Conceived in Rape and Worthy of Life: The Rebecca Kiessling Story

“I’m pro-life except in cases of rape.”

Who hasn’t heard that sentiment? You may have expressed it yourself. Here’s another story that powerfully contradicts the idea that abortion should be tolerated in cases of rape.

A few weeks ago we told the story of Valerie Gatto, who was conceived in rape and has grown to become a compassionate, talented, and beautiful young woman recently crowned Miss Pennsylvania 2014.

Should Valerie have been aborted? Would that have been better?

A child conceived in rape does not deserve to live?

How about a restatement for clarity? Instead of “I’m pro-life except in cases of rape” try this: “A child conceived in rape does not deserve to live.” There’s no substantive difference between the two, and the second clears much of the fog.

Nazi Germany used the term lebensunwertes leben (“life unworthy of life”) as a designation for people the Third Reich deemed had no right to live. By this concept Hitler justified the death camps where 11 million people, including 6 million Jews, were murdered. Their lives were judged not worthy. We look back at that and say, “Never Again!” Our words are empty.

Today in the United States and other Western countries we use lebensunwertes leben as the standard for children who are mentally or physically handicapped, for the elderly who are no longer “productive members of society,” or the Valerie Gattos who were conceived in rape.

Rebecca Kiessling conceived in rape

Recently we learned of another woman whose story parallels that of Ms. Gatto. I speak of Rebecca Kiessling. She has defiantly stood against the culture of death that assumes that a child conceived in rape is a life unworthy of life.

Rebecca was conceived when her mother was raped at knife point. She survived the pro-abortion culture. Today Ms. Kiessling is a family law attorney, blogger, and pro-life speaker. She actively speaks out against the rape exception in Obama care (as well as other legislation, including some “pro-life” measures that grant a rape exception).

For obvious reasons, Ms. Kiessling staunchly opposes the rape exception that directly impugns her life and the lives of 32,000 babies conceived from rape every year.

“It’s very frustrating to just be summarily dismissed like this,” she writes. “[This] is my life that you’re talking about.”

At her blog Kiessling writes personally and passionately about her fight to save the lives of children conceived in rape. In her DVD, What Rape Exceptions Really Mean, Rebecca says,

Have you ever considered how really insulting it is to say to someone, “I think your mother should have been able to abort you.”? It’s like saying, “If I had my way, you’d be dead right now.” And that is the reality with which I live every time someone says they are pro-choice or pro-life “except in cases of rape” because I absolutely would have been aborted if it had been legal in Michigan when I was an unborn child, and I can tell you that it hurts. But I know that most people don’t put a face to this issue — for them abortion is just a concept — with a quick cliché, they sweep it under the rug and forget about it. I do hope that, as a child conceived in rape, I can help to put a face, a voice, and a story to this issue.

In reply, some have said to me, “So does that mean you’re pro-rape?” Though ludicrous, I’ll address it because I understand that they aren’t thinking things through. There is a huge moral difference because I did exist, and my life would have been ended because I would have been killed by a brutal abortion. You can only be killed and your life can only be devalued once you exist. Being thankful that my life was protected in no way makes me pro-rape.

Thank you to my 100% pro-life heroes!

Go here for more on this story. See more at Rebecca Kiessling’s website.

If you are inclined to support a rape-exclusion clause to pro-life legislation, please think about Rebecca Kiessling and Valerie Gatto and what they are telling us about the thousands of children conceived in rape every year.

– Darrow Miller

Related posts:

Elizabeth Joice: The Mother Who Gave Her Life For Her Baby

Rape, Abortion, and the Miss USA Contest

Abortion Doesn’t Contribute to Women’s Health

  
Posted in Ethics, Morality, Women | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

SEMINARY: Education or Religious Schooling? part 3

Seminary training, for the most part, has failed to integrate the study of the Bible with the study of God’s works and God’s reason.

Vishal Mangalwadi writes about the place of revelationThat is the premise of a recent paper by our friend, Vishal Mangalwadi, founder and president of The Revelation Movement. A scholar, author, and speaker, Vishal is one of DNA’s Idea Shapers

Vishal’s paper was presented to a faculty forum at The Gospel and Plow School of Theology where he serves as Honorary Professor of Applied Theology. GPST is part of the Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences in Allahabad, India.

We are happy to publish Vishal’s paper, edited for length, in three installments. Go here to read it in its entirety.

~

Fragmentation of Knowledge: From Modernism to Postmodernism

Medieval as well as modern universities saw Theology as the queen of all sciences. When Isaac Newton (1642–1726/7) came to Cambridge, there was no department of science. What we call science was, for Newton, a study of the book of God’s works. It was called ‘Natural Philosophy,’ meaning wisdom and revelation concealed in God’s creation but available to all.

The current fragmentation of knowledge began when Europe’s Protestant philosophers surrendered to a Roman Catholic heresy that gave to the book of reason the controlling authority over the books of God’s words and works. Reason is necessary to understand scriptures, nature, and culture. However, reason’s job is to understand, receive, interpret, synthesize, apply, and articulate revelation, not to judge it.

Enlightenment Rationalism began as a Roman Catholic heresy. The Catholic theology affirmed the ultimate authority of the Scriptures and the Church. The Church’s interpretation of the Scriptures was infallible.  It did not grant final authority to individual reason because it believed in Original Sin. Therefore, it was not traditional Catholicism but a heresy to think that Adam and Eve’s “Fall” affected the heart but not the mind. Therefore, the mind (reason, logic) could discover truth without grace, without revelation or inspiration.

Rene Descartes’s rationalism ignored Total Depravity and exalted the book of reason above the books of God’s words and works: this was beginning of humanist hubris. For revelation is the only reason a section of the Roman Catholic Church had trusted reason. The Orthodox Church failed to develop universities because it did not fully embrace Augustine’s biblical perspective on human reason as God’s image.

The Protestant reformers were theologians. Through thinkers such as Luther and Calvin Protestantism inherited the best of Catholic thought. European thinkers built upon that foundation. Tragically, however, some their European followers, mainstream Protestant philosophers, theologians, and apologists, surrendered to rationalist arrogance. They too put reason above revelation and undermined the authority of Scriptures, Logos (become-flesh), and quickly of reason itself.

Modernism failed to give us the knowledge of truth because it destroyed revelation – the only available ground of our confidence in reason. Its overconfidence in reason quickly degenerated into skepticism, ignorance, unbelief, immorality and defiance of God’s authority. Western rationalism (including theological “modernism” or liberalism) undermined confidence in the Scriptures because it was oblivious to the fact that it was sawing off the very branch upon which it sat.  That, however, was a lesser tragedy.

More disastrous was Christian “Fundamentalist” (i.e., evangelical) reaction to “liberal” modernism.  During the 20th century it abandoned the university in favor of Bible institutes/seminaries. That means: evangelicalism threw the baby out with the bathwater. In reacting against rationalism, Fundamentalism abandoned studying the books of God’s works and reason. The reformer’s slogan Sola Scriptura (Scriptures alone) began to be misunderstood to mean “Study only the Scriptures.” A theologian may learn Greek, but he does so to study the Bible, not Plato.

Why Seminaries Plunged Universities into Intellectual-Moral Darkness

In 1944, the Socratic Club in Oxford invited C. S. Lewis to speak on the theme, “Is Theology Poetry?” No one writes theology in verse. So the question was not whether theology should be classified as poetry. The issue was whether Christians believe the creeds because those propositions are true or because they satisfy poetic imagination.

Lewis concluded his magnificent speech with a statement that has become classic: “I believe in Christianity as I believe in the rising sun. Not simply because I see the sun, but because through it I see everything else.” Lewis’ argument was that theology was the university’s queen of sciences because the Bible was the sun that gave light to every branch of inquiry. God’s word gave confidence in (humble) reason. Together, Scriptures and reason made sense of everything else. That epistemology of rational revelation enabled the university to develop a coherent life-and-world-view. Without the Bible, the university is without a central or common source of light (a sun) through which each department can comprehend its subject and connect it with other branches of knowledge and with life outside the academy.

Postmodernism completed the fragmentation or silofication of knowledge. Without the sun, without revelation, it had to discard the very notion of truth – VERITAS. Education ceased being the pursuit of truth. It became merely the acquisition of information, skills, and degrees in the quest for employment and power (sometimes, mainly an opportunity for sports, fun and networking). This turned every university faculty into a silo. Deprived of the sun every silo had to invent its own light, which took the form of a distinct vocabulary; creeds and initiation rituals that could not be questioned by novices or non-initiates. The Bible seminary started the problem. Two illustrations may help bring clarity:

  • Can God turn water into wine in an instant? Can He make Eve a fully grown woman at the moment of her creation? If so, He can also create in an instant, a fully developed universe. But did He? How is that question to be investigated? A Young-Earth Creationist may maintain that about 4000 years before Christ, God created the universe in six days, each of 24 hours. Did he arrive at that conclusion because he carefully synthesized all the information gleaned from the books of God’s word, works, and reason? Or, does he hold his belief as a dogma, because he believes that we know truth by reading only the Scriptures? Is it biblical to not study God’s works (science) objectively?
  • Why does an evolutionist believe that a professor of law, logic, or mathematics cannot understand or question the evidence for macro-evolution? It is because Evolution – a great theory – has become a dogma. Evolutionists do not allow non-specialists to scrutinize their dogma because postmodern biology, geology, and paleontology are silos – dogmatic, occult sciences accessible only to the initiated, not accessible to outsiders.

Why is the postmodern university sinking into intellectual and moral darkness?

The sad answer is: because of Bible institute/school/seminary movement. This movement put university’s sun – the Bible – into an academic silo. Instead of seeking truth by synthesizing knowledge revealed in the books of God’s words, works, and reason, the Bible seminary isolated God’s words from his works and reason. Silofication of the sun pushed other departments into darkness.

The Gospel and Plough School of Theology is uniquely placed to begin reversing the destructive epistemology of previous centuries. GPST can chart a new path for global theology if it takes seriously the Vice Chancellor’s call to equip and enable theology students to go to other departments to study books of God’s works and reason. Likewise the theology faculty must equip itself to welcome students of agriculture, science, technology, and humanities to take courses in the book of God’s words. The day must come when Professors of physics, anthropology, and medicine will pursue post-doctoral research in theology, not to become pastors, but in order to synthesize information gleaned from God’s three books.

– Vishal Mangalwadi

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

On Sam Higginbottom

  1. The Gospel and the Plough: Or, The Old Gospel and Modern Farming in Ancient India (Sam Higginbottom, The Macmillan Company, New York, 1921)
  2. Sam Higginbottom, Farmer: An Autobiography (Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1949)
  3. Sam Higginbottom of Allahabad: Pioneer of Point Four to India (Gary R. Hess, The University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville, 1967)

On William Carey

  1. The Legacy of William Carey: A Model for the Transformation of a Culture (Vishal & Ruth Mangalwadi, (Good Books, Mussoorie, UA, 1993 & 1999)

On Why Christianity Lost  America

  1. Fundamentalism and American Culture (George M. Marseden, Oxford University Press, 2006)
  2. The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Mark A. Noll, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, MI, 1994)

 

On the Place of Reason in Christian Education

  1. God and Reason in the Middle Ages (Edward Grant, Cambridge University Press, 2001)
  2. Christianity and Classical Culture (Charles Norris Cochrane, Oxford University Press, 1940)
  3. David Scott’s paper “A Vision of Veritas: What Christian Scholarship Can Learn from the Puritans’ ‘Technology’ of Integrating Truth” at: http://www.leaderu.com/aip/docs/scott.html

On Biblical Theology and the Making of the Modern World

  1. The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization (Vishal Mangalwadi, Thomas Nelson, 2011)

 

Other posts on this topic:

School is Not the Same as Education

ENCYCLOPEDIA: Whole Education for a Whole Life

EUPRAXIA: Education for Skills is Not Enough

The HARVARD WALL that Exposes the Modernist Rewrite of History

  
Posted in Education, Ideas Shapers, Theology, Training | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

SEMINARY: Education or Religious Schooling? part 2

Seminary training, for the most part, has failed to integrate the study of the Bible with the study of God’s works and God’s reason.

Vishal Mangalwadi on danger of studying only one bookThat is the premise of a recent paper by our friend, Vishal Mangalwadi, founder and president of The Revelation Movement. A scholar, author, and speaker, Vishal is one of DNA’s Idea Shapers

Vishal’s paper was presented to a faculty forum at The Gospel and Plow School of Theology where he serves as Honorary Professor of Applied Theology. GPST is part of the Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences in Allahabad, India.

We are happy to publish Vishal’s paper, edited for length, in three installments. Go here to read it in its entirety.

~

Martin Luther was an Augustinian monk and a professor in the Augustinian university of Wittenberg. For a thousand years, his theological tradition had believed that in order to know truth, one had to study God’s two books: the book of God’s words and the book of God’s reason, reflected in His image – the human mind. The first book (Scriptures) is understood through the second (Reason).

Luther’s iconic declaration at the Diet of Worms in 1522 articulated this worldview.

Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other. My conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.

The Book of God’s words – Scriptures

Jesus confirmed the Old Testament view that truth and falsehood are both communicated in words, and God’s word is a source of our knowledge of truth.

  • The Sidonian widow of Zarephath said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth” (1 Kings 17: 24).
  • The Lord Jesus said, Thy word is truth (John 17:17); Scriptures cannot be broken (John 10:35); If you abide in my words . . . you will know the truth (John 8: 32) etc.

The apostles reinforced the Lord’s teaching:

  • Paul affirmed: All Scriptures in breathed out by God . . . (2 Timothy 3:16).
  • Peter taught: No prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).

The book of God’s Reason

Luther taught Aristotle and considered parts of his writings to be a corrupting influence upon Europe’s intellectual life. Yet Luther – one of history’s most important champions of God’s word – agreed with Aristotle that learning truth requires studying and using reason, including logic and mathematics. This aspect of medieval education came via Augustine. He considered Reason to be God’s distinctive gift to man. That is why Augustinian tradition believed that the mind must be developed, just as we multiply other talents given to us:

Augustine’s theology of reason was grounded in the Apostle John, who presented God as a rational person. For very good reason, Reformed theologian Gordon Clark translated John 1:1 as “In the beginning was reason [logos, word], reason was with God, and reason was God.”

What makes word different from mantra? A word is a sound with sense. A proposition makes sense only because it is a logical arrangement of words and sentences.

Many Bible schools no longer teach logic. Traditionally however, theology required the study of logic. Timothy’s pastoral role required him to study to show himself approved unto God, one who exegetes the word logically (2 Timothy 2:15).

Paul did not ask Timothy to memorize his words, for the Judeo-Christian Scriptures are not mantras to be memorized and enunciated correctly. God’s word is His wisdom. Therefore, Paul commands Timothy to “think” over his words (2 Tim 2:7). To do theology is to think and interpret revealed data logically. It calls one to cultivate a logical mind.

The book of God’s works

William Carey taught astronomy and botany, Sam Higginbottom taught agriculture, science, and technology because by their time Protestant theology had improved on Luther. Luther studied the books of God’s words and reason, but these could not teach him the truth about the solar system. In his usual bombastic style, Luther (1483–1546) wrote a pamphlet denouncing Copernicus’ (1473–1543) theory that the earth revolves around the sun, not the sun around the earth. Soon afterwards, Galileo’s (1564–1642) careful observations of God’s works – the actual motions of the planets – confirmed Copernicus’ theoretical model.

Galileo took pains to exegete the Bible and argue that his sun-centered view of the solar-system was consistent with the Bible. Yet, his discovery challenged Luther’s epistemology as much as it challenged the Pope’s infallibility. Protestants and Catholics had to come to terms with the fact that it was not enough to study God’s word and reason. God asks us to study his works also. That study is necessary to rule over the earth (Psalm 8:6; 64:9; 72:12; 92:5 etc.). It was Francis Bacon (1561–1626) – often called the father of modern science – who forcefully championed the necessity of studying God’s works.

The Scriptures say that “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). In Romans 1:19–20, Paul says that God’s works reveal the truth about God and His attributes, including His power, wisdom, and glory (See also John 9:3; 11:40). The Lord Jesus said to the Jews: ‘You search the scriptures and they point to me; you sent inquirers to John the Baptist and he testified about me; but I have greater witness than John: this is the works that I do. Believe in me because of my works’ (John 5:39).

Bacon’s exposition of the Bible was the reason why Cambridge University inscribed Psalm 111:2 at the entrance of Cavendish Laboratory – history’s first scientific lab: Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them. The Psalm celebrates God’s work both in nature as well as in culture. The Old and New Testaments record God’s works so that we might study them in our quest for truth and then teach them to others. God’s works reveal His love as much as His words. That is why the church established research universities.

Christian scholars researched all three books of God: the book of God’s words; the book of God’s works; and the book of God’s reason (including logic and mathematics) because, as Bacon reminded Christian scholars, God reveals as well as conceals truth. “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out” (Proverbs 25:2). The rising and setting sun conceals the fact that day and night are caused by the earth’s revolution, not the sun’s.

Evangelicalism was America’s dominant force during much of the 20th century. Yet it did not build a single research university during its heyday. Why? One reason was its truncated epistemology that in order to know truth Christians should study only the Scriptures.  Another factor was the belief that revelation means that God is in the business of revealing, not concealing matters.  Research universities and labs were built on the knowledge that God’s words and works conceal matters; we are endowed with reason in order to discover hidden treasures.

  • Vishal Mangalwadi

 

… to be continued

 

Other posts on this topic:

SEMINARY: Education or Religious Schooling? part 1

Freedom Comes From Religious Education, But Not Just Any Religion

VERITAS – The Puritan Pursuit of Truth

Is God Making India a Great Nation?

  
Posted in Education, Ideas Shapers, Theology, Training | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

SEMINARY: Education or Religious Schooling? part 1

Seminary training, for the most part, has failed to integrate the study of the Bible with the study of God’s works and God’s reason.

VishalThat is the premise of a recent paper by our friend, Vishal Mangalwadi, founder and president of The Revelation Movement. A scholar, author, and speaker, Vishal is one of DNA’s Idea Shapers

Vishal’s paper was presented to a faculty forum at The Gospel and Plow School of Theology where he serves as Honorary Professor of Applied Theology. GPST is part of the Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences in Allahabad, India.

We are happy to publish Vishal’s paper, edited for length, in three installments. Go here to read it in its entirety.

~

INTEGRATING THE GOSPEL & THE PLOW

The pioneers of the modern missionary movement did not establish a Bible seminary/institute or school. In order to bless India, those Calvinist-Baptists founded Serampore College in 1818. Their leader, William Carey, was one of the greatest Bible translators/publishers of all times. Yet, along with teaching the Bible, that cobbler-turned-linguist taught botany, horticulture, astronomy, forestry, and agriculture. He founded India’s Agri-Horticultural Society, built up India’s second best botanical garden in Serampore College, published scientific books, and pioneered Indian journalism. The college rapidly grew to become Serampore University in 1827.

The Serampore University Senate handed over the departments of liberal arts and science to the secular government and confined itself to teaching theology. Did their theology separate the “sacred” subject of divinity from “secular” studies?

This paper is a big-picture critique of the modern movement of theological seminaries/Bible institutes/Bible Schools.

Troubling Questions

  • William Carey’s generation triggered India’s renaissance. Has our fragmented worldview made theological education relevant for heaven, but irrelevant for earth?
  • As of today one cannot find a single copy of Sam Higginbottom’s book, The Gospel and the Plow (1921) in the library of the Sam Higginbottom Institute of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences (SHIATS). Is it because our theological education has no genuine interest in integrating theology with the “plow.” That is, with the science, sociology, economics, law, politics, and technology needed to bless India?
  • Why did 20th century theology cease making the church the light of the world? Did the corruption of Western theology inflict this disease upon India?
  • More importantly: Is this separation of theology from the rest of the academy responsible for marginalizing Christianity in the world’s premier Protestant nation – the United States of America?

Why Christianity Lost America

“Liberal theology” has self-destructed. From the outset, the idea was foolish that the Bible is man’s word, not God’s, yet human reason can systematize the “science of God” (theology). Today, hardly anyone studies Liberal theology to try to know God. Therefore, in this paper, the ‘Bible Institute/School/Seminary movement’ generally means evangelical theological institutions. The theological ethos that established these institutions was radically different from the worldview of the Puritans who founded Harvard (1636), Yale (1701), and Princeton (1746). These universities were created to train men and women to serve the Church and the world that God loves.

According to its motto adopted in 1692, America’s first college, Harvard, was started by Puritans for “Christ and the Church” (Christo et Ecclesiae). Harvard, which arguably wrote America’s DNA, is still the world’s number one university. It continues to shape America. Christianity lost America for several reasons, principally because it gave up its best Christian colleges and retreated into the Bible Seminary movement.

The Heart of the Matter: University vs. Seminary

Harvard’s iconic crest was adopted in December 1643. It made the pursuit of truth (VERITAS in Latin) the purpose of the university’s existence, because God wants “all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).

How do we discover truth? The Harvard Crest inscribed VERITAS on three books: 1) God’s words, 2) God’s works, and 3) God’s reason, reflected in His image – Man.

In order to discover truth, a student had to study all three and connect the dots discovered through them. The Bible Institute/Seminary movement departed from this holistic epistemology in an attempt to derive truth exclusively from the Scriptures – the book of God’s words.

The immediate intellectual force behind the Harvard crest was John Amos Comenius, (1592–1670) the last bishop of The Unity of the Brethren church. His ninety books on education made him the father of modern education. He also helped shape the modern  Protestant theology of “Nation” that forged the 1648 “Peace of Westphalia.” That theology created nations such as the United States of America and India.

Samuel Hartlib and John Milton invited Comenius to England in the early 1640s to launch what would have been the world’s first “modern” college in Chelsea, London. The Civil War prevented the establishment of that college but two significant things came out of his time in London:

  • Comenius laid the intellectual foundations of the Royal Society of Science. A majority (62 percent) of its founders were Puritans. At that time Thomas Hobbes was the only atheist thinker in England and that disqualified him to be a member of history’s most influential scientific society.
  • New England’s Governor, John Winthrop, interacted with Comenius and brought his philosophy of Christian education to America.

Besides Comenius, Christian thinkers who shaped Harvard’s educational philosophy included Francis Bacon (1561–1626), Alexander Richardson (d. in or before 1629), William Ames (1576–1633), and John Alsted (1588–1638). They believed that truth is known through rational revelation.

– Vishal Mangalwadi

… to be continued

Shaping the Generation of the Future

What Happened to Education in America

School vs. Education: The Difference Matters

TECHNOLOGIA: The Most Powerful Concept of Education You Never Heard Of!

  
Posted in Education, Ideas Shapers, Theology, Training | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Climate Change: The Atheists’ Denial

Climate change is settled? Really?

Have you noticed how many things are “settled” today?

  • The discussion on so-called same-sex marriage: “settled”
  • Darwinism as science: “settled”
  • Abortion as social policy: “settled”
  • Global warming (or is it global climate change) as science: “settled”

When something is “settled” it means that “everyone agrees” or “the experts agree” or “there’s nothing to discuss.”

But these matters are “settled” only in the minds of fundamentalist atheists. That is, atheists who no longer want a level playing field for discussion. Atheists who want to dominate the discourse and leave no room for debate, intellectual inquiry, or free thinking.

“Global warming” became “climate change”

The “settled” global warming discussion is a good case study of this phenomenon. In the 1970s we were hearing predictions of global cooling and the coming of a new Ice Age. Time Magazine ran a number of cover stories on this coming Ice Age. Then at the turn of the century, scientists abandoned the global ice age for global warming. And again Time magazine did a number of cover stories on global warming. Confusion reigned. The Time cover in 2010 shows the coming confusion that a blizzard is a sign of global warming. Got it!

These three Time magazine covers tell it all. The latest scientific prediction of the New Ice Age came in 1977. In 2001, scientists changed their minds and predicted Global Warming instead. The good news? No need to worry about too cold. The bad news? Now we needed to fret about too hot. (Go here to see this confusion displayed in other TIME covers.)

Then in 2010, in the midst of the onslaught of “settled” science, cold spells somehow became signs of global warming. Needing to dig out of their rhetorical holes, scientists shifted from the language of “global warming” to “global climate change.” I guess that covers all the bases.

If you consider yourself a free thinker … if you refuse to accept “it’s settled” simply because a politician or expert says so … please read on. Let’s hear from thinking people who want to speak on the subject and may have a different opinion.

Global warming is certainly not settled science.

The language shift to “global climate change” was not without intention. Of course the climate changes. That fact is obvious. Thus this terminology becomes a cover for a fundamentalist scientific community that wants to control the debate by pretending, and stating, that the debate is over. Medical science has a term for this: denial. To pretend the debate is over is to be in denial. Why? Because plenty of credentialed and published scientists continue to dissent.

Moving from the science debate, let’s consider another dimension of this discussion. In 2000 a group of over 1500 clergy and theologians from Roman Catholic, Jewish, and Evangelical traditions came together to sign the Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship. They were concerned for the environment and wanted to bring a faith conscience to the discussion of creation stewardship. This document sets forth a biblically grounded set of principles. It calls human beings to “care wisely and humbly for all creatures, first and foremost for their fellow human beings, recognizing their proper place in the created order.” It aspires to “widespread economic freedom … [which] makes sound ecological stewardship available to ever greater numbers.”

Signers of the declaration include Charles Colson, James Dobson, Rabbi Jacob Neusner, R. C. Sproul, Richard John Neuhaus, and D. James Kennedy. Go here to see the other signers. The gateway to the Cornwall Alliance can be found here.

On December 2, 2009, the Cornwall Alliance issued a statement called “An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming.” Signers included “climate scientist Roy Spencer, former climatologist David Legates, economist Ross McKitrick, meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo, television meteorologist James Spann, and Neil Frank, former director of the National Hurricane Center.”

In 2014 the Cornwall Alliance developed a declaration on the relationship between stewardship of creation and help for the poor titled “A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor 2014: The Case against Harmful Climate Policies Gets Stronger.”

One of the scientists engaged with Cornwall Alliance is James Wanliss. Dr. Wanliss earned his PhD in Space Physics at the University of Alberta. Wanliss describes the scope of his work as “my activities encompass the physics of solar wind turbulence and propagation and the interaction of the solar wind with the non-magnetized bodies.” In addition to his scientific research, Dr. Wanliss is a professor, author and speaker. His contributions include a recent lecture on environmental science, A Brief History of Global Warming: The Science, and the Myth.

To those who think that the debate is “settled”, we need to remember the colloquialism: It ain’t over till the fat lady sings!

–          Darrow Miller

 

Check on this post on a related topic: Even Darwin Had His Doubts

 

  
Posted in Science | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Christian Artists: Imitators of the Grand Creator

Darrow Miller and Friends is a big fan of Christian artists. That flows from the Cultural Mandate of Genesis 1:26-28 and 2:15. Darrow writes about this concept in his book, LifeWork.

What God made in Genesis chapter 1 was perfect, but it was not finished yet. God is the primary Creator; humankind, to use J.R.R. Tolkien’s word’s, is a “sub creator.” God makes primary creation. Humankind is to make a secondary creation–culture–that reveals and glorifies the primary Creator and the primary creation. Human beings were made to be active in creation, as God’s stewards. They are to fill the earth with the image bearers of God who will, in turn, develop the earth. Like an acorn that is nurtured into a mighty oak tree, creation from the hand of God was perfect and complete in itself, but the potential had to be released by men and women” (p. 91).

Stefan Eicher, who lives and works in New Delhi, is one of those Christian artists. Stefan encourages the appreciation of art, and teaches budding artists to create. He combines those activities with another dimension of kingdom work, i.e. loving service toward marginalized people in his community.

The following excerpt from one of Stefan’s recent reports will give you a picture of the heart of this servant. We are happy to introduce him to any of our readers not yet aware of Stefan’s work.

~


Eicher Earful 1Made to Create.
That’s what we are—made in the image of a Creator God with a mandate to be creative and fill the earth with culture. Filling the earth with culture can look as simple as three at-risk adolescent girls, rescued from difficult situations in the slums of Delhi, starting their new lives by painting the cupboard they sleep next to.

Eicher Earful 2Or Abdul participating in a Made to Create art workshop for the very first time last month. Abdul spent his afternoon with us learning not to fear while creating, imagining what the color of water is, learning how to draw a fish, and after having learnt to fold a paper boat, putting it all together in a collage. Simple tasks yet profound, echoes of the earliest act of creation. Simple tasks yet striking, against the backdrop of Abdul’s life in a bleak 12’x12′ slum home he recently moved into, his parents having just migrated to the city as illiterate laborers to earn a dollar a day for back-breaking work.

 

To read more about Stefan’s work, visit his Reflection Art Gallery website.

 

Other posts on this topic:

Artists Speaking to the Culture

The Create Commission: Artists Serving the Kingdom

BEAUTY Will Save the World

Why Cities Should Reflect the New Jerusalem

  
Posted in Arts, Cultural Mandate, Culture | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Poverty: It’s Not Too Late to Win the War

Poverty often results from the natural human tendency to respond to incentives. That’s true, by the way, not only for those who receive money from government programs but also for those whose livelihood depends on managing government programs.

poverty is less likely in a two-parent familyOne example is the breakdown of the family. Research has shown that intact, two-parent households have a higher standard of living than single-parent households. Many government welfare programs pay single mothers more as they have more babies. This has the consequences of separating the parents. The man loses much of the incentive to father the children he has created. The mother bears more children to increase her income. A well-intentioned program has the unintended consequence of increasing poverty. Single mothers are incentivized to bring more children into poverty rather than to make the changes necessary to escape poverty.

My wife tells a related story from her role as a nurse doing postpartum visits to a young mother and her baby. On entering the darkened home of this young mother, in a poor neighborhood, she found four generations of the family sitting on a couch in the middle of the day watching TV. The new mother with her baby, and her mother and grandmother sat “amusing themselves to death,” to borrow from Neil Postman.

That’s what life on welfare often looks like: no husband, no work, increasing poverty, enough government assistance to survive. Without some dramatic changes, the baby would grow up in this environment, assuming such a life to be normal. In 15 years the same couch might hold another newborn and four women watching soaps on (a new) TV. What a tragedy.

“There is a strong connection between the breakdown in marriage and child poverty.”

Rachel Sheffield is a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation. She recently wrote an article, “Marriage Won’t End Poverty. But It Will Help (A Lot).”

There is a strong connection between the breakdown in marriage and child poverty. Living with two working parents raises household income. Children in single-parent homes are more than five times as likely to be poor, regardless of parental education level. They also are more likely to drop out of high school, spend time in prison, abuse drugs and alcohol, and have an unwed birth.

As the message spreads throughout Central America that if you get to the USA “Obama will take care of you,” more and more people will seek to cross the border. What would I do in similar circumstances? Quite likely, I would try to get my children across the border.

What mentality do we encourage and support? Do we reward work or idleness? Living within our means or excessive spending? Responsibility or imprudence? Family formation or divorce and single-parent households? Michael Tanner, a senior research fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute, writes:

The vast majority of current programs are focused on making poverty more comfortable — giving poor people more food, better shelter, health care, and so forth — rather than giving people the tools that will help them escape poverty. … And we know that the best way to create wealth is not through government action, but through the power of the free market.[1]

Is it compassionate to spend more money on programs that are failing, programs that create dependency, that engender a whole class of chronically dependent people? An objective analysis of results and a heart of compassion compel us to stop what we are doing and transition to new programs that actually change people’s minds and circumstances. Sheffield writes of some of the factors that need to change.

Multiple factors … contribute to opportunity: a strong economy, a thriving work ethic, access to quality education, as well as strong families. These factors work together, not independently of each other.

A sound anti-poverty strategy must include: self-sufficiency through work, implementing policies to encourage job creation, improving access to quality education, and taking steps to restore a culture of marriage. Combining these efforts will help create a society where more individuals have the opportunity to succeed and flourish.[2]

We need the courage to recognize the failure of current welfare programs. We must acknowledge that the failure is a direct result of faulty policies derived from faulty principles and paradigms. We need to begin to work from the biblical worldview. We must articulate biblical principles that directly relate to the causes of poverty and to the creation of free and flourishing people, communities, and nations. We need to develop policies and their corresponding programmatic application that will lift people out of poverty. We need to invest money in programs that will reduce poverty by preparing people to flourish in their home and in the workplace, to be wealth creators, not simply wealth consumers.

We follow the One who “preached good news to the poor.” Surely we can be more effective servants to them in his name.

–          Darrow Miller

 

[1] http://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/pubs/pdf/PA694.pdf
[2] http://dailysignal.com/2014/07/31/marriage-wont-end-poverty-will-help-lot/?utm_source=heritagefoundation&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=morningbell&mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRonuaXNZKXonjHpfsX56eUvWa62lMI%2F0ER3fOvrPUfGjI4ASMBlI%2BSLDwEYGJlv6SgFQrLBMa1ozrgOWxU%3D

 

Other posts in this series:

  
Posted in Culture, Family, Poverty | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

A Secularist Inquisition: Houston and Freedom of Religion

Does freedom of religion no longer apply in Houston? Is a secularist inquisition underway in America?

Recently Pastor Steve Riggle of Grace Community Church was served a subpoena from Susman Godfrey, the lead counsel of the city of Houston. The subpoena demanded the surrender of “All speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.”

freedom of religion threatened by Houston subpoena

I read this news and wondered, “HELLO! Is anybody there? Is anyone noticing what’s happening?” The mayor of one of the largest cities in the United States has shown her arrogance and disdain for the Constitution of the United States by ordering pastors to turn over their sermons, lectures, or papers to the city government for review and approval, or face contempt of court charges and possibly jail sentences.

Riggles was one of five Houston pastors to be served subpoenas in relation to the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance – HERO, signed into law on May 28, 2014, by openly lesbian Houston Mayor Annise Parker. The Houston Chronicle described the ordinance this way:

The measure bans discrimination based not just on sexual orientation and gender identity but also, as federal laws do, sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, religion, disability, pregnancy and genetic information, as well as family, marital or military status.

The ordinance applies to businesses that serve the public, private employers, housing, city employment and city contracting. Religious institutions would be exempt. Violators could be fined up to $5,000.

Known, in shorthand as the “Bathroom Bill,” the ordinance would allow, among other things, people who are sexually confused or who cross-dress for sport to use the bathrooms of the opposite sex.

Many pastors spoke out against HERO and circulated petitions calling for a vote by Houston citizens on repealing the law. It seems that their public support of traditional marriage is no longer allowed in the city of Houston. The attempt by cultural elites to redefine marriage is a “settled issue” and no longer open for discussion.

Here is one more example of the New Atheists attempting to stifle opposing ideas and moral vision.

Old Atheists were champions of free speech, often accusing Christians of wanting to burn books and stifle free thought and expression.

While this caricature of Christians has, unfortunately, had some justification, it was the Judeo-Christian worldview that gave the world freedom of thought and speech. This freedom was granted at creation, when God gave the first human beings liberty to choose against the Creator himself and against their own interest (Genesis 2:16-17). It was affirmed by Christ when he connected knowing truth with freedom (John 8:31-32) and repeatedly confirmed by the Apostle Paul (e.g. Rom. 12: 1-2; 2Cor. 10:3-5).

The Bill of Rights of the United States enshrines a number freedoms not enumerated in the Constitution; among these are freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly.

When the biblical paradigm and virtues enliven a society, freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of the press will grow and flourish. In this framework, Old Atheists simply wanted to compete with their ideas and vision on a level playing field.

However, the evolutionism ideology naturally grows the will to power. New Atheists do not want open debate. They do not want a level playing field. They want to dominate the playing field. Their nature is toward controlling the debate with intimidation and manipulation.

The New Atheists support a secular (read atheistic) religion that seeks to stifle opposition, to limit free speech, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. We see that in the suing of a florist in Washington state, and the challenge of farmers Cynthia and Robert Gifford in New York. Across the country in Oregon Sweet Cakes by Melissa was forced to shut its doors; New Mexico photographers Jonathan and Elaine Huguenin were held liable for refusing to photograph a so-called same sex “marriage.”

These are all examples of atheistic fundamentalism seeking to sweep opposition from the playing field of ideas and, at the same time, trampling on the Bill of Rights.

Even irreligious people can recognize the danger of this. Avowed secularist Robert Tracinski is editor of The Tracinski Letter and a contributor to RealClearMarkets. He describes what is taking place as a “Secular Inquisition” and expressed concerned that this inquisition will discredit him as a secularist: “As an advocate of secularism—including secular morality and a secular basis for liberty—I don’t want my own views similarly discredited by association with the oppressive acts of a new Secular Inquisition.”

We see the same pressure in the IRS discrimination or prosecution of mostly conservative political-action organizations as well as the Obamacare attempt to force Christian business owners and ministries to violate conscience regarding use of abortifacients for family planning purposes. Tyranny is on the march in opposition to the freedoms enshrined in the US Bill of Rights.

The New Atheists can be termed fundamentalist atheists in that they suppress freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and freedom of religion. While proclaiming tolerance as their virtue, they are the most intolerant of people seeking to intimidate and crush any who would disagree with their views.

The church has a choice. Christians and their shepherds may roll over and play dead or they may stand up for the natural family, decency and modesty. Pastors are mobilizing in Texas with a “Don’t Mess with Texas Pulpit Sunday.” A good sign for the church in the United States is that pastors and churches around the country are signing up to stand with the Houston Pastors.

At this writing Mayor Parker appears to have backed down. There is no indication that she thinks her impulse and direction were wrong, but that perhaps she went too far too fast for the cultural climate.

If Mayor Parker and the City Council back off, it will be because citizens have pushed back with such pressure as to put a stay on this kind of action. I said a stay, because the war is far from over. This skirmish may have been won by the forces of decency and reason, but the militant atheists will not give up. The battle for the future of the nation is yet to be decided. Will the few intellectual elites rule the people, or will a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” reassert the rights and corresponding responsibilities of a free nation?

– Darrow Miller

P.S. As this is playing out in Houston, Texas, a new story is unfolding in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. City officials have told pastors Donald and Evelyn Knapp that they must performs marriage ceremonies for same sex couples or face fines and jail time. Here, again, is a direct assault on our Bill of Rights that shows the arrogance of a militantly atheistic state.

  
Posted in Church, Culture, Current events, Freedom | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

The Ebola Crisis: A Case Study in Worldviews

Numerous articles have been sparked by Brian Palmer’s piece on the Christian medical “missionaries” and the Ebola crisis. They include the following at MereOrthodoxy, Ethic’s Daily, New York Times!, and BreakPoint.

These have mostly focused on the motivations of Christian healthcare workers and how scary this is for many. I want to write about the worldview aspect of the burgeoning crisis. That is, not the worldview of the westerners but of those who are most affected and suffering, the Africans.

A hint of their worldview comes from a communication I received from an acquaintance intimately connected to the westerners on the frontlines of the Ebola crisis. I was hoping to convince him to write an article for the Christian Journal for Global Health about his firsthand experience, but the situation is changing too rapidly for him to sit down and write.

Nevertheless, what he sent me is a fascinating, though sad, look inside the challenges rooted in worldview in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and so many other African countries.

Here is what was said:

Mike,

Sorry to be putting you off. One main reason is that the situation is so swiftly changing. The early response from the churches … was as follows:

When we came in, as fellow Christians, and fellow worshipers, our folks would explain all about hand washing, how the virus would be transmitted, etc. After all that, and demonstrations etc. then the pastor would end by sort of opening his hands, and saying something like, “We hear all that but we are just dependent on prayer, and we know that nothing we do can change God’s will for us. We know if we pray God will protect us.”

Ugh, our folks were so frustrated, while, after explaining, and demonstrating they were confronted with incredible fatalism. Now it is very different. There is very little hugging, hand holding, or touching of any kind, but the pastors all say the churches are packed and praying.

There is a much greater understanding of the disease, and, among the churches, a much greater acceptance of the situation as it is. That is, without any real understanding of germ theory, they are willing to accept that what the doctors say is true.

We have formulated a sort of question list for pastors to work with in teaching their congregations.

But, as I say, it is such a moving situation. We were just on the phone this morning with our guys in Liberia. We will speak again to them on Friday. The one thing, when we are on, one on one, with our staff, is the fear they have for the safety of their families. For themselves they know how to behave, but while they are at work, they will call their wives and tell them not to step off the porch, and don’t let the kids out etc. This fear is probably the greatest challenge, as it pervades night and day, and there is no break. When we begin to attempt to apply theology to this, we also need to have some practical actions to give them at the same time. It is one thing to know your theology, but it is another thing to think of putting your foot right on the footprint of an infected person, who will be dead tomorrow. What did they touch? Where have they been? It is very scary for all the people.

You have seen the reactions of some of the non-christians who feel trapped. In Guinea, killing 8 workers. In Sierra Leone the attack on the body disposal crew. This is only the beginning of it. I am thinking a person can begin writing, but it is way to early to say we have any sort of answer yet.

This thing has a long way to go, and will so deeply affect the people that it is difficult to comprehend how it will end up.

This is fatalism at its worst. It reminded me of a promo video I was shown during a recent medical missions summit. In it an African male voice prays fervently that God will, among many things, get rid of the violence, corruption, poverty, etc. in this man’s country. It seemed most in the room were deeply touched by the video while inside I was rather disturbed. This person was essentially praying as if God was going to do all this while the local believers just sit by idly (suffering) and wait for Him to act!

My long time mentor, Dr. Dan Fountain, always taught that if we seek to help people live lives of Shalom (our term for development work) but don’t help them overcome a fatalistic worldview, we will never make progress. This is the job of the Church. Yes, we are to be a praying people, and yes, we are to have faith, faith of a mustard seed. But after we pray and after we acknowledge our faith in Christ we then need to act. The two cannot be separated. If they are, we will see further episodes such as is occurring in Africa right now.

Mike Soderling on the Ebola crisis

– Mike Soderling

Michael Soderling MD, MBA (International Development) serves as Director of the Center for Health in Mission and is the Associate Editor for Health Missions for the Christian Journal for Global Health.

  
Posted in Current events, Science, Worldview | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

How a Welfare Mentality Crushed the War on Poverty

In an earlier post I argued that America’s “War on Poverty” has been a dismal failure. Poverty has won the war!

As I suggested, lack of money is not the root of the problem. Thus more money (and more government bureaucracy) is not the solution.

To understand the solution we need to see the relationship between four parts of public life:

For Ps

Our poverty fighting programs are derived from government policies. Policies are grounded in principles. How often do citizens and policy makers examine the principles from which they are functioning? And the foundational level of all this are our paradigms, or worldviews. How many people concerned about poverty take time to consider how various paradigms (or sets of assumptions) affect our policies and programs?

For over 50 years we have created more programs and spent more money to end poverty, and yet poverty has increased. Perhaps it is time to curtail spending and ask some difficult questions regarding the root of poverty. Maybe we need to examine the principles and paradigms which, consciously or sub-consciously, are driving our policies and programs.

Often the problem is in the mind. There is such a thing as a poverty or entitlement mentality. “Someone else will take care of me.” “The government will take care of me!” “President Obama will take care of me.” The United States is becoming less a land of opportunity and more a land of government largess.

Chris Cabrera, a vice president in the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307 at McAllen, Texas, spends his time working along the Mexican-US border. He knows firsthand the human tragedy now taking place there. Speaking from an “on-the-ground perspective,” he states what he is hearing from illegal immigrants as to their motive for streaming across the border:

I find it odd that their whole thing is, “We are going to get amnesty when we get here. Where is my permiso [permission]? Where is my permission to go north so I can get my medical care and my schooling and all that? President Obama is going to take care of us and make sure we’re all OK.”

Whether it’s the adults or the young kids, one thing we consistently hear is, “Obama will take care of us.”

This is a prime example of how the mind of poverty works. In previous generations, people “yearning to breathe free” immigrated to America. Now would-be immigrants are yearning to be taken care of by the state.

A poverty mentality gives rise to poverty behaviors that contribute to the intransigence of poverty. In the old order, people made distinctions between virtue and vice. Virtuous people were wise. They applied the truth, choosing to live in the moral reality that God had made. Others chose to follow their baser instincts, to indulge in vices. They were foolish in their behavior and their bad choices led to bad consequences.

Some readers will take offense at my words. Some will be indignant at my audacity to make value judgments on other’s behaviors. But if we really have a heart to help people out of poverty rather than merely enabling them to live more comfortably in poverty, perhaps we need to go deeper in our analysis of the problem.

Welfare breaks down the habits and norms that lead to self-reliance

Robert Rector is senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation. He wrote that President Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty was intended to “attack not just the symptoms of poverty but, more important, remove the causes.” Rector continues,

By that standard, the war on poverty has been a catastrophe. The root “causes” of poverty have not shrunk but expanded as family structure disintegrated and labor-force participation among men dropped. A large segment of the population is now less capable of self-sufficiency than when the war on poverty began.

Closer to the root of the problem is family breakdown and loss of a work ethic, particularly among large segments of youth and men. Rector identifies that responsible behavior is a product of the virtues that lead to self-sufficiency:

Welfare breaks down the habits and norms that lead to self-reliance, especially those of marriage and work. It thereby generates a pattern of increasing inter-generational dependence. The welfare state is self-perpetuating: By undermining productive social norms, welfare creates a need for even greater assistance in the future.

What we are discovering is that we can buy as much poverty as we want to pay for. Author, engineer, and entrepreneur Louis Woodhill writes: “What turned the War on Poverty into a social and human catastrophe was that the enhanced welfare state created a perverse system of incentives, and people adapted to their new environment.”

– Darrow Miller

 

  
Posted in Freedom, Poverty | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment