24 May, 2017

A Cold-Case Comparison of Christianity and Islam

As a detective working cold cases, 2016 reTHINK conference speaker J. Warner Wallace, author of a trilogy of Christian apologetics-related books — Cold Case Christianity, God's Crime Scene, and, most recently, Forensic Faith — had certainly seen an eyeful before his conversion to Christianity back in 1996. One of the first things that he noticed, however, was that all — not just most, but all — of the eyewitnesses who have a motive to lie have the following three motives: pride (a search for power), lust (a search for sexual satisfaction), and greed (a search for wealth). Those are the motives that people always have for lying. How exactly do Christianity and Islam compare on these three fronts?

The people who founded Christianity definitely did not have a pursuit of power — in Matthew 23, Jesus is recorded as having sternly rebuked the Pharisees for seeking power by acting religious. He also is recorded as having rebuked Peter (John 18:11) for attempting to fight in the name of Christianity. Was Muhammad on a pursuit of power? Absolutely. That's why he encouraged Muslims to "fight" and kill anyone who isn't a Muslim or dhimmi (Quran 9:29). Dhimmitude is one of the most basic, classic, blatant examples of a thirst for power in existence — and a thirst for power is one of these three motives that are capable of compelling people to lie.

Jesus also had very strong things to say about lust. In the Sermon on the Mount, He is quoted as saying that "anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28) — essentially equating sinful thoughts with the actual sins themselves. Muhammad and his followers, meanwhile, not only permitted tetragyny (the ability to have up to four wives), but also encouraged female genital mutilation, permitted marriages between adult men and girls as young as 9, and reduced women to the mere property of men, why? To bring sadistic pleasure to men at the expense of horrible pain that the women had to endure through sex with their genitals cut. Like power, lust is another motive that compels people to make up stories, and Muslims are just as full of it today as they were when Islam was in its infancy.

Jesus is also recorded as having some extremely strong things to say about greed. He is portrayed as so angry at the money-changers in the Temple who made big $$ off of the exchange of shekels with Roman denarii that He was compelled to vandalize the temple-turned marketplace by turning the tables over. He also is recorded as saying to an attempted rich follower to "sell off his possessions and give them to the poor" in order to follow Him. What, meanwhile, did Muhammad and his followers (like Abu Bakr, who founded the Rashidun Caliphate) do to those who were conquered and under their jurisdiction? If people under the jurisdiction of political Islam wanted to keep practicing their native religions (among them, Christianity and Judaism), they had to pay jizya — a tax on religion. Muslims did have to pay zakat as well, but whereas zakat is proportional (a flat 10% regardless of income), jizya is a regressive tax; therefore, jizya, being a tax that falls hardest of the poorest of the poor, is the more evil of the two. What did all this jizya money go into, initially? Making the Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid, and Ottoman Caliphates stronger. That is greed — a third motive that is capable of compelling people to make something up.

So, while Christianity passes the power test, passes the sex test, and passes the money test, Islam, at the same time, fails all of the above While the earliest Christians had nothing to gain from lying, the earliest Muslims had everything to gain from lying. Granted, this doesn't prove absolutely that Muhammad made Islam up, but it definitely proves that he had all of the motives that people who make things up have. Aside from being a tu quoque argument and therefore a fallacy to begin with, the left-wing accusation that it is hypocritical for the right wing to give Christianity a free pass is completely debunked by basic forensics, and it is for this reason also that Christians must have the same kind of evidential faith that people like Wallace and myself have.

20 May, 2017

Why Trump-Russia is a Conspiracy Theory, Not a Legitimate Scandal

Did Russia collude with the Trump campaign during the electoral process? Why did he, as President, go on to fire the FBI director? There has been an "investigation" going on for almost a year now, and it hasn't revealed any evidence. There have been debunked dossiers released, which certain leftists within the government are actually believing. Just two weeks before his firing, FBI director James Comey admitted under oath that no investigation was in progress — thus giving President Trump the green light to fire him. Shortly after, a special counsel is hired — but a special counsel is NOT a special prosecutor.

The hypocrisy of this outrage associated with Comey's firing is telling, especially given that in October and November, shortly before the election when the investigation into rival Hillary Clinton was reopened, leftists were calling for his ousting. They were claiming, just as we are now, that it was a travesty of justice, despite being open about wanting war with the only other nuclear power in the world that can rival the United States in terms of proliferation of nuclear weapons. They are constant flip-floppers — just like the Pharisees, who used their positions not only in the temple but also in the Sanhedrin not to do what is right but simply to seek the praise of men, these Democrats are using their positions in Congress — America's Sanhedrin — purely to pump up their own fake piety.

Not one voting machine was hacked into, moreover — they are never connected to the Internet at all. There were, in fact, more than 7 million voters who were registered to vote Democrat in at least 2 states at once — a felony — and if those votes were factored into the electoral tally, it's likely to have been even more in Trump's favor. If voting machines are never connected to the Internet, then it is impossible for a hacker to change votes remotely. As for accepting $ from the Russians, that again is something that there is absolutely zero evidence for when it comes to actual top-level investigators. Flynngate was met with a prompt response by the Trump administration and is therefore not sufficient evidence either. Jeff Sessions is an accusation that it takes quote mining to support. Paul Manafort was never allowed to enter the administration to begin with — thus, just like Flynn as far as disciplinary action being taken is concerned. The only "evidence" that has ever been presented by the media is hearsay, and the sources of that hearsay are sources that the media and press have repeatedly used weasel words to conceal the identity of. News flash: If there are no real names attached to your sources, then the sources do not exist.

There is, indeed, a story of a $145 million bribe being sent by the Russian government to a politician not to change an election but to get the sale of a uranium mining company that controlled 20% of American mines to the Russian state nuclear agency — Rosatom — despite the fact that this would mean giving a large portion of our uranium ore away to a hostile government. This story also involved a $500,000 speaking fee that the Russian government paid to the husband of this politician — Obama's Secretary of State at the time — to give a speech in Moscow in an attempt to further persuade her to approve this corporate merger of hostile nature. Yes, that's right, if there's anyone who should be investigated for ties to Russia, it's Hillary Clinton for that $145M Foundation bribe and Bill Clinton for that $500,000 speaking fee.

This lunacy from the left about Russia is at best a conspiracy theory loaded with lunacy and at worst a manufactured cover-up intended to project the left's own guilt onto an innocent opponent. We are talking about 9/11 denial-grade stuff here — it is the kind of conspiracy theory that formerly only someone as far-left as Michael Moore would come up with — intended to be nothing more than an ad hominem attack not only on the President of the United States but also on the will of the American people to elect him over his opponent by a 77-vote electoral margin. We definitely don't want Civil War II, but to say that the left is asking for it at this point is an understatement.

17 May, 2017

A Stack of Dominoes: Injustice is Only Possible if Objective Justice Exists

One of the most common arguments that leftists (especially of the Atheist Left) use as alleged arguments against Christianity is one of definitional retreat about evil existing. They claim that if a good and powerful God existed then evil wouldn't exist, and our response is that evil is undefined if absolute good doesn't exist, and absolute good cannot exist if there is no superhuman arbiter who can properly define it. Then they go on to play the relativism card and flat-out exclaim justice to be subjective. Can anyone see the contradiction in this?

I certainly can. If justice were subjective, then it would be just one person's definition of what constitutes injustice against another's. Is murder unjust? Is robbery unjust? Is income inequality unjust? Is rape unjust? If they are unjust for one person but not for another then they aren't unjust at all. No, in order for injustice to be properly defined, justice must also be objectively defined. If justice is subjective then so is injustice subjective; if injustice is objective then so is justice objective. Thinking that you can have this both ways is extremely foolish and intellectually dishonest.

I am used to describing chain reactions using the infamous dominoes analogy. If one domino falls, they all do. The first domino in this issue of evil is the question "Is relativism true?" If it is, then the next domino is the definition of justice, then the next domino after that is the person's right to use injustice — an undefined variable at that point — as evidence to support their claim that their is no God. Finally, after they then contradict their own relativism by admitting that relativistic grounds are problematic ones from which to raise this objection, another domino — atheism itself — also falls to ruin.

This, of course, is completely aside from the fact that relativism is self-refuting to begin with — the claim that justice is subjective has an implication that it is unjust to claim otherwise behind it. If it is unjust to claim that justice is objective, then the notion that it is unjust to claim that justice is objective is itself also unjust. It falls in the very same category as suff that I have already gone over in previous blog posts — truth denial ("is that true?"), relativism generally ("is that relative?"), moral relativism ("is that true for all?"), and other such claims — the claim contradicts the very idea that it intends to advance.

So, are you a Christian or is your entire worldview destined to collapse like a stack of dominoes? If you are the former and know how to properly defend it as a belief system, then you're all good. If you're the latter — a self-refuting relativist — then you'd be a hypocrite for claiming to be reasoned and a hypocrite for claiming to be anywhere near in touch with reality. What's at stake here is… well, everything.

08 May, 2017

Debunking Foundation Denial: The Problem of Left-Wing Hypersecularism

Has anyone heard the argument coming from leftists denying the faith of the people who founded this country? I have, countless times. It's an argument coming mainly from members of the Nihilist Left — organizations like the FFRF and the ACLU which engage in flat-out denial whenever Christians claim, rightly so, that this country was founded on values that were clearly Judeo-Christian. What they don't realize is that many of the Constitution's original writers not only were Christians themselves but explicitly cited a Christian motive as the reason why they founded this country, three of whom are also cited by Greg Laurie's book "Hope for America" which I am honored to have read.

The most blatant example of a Founding Father who grounded that motive is none other than Patrick "Liberty or Death" Henry. In another work, post-revolution, he wrote, "It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians, not on religions but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this reason alone, people of other faiths have been afforded freedom of worship here." In other words, Patrick Henry stated that it was precisely because of the fact that the country was founded by Christians that they felt compelled by the Christian concept of grace to advocate for allowing religious minorities to worship (or not) as they please.

Another founding father who echoed this was none other than the man who fought for our independence and was elected our first President, George Washington. He stated, "To the distinguished Character of Patriot, it should be our highest Glory to add the more distinguished Character of Christian." George Washington actually believed that it was more honorable to be a Christian than to be a war hero! Of course, anyone who has witnessed someone jumping on a grenade to save his fellow troops should feel quite familiar with this. The person who jumps on the grenade dies, but others are saved. Jesus jumped on a far bigger grenade: our own sin. That's a grenade that is otherwise fatal to all 7 billion of us.

Our third President, and the man who actually drafted the Constitution in its original form — Thomas Jefferson — made a statement that can only be regarded as a stern, prophetic warning for modern Americans. It reads, "Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their own firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? […] Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever." Jefferson, like Patrick Henry, was a foundationalist, who believed that American liberty in itself is only sustainable if it is on objective, not relativistic (and self-refuting​ by extension), grounds — and the only possible objective grounds for morality are theological grounds.

Okay, but didn't the founding fathers own slaves? Sure they did, but abolitionism was also grounded in Christian values. Abraham Lincoln — the President who fought a civil war to end slavery — put it this way during his Second Inaugural Address: "It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces […] Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue […] until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, 'The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'" Lincoln, like other abolitionists including British abolitionist William Wilburforce, believed, rightly so, that slavery was and always has been an injustice. He cited examples like the Exodus and the commandment by Jesus to love everyone, including enemies, just as much as they love themselves to support this belief. People who owned slaves, meanwhile, would claim that because they were pagans back in Africa they didn't deserve to be free, despite the fact that forced conversion is expressly forbidden by Jesus (John 18:11) and therefore is at best hypocrisy and at worst heresy.

There are, I'm sure, countless others, but the point that these quotes make is very clear: Either America is Christian or it will cease to exist as we know it. Denial of this foundation sets the entire country up for polarization and failure, as left-wing anti-Trump rebels are doing a great job of displaying through immoral means (namely, vandalism, arson, assault, and battery). These deniers are the same people who, in a totalitarian manner, label those who disagree with them, often falsely (straw man fallacy), then use those labels as calls to violence. Only when this denial is debunked not only politically but also culturally can this country truly become free again.