagline, etc. and we don’t even take the time to think through our convictions and responses, we just go dig out that over baked one-liner, or that thoughtless opinion, and throw it back at the world. We become one huge food fight, where nobody even cares what the fight is about, they just want to defend their own.
Issue #2: Gruber & The Really Stupid Voters
Someday that will be a movie title. What can we all take away from this? The Democrats in charge do not care who they hurt. Their reactions are not based off of logic, but are instead based off of defending their own side. They don’t care if you lost your insurance, they don’t care if your Grandparent was denied chemo, they don’t care if you can’t afford groceries AND healthcare at the same time. They don’t care. They care that they were caught, but they don’t care about what this bill has done to families across America. When questioning Gruber, Trey Gowdy dropped the mic, threw down the gauntlet, and made Gruber wish he was never born, and every Conservative cheered and fist bumped over the much needed take down. Rightly so. But I think Issa won the show with a very important question to Gruber, one that I believe was widely overlooked by both Liberals and Conservatives. Issa asked Gruber if anyone at any of the events he spoke at (vast majority, if not all, were democrats) ever stopped Gruber to say, more or less, “Wait a second! You’re openly calling those that vote for our agenda ‘stupid?’” Of course Issa worded it differently, but the point was made, and Gruber said that he had not been corrected by anyone. That, to me, speaks wonders. This wasn’t just an opinion by an MIT Professor going off the rails, this was more than likely the opinion of the room, and anyone who felt differently and didn’t speak out concerning such a detrimental topic to the American people, is nothing but a coward. Period.
Let’s just take a moment here to pretend that the President didn’t know and agree with Gruber’s opinion of the average Democrat voter. Okay. Moment over.
The immediate response is not anger over the lies, as it should be, it is simply anger over the fact that this was made public knowledge. Do you see how heartbreaking that is? We as Conservatives shouldn’t just be attacking Gruber, we should be asking Democrats why they betrayed their own people, why they lied to their own voters. Gruber doesn’t need to apologize to us, he wasn’t talking about our stupidity, we didn’t vote for the bill, but the average Democrat voter did, and we should be using this opportunity to show them as such.
The world we live in today is fogged by our own lack of compassion, we have been thoughtless about choosing our allegiance, and both sides of the fence have failed the people, as well as law enforcement, and our moral compass. We have put individuals in power that have hurt our neighbors, just for the sake of padding our own pockets.
Issues #3&4: Michael Brown & Eric Garner:
Concerning my comments above about immediately choosing allegiance, immediately upon hearing that Michael Brown was killed, the majority of responses were similar to those listed below:
“I’m sure the police officer felt his life was in danger, this kid was probably causing trouble.”
“Hmmmm…Black kid, white cop. Explains everything.”
Days later Darren Wilson had a support page, and the responses changed to this:
“Brown was a criminal, a thug, and didn’t respect authority. #ISupportDarrenWilson”
“Brown was an unarmed black child!!! #BlackLivesMatter.”
No one was in their right mind. No one. Those who right off the cuff supported the officer without having facts just seemed, well, cold. Plus, now everyone knows that you are going to support someone with a badge, with or without facts, and with or without cause. That’s called a gang mentality, friends. Those that immediately jumped to preach on race did nothing but follow the path laid out by the media and an incredibly corrupt Government. So what was the right response? Well, in my opinion, it would have been something like this:
“Wow, heartbreaking news about a guy that lost his life. Praying for all involved, and that the truth, no matter who it benefits, prevails.”
That statement doesn’t condemn anyone, it doesn’t defend anyone. But see, we’ve lost compassion, and as soon as the “click” takes place, we all jump to our own side and defend whichever person we hope is innocent. Basically, we are well trained. Recklessly we pledge our allegiance, not realizing that there isn’t a side to choose. Unfortunately, this happened with Garner as well, and both cases give us the opportunity to see both sides of a horrific coin. In the Brown case we find that Brown’s death, while tragic, was because he gave the officer a legitimate need for self-defense. In the Garner case we find that he should have never been killed, and that the police overused their power.
There is no side to win, and I don’t understand why people don’t grasp such a horrid reality. 2 men are dead. The declaration of innocence in the Wilson case is only justified because the facts were foggy, and the witnesses were conflicting. The majority said that Brown was attacking Wilson, and this gives Wilson the right to exercise self-defense. The Garner case, however, was an entirely different story.
If you are friends with me on Facebook, or you have read my Twitter, you’ll find that I didn’t reference the previous acts of Michael Brown, nor the “thug” mentality that everyone was touting. Why? Because it was irrelevant in my mind. Just like the emotional declarations of dedication from the Wilson followers, and the Police apologists who step over bodies just to defend a badge. I also didn’t base my opinions on the Eric Garner situation on whether or not he had a clean record, or had been arrest 436 different times. I didn’t, and don’t, care. None of it matters.
Last week I once again watched the video of Eric Garner, for what I would guess was the 8th time. It didn’t get any easier to watch, but I kept watching because I honestly wanted to see if I had missed something, I wanted to make sure that I had come to the right conclusion. Each time that I heard him say “I can’t breathe,” my heart broke a little more, and I can honestly say that I cried each time. Then I saw him lying there in the second video, and as the cops did not do anything to assist Garner, other than tap his shoulder and talk to him while he was unresponsive, I questioned what had happened to my country. As Pentaleo waved to the camera like a child while this man lay dying on a gurney, my stomach turned in revolt.
So today, with every bit of disdain that I have for this entire debacle, I’m going to debunk not only the worst excuses that I’ve read, but I’m also going to discuss why the past of Michael Brown and Eric Garner are irrelevant to the discussion, and once again note why we have become a nation of automatic responses with little regard for life. In addition, I’m going to chat about the false narrative that is the race issue.
“Well, don’t break the law and you won’t die.”
Not only is it sad that this is the first defense that most people fly to, it’s also incredibly stupid. Not the kind of stupid that people should have to call you out on, but the kind of stupid that calls for immediate realization and regret. That’s the kind of thing you say and then 5 minutes later think, “Man, that was really stupid.” Not something that the rest of the country should pick up and race around the podium of badges like it’s the most logical sentence proclaimed since Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. It’s stupid, and if you said that, you should be horribly and deeply ashamed of yourself. Notice, I’m not calling you stupid, I’m calling that statement stupid. Beyond that, if you said that before saying ANYTHING else about the human being that lost his life, you should really evaluate your soul. Not in a, “Hmmm…I wonder if that was hasty” sort of way, but more in a “Hmmm…I wonder if I’m desensitized” sort of way.
Let’s break down the issue here:
The death penalty is different in each state, but the main reason it is used is for premeditated murder. In some states, treason, kidnapping, trafficking, espionage, rape of a child, etc. are also listed as reasons, but those are not widely known reasons since the vast majority of the time we hear of someone on death row, it is for premeditated murder. It’s your butchers, your serial rapists/killers, it’s the parasites of society that prey on the innocent, the monsters that give the horror film industry their wild ideas, the father of six selling loose cigarettes on the street.
This is why the past transgressions of Michael Brown and Eric Garner are irrelevant. Michael Brown was killed in self-defense, and I support the right we have to protect ourselves. If someone breaks into my house, I’m not aiming to wound, I’ll leave it at that. They pose a direct threat, and I am in fear for my life. If you believe that any cop in the Eric Garner case feared for their life, I have a farm in Kentucky that I’d like to sell you. See, Michael Brown’s past was irrelevant to me because I KNOW that people can change, and I pray that they give up a life of crime and be productive members of society, that they find peace. While I hope they are held accountable, I would never say that the death penalty is optional for the crime of being a cigar stealing thug. What matters in the Ferguson case is that Michael Brown went after a police officer, another human being, and that person defended their life. That is what matters to me. How saggy Brown’s pants were does not matter. What matters is that Wilson, badge or no badge, had a right to defend his life.
When you justify manslaughter by saying that he simply shouldn’t have committed a crime, you automatically make the death penalty a logical choice for EVERY crime. Resisting arrest is NOT punishable by death. Period. So stop using that incredibly stupid tagline. If you attack a cop while resisting arrest, then you might have a case.
“I stand in solidarity with the protesters! Because I’m against a police state.”
Since when is burning down buildings a way to lessen the police state? Actually, you’re just giving people a reason, or at least they think it’s a reason, to support a police state, or what they don’t think will turn into a police state. You might not be out there lighting buildings in Ferguson on fire, but supporting those that do is not only dumb, but you should ask for a job in government since you’re currently helping them for free, you might as well get paid. Staaahhhhhhppppp.
“Fact: Garner was arrested multiple times before.”
Fact: So were many high profile pastors, CEO’s, and other productive members of society. People do dumb things all the time, that still doesn’t justify the death penalty. We hope that people change, and until they do, we hold them accountable for their actions, we don’t kill them. He could have been arrested 30 more times for the same crime, and guess what, IT STILL WOULDN’T JUSTIFY THE DEATH PENALTY. They don’t execute people for selling cigarettes. Apparently the fact that due process is for all people, even those with a criminal past, comes as a surprise to some people.
If you need more information on this issue, please see the section dedicated to “Well, don’t break the law and you won’t die” again.
Moving on to “He had a heart attack, the cop didn’t kill him.”
Have you ever been so amazed by what someone has said that you tilt your head sideways and give it a couple seconds so that maybe their brain catches up with their mouth? This kind of reminds me of that. I’m sure that choking him, cutting off his oxygen until he passed out, smashing his face into the ground and creating positional asphyxiation, leaving him to lay there unconscious, etc. had nothing to do with his heart attack and death. Nothing at all. By the way, what’s the price on unicorns in your world, have they gone up with inflation? The coroner ruled it a homicide for a reason, and I don’t think it’s because he owns a Guy Fawkes mask and moonlights as an anti-cop protester.
Prison guards are trained to avoid positional asphyxiation, even with larger inmates. I know this comes as a shock since they’re criminals, and jumping on their back and choking them out should be totally copasetic to the masses, but apparently the people who train Prison Guards realize that even inmates have rights. So those saying that positional asphyxiation just happens, that’s why rules are put in place in terms of force. Accidental abortions happen when you push your pregnant wife down the stairs too, maybe it’s a good idea not to push your pregnant wife down the stairs.
“If he said “I can’t breathe,” clearly he could still breathe at least a little.”
*Blank stare* If you can watch the video and have this response, you’re grasping. That’s like watching a house burn down and having the insurance company refuse to pay you because the microwave was still usable.
“It’s because he was black!”
Are there racial issues in this country? Of course. It’s on both sides. Do either of these instances have to do with race? Of course not, and no one can prove that they do. I could dig up multiple videos and news stories that involve caucasians being the victims of police overreach, but then I’d have to deal with receiving a bunch of pictures telling me to call a crackhead the next time someone breaks into my house.
Beyond that, you do realize that a black superior officer stood by and watched Garner be taken down like an animal, right?
“1,501 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty in the last 10 years.”
Heartbreaking number, truly, it is. Whether it’s 1501, or 1, it is a sad number. We should always mourn the loss of an officer. We should always mourn the loss of a father, mother, sister, brother, daughter, son, etc. The problem that I have with this statistic is what it is being used for, and that I found this line on a Conservative site, mocking the “I can’t breathe” case. First we see a cartoon with a grave marked “Police: Killed in the line of duty,” followed by the caption: “We can’t breathe.” So because these 1,501 law enforcement officers have died, somehow Eric Garner’s death is irrelevant. The article then went on to call American neighborhoods “War Zones,” it was at this point that I stood completely still to see if I could feel the Founding Fathers turning in their graves.
Beyond that, this Conservative site is the same one that houses writers who will take Mom’s Demand Action to the cleaners for bending statistics to fit their narrative. Shannon Watts is constantly taking gun statistics and fitting it into her agenda, and we all, myself included, rip her to shreds. She even has me blocked on Twitter, which I consider to be a badge of honor. I, a responsible gun owner, don’t appreciate her false and damaging numbers, and I, an American who cares about our freedoms, don’t appreciate it when a Conservative site does the same. They tout 1,501, but they don’t give you all the facts. Nowhere in the article does it say that more than half of those officers died in automobile or motorcycle accidents, another group from heart attacks, etc. and it is misleading to not mention this information. Especially since the number of cops killed by perpetrators per year was, as of 2013, at its lowest point since the late 1800’s. You mention the facts behind the 1,501 number and all of the Conservatives say, “Well, they were in the line of duty.” but we all know that’s ridiculous, they were going for the shock value. They wanted you to imagine 1,501 officers dying at the hands of people like Michael Brown and Eric Garner, but the reality is that cops usually defend themselves with lethal force when the situation calls for it.
“Well, at first I was mad when I watched the Garner video, but then after the legal definitions were explained to me I realized that what the officer did was justifiable under the law.”
Hmmm… Please add on to that. How about, “I watched the video, and if what the officer did is justifiable under the law, we need to change the law.”
Seriously, is anyone not concerned with the fact that people watched that video, were horrified, and then calmed down after being told that the cop was within the law? Like “Well, I watched that woman get stoned by her husband, freaked out a bit, but then calmed down when I realized that he is allowed to do that.” What, shouldn’t that raise the concern level, not lower it? Everyone was spouting off over whether it was a chokehold or not, really? Like you’re going to watch the video and think, “oh, well, this is not a big deal if his arm is situated like this.” “I just watched a man die tragically, for selling loose cigarettes, but it’s okay because of a definition.” So, after being told that I need to wait for the entire story, that I need to look at the law, and that I need to understand his past and health conditions, I’d like to throw my blanketed response back at you: If you watch that video, and for ANY reason, think that it is okay, I’m going to disagree with you, vehemently. If that is allowed by law, I want the law changed. If we are going to allow this in the name of not paralyzing cops, then we need to embrace the label of “cold barbarians.” If we can’t find a happy medium between this and sitting back and forcing the police to do nothing, then we have finally succeeded at allowing our Government to become that obnoxious kid on the playground who refuses to play unless you let him change the rules.
This happened in Ferguson too. We said that having every cop look like the terminator was bad, and that military equipment should not be allowed, and then suddenly when law enforcement stands back and watches looters burn buildings, people look at me like, “See…I guess you got your way!” I’m to the point that responding to such ridiculous statements is a waste of time.
“People just need to comply with police. Period. It’s not that hard, do what they ask you to do.”
Said Soviet Russia. My problem with this statement is that it’s blanketing ALL issues. If a cop wants to see my ID, sure! If that’s the law, I’ll hand it over. If he wants to search my car without reason and warrant, ummm…no. People need to learn their rights.
“A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty.” – James Madison
“It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.” – Benjamin Franklin
Our Founding Fathers did not only warn of armies that attack other countries and destroy them, the majority of the time, they warned about armies that destroy their own country. Does that mean that I think every law enforcement officer is going to turn on the people? Don’t be silly. But it does mean that I believe the Founding Fathers wanted power over the people to be limited, very limited. Like not choking a guy out over a cigarette tax limited. As the saying goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Many people feel that giving government more power will somehow make those who enforce such power side with us if anything were to go awry. People don’t seem to understand that law enforcement officers across our country – good, decent, brave law enforcement officer – are upholding laws against guns that go against our Constitution and tax laws – ahem – that support the nanny state ideals. Why? Because it’s their job. Sure, if the chips fell some of them would not do the government’s bidding, but friends, the reason why the Founders said that it was detrimental to keep control over such institutions is because the vast majority will follow orders, and will even use violence over taxes. Look no further than every other country that has ever welcomed such tactics. When/If gun control is enforced, guess who knocks on your door to collect guns? Do you think that everyone that lived in Russia and Germany were barbarians who didn’t care about their neighbors? You can’t possibly be that foolish. No, they were controlled by a few barbarians who demanded that those beneath them do their job, and guess what, they did.
“Let’s see who you call when someone breaks into your house!?”
I nominate this argument as the worst yet; the champion, the incomparable, the unparalleled. It’s horrible, ignorant, and downright silly. It’s overused, abused, and not even close to logical. It’s like poor rationale on steroids. I’ve covered this before, so now I shall cover it again…
If someone breaks into my house, I’m going to call the cops. Because it’s their job. If someone mugs me, I’m going to call the cops. If someone rapes me, I’m going to call the cops. If someone steals in the store, I’m going to call the cops. If someone hits my car, I’m going to call the cops. Heck, if I want to, I might just have the police on speed dial on my phone, because they’re the first people I’m going to call if I catch someone doing something illegal.
So, I have a wonderful doctor, he is one of the best doctors I’ve ever been to. (I have a point, don’t worry.) He’s a lung specialist, and a darn good one at that. As a chronic asthmatic, he changed my life. I can’t say enough about the man, and I honestly appreciate doctors more than most people because I spent a lot of my life in their care. I don’t care if they own yachts and large houses, they’ve earned them! Years ago, my doctor was on vacation for 2 weeks, but I had what I thought was a particularly bad cold and had to see whoever was available to get some help so that I didn’t step into overnight stay territory. The doctor I saw, in my opinion, was not just a mediocre doctor compared to mine, but she didn’t even deserve to be measured on the same scale. She had no idea what to prescribe me, I basically told her what to give me after she shrugged her shoulders. She wrote me prescriptions, didn’t listen to my lungs, and sent me out the door with access to more medications than the pharmacy could hold, but none that actually did any good. I walked out the door with what my doctor would diagnose as whooping cough 3 weeks later. I was miserable for weeks, couldn’t work, couldn’t sleep, and sick from self-medicating because she didn’t do anything to diagnose the issue.
My point in all of that is to say that I had no issue calling out this doctor, even though it’s a profession that I highly respect. She failed to do her job, and made the hospital look bad. My doctor found out who she was and wanted her location and information so that he could make a call to whoever was in charge that day (I had gone to a local hospital since I knew he was out), that instantly made me trust my doctor even more. Doctors are humans, and just like the entire human population as a whole, there are going to be some people that excel at being good, many that are decent, and some that wear see through Cheetah print pants, a pink sports bra, and curlers to Walmart.
I have something I need to tell you guys: Police officers are human. I love them, I respect them, and I appreciate them, but they’re human. Some of them are going to be outstanding at their job, some deliver Christmas trees to kids, some bring groceries to single mothers, some care about criminals and Mom’s that steal because they can’t feed their kids, some are really sweet and let me go with a warning, some work at homeless shelters, some give homeless men boots during the winter, and some may have grown tired of seeing people hurt and now have a hair trigger personality, and a few others joined simply because they have a superiority complex (They can usually be seen with shirts that say, “Police Officer, because bad-a** isn’t an official title”). Balance is found when we remember that every profession – even those who save lives in the medical world, those who fight wars, fight fire, patrol the streets, and restock your cantaloupe in the produce department – is going to have both good and bad individuals. If you limit their power and remove the government overreach attacking our nation like a plague, you’ll lessen the opportunities to use lethal force, which means you’ll lessen the chance of those few power hungry police officers getting in over their head, which means you’ll lessen the chance of a horrible situation. Add in the fact that we could use more training, and less warrior mentality type attitude encouragement, and we would begin to see a change.
I have something else to tell you: Scrutiny is not attacking. Holding an institution responsible for their actions is not anti-that particular institution. Limiting is not paralyzing. Respecting does not mean I need to worship.
So, when you ask me who I’m going to call when someone breaks into my house, I’m going to call the police, and I’m going to expect them to do their job. Sending videos to my inbox of cops doing good things after I ask us all to be vigilant of how much power we give law enforcement is like me sending you clips of Dr. McDreamy saving someone with brain cancer after you complain about your recent ER visit. It’s irresponsible, and has NOTHING to do with the problem. You heard the click, and you responded by bowing down to your idols. You didn’t do what the Founders told you to do, you instead tried to make me feel unpatriotic, uncaring, and anti-cop while you bounced on the body of a victim with a pogo stick. When in reality, my way creates a positive relationship between the people and law enforcement. So, now that I think about it, maybe you’re the one that supports a system which causes the police to be viewed in a bad light with the public. Chew on that one for a bit.
Do I share videos of the awesome things many cops do? Of course! Am I thankful for the police? OF COURSE! Are they who I am going to call if someone harms me? Of course! Am I going to ignore issues in law enforcement to fancy your narrative? No. I’m not.
And remember who we are. We are not Europe, we are not China, we are America. Our country was Founded on individual rights, self-protection, and a Government that is supposed to run on a hands off approach. The same rights that gave Wilson the right to protect himself, and Garner the right to live and face due process. Respecting the police is pertinent; not fearing what they can become with too much power is dangerous. That means we are ALL responsible to hold ANY guilty party responsible. Badge or no badge. Michael Brown was responsible for his death, Eric Garner was not responsible for his. So, where should your allegiance be placed? Right now I’m talking about politically, of course I know that God is the blanketed answer, but right now I’m talking about us as a country. Look to your left and your right, no matter what they are wearing, be it a police uniform or a waitress apron, they are who your allegiance should be dedicated to. The People of this country. Your first response should be to protect their rights, at all cost. Countless soldiers have given their lives in the name of our freedom, it is our job to respect that freedom. It is our job to protect that freedom from our Government.
So this year, I challenge you to think. Think about who you defend, are you defending the rights of the man behind the badge, or just the badge. Think about who we are, are you putting your opinions to the challenge and ensuring that they can face fierce scrutiny? Think about your neighbor, if they lost their home because their already impossible budget was stretched to the limit because of the ACA, would you care more about Gruber’s remarks? Until we start seeing people, and stop seeing color, uniform, and political party, we will never heal this country.
First off, I’d like to note that I love Answers in Genesis, and I’ve used their site for research more times than I can count.
Second off…AiG??? I thought we were tight?! Like baseball and America, chocolate and happiness, pork chops and applesauce, pyromaniacs and matches?! Why’d you go and make a nonsensical post about God’s Not Dead?
In case you didn’t realize it yet, I strongly disagree with AiG’s view of God’s Not Dead. Roger Patterson wrote a review that pointed to what he believed to be the unbiblical nature of God’s Not Dead. In this post I’ll be adding a few of his points, as well as my response.
Being a natural skeptic myself, I tend to take issue with the idea that reason should not be held in high regard. I’m not cold hearted, but let’s just say that C.S. Lewis’s factual and pointed manner makes a deeper emotional connection with me than Beth Moore’s warm and fuzzy encouragement. Both are beneficial, and everyone has their preferences, but that’s the truth. I’m more apt to cry reading Ravi Zacharias than I am watching The Passion of The Christ.
I can be naïve, but not to the point of believing that Christians don’t have their seasons of doubt. I’ve had my share of those seasons, and remembering those moments make me thankful for sound reasoning. Maybe I was guilty of little faith, maybe I’m that annoying kid that constantly said, “nuh-uh”, to the unmitigated madness of those trying to convince me, flawed in my ability to “believe like a child”. But alas, I’m His annoying kid. We’ve often confused the biblical calling for childlike faith with the idea of simplistic faith. But as one apologist put it, we should believe like children, and haven’t we all been shocked by the number of questions children can ask?
So, to start, below is an excerpt from Patterson’s article:
“In the first debate, Wheaton boldly declares to his classmates, “We’re going to put God on trial!”
Think about that for a moment. A college freshman is going to place a group of teenagers who are willing to sign away their souls to please a philosophy professor they don’t even know as judge and jury over the omnipotent Creator God of the universe.
While Wheaton sought counsel from a pastor on his decision, he might have done well to consult his Lord who plainly said when He was tempted in the wilderness, “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test” (Luke 4:12, ESV). Only a fool thinks he can sit as judge over the Judge of the universe.”
Alrighty. First, let’s break down the verse used. In Luke 4:12 Christ is quoting Deuteronomy 6:16, which, like in the wilderness, was a warning not to taunt God for proof of a divine revelation when he has sufficiently given them proof already. In Deuteronomy it gives a comparison, “as you did in Massah”. So, let’s follow the breadcrumbs: In Exodus we learn that Moses named Massah as such because it signifies “temptation”. The children of Israel were taunting God, giving ultimatums. He had already proven Himself to them time and time again, but they still taunted Him by demanding food, water, cattle, etc. in return for their devotion. If their needs were not met, they attempted to threaten the Almighty God by saying they would no longer believe. Coming to the conclusion that the Lord is not among them out of anger, not sound logic or lack of belief.
Example of such taunting: “Mommy, if you don’t give me a cookie you won’t be my Mommy anymore.”
Affirming their acknowledgment of existence in the very threat itself.
So what does that have to do with the above issue that Answers in Genesis has with the movie? Well, they’d have a legitimate point if Wheaton had said, “We’re going to put God on trial. Everyone sit here, if God’s real, he’ll drop Arby’s roast beef sandwiches and curly fries on all of our desks.”… But he didn’t make such an audacious request, he simply wanted to expose the factual evidence already given to an audience that had never sought out the evidence. Putting the evidence for God on trial, not God Himself. If they have issue with his verbiage, that’s fine, but the rest of their argument falls flat because the actions that went along with “putting God on trial” were no different than their own.
Let’s be honest, the real issue for Patterson is that the Movie didn’t proclaim from the rooftops that the earth is young. With all due respect, all other points were just excessive – and faulty – nitpicking.
Robertson continues with the following:
“In approaching the issue in this manner, Wheaton ignores the truth of Romans 1:18–32. The people sitting in those seats and even the professor know God exists. The existence of God is not the question—whether they are willing to bow to Him as King is.
Wheaton could have agreed to the debate and used the Word of God as his foundation, as Jesus did in the wilderness temptation, but he chose to appeal to reason—the reason of fallen men and women whose minds are blinded by the god of this age.”
Reason is the modus operandi of the mind. Biblically, the mind is not merely a physical tool that keeps us alive, it is part of the soul. The bridge between a presupposition and a stable hypothesis is reason; however, there is nothing beyond a hypothesis to be found anywhere but in the Word of God. Wheaton’s foundation was the word of God, the issue is that, once again, he didn’t specify young earth creationism in his dialogue. It’s foolish to dismiss an entire movie and not help promote it simply because it encourages kids to think, but doesn’t clarify that they need to think exactly as you do. I would even go so far as to say this makes them as guilty as the atheists that claim audacious absolutes.
Wheaton’s goal was to open them up to the idea that a God exists, to make them think, not to appease the young earth creationist ideals, or the theist evolutionist ideals.
At the end of the movie all of the students proclaim that “God’s not dead”, but only one student gives his life to Christ. I would venture to guess that the majority of those in classrooms across America have at some point in time heard the gospel, yet walk away from faith because they were offered absolutely no reasoning. He used the bible to prove his point, he just didn’t articulate AiG’s exact position. Once again, he didn’t advocate for young earth creationism or theistic evolution, he simply asked people to think with an open mind.
I also take issue with their assumption that Atheists are simply lying about their belief in God. I would argue that while God writes His laws on the hearts of all men, it is possible that they have developed a suppression of knowledge.
Example: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.” – Romans 1:28
God didn’t suppress their knowledge. They, and the world, in an act of free will built presuppositions that suppressed or belittled the existence of God. So, I could argue that what God’s Not Dead encouraged was not only belief in the existence of God, but they mainly wanted to bulldoze down the presuppositions built by man. It’s the idea of intuitive knowledge vs. beliefs built on human perception. Most atheists are not simply liars that actually believe in God but just aren’t telling anyone because they enjoy being deceitful. We won’t encourage them to think openly by vilifying their intentions. They’ve suppressed their intuitive knowledge like Pharaoh suppressed his intuitive knowledge of what was right in Exodus.
We can see that atheists exercise their biblical intuitive knowledge daily by attributing worth to human life, that doesn’t mean they have conscious awareness of their intuitive knowledge. SO, from that standpoint, it is quite logical to assume that no, their conscious awareness is not in the know that God exists. Yet, their anger towards a God that their conscious awareness claims doesn’t exist is indicative of the fact that intuitive knowledge is present, but deeply buried under the presuppositions of societal views on God. So yes, AiG, the existence of God is the question.
Additionally, if everyone knows about God, why does their site exist? To simply educate believers, or to encourage reasoning from both believers and unbelievers. I’ve always thought it was both.
“In other instances, the Christians endorsing the movie are happy to accept the big bang and biological evolution as proof of God’s work in the universe.”
Huh? No, I’m happy to continue researching scientific findings knowing all the while that whether the earth was created yesterday, or 7 billion years ago, the only way it happened is through God and God alone. I’m also completely thrilled if a movie has the power to make students mull over the creator of the universe, regardless of when He demanded there be light.
Ultimately – and in my opinion – and certainly AiG and I would disagree as to whether or not it agrees philosophically with the bible, but the goal of the movie was neither to promote evolution nor creation, but, by Wheaton’s own admission in his opening statement, prove that modern philosophy cannot disprove the existence of God. Plain and simple. Ergo, the title of the movie. And again, in my opinion, mission accomplished.
Last weekend I went to the movies with my nephews to see Mr. Peabody & Sherman. It was ridiculously adorable, and an all-around feel good movie. My nephew and I were standing in line to get snacks and I told him to pick out a piece of candy. He immediately pointed to the Starburst, and I, knowing that the Starburst in this particular theater have been hard in the past, thought that was a bad idea and didn’t like the choking hazard. The conversation went as follows:
Me: “Oh buddy, why don’t we pick out something else?”
C (6): “But I want the Starburst…”
Me: “Well, they’re not like normal Starburst, they don’t taste very good here. But they have Skittles, and they have the special yummy Wild Berry Skittles here, but pick out what you want…”
C: “Skittles!! But then later we can go to the store and get yummy Starburst, right?”
Yep, I lied. The Starburst probably tasted just like regular old Starburst, but I didn’t want to make him feel like he wasn’t a big boy, and I didn’t want to dampen his Birthday spirits and tell him “no” without giving a good reason. So, I manipulated his craving by making the object of his interest seem undesirable, and I overemphasized the positives of the snack I wanted him to have; however, he was not aware of my intentions, he thought it was all his idea to buy the Skittles.
Judge me if you must.
In the world of Science, Atheism is a Skittle, while Creationism a Starburst. (Yeah, you can quote me on that.)
Kelly Oxford and Seth Rogen took their genius to Twitter last weekend. If you don’t know who they are, basically they are two elitist actors that have siphoned your wallet for years and are now astounded by your idiocy. They are hilariously entertained by your tiny little brains that reject science. My first inclination when I hear such infinite knowledge of the universe, while claiming there is no such thing as infinite knowledge, is to drop everything and run to the defense of faith. But in a surprising plot twist, I will instead drop everything and run to the defense of science.
Below are points that articulate why I believe Atheists are actually the group that is actively rejecting science, and the below points have absolutely nothing to do with the Bible. -
Christianity and science are not enemies.
This week a major scientific discovery took place and the atheist community is bouncing off the walls in excitement over the coming melt down of the Christian belief system. One commenter actually proclaiming, “I can’t wait for the implosion in the Christian church upon full absorption of the evidence”, another boldly proclaims that this discovery is on par with the top 3 discoveries ever made. Yet, thus far, my faith is not in need of the bomb squad just yet. Their Neanderthal-esque fist pounding is indicative of what they actually find more important, disproving a god they don’t believe in is far more important to them than the existence of new scientific findings.
So what’s the discovery?! Scientists believe they have found proof of Cosmic Inflation, which would substantiate the Big Bang theory. Now, I’m not a scientist, nor are many of the individuals taking to Facebook and Twitter to falsely label people of faith as ignorant. I don’t have all the answers, nor do I have the ability to hold my own in a debate with Richard Dawkins. But I can, with confidence, declare one thing: The Big Bang, even proven, still wouldn’t account for the beginning of matter. Many atheists don’t realize that this is what it comes down to. That’s also why many scientists who don’t believe in God still have respect for those that do.
Thomas Aquinas eluded to the idea that reason begets faith; however, unfortunately that is opposite of today’s church in many aspects. Maybe if this were reversed we wouldn’t see as many “Christians” leaving the faith once they leave the house. His point was timeless in that it wasn’t dependent upon scientific discoveries to substantiate it. The nature of causality: Something cannot come from nothing, regression to infinity via efficient causes is not possible, with no cause there is no effect, a first cause must beget all others, so a supernatural cause exists. Now this is debated by those who ask the very logical question, “What caused God?”…. Now I would say that, while logical, asking such a question is similar to asking, “how many feet does a cookie smell like”. It’s a category fallacy to assume that the smell of a cookie can be measured by feet, it’s a category fallacy to assume that an uncausable being can be held to the standards of a causable creation. His nature alone is beyond our comprehension, and for that matter, causality.
Basically, we have no answer. A) You could call me a fool for saying that an uncausable being caused the universe in all its intricacies, because something cannot come from nothing. Or B) You can exhaust all possible causes for the beginning of the universe and still never find the initial cause. Both of which are a form of belief. I’m not refusing to acknowledge the scientific findings, I’m simply choosing, just as you, a presupposition by which we’ve adapted before we look at all the facts, none of which will ever be able to explain every detail.
So I walk into the kitchen and find a pan of brownies and ask, “how were these made?”, after a considerable amount of research I find the bowl with traces of left over brownie dough, I don’t then proclaim to the world that I have proof that no one went to the store and bought the brownie mix. I’ve already heard rebuttals from young earth creationists, as well as Christians that believe in evolution, and I personally like to absorb it all in before coming to my own conclusions. But I’ll say with confidence that recent findings still leave us wondering how the brownie mix got into the kitchen. Heck, where did the space for the kitchen come from?
We are not infinite beings.
As my favorite apologist Ravi Zacharias notes, to claim infinite knowledge of the creation of the world, while claiming that there is no one being with infinite knowledge, is to take the antithetical position of rationalism. There you sit, with your presuppositions, as I have mine, trying to build your argument in the sand and then convince me that it’s more equipped to withstand a stiff wind than mine because you painted bricks on the cardboard walls. Some point out that no peer reviewed published papers have been published on creationism, yet many creationists themselves have had peer reviewed published papers. If lack of peer review published papers make the theory irrefutably futile, then those that believe it are irrefutably ignorant; by proxy, anything they have published is lacking in credibility. But that just isn’t the case, because many on both sides of the debate are brilliant scientists who have simply chosen one of two unproved theories, yet are still highly regarded in the scientific community.
Assuming that one scientist claiming absolute knowledge of the unproven (evolution) is somehow a work of genius, while another scientist is some sort of a “dreamer” for refusing to claim infinite knowledge is irresponsible.
You can post all the links you want that talk about the “cold hard facts that disprove creationism”, and guess what, they are presupposed viewpoints that still aren’t substantiated. Incredibly brilliant atheists that I hold in high regard still say that there are many unanswered questions, even after this recent discovery. There are many agnostic scientists that claim neither faith nor the great abyss of emptiness, and that’s because while they may not believe in my God, they continue to seek the truth and not some canned version that gives them the excuse they need to dismiss the idea that there is a god. I’m not saying that the evolutionists don’t have their facts, they have theirs just as the creationists have theirs, but much of it comes down to interpretation.
SIDE NOTE: You can believe in Micro Evolution even if you don’t agree with Macro Evolution.
They’re labeling individuals with much higher IQ’s than themselves as ignoramuses. This never ends well.
I wonder if the new atheists could tell Galileo that he’s a fact-less moron, or tell James Joule that his contributions to the first law of thermodynamics is a joke due to his belief in God, or look astrophysicist Arthur Eddington in the eyes and mock his work in the theory of relativity due to his religious inclinations. Oh to be Einstein, questioning the possibility of a higher being and not even realizing how brainless your silly scientific approach makes you. Speaking of Einstein, even while questioning the possibility of a higher being, he was also the first (correct me if I’m wrong) to even mention the idea of Cosmic Inflation. Or how about Oxford Professor Dr. John Lennox, a brilliant Creationist. Or Physicist Dr. Russell Humphreys, or Wayne Frair, who only has a Ph. D. in biochemical taxonomy….I’m sure that Kelly Oxford would have the upper hand in a debate with him, right?
But see, instead of accepting the idea that both sides of the debate are finding legitimate proof for their claims, they would rather point and call names. Because that’s super scientific. They need to manipulate you into believing that Skittles are the superior treat and that the Starburst taste poorly, and when you believe it without researching the facts, what do you end up looking like? A gullible six year old.
So, as Christians we shouldn’t be dropping our bibles in disgust, or attacking new findings, we should be absorbing them. The more unique and detailed we find this world to be, the more it points to the original cause. And atheists should be more accepting of the idea that there are indeed Christians out there that rejoice in scientific findings, as well as know the long list of errors that have accompanied those findings years later. All in all, neither of us have concrete answers, but when I look at the brilliance in the intricate design of something as simple as an eyeball, I’m pointed to the existence of God.